The passing of a friend

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Chit
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Re: The passing of a friend

Post by Chit »

Dear Robert, Trude and Mia,

Mats was a real friend to me. There's no doubt about it. We joined Starlight at almost the same time; I think Ibelin was a few weeks ahead of me. We were both rogues, skilled in the arts of opening lockboxes. In Ibelin's case, a Lord of noble family brought low and growing up in the streets, becoming an investigative detective, looking for love. In Chit's case, a smart dyslexic orphan in a large medieval extended family that thinks she is stupid, breaking out to become a cub reporter, then an editor of Gizmopolitan Magazine (www.gizmopolitan.co.uk - sadly before she knew Ibelin), then a member and finally officer of Starlight.

Ibelin had red hair and a ponytail and Chit always had a weakness for a guy with a ponytail. He was a Lord by birth, and she was a guttersnipe. There was a lot of wariness, but growing friendship. They never had a romantic relationship. But she gave him down-to-earth advice on relationships and marriage - none of which he took! He was an incurable romantic, and had considerable success with women, always pursuing and relating to one person, and then after a period when the romance wore off, falling for another. He was a great listener.

Two little things that played out over all the years they were friends, were skipping pebbles and cheating.

I remember a race where you had to run a bit, then climb, then swim back to the finish line. Chit had a belt that had a swimming enchant - you could swim 10% faster than people without it. Chit was completely, unashamedly competitive and she beat Ibelin in the race and jumped around crowing about her success. Ibelin accused her of cheating, and she retorted that there wasn't a rule against it. "It's still cheating!" he said. "It's cheating Within The Rules!" she answered. Ibelin never forgot that oh so unfair defeat, and would mutter darkly about "Cheating within the rules" on several occasions. I could tell Mats was tweaked by being competitive too, just like I am, but it was all taken in good part and we laughed at ourselves, using our characters.

On another occasion, Ibelin was feeling hurt when some other characters disapproved of his actions and let him know it (I can't remember why; it was probably letting a lady down due to having 'commitment issues'). Chit and Ibelin had a long talk at dusk, by the sea. It was a golden moment, two people talking honestly. And interspersed with the talking, Chit picked up a pebble and tried to skip a stone over the water. "Plop." The stone sank without any sign of skipping. Ibelin picked up a flat stone and showed Chit how to do it, skipping it once, twice, three times. Told her to pick a small, flat stone . Told her the secret was in the flick of the wrist, all she needed was practice. Again and again she tried and failed. In the end he was skipping his stone 4 times, while she only achieved a "plop" each time and could only admire his skill.

Every now and again, maybe a couple of years later, we'd revisit the memory just by trying again to skip stones. Only once did Chit ever manage to skip a stone - it skipped twice! And wouldn't you know it, everyone was looking in the wrong direction. (Because of the way the game works, everyone around, including Ibelin, knew out of character that she'd achieved it, but in character they'd all missed it.) All she could do was sigh. But Ibelin believed her.

---

World of Warcraft and Starlight were truly a second life for Mats, in which he had a physical presence and freedom that his illness denied him in real life. He wanted us to see him as Ibelin (and Jerome), to be an equal member of a strong band. (Although he did have a terrible tendency to get shot in the back by Starlight's enemies, in the early days.) He was a stalwart. A core member of the team. I knew Mats was behind the avatar, and his musings gave a real understanding of his challenges. I was so glad he trusted us enough to share this with us, and that Irenya gently encouraged him to speak to her in real life. I think it took him time to realise that he was with friends, that he'd come home, and we truly saw the real person and liked him for who he was. Sometimes that is easier when you communicate in text, and there are no assumptions based on age or what you look like.

He had a second life which we all shared, and we are all the better for having known him. I have cried several times since I heard the news, and I'll do so again. We have lost a wonderful spirit. Thank you Ibelin, for your friendship and your trust. You gave us all so much. You will always be a part of Starlight, held in our hearts.

Thank you so much Robert, for posting here. I will reread your post several times, I know. I had spoken to Mats after the scare when he was so ill a few months ago, saying that if he was taken badly again we would want to know and have him in our thoughts. What he said to you is so much how we feel about him. Just because we were never in the same room, doesn't make the strength of our feelings any less.

With love to all of you and a hope you'll join us when we celebrate our friendship on Sunday.

We'll never forget Mats, he lives on in our memories. And we've all been changed by him.

Anne (Chit)
Rumour
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Re: The passing of a friend

Post by Rumour »

I met Ibelin a long time ago, roughly 8 years have passed, back even before he joined Starlight. I remember strolling through Elwynn Forest near the lake of Goldshire, and finding him at a campfire with a friend of his. His half shocked reply to my teasing comments and sharing jokes over the flames. This was how I came to know the core of Ibelin, aka Mats. We'd spend long, long nights chatting, roleplaying and just messing around, and he always always kind, warm and a great friend - especially during one of the most tough times of my life.

Even when I was unable to log onto WoW for an extended period, he kept in contact with me through email and messenger, letting me know I was not alone and that I was missed. He was light in a dark place for me, and I have the letters and stories that he wrote to me still.

Even later on, where we had contact on and off, mainly due to my stupid teenish anger streaks (of which I cannot say how much I am sorry for those), when we met up we had a laugh and chat like nothing happened. We'd jest, tease, and I'd shove you into the water (sometimes with Tikal) and then you'd grumble a little and then turn around and do it right back. You always saw things on the bright side (well, not always on Ibelin, but eh!), tried to help where you could and be friendly to others (even when it sometimes wasnt deserved).

I'm happy for the time we got to spend together, and sad for the times we missed.

