"This is where all vehicles are garaged in town," Red explained. "We keep the village free from noise and smells of modern technology as much as possible."
We disembarked from our car, a vehicle specially designed to be driven by, and carry, taurform passengers. Red led the way to the exit where we climbed a ramp that exited on to the parklands.
"Welcome to Mountain Glade community," Garrek announced.
We paused to admire the foxtaurs' handiwork. The whole town was a stunningly well-planned arrangement of homes and natural reserves. Added to this was the fact that the local festival was just starting and the grounds and houses were festooned with banners and decorations. On the grassy open area, temporary stalls had been set up and handcrafts were intermingled with food stalls and games of skill. It was early and this was the first day of the festival, so the people attending were still low in number yet. However, Red assured us that this event attracted a fair crowd from nearby townships and a few people from further afield who had learned of it.
"We don't want to make the event too big," Red explained. "It's more of a social occasion for us, and a smaller crowd keeps things more intimate. Later on, there will be musicians playing in several areas and lots of folks will come to dance. We'll all get the chance to check it out later. Firstly though, we'll go over to my home and meet my family."
As we followed Red across the common, we noticed that a few outsiders were already there. Mostly they were humans chatting with the stall-holders, probably business acquaintances from outside the community. There were a handful of other morph species too, so the foxtaurs probably had a good knowledge of the diverse races. Nevertheless, our group was attracting a lot of attention. I padded up to Red and asked, "Why are we getting so many stares?"
Garrek's jaw dropped in amusement. "Up until I left to follow a career in space, we had never seen a chakat here. I reckon that hasn't changed. Now there's a parade of them, and you'll be instant celebrities wherever you go for a while."
"It looks like they will be learning as much about us as we will be about them," I replied.
True to Red's words, we did attract everyone's curiosity along the way. At one point, my keen ears overheard a very young foxtaur cub asking, "Mommy, why do those foxtaurs look so funny?"
"Those aren't foxtaurs, son," she replied.
"What are they then?"
"I'm not sure. Some kind of cat-taur, I think."
"We're chakats, ma'am," I said as I walked up to them. "You've got a cute cub there, full of curiosity. You will be seeing more of us as we are here for the festival. Come over and have a chat with us later if you wish."
"I'll do that, I think," she grinned.
I trotted to catch up with the others. We crossed the ring-road and headed down a pleasantly meandering dirt track. After a short time, we took a side path leading to one of the cabin-style houses.
"Here we are, people. Welcome to my home." Red opened the door and let out a series of yips. Several replies were heard, then a number of foxtaurs came to greet us.
An older vixen immediately hugged Red who, for once, didn't seem to be embarrassed. I guessed that this had to be his mother. A mature male stepped out to meet us. He spoke to my sister first.
"Judging by the description our son gave us, you must be Goldfur." As he shook hands with hir, he looked the rest of us over. "And these are your kin? You made good time coming out here. I hope you had a pleasant journey. My name is Rikandor and my mate is Jaleth. Jal, dear, let our son alone for a moment so that he can introduce his friends," he said with a grin.
"Thanks, Dad," Garrek smiled in return. "Mother, let me formally introduce everyone to you. This is Goldfur, my mate and the future mother of your first grandchild."
The two stepped up to each other and gave each other a warm hug. Jaleth then held hir hands and looked hir in the eyes and said, "I can't tell you how pleased I am that my shy little boy has found himself someone. You must really have something special to have drawn him out like this. I was beginning to wonder what we'd have to do to find him a mate."
"Mom!" exclaimed Red, his embarrassment plain. I could swear he was blushing, which is pretty hard to tell when someone has red fur covering his face. He sure didn't take after his mother that way. To keep further maternal statements at bay, he hastened to complete the introductions of myself, Midnight and Trina. Then he finally turned his attention to the younger foxtaurs who had been waiting for their turn and seemed ready to burst with impatience.
