“Comparing One Name To The Named” by Miushra; July 2014

My name is Miushra and I am a Named fictionkin. Meaning my species identity is (or more accurately, my species can best be described as being) a Named, and Named being a species of cheetah-like felines with small saber teeth shown in a book series Ratha and The Named by Clare Bell. I identify as a cheetah-like feline which happens to be strikingly similar to a species portrayed in modern fiction on integral and personal level. My body image of how I see myself is that of a feline which happens to look and act a lot like a creature an author created so I use the label to describe my species due to the coincidence of similarity. Like other kinds of otherkin, I don’t identify as human personally. I know I am human physically but I just don’t see myself that way. Its not part of how I personally see myself. My physical body is human, but my species identity (how I see me) is that of a feline. Daily experiences because of my body image include experiencing dysphoria related to having a body which I find not fitting with how I see me, the feeling of having a cheetah-like body along with still feeling my actual body, having an animalistic mindset (or what I perceive to be that), having behaviors and instincts I describe as feline like, and a number of other things like that. This identification is part of my species identity.

This essay will be going into some of my experiences and other tidbits related to my identity. As part of this essay, I will be going into detail about the similarities and the differences between my identity and the felines referred to as the Named from Clare Bell’s series Ratha and the Named as well as the similarities my species has to cheetahs and cougars. In this essay I will be looking at the traits I found in this fictitious species which caused me to end up labeling myself a Named fictionkin rather than continue to call myself a prehistoric feline therian or prehistoric feline animalkin. So naturally, I will be citing and noting things from the series like crazy as I nit-pick over myself and my reasoning for how I came to the conclusions I did and why it ended up making sense to me. Also, I will delving into the author’s research and her inspirations for her series where she has talked about it online. So you’ve been warned as it were. Though to keep things from getting overly crazy and messy citation-wise, I’m going to be rather lax in directly citing page numbers over every little thing I have found in the books themselves. I’ll be noting in what books things are mentioned (or if I am referring to the graphic novel or certain versions of cover art where things are shown), but will not directly cite pages due to sheer number of citations that would be. However, I will be citing any websites used.

Now, I didn’t think I was some feline from some random book series when we were little. No. I didn’t know about the series when I was little. (Heck, I didn’t even learn about it until I was legally an adult.) I had to go through the same kind of searching and self-understanding that other people who identifies as a nonhuman animal go through too. Its not like I glanced upon my Source and suddenly it all came around in a flash. As a kid, the idea of novel series having anything so much like my species identity never once crossed my mind. No, for the longest time growing up I thought I was some kind of species of feline that once existed if I just looked enough into prehistoric feline. The idea of being fictionkin didn’t cross my mind until the book series itself fell into my lap.

Growing up, my fellow headmates called me Mu or Mru out of irony for being feline which our multiple system tended to do with our names due to being kids. For me, I’ve identified as feline since at least age 8 or 9 if not earlier. (Memories before the age of 7 or 8 are too absent to say anything there.) Even as a child I remember thinking of myself as some kind of feline which was weird because I wasn‘t one physically. I learned that other kids “played animal” because it was fun to play; I did it because it felt natural and right. Having such a strange identification felt natural to me as a kid, but I realized early on that others didn’t feel the same as I did. However, much to my frustration as a child, I “didn’t look like” any species of feline I could find an image of at the time. Growing up, I had Zoobooks to look at, yet none of the felines shown in the “Big Cats” or even “Little Cats” looked exactly right. This lead to a fair bit of conclusion to me which would continue on through the years.

I remember fairly well that by age 11 I had begun to try to describe my felinity. The first time I tried to draw how I saw myself resulted in a white feline with a some faint “spotty-stripes” and some markings at the muzzle. However it looked more like a tiger in built due to still working on my drawing skills and not exactly knowing how to draw a more cub-ish feline. (At that time in my life, I saw myself as a younger feline because I myself was younger.) When I was 12 or 13, I went through a short phase where I tried to label myself as a “white tigon” for a reason I no longer remember. That label for my species fell through fairly quick because of everything wrong about it. So I was left without a species label once again. The second time I tried to draw something that looked more like me, the result was an upright white feline still with a few faint markings but this time looking a lot more like a cougar in build. Which felt closer. However around this time, I stopped seeing myself as having “spotty-stripes” at all due to no longer seeing myself as young feline anymore because I was growing older.

By my early teens is when I really began to get a hold on what my felinity seemed to be all about for me. I came to understand that I identified as a cheetah/cougar-like feline with slight saber teeth with an off-white coat as far as appearance goes. Behaviors and instincts seemed to nicely follow a cougar’s in some ways and a cheetah’s in others. However certain behavior didn’t seem to fit either feline. My feline species was very social, while both cheetah’s and cougar’s weren’t really known to be so outside male cheetah’s sometimes grouping up to twos or threes (usually with their brothers). My feline species was far more social then either of them. That wasn’t the end of the odd traits which didn’t match any feline extinct or extant I could think of. The other big thing was all the things about my species identity hinting toward a feline that used “tools” of all things. So, I had all feline behaviors and instincts that most feline therians seem to get – that was certainly there for me – but there was also these other things. I kept imagining my feline species doing things like standing upright for brief periods of time as well. In the beginning, I chalked it off as just my mind trying to work around being a feline yet having a human body and doing human things like standing upright, etc. However, on through my teenage years these traits persisted along with everything else.

In 2003 our multiple system began to come across documentaries and books referencing for people who identified as nonhuman. (Particularly those who identified as animals.) Then in 2006 we discovered the therian community. It was then I learned words to better describe my feelings and thoughts. Words like “species dysphoria,” “phantom limbs,” “animality,” “theriotype,“ and others. I began to think of myself as a some kind of feline therian perhaps, but still found myself still not finding any extant or extinct feline which fit my species. This lead me back to once again, this time in my late teens, searching for a feline species that might be like my species. However the things about my felinity which pointed to a feline which would use curd tools stumped me. I had no idea what to think of that. So I had discovered the word “theriotype” but still didn’t know what to put there beyond “prehistoric cheetah-like feline.”

Then in October 2010 I came across the first book of a series called Ratha and The Named by Clare Bell by chance.

The event was something I never excepted. I had come to figure my feline species didn’t and had never existed, but the thought of it actually being fictional had never crossed my mind. I hadn’t been looking for a feline like my species in fiction. Coming across the book series which had a feline species portrayed in its pages so alike to my species identity was a fluke. If I’d never come across it, I likely would have continued to label myself as either a prehistoric feline therian or maybe feline animalkin (or similar). However, that didn’t happen as I did end up coming across a better way to describe my species than that.

I and the rest of the headmates at House of Chimeras are fans of stories with animals/anthropomorphic animals as characters. One day, we came upon the first three books of Ratha and the Named series. The first two were nice enough reads, but I actually didn’t pay it much mind. I noticed that the felines in the series had some recognizable traits (were cheetah-like, social, came in various colors, etc), but I didn’t think much about it. After all, they were felines and a familiar few traits here and there wasn’t anything drastic. It actually wasn’t until the third book that I began to really pay attention to the traits of the species in the books rather than just read a nice animal story. By the third book the similarities began to slowly build, but even then it didn’t bring anything to mind other then “Oh interesting, stories with feline sort of like mine. This is nice.” I hadn’t thought anything more than that. It took until the fourth that I started to feel uncomfortable with the mounting similarities. By the fifth book I was really confused on what was going on. 

I still wasn’t thinking “fictionkin” though. I generally knew of what fiction kin meant due to having been around the online therian community for five years at that point, but I didn’t know much beyond the basics ands the stereotypes. Yet my mounting realization on the similarities between the author’s fictional species and me didn’t make me sit down and consider the fictional species. It made me turn and look into the real-life felines they were inspired from. The author had based the Named off of the Family Nimravidae, and specifically Dinaelurus crassus (calling her fictional species Dinaelurus illumina sapiens), plus added in influences from extant cat species (the cheetah and cougar). So I spend some time leaving about them in hopes of finding an answer there. To find an explanation in the similarities. My search didn’t lead to anything, obviously. Which then lead to turn to look at the series itself. It was only then the idea of being fictionkin finally began to creep into my thoughts as a possibility.

