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This story is a work in progress.

I was brought into the wizard’s tower by two large guards. I had heard rumors of this mage, and his strange habits. Struggling and scared out of my mind, the two guards put me in the middle of a star drawn into the floor and I found I could no longer move. Though the door came in the infamous wizard, with his long flowing robes. I wanted to scream out my fear and frustration at not being able to move but even that seemed to be taken from me.

“Ah, you found a good one for my experiment,” he exclaimed. ThenHe went to an old-looking book. In a strange language he started to chant in a strange language that I couldn’t even start to understand.

A tingle spread from my fingers and toes, filling my whole body. I watched in stunned silence as soft fur started to sprout all over my body and my hands and feet started to melt and flow, flowing into inhuman shapes.

The wizard just smiled at me, t. Then I felt a force poking my side, and the wizard started to say, “Wake up Nikon,” over and over.

The dungeon started to dissolve, and. I blinked a few times, a. Air vents and curved plastic met my gaze, along with the scenery going by, bringing me back to the real world. I looked over, and saw Northpaw driving, and blinked a few more times, trying to get the sleep out of my eyes.

“Northpaw, you just interrupted a wonderful dream,” I said as I glared at him.

“Sorry, but you wanted me to wake you up when we got close to the Florida state line, remember.”

I nodded my head,. “Yeah, I remember, but it still was a good dream. Maybe I can resume it later on when we get to the hotel. How far are we from the welcome sign?”

“Just saw the sign before I woke you up, and it said 10 miles. We should be there any moment,” my friend and the driver on this leg of the trip, told me as he kept his eyes on the road.

We were on our way to a huge sci-fi and costuming con in Orlando called KublaCon. From the amount of email on the furry lists, it seems this is the must be at con of the year, maybe even pulling in more furs then Anthrocon, and that’s a lot of furs.

Behind us was a caravan of cars, filled with furs that we met up with on our way from Illinois. Lonny, or Northpaw as he liked to be called, had driven up from Kansas City to pick me up. I had barely enough room to fit my bags in his car, as he had brought his three best fursuits with him. Some millionaire was putting up a mountain of prize money for the con’s costume contest, and it seemed every fursuit in existence was going to be at this con.

Me, I’m a photographer and a fur myself, so I love taking photos of all the wonderful creations that the fur community comes up with. I had saved for a year at my job processing other folk’s photos, and gottengetting the money for this trip, and a brand new digital SLR camera. This would be the prefect con to break in the new camera, as the costs of film and developing would be astronomical!

I got on the FRS and sent out a call to the other cars in the Caravan. “We’ve got the state line coming up. I want to do a group photo in front of the ‘Welcome to Florida sign’ if we can.”

Crackly replies of “10-4” and “ok” came across the radio as the welcome sign came up. Luckily the state had thought about all the folks who liked to get their photos in front of the sign, and made a little turn off next to the interstate, so they could park, and not disrupt traffic.

The half dozen cars came to a stop, and the furs piled out of their cars. We were a strange lot, from the rather thin, to extremely overweight, college kits, to greyfurs. I pulled out my tripod, and several others did as well. Carefully I set up my camera, and ran over with the rest of the group.

I actually fit in with this motley group,: overweight, pale skinned, and needing glasses. In a way though I was the strangest of the bunch as a transgendered fur. I’ve been on hormones for about a year, and the laser treatments meant I no longer needed to shave. I actually passed for the most part, and was happy wearing my normal jean skirts and t-shirts, most of which were from furcons, or of raccoons, my personal fur type.

“Say Parmesan,” I told everyone, and waited for everyone to giggly repeatedgigglingly repeat it. I pressed the button on the camera’s remote and the camera went though and took a series of photos of our little band.

Who knew that it would be one of the last photos of us together.?

It took another 8 hours to get to the hotel from the state line. With myself driving this leg. It was Thursday, and the hotel was still crowded, various folks who could only be described as fans milling around. There was even the occasional costume or two. Folks sure were getting into the swing of things early.

I checked in at the front desk and got the keycards for Northpaw and myself, as Northpaw got a cart to help with his numerous boxes. I was looking forward to a long weekend to relax, and not have to worry about the stress of work and real life. I had even assembled the parts for my own costume, and was going to spend as much of the weekend as something other then human, as I could. I was a bit giddy with excitement, and a bit of fear of going out in costume for the first time.

I helped Northpaw bring up his massive amount of totes up to the room, taking two trips, and a lot of tugging and pulling to do so. My friend had brought three of his costumes with him, and I couldn’t wait to see him in all of them. I had to smile at all the comments that he got due to his tail and furry feet. He was even a bigger fur then I was, and actually wore the lower half of his fox costume everywhere, even to work. Surprisingly most of the comments were positive, with a lot of ‘Nice tail’ and ‘Nice feet’. I wished I could get away with that, though it was a bit like when I went full time myself. Took quite a while to get over that fear.

Flopping on the bed, exhausted from the long drive and ride, I laid down and did nothing for a few moments while Northpaw arranged his costume totes in the room.

“Vikky should be in from Seattle in the morning Northpaw. She said she's coming via the shuttle so we don't have to brave the airport to pick her up,” I said.

“Thank goodness. We had enough troubles with O'Hare for MFF. I don't want to have to pick anyone up at a strange airport,” Northpaw replied while getting everything in one corner.