"This is my sister Malena and my brother Miktar," he managed to say before the young vixen couldn't restrain herself anymore.
"Wow, it's great to finally meet you," she gushed. "When Garrek told us that he was bringing chakats here, I went to the library to read up on you. Is it really true that you are male as well as female?"
"Malena!" Red exclaimed, "That's not very polite!"
"It's okay, Garrek," I interjected. "Yes, it's true. Look for yourself. We have all the parts."
I grinned at her and waited for Red's expected reaction. Sure enough, he was mortified with embarrassment. Malena, however, was completely unfazed. She did indeed take me up on my offer to look. I was taking an instant liking to this young lady. She had the uninhibited soul of a chakat.
"Thanks, Forest," she said when she was finished looking. Her parents had a look of resignation to accepting the inevitable.
"You are very different to your brother," I observed. "Your attitudes are completely opposite and your looks are so different too. You must have the palest fur color of any foxtaur that I've seen."
"Yeah! Dad says that when Garrek was born, he took all the fur color and the shyness for two people, so that when I came next, I got neither," she explained with a grin.
"How old are you?" I asked. I had been trying to guess her age, but I was probably underestimating it due to her nature.
"I'm seventeen. Garrek missed my Coming-of-Age ceremony two weeks ago, she accused.
"Sorry, they wouldn't re-arrange the starship's schedule just for your benefit," Red said with mock contrition.
His father interjected, "Well now that you are here, come inside and bring your guests. We have some morning tea ready and we can get to know each other a bit more."
The inside of their house matched the philosophy of the village. Simple, natural materials were preferred, with hand-crafted fittings and furniture. Cleverly concealed or artfully blending with the decor were those contemporary items which were essential, such as modern plumbing, electric power and a communicator. Otherwise, the foxtaurs made do with what they could provide for themselves or barter with the other foxtaurs to get.
The promised snack turned out to be more like a small banquet. Jaleth had gone overboard with the preparations for this get-together. As we ate and chatted, I consolidated my impressions of these people. Garrek's mother was transparently delighted that he had found a mate and it was totally irrelevant to her that shi wasn't her species. The fact that Goldfur was having his child cemented that for her. The father was more reserved. He was a very friendly person and had no problems getting along with us, but he had his doubts about the wisdom of this mixed mating. Nevertheless, he recognized a fait accompli and had decided to give it a chance. Malena was almost a stereotypical older teenage girl for whom relationships were a source of constant interest, and this one promised her more than most. She was the type who would start dating a chakat at the drop of a hat, simply because she thought it would be cool. Miktar was like young boys everywhere. He was curious about chakats, but couldn't care less about relationships. In fact, he was obviously dying to go out and play with his friends by the time we had finished our meal.
Miktar was allowed to escape, while the rest of us continued chatting. It was late afternoon when Jaleth insisted that we all make our way back to the festival.
"This is the best time of day to attend," she explained. "Lots of people will be coming to the community feast and the music and dancing before and after it." She then bundled us all out of the house, saying that she and Rikandor would follow after clearing up.
As we strolled back to the common, Midnight said, "Tell us more about this festival. What exactly are you celebrating?"
"For starters, now that we are in the northern hemisphere, it is the beginning of winter here," Red started explaining. "All crops have been harvested and stored, other foods have been prepared and preserved and all maintenance completed before the snow comes. We now have the luxury of relaxing and enjoying the fruits of our labor. Foxtaurs from other communities come over to visit their relatives and everyone indulges in a lot of socializing that they don't have time for earlier in the year."
"Yeah, some really intimate socializing." interjected Malena. "Did you know that about half the cubs born in this village arrive about the same time, about ten months later?" she asked with a grin.
"It doesn't surprise me," I said, sharing her amusement. For once, Red wasn't upset by this revelation, which told me that this was hardly a big secret. In fact, what with the large number of people from other villages visiting, they probably counted on the increase in the gene pool.
