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by Ted Kern

A little over one year ago, on January 29th, 1998 , a LegendMUD player I only know as Karyn was killed in a tragic car accident with a friend, as well as the driver of the other car involved. I never knew or met Karyn, but reading about her made me think about the people who I have become close to on Discworld mud.

Sometimes we get so blinded by the fact that we are playing a game, trying to discover its mechanics, solve the riddles, achieve powerful levels, that we forget about the real people that we pass by on the imaginary streets every day. Sometimes it is only through tragedy that we can appreciate what it is that we have, and what we have lost.

When I became aware of Karyn's story, it moved me deeply, and I went to a page devoted in her memory. I wrote a letter, perhaps as much for myself as for Karyn. Recently, Pinkfish saw a copy of it, and asked if I would like to share it with Imaginary Realities.

A Friend Who Never Knew You

We have never met, I have never played this mud, and did not even know of your name until I heard your sorrowful tale today. Still, the story of your tragedy has touched me deeply, and I sit here with wet eyes, and heavy heart, for it has made me think about the relationships I have developed online, playing Discworld.

We play 'games' like this one here on the Internet, often without realizing how our actions affect real people, perhaps thousands of miles away, on the other side of a telnet session. We form friendships that outgrow the boundaries of any simple 'game', sometimes, we even fall in love. How can this be, that we experience such profound emotion from a game, with people that we have never met face to face?

We engage in role-playing games, but more often than not, wind up playing the role of ourselves, whether we realize it or not, and it 'humanizes' the game. People begin to know us by our speech, emotes, and actions, and it unerringly gives them a picture into our soul, into our true selves.

I have read many heart felt goodbyes to you, and know at least one person who did know you, and they all say how wonderful a person you were while you were here. If you were still with us here on Earth, you may not have known the extent that people cared for and depended upon you, and many of them may not have understood their own feelings for you.

It is my hope that those that read of your story will reflect upon the relationships that they have built, playing these 'games', and try to realize the importance of building lasting, caring friendships wherever possible, because life is fleeting, and we never know when we may be called to His side, leaving things undone, and unsaid.

I wish I could have known you, but I will have to wait to meet you until some time in the future, when I pass beyond the bonds of Earth myself. I never knew you, but I miss you just the same.

I hope and pray that you have found peace, and know that you shall eternally dwell in the house of God. Farewell Karyn, you have earned your place in the heavens.

Ted Kern/aka Broadman on Discworld mud

Red Roses

Shortly after Karyn's passing, the creators at LegendMUD created a garden for her, and for the countless other players who over time have left for perhaps unknowable reasons. Below is a description of the garden:

The Garden of Remembrance

This ever-lit room exists in memory of the people that had brought light to the land of Legend and left us prematurely. The grass grows soft and green,the sky above seems always to be a perfect, endless blue. The memories of friendship and laughter and joy abound. A rose garden lies to the east and a quiet pond to the west. An imposing arch of trees leads out to the north.

A small tree is here, lovingly planted in memory of Karyn.
A brass plaque has been placed in front of the tree.
A bouquet of flowers, with a card from Fairfax is sitting in front of a small tree.
A circlet of red roses is sitting in front of a small tree.
A flower basket is sitting in front of a small tree.
A green rose from Flagg is sitting in front of a small tree.
A bunch of wildflowers is sitting in front of a small tree.
A red rose from Sandra is sitting in front of a small tree.
A red rose from Zandy is sitting in front of a small tree.
A red rose, with a card from Bronwyn is sitting in front of a small tree.

For some, mudding is simply an outlet, a way to relieve the stress of the day, an experience that ends when they disconnect for the evening. To them, it is a way to leave themselves, to become people they are not in the real world, to do things they can't in a rigid society, and, if they happen to meet an ally along the way, all the better.

Others bring more with them when they log on than just a desire to escape reality for a few hours. They bring themselves, their personalities, and their feelings with them, and while there is nothing wrong with the former type of player, it is the latter that touches the lives of others so profoundly, it is they who make a mud truly special.

Ted Kern is Broadman and Delta from Discworld mud, and also from Legend mud.