Excerpts from the journal of Ishii Tzo
 By Wolfy!

…There were three others waiting by the Ship of Exile when I arrived. Like myself, they seem to have been caught in machinations beyond their control. Two look as though they were soldiers. Though they are stripped of both weapons and armor, they have a military bearing that cannot be denied. If they are broken Samurai, I can only feel deep sorrow at the shame their families must now endure.

One looked to be a female – possibly a concubine that fell out of favor with her former lord. On closer inspection I saw that “she” was a male, undoubtedly a performer who dresses as a woman frequently. I can imagine several scenarios as to why he might now be exiled.

I came here under guard, but not in chains. They knew they did not need them, for I am but a philosopher and a scholar. The other three were in chains, though. The two soldiers I knew why, since they would either try to escape or try honorable suicide. I had suspicions that the other did not arrive in chains but was placed in them after arriving. I can think of why this would be, but I hope I am wrong…

…Three days have passed since we set out from Japan. Alas, that I shall never see my beloved homeland again! But I have come to accept my fate. My fellow prisoners, however, are less inclined to be at peace. The entertainer weeps a great deal. His name, I found, is Hiroshi. The two warriors eventually told me their names as well. They are Taro and Yukio. None of my fellow exiles gave their family names, nor did I, since that is now behind us.

Taro and Yukio are both sullen and gloomy most of the time. Their attitude is not helped by the fact that they are often forced to help row our ship towards the shores of China. Hiroshi and I were apparently deemed unfit for rowing. Though by his disappearances at night and returns in the mornings, I guess the crew has found other uses for my companion. I fear my reasons for his being chained are correct.

I do not like being at sea much. I never minded watching it from the shore, or even boats going down a river, but the sea is much more turbulent than I expected…

…We are alive, but only barely. I would have said that we were caught in one of the fabled god-storms, yet both Taro and Yukio tell me it was but a strong summer tempest! The captain and crew abandoned us here in the ocean, a small dingy against a bright endless blue both above and below. Apparently we are meant to die out here, alone and abandoned. Hiroshi has withdrawn into himself and will neither eat nor drink. He mutters occasionally a name and the words “my beloved, why did you leave me?” My suspicions as to why he was exiled are confirmed with that name. I feel sorry for Hiroshi; it is a cruel fate to have been exiled from one you love…

…A ship has appeared on the horizon! Both Taro and Yukio are waving at it and it draws ever closer. It is unlike any other ship I have ever seen. Its hull is a massive wooden structure dotted on the side with what look like holes. Both Yukio and Taro have stopped waving now and look distressed.

“What is wrong?” I asked.

“That ship – it is one of the West. Barbarians!” shouted Yukio.

“But we shall not go without a fight!” said Taro.

“Would it not be first better to see whether they are friend or foe?” I asked. The two looked at me as though I were mad “Surely we will die if we do not get some aid soon. If they are foes then our suffering will be ended quickly. If they are friend we may yet live a while longer.” I, of course, did not tell them my desire to see the West and find out if the Westerners are truly as savage as some claim. I did not think so, though their customs might seem boorish at times. I truly believe, even now, that it would be to our advantage to learn from each other. But that time is not yet come, if it ever shall.

The ship pulled itself next to our small craft.

“Ahoy!” a voice called from above “What has happened here?”

“We are four exiles” I answered “left to die on the open sea. Will you aid us?”

The pause was so long I was afraid he hadn’t heard, then “I would not willingly bring you aboard this ship if it can be avoided. Is there ought else we can do? Perhaps supplies?”

“Yes” I answered “supplies, a larger boat and about a dozen more men! Did you not hear me aright? We are in desperate peril! If you truly wish to aid us let us come on board or else kill us outright and be done. We have no nautical skills at all and no sense as to where land is at.”

Another long pause came then, finally, a deep sigh. “It is not my policy to kill others if it can be avoided. You shall be brought on board, since that is your desire, but do not say you were not warned.”

A ladder came from above. Yukio and Taro went up quickly. I stayed behind to try and rouse Hiroshi. He moved, but as though in a trance. I followed last.

To say I was not surprised at the sight of that deck would be untrue. In fact I thought my mind must surely be under some affliction. But I saw that the others were similarly affected and so I knew it must be true.

The crew on board was some form of beast-men. One with grey fur and what looked like a black mask around his eyes greeted us. “I am Roger, Captain of this vessel. Her name is Maria.”

“How is it you know our language?” I blurted out. It was the first thing that came to mind; indeed I wondered that I had not thought of it earlier.

He looked at me oddly “To me it seems that you are speaking my tongue. It is, most likely, a quality of this ship - though certainly not the most strange.”

“What do you mean? I asked.

“I was not always as you see me now, nor were most of my crew. We became this way after coming aboard. There are different ways, which can make the process happen slower or faster. I will tell you and your companions all I know of how this vessel operates.”

I listened and heard for the first time the rules of Maria. When Roger (who I found out was a creature known as a ‘raccoon’) mentioned the ‘faster’ way of becoming a beast-man it seemed that Hiroshi stirred…

…It has been a week on board this strange vessel, though the time seems longer. Two of my fellow exiles have remained human so far, but I have seen both Taro and Yukio eyeing each other. They apparently were sword brothers before being exiled and I think that the strange influence of this ship has finally come to affect their minds. I do not believe they will stay fully human much longer. I myself feel more inclined to have a closer relationship with another male than before. I suspect the fact that there are no real females on board has something to do with this. Hiroshi has recovered, and seems very happy. He has become a white fox and has returned to dressing in female style. The men on board find him very pleasing from what I have heard. He has taken a new name: Byakko, which means ‘white fox’. Though I am tempted, Byakko is a bit too flirty for my liking. I am just waiting to find the right person on board…

…Thomas Darvis and I have decided to try a union. I met Thomas not too long ago, though he had apparently been here some time before myself. His transformation into a rat for some reason displeases him. To my people rats are not only signs of good luck, but have many other admirable traits. He seemed astonished that I would willingly capitulated with him, and even more staggered when I said I hoped I would join his group of ‘Jackrats’ as they call themselves. My friendship and admiration won him over at last.

It was strange, at first, stripping in front of another male, even stranger finding myself aroused at the sight of his brown fur. He was very generous and gentle. We went through much holding and caressing, and I could only hope my fur would be half as silky as his felt. When our passions came to a boil Thomas came into me. It was strange but pleasant feeling him inside myself. I could feel the fur growing over my body, adding to the passion as it rubbed against his. My face I could feel pushing out further. His climax was as a shock to me, but it didn’t hurt. He smiled and dismounted slowly, then raised his furless tail, an invitation I could not ignore.

I came into him with my erection, feeling a new, wonderful delight as his tail swished below my fur-covered chest. I climaxed into him and heard his moan of delight. Apparently I was the first to penetrate him as well.

For a long time afterward we held each other close, eventually falling asleep in one another’s arms. I never thought I would feel that content again…

…Thomas and I parted after last night, but we plan to seek each other again. I, sadly, was not changed into a rat, but a panda instead. Still, it is a lucky symbol for me and I do like my fur. Thomas’ attitude has changed a bit since last night as well. He walks with a new pride, and I am glad…

...It made me smile to see two ‘new’ members of the crew today. Taro has become a handsome black stallion and Yukio has become a white tiger. It is very touching to see them walking together. They are planning to teach some of their art in unarmed combat to the crew. I myself am content. Of all the possibilities that could have come from being exiled, this seems the least severe. Good friends, good food and good sex, what more could a panda want?

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