As we approached the festival grounds, we could see that a large crowd had accumulated. Probably almost every foxtaur in the village was here by now. I could hear music and singing coming from various groups. The sun was setting, but lots of warm light was provided by numerous torches. We made our way over to one of the groups gathered about some musicians. Their instruments weren't the usual factory produced stuff. They had long-necked stringed instruments of unique design, primitive, but great-sounding drums, and a wild variety of wind instruments. They started off with an enthusiastically rendered tune that seemed to welcome us. Next, they burst into a humorous ballad that soon had everyone crying tears of laughter. But it was the third tune that many had been waiting for. It was an exciting dance tune that soon had many cavorting energetically. When a 'taur dances, you need plenty of room, but these people were quite skillful and there were no collisions.
"I'd love to join with them," Trina said. She enjoyed dancing a lot, and she and Kris often went to nightclubs where she would dance half the night. "I'm not sure how to fit in with this lot though."
"Allow me," Red offered, and led her to join the others. She very quickly adapted the steps and soon was flying about the lawn, laughing and thoroughly loving it. I had a feeling that she might be here for a while if no one dragged her away. I looked at the others, shrugged and decided to join in. When Red swung by, I cut in. Trina grabbed Midnight and pulled hir not unwillingly into the fun. Goldfur reckoned that shi had four left feet for dancing, but I noticed that Malena was leading hir in a more sedate version of the dance too.
Suddenly my partner changed. Another foxtaur had cut in. It was then I noticed that there seemed to be a few others hanging around waiting for a chance. My new partner grinned at me and said, "I think you and your friends are going to be the hit of this festival. Everyone's curious about you. I hope you are sticking around for the feast.
"Wouldn't miss it!" I replied just before he was whisked away and another dancer took his place. I was partnered by a quick succession of foxtaurs, then suddenly, there was the all black countenance of my mate.
"Let's show them something different," shi said. Almost reading hir mind, I knew what shi meant. We linked tails and proceeded to improvise a chakat style dance to the foxtaurs' tune. In truth, we got a bit carried away, whirling and leaping until suddenly, the music ceased and we dropped to the ground, panting hard. A roar went up from the crowd in appreciation of the spectacle. We grinned at each other while recovering our strength. This evening had gotten off to a flying start.
Trina walked up to me and said, "Come on, show-off, there's lots more to see and do. I don't know about you, but I've worked up an appetite." My wiry little life-mate virtually dragged me to my feet and I helped her do the same with Midnight.
"See you all at the feast!" I called out to the crowd as we regrouped and headed off to see what else the fair had to offer. We wandered the grounds, looking at all the skillfully created crafts. When Garrek advised us that the community banquet wasn't due to start for an hour, Midnight and I led a raid on a booth selling snacks. With an armful of food, we then had fun trying the games of skill and strength, with modest success. Judging by the degree of difficulty, this village boasted some very competent people. I came across a booth selling leather-goods. I paused to examine them more closely and I realized just how competent the artisan was.
"Our village makes a lot of money selling original handcrafts," Red explained. "We put out goods second to none. These are made by Purteshka the Leather-worker. She can do things with leather that you wouldn't believe."
There was a display of various tops for both males and females, such as vests, jackets and halters. The leather was as soft as chamois, and yet, Red assured me, was still strong and durable. I found one that would accommodate my generous bust and pulled off my halter-top on the spot to try it on. That wasn't a problem here. About half the female foxtaurs in the village went bare-breasted. I had seen nursing mothers unencumbered by any clothing. Midnight, with hir preference for going around topless, fitted right in. On the other hand, I had seen vixens of all ages wearing a vast array of practical and ornamental clothing. The only thing that those tops had in common was that they were all extremely well-made and very attractive. I put on the top that I selected. This type had leather drawstrings to make it fit snugly. It conformed to my curves as if it had been made for me. The material virtually caressed my breasts rather than confined them. A shiver of delight shook me. Midnight didn't know what shi was missing out on. I saw the vendor smiling at me and I realized that she knew that she had a sale.
