A Pondering of Names

Huh, so this new editor interface in WordPress looks interesting. It manages everything as blocks and I’d like to experiment with it a bit if I had time, but my life has been way too busy lately. Work takes it’s usual 40+ hours, ESO has been running an anniversary event for nearly a month now, and on top of that I’ve been trying to juggle time between Dragon Village M and Super Robot Wars T!

Dragon Village M is the first(and so far only) mobile game that I’ve enjoyed, and has felt fair to play as a free-to-play user. It doesn’t play itself(like all these “Idle” or “AFK” games) by default, but auto-play is an option for content you need to farm, which takes some of the grind away. (And it’s a Korean game so you better believe there’s grind!) It’s fairly generous with the primary currency too, and the cash shop dragons are good, but only matter if the rest of your team is equally well designed, and only at the very top of PVP, which is far enough away form most pay-to-win schemes that I’m good with it. It was the art style that interested me, but I’ve been playing it now for five months as of this writing, and I still have content I’m trying to beat.

Super Robot Wars T on the other hand is your usual SRW game, with some added mechanics and stuff since the last one I played, and between story and fighting some of the stages can take 2-3 hours at least! Enjoyable, but harder to squeeze in. Once I found out it was coming to switch, I pre-ordered it, waited for it’s release, then once it finally arrived at my doorstep been trying to play it since, when I can.

But that wasn’t what I came here to write about. (Though I suppose it’s been long enough that a general life update would make sense. Ah well!) Some discussion recently on a dragon Discord I’m on brought forth some inspiration regarding my chakat character/’sona.

My dragon’s “name” of Llewelyn originated from choosing names for the SCA, which then got co-opted into many other things. One of those things later on was Second Life. When oyu signed up back then, you had to choose a last name from a provided list, and of the list at the time Mistral was the one that rung out most to me. It rolled off the tongue well enough, and translated to “Northern Wind” which was a meaning that worked well for me. I still use it occasionally here and there as well, though I don’t touch SL much these days.

Now my chakat’s name came fomr nowhere in particular. Shi started as “If I were a chakat, what would shi be?” and a late night brainstorming session to lock hir in is what led to the name. At the time, I was trying to brainstorm names that fit the descriptor+noun format that the majority of ‘kats seemed to have. (Side note: It’s also very close to MLP names!) It was what I came up with though, and I rolled with it up until my dragon awoke. It even came with a handy nickname – Swiftie.

When I reclaimed hir I set about re-establishing who shi was, and even wrote hir into a short pair of stories(that I did once intend on making a series), as well as getting a bunch of art. Truthfully it was the piece from Inkrend(warning: may be NSFW) that sold me on re-embracing hir existence. Anyways, I got a bunch of art, including one from chakat artist extraordinaire Kacey Miyagami and reconnected a bit with the taur community.

Anyways, to drag this back to the point kicking and screaming, we were discussing where some of our names came from, and when someone brought up the old SL registration scheme, I made mention of the old Mistral last name. Somewhere in there, my brain made a connection, and I realized that Mistral actually may be the perfect name for my ‘kat instead.

“But you’ve already got a bunch of stuff with the character!” True, which is why I’m not just jumping in with all four paws, so to speak. Thankfully, pretty much any art I’ve gotten past my SL chakat days hasn’t had any names on it, so I’d just need to edit descriptions to “re-dedicate” it, for lack of a better term.

As for the story? Truthfully, with the lack of follow-through on writing more, and the fact that Goldfur’s MLP crossover just about pushes it out of the timeline(I jumped it ahead to try to AVOID conflicts, but so much for that) it’s left me feeling that I should be retconning it out anyways. THis would provide me a way to do that without retconning it, by slicing off “Swiftwind” into the character for the story, while “Mistral” remains my general chakat avatar who just happens to be another snow leopard patterned chakat with purple hair, ace piloting skills, and so on. Similar looks, disposition, and skills, but somewhat different history.

On the other hand, that all feels a bit contrived and I’m not sure how often this sort of change happens in the ‘kat community. Changing names is definitely A Thing, but again I kind of want to slice off what I’ve already written into hir own character, and it feels like it might just complicate things further, as I don’t want to “de-canonize” my own story. Especially since I kind of rail-roaded hir into going off into the unbknown for 5 years, and somewhere in the middle of that is when the war against the Swarm from the MLP crossover happens.

While it is Goldfur’s right to take the story where shi wishes, I don’t feel comfortable with doing anything post-pony. Despite being a fan of both, they’re completely separate boxes in my mind – especially given the way the cartoon physics they use in the show was written into the setting. When it was first finished, the group of ‘kats I sometimes chat with considered making a group splinter timeline putting that aside, kind of like how the Colony is its own timeline(until Wing Commander was fan-hammered into its setting anyways).

Second side note: As much as I like the Star Trek style that the Chakatverse emulates, I still really want to do something Honorverse style.

Anyways, I did try to submit Swiftie a couple times to Goldfur’s list of characters, but never got an acknowledgement or got added, so maybe that’s a blessing in disguise now that I’m considering this name change.

In the end, I’ve been letting this whole thing sit in the back of my mind for several days at least now, and it still clicks just as well:
Llewelyn Mistral
Llewelyn + Mistral
Llewelyn(dragon) + Mistral(chakat)

I mean it just makes sense! Especially the Northern part referencing hir fur pattern, while still keeping the wind reference from piloting. In fact, it makes MORE sense as hir name than Swiftwind does, as the latter doesn’t obviously link to hir other than via hir skills.

Admittedly, I’m more dragon than ‘kat, which seems to emphasize itself more when I hang around other ‘kats, but that’s still an expression of some part of myself that I’d like to keep going. I suppose it’s mostly the existing history I have with the “Swiftwind” name and reaction from other ‘kats that’s causing me to hesitate. Looking back though, I had the same concerns about the “history” of my old fox ‘sona when I first embraced the dragon, and look at how well that turned out! Which I suppose just leaves the reaction of the greater community.

I wrote a small tweet-chain about this the night the idea first came to mind, but I didn’t link it at the time to the ‘kat Discord as no one seemed awake, and I’ve hesitated since, despite the fact they’ll probably all be “OK, whatevs” ultimately. Now that I’ve written this long thing out though, I probably am going to go through with it. It’s more fitting for hir, more meaningful to me, and technically has a slightly longer history as I actually discovered chakats via Second Life to begin with.

It’s just going to be a pain in the tail updating all the references!

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