When you think of taurs, it’s hard not to think of the chakat species, but before they came on the scene, there were several other taur species created. The commonest and best known of these is the foxtaur.
When someone mentions foxtaurs, it’s hard not to picture the Red Fox variety, but in fact there several sub-species, including the Grey, Arctic, Fennec, Black, Silver, and Golden. The Red Foxtaur is the commonest and most adaptable, but the other breeds excel in their ideal habitats, such as the Fennec Foxtaur in hot deserts, and the Arctic in polar regions. The Red Foxtaur was the first to be created though, so I will focus on them for the moment.
Despite the fact that a natural Red Fox is only a small creature, the foxtaur version is anything but small. The average height of both males and females is about 168cm – about five and a half feet tall – with the usual variation within the species. The fur pattern, while basically sticking to that of the Red Fox, has a bit of variety in its hues, enough for them to be identifiable by sight alone. Both genders have thick, luxurious fur and large, bushy tails, but only the females have human-like head hair. Males may have a ruff of fur on their heads, but nothing that ever needs cutting. The Red Foxtaur is built for walking, running, and carrying heavy loads. They have excellent hearing, and a very good sense of smell. Females are frequently quite busty, although this is not universal.
The other breeds of foxtaur have much in common with the Red Foxtaur, but with adaptations that make them stand out in different areas. The Black Foxtaur is very similar to the Red, but has far superior night vision. A Black can see well with the absolute minimum of illumination. However, they are rarely seen out in daylight without sunglasses as normal sunlight is too strong for them. The Grey Foxtaur is 2/3 the size of the Red, and has paws with retractable claws and wrists that can swivel for climbing. The Fennec Foxtaur is the smallest foxtaur at half the size of the Red, and is adapted to hot, arid environments, the Arctic Foxtaur to polar climates, and the Silver fits in between the ideal ranges of the Red and the Arctic. The Golden Foxtaur is a variation on the Red with some improvements thrown in. They were designed to eliminate the flaws in the current foxtaurs, and add desirable features to the gene pool. Unlike all the other breeds, the Golden vixens have two pair of breasts. This was not an intended feature, but an unauthorised addition to the genome that was put in by one of the genetic engineers with a breast fetish. All breeds of foxtaur can interbreed with each other, but because the Golden Foxtaur has hyper-dominant genetic traits, all children of a mixed mating between a Golden and any other breed will always result in a gold-furred children whose females have four breasts.
Although there are variations, the commonest grouping of foxtaurs is a clan which claims a semi-independent territory within the Terran World Government controlled lands. These territories are usually former national parks or wilderness reserves, and the foxtaurs both exploit and protect the resources within them. They like to maintain a closeness to nature with a minimum usage of technology, and they maintain a culture of hunters, herders, farmers and artisans that makes each clan basically self-sufficient.
The family unit usually consists of one tod and several vixens, although monogamy is not unknown, and lesbianism amongst the vixens is high. The reason for this imbalance is simple – female births outnumber male births between 3 or 4 to 1. To deal with this imbalance, the foxtaurs have evolved a society that has let the vixens share the males with a minimum of friction, but has also left the males in a rather submissive role. The tods are frequently not allowed to take on dangerous jobs such as Hunters, and from their eighteenth birthday and every five years after that, they are required to present themselves for a week for breeding purposes to any vixen who makes a claim on them. This is known as “The Obligation”. Tods are required to give their best sexual performance for the vixen for a night, but if any child is conceived, the vixen cannot claim support from the sire. Conversely, the sire can offer support if he wishes, but this may or may not be accepted by the mother.
Outside of the Obligation, a tod can have a fairly normal family lifestyle with his denmates. Foxtaurs are extremely social creatures, and a family tends to do everything together, including communal sleeping arrangements. Private rooms are usually only utilised to store personal possessions, study in peace, special moments of intimacy, and other occasional needs. Sexual intercourse is usually practised in front of all the family, and the young kits learn about sex in this manner, usually with one of the tod’s mates explaining details while another is making love with him.
