by Coal Train

July 12th, 706 Cristos Reckoning

The day was overcast, but it was the kind of overcast that threatened only occasional showers, or perhaps thunderstorms. It was warm, but not hot. The humidity in the air however, made the atmosphere an oppressive one. The miasma of odors always prevalent in any city was heavy upon the air.

Due to the humidity and apparent heat, the markets of Metamor were fairly unpopulated. Most people who had the option chose to stay inside, where the stonework often provided a radiant cooling that was certainly quite refreshing on days like this one. Many others, those of the youthful persuasion, and those who lived in less extravagant dwellings of wood, were spending time frolicking in the few fountains that could be found throughout Metamor. The sound of children laughing, and splashing one another, could be heard with ease in the markets.

Thus it was, that in a reasonably quiet little corner of this market, could be seen a rabbit. He was doing a little shopping for fresh veggies, as was his almost daily routine since he had become a white-tailed jackrabbit. Since that fateful day some months before, he had discovered that the fruits and vegetables that he had once turned up his nose at were now nearly all that he could easily consume. He had also discovered that what would once have passed as very good to him was now frequently too ripe or rather rotten to his sensitive nose.

He had found himself, upon occasion, contemplating the grasses and weeds in the fields with hungry eyes. But he was Cathal, son of Fionúir; he was a warrior, and he would not be seen to graze upon the grasses like the animal he now appeared.

So it was that, in a place and time where a rabbit could dine on all the succulents of nature's bounty, he was paying for his wilted carrots, slightly under-ripe tomatoes, and leafy greens. This was Cathal's day off, and he was going to try to enjoy himself after he did his shopping. Perhaps he would just relax and talk with Laracin, the great tree of the courtyard. The poor guy had been changed into a tamarack tree when the Curse had first been cast, and so, though he himself could not seek it, he longed for the company of others. Cathal had had many insightful conversations with Laracin; his sedentary situation tended to give the tree much time to contemplate the many facets of life. Though it may not have been so in the past, Laracin was quite the philosopher these days, and Cathal enjoyed his company very much.

He wore no chain-mail, and had no sword; he felt no need for such weaponry at that time. Metamor was reasonably safe as far as personal attacks went. One only needed to worry about the occasional cut-purse that invariably worked a good crowd. Instead he wore brown cotton trousers and a simple shirt of green, both of a common variety in the crowds of Metamor.

After negotiating a reasonable price with the merchant for his wares, Cathal removed a few coppers from his purse. As he replaced his purse around his neck, he noticed the distant rumble of thunder, and decided that perhaps he should bring his food home now and wait out the thundershower before enjoying the rest of the day. With the fruits of his hunt stashed in the canvas bag which he slung over his shoulder, he thanked the age regressed merchant and turned to leave.

He was about to head home, when he was accosted by a pair of rather well endowed female humans. He realized, with some alarm, that he had unfortunately found his lunch right in front of a house of ill repute.

They wore clothes of many colors, intended obviously to entice the imagination. Their faces were covered in an assortment of makeup and colors that, while garish in appearance, strangely accentuated their femininity. They were very clean in appearance, and had used copious amounts of perfume. It made his sensitive nose burn, and his muzzle twitched as he tried not to sneeze.

He had no desire for the company of these people. He was both a married man, and a follower of the Way, and Eli frowned upon such behavior. These women, who called themselves Sensates, made their living, and a rather good one it seemed, offering their wares to the people of the Keep. The wares they sold were, of course, themselves. Generally, the Sensates were not particular as to whom or what gender they sold themselves, but they were known to prefer the animal morphs. The more exotic the morph was, the more fervently they would pursue it. And as yet another example of his misfortune, rabbits were a surprisingly rare occurrence of the Curse. Cathal was known as a warrior by many at the Keep as well. This undoubtedly made him quite exotic in their eyes.