At first, I reeled against the thought. I didn’t want to be true. This lead me back into searching the feline Family tree once again, and I even  took a shot in the dark at anything mythical felines I could maybe find. Only to end in not again. So I began reading what I could find on fictionkin whether it was by fictionkin or by others. After months of considering the possibility and comparing my identity to the series I came to the conclusion I could call myself a Named fictionkin. That my species identity and the fictional species in the books just happened to be similar. Similar enough that I could use the term to describe my species identity even. It wasn’t a confusion I took lightly or easy. The idea of being fictionkin didn’t not sit well for me. By around April 2011 I begun to accept the label of “Named fictionkin” being the most accurate to anything else I had to work with. So I began begrudging using it.

Now for a bit of background on the series, Ratha and the Named by Clare Bell. The series consists of five novels, two short stories, and on online novelette. On top of this, the first book in the series was once adapted into a 30 minute television short in 1988 and the first book is also currently being adapted into a graphic novel version. The series itself follows a clan of sentient prehistoric cheetah-like felines called the People/Clan of the Named or simply the Named. When the series begins in Ratha’s Creature, the Named have been herding and keeping several kinds of ungulates for food and by the books end have begin using fire as well. As the series progresses they continue to face different challenges and develop more and better tools and ways of doing things. Their fictional world is also home to others of their own species. These include those called Un-Named who are often non-sentient as well as often having bulkier bodies and longer fangs compared to the Named; and the Hearers of the Song (called Face-tail Hunter Tribe by the Named) who are sentient and have an unusual mental link among all of their tribe whose features are a middle ground between the Named and Un-Named.

Despite the rampant stereotype, not all fictionkin are fans of their source, let alone obsessed fans. Being fictionkin has nothing to do with liking (or not liking) ones identity. It is there whether or not someone likes it. Just like someone who identifies as a gray wolf is still a therian whether they like gray wolves or not, someone who identifies as a raichu is still a fictionkin whether they like raichus (or Pokemon in general) or not. Also, someone isn’t fictionkin just because they like or relate to something or someone in fiction, anymore than someone being a therian just because they like or relate to a certain animal. Its about identifying as, not identifying with, connection with, liking or similar.

Its one the reasons I don’t care for the term otakukin. It implies that such people are more just an obsessed or overly interested fan rather than someone who actually identifies as something best portrayed in modern fiction due to meanings behind of the word “otaku.” (Also, the word otaku is often most commonly associated with anime and manga, whereas fictionkin can identify as something/someone from many forms of media.) I don’t know any wolf therians that would like to be called wolfabookin, and I certainly wouldn’t like to be called otakukin for the same reason.

Me, I’m neutral about my Source. I have the same feelings about it as a therian might about a story with their species being the characters. Its just a nice enough story which happens to have a species like my species identity as the characters. Its not like I feel an amazing connection with the characters, story, or anything. I like the series as just another story, but that is all. Its like if a cat therian liked a series Warriors or another series with domestic cats as character – their not any less of a therian for liking a series if they actually identify as a domestic cat. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan of the series or that I’d consider it amazing or anything. It was just an okay read for me.

My liking of the series or not, doesn’t effect my species identity because my identity isn‘t actually tied to the series at all. it’s a label for describing my species because its so similar. I identified as a social cheetah-like feline and that used basic tools and such long before I came across a book series with such similar felines. My identification as I have today didn’t poof into existence after I discovered the series. The only thing the series did was give me a shorter label to describe my species identity rather than have to write out a long description of my species or be very vague all the time. That is it.

The phrase “I don’t believe in fictionkin” (whether said in those exact words or just something with a similar meaning) is something I’ve heard others say plenty of times since I realized I was fictionkin. If I had a dime for every time I saw this phrase get spilled out by someone at some time or another- well, maybe I wouldn’t exactly be “rich” or anything like that, but I’d certainly have a pretty darn heavy bag of coin to show for it. My usual mental response to this statement is a, “So what? Your entitled to your opinion but that doesn’t change my daily experiences and the labels I’ve come to use to describe them one bit.” Someone not believing any certain kind of otherkin because of one thing or another does not stop anyone’s experiences from being as they are. No matter if that skepticism lays in the species itself one identifies as being, if the skepticism lays with the fact they are using that label rather than another one, or if the skepticism lays on the possible cause for that identity – dismissal does nothing to stop it for those who are actually experiencing what they are describing. I can’t just snap my fingers and make them go away no matter what. No matter whatever kind of possible inconvenience or annoyance in my life, it can’t just be turned off and on like a switch. That is not how identity works.

Someone being skeptical of fictionkin being real in some manner or another does not make me suddenly stop identifying as a feline of a certain nature or stop me from having nonhuman feelings all together. My experiences as a fictionkin kind of otherkin is not dependent on other people actually believing my self identity and accepting the words  I have chosen to describe them with. I’m sure there are numerous people that have a fair lot of skepticism and disbelief about my own experiences and how I have come to label them. That is just the nature of things and trying to explain experiences. Their lack of belief in my experiences to some degree or another has no weight on my conclusion for my experiences. That isn’t any skin off my back. At the end of the day – my identity as a sentient prehistoric cheetah-like feline at that never existed, my animality, my nonhuman instincts, my phantom body, and everything else are still there – whether anyone believes me or not. My identity is not governed by someone else. My identity is my own.

I personally don’t really care if someone’s views on how the mind can hold an identity does or does not include someone identifying the way I do. Because really it doesn’t stop anyone from experiencing the way they do. My “legitimacy” to anyone does not stop my experiences, my identity, and the labels I have chosen because I find they work best. I like to think that I am being as objective and reasonable in my experiences and feelings as I possibly can be to the best of my ability, but then again given the subjective and individualistic nature of self-identification and personal experiences I wonder if anyone’s methods will be biased and flawed to some degree or another. I try to be as rational as I can be about something so unusual. Whether I success in this endeavor is dubious as far as I am concerned. I like to think that I am taking a healthy stance on my identity and how I experience life, but I’d rather not swear to it. I’m sure plenty would disagree. I’m just a Named fictionkin in a system, is all. There is no telling when it comes to the reality of things beyond what the mind thinks is going on.  

So really, if someone believes me then that’s nice and its appreciated. If people believes what I say about my experiences but think I am mistaken on the label, then fine. If someone is skeptical but more or less neutral then that’s cool and I’m always open to answering curious and honest questions wanting to try to understand why I think the way I do if they are interested. Plus, even if they really just flat-out believe me then that is how things are, and I’m can’t make anyone change their views, opinions, or beliefs especially if they are that adamant on their own opinions. I can get that some people don’t understand it. Heck, I personally don’t either. I don’t understand how my species identity ended up being so similar a fictional species an author I didn’t know about for years. It confuses even me.  As long as they are not disrespectful or offensive about how I have come to label what my life is like, I don’t really care. I don’t need anyone to validate or even to know about my identity for it to still be there. I’ve always just been me, and I didn’t need someone around agreeing with me that I was feeling animalistic when I was a kid or a teenager, and that certainly hasn’t changed now.

To me, my identity and experiences are what matter and not what caused me to identify as the feline I do. I don’t care for “what ifs” and “maybes” and the guessed answer to the ever lingering question, “what causes someone to have a species identity other than human,” is one big “what if” if you ask me. As far as I see it, no matter what the cause of my identity (let alone anyone else’s really), the end result is still the same in that we are still experiencing and identifying as nonhuman. If the identity is there, it is there no matter the cause. This is just how things are in my life for some reason or another. I personally feel no reason to dwell on any possibly whys when I have a life waiting to live. No matter what, I still have experiences which I label as nonhuman in some way and my body and self image is still not human. Trying to debate a cause when causes often far to often boil down to belief and speculation seems redundant to me. So I don’t care to play the game of pick and choose a hypothesis as to why I am here and how I am how I am. It would be nice to be able to place my money down on some cause or another, but I honestly have no idea.

