Ketrin's World
Ketrin
Ketrindex   Prologue
  Part One   Part Two
Part Three   Part Four
Part Five   Part Six
Part Seven   Part Eight
Part Nine   Part Ten
Part Eleven   Part Twelve
Part Thirteen Part Fourteen
Major Players
Kipling and Ketrin
and Mowgli and Me


Other Stories
Jaskri and the Maiden
Jaskri’s Child

The Sculptor’s Model
Listed on Web Fiction Guide (online novels, reviews)
to enormous not quite total critical indifference

Ketrin: Prologue
Copyright 1999-2000 by Leem
Welcome | A Note on the Text | Peri-feral Thoughts | Story


Feedback requested
I’d appreciate a bit of feedback. Now I freely admit to being behind the times in not having a TwitSpaceBook account. Currently I don’t even have a blog for Ketrin. However, I do have an e-mail address. My name following the Copyright line on every instalment links to it, and it’s also at the bottom of every page where it says Comment on this story, and right there where it said it again. Note: these links automatically insert Subject lines; any e-mails received without a relevant Subject header (e.g. “Ketrin”) may be deleted as spam. Please do write including the Subject line, and let me know what you think.

Welcome
A Note on the Text | Peri-feral Thoughts | Story

This is official website of KETRIN, my ongoing jungle adventure webnovel with erotic bits, which I’ve been writing in fits and starts for a ludicrous amount of time. I’ve tried setting myself deadlines for its completion, and repeatedly failed miserably, but I’m still hoping to finish it by the end of 2012 2013 time. Wish me luck, I’ll need it.

Someday I may also get around to improving the site design [edit]a bit more than I did in May 2014.[/edit] Until then, please try to enjoy the story as much as I’ve tried to enjoy writing it.

This story may be posted on other sites provided that all of its instalments to date are posted, that Leem is identified as the author, and that no unauthorised changes are made to the text.

A Note on the Text

Over the years this story has undergone numerous tweaks and revisions, mostly in a vain attempt to maintain continuity between instalments, and also to weed out a few typos. In one or two places I’ve added whole new chapters to existing instalments, as noted in the introductions to those instalments. Of course this site contains the most up-to-date version.

Another addition that may be worth mentioning is the use of chapter titles. I began using them on Part Eight, mainly in an attempt to help identify the various plot threads, and then had to go through all of the previous instalments retrofitting them. Each chapter is headed with name(s) of its major protagonist(s), followed by its actual title in smaller type. In some cases, particularly Part Four where the characters are gallivanting around the jungle and constantly running into one another, this gets a bit complicated and results in some very short chapters, but might just help readers (and me!) to keep track of where everybody is at any given moment.

Because of the length of composition the story may well contain errors and inconsistencies - in fact I’d be very surprised if it didn’t! If you spot any I’d appreciate your letting me know. Thank you.

Peri-feral Thoughts

This story had a fairly straightforward genesis. I’d written Jaskri and the Maiden, which enjoyed some small critical success, and that encouraged me to write more. I’d always enjoyed the Mowgli stories by Rudyard Kipling. In those original stories Mowgli usually did not wear a loincloth, so it wasn’t a huge stretch to imagine a grown-up version of Mowgli who would walk naked out of the jungle and turn human society head over heels with lust.

Rather than simply steal Kipling’s character wholesale, I gave him a new name and transplanted him to another planet, several centuries in the future. Instead of wolves he was raised by ‘lupinoids’ - so that if anyone were to tell me “wolves don’t behave like that” I could always reply “but these aren’t wolves, they’re lupinoids”. But really, yeah, they’re wolves. Big, smart, telepathic wolves. With stripes, no less, because I happen to think the only thing that could make wolves look cooler would be stripes. Why should tigers have all the fun?

One of the first story ideas I came up with was that the lupinoids’ milk would confer racial memories (as well as telepathy, which will become a plot point in later instalments). A human child who suckles lupinoid milk becomes a psychological hybrid of human and lupinoid - a state of mind that Mowgli would be sure to recognise.

The Prologue was originally part of the first instalment, but I’ve decided to post it separately here for reasons of length and pacing.

I began writing this story in September 1999, thinking that it would run to about 30,000 words and be completed after a few months. Today, over 100,000 words and four Olympiads later, I’m still writing it. Inevitably the story has changed, grown and mutated over all those years, but I like to think it’s a better story now than it would have been. So here goes...

The Cub
Sixteen Years Ago: The Cub’s Dream

Secure within his mother’s den, the cub dreamed. The cub was smaller, slower, weaker and less agile than his brothers; by the pack’s standards he was a runt. Some of the pack elders had made it known to the cub’s mother that they considered him a weakling and a liability to the pack. It was clear to them that he would never be able to fend for himself, and they wanted him mercifully killed as soon as possible. But the female had driven them off fiercely, making it plain to the elders that she would defend her small one to the death, and she was one of the pack’s most respected fighters.

