Kiara Choden was furious.

She was a Fire Kitsune, so she was good at furious. Most of the time, she tried to express the fire of her personality as zeal and enthusiasm, like a cheerfully burning campfire, but when her ire was stoked, her temper could put any bonfire or redhead to shame. And it was most certainly stoked now; Kiara's mother, Yukio, was driving her far,
far more insane than she usually did.

Kiara had been happily growing up in Japan, trying to honor her parents' wishes while still being true to her trickster-spirit nature. Her mother was a Celestial Kitsune, who read signs of a great disturbance in the stars, and told her husband to accept an unexpected transfer to Sony's headquarter branch in Miami, Florida. The Chodens moved to the neighboring town of Signal Lakes, and Kiara found herself suddenly the "foreign new girl" for the second half of her senior year of high school, in a place she did not know and a culture she did not understand.

As a trickster, Kiara adapted, turning the tables on those who tried to pick on or embarrass her, making them the laughing stocks, instead. She was thrilled with the freedom of American teenage culture and enjoyed her significantly greater amount of free time, with her father distracted by adjusting to his new position and assimilating into American culture, and her mother preoccupied with the portents of the heavens. Kiara slowly made new friends, discovering a few fellow Teemaged Creatures at Signal Lakes High School, even helping them resolve a few paranormal problems that cropped up in their city.


  Now, however, Kiara was furious, with her mother.


They had been in America for over a month, and Yukio had told Kiara not to worry about the sky's warnings, to concern herself with the transition to a new school. She had hidden the fact that paranormal danger was coming to Signal Lakes…that paranormal problems always came to Signal Lakes, because it was the tip of the Bermuda Triangle! Something
worse than normal was coming, and Yukio was sacrificing her power to deal with it, to keep Kiara from ever even knowing about it, much less allowing her to prove herself by helping face it.


   Well, if that's how her mother wanted to be, Kiara would just prove herself on her
own.


Kitsune are paranormal Japanese fox-spirits, connected to some aspect of reality and known for being mischievous tricksters. Although some kitsune exist in their spirit forms and inhabit whatever aspect of reality they are connected to, only occasionally possessing a human being when circumstances require or facilitate it, many kitsune possess an infant before it is even born, bonding to that human baby and becoming a single entity. Some Japanese legends claim that sufficiently powerful kitsune could transform into beautiful women, often becoming faithful and loving wives, whose firstborn children were always female and grew up to be kitsune themselves. The legends also speak of kitsune living for great lengths of time and increasing in wisdom and power as they age, the fox-spirit growing more tails as it grew in power, gaining a new tail each decade or even once a century, until they had all nine of their tails and ascended as servants of the kami Inari.

There are thirteen different kinds of kitsune, divided by what aspect of reality they are connected to. These aspects are Celestial (the heavens, or stars), Earth, Fire, Forest, Mountain, Music, Ocean, River, Spirit, Thunder, Time, Void, and Wind. Every kitsune is connected to only one of these aspects, gaining talents and powers related to that aspect. All kitsune are also clever, using embarrassment and shame to get people to realize their shortcomings and learn from their mistakes. Kitsune are fast and agile, thanks to the fox-spirit inhabiting their body, and they heal more quickly than ordinary human beings due to their dual nature. The fox-spirit is an aura that surrounds the kitsune's human body; this aura can easily be detected by those with mystic perceptions, and it is quite obviously a fox, which makes kitsune easily identifiable by those who know what they're looking at.