Talking animals are not by any stretch common in New Albion, but neither are they unheard of.
Although they are rare they do exist although it is even rarer that they make their way out into the city. Technically, the talking animals who have been part of New Albion society come directly from Beltane Industries, but their actual genesis originates sometime before that.
Some considerable distance north of where New Albion now stands lies a forest once rumored to be inhabited by Fae. No human encampments of any size were located particularly close to this forest with the exception of an Albino settlement which has already been covered in another tale. However, there were some human cottages built close to the forest where certain family lines lived in isolation, such as the Llewellyn house.
No would ever accuse the Llewellyns of being overly sane, but they did just fine living in that house for centuries and in their family was a great deal of faerie lore and stories about various relatives’ experiences and interactions with the Fae living nearby in the forest.
Many of the Llewellyn children left and went off to the outside world to live long, full lives. As a rule, every generation one child must stay to care for the house if multiple children were born. That child would always marry another child from another isolated house or Manor located somewhere close to the forest. No one is sure how the child was chosen, whether the children worked it out amongst themselves, whether the parents chose and raised one especially to stay or whether the child was chosen by… outside opinions and then…. touched to insure their desire to stay.
When Liddy was a girl no one could quite tell which direction her fate would take her. She appeared definitely touched if ever a Llewellyn child was touched, but she also had such a keen, analytical mind, insatiable curiosity, and brilliant sense of observation and deduction that she also seemed destined for University. Indeed she herself seemed hellbent on University from a young age.
However, in that generation, she was the only child. It was certain she would stay. However, come adolescence she declared and would continue to forcefully declare whenever asked, that she was going to University and was going to study from and contribute to the Age Of Knowledge. Sometimes she would pace about outside saying just this very thing to no one in particular and even could occasionally be heard shouting this in the middle of the forest.
Thus it was that one day she hitched a ride with a passing caravan who was headed towards civilization, books and notebooks in a napsack on her back. She made it to a prestigious school and despite having no formal background and her social mannerisms being a bit odd as a result of her isolated upbringing, impressed the Board during the Entry Exams so much that she was accepted. With no prior schooling whatsoever other then what she had read, studied or observed herself, she quickly rose to become one of the most prominent and respected students of her class.
Alas. You can take the girl out of the Fae but you can’t take the Fae out of the girl…