A lot of people were, I think, confused and hurt by what was likely perceived as a sudden departure from WrA. That's fair; that's legit. What's not fair or legit is the apparent speculation and rumors surrounding the why of this departure that have festered in the subsequent months--and now years--since. Honestly, I have really done my level best to let it go. I have tried not to think about our time on Wyrmrest, because, to be very honest, the whole enterprise was extraordinarily stressful for me from just about the get-go. There's an allure to RP servers that still exists--it's the same allure of all group RP, of the chance to really feel the magic of creativity by joining together with other talented people and making fun, awesome stories. And I'm not going to sit here and say that every moment was hellish and that none of it was fun or awesome, because, yeah, a lot of it was pretty cool.
But a lot of it was also fucking terrible.
Even aside from the specific situation I'm about to discuss, there were a lot of problems. Avali is not only a great artist, she's also (tho she won't admit this) a great storyteller, and a very fun and generous roleplayer. At first, things were merely frustrating--people would know of Avali by her art rep, and try to ingratiate themselves. Please believe that I have seen folks literally think they were owed some art after a few hours RP with us (the hilarious thing was--and this was acknowledged by many on the WraNet forums--Avali constantly drew people gift art ANYWAY. Never enough, though. Nothing is ever enough for an entitled roleplayer). This happened on multiple occasions, but initially they were just interruptions to a generally okay experience.
And then we became more active. Then Avali had the idea for the Crimson Elite, for an inclusive group of do-gooders that could foster numerous storylines and generate RP ideas for a lot of people at once. And it did. We let just about anyone who wasn't an overt villain join, and if you WERE an overt villain, we were happy to play against you. We were wholly indiscriminate in our RP. Avali did her level best to make friends with just about anyone she ever talked to, and at first, I think she actually was. But the thing is that, as you gain in friends and 'renown' and 'e-fame' and whatever, you start to have less and less time to devote to individuals overall.
At the height of the Crimson Elite's operations, Avali would get metaphorically bodyslammed by many different folks every time she logged in. There was literally not enough time in the day to address everyone AND RP AND do art AND go to work AND maybe, like, not be on the fucking server 24/7.
Please guess how many people gave a shit about these facts. If you guessed 'almost no one', you'd be correct. Now guess how many people gave her HELL about these facts. If you guessed 'almost everyone', then, grats, you're two for fucking two.
Listen. I'm her best goddamn friend and, during that time on WrA, we roleplayed exactly ONE wholly personal storyline that lasted for maybe a WEEK and that STILL had jackasses trying to roll in and make it about them (a storyline I wrote just for Avali that picked up on one of our old, pre-WrA threads). Adrasteius barely got alone time with Avali, and they're FUCKING MARRIED. WITH A CHILD.
Did that bug me? Of course it did. Did I suck it up and press on? Yes, because Avali was under a mountain of stress trying to make everyone happy. Unfortunately, the adage that trying to make everyone happy results in no one being happy has more than a ring of truth to it.
You might be wondering at this point, OK, Lyn, what does this have to do with TLF and company? I'm getting there. You need to understand the context first, so that you can grasp how fully and utterly angry I was and have been.
One of the first guilds that Avali befriended was this somewhat-not-really-undercover black market outfit called the Felnight Syndicate. Avali roleplayed quite a bit with them in the pre-CE days, and remained involved after that; a couple of their people even joined up with us. I can't speak to the guild storyline--I just know Adra disapproved because he found out they were involved in shady-ass business (drugs or slavery or something) and he has an extraordinarily rigid sense of morality. As things in the CE became more intense with the Cult of the Forgotten and the Murder Row buffoons, and, again, as Avali's popularity increased, her time to just hang out with individual groups lessened. So I can believe that maybe some folks felt neglected, or left out, or things along those lines.