I am a spiritual person to an extent and believe in souls, but I honestly have no idea how I could be a feline which happened by chance to be so much like a fictional feline someone created. I am really interested in psychology and how the human brain can do some odd things with self identity, but I honestly have no idea how I could be a feline which happened by chance to be so much like a fictional feline someone created. I find information how neurological differences in the brain can shape the owner of that brain compelling, but I honestly have no idea how…. Sense a pattern here? That is basically my issue. I don’t understand how I can be what I am at all, so can’t make any bets on how it happened. It happened through chance and coincidence for sure but the devil is in the details. So I just don’t place down any bets or guesses at all. I’ll leave that to the researchers and academics studying people like me to begin to figure it out.

Sadly, when talking about fictionkin cause always seem to mange to come-up. Especially the spiritual angle. Now, just like how being a therian is not inherently a spiritual thing, same goes for fictionkin. Some fictionkin see the cause of their identity to being spiritual but some do not. Sometimes some fictionkin see their identify as psychological nature in various ways, just like other otherkin. But with fictionkin the topic of multiverse tends to come up (yet not so much with mythkin for some reason).  I think one problem with the whole “fictionkin controversy” is that it always focuses on how it is or is not possible, drowning out any other thing about fictionkin. Debates on how fictionkin can be possible outnumbers any other topic, and more often than not discussion on fictionkin gets railroaded into a topic of possible causes. It gets old after a while. Especially as someone who doesn’t care about the cause and cares more about the identity and the experiences. So I just can’t understand why the how has to be beaten like a dead horse and we can never reach a “how does it effect a person now and how they experience it” like most of the rest of the otherkin communities have done. All the more reason for me to avoid and ignore the topic beyond just my lack of interest in it already.

So you won’t hear me going on and on about how I got here because I have no such argument or stance. In the end, I’m just a feline anyway and I just happen to be best described along the lines of a fictional species.

One thing I want to note is that I don’t believe I have past life memories for myself (I‘m not even convinced my identity is from some spiritual cause), but I do have these imaginings/scenes in my mind of what I would be doing if I was my like my species identity or what I think my kind of species would be doing if it were actually real. I consider them an attempt of my mind to create something at a young age to express my species identity as there were no documentaries or images to relate to back then. So my own young mind started creating its own visual representations based on what felt was more appropriate, and things went from there. Still today something that I relate to my species identity come from these ideas. They are very minor however compared to other experiences, though they do fill in a few of my perceptions of my species identity. So, I’ll be noting a few things based on these experiences here and there as well as talking about my experiences with nonhuman attributes that aren’t there, etc.

So to jump right in with comparing my experiences and feelings about my species identity and having a nonhuman self image, I feel it makes sense to start of with physical characteristics. Due to having a constant phantom body on a daily basis and being a member of a multiple system that is very aware of our innerworld, physical traits and shapes are the most notable and detailed aspect of my identity. So this part of the analysis is going to be the most detailed on little traits.

My self image has a body type very similar to a cheetah and somewhat to a cougar though without the right fur color and such. I’m just strictly speaking about the overall body structure and shape. A body with the overall structure and size very much like a cheetah yet not so lean them, or a body similar to a cougar but much more lean then they are. This body shape is what my phantom body reflects, what shape I have in most of my dreams (even those unrelated to being a feline), how I see myself in my mind’s eye, and other things related to my identity and daily life. Its even the shape I have in our multiple system’s (many people in one body) innerworld (a mental landscape where we interact with each other) which I go about the day as living. Comparing this to the series shows some striking resemblance. In the book descriptions, cover art for the books, and art for the graphic novel version of the first book, the body structure of Named can be described as being similar to cheetahs though not exactly as lean. (While the Un-Named are often depicted as having even more bulky bodies, and the Hearers of the Song appear similar to both Named and Un-Named). In some depictions the Named appear almost like a mix of cheetah and cougar. In the book’s text itself there are descriptions of the Named which also leads to the same conclusions of similarity. Similarities to both kinds of modern felines was intentional by the author Clare Bell as she notes on her website over research she did for the books. Intentionally drawing physical and some behavioral traits from both cheetahs and cougars. Clare Bell also drew inspiration over the years from certain prehistoric felines. Namely being the extinct genus Dinaelurus and Nimravus which have some physical traits similar to cheetahs.# [1] In fact, Clare Bell refers to the Named species as Dinaelurus illumina sapiens and decided to have them as a fictional descendent of Dinaelurus crassus.# [2] So my species identity blends right in with how the Named are depicted rather nicely. 

Then there is the overall size of how I see myself. I’ve always seen and felt myself to be at about 3 feet / a meter tall at the shoulder, which is around the height of both a cheetah and cougar unsurprisingly enough. The “height” of my phantom body has always been consistent from day to day and is always about 3 feet since I was in my teens. Before then, my memories are a bit more fuzzy on the detail of how I saw myself size-wise. I’m constantly feeling a cheetah/cougar-like feline shape of about a meter in height in the shadow of my actual body as I walk, sit, or lay around. This size is even constant in dreams as I am most often my species identity rather than how my body actually looks. This size is also seemingly the same for my body in our multiple system’s innerworld. To compare to an extant feline species cheetahs are usually just under a meter tall. The size of the Dinaelurus illumina sapiens is only ever directly stated once in any sort of measurement throughout the series once. At the beginning of Ratha and Thistle-Chaser, the text states a random Un-Named is roughly the size of a “panther” while Newt/Thistle-Chaser is smaller than them. The difficultly here though is the word “panther” is used to note several different species that have different sizes (including cougars, leopards, and jaguars) so leaving things a bit ambiguous as to which of those Clare Bell is referring to. (Plus its noted that Newt/Thistle-Chaser is smaller than other Named.) However in an update over the process of the graphic novel version of Ratha’s Creature it is stated that the Named are about the size of cheetahs though a tad bit larger.# [2] Plus based on descriptions within the books, artwork of the various covers, and art from the graphic novel it would be safe to assume anyway that the Named are roughly the size of a cheetah and/or cougar as well. So, given that, my height would fit within the average of the Named as well.

The color of my own pelt of my self image is an off-white/light gray with some cream tones. This coat color has been a long known/felt aspect of my body image since childhood. Even in countless dreams (which I almost never see myself as human in regardless of the dream context), this is the coat color I see myself with whenever I see my refection or catch a glance at a leg, my tail, so on. Plus I have always drawn myself with either a white or off-white coat when trying to put my image to paper since I can remember all the way back into my childhood. Its simply a coat color that I’ve always identified myself as having and thus it appears across a verity of experiences. Contrasting my own pelt color with the pelts of the characters in the series, I have found that mine appears to fit right in. In the series, Dinaelurus illumina sapiens can a wide verity of pelt colors. Specific examples of pelt colors of characters the series include – tortoiseshell (a mix of browns, blacks, and oranges) to patchy gray to tawny-gold to dark gray to copper to black with white flecks to red-gold to sandy to light dun to silver to blue-gray to sepia brown to gray-brown to pure black to tawny to ash and more. However, shades of brown and/or shades gray (particularly silver) seem the most common though other colors are hardly rare. So my pelt color appears to fit fairly well with the possible coat colors though a tad outside the most common colors shown in the series. The coat color of my species identity isn’t directly shown to be a possible coat color within the series (less they throw one in as a background character in the upcoming graphic novel which would actually be creepy), but given the number of rather pale coat color possibilities it doesn’t seem that unreasonable to be found in this fictional species.  

