Author: Bakure Mazayed
Submitted for raising to Soldier
Why should writing a short paper about one of my favorite subjects be so difficult? I've read all of the Wheel of Time books a minimum of three times, I’ve debated questions ranging from, 'Who shot Asmodean?' to 'How many Black Ajah sisters are there in the Tower?' So what's slowing down the flow of words? It'd be easy to write a short paper on Saldaean customs, but the only thing that you'd actually get from it would be a sentence or two each of us could write in our sleep? 'Saldaea yada yada yada. Ice Peppers yada yada yada. Sa'sara yada yada yada.' From that point forward, it would be random babbling that nobody would actually pay attention to. So what will I write about? I'll write about the thing that really holds the Tower together, Friendship.
Most of us arrive at the shores of our virtual Tar Valon searching for the same thing: the date of the next novel's release. We're amazed by the amount of WoT information contained within the Library and slightly puzzled by the sometimes-cryptic exchanges between senior members. Our curiosity piqued- we submit our citizen application and sometimes even read the Constitution a couple of times before making our introduction post. That's when we all find ourselves hooked. Someone responds almost immediately to us, in a positive way. The words are warm and inviting with offers of help in getting settled into our new world. We begin meeting each other through little exchanges in the welcome threads. There's always a new person who's joined within the past few days whom we have an affinity for. We team up and decide to take the site by storm. Quickly getting adjusted to the ways of life in TarValon, we post so much that our post counts quickly rivals Bale's totals (23). Then it happens. A bolt of lightning strikes from on high, sending us into an ever tightening spiral of time management issues- we've discovered IRC.
IRC draws us into the world of real time chatting online. We find ourselves learning little snippets of Internet lingo that was previously hidden from our view. We develop mighty multitasking skills where we learn how to chat with the main room and at least four individual windows. We play games like Truth or Dare, WoTergories and Get the Picture while learning the truth behind '!pants' and the amazingly incriminating '!quote'. Within a few weeks of joining the site we find ourselves trying to explain the site to our RL friends and family. Our significant RL friends and family treat us just like we would treat them if they came home and announce that they've joined a cult. There’s fear for our safety from evil people who reside on the net to snare unwary travelers. Parents become concerned when their nice young 14-year-old daughter tells them that she's become an Accepted! Their children are chatting with adults and other kids from around the world. It’s hard for them to understand that there are others out there who share their good values and want noting more than to share their love of Fantasy and Magic literature with others.
We log on and check out of reality immediately upon arriving home every night and spend hours with our online friends. Like all intense romances though, such heat building in a short time can lead to a cooling off period. We find ourselves so involved in our online lives that our relationships suffer. Eventually someone or something snaps and our house of cards comes crashing down. We may stay away for a weeks or months or even a year, and some people never return for more than a parting wave goodbye, but some intrepid souls find a way to balance real life and an online life blending them into a new and unique entity for a new age, our real life online family.
Regards, Recruit Bakure Mazayed Of the White Tower