Being Otter

An essay by Proffessor Fhnrk

Otters. This is what we call ourselves. Zwergs, Groots, Whillins or Nords, it makes no difference. We all belong to that one big family of lutrine beings. Yet what does it truly mean to be an otter?

We think of ourselves as people. Higher in intellect and creativity than common beasts, able to manipulate our environment to suit ourselves and our purposes, capable of more noble purposes than mere self-preservation or blind obedience to instinct. Often we assume that this is simply a natural expression of being an otter. But is it truly? We know, some of us from personal experience, that otters who live in other parts of the world do not behave the same way those of us here on the island do. In the next few minutes, we shall explore some of the differences between otters of the island and those of the wild, and then explore some of the possible reasons for these differences. Last of all, we will discuss possible implications of these differences.

Possibly the most obvious difference is the tendancy of those of us who live on the island to make things. We create furniture for our homes, we craft toys for our children. We cook elaborate meals while our cousins are content to eat merely raw fish. We build houses with windows and doors while others around the world are content with simple dirt burrows and kelp beds. Even more profound is our tendancy to stand and walk upright, leaving our hands free for other tasks. It is not that we cannot walk on all fours, as indeed many of us do, but we choose to remain upright. Our relatives in distant lands do not. For them, walking upright is problematic, at best. Less noticable than all of these, but still just as meaningful, is the fact that we create art. While other cultures have their legends and folklore, passed down from generation to generation, there is simply nothing new, or at least very little.

What causes these differences? There are many theories. The first and most popular theory states that the island itself, with its aura of magic, makes us more inteligent and thus able to use our brains more efficiently. While this is certainly a widespread theory, it cannot explain the phenomena in full, for if this were the case, surely every creature on Otter Island would share our lifestyle. The second theory is that we have developed these tendancies, shared by humans, because our gene pool has become heavily infused with human blood. Certainly this is true, given the fact that purely lutrine ancestors have interbred with kushtaka, transformed humans and extradimensional otters with human traits. Yet this theory fails to explain why newcomers to the island take to our lifestyle so quickly. The third theory is that because the magic of Otter Island allows us to communicate freely, breaching the language barrier by allowing us to understand all languages perfectly, we have a much freer exchange of ideas than our kindred, enabling us to advance our society thereby. Yet if this were so, then large populations of wild otters sharing a common language would have advanced considerably as well. Personally, this otter believes that the truth lies in a combination of all the aforementioned factors.

What, then, does this mean for our society? Do our differences from our wild brothers mean that we have a seperate destiny, purpose or fate? While some would argue that our differences are superficial, others see a seperation in our futures and our purposes. One may easily debate that our seemingly advanced intelect gives us the mandate to act with greater responsibility. Without a doubt, we have learned that assuming responsibility for ourselves and one another has led to a drastic improvement in our quality of life over the ages. We have also come to accept that our people are the first line of defense against invaders from beyond the dimensional gate. Were we to live the hedonistic lifestyle of our wild ancestors, this could never be so. And while the future is mostly a matter of speculation, it is reasonable to assume that our advancement will continue, and that we will become a physically, mentally and spiritually strong people as time goes on and we endeavour to improve ourselves.

What does it mean to be an otter of Otter Island? It means that we are more than merely common beasts. We are beautiful creations. We are people, and as people, fashioned in the image of the creator.