The coat pattern I see myself with and how my body is in our multiple system’s inner world is a fairly uniform outside of having slightly dark ‘points’ (tail, feet, and muzzle). With much of my body being an off-white/light gray and cream color but my face, paws, and tail are more dull silvery-gray. Oddly (or not, perhaps) when I was little and into my preteens, I saw myself with faint markings over my back and sides along with everything else as how I still see myself today, yet by my teens I no longer felt they were relevant to my species identity and no longer were present in dreams and such. During my childhood and into preteens I saw myself and drew myself with gray marks, but overtime they became less and less prominent until they were gone altogether. Which has always stood out to me because its really the biggest change to my species image in appearance in my life. Now turning to look at the coat patterns among Dinaelurus illumina sapiens it is not as clear as their coat colors as coat pattern isn’t as often mentioned directly. However in the novels it is mentioned on occasion plus there is the graphic novel of Ratha’s Creature shows the Named in full color and the cover art for the books to help shed a fair amount of light. In both book descriptions and comic depictions, a number of the Named sport lighter undersides compared to the rest of their bodies. In the books several Named are also described as having darker faces, legs and/or tails compared to their main body. Others are merely said to have “masks” or markings on their face some sort. A number characters are described as having various flecks or highlights of other colors in their fur, while a few have been described as having one solid color. Others are described as being blotched with various colors. At least one character in Ratha’s Creature is described as having some faint stripes on his side. Just to name a few patterns shown in the series. Interesting though, despite being cheetah-like in shape, spots are rarely described on any adult characters. Yet, spots are predominately described and depicted to be on young cubs. This is shown rather strongly in both Ratha’s depiction in the graphic novel version of Ratha’s Creature showing a fading of spots as she ages as well as being talked about within the original Ratha’s Creature with Ratha talking to Thakur about how her spots are not fading as fast as she would like. (Some versions of book covers show characters having some form of spots however the latest book covers through Imaginator Press, the Graphic novel of Ratha‘s Creature, and all artwork approved directly by Clare Bell, lacks these features on their coats.) So not only does my current coat pattern fall within how the Named are portrayed, but even my coat pattern when I was younger was akin to how the Named are portrayed when younger. Which is rather odd and continues on with the general similarity to what is possible among the Named and was is in my species identity.

Over the years I’ve come to notice a slight seasonal change to how I perceive and feel about my species identity. That generally to an extent how I think I should feel/look, how I experience my phantom body and such there is a sense of having a bit more fur during the colder time of the year compared to the summer months. Its not a very noticeable experience though. That is about all there is to the experience really. The seasons also change in our innerworld, and my feline body in our innerworld does change slightly as far as coat length. In our innerworld, during the warmer parts of the year my coat seems only slightly longer than a cheetah’s, but during the colder parts of the ear my coat seems almost as thick and long as a cougar’s. Turning to the book series, in Ratha’s Creature, Ratha and several other characters feel cold because of the cool temperatures because they have their summer coats. This leads to the conclusion there is some difference between their apparent summer coat and winter coat rather then always having the same coat length. So this small little detail fits pretty well. 

Another trait on how I see myself is that I have tear-lines similar to a cheetah’s. On my face of how I see myself, on my face in dreams I’ve had over the years, and on my face on my feline body in our innerworld have tear-lines which are grayish in color which go from the eye down to near the mouth. A sort of a dark gray in tone. The difference between my fur color and the color of my tear-lines isn’t drastic though notable enough. I can’t see my own face in our system’s inner world anymore than I see our system’s body’s face without help from a mirror or photograph (neither of which are in our inner world), but there are other people in the system who call fill me in on what I cannot see. Cheetah-like tear-lines are also a part of the appearance of the Named. They are referenced in the book text on various characters as well as being shown on many characters in the graphic novel version of Ratha’s Creature and many versions of the cover art such as the Imaginator Press covers and Penguin Group covers. In the Ratha’s Courage, these tear-lines are said to sometimes be different colors such as brown, gray, black, and amber as well. So the markings on my face fit well within a common feature among the Named.

Like I mentioned when going over my coat color of my species identity, I have darker “points” compared to the rest of my coat. My tail, thus, ends in a darker gray then my main body. With the off-white cream and gray coat quickly sliding into a darker color in that of dull gray at the tail’s end. In the series, this fictional species appears to have a verity of ways their tail ends though the Named mostly have white tail tips it appears. Its hard to tell exactly, as there are only some references in the books to various character’s tails and the art covers for Imaginator Press don’t fully show their tails either. In Ratha’s Creature, there is mention of Thakur’s tail and Fessran’s tail ends in a white tip (similar to a cheetah’s tail tip). In the graphic novel version of Ratha’s Creature, some of the characters have white tail tips (such as Thakur, Ratha, and Meoran) and others have tail tips of the same color as the main color (such as Nightling and two of Ratha’s four cubs). To add, some also have a dark band or two before the white tip as well while others do not. So on this point, I don’t fit the usual or common of how the Named are though do still fit in how others of the fictional species Dinaelurus illumina sapiens are and some Named might be.

Around the neck of how I think and feel myself to be there is not any extra fur. The fur around my neck feels about the same thickness as other parts bits of fur. That is how my phantom body feels, what is on my body in our system’s inner world, and such. Similar to the difference thickness of cougar’s neck fur compared to other parts of its body. In the book and in the graphic novel version of Ratha’s Creature, Meoran and two male Un-Named is noted to have a very thick ruff around their neck with the book even noting it as being almost like a mane. Later in Ratha’s Challenge, True-of-voice is also decibed with thicker fur around his neck. Plus, this thicker fur is only noted among some males. Overall though fur thickness among Dinaelurus illumina sapiens  seems to vary though to an extent as the graphic novel version of Ratha’s Creature shows the Un-Named called Nightling appearing to have a very short coat while others seem not as short as hers and appearing thicker then a cheetah’s coat. Plus in the graphic novel of Ratha’s Creature, all cubs are born with a mane of extra fur down their bodies similar to how cheetah cubs are. So there is perhaps a bit of verity in coat thickness for adults and female never have really thick fur around their necks which my fur thickness fits right in to the normal of adult female Named.

For eye color, as I see myself, I see a sort of a lighter green color. It is this color that I see in my mind’s eye, the color that I have taken to when trying to draw myself as best I can, the color of body’s eyes in our system’s inner world based on what others in the system have said, and such. Now, eye color among this fictional species is varied like their coat color. Examples of such mentioned in the books, especially in Ratha’s Courage, include shades of gray, shades of green, yellow, gold, amber, hazel, various kinds of brown, sometimes shades of blue, orange, and sometimes eye colors that are mix of more than one color. For example, one character Thistle-Chaser has sea-green and Night-Who-Eats-Stars as pale blue-green eyes whereas their mother Ratha has green eyes. So my lighter green eyes fits right into the natural variation of this fictional species.

My own self image has small sabre teeth, this reflects on my phantom body, my body in our system’s inner world, my body in my average dream, and such which all sport slight sabre teeth which peek out of my lips a little bit. Not a whole lot, just a small amount even if the lips to be completely relaxed. Just enough that if I looked like my species identity or a drawing of my species identity they could see them. These teeth are also “there enough” to be felt on my phantom body and to feel them in dreams. The Named also are depicted to have upper canine teeth which may or may not be long enough to peek out from the lips depending upon the Named character. (Whereas Un-Named almost always have longer canine teeth, while Hearers of the Song also have generally longer canine teeth the Named.) The artwork of and related artwork to the graphic novel version of Ratha’s Creature, some of the book covers through Imaginator Press, and some of the book covers through Penguin Group shows this feature. So, this feature of my body image fits right in how the Named are portrayed.

Despite being cheetah-like in appearance, I’ve never related to having non-retractable claws like a cheetah at all. I’ve always seen my body image, felt my phantom body, and drawn myself with retractable claws. Growing up, I kind of saw myself as having the paws of another big cat like a cougar, leopard, or another large feline other than cheetah. Further I have seen and continued to see myself as using my claws to climb, hunt, and so on rather than just be natural track shoes as it were. In dreams I have been able to use (or not use) my claws for various things. In our system’s inner world, my feline body has retractable claws which are useful for climbing, hunting, and such there. Similarly, the Dinaelurus illumina sapiens have retractable claws despite being cheetah-like. As far as their paws go, Clare Bell designed them to be closer to those of a cougar even.# [4] Throughout the books, the Named use their claws for a verity of things such as protecting themselves, climbing, gripping and so on.

