Found a mention of the ongoing controversy here. Best thing, that one link gives you a ton of other commentaries on the LL policies of late, and an interview Daniel Linden gives with Wagner James Au that is absolutely meaningless, but very prettily stated.
But again, that's not what I want to talk about.
Let's tell this as a story.
Once upon a time--and I never heard that she left--there was a girl who lived in Rivula. She'd had some heartbreak, and had turned her back on her seeming of human guise, preferring her neko roots and the comfort of fur over the rejection of her smooth-skinned face. She had been a dancer, but the dancing had stopped, and she was trying, desperately, to find some sort of new meaning for her life.
She took to building--impossible structures that would never find homes, skyboxen to float in defiance of all gravity's laws, small jeweled spirals, a mourning armband to mark her days. She took to building in places humans wouldn't go, so as to avoid human faces. Because she was attractive, by the standards of neko fur, at any rate, she was approached. As gently as she could, she turned away all who asked, for she wasn't willing to resume even her secondary job during her time of suffering.
One morning, an incredible sight walked out of the early mists as she labored over some intricate, and ultimately flawed idea. She watched him come, cloaked in pride and amusement, and waited for the traditional inane banter to begin.
He surprised her. He was not inane. He didn't want to know if she had a cam. He didn't ask how much she charged. He didn't greet the sight of her building with open shock, or worse, condescension. He...talked to her, and the door of her heart opened a crack, so she could peer out and see him.
He stood, unselfconscious, curving white horns with a white tiger's ruff, white and grey-blue scales covering his torso and his arms, clawed hands, clawed feet, and spreading arched striped wings, quirk of a smile to his lips. He said he was a white tiger Drakonian, ancient vampyr cursed with change, and as she'd never seen anyone who looked like he did, who was she to doubt?
They talked for two hours, of building, of the world, of furs and their relations with humans, and sometime toward the end of that time, he let slip that he'd only been on the grid two days. And she was amazed, because usually, there is a period of settling, a period of uneasy flesh, until the form is found that translates the mind inside it. The grid is an odd place, shapeshifting being a more natural expression than fixed forms, and no one seems to register it.
He charmed her. He wooed her. He seduced her heart from hiding, and she was astounded that any would want to. He friended her, and she let him, and he kept popping up, sending her idle comments, mind-to-mind, over the course of the day. And towards the end of the day, the other amazing thing happened--she said yes, when he asked her to spend the night with him.
It was the first night she'd spent in someone's arms, beyond her neko lad's, in nearly a month, since her greatest heartbreak--the loss of her club, and the vampire princeling. That she was accepting another vampire, in place of the one she lost, never really occurred to her, and mayhap it should not have--they were, they are, radically different, each to each. Save for the ego, which honestly, may fall down to simple vampiric structure.
Here's where I might have to break proscenium a little. He was the closest anyone ever came, up until recently, to a "Master" for me in world. Even then, I fought the collar, and fought him, tooth and nail--sometimes literally. There were days we blooded each other, and had he not had vampiric regeneration, I not been a shifter, we would both bear deep scars from the coupling. As it was, some days I limped, some days I bore deep claw marks over my fur--because vampire marks do take longer to heal, after all.
That's him now--he's managed, in some small part, to abate the curse, now choosing to show the white tiger only at will. I took that photograph last night, when he wanted to meet the statue, judge his worth--as so many have requested to do.
And he said something that made me think, is still making me think. He said I'd asked him once, how sadistic he could get, when I'd commented about fighting him. And it made me wonder--yes, my natural resentment over being someone's little toy, mindless, helpless, capable of no voice of my own, no spirit, nothing but a thing designed for pleasured use--oh, yes, that plays into it. But was the rest of the fighting, the hands around my neck, the claws raked down my skin, the whip scores that opened down to bone--was that because I'd asked for it? Because I'd wanted it?
Because I know, full well, he was capable of gentleness, this Drakonian. I know because he demonstrated it, more than once, because in spite of everything, he's still a friend, still someone I'm pleased to know. Living in a world that swarms on all sides with vampires, demons, beasts with flashing eyes, weres without conscience...pipes that nigh-burst with human blood and Hellspaces that can be visited, and enjoyed as others enjoy going to dance clubs...where there are active groups dedicated to gynophagia and the sexual torture and death of women...
...maybe mine's still the greater darkness. It's not the most comforting thought of an afternoon.
But I'm getting better. Maybe now it's just something to cling to, but...eventually, it will be just another statement of a life. I am getting better. Maybe, ultimately, that's what I should strive towards, and the rest of the life will take care of itself...