Watcha! I’m Tepic, proud urchin of New Babbage City. I’ve lived in the City fer ages, it’s my City (well, Mr Tenks really) so don’t mess with it!
I’s got a bar called the Sneaky Vole, sort of moves round a bit cus some people is jelous an smashes it up but anyone is welcome, if yer don’t have the dosh, have a drink an pay up when yer flush.
If yer needs any vole milk products, just ask. I got the monopoly on em!
Hmmm… there has been quite a lot of rumours recently about some of us as have ears an tails, not like most of the folk around, some of it not very nice!
So, I decided that maybe I should set the record straight about me, at least, and I guess at some stage others can do the same for themselves, if they want.
Well, I am actually a fox, not a human at all, and as far as I remember, my parents were both foxes, as were my brothers and sisters. I remember growing up in the hedgerows, learning how to hide in plain sight from humans, and how to hunt for my favourite voles (also earthworms and other small creatures) from my devoted parents. They taught me about the Huntsmen and their Dogs, and how much fun it was to lead them a merry chase across the countryside, though always be wary of their tricks, for if you ran too far from a safe den, then you could be in true trouble!
Well, it was getting on for autumn, and I was exploring the fields by myself, as a young fox about to leave home is want to do, when I came across a group of young human lads tumbling down the grassy hillside, laughing and playing. It looked so much fun, I joined in, much to their amusement, and they welcomed me as a new playmate. Trouble was, they were having so much more fun, their legs could push them in all directions, their arms could flail to keep their balance, and they could laugh all the time, a merry and wonderful sound, that I tried to do the same. I don’t know how, or why, but he more I tried to join in with their fun, the more I changed, until I was running, jumping, falling over and laughing with them.
When it was time for them to go to their homes, and me back to my family, we shook hands, clapped each other on the back, and headed our separate ways. They each gave me a piece of clothing, for now, although I had arms and legs, I no longer had the beautiful warm fur I used to posses, so they kindly gave me enough to keep me warm. When I reached my den, I crawled inside, and it seemed slightly smaller than I remembered, and my parents initially shrank away from me. Thankfully, for us foxes, smell is more important than how one looks, and we settled down for the night.
In the morning though, it was obvious that I was no longer suited for such a small den, and that it was time for me to strike out on my own. Now I know for humans, this is not how it works, but for foxes, quite early on in our lives, we have to find our own place in the world, without regrets or looking back. So I headed off, unworried about what the future held, to find out what was out there!
I wandered for a long time, searching for my own place, visiting many strange and wonderful lands. Autumn turned to winter, winter to spring, spring to summer and so on, for many seasons. I hunted for food, eating what I could catch, sometimes liberating the odd chicken or some eggs from a farm, and playing with the local youngsters, whom I usually found welcoming and good fun (also they were usually generous in sharing whatever treats they had, and so I became familiar with many human delicacies, though they were usually not to keen on even the freshest voles…). My clothes became worn and tattered over time, but usually there was a friendly boy to pass some of his old ones down to me, and if not, there were things left out for passing strangers hung on bits of rope, clean and aired.
It was only when I came back to some of the places I had visited that I realised some of my playmates had grown older, sometimes with children or grandchildren of their own, that I was still as I had been when I first rolled down that hill. To be honest, it never really struck me as in any way strange, and still doesn’t, though it does seem to puzzle some of the people I meet.
I also realised that most people don’t just walk where they want to go, they go by airship, or train, or ride a horse. It’s strange, because I usually just walk down the street with the intention of reaching my destination, and I arrive a little bit later. So much easier than all that messing about!
I’ve been in New Babbage for some time, the vole hunting is good, and there doesn’t seem to be much competition for them, so the living is good. There are a lot of good people around as well, always willing to help a youngster with nice food or a warm place to stay – sometimes I do miss my fur! I’ve also explored some of Steelhead, though for some reason voles are scarcer there (bigger rats as well!), and may sometimes be found in New Brunswick, where I have played the drums and flute for some of the New Brunswick Battalions.
I have learnt a lot in my travels, about people, whom I generally like, music, which is wonderful both to listen to and to play, everything and anything, because us foxes are just interested in everything! I can read, sometimes more than is good for me, in several different languages (well, no one told me I shouldn’t be able to…) and can write quite well, if a little slowly in a couple.
So there it is, I’m a fox, not some messed up human experiment, or fairy cross-breed, though I know they are generally very nice people. I still have my wonderful ears, and the most handsome tail in the world, and I am sure, that if I wanted to, I could be my old self again, if I wanted to, but… well… I am having so much fun, why change?
(Tepic believes all of this implicitly, especially about being a fox, though others may speculate about his origins, or think that this is all an elaborate fantasy to cover whatever his origins may be).