First, let me start off by saying what this is not:
2-a gripe against peoples characters (quite the opposite infact)
3-self promotion (i put this in my journal rather than the group journal, so i could avoid getting flamed for that lol)
4-anything negative that i might have left out. ^_^
So, i've been thinking alot about Felarya as a setting and about many of the characters within. I've had many a in-depth conversation about my own predators, and the many wonderful ones that have been contributed by the awesome peeps in this community! It is through all of this that i've finally ascertained what it is that truly makes the bulk of my oc's (the ones that are valka fae) different from all the predators that are canon, as well as what it is that genuinely frightens me about most predators in the setting - and what might also be what causes unease with others who are more vocal about it.
It boils down to one simple concept: Reverence/respect for they whom are about to be eaten. This idea, i feel, is different from a simple code or policy about who or what someone eats. It goes a whole lot deeper than that - at least to me anyway. Take predators such as Lucilya and Crisis for example (there are many others, but these 2 immediately spring to mind for the aforementioned reasons), to be caught by one of them is practically going to guarantee a nice acid bath before you go on to meet whichever god you serve. Obviously with the latter there are a few caveats to this, but generally speaking she is going to regard you as a small, squirmy, tasty little thing that belongs in her belly. This is true for most predators in the setting and quite honestly, there's nothing wrong with it! There have to be a great deal of preds that view people the way they do for things to work - and many of these ladies are just downright frightening when written properly.
The fact that they can instill fear into a reader (even when the nature of their character doesn't scream it) is a good thing. However, this seems to be a bit off putting to many of the newbies and passers by, as well as some longtime faithfuls like myself. The reason i think this is the case, is because when Crisis or any similar character is poorly written - you end up with "I'm bigger than you! Get in my belly!" and no form of character depth or anything - so it makes their outlook on life look rather forced or unbelievable. Even when people cry out not to be killed - it's often met with "I'm not killing you, i'm eating you." In a well written story, this is chilling (the good way), in a not so well written - it comes off as lazy or convenient, because the author couldn't properly illustrate interaction between predator and prey.
Q: So why is this simple statement so chilling?
A: It's chilling because you're dealing with a sapient creature that you can't help but mesh your own human experience with. If you had a miniature person in your hand, you couldn't rationalize responding that way, because you know they obviously aren't alive when they come out the other end - you wouldn't even be able to tell what they might have been bar a few bones. Therefore somewhere in your mind, it registers that you are in fact killing the small person in your hand.
When you remove the mentioned logic from the situation, then you can arrive at the conclusion that you aren't maliciously ending someone's life, therefore you aren't killing them - you are merely eating to survive.
ATTN Haters, this next part is for you! : NO predator that eats anyone, alive or dead, is EVER murdering them if they're eating out of hunger and without malicious intent. Yes, killing is a byproduct of eating - but killing and murder are 2 completely different things. You can make the argument that eating when not hungry is murder - but that's murder to us, not a 100ft tall pred who just likes to have a nice full tummy. It's no different than when your girlfriend eats your last couple of cookies because she feels like it - despite clearly being full.
Now that i've gotten that part out of the way - stop and think about it for a moment. If anything about reading/writing/drawing felarya has ever been unsettling to you, i guarantee this is most likely at the root of it - or close to it.
This is part that may be taken for self promotion... w/e dont care.
This is where I feel like the Valka Fae differ - radically. The females that do devour people (where it pertains to the conditions of their duels) do so from the perspective that they've given their catch a chance to earn their survival, that no other preds give - or would even consider giving in most cases. Outside of this code - when they do eat people without fighting first (not very common from most), they don't view anyone as something that was put there for them to consume. Infact, they have the same view on life that we would to an extent partially because of interdimensional culturing. They believe that eating other sapient life imparts a small portion of that them into their own culture, and that it empowers them with a few aspects of that race. This is also why there are nekos, humans, and other species that are considered Valka Fae - without even being fae themselves.
Question is, is that any more acceptable for eating sapient life - doubtful, but it's certainly a bit easier for me to rationalize. To be honest, if you're being hunted by anything and it catches you for the purpose of eating you, then you really dont have a right to complain about it or the circumstances surrounding what's going on. I think the thing that makes it most difficult - now and forever - to rationalize, is that communication with the predators is possible - but unlike us, they don't not eat something just because they can talk to it. Different world, different laws of the jungle to be respected. One can easilly die within hours even here in earth's jungles. Why should it be any different on Felarya, just because many of the predators are visually appealing and can talk to us?
I'd love to know your thoughts/feelings on the subject. Has this ever been something you've thought about?