"Zara! Wake up and get your chores done before breakfast!"
Sunlight peeked through the window into the darkened bedroom, shining on the face of the girl still in bed. Her mother's voice rang like a bell even through the closed door, "Up and at 'em!" Outside, the household's two slaves tended the garden for the lady of the house. One was a great orange weretiger male called Chesiro, and the other was a red female werefox called Dona. Some households renamed their servants, but this one did not. Still, they both wore the telltale iron collars with tags of their owners. Both were dressed in simple workclothes, the male in just heavy trousers because he did not need a shirt with his fur, and the female with a half-sleeved blouse and long skirt. Both looked up, then bowed their heads respectfully as the master of their house passed by. His name was Samson Fletcher, and he was a heavily muscled blacksmith with weather-darkened tan skin, fiery brown eyes, and short-shorn dark chocolate hair. Donning his fireproof apron as he headed around the house to his forge, he gave the two slaves a smile, then stepped over to Zara's window, knocking on the pane with his usual good-humored grin on his thick-bearded face.
Chesiro rose from his work in the garden and entered the house to clean up before assisting the lady of the house, Zara's mother, with her cooking and the like. "Chesiro," the woman looked up at the seven-foot tall tiger, "go make sure Zara's up." The tiger nodded and turned to go to Zara's bedroom door. He knocked lightly on the wooden surface.
"Miss Zara," he called softly in a deep bass.