The Stratus Estate – M. Coté Warner
Meet Phillip Stratus, a boy who lives in the very distant, utopian future.
There’s something different about Phillip. He lives with his large, quirky, adoptive family, all of whom are powerhouse players in the city where they live, the City of Tarkenwore. His best friend is Vive Tarkenwore – heir to the prodigious throne of Earth.
Vive is the conceptual child of Queen Nacthelian and King Hasamelis, very tall supernatural beings who have ruled the planet for almost 2,000 years.
Phillip and Vive have many unusual adventures together before they reach the age of 14.
But all this isn’t exactly what makes Phillip different from all other Terrans.
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THE STRATUS ESTATE
Morgan Coté Warner was born and raised mostly in Anchorage, Alaska (she was born in Anchorage, and mostly raised there).
She is an alumna of Soldotna High School, one of the better academic institutions of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, and the University of Hawai’i at Hilo. Dissatisfied with the real world, it was at UHH where she began to imagine and build the world and characters of Tarkenwore. The name Queen Nacthelian came to her in a dream in her college dorm room.
Morgan moved back to Anchorage after spending a couple more years on the Big Island after graduating college and resumed a career in the human services. Despite a promising career, she was diagnosed with a severe and devastating chronic illness in 2010. After many years of sickness and being unable to work at much other than writing and creating a large portfolio of digital art, this, her first novel, is her reintroduction to the world of healthy, functional people.
Morgan now lives in Eagle River, Alaska with her boyfriend and two goofy dogs.
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Vive adopted a small, white and cream-colored female guinea pig today. The cavy’s hair sticks out in every direction, cowlicks on her backside creating a furry Mohawk. Vive dragged me excitedly to her room this afternoon to show me the rodent’s exorbitant living quarters. A multi-leveled terrarium filled with soft bedding, various hidey-holes and chew toys dominated half of my overjoyed friend’s room. Vive’s eyes were misty as she gazed upon the little ball of fur, which had emerged to greet her new caretaker.
“I’ve named her Dot,” said Vive. “She’s my little dotty dot dooty doot toot toot,” she cooed in an exaggerated baby voice. The rodent purred as Vive stroked her head and under her chin.
“Say hello to Princess Dot, Phillip,” urged Vive.
“Uh, hello Dot,” I said with an awkward half wave. The guinea pig fixed me in her sight with her beady rodent eyes, then turned and went back into her house woven of rowan sticks and began nibbling on a choice twig. I suppose I’m more of a dog and horse sort of lad. When not occupied with school, family or friends, I spend my time with my greyhound, Snafu. We go for jogs in the summer, skijoring in the winter, and I teach him cool tricks (i.2. “Find my Guide, Snafu!”).
You insulted her, scoffed Vive neutrally, apparently not wishing her new pet to overhear. She insists that because I’m a princess and her adopted mother, she’s a princess too. The logic is sound.
Guinea pig logic.
So I gave Princess Dot an overstated bow with much hand twirling, nose almost to my knees.
“Welcome to the Royal Family, Princess Dot,” I said, affecting a haughty, nasal tone. The cavy turned around inside her house so all I could see was her cowlicked, tailless round bottom.
She’ll warm up to you, said Vive’s voice distractedly in my head as she watched her new ward lovingly.
She talks to you? I asked.
Yeah, quite competently, actually.
She talks to other people, right?
Of course! I’m not crazy.
That remains to be seen. Where did you get her?
Dr. Bot gave her to me.
Is she a robot?
“Of course not!” she vocalized, turning on me.
I thinks that’s a reasonable question! I countered neutrally, not wanting to upset the rodent that was now watching me and chewing slowly. Why did he give her to you? Where did he get her? I’ve never heard of talking Guinea pigs.
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