Here's the thing, though. No one is psychic. If you don't go to someone and say, hey, I'm feeling a little distant from you lately. How can we fix this?--then don't fucking expect it to be fixed. The other problem is that roleplayers as a whole are a bunch of lazy fucks. Don't deny it. We want to be a part of something, but we don't want to do the work of creating whatever that something is. We want someone else to write the plot, to figure out the logistics, to make sure everyone is included and feels like a snowflake. And you know what? Avali and I were happy to do those things. But they take a lot of work, effort, and time, and in the end, probably not everyone is going to get to be a snowflake. If you want to feel like the star of a storyline, then you need to write your own goddamn story. People expected Avali to essentially create situations in which they were the most important and she was this side-character coming in to facilitate their heroism or their suffering. Again, happy to help. But when it came to our 'main' CE storylines--yes, Clarion and Adrasteius were the protagonists. Because it was our fucking group.
OK. So now you're aware of the context here. You're aware that Avali was pretty known on the server. People were on her ass for free art, for attention, for storylines. She was an active force, always ready to jump into a scene or start a scene, and I was often right there with her, because both of our characters have extremely strong personalities. My first memory of Nikkitah came from one of these random events. I can't remember the exact situation, just that Avali was trying to intervene on some matter happening 'round near the Blood Knight enclave. Nikkitah doesn't take kindly to Avali's interference and he shouts something at Adra along the lines of wanting him to drag her away, Neanderthal style, by the hair. A kind of 'control your woman' thing.
Adrasteius feels like this is kinda misogynistic, and I think he asked Nik why he hated women so much or something along those lines, lmao. The point of this is that Nik then FLIPPED OUT on me in whispers for daring to suggest that their character was misogynistic, despite the fact that Nikkitah constantly employed misogynistic, slut-shaming language (including very liberal usage of the word 'cunt', whenever possible) in his dealings with people. It was mind-boggling, and I think it set a kind of antagonistic tone between us from then on, because I wasn't buying it. You can't walk around bragging about how you stabbed a pregnant woman (which Nik was doing at the time), about how such and such person is a filthy slut and a cunt, and then turn around and try to say that isn't misogyny. I was baffled because, hey, my own character wasn't the nicest kid in the sandbox (and he was definitely a prude), but I fully admitted that. I also was/am quick to moderate his language around people who don't log in to hear that kind of shit (though he never called anyone a cunt, as I hate that word, and feel the ooglies just typing it right now).
Let's fast forward a bit. Our interactions with TLF are few and remain generally antagonistic. The only other one that sticks out in my mind is one incident that took place outside of Adra's in-game 'house'. Most of TLF's current membership ganged up on him and some other CE people and were hurling insults, based primarily on homosexual slurs (due, I guess, to the fact that Adra is a very thin mage and wears robes). It was really ridiculous and childish, and it cemented Adra's IC opinion that TLF = trash.
Fast forward some mo'. Avali is still friends with the Felknight kids AFAIK, and some of them have gotten closer to Nik and crew, particularly some fellas named Despil and Gamble. Eventually, Felnight itself disbands, but a channel of the same name remains. Some time after that, Avali and I prepare to have an IRL visit from some friends we've made in game, both of whom have had close dealings with TLF. Their names were Renalar/Taire and Raliam/Sunsteel.
I want to make this clear. Taire and Raliam were VISITING US. IN PERSON. AT OUR GODDAMN HOUSE, in the last few weeks of August, 2010.
One afternoon, we're all waking up, milling around, waiting for everyone in the house to get ready so that we can go to lunch. While we hang out and wake up, we log in to WoW. We're in Dalaran, which is generally removed from the RP scene (Silvermoon was the hip-hopping-est place for RP at the time, especially for us, as we were largely blood elves). We stood in a circle and were just being very silly and not even entirely IC, because you know, messing around while we waited to go to lunch.