How I see myself, my phantom body, and such also reveals details over my muzzle. My muzzle is basically like that of a cheetah’s muzzle. Rather narrow and small compared to other extant felines. I don’t identify with having a lot of jaw strength. Certainly not to the extent of big cats like tigers or lions. In Ratha and Thistle-Chaser, Thistle-Chaser is deceived as having a delicate muzzle as well as finding other features which she has that are found among the Named. Further both Penguin Group and Imaginator Press book covers, as does the graphic novel version of Ratha’s Creature, show the Named with very Cheetah-like muzzles. So here is another little detail that both myself and the Named have to actual cheetahs in places while not having other features in other places.   

Even though my body for my species identity is overall much like a cheetah though a bit thicker limbed, just like my paws being different, so is my body image’s head shape too. With my own body image, how I have drawn myself, and how my phantom body is, and so on I have a skull shape a bit different than any extant felines really. The muzzle and all that is very cheetah like but it’s the cranium that is a bit different. It is a bit bigger than them. Its actually rather similar to descriptions of the Named as shown in the graphic novel version of Ratha’s Creature. Clare Bell designed her fictional species to have larger skull then extant species of felines to increase the size of the brain to body ratio which would help to rationalize their higher intelligence and their sentence. So their characteristic of a larger skull is a staple of this fictional species. So this trait, once again, has a strong familiarity to me.# [5]

So those were some of the main physical characteristics of this fictional species compared to traits of my species identity. Most of which match up very well with my self image and species identity. Some traits are dead on matches comparing how I see myself and how this fictional species is described. Even the traits which don’t perfectly fit the exact average (such as in coat color and tail-tip markings) still lies well within the realm of possibility to be seen with this fictional species. Further, this is only physical traits and there are many other things about the Named which ended up wither matching or being rather close to me which lead me to identify as a Named fictionkin. So let’s move on to more behavioral traits.

I see myself as a very social feline, very unlike many extant felines. Not simply tolerant of being social, but even corporative and seeking out social interaction. Of course because I am physically human and whole nine yards no matter what my identity says and how I feel, I’m a fairly social animal by nature because humans are a social species. However, even with my species identity, my body image, and such I don’t see myself as being solitary. I’ve always seen myself as a feline living and working together with other felines similar to me. Never have I seen myself as a solitary feline. Growing up, this was certainly confusing as very social and cooperative felines aren’t exactly very common at all in the animal kingdom. Which made figuring out my species identity all the more confusing growing given nothing really fit my kind even when it came to sociability alone. Though it did add to the number of things which caused me to quickly realize my species wasn’t any extant feline. Because I saw myself living among a group, sort of like a pride of lions, yet not with lions and not structured lion’s are. Instead, I saw it more like a small tribe or village of sorts as far as members being related and others not. Things like that, which again, causes me to quickly move away from extant felines even more. Yet, when I discovered this fictional species, it was the fact they were social that only further caused me to actually take any serious notice of the series and critique them against my identity in the first place. Dinaelurus illumina sapiens is mostly social by nature. This is especially true for the People of the Named and Hearers of the Song who group and live together. (Whereas, the Un-Named  generally are either loners or only form in small groups.) The People of the Named are at least around 20 in number if not higher throughout the series based on the number of named characters among them through the exact number is never directly stated. The Hearers of the Song are perhaps similar in number, though again their exact group size is never stated in text. However, if the Imaginator Press cover for Ratha’s Challenge is any indicator, then the Hearers of the Song number at least 15 if not more, as the cover depicts a number of feline figures in the shadows plus two not in shadow, True-of-voice and Quiet Hunter. So all this social nature despite many felines being solitary is certainly a strong similarity along with everything else.  

I’ve never gotten the whole “my mate and my children” as family mentality both people (therian or not) sometimes have. I’m a much more “blood relations I interact with and close friends are family” kind of person. This viewpoint extend to how I see myself as species identity acting, what my animalistic thoughts/instincts allude to, what my dreams bring up, and so on. Not seeing myself as a cheetah-like feline with a mate and cubs, but rather seeing myself with others with various levels of blood relations too. Of living in a group with a dynamic not burdened by who was related to who either. Growing up, I couldn’t relate to most felines species on this point even further beyond because of their solitary nature. Even the felines that are more tolerate to being social don’t hold to this not so strictly just blood related sociability. I’ve also never cared or felt any connection to the idea of there being a strict dominant leader that rules a group. My thoughts beyond this are rather vague though. As noted in the book description for Ratha’s Creature, the Named have laws and traditions though the exacts of these “laws” and “traditions” are not all spelled outright in the stories exactly. The Named are currently lead by Ratha who is female and before her they were lead by Meoran who was male with Ratha’s leadership coming to her due to her “taming” of fire as well as leadership abilities while Meoran is noted to not be well liked by a number of members but gained the position due to blood relations and strength. The rest of the members besides the leader, are a mix of related and non-related males and females. The books often show Ratha leading but also taking advise and even following others at times, mostly Fessran or Thakur. Giving an idea at how the Named organize themselves as a group. There is also how members of the clan are free to make various personal choices such as whom they will mate with and so on without being controlled by either the leader or other Named. In Clan Ground and Ratha’s Courage, it shows that during the breeding season, that clan members are free to choose a mate for that year without being forced into a mating or forced not to just because another disagrees. In fact, Ratha’s Courage, it shows being forced into a mating appears to be strongly against the code of ethic for the Named. All of this feels very relatable to me on how I could see myself wanting to act if I was actually my species. Living with others and having a group dynamic different from most social felines are structured. So when this was another eerily familiar concept that I found in this series which I could relate to in my own identity.

With me, I’m not territorial at all really. I don’t get overly territorial or even a slight bit clingy to things I see as mine. I don’t get stressed when I travel, feeling out of place, nor worrying about things back home. I don’t get anxious or nervous when guests come to visit, nor if make themselves at home (within reason). If I was actually physically my species identity, I also don’t see myself fretting over territorial markers or boundaries to an extreme degree. None of the dreams I remember, species identity or not related, are over me concerning over “my turf.” No dreams of me a cheetah-like feline getting concerned over other felines around me or anything. In our system’s innerworld, I do keep to a certain area, but I don’t have any notable instinctive drive to mark territory or anything. So all of this lack of being territorial is and on odd trait of note. Turning to Clare Bell’s series, I found that territory and territorial boundaries does not appear to be strongly present among any of the fictional species dinaelurus illumina sapiens. Some of the Un-Named seem to keep to certain area as their living space, while others seem to have none at all. Also, as shown in Ratha’s Creature, Un-Named wandering into another’s area isn’t necessarily taken as a threat. This too some to apply to the People of the Named and Hearers of the Song. The Named tend to stay around a certain area primarily, while the Hearers of the Song tend to move more about depending on where their prey is. Yet neither concern themselves with the proximity of the other really. The Named are also only wary of the Un-Named being too near them due to the possibility of them trying to take their herdbeasts, but otherwise do not have much stress with how near any Un-Named may be for other reasons. So I found myself relating to this. This apparent low-key concern or focus on territory is something I found very familiar to how I felt and what I experienced. 

Activity during certain times of the day/night also appears in my species identity. Its not strongly present and its more of a vague or underplayed experience rather. In my experiences and expressions of my species identity, I tend to see myself as being primarily active during the day with some activity during the night. Doing a large amount of things during the day, especially the instincts/thoughts to check on fishing spots and/or catch fish and doing any moving around. While anything related to the night seems more geared toward sticking to one place. Course because its so vague, it may or may not be directly related to my species identity. I’m not so sure. In the Ratha and the Named series a number of parts in the books take place during the day though a number of events do take place at night. In Ratha’s Creature, Thakur notes the setting sun as the reason he and Ratha must return to the rest of the clan, but its at night that the Un-Named always attack causing the herders to always keep watch even then. In Clan Ground, the Named have their dance-hunts at after dark. In Ratha and Thistle-Chaser, Thakur does much of his visits with Thistle-Chaser during the day, yet its at night when she frees the seamares from the Named. In Ratha’s Challenge, Ratha and several other Named spend much of the days trying to help Quiet Hunter while spending some time at night around a fire. Though neither my thoughts/experiences towards activity during a day/night cycle and that of the Named doesn’t seem to big or surprising, yet its still another general similarity nonetheless.  