“Up for some dinner?” I asked my foxie pawed friend.

He smiled and replied, “Sure.”

I clipped on my blue raccoon tail, and I headed off for dinner and to check out what the other congoers were doing. It was a good night, and Northpaw and myself slept well when we finally made it into the room.

A knocking on the door woke us up at a very early hour. I slipped on my robe to see who it was. Though the peephole I could make out strawberry blond hair and glasses. I opened the door to see Vikky standing there with her luggage. “Those red eye flights are awful, but at least I made it,” she said as she came in.

I just yawned and looked at the alarm clock, 7am, just enough time for all of us to get ready for opening ceremonies. I made sure to hand Vikky the spare keycard before I ducked into the shower, then I helped Northpaw into his fox costume. It was a long slow walk to the main hall for opening ceremonies. We were stopped every little bit by congoers wanting picture of and with Northpaw. Luckily I was there to play a semi-furless lacky. It took nearly an hour to get to the hall, but we still had an hour to spare by the time we got there, and were able to get seats close enough to where the stage wasn't a speck on the horizon.

The best way I could describe the hall would be a sea of people. Almost everyone from the con was here, and still more folks would be coming in tonight or in the morning. The hour flew by as I photographed some absolutely wonderful costumes, and Northpaw got his photographed plenty of times. There was a lot of silicon and cellulose used.

The lights in the hall dimmed, and we all quickly got in our seats. Everyone barely got seated as the lights went out.

There was an explosion of light and smoke up on the stage, and when it cleared, a man dressed as Gandalf was standing up on the stage lit up by a spotlight. He looked around, confused by his surroundings. “Where am I? This isn't middle earth.” Out of the darkness came a stage ninja, actually dressed as one, who whispered into 'Gandalf's' ear. “A convention you say? I'm to open it? My, tis an easy task for a wizard such as myself.” The ninja dashes back into the darkness. “Well then. Let's do this right.” He holds his staff up above. “I, Gandalf the Grey do declare this convention OPEN!” With the last word the staff gets slammed to the stage, and small indoor fireworks went off along the stage. The smoke was back, obscuring the stage, but it cleared to see a lecturn had been set up, with a person wearing the convention shirt standing behind it.

“Welcome everyone to Kubla Kon 25.” All though the hall erupted with loud applause and a few cheers. “This is going to be a great year for the convention. We have some great costume prizes, some wonderful Guests of Honor, and a great programing schedule for you this year. But first I want to bring back out our own 'Gandalf', Albert Adams. This year's con chairman.”

Out from the back came Albert, still dressed as Gandalf. “Thanks Tom. Everyone a hand for Tom, he's this years con co-chair, so any complaints are to go to him first.” A few laughs float around the room at the joke. “But let me bring out the man who made this magical year possible, Eric Winters.”

Everyone got to their feet and cheered as Mr Winters stepped onto the stage in his trademarked black turtleneck and black pants. He gives the hall a small bow in response to the applause. The con chair waited for everyone to quiet down before speaking again. “Mr Winters had been kind enough to supply the price money for this years masquerade and other contests we've set up this year. Everyone, another round of applause for Mr Winters.”

There was another wave of applause, and they got down to the rest of the opening ceremonies, the introduction of the Guests of Honor, and the Staff at the con. With the con fully started, we took off to give Northpaw a quick break in one of the headless lounges, so he could cool off. Then headed off to the dealers room to see what was for sale. It was wonderful to walk though the isles and look at all the different stuff for sale. This was much different then a furry or comic book convention.

Still, I was able to get a few comics and handed my sketchbooks off to some artists. Northpaw found me a cute Mew keychain, complete with pokeball. I found Vikky a cute little mouse plush for her collection. Northpaw gave a lot of hugs and posed for photographs. It was an enjoyable shopping trip.

Saturday I had Northpaw and Vikky get me into my costume, a blue draccoon. I even had some oversized props to show that I was a microfur. Thank goodness for friends in Texas. I also helped Vikky into her own mouse costume. She looked nice in the robes and with that staff as I did with my wings, skirt and shirt. We had fun getting into character, to pretend we weren't human for the day.

Northpaw got into some of the costume contests, and made it rather far. We would have to wait for the judging the next day. The Masquerade was beyond belief as so many wonderful costumers had made it out to the con. It was going to be a tough fight for the 1st place prizes.

Sunday came, and we were feeling that con high, from having good friends around. The morning was spent with Vikky and Northpaw. Every fur in the fandom seemed to be at the con. There was talk of dead dog parties after the closing ceremonies where the prizes would be handed out. I got all dressed up for the Hall Costume Awards Ceremony in hopes that Northpaw would win something. I got there early enough to get an up close view, but still, thank goodness for a telephoto lens. My camera normally wouldn't work with the latex muzzle I was wearing, but a few months back I stumbled across an ad in Pop Photo for an eyepiece extender. It did the job, and helped make the camera fit the costume more. Vikky sat next to me while we waited for things to start, looking every bit a cute mouse.

A young woman, whom appeared to be a dryad, announced Mr Winters as came out on stage, and the the crowd gave a standing ovation. As he walked up on stage, wearing a strange looking raven's mask, and in all black, I snapped away, capturing the moment. I remember feeling very strange as I pressed the shutter before the world grew around me, and all I saw around me were feet, my camera bag and backpack, huge now and the smell of fear and panic.