I walked away from the booth feeling wonderful. Midnight commented, "Anything that makes you look so sexy was worth twice the price. It almost makes me want to buy one too."
I laughed. "That says more about it than any mere compliment," I replied as I put my arm around hir waist and leant up against hir.
The sound of a large gong repeatedly struck, drifted across the common. Red informed us that it was the signal for the start of the banquet. We immediately headed for the site. A roped-off area held numerous collapsible tables which were piled with food. We paid a small fee to join the all-you-can-eat feast. Malena told us that this was purely a social event and the money was just to cover costs. Many of the dishes were provided free after cooking contests held earlier. Because this was a taur village, only a small number of chairs were provided for visitors.
Our group claimed a table. Garrek's parents found us and joined the party. We were to receive many callers from other groups. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that there were three chakats at our table, I reckon that we would have starved without someone to take up the conversational slack. In between telling the curious foxtaurs all about ourselves, we did manage to dine on some wonderful food. There was roast venison and duck (non-endangered I was assured), deliciously prepared vegetables of many kinds and loads of pastries and sweets. We ate and talked until well into the night. Occasionally some people would leave for the singing and dancing that had started up again. Finally, we had just about talked ourselves hoarse. There was just one thing left that I wanted to announce.
"My mates and friends," I said to get their attention, "This has been a delightful evening getting to our new kin. But there will be one other that you will get to know in the future. I would like to announce that the mating between Midnight and myself has been successful. You can expect to see my cub in about ten and a half months."
A delighted babble of congratulations arose. Someone proclaimed a toast and soon there were mugs of delicious home-brewed beer passed around. We drank a round and then the visiting foxtaurs extended their compliments and bid us goodnight as the banquet crowd started drifting away.
We got up to leave ourselves. We slowly strolled through the parklands, pausing occasionally to listen to the music of a band or a solitary minstrel. The night was well advanced by the time we decided to leave. The festival would still be going tomorrow and we were all feeling pleasantly tired, so we made our way back to Red's home.
Once inside, Jaleth said, "Rikandor and I will be going straight to our bedroom. You cubs can work out what sleeping arrangements you wish to make with the three other bedrooms. Sleep well!"
Miktar was trying to look alert, but it was plain to us that the young tod was tuckered out. We ordered him to his room and he was virtually asleep as he hit the mattress. We closed his door and the rest of us gathered in Red's room.
"We're not going to disturb your folks, are we?" asked Goldfur.
"Not likely," assured Malena. "Put it this way. I'm hoping for a sister this time." She gave us a sly look.
"Good. So how do we arrange this?" I asked.
"Midnight and I would like a night together," volunteered Trina.
"Perhaps they can sleep with Malena in her room," ventured Garrek.
"No, brother," Malena denied, "I had something else in mind." She got up and padded up to Goldfur and boldly asked, "Will you make love with me Goldfur?"
My sister looked at me and winked. We had both seen this possibility coming. She was enthusiastic and fascinated by us, and she had been spending a lot of time with my sister. However, of course there was one who was rather shocked.
"Malena! Don't you think you are rather young for this?" Red exclaimed.
"Don't be silly, Garrek. I told you I had my Coming-of-Age ceremony, so I can if I want to."
"But so soon? Shouldn't you be putting this off for a while longer? I mean, you are just barely old enough!"
"My dear, sweet brother, I know you are genuinely concerned for me, so I won't snap at you. However, I have to tell you that a tod-friend of mine took care of that the same night of the ceremony."
Red was stunned. I thought that I had better ease the shock, so I sidled up to him and put an arm about his waist and cuddled him. "You have known her all her life, so you can only see her as your little sister. But she's a young lady now and free to make her own choices. Let it be, Garrek. My sister will be a gentle lover and Malena could not be in better paws."