While being free and easy with sexual aspects, the foxtaurs are nevertheless very straight-laced about many other things, particularly with regards to other species. They have the full range of human failings too. They can be quite friendly though, as long as you don’t tread on their cultural practices and don’t hang around too long and wear out your welcome. Foxtaurs rather puzzlingly have the greatest amount of attraction to humans than almost any other taur or morph. Only the clan elders know the true reasons behind this phenomenon.
Everybody knows that the various foxtaur breeds were created after the Gene Wars to take care of the remaining wilderness areas, or rehabilitate war-ravaged national parks and such. In fact though, this is a myth, or in brutal truth, it’s a huge lie created to hide a true origin of which the foxtaurs are ashamed – they were created to be war beasts.
They were not the first taurs to be created for this purpose. The very first taur species was the wolftaur. They were fast, strong, and fierce fighters. They were also too independent to control, and frequently would not work with humans. Almost all the wolftaurs eventually deserted and formed nomadic packs that were fiercely independent of all others. The genetic engineers had to start again from scratch. Although they had a very successful body form that was suitable for heavy ground troops, the psyche of the next taurform had to be fine-tuned to work well with their creators. A few species were considered, but the fox was the eventual choice, although other teams worked on other species such as the cat. By this time though, knowledge of the wolftaurs had leaked out to the opposing sides and they too started work on taurs, thus resulting in the diverse range of taurs that can be found today. However, the foxtaurs had a big head start due to the groundwork having already been laid by the research done on the wolftaurs. What the gene engineers had to concentrate on was making them work well with humans. To this end they focused on making the foxtaurs and humans mutually attractive to each other.
Foxes are already very attractive creatures, and the scientists enhanced the human qualities of the taur version. The vixens were given long silky hair, large, firm breasts, bigger, bushier tails, and their genitalia modified to look human-like rather than animal-like. The tods were given a strong masculine look, and their penis, although still sheathed, was made to look very human-like, eliminating the canine “knot” at the same time. Both sexes still had their gentailia between the hind legs though. Psychologically they were made to find humans as attractive as foxtaurs, and were easily triggered by human pheromones. They were intended to be partnered with humans who found the foxtaurs attractive, and bind them together with psychological and sexual bonds. This plan worked perfectly. As most of the human soldiers were male, and because the authorities wanted the foxtaurs to breed naturally as much as possible to supplement the gene labs' output, they biased the reproductive system to birth far more females than males. The vixens were also given a very intense oestrus which encouraged procreation. Because pregnant foxtaurs could still work effectively up until shortly before childbirth, this would not unduly impose upon the number that could be put out in the field. The tods were held back in safer, supportive roles though, which led to the modern tradition of the vixens dominating the hunter profession. Additionally they were all given an affinity for their homeland that was intended to maintain their loyalty to their nation.
The numbers of the foxtaurs soon reached their optimum and were ready to be released from training to go out into the field. Then the Gene Wars abruptly ended and the foxtaurs never saw serious active duty. When the Great Reconstruction began, the foxtaur leaders questioned where they fitted in as former war-beasts. Eventually they worked out a deal that they would be given the national parks and other wilderness areas as their territory, so long as they worked to protect and rehabilitate it on behalf on the newly formed Terran World Government. Some foxtaurs chose to stay in the cities with their human partners, but most had their human partners come with them. The leaders of the various newly-formed clans recognised that the attraction to humans would continue, and so they instigated a policy of partial isolation in the hopes of minimising interaction between the species. Their children were never told about their parents’ genesis, and a mythical origin was woven, and cultural practices instigated to support the lies. Eventually the last of the human partners died off, and only the elders knew the truth about their origin which they passed on to their successors.