And so, oblivious to the strife it had aroused, the small cub had suckled his adopted mother’s teat alongside her biological cubs. As the warm milk laced with chemical messengers was absorbed into his bloodstream, the naked cub snuggled close to his sleeping brothers and dreamed of things that had happened long ago....

Whitebrush
Long Ago: First Encounter

Had the creature desired a name she might have called herself Whitebrush, after her most prominent feature. Tonight she anticipated good hunting. Both night-glows were in the sky, round and bright, casting their light into the clearing where the prey grazed, wary but as yet unaware of Whitebrush’s presence. Whitebrush could have stalked the prey just as easily by scent alone - indeed, the light would be to her disadvantage if she were careless enough to let the prey see her.

But Whitebrush was never careless. The prey would not see her in time. Slowly, with infinite stealth, and taking care to keep her white tail out of sight, she approached. One step closer. Another. A brief pause. Then another silent step.

Suddenly the prey looked up. Whitebrush froze. Had it heard her? It was unlikely. Like all her kind, she relied on silence for survival. More likely the prey had been startled by a noise in the forest. Perhaps a bird had disturbed the branches, or a climbing animal. With infinite patience Whitebrush waited for the prey to settle.

Sure enough, after a while the prey nervously scanned its surroundings, then lowered its head and returned to the laborious task of grazing on the tough forest matgrass. If she had been human, Whitebrush might have felt superior to the prey because her method of feeding was more efficient. But she did not. To her, as to the prey, it was simply how things were, part of a mode of existence that never changed, year in, year out, generation after generation.

She could never have guessed that her existence, and that of every living thing in the forest and beyond, was about to change forever.

Whitebrush had chosen her moment. Her powerful leg muscles tensed as she prepared to pounce....

There was a sudden, blinding flash of light.

Whitebrush immediately turned tail and fled, obeying ancient instincts that told her such a flare could only be caused by lightning or fire. Obeying the same instincts, the prey also fled. Its directionless flight carried it straight past Whitebrush, and its hooves would have trampled her had she not leapt into the brush at the last moment. Once the terrified herbivore was safely past, Whitebrush picked herself up, shook herself, and ran after it, not in pursuit but in continuation of her flight.

After a few moments Whitebrush paused for breath, and forced her intellect to take over from her instinct. Looking back, she could still see the glow faintly through the trees. Although her kind only possessed rudimentary colour vision, she could see that the light had a bluish cast, unlike any flames she had ever seen. Nor could she feel any heat from the direction of the light. Warily she began to retrace her steps, sniffing the air as she went. There was no smell of smoke, but there was an unfamiliar bouquet of scents. Many were unrecognisable, but she seemed to discern an unknown animal musk. Gingerly she padded up to the edge of the clearing.

Within the clearing Whitebrush beheld a sight that resembled nothing in her experience. The bluish glow emanated from a region in the centre of the clearing, about twice as long as her body and almost twice as high as it was long. Its edges were straight and sharply defined, and there seemed to be strange objects moving about within the glow, things that almost looked like upright, two-legged creatures. Whitebrush wrestled with new concepts. It was as if the glow were a hole in...in...in what? There was no object in the clearing that the glow could be a hole in, and a hole could not exist by itself. Or...could it?

After a few moments, two of the strange upright things moved forward and emerged from the glow into the clearing. Whitebrush moved back into the shade of the trees.

The creatures had strange shiny skins that resembled neither fur nor hide. They walked upon broad, toeless feet and possessed elongated digits on their upper paws, which they were using to carry a number of unidentifiable objects from the glow into the clearing. As for their heads, they were disproportionately large, as round as the full night-glows, and seemed to have no eyes, mouths or noses. Whitebrush was bewildered by their appearance, but though her hackles rose she refused to admit to herself that she was afraid of them.

And from those strange featureless heads emerged sounds, which seemed to be their method of communication. The first to make noises was the shorter of the two. The sounds it produced were high-pitched and somehow pleasing to Whitebrush’s ears, while the larger - the female? - made deeper, almost growling, noises.

(High): “Wow. This is incredible. The probe reports didn’t do the place justice. I’ve never seen such a lush environment. I wouldn’t mind taking off this damn helmet and getting a breath of this planet’s atmosphere.”

(Low): “I wouldn’t recommend it. According to the probes the air’s thick with potential allergens. One whiff, and it’s anaphylactic shock time. As if that weren’t bad enough, the local proteins are incompatible with the human digestive system.”

(High): “Guess the colonists will have to undergo full-scale genetic modification, then. It’s a small price to pay for living in paradise.”

(Low): “And who says there are going to be any colonists? If you ask me the whole planet should be preserved as it is.”

(High): “I wouldn’t put any money on that happening. If the Colonization Committee doesn’t approve this planet for development they must be crazy.”