The sounds I associate my species identity would make, the sounds I sometimes make on reflex, sounds I make in dreams time and time again, sounds I make in our system’s inner world, etc are all fairly well noted in various other feline species to some extent or another. Purrs, hisses, growls, meows, chirps, squeaks, and so on that are common in a number of felines, specifically cheetahs and cougars, are present in my experiences with apparent similar meanings actual existing felines. In dreams and such where I am a feline with other felines I sometimes speak words along with animalistic sounds and gestures, but it’s a dream so naturally lots of liberties occur there. There are a few sounds which I’ve never placed on any feline, but there are so many different species and the sounds they could may is so varied. So, that is about it there and I can’t pull much more out of my experiences when it comes to vocal communication beyond that. Verbal communication among the Named is also referenced a few times within the text of the books. Within the series, the Named are noted for making a number of typical feline sounds. Of course, this being a series of novel, the character’s talk in dialogue like other animal fiction books. However the books descriptions and comments made in Ratha’s Creature, Clan Ground, and Ratha and Thistle-Chaser notes the Named have a language and words other then just animalistic vocalizations. In Clan Ground, it mentioned how Orange-Eyes/Shongshar has an unusual way of speaking words for a short while. In Ratha and Thistle-Chaser, as Thakur teaches Thistle-Chaser to speak beyond just body language, scent, and animalistic sounds as described several times. In turn, in that and later books, the text notes Thistle-Chaser’s unusual way of speaking compared to other Named. So I found myself relating to the Named here in some respects here, but other details aren’t knowable it seems.

Body language is another thing that naturally comes with my species identity given it is feline in shape and in many manners below all the unusual and/or specific details. Certain tail movements, swiveling of the ears, curling of the lip, and so on come up as instinctive behaviors that cross my mind, though usually don’t or can’t actually act on, in daily life. In dreams, feline body language shows up in how I move and react in many of my dreams that I remember. Its these little movements only I can feel that my phantom body often makes reactively. Such instinctive body quirks even my feline body in our system’s innerworld  does. So on and so forth. However certain movements, while done on my phantom body even like pointing with a leg or such, could also very well simply be caused by regular body language due to just plain being human. Turning to Clare Bell’s fictional species, body language, is inferred to be very similar to that of extant felines. The series does on occasion make mention of the meaning behind certain body cues and motion, as well as other facts about how they express themselves to each other nonverbally. For example, in Ratha’s Courage, its noted at one point that the tear-lines of most of the fictional species help show factual expressions even from a distance. In Ratha’s Creature, it shows a common way of greeting as well as checking scent among the Named is to touch noses, while a way of showing submission to the clan leader was to allow the neck to be sniffed or even grabbed. In Ratha and Thistle-Chaser, its described ho Named naturally frown, furrow the brows in concentration or concern, and other details of body language. So on and so forth throughout the series with other very feline body language. Much of these motions, such as the touching of the noses as a sign of greeting is known among extant cats which is where Clare Bell gained inspiration from. So here it fit, but none of this either for my experiences or from this fictional species really strongly stands out as above and beyond what could be considered feline in body language or whatnot. 

Considering my species identity is feline, naturally I see the diet I would have being predominately composed of meat of some sort. Its mostly meat that I see myself taking to if I were actually was a cheetah-like feline rather then just identifying as one. Much of this inclination towards meat is included toward hoofed animals and aquatic animals while to a lesser extent including a number of smaller animals that could be easily caught alone. However, there is also some hints here and there at eating other things like fruits and other plants, but it is certainly to a lesser extent compared to meat. Things like fruits or other kinds of plants. Now my actual diet that I partake in Is much more balanced of course, because I am human physically and not physically feline. My thoughts/instincts to mostly eat meat are just that, thoughts and instincts rather than action. The diet that I feel I would have if I was my species shows up in a lot of my experiences. One place it shows up is in a fair lot in dreams of where I am getting food and/or eating. Another is that there is my hunting and other food related instincts in daily life which cross my mind when I see or think of certain animals, or when I am eating certain things. There are also lots of other little things which show up here and there in my experiences toward to eating which had lead to me this view of myself as far as the diet found within the species I identify as being. Inworld, I do hunt, and what I hunt range from small animals like rabbits to larger animals like whitetail deer. I also go after fish a lot for food inworld as well. In our system’s innerworld, I’ll also eat fruits too if I can get to them. Turning this to the Named, the diet of the Named is predominately meat. Throughout each of the books, it is made clear that much of the meat that makes up the diet of the named is from their herdbeasts, but the books also note their diet consists of more then that. In Clan Ground, it comes to light that the Named normally only make a kill from their herds every few days. In Ratha’s Creature, Thakur and Ratha eat crayfish (which they call river-crawlers) caught by Thakur from a creek for them both to eat a small meal from and later Thakur offers them again to her. Later Fessran thinks several cubs are hunting and eating grasshoppers suggesting its not unusual for cubs, at least, to catch and eat insects. Plus, Ratha and Bone-chewer are shown hunting and eating various rodent-like mammals and lizards, plus occasional larger animals. There is also mention of them even looking for and eating tubers, which are parts of some kinds of plants, and Ratha enjoying their taste fairly well. In Clan Ground, Orange-Eyes/Shongshar survived on roots and grubs before coming to the Clan and latter one Named considers eating the bristlemanes they had killed protecting their herds. Later, Thakur eats various fruits including ones naturally fermenting causing him to feel odd. In Ratha and Thistle-Chaser, Thistle-Chaser learns to open and eat shellfish along with learning to catch various aquatic creatures. She also at one point raided seabird nests for eggs. Plus Thakur and other Named eat various fruits for food and even water. In Ratha’s Challenge, the several of the Named eat grouse for food as well as use melons many times to give water to someone who can’t get to water. By Ratha’s Courage, the Named have begun to also sometimes eat fish and other aquatic creatures at times even more so now that they were near the sea. So this was a big thing that I noticed about the Named due to them as well not being so strict of meat eaters plus the direct mention of aquatic creatures being eaten as well. (Not to mention the familiarity with how such food is obtained which I’ll get more into later.)

The instinct/thought to climb isn’t really there to a great extant nor do I usually see myself climbing regularly if I actually was my species identity, but it is there to a lesser extant. Plus the act of climbing has appeared in dreams a number of times that I remember over my life, though most are of trying to other avoid something more often than anything by scrambling up a tree or something. In our system’s underworld I can climb trees and such thanks to have claws which can grip and not being to heavy for tree branches, but I don’t have a massive drive to do so. Turning to the series, there is also the presence of the Named being able to climb. In Ratha’s Creature, an adolescent Ratha is shown being quite capable of climbing up a tree rather easily and quickly and late an adult Un-Named is witnessed crouching on a low tree branch. In Clan Ground, Thakur is also shown climbing a tree and is only limited in his assent due to the lack of branches to support his weight. In Ratha’s Courage two Named Mishanti and Bundi are shown high up in a tree, and later shows Mishanti climbing down the tree while Bundi climbs and holds onto one of the rumblers (the Named’s word for Paraceratherium) thanks to their thick skin. Things which show that the Named are capable of climbing regardless of age and that they do use whenever the need arises. Clare Bell herself, took the ability to climb from leopards to give to her fictional species.# [6] So this was another point given both they and I could climb, and had the paws to climb as noted earlier, despite being cheetah-like in shape.

