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Ask our protagonist ENI SIVERETS!
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I'm actually the only child that my parents had, although I understand why you might think otherwise. Most families of hares have at least three or four kits, especially where I'm from. My mother says that she knew as soon as she was pregnant that I'd be an Aberrant, and that was even before realizing how long it would take. The other villagers actually started placing bets on how many months she'd be pregnant, if you can believe my father!
As I was growing up, though, the entire village of Siverets was my family, and I never felt like I didn't belong. In some places Aberrants are still seen as good or bad omens, but I was always treated just like a kit. There were certainly some challenges along the way; when I was born I was no bigger than the average kit, but by the time I was nine I was already taller than either of my parents. But we always just adapted as a family. For instance, it's traditional in Siverets for a kit to wear a robe passed down through the generations as part of her eleventh birthday celebration, but by that age nothing from my family would have fit. My mother and I ended up painstakingly combining two in order to make the one I wore, and I got to dress up just the same as anyone else.
I only truly realized how much I stood out when I moved to the Circle, where there were mammals who hadn't known me since the day I was born. Some get a little rude and gawk maybe a bit too much, but for the most part I'm just another face in the crowd. Still, I tend to keep my ears down so I don't stand out too much.
There are many things I miss about my hometown, and that includes the food. My favorite meal as a kit was tsukudani over rice, especially on a chilly day after swimming in the ocean. I’m afraid I don’t know where your lordship is from, or if you’ve traveled widely, so I apologize if I’m explaining something you already know. Tsukudani is a kind of seasoned kelp, simmered in flavorful sauces, and it ends up with a wonderfully rich salty taste. The ingredients are unfortunately rare and expensive in the Cradle, so it’s a real treat whenever I can find them all.
My favorite drink, though, is something I never had until I moved to the Circle. I’ve developed a taste for apple cider, and especially smoked cider from Carcosa. It’s an amazing drink, crisp and sweet with a beautiful balance of flavors, but I’m glad to try the local specials as I travel. It seems like every town in the Circle large enough to have an orchard has their own unique blend, and a mug always helps refresh me after a long day. I also appreciate that it’s usually not too alcoholic; I need to keep my wits about me!
The position of Archivist at the University of Terregor is the highest honor that any professor can achieve, and Archivist Arctus is one of the greatest mammals to have ever held the role. Under his leadership, the library’s collections have grown at an unprecedented rate, two new annexes have been built, and enrollment in the university has never been higher. But he’s not just my boss; he’s also my mentor and my friend.
I hope he won’t consider retiring anytime soon, but if he did decide to pass along the responsibility I would do my very best to live up to his example. My first act would be to honor one of his fondest dreams and push for greater partnership with the universities in the Federation and the League. We all have the opportunity to expand the frontiers of our knowledge by sharing rather than hoarding information, and I would love to travel abroad and help make it happen!
The markings on my fur, you mean? No, those are entirely natural; I’ve had them my entire life. Some Aberrants have unique or unusual patterns or colors to their fur, and I guess I’m one of them. There are some mammals who do get tattoos, although it’s mostly limited to those with very little fur.
Some hippopotamus clans or families elaborately tattoo their faces and limbs to show their affiliation; they have very intricate designs passed down through the generations that have unique meanings and specific placements. A particular pattern tattooed on the right arm might identify a hippopotamus as a healer, but the same pattern on the left arm marks a warrior.
The Archivist mentioned something, didn't he? It's not exactly a secret, I suppose, and it's true that when I was still a student I was seeing someone. I've never met another Aberrant hare, so I think in the back of my head I always thought that a buck wouldn't be interested in me. I've never met one taller than me, after all, and most of them don't come too much higher than my stomach. There are many hares living in Terregor, many more than there are in my small home village, but I sort of ignored the possibilities and tried to focus on my studies.
And then I took a figure drawing class.
I had thought it was important to develop my artistic skills so as to better be able to document my search, but the last thing I had expected was to end up seated next to a buck. For his privacy, I won't mention his name, just that he was studying in the literature department, but he was very sweet from the moment we met. He was never intimidated by how I was two feet taller than he was, and he treated me like he would anyone else. He was working on an illustrated volume of poetry for his thesis, and I wish I could reproduce one of his poems here. He had a wonderful way with words, and it was extremely flattering when he wrote me a sonnet.
We kept seeing each other after the class ended, and— Well, I suppose I might have already said too much. In the end, we simply wanted different things out of life, but every now and then we exchange letters. He's married now, and I'm very happy for him; we both got what we desired.
Font of Lartasia’s river blooms the mount of day,
the tall doe yond radiateth splendor beyond all measure
a hill of ensnarement for the buck travelers at way
to dare the gallant and dauntless of her treasure
To presenteth their cunning and vigor of thighs
and dreameth of prize yond trail the pleasure
at which hour froth of hardship turned ambition awry
the bucks ceded the trial those gents bethought clever
Upon the slope of the mountain of morn
where the earth is cleft and did rend high
for thy beauty sake and a trek longeth sworn
to feeleth the zest of lips brusheth the sky
Where numberless suitors has't hath left their pleas
in loving nameth I shall seek this chase, for thee
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