(Low): “And who says they’re not? If they do give their approval millions of colonists will come swarming in, and they’ll wreck the planet’s environment within a century. We may be the last people who’ll ever see this forest in its natural state.”

(High): “God, why do you have to be such a pessimist? The colonists won’t be allowed any form of tech that could cause major pollution or mass extinction. If people want to live here they’ll have to hunt and farm using traditional methods.”

(Low): “That’s hardly going to solve the problem. Humans create environmental damage just by breeding and multiplying, and even handsaws can make pretty short work of a forest if there are enough people to wield them. Just think of all the maritime countries in Earth’s history that devastated their forests in order to build ships, then used those ships to invade other countries and plunder their forests.”

(High): “Look, we’ve been over this whole argument more times than I care to remember. Either the human race expands, or it stagnates. Would you rather allow humanity to become extinct? Even now there are still Nature First cultists setting infected lab animals free because they think animals are more important than people. Is that really what you want? People have to live somewhere.”

(Low): “The way I see it, people can live just as comfortably in artificial environments like space stations and Martian-style domes. Look at the Archipelago system. Twenty-seven fully self-contained space stations, orbiting a star with lots of ore-rich asteroids but no planets. Their economy is booming and they’re building a new station every two or three years.”

(High): “My sister went there for a while and she hated it. She said it was like being stuck in the big city with only a few small parks for recreation. The only big trees and wild animals are in the biodome stations, and they’re strictly off-limits to the public. She said it’s not surprising a lot of people call it the Gulag Archipelago.”

(Low): “Look, I’m not saying it’s perfect. I just think we should try to find some way to avoid damaging natural environ - ”

(High): “Whoa, hold on a minute. We’ve got company. The monitor’s picked up a large animal in the bush, about ten metres away. Take a look. It’s kinda like a cross between a wolf and an Alsatian, only bigger.”

(Low): “Oh, yeah, I see him. Only that striped butt makes him look more like a thylacine.”

(High): “Yes, but thylacines are extinct Earth marsupials, and the data we’ve got from this planet so far suggests that its larger mammals are all placental. You know, I could swear this guy’s watching us.”

(Low): “What, are you getting one of your telepathic hot flashes again?”

(High): “Hey, you can scoff, but this planet does have higher than usual kilo-electron-volt neutrino readings, and there’s a theory that KeV-neutrinos can enhance ESP.”

(Low): “Right, and I bet you can tell the future from tea leaves. Well, if he can watch us, we can watch him. I’m siccing a mosquito-droid on him.”

There was a high-pitched drone, and a moment later Whitebrush felt a stinging sensation in her right foreleg. It seemed that an insect had taken her for a sitting target. Growling with annoyance, Whitebrush tried to ignore the irritation and concentrate on what the strange creatures were doing.

(Low): “There. Once the nano-implants reach his sensory cortex we’ll be able to see and hear everything he does.”

(High): “She, not he. Sensors have just finished scanning her hindquarters.”

(Low): “Wouldn’t you know it? I’m surrounded by women. Anyway, the xenologist ought to be pleased that we’ve begun our survey with such a handsome specimen.”

(High): “Right. Wonder if these creatures run in packs like wolves?”

(Low): “We’ll soon find out, just as soon as she decides to stop watching us and reverts to her natural behaviour. I suggest we withdraw just as soon as we’ve programmed the rest of the mozzies to seek out different species to monitor.”

Presently there came some more insect-like buzzing, but it soon faded into the distance and Whitebrush was not bitten again. Indeed, the stinging in her leg had faded almost to nothing.

A little afterward, the two-legged creatures stepped back into the hole-in-nothing, which shrank to a barely-discernible point of light. If Whitebrush had not known it was there she probably wouldn’t have noticed it.

And then a rumbling in her belly reminded her that she had not eaten for hours. Forgetting the strange beings for a while she set off to stalk new prey.

In the years that followed Whitebrush saw the two-legged creatures only rarely. She was not certain they were the same kind she had seen before, since they had real faces with eyes, small noses and narrow mouths, but they all made similar sounds to those the others had used. This seemed to confirm Whitebrush’s theory that the sounds were a type of communication. But to the end of her days Whitebrush never discovered what the creatures were, or what they wanted.

The Cub
Sixteen Years Ago: The Cub Wakes

The cub woke. The dream had been filled with confusing sounds and images, and the cub knew that it was no use trying to make sense of them. The dream had been sent for a reason, and that reason would become clear in due course. Until then there was no point in worrying about it.

But as the cub snuggled up to his mother’s soft fur, he couldn’t help remembering that the strange beings in the dream were furless, and had large hind feet, and long fingers on their forelimbs like some types of climbing animals. And in the moonslight that dimly penetrated the cave, the cub stared at his own hairless forelimb with its five elongated digits, and wondered....

September - October 1999

Next: The Story Begins...
Ketrin Part One
When a naked stranger walks out of the jungle, his arrival is greeted
with rejoicing by some, and with lust and greed by others.


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