Swimming and/or just being in water does crop up in instincts, what I see myself doing if I was actually like my body image, what I have done in countless dreaming, what I am okay doing in our system’s innerworld, what I enjoy personally, and so on. There are numerous things focusing on the idea of wading through water looking for fish and other aquatic critters. Plus a fair number of dreams handling fish with one or two other cheetah-like felines. Of using my paws to move large rocks and my mouth to move sticks around in the water for various purposes. Sometimes there is the idea of being in water for a purpose, sometimes there seems to be just the idea of being in water for the fun of it. There is the impulses to go swimming, feeling water in my fur as my paws act as paddles. Its strong and rather evident to me. Not top of all this, there are lots of bodies of water in our inner world (from streams to ponds to even a sea) so inworld I have ended up swimming a number of times. Plus like I mentioned earlier, when getting food inworld I’ve often went to catching fish. Which again caused confusion when I was a child and into my teens due to so few extant felines really taking to water, let alone wanting to do things how I did. Yet throughout the series, the Named are shown to take to water either without much concern or even seeking out water to be in. In Ratha’s Creature, Ratha ends up living and hunting with Bonechewer whose territory includes a marsh, and the other Un-Named  referred to Bonechewer as “dweller-by-the-water” as he spends much of his time in the muddy water while wandering his territory. In the same novel, Ratha and other Named are shown swimming or standing in water for various reasons such as hunting for crayfish, escaping a wildfire, and so on. Water makes its biggest references in Ratha and Thistle-Chaser where tilter character, Thistle-Chaser spends much time in the water, either swimming in a lagoon or out at sea and is described as an incredibly good swimmer. Thakur also swims with her several times and Ratha ends up showing her ability to swim when she ends up out at sea. A number of the Named also spent time in water in well in an attempt to domesticate via creating a fence made of branches through the water a seal-like mammals the Named called seamares. In Ratha’s Courage, Thistle-Chaser and Quiet Hunter end up wading around in water from time to time throughout the book. It was this trait of the Named, along with its application which I’ll go into detail later, which took me by the most surprise and caused me take so much notice to it at all.

Than there is the instinct for running. I do have the instinct to run, especially to chase after things as an impulse coupled with the frustration that the human body is neither as fast as I feel it should be and the strangeness of running on two legs rather than on all fours. Strange, but things are as they are. Especially frustrating because my instincts crave to be able to keep up with animals my mind thinks as prey, but no matter how physically fit or not I am, I could never really accomplish what I think I should be able to. In our system’s inworld, my feline body is rather fast for short bursts of speed, which comes in handy for hunting there. Now on the side of things to compare, again Clare Bell modeled the Named after the cheetah. This includes their use of speed during a hunt.# [7] Certainly, at times in the books such as at one point in Ratha’s Courage , does it show the Named using their speed to mange their herdbeasts among other things.  

One trait that are unusual for a feline but appear to be part of my species identity based on instincts, phantom body related experiences, dreams, mobility in our system’s innerworld, and so on is the ability to stand up on my hind legs and even take some steps on my hind legs for brief spurts. Reason for such seems to stem from being able to see a bit father, being able to use my front paws to move some things, trying to bluff another animal, and such. Its rather a small thing and seems rather limited though it has appeared enough times to be notable to me. Extant felines can actually stand up on their back legs as well, but its not something they normally do as far as their normal behaviors though. Turning to the Named, there are only a few instance in the series of characters doing this. In Clan Ground, Ratha describes many firekeepers up on their hide legs during a dance of sorts around a large fire. In Ratha’s Courage, Ratha deals with a herdbeast by rising up on her back legs to use her front paws to handle a striper. So my experiences are a bit beyond what the series ever shows to the extent I relate to it, but I find interest that the behavior is still there to a lesser extent.

With my species identity there is a high level of intelligence and self-awareness (as well as being coupled with animalistic nature and instinct) yet still being feline. In my dreams, whether directly related to species identity or everything else, my mentality is not without critically thinking skill or self-awareness. Even in dreams where I am doing very animalistic things there isn’t a feeling of being without a sort of self-awareness to my actions. When I envision how I see myself, I see a cheetah-like feline that has self-awareness and forethought to control my instincts. Not only that, but seeing myself and having dreaming of being a crafting and using things with my teeth and paws. Also my instincts and other impulsive thoughts also lean toward this idea over how my mentality would be if I was actually a feline. So I often see my species to be the feline equivalent to the great apes compared to primates as a whole or like certain species of dolphin compared to other cetaceans – smarter than a number of others of their species but still certainly a part of that group. I see my species as still very much feline, but is something of a fictional take on if feline evolution took a path where higher intelligence became the result. So, as mentioned earlier when discussing the larger size of this fictional species’ cranium, the Named are able to think and be self-aware on a level that is not recognized to be in any extant felines. The Named are described as intelligent and sapient as apposed to effectively ever other species introduced in the series. The Named are capable of thinking critically, manipulating their environment, being able to see from another‘s perspective, and more. A specific example, noted in the books is that in Ratha’s Creature, Ratha readily recognizes her own refection in a stream and later becomes upset when her cubs do not show any signs at being self-aware as she and other Named are. In Clan Ground, its noted how young cubs among the Named show both the regular pouncing and play-hunting of extant felines as well as curiosity of what things are and how they work around them. So all this found from me to the Named with them as well being able to think on a level as I see myself as well.

Those are some of the behavioral and instinctive characteristics of myself or how I see myself if I was my species identity compared to this fictional species. Many of the traits match up rather well with some traits behaviors being rather dead on matches comparing how I see myself and how this fictional species is described. Even the behaviors which don’t perfectly fit the exact average still lies well within the realm of possibility to be seen with this fictional species pretty often. So now to move on to a traits which I found early on in my identity which is what drove me solidly away from ever being some extant or exists feline that actually ever existed. 

Use of technology and working around other species for their befit is one of the biggest traits of the Named. Their quick innovation to new methods of living can be witnessed throughout the book as they meet different challenges or/and opportunities. Whether it be accidentally coming across advantages (such as use and control of fire) or consciously working to develop something (such as the creation of saddles and ropes) the Named have created and used a number of things as well as work with other species. Of their tools, their use of fire is their most famous of them all which they have grown to use a verity of ways. Further, their work toward domestication of several species for food is another famous characteristics of the Named. Any kind of tool use or such manipulation of other species is not seen among any species of real-life feline, let alone to this degree. So naturally traits very similar to any of this occurring in my self image since I can remember was one more thing that raised red flags over this species. Just more things which was familiar despite having never been aware of the series existence until adulthood. This familiarly goes even deeper then just its general existence as well, but rather even works its ways into minor details of the series.

One thing that seems a part of my species identity when it comes to manipulating the world around me includes reacting and viewing other species than that of my species identity. Its shown itself in numerous dreams over the years of my life to some extent or another though usually, as noted in a few other places already, more focused on aquatic animals over others. Interacting with them, still with the mindset of food at hand in the dream, but not strictly working toward the kill then and there. Rather dreams often depict a lot more management then that. One of the most noteworthy in my dreams is the constantly requiring use of stones and large sticks to corral fish and other creatures into certain areas and to try to even discourage other predators from catching them. It also shows up in shades of how I see certain species or how I see myself as a feline acting if I was such as well in waking life. How my instincts want to react toward certain animals, for example. I see a deer or another animal and my instincts get going but also I get to thinking beyond just food at present. Like could the bones be used for something or such. At the beginning of the series, the Named have already been herding two species of ungulate for years. One being three-toed horse-like ungulates they call dapplebacks which were the first to be herded by the Named due to their calm nature. The other being three-horned deer-like ungulate they call three-horns which were introduced just a generation before Ratha’s birth though the animals are more aggressive and temperamental. In Clan Ground, the Named end up in a symbiotic relationship with a species of lemur-like creature they call treelings. Its not until Ratha and Thistle-Chaser, that the Named begin to look for other animals to domesticate leading them to look into trying to domesticate a hippo-like mammal called they call seamares which they later abandoned. By Ratha’s Challenge, the Named had begun successfully domesticated a single-toed horse-like ungulate they call stripers as well as make attempts to work with mastodon-like animals they call fact-tails and Paraceratherium-like creatures they call rumblers. So in comparison, this working with and moving around of another species is alluded to here and there in some aspects of my species identity. Not that strongly, but it isn’t out of nowhere or contrary to either for sure.