"Aww, look who found his way to our doorstep Laurana," said the shorter of the two, who stood perhaps a little over five feet tall. That is to say, about a foot taller than Cathal. Her voice was sultry, yet girlish at the same time. She continued as her partner started to walk around to his right. "Isn't he simply adorable?"

"Oh yes Mabel, he's just so cute," the other responded in a voice much deeper than her companion, yet still very feminine. "I've seen him around, and I just want to cuddle with him all day." As he turned his head to look at her, something became plainly obvious by the hungry look in her eyes; she wanted far more than to simply cuddle. She stood nearly six feet tall, and had the athletic physique of the many amazons about the Keep. Her garb, though, was anything but utilitarian.

"My apologies," he said, "but I have no interest in cheap thrills. I have much to do," he lied, but only in an effort to politely refuse their advances. It was no mistake that he failed to address them by any title. He reserved the word 'ladies' for those of a more honorable persuasion, and any other title he could think of at the time was not fit for public speaking.

"Oh, for such a handsome bunny like you, I don't think we could possibly charge anything. This day would be our treat," responded the shorter one, Mabel. The more appropriate phrase, he thought, would be that 'he' would be their treat. Standing so close to him, he found them rather intimidating. He started carefully trying to back away from them as his one black paw instinctively went for the pommel of his sword, but was sadly disappointed by its absence. He was beginning to get nervous; his ears stood even more erect than usual.

"And I promise," the Amazonian continued, "it won't take very long at all." With that, she reached out and gently started to gently scratch behind his left ear, the one with the battle scar. He thought to flinch, he thought to run, he even thought to fight, but as the Amazon started to scratch that one place, all thought started to leave his mind. His ears began to droop in relaxation as his resistance slowly faded. Without even being fully aware of it, he murred in pleasure at the contact. It just felt so blasted good.

All he knew as the pleasant scratching progressed to petting and he was cajoled into a nearby building was that this attention felt completely comfortable. It felt as if he had fallen into a soft down-filled bed after a long hard day's work. He could feel every piece of fur as they caressed it, and he wanted more. All the tension faded as his body was filled with a sense of calm; and his human mind recoiled.

'This cannot be happening,' one side of his being stated. 'But it feels so good,' the other responded. 'This isn't right,' came the response. 'But how can it be wrong?' His human mind battled for his very soul. 'It will lead to more,' but the rabbit fought back. 'But for now it is enough.' And it went on, for minutes that seemed as eternities.

As his mind reeled at the implications of his situation, he felt the hands of the women working their way up under his shirt, relieving him of that garment. The petting continued as he drank in the joy. Through it all, it felt to him as though he was being given a full massage, but still he could not challenge it.

Even as he was thinking this, the two women were undoing the string of his trousers. So distracted was he by the feeling of being petted and scratched; that it hardly registered to him that his pants were now around his hocks, and his malehood was now quite exposed. It was not that he didn't know what was going on, but so long as this pleasure continued, he just couldn't bring himself to do anything about it. 'You have to stop this ... NOW!!' his mind screamed to him, 'before it's too late!' But alas, still the rabbit held tightly to the control it had on his emotions and body. It demanded the contact, it demanded social companionship, and it did not care from whence it came.

Having succeeded in removing the garments between themselves and their prize, the women began working in earnest toward their goal. The softness of Cathal's fur and his earthy musk, mixed with the clean odor of a nearby thundershower, only served to increase their desire for him. The sound of rumbling thunder went completely unnoticed by the trio within the brothel.

Presently Cathal was so relaxed that he had nearly fallen asleep. For the Womens' part, they were quite baffled that they had failed to arouse the rabbit, despite his apparent pleasure at their ministrations. His lethargy confused them even more. Still, through all this, his mind battled his body. 'You FOOL, you are going to go to hell if you let this continue!' Once again, the rabbit had a response. 'What's the harm in a little groom..WOAH, that's not grooming!'