In a blog dated 8/28, Treue writes the following:
"I was in Dalaran this morning to drop off a few things and purchase others. On my way to the baked goods vendor I stumbled across, surprise of surprise, Raliam, the prodigal paladin. And a gaggle of Silvermoon trash. The usual suspects, so popular, so polished, so hypocritical. Self proclaimed lovers of peace, pragmatic, paragons of nobility…They were insulting Nikkitah like boys in a school yard. Their parents should have hugged them more, then perhaps they wouldn’t be left with this desperate need to be appealing and the center of attention."
This tells me a couple of things. First, given how they've treated us in the past and especially given info from current sources, I find it hard to believe that this was not both an IC and OOC opinion of our group. Second, it shows that Treue had an AWARENESS that we were in a GROUP TOGETHER. We were obviously hanging out. No, there was no way for him to intrinsically know that we were all together in person, but it's plain that Raliam was OCCUPATO. Treue ignores this and pulls Raliam away. The blog continues:
"I told Raliam to come with me. He came only when his new master’s dropped his leash. My disgust was palpable. I know Nikkitah felt it through our connection. He warned me against harming Sunsteel, lest his new ‘friends’ whimper to some corrupt ‘law’ office. That Death Knight is at it again! Boo hoo! I’ve been arrested once in conjunction with someone else’s crime. I have no criminal record, the can, to be blunt, blow me. I took Sunsteel to the Dragon’s Temple and tried to speak to him there. He was vague, distant and distracted. He seemed passive and whipped, a cowering dog under my gaze. He fled the conversation, likely called away by his Mistress, before I could give him the dignity of a clean farewell. He is no longer my son. I am not sure who he is now, but I won’t claim him."
'Fled the conversation' is a veiled reference to the fact that Raliam had been away for a while and we were all ready and waiting for lunch, so Avali playfully grabbed the keyboard, said 'Hey, lunch now, bye' (in so many words ...) and we left.
CUE SHITSTORM, Y'ALL.
After Raliam and Taire went home, we finally log in to play for real, and are greeted with massive drama, because apparently interrupting that scene had offended Nikkitah and Treue (and everyone else they knew, by extension) to THEIR VERY CORE. Avali (and me, though I don't give a fuck) are kickbanned from the felnight channel, and Avali receives a--no fucking joke--four or five page LETTER OF HATE from this Despil character. The hate letter has two main premises: you ignored us and you were oh so deliberately nasty and malicious to our new best bros Nikkitah and Treue, therefore you are a despicable person whom we hate forever unto eternity.
I actually wish that was hyperbole. It was not.
Here's how I felt about it: yeah, if someone interrupted my plot-important scene, I'd be aggrieved, sure, and once Avali was apprised of the scene's importance, she was truly and sincerely apologetic. But. Also.
I would never fucking start a plot-key scene with someone who was obviously pre-occupied. I do plot-key scenes on a SCHEDULE because people HAVE LIVES and OBLIGATIONS. And Raliam was OBVIOUSLY OCCUPIED WITH US. Yeah, it sucks that your scene got interrupted. But you know what? It never should have been started at that time in the first place, and the reaction to the issue was ridiculously disproportionate to ANYONE'S intentions in the matter. It was fucking disgusting.
And what did Nikkitah care about in this? Was he worried about anyone's feelings? Was he concerned for the RIDICULOUS hate that Avali got over a simple mistake? No.
All Nikkitah cared about--all they've ever cared about--is how people would see them and their guild. Reputation was what mattered. That's what Nikkitah whispered me to discuss. He wanted to make sure that no one would think it was his or his friends' fault, when, yes, obviously, it was. Obviously this event happened and then Treue and Nikkitah proceeded to flip shit in the Felnight channel (rather than deal with things maturely and calmly, like rational people do), which prompted Despil to write his Sermon 'O Hate. That Despil mixed in his own weird, NEVER BEFORE AIRED issues is, to me, almost entirely separate from the fact that he was clearly motivated by TLF's anger at Avali to write this missive and encourage everyone from that channel to outright turn their backs on Avali, including the people who were in the CE at the time (and left right after, due to this). You will never convince me that whatever tantrum they threw--and everyone who's spent any time with Nik and Treue knows that they constantly throw epic tantrums over the slightest fucking thing--wasn't the catalyst for that letter and for the cold treatment by people who previously claimed to be friends. It was gross then. It's gross now.