Today, the effects of that breeding program can still be seen. The gender imbalance remains, although most people believe wrongly that it was due to a miscalculation rather than a deliberate trait. They still find humans inexplicably sexually attractive, although their cultural upbringing tends to make them resist that attraction. Tods still tend to be socially repressed. The first oestrus of vixens is usually excessively strong and can lead to illness if not satiated. The homeland affinity was botched and resulted in what is known today as TAS – Territorial Attachment Syndrome – which severely limits the ability to travel by many adult foxtaurs, although this could be allayed or completely prevented by frequent travel outside of their home territory during the critical period when it starts setting in. While few people ever mention psionic Talents in association with foxtaurs, they do all have a very specific form of Empathy. (You didn't think the Turners developed that out of thin air, did you?) Like many new things, this empathic nature was an unexpected development that stemmed from the incomplete understanding of genetics at the time. In other words, it was an accident. (Skunktaur Talents anyone?) In trying to give their new creations a mindset that made them very attuned to their homelands, the genetic engineers unwittingly put into place the seeds of TAS. Because the very first generation of foxtaurs was bred straight out of the gene construct facilities, they never got the chance to have this trait manifest itself. However, when the first of the natural-born foxtaurs kits were growing up, they had this subtle empathy giving them an affinity for their home territory. However, it's the final stage of the maturing process (around the age of 19-20) that locks the affinity into full-blown Territorial Attachment. If the foxtaur succumbs to TAS, its strength can vary. Some can barely stray from their territory for an hour before needing to return. Others could go for a couple of days. In either case, it cannot be resisted. TAS is however treatable, although not completely curable.
Foxtaur naming convention Although there is no universal naming convention, by far the commonest one has the males' names ending with a consonsonant or hard sound, such as Garrek, Janner, Harran, or Karten; while the females' names end with a vowel or soft sound, such as Jenisu, Fleura, Lissaro, or Jaleth. Names for newborns may either be unique creations, derived from ancient languages, or constructed from the names of the parents or honoured relatives. For example: Katlee is the daughter of Kathka and Leeonder.
Head hair No male foxtaur has human-type head hair. At most, they have a ruff of fur. By contrast, almost all foxtaur vixens have head hair, and it's almost never cut short. This is a foxtaur convention that never changes between the species for some reason known only to themselves. It is speculated though that it is part of the basic sexual appeal of long-haired females to males, and because there is such competiton for the males, it is something that always remains. Oddly, that also seems to apply between the lesbian vixens.
Festivals The foxtaur clans are justifiably famous for their festivals used to celebrate various events, such as the Harvest Festival, Winter Solstice Festival, Midsummer Festival, Sports Festival, Music Festival... in fact they frequently have a festival for just about any good reason because of their general exuberance for life. Bands of foxtaur musicians make a living travelling between the various clans and playing at the festivals. Food, fun, and frivolity are to be expected at any of them, and many are open to non-foxtaur visitors also. One important aspect of the festivals is the influx of foxtaurs from other clans, bringing with them fresh genes into the population. Festival Babies are an expected and desirable consequence of the many one-night stands on such occasions. Some of those however become long-term relationships as many vixens find a mate in this manner.
Access to foxtaur territories Many of the foxtaur territories are former national park areas. The foxtaurs have been ceded control of these areas in exchange for maintaining them in as near pristine condition as possible given the current circumstances. Therefore there are very few sealed roads, a handful of emergency access tracks, and a lot of bushwalking tracks and hunter trails. The roads are not usually located where passing through is necessary or advantageous. Non-foxtaurs who want to visit these territories are welcome to drive (or walk on the main path) into the village that controls that particular territory and apply for a pass. This is little different from the way park rangers control some areas even today, but the pass may be denied for various reasons. If denied a pass, the person is required to leave the territory promptly, or be forcibly ejected. A person doesn't need a pass if visiting someone in the village just for that day. People can be declared 'persona non grata' and may never come back to that territory. Violations are treated in accordance with their severity.
This is a work in progress. More to be added in the future.
See also the article on the Stellar Foxtaurs.
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