Elana art, commissioned with love by The Harlequin’s Den.
My name is not Elana.
I am in my twenties.
I joined TSW in the Winter of 2013, though I have been involved with pre-release ARGs since 2009.
TSW was a gift between myself and my older sibling, who attends medical school in a different country.
My earliest screenshots are of the two of us in Kingsmouth together; together in-game, apart IRL.
He will graduate and become a doctor this Spring; we hope you can join us to finish his elites before he logs off to start his residency!
Screenshots in my experience have always been about preserving narratives between players and characters; what was initially a way to remember time with my brother has turned to portraiture for player-characters, cabals and communities over the past two years.
I have recently completed my own university studies, and am dividing my time between work and world travel.
I’ve been to over 30 different countries throughout my university career. I do a lot of research and conference work, but mostly I just like travel!
I’ve met some of my best friends abroad or through gaming. My personal social medias have been deleted for over a year now, one of the most freeing personal decisions I ever made.
I’m not entirely sure how I got to love TSW so much, because I was cripplingly shy of MMOs in the past; a bit counterintuitive, I know. But if you want the perspective of someone who played TSW solo with no pugs whatsoever for half a year, I’m your player. It wasn’t until I transferred to Arcadia and gave RP a try that I started finding my voice as a player.
Pointing with two fingers, he thumped his hand heavily over his chest near his heart, reaching across to do the same to his attentive student. “This–” he muttered solemnly, “–is your most important asset. All pain is power, all joy is power. Find it, use it.” He breathed heavily through his nostrils, pausing for effect.
“But.” He warned, “Promise me. Promise. Do not forget your own, do not harm your own, do not break your own. You notice the world offers plenty of harm by itself–don’t allow yourself a drink from the same glass. You must promise you’ll be better to you than I ever was to me.”
Player is venturing out of town, will return in early October.
Thank you for visiting Xaia, and see you soon in the secret world.
Nassir leads a dance party with Beyond The Veil.
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It had been months since I last saw him.
I stood at the bottom of the stairs at the Franklin Mansion, listening and feeling the dense energy of the crowd, strangers and couples enjoying themselves. It always takes me a few minutes of breathing and concentration before I can make my way to the second floor.
Yaksha walked in through the front door…and he looked so different. I was used to seeing a confident man head to toe in a red suit, cunning and charming, self-assured. My face fell to worry when I saw him, pale and underweight, unkempt and dressed heavily in black, his red trilby exchanged for a strange cap. He never did like it when I, or anyone else really, touched his hair.
His appearance wasn’t the only thing that changed; the enigmatic cynicism I always knew him for was magnified nearly tenfold as he approached me. His green eyes contrasted heavily against his mask, their expression taut between despair and relief. It’s never quite clear with him, but he was a mentally heavy presence to behold, depressed with unanswerable questions, not so much a shade of who he ‘once’ was—simply different, changed, shifted.
He was agitated at the crowd’s edge, so we retreated to the adjacent room to talk. Nothing I could say, whether helpful or exploratory, seemed to change his disposition. How do I describe what he endures? How do I articulate his pains, his mysteries? We spoke and held each other the way several months of distance could never change–with care, secrecy and grace.
I know he no longer sees in me the lost Bee losing her mind in Kaidan, and I no longer saw the confident mentor who took it upon himself to save my soul.
Perhaps we never changed at all. Perhaps we only grew closer to who we were meant to be.
Matsunaga Toru’s last emotional traces as a sane human were detected here. Kan’ami implored that I equip his mask and gather a more detailed assessment together, where we then found ourselves surrounded in near-opaque swirls of deep blue, turning to black.
I was temporarily stunned by a sharp, cranial pressure typical of when I encounter Filth, and Kan’ami was unable to help directly, choosing to recite poetry in old church slavonic just to keep me from fainting as I doubled back to the safehouse. I wish I could always have him around, for he provides a sense of order to the otherwise colorless, intangible disorder of emotion that Gaia assumes I should be able to curate on my own.
What I saw in Okinawa that night was true, only now confirmed by the discovery of the cot in the alley: Toru ran, hid there, and eventually succumbed to his infection alone. The Filthed man I met elsewhere in Okinawa was true. The man speaking as a survivor to that insipid talk show by QBL was not true. The man talking to QBL must have been carved, sculpted, and socialized to act like Toru. I’m sure of it…at least, his children don’t seem to notice.
Kan’ami is not the first consciousness I have met that now inhabits material culture. I doubt he will be the last. But he has helped reinforce in me the importance of an empath’s utility, when others would pass me aside in favor of a more shrewd or stoic combatant.
I hope to see him again.