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Leave now if you don't like people tearing off on occasionally self-righteous #%*#&%* sessions.

Right. Thanks for stopping by.

This rant is for August 20th, 2002.

Uh, it's not actually a rant. But don't tell.


Hi folks. Missed us? I'm sure.

Now recently there's been a rash of people going, 'soulbonding is different than plurality but oh wait, they're similar'. Smacks to me of wanting to have your cake and eat it too.

Why don't I agree with that? Hold up, there's two ways that soulbond can be used, as far as I can tell.

The first takes place when a character -- who may or may not be one of your own creation -- seems to come to life in your mind, but never steps outside the framework of his or her own story. They grow, but only within their own world -- they never interact with yours.

The second takes place when said character does look up and respond to you and to your environment and circumstances. When they express wants and desires and preferences -- when they take action in your everyday world. At this point, they are no longer characters, but persons.

Now, the reason I think it's bull for the people who say bonding-as-people is different than plurals-as-people is because of, yeah, our own experience. It's a drop in the bucket, but here it is:

Let's take for example the Chinese Horde as we've affectionately named them--soulbonds from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video game. Thirty+ of them, all unable to speak a drop of actual accurate Chinese.

They see each other, live with each other, hang around each other and have pretty full lives when we check up on them. But they've never once stepped out of their roles. We've never turned a mental corner and have seen them walking down it with a cup of coffee in their hands just as you please and would you remember to send up some fresh towels?

Oh, they're complex people with their own complete stories that keep on growing without our having to develop them. But they're not about to take over the body, not like the rest of us do.

Now that's a soulbond, right? A soulbond that's just a character, who most people would probably kick up their heels and say is unhealthy if they took the body and went walking with it.

Now let's look at Cam.

Cam, Traveling Court. Aged twenty-six, brown hair, tan, nondescript and likes it that way. Cam is short for Chameleon, but she doesn't like to get called that.

See, Cam was born from an OCish soulbond to a *television show*--a glitzy, cheap made-for-tv-movie one no less.

The basis of the show as far as we could tell was just some twinkish standard 'I'm a mutated woman who was experimented on in labs and given chamelon powers through animal dna infusions. We saw it out of the corners of our eyes one day and went, 'damn, wouldn't it be neat to have a character who did that?'

(Actually, we saw it out of the corners of our eyes and went, 'damn, but that's pretty standard plot. But moving on.)

But Cam looked up and saw us back one day, like the Chinese Horde never has. More than that, she saw the world we were walking in here on earth, not the sci-fi world she was supposed to have been born and stayed in. Cam got older. She grew up. She wanted to participate in this world, and more than that, she *did*.

She stopped sticking to the cheap hour-long-special background that'd been given her and set out to make her own life, her own story.

Now she can drive, order coffee, work a job--in short, she can do anything the rest of us can. She likes watching soccer. She hates tv otherwise.

The fact that she's more developed in 3D as a person able to hoandle modern earth-day life by herself does not mean she is any stronger as a *bond* (as a 'real' link to the character), it means to us that she is a *person*.

A person. Can't be that hard, can it?

But she started as an OC/soulbond./ Now she's developing in a different direction, under her own whim. She can remember to wash her mental cups in the morning along with the rest of us, has her own wants for what goes on in her life as connected to *this world*, and even goes for a little scrabble.

Why should we bother drawing a line?

Lu Xun of the Horde, no matter how strongly we *feel* his ne'er-do-well accent and attitude and the way he likes to dump Shang Xiang's shirts over her head, is never really around except when we're paying attention to him. He's never indepedantly motivated. He never wakes up and observes the world around him, or the people with him.

Like that storybook figure, he's just a bond. Nothing more. I can hear him pranking Sun Quan if I listen, but he's never going to hear me no matter how I shout.

I don't feel like demeaning Cam's efforts by putting her back in that catagory that says for her to be up and active means we're insane. Well, more insane than normal but y'know.

And I don't feel like coming up with a specific word either. Soulbond? Walkin? Otherkin? Fuck it. Cam is who she is. And in our experience, with her /starting as a soulbond/, we do indeed say that it is the same damned thing of plurality and bonding and all that jazz when a person is more than just a character.

If they're a piece on a page, then that's all they are.

So yeah. We know they're different experiences.

But we also know that the rest of the time, they're exactly the same.