But when I talked to Nikkitah, I tried to be diplomatic, for the sake of reducing drama, and for the sake of not putting any more stress on my best friend. I kept my mouth shut. I kept it shut for years, even after we had left the server and declared most of our WrA canon invalid. I tried to let it go. I did.
But PEOPLE KEPT BRINGING IT UP. EVERY time I talk to someone I know from WrA, they ALWAYS mention how people have some shit to say about Avali and me. And sources right up in the face of TLF tell me how Nik and Treue bring it up, too. How could I move on from this when you people won't shut the fuck up about it? I couldn't. Especially since I still felt bound and gagged not to say anything, as, in our wake, Nikkitah had inexplicably gained a lot of support from people who seemed passionate, reasonable and intelligent. I attributed this to the 'Part of Something' phenomenon I mentioned earlier. People (and I include myself mind) will look past/justify all kinds of foolishness if they feel like they're part of a fun and cool storyline. And because TLF kept a lot of their stuff close to the chest and seemed intriguing and charismatic, I can see how folks would be drawn in. But it burned my black heart to see Nikkitah et al posting about compassion and friendship and other crap on dear_gnome, as though Nikkitah has ever had an ounce of compassion for anyone aside from his own reputation in his entire online life. He hasn't. He is a fucking sociopath and a VIOLENT, VIOLENT misogynist. His and Treue's distate for women and for sex are so intense as to be just about pathological, and these hatreds are absolutely not restricted to an IC stance.
I knew the fullness of time would reveal this. But until then, I had to wait, and steam. And boy, how I steamed when I read THIS gem of a post, found by accident, on the TLF site. This post makes me physically fucking sick.
First, Nikkitah posts PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE between him and Avali, done, I assure you, without permission. Then, he goes on to spend the entire post wringing his hands and deflecting blame. Here's the most interesting and infuriating section:
"And I know it may be tempting to blame us because of the forum thread, in which one of our associates tried to remind people that even the most lofty RPers had their critics and were not quite so golden in their own golden age. But please recall that their comments were regarding the RP tactics used at the time and the controversy that surrounded them, not Avali as a person."
Although I never saw that thread, I know from sources (and from the magic of archives) that the 'associate' was Treue. I don't know what was said about us, but I'd love to hear what exactly 'RP tactics' means. Because our RP tactics were never anything but generous and inclusive, to the best of our abilities. We always tried to make people feel welcome and important. Did this always happen? No, of course not, especially not as CE's ranks swelled (due to us, again, letting just about everyone join). But to call this stance controversial? Please.
Unless, of course, you're referring to an issue that's personal to you, in which you started a scene with someone whom you knew full well was busy with other people at the time of you pulling them away.
That entire post, and that paragraph in particular, are disgustingly disingenuous. But that's you, Nikkitah. You treat people terribly, you hurt them, you lash out at them, and then you pull back and wring your hands and mewl whenever it seems like this behavior might be aired to the public. I've had issues with a number of people on WrA, but you two are the absolute worst. And you're competing against a guy who once tried to legitimately force Avali into an ERP scene via whispers, man. THAT'S REAL BAD.
You are to blame. You were always to blame. And who stepped up in the wake of this gross behavior and defended Avali? Who was there for us when we were dealing with this betrayal from people who had claimed to be friends, who had never until that moment expressed any problem or issue?
And that's why we left.
If you'd like to challenge me on this telling, I'd be happy to engage in a reasonable way, and am fully prepared to admit my own faults and failings. But if you try to shift blame, if you are disingenuous, if you tell STRAIGHT UP LIES, then please remember that you are dealing with me, here, not Avali. Not the nice one. And I will rip your fucking head off if you try to justify the insane amount of bullying my friend endured at the hands of this server. Come at me.