So I was just reflecting on as of this year, I’ve basically been sporting scales for 10 years. That’s almost a full third of my life right now, and probably half the time I’ve been around furry content overall – though 9-9.5 of the remaining time was spent as a fox.
That set me thinking of commissioning a new art piece(not the one posted above) to commemorate 10 years of scales – maybe something transformation-related, going from one form to the other. Still, it might get complicated if I included my snep chakat ‘sona I ran with for several months also, and if I should include my Arctic Wyvern that brought everything to critical mass.
You see, back in 2007 I started poking my snout around an area in Second Life called the Isle of Wyrms – I may have mentioned it here before. I found out about it from some other furs at an area based around the DMFA webcomic(shameless plug – www.missmab.com – been reading it for years!) as they had a couple adult dragon avatars from there and were showing them off at Lost Lake.
Now back then, you could buy the hatchlings and the wyrmlings(think feral dragon equivalent of teenagers) at any time, but the full-size adults were only available four times a year – on the solstices and equinoxes, and even then in limited numbers. Once you owned one, you could buy the rest at any time for customization, but you had to get that first spot at one of the hatching events. The idea was to try and make it something more special than just buying an av because it looked cool. These were DRAGONS, and deserved something more special.
Because I was curious, I ended picking up a Astral Wyrmling, as it felt the most dragonlike to me, and toyed around with it a bit. I’m fairly sure I talked about this a long while ago on here, so I won’t go into too much detail, but suffice it to say I went to check my logs to see when I had first gotten the Arctic Wyvern and found it was actually exactly 10 years ago yesterday.
As I probably said then, and in a tweet-chain that triggered this blog post, the Wyrmling may have opened the door a crack, but it was the Wyvern egg that slammed it all the way open and broke off the hinges.
There was a certain magic in the air that day – we were the testbed for the random selection that was used up until the final hatchings, replacing the old “who can click fastest before the sim crashes” method. I like to think of it as letting fate and luck take the wheel more directly, as the former relied on reaction speed as well as luck on if the server would acknowledge it before the sim crashed.
We were spread across two sims due to population limits as the drawing began. There was tension at first as individuals were called out – at least until someone noticed that if you checked your registration token, it could tell you if you were one of the winners or not already. The current version of the Cathedral was not complete yet, but this was the first chance many of us got to see it, as the eggs were located there to keep things under control.
Once we had our eggs, it was off to the sandbox to hatch them, wear the avatars, and tweak them to our specifications. This is where the magic I spoke of was most felt – the becoming of wing and scale, tooth and claw. Leaning to move in something much larger, how it worked, and sharing the joy and celebration of our new forms with all the other newly grown Wyverns. This was also the premiere release of the Wyverns, which added another element of specialness to the whole event.
It’s kind of sad that the days of the hatchings are behind us now. As time wore on, the crowds began to shrink, and eggs began to go unclaimed, until the decision was made to set the tradition aside as the amount of unclaimed eggs up for adoption had effectively removed the distinction. Folks who arrive at the Isles now seeking a draconic perspective will never truly get to experience the tension of waiting to see if you were chosen, the wonder of walking down the rows of IoW elders standing ceremonial guard to claim their new egg, and the joy and celebration of becoming alongside their wingbrothers and wingsisters as they explore their new selves.
There was several factors though that led to this, and I don’t know that any one of them changing would have made a difference.
- Daryth, as far as I am aware, has effectively moved on – no new dragon or other avatar designs or updates have been released in years. For her, this was her art, more than anything else, and as every artist knows, the muse can be a fickle thing.
- Other creators have harnessed deformations and mesh to create technically superior(whether they are aesthetically is up to the viewer) avatars that were available 24/7, and a majority of Second Life I’d say would prefer that instant purchase and gratification rather than waiting months for a chance at one that isn’t even a certain win.
- While people come and go, once you had the adult you didn’t need to enter again. This meant that every hatching shrunk the pool of prospective dragons, and eventually that pool would be small enough to cause this sort of effect as well.
So while it was probably inevitable, I am still glad I got to experience a IoW hatching before it ended, and thankful for it as it helped me find myself, so to speak. The Isle itself and the community is still around after 11 years, which is practically an eternity in SL time. While the sun is no longer blotted out with dragon wings, there are many hatchies and other folk waiting to welcome a stranger into their fold, or welcome back old friends who may wing back from time to time.
With how many places I have visited in SL that have come and gone, there is still a certain peace in knowing there is still a home to return to.
I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe.
Sims crashing like dominos from a runaway grey goo attack. I’ve seen entire furry continents rise, only to fade away. Dragons, spreading their wings for the first time under the shadow of Cathedral. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.
Time to fly.