To give him credit, he didn't try to argue any more. In fact, I felt him start to relax against me. Midnight saw that the situation seemed well in hand and excused hirself and Trina, and with Malena's permission, left for the vixen's bedroom.
I felt that now was probably the best time to push an issue which would eventually come up. "Red, I think that it's about time that you and I got intimate too." I felt him stiffen again and admonished him, "You said you knew what you would be in for when you mated into a chakat family. Was that just talk?"
"No, but saying it, and to actually have it happen are two different things. I admit that I'm not as prepared for the reality as I thought I was," he said chagrined.
I won't rush things," I reassured him. "Malena is more than eager to start."
"Of course I am, I've been hoping for this for a while. Shall we begin, Goldfur?"
Malena presented her posterior to my sister who sighed and said, "My dear girl, you have asked me to make love with you, but all you seem to expect is a quick copulation. No matter how much we enjoy it, making love with someone is more than just sex. Because I've gotten to know you today, I can enjoy having sex with you as another level in our relationship, but even then it won't be just in and out."
Shi turned Malena around to look her in the eyes. "Your tod-friend may have turned a girl into a woman, but I will show you a couple of things about making you into a lover. Firstly, let's get rid of that jacket of yours." Shi unbuttoned the light short-sleeved jacket to reveal her modest (but still growing) breasts. Shi fondled them and said, "Learn what your partner likes. You will find that the more your partner enjoys himself, the greater your own pleasure will be." Shi slipped off her own halter-top and embraced Malena. Shi made sure that hir nipples brushed against Malena's as their breasts caressed each other's.
"Oh! Ooohh! That's really nice, Goldfur. But my tod lovers won't have your endowments. You'll have to show me more," she said slyly.
Goldfur grinned back. "Your wish is my command." Shi started to explore her body and noted when shi got a particularly good reaction. Shi lick-kissed Malena's muzzle and then told her to lie down on her back. With her paws in the air, she laid completely flat while Goldfur ran talented hands through her fur. Malena gasped at one point and demanded that Goldfur do what shi had just done again. As my sister complied, Malena closed her eyes in bliss. As it turned out, she was one of those who absolutely melted when given a tummy-rub! Goldfur kept up the rub with a hand-paw and reached for her breasts with both free hands. Shi tweaked her nipples and then leaned over and fondled them with hir tongue. After a short while, Malena shuddered as she experienced her first orgasm. Breathing heavily, she looked at Goldfur and beckoned hir closer. She virtually pulled my sister on top of her and started licking and sucking on hir ample breasts. I could see that Goldfur was very much enjoying this. Hir cock was rapidly growing out of its sheath and soon, without interrupting Malena's ministrations, shi positioned hirself over her, between the legs that were now wildly pawing the air. Both were now ready and Goldfur waited no longer. Shi smoothly entered Malena who emitted a small gasp of pleasure. Belly to belly, they rocked back and forth, breasts once again rubbing against one another as they lick-kissed each other almost frantically. Then Malena paused and tried to speak, saying, "Oh Goldfur, I'm....I'm coming...."
From the first word, Goldfur realized what was happening and brought hirself to climax. They came together, gasping and growling in mutual bliss. Then they laid side-by-side panting for a while until Malena propped her upper torso up on one arm and looked at Goldfur and said, "Thank you. Thank you for giving me so much more than I dreamed. It was truly wonderful!"
"I hope you have benefited from our little lesson," grinned Goldfur.
"Oh, yes! I'll never forget this as long as I live!"
"And I hope you learned something too," I said to Red, "And I don't mean just how to make love."
Garrek replied slowly, "I never expected to watch my sister having sex. Even more, I never expected it to be such a learning experience. My little sister is really a woman now. She's shown a willingness and enthusiasm that made her grow up so much faster than I did." He looked directly at her and said earnestly, "I love you Malena, and I wish you well with whomever you choose. I'll never get in your way again."