Having finally been released from his lapin instincts, his human mind took charge, and it did so with a vengeance. He quickly discovered the reason for his sudden alarm, as the Amazonian has just taken a firm hold upon his tender vitals. He gaped in horror at the dangerously sexual situation he now found himself in. By Eli, the dark one had nearly taken him. And finally, his human mind had the last word. 'Told ya so..'

He found himself reclined on his back in a bed that was actually quite comfortable, by human standards. There were numerous pillows of gaudy colors, and the coverings were of a luxurious material that he could not have been able to identify, even if he had the inclination to try. The room, he discovered, was simple, and not overly decorated, there was one window opposite the door, and a small hearth could be seen in the corner. The window had thick drapes covering it, but a gentle breeze managed to find its way through the opening. The odor of nearby rainfall was a pleasant counterpart to the stink of sex that permeated the room. The effect was that of an inn or hotel, though the numerous odors spoke not of breakfast and travelers, but of sex and sin; it was the stink of lost souls.

Having found his wits, his voice soon followed. "Unhand me, you devil woman. I am not to be a plaything for a bunch of whores," he demanded with fury and, with that statement, he struggled to escape. Kicking at the woman with both hind-paws, he felt a rather disconcerting pain, as the hand was ripped free from some particularly sensitive parts. The woman fell back and hit the wall behind her with a grunt.

He tried to turn and run, only to be tripped up by his own pants. He fell to the ground beside the bed and nearly panicked. Quickly struggling free of the hindering garment, he was through the window and out of sight within only a few seconds. Mabel, the smaller of the two whores, barely managed to scream at the sudden fury of her prize before being shoved aside herself in his nearly panicked escape.

He barreled out the window and in his haste, accidentally toppled a few market-goers in his blind flight, one of whom, a rather distinguished looking gentleman, toppled an entire table of goods of some variety or another. As to who or what they were he paid no heed as he continued running in any direction that would take him away from that dreadful place. With a flash of lightning, the thunder once again rumbled and the rain fell.

In hardly any time at all, he felt that he was a safe distance from that viper's den. He found himself in an unkempt part of the Keep. The untended shrubbery, and the gutted remains of a building stood as a stark reminder of the constant war footing under which Metamor lived.

With a start, he realized that he had been running on all fours like the rabbit his body now appeared. Even more disconcerting, he discovered with no small amount of embarrassment, that he was also quite naked. His clothes had been left behind as well as his groceries, and his money pouch, not that there was much left. He was not about to return to reclaim them, but he certainly could not be seen like this.

He needed to think, he needed time, and most of all he needed to hide. In short order he had found a thicket of brush and was well concealed within it. The rain continued, unabated. What did the weather care about the trials of men and beasts?

There was little doubt within his mind of his shame. Here he was, a warrior, a knight, advisor to a king, one time leader of armies, and holder of stations of even greater honor. And he had been reduced to the form of a rabbit; exhausted, wet and dirty, hungry and cowering naked under a bush, having nearly lost his soul in the sight of Eli. All because of a single touch. All because he was so damn 'adorable' that people would never again take him seriously, as a warrior or anything else.

Finally, after months of denial, the reality of his situation hit him like a warhorse in full charge. He thought about all that he had lost, and he wept. He though about his wife and children, now living without him back in Portrush. He thought about his steed Prince, the last gift his father had given him before going to Tullwine to train under Master Bentley. Old age had finally taken its toll on the stallion, and he was now set out to pasture, quite possibly going stir crazy, though he was not lacking in female companionship.

He thought of his home. It was a simple affair; a few hectares of land, two stories, set in the outskirts of the town that bore his father's name. He thought of the wonderful people who he had left behind. Many of them had been willing to accept his new form, but his love had cast him out. So he had returned to Metamor to live out the rest of his life. He thought of all this and more; he knew that he would never see any of them again, and so he wept, until there were no more tears to cry. With time, sleep took him in his mental anguish. As if on cue, the rains slowly stopped.