I’ve always been drawn to fire and always felt a connection to it. Of the “four elements” (as referred to in pagan and occult circles), I strongly relate to fire. I’m rather a fire person far more than any of the other three. I enjoy having candles burning or the thought of sitting by campfire or fireplace. As far as my species identity goes through, there isn’t anything there that I’ve ever noticed. Nothing that can be called instinctive or whatnot toward fire or anything. Fires isn’t greatly prominent in dreams or anything else that I can attribute to be effected by my identity. I’ve had a number dreams where I’ve dealt with fire, but not near as many compared to other recurring themes or elements throughout my life. Its there in my interests and such, but not so much how I see myself as a feline directly. Yet turning to the Named, the use of fire is something that is extremely present as a trait among them as a whole. The discovery and implementation of fire is what sets the series off to a start after all in Ratha’s Creature and then fire and its use becomes a major source of conflict in the next novel, Clan Ground. Throughout the series, it shows how the Named learn to use fire for a verity of things such as for light, warmth, warding off other predators, and so on. However among the Named only those called firekeepers actually tend the fires and have been trained just like how those who are herders are the ones who actually work with the animals they herd and choose those they kill. So not all Named directly work or tend to the fires. So here is a fairly big negative more or less. An absence of any direct species identity connection to something found among the Named. I like fire and feel a connection to fire, but I have nothing in my species identity that directly connects to it or have any instinct to it.

My lack of being territorial as a feline identified person does though included a sense of being a bit of a “homebody” though. There are instincts and things I can see myself doing if I was a feline at play as well. Instincts to build a place to sleep. To build a den to “nest” in if you will. Even in dreams and such, if I am laying down for a time, I don’t simply find a spot, I often seek out a hole or covered spot of some sort. Beyond this, its rather hard for me to find words to convey how I feel about where my instincts lay about where I would view to sleep and rest if I was a feline. Its rather present and all, but hard to from into words. In our system’s inner world I do have a den I’ve made which I’ve had for a while. Growing up this act and impulse to have one at all confused me given many big cats aren’t the denning sort let alone using them just to rest in rather than strictly for maternal reasons. So the instinct to use and my use of one in our innerwold certainly seemed odd growing up. Now, throughout the series and regardless of season within the books, there are constant references to dens. As the Named are much more settled into a certain area the books often note the dens being not far off from the Named whether the youngest of the clan are able to move around and be taught, whether the breeding season is upon them, whether it’s the time of the year for the female to be gravid, during the time of birthing the cubs, and so on. Rather dens are a part of daily life though how often they are used throughout the year isn’t directly stated. In Ratha’s Creature, the adolescent Ratha and later expecting cubs Ratha sleeps in a den but also sleeps out in the open a number of times if a way from her den. There is also several references to dens being specifically lived in by certain individuals rather then they all simply being shared among them. In Clan Ground, the characters are referenced again a number of times using their dens throughout the book and even makes mention of also using dens to hold things in such as firewood and fire itself. In Ratha’s Courage, a number of Named get upset when one of the rumblers steps on and collapses a few dens and rather breathes a thanks that no one had been in the dens at the time. So I rather relate to how the Named act and find some similarity in my instincts that relate to the topic of making a den as a place to rest.

One little detail of my false past memories is the use of using something to carry fish and other aquatic creatures caught. It appears like a basic soft basket-like thing with a rope around it which can be looped around the neck. This falls well in line with my outlook of my species identity being something that is feline but on top of that does things like using basic tools or other such things. In Ratha and Thistle-Chaser, Ratha’s Challenge, and Ratha’s Courage, it is shown that the Named having trained their treelings to twist and weave long grass, bits a bark, branches, and/or other materials together to make things like rope, baskets, a sling to hold someone, and even a basic raft at least once. With these creations being used for various things from carrying wood to carrying food and so on. In Ratha’s Courage, Thistle-Chaser literally carriers some fish a distance using a basket through it is strapped to the back of a striper rather than herself.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve had some experiences and instinct on getting fish and other aquatic creatures by using rocks and large sticks to corral them. Similar to fishing weirs in a way. In Ratha and Thistle-Chaser, the Named began using poles and basic fences made out of branches and sticks to keep the seamares from escaping through the water. They also later use this to some extent around there herds as well as noted in Ratha’s Courage. So the former use especially seems very similar and familiar to my own experiences or things I’ve felt from my species identity on how I would do things if I was actually a feline and all. 

I was raised in an atheistic/non-religious family. I wasn’t raised to believe anything religiously/spiritually in general let alone of one belief system over another. Nevertheless, I’ve naturally anthropomorphized things around me and made stories out of natural phenomena. So as I got older, I naturally slid into a sort if animistic view on the world. So upon reading Clare Bell’s series, I vaguely related with their developing practice and views. Throughout the book, Clan Ground several Named are shown several times personifying fire in an almost spiritual way. Some Named also, at one point, tried to adopt taboos such as wanting those who approach the main fire to have bathed and that any Named who has burned as being a sign that the fire had acted against them. The Named also have several ritualistic practices, one being a “dance-hunt” to roughly reenacts the events of how fire being brought to the Named. Also in both Ratha’s Creature and Clan Ground is shows that the Named bury their dead while the Hearers of the Song ritualistically bring their dead up onto cliffs to be eaten by birds of prey to take them “into the air” as shown in Ratha’s Courage. However none of this really related to my species identity that I can ascertain. I connect with them here sure, but that is just that. There isn’t anything from my species identity that directly relate to it. So that is all that can be said there.

Any ideas on what I would be like if I was actually my species and other things that are connected to my species identity there is also another something else that comes up for me. The use of the hides of killed animals for a sort of crude clothing for lack of a better word. One example is a hood-like scrap of dried hide tied around the neck to keep water from obscuring sight or causing eyes to flinch. Rather simple and practical things. That one, I came to, in my early teens and I no longer remember exactly where it came from though. Regardless, its become a part of how I see my species identity acting if they existed. Inworld, I’ve never done such things though. However this sort of use of animals hides does not appear in any of Clare Bell’s series. Ratha’s Courage shows the Named using hides to create simple saddles, but nothing over anything to do with their bodies. So this trait I found in myself doesn’t fit what the Named have been shown to do though it could be something they are capable of given their innovation at times. 

Those are some of the tidbits in my experiences here and there that point to use of basic tools and whatnot as well as how they compare to this fictional species called the Named. Some of the traits match up rather well. Even the behaviors which don’t exactly fit still often has some semblance of something from the series sometimes. Which brings my comparison to an end in this essay.

Working on this essay was rather illuminating to me. In this act of combing through the Ratha and the Named series looking for physical, behavioral, and other traits of this fictional species I’ve found more resolve for myself as to why I call myself a Named fictionkin. I’ve written down my a number of my experiences and feelings and then compared them to the Named in the series. Its because of these similarities and resemblances that I changed from considering myself some random and unknown feline otherkin to calling myself a Named fictionkin. It fits well enough to use. It gets the idea of how I see myself and how I think of myself in species identity across very well. I use that similarity to my advantage to better describe my experiences and my identity. Thus as to why I consider myself Named fictionkin. 

Sources Other Than the Books:

[1] Bell, Clare. “Research Cougar/Cheetah,” RathasCourage.com, http://www.rathascourage.com/book/export/html/36 (accessed June 5 2014). 

[2] Rathacat (Clare Bell), “Dinaelurus illumina sapiens.” DeviantArt August 2 2007, http://rathacat.deviantart.com/art/Dinaelurus-illumina-sapiens-61257894 (accessed June 5 2014).

[3] Sheila Ruth, “Developing Dapplebacks,” May 8 2014, Kickstarer, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sheilaruth/rekindling-the-fire-rathas-creature-graphic-novel/posts/837748 (accessed June 9 2014).

[4] Bell, Clare. “Research Cougar/Cheetah,” Rathascourage.com, http://www.rathascourage.com/book/export/html/36 (accessed June 5 2014). 

[5] Rath8325 (Clare Bell), “Dinaelurus illumina.” Rathascourage.com , http://www.rathascourage.com/Dinaelurus%20illumina%20sapiens(accessed June 5 2014).

[6] Rath8325 (Clare Bell). “Ratha’s Creatures – The Named Clan Cats,” Rathascourage.com, http://www.rathascourage.com/2008/08/rathas-creatures-named-clan-cats.html (accessed June 28 2014)

[7] Rath8325 (Clare Bell). “Ratha’s Creatures – The Named Clan Cats,” Rathascourage.com, http://www.rathascourage.com/2008/08/rathas-creatures-named-clan-cats.html (accessed June 28 2014).