"Thank you, big brother, but I see that I will probably have more to learn also, so I will always value your advice."
Red then turned to Goldfur. "Love-mate, thank you for making my sister so happy. You've made my life even better because of it.
Goldfur was purring as shi replied. "It's a chakat's goal in life to make those shi cares for happy. It enriches everyone's life and strengthens relationships." Then shi stopped being so serious and said, "Besides, it's so much fun!"
Red had to grin at that. "Okay, but I've got one more question. You've been pregnant for a few weeks now, and you've got to be back at the height of your female cycle, yet you still were able to perform well as a male. Am I missing something?"
You certainly are," I interjected. "You have got to realize that chakats are probably the most completely bi-sexual species on Earth. We do have our male-female cycle, and that determines our potency or fertility, but it only gives us a preference for the opposite sex. No matter what point in the cycle we are in, or whether we are pregnant or not, we always remain bisexual and enjoy sex either way.
"But Goldfur has not had male sex since before shi became pregnant. Shi had Midnight to satisfy hir there before, but I'm pretty sure shi hasn't since conceiving. If shi still gets male urges, why didn't shi show them?"
"You underestimate yourself, Garrek," Goldfur spoke up. "You have made me very happy and I've always been satisfied taking the female role with you. Besides, being pregnant does lessen the urges in male phase."
"There is one other thing," I continued. "Many of us have personal preferences. Both Goldfur and myself have a bias toward enjoying female sex more, which is a help in your relationship. But I must stress again that we most definitely enjoy male sex! Midnight has a predilection for hir male side which was a factor that contributed to our decision to mate. But you will find that there is no such thing as a chakat who only enjoys sex one way. For us, that wouldn't be natural."
"I see," nodded Garrek. "I'll remember that. Goldfur's happiness is extremely important to me. Despite my father's misgivings, I think that our relationship will grow, as long as we are willing to learn."
"That's why it takes so long before you are allowed to become life-mates. It is so important to learn about and from your partner to make sure that the bonding will be true."
"Thank you, Forest. Goldfur certainly has a wise baby sister."
"Baby sister?! Not you too?" I punched him on the arm in mock annoyance. "Come here, you will have to make up for that remark!"
Garrek smirked but complied. Without further urging, his hands were quickly undoing the draw-strings of my top. "I'm not completely unprepared," he said. "You see, I did find out where you are most sensitive." He slid my top off and put it safely aside. He cupped a breast in each hand and fondled them sensuously. Then he buried his muzzle in the fur between my breasts and breathed deeply.
"Your scent really does remind me of a forest. It's beautiful." He teased a nipple until it was eagerly rigid and then drank of me. He sampled them both while I shuddered in pleasure. "You taste so different from Goldfur, but you are equally delicious," he assured me. "You have slaked my thirst. Can I satisfy your hunger?"
"You can try," I replied.
And he did!
The next morning, I awoke to find Malena in my arms. She and I had furthered her education after my sister had demanded hir mate back. And no wonder. Despite his shyness, Red had proven to be a most wonderful lover. I looked forward to more opportunities to cuddle with him. We met Trina and Midnight outside the bedroom door after we all woke up and made our fur presentable. Trina was her ever bouncy self although Midnight looked as though shi could do with a bit more sleep.
"I can't believe how much energy she's got," Midnight explained. "We made love half the night."
I laughed and replied, "My dear fox-mate has astounding stamina. It takes both Kris and me to keep her satisfied, you know. Ow!" Trina had swatted me on the rump. I lassoed her with my tail. "See? She's still full of energy!"
We all made our way to the dining room in high spirits. Trina threatened to shave my fur if I didn't let her go immediately. Instead, I swung her around to face me and I kissed her long and deep. How could life get any better with so many people to love and be loved by in return?
To be continued in A Forest Tale 5: Recreation.
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