May you rest well, fox. I hope that whatever place you are in now is wonderful and great, that its always summer there, and they should be goddamn happy with you there because you are/were/whatever a truly great and wonderful person, and that perhaps in the future I can join you and then playfully shove you into the water there.

With love,
Rumour

-------
[Adding stories of the roleplays later here, at the moment just too sad..]
Arezoth
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Re: The passing of a friend

Post by Arezoth »

It has been several years since my last contact with Ibelin, but upon being reached out to (many thanks to Reike for that) I felt obliged to write what remains of him in my memory.

Ibelin was a kind, gentle and giving man. Although I did not know him intimately, I can safely say that I had met him enough to know that he was bright spark of a soul. I was never a part of the Starlight guild, I had the pleasure of meeting them on a rare occasion when our paths crossed and each time it was a pleasure to meet the members I did, especially Ibelin.

One little nugget I remember of him fondly is when he walked me through writing a valentine's card in Norwegian, which was both highly entertaining, and showed how much he loved to give to others selflessly.

Sorry that I cannot write much, but my heartfelt condolences go out towards his whole family, to the Starlight community and everyone else who he touched throughout his life. May he rest peacefully now.

Warmest regards to all,
Arezoth/James
Nomine
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Re: The passing of a friend

Post by Nomine »

The funeral will be the 28.11 in Oslo/Norway (Vestre gravlund kapell - which is central in Oslo) at 14:30 Norwegian time.

We have been invited to say a few words during the ceremony, which I feel is the right and good thing to do. For me to be able to express the feelings from those here,please post in this thread or PM me, so I can write a good farwell on behalf of Starlight and those who RPed with him over the years.

With everybody`s permission. - I will post the farwell in here after.
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Re: The passing of a friend

Post by Nomine »

We have arranged for a Starlight tabard for him/his family. Feels like a fitting gesture/farwell from Starlight, in addition to the words of course
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Scruffles
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Re: The passing of a friend

Post by Scruffles »

Hello, everyone - I may not be very-well known to the majority of Starlight or Jerome/Mat's family, but I roleplayed Scruffles/Walter back on Steamwheedle Cartel, and then onto Argent Dawn. Jerome (as I/my character mainly knew him) and I had been RPing together back and forth throughout Stormwind for several months, partaking in the usual shenanigans, but we really got to know each-other better after Starligtht initially disbanded. Jerome joined Sole Circle for which I was guildmaster, and he soon became a very grounded presence in the guild, attending nearly every single event and always very eager to contribute and offer insight into events and roleplay.

The majority of our time spent together involved messing around in Stormwind, and when I first met Jerome, I came to know him as a young-hearted cowboy, both the character and the player. Jerome eventually crossed my character's path through their shared enjoyment of strong drink, and soon enough they began a small 'crusade' together that lasted the better part of two years: to drink as much as they could and instigate what I would deem general 'LADness,' (I recommendd checking a website called the LADBible for the type of standard). Whilst my character was, to put it lightly, a bit of a nutcase, Jerome kept him in check on their various booze-ups and before long, they managed to attract several others to the cause. When our gang reached about six people, Jerome started off a little tradition of wearing white shirts whenever our characters went around Stormwind to go drinking, and so the group name 'White Shirts' was coined. Jerome even created an entire song about the group, with lyrics about each individual member all set up in a nifty macro for whenever we happened to be out gallivanting, much like his murloc songs. One particular evening I recall the six of us stomping around Stormwind whilst Jerome rode a camel we somehow managed to smuggle in from the desert. It was called Jennifer.

Outwith RP, Jerome and myself used to have very long conversations into the early hours about two of his favourite hobbies, gaming and music, (I think this was a hobby of his, though he maybe only spoke about it because I enjoyed it, he was very nice like that). Two particular types of music/bands we discussed vigorously were Mumford and Sons, and country music - never before had I actually met someone online who tolerated country music, let-alone enjoyed it. Here is a song Jerome showed me one late evening I remember, in particular: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qt0_oPPK6eA (Suits the guy, I reckon!)

As for gaming, most of our time together in that regard was spent in Warcraft. We had plans for a guild Heroes of the Storm team to be put together, and Jerome used to play games of StarCraft 2 with me, StarCraft being a game I was particularly terrible at. We played together online and got absolutely destroyed, and occasionally played against eachother, aswell. I think I beat him once, but I believe that was more him taking pity than me actually being good at the game!

One of my best memories of Jerome was back last year, in May. At the time, our guild on Steamwheedle Cartel decided we were going to part ways, and so we decided to have a big farewell/big-bang event, and ofcourse Jerome was there totting his rifle and kicking all manner of ass. My character ended up plummeting down a revine, seemingly to his death, and everyone was quite consoled to my character's fate. Jerome wasn't. He kept looking for my character for more than two weeks, until he eventually found him alive and well. Although this all occurred in-character, I still think it was very noble of him. A true friend.

I know I can't say much to you as his family and close friends that might lessen the pain, but from my own experience after spending several years with Jerome/Mat, he always proved himself a very kind and considerate individual, a very open and considered friend, and as a roleplayer, I have met few people who where more imaginative and passionate about the game. You should be proud you managed to raise such a bright and thoughtful brother/son, and his memory will live on throughout all of the people's lives he's touched throughout his time on Warcraft and beyond.

This song is one I never managed to share with Jerome, though I'm sure he's heard it during his gaming, or so I hope: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yag41F7eCLU


Jerome Walker, Outlaw until the end.
"Damn shame," - Tychus Findlay, Notorious Outlaw.
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Stoen
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Re: The passing of a friend

Post by Stoen »

My apologies for writing this so late. Whenever I think of what has happened, I tear up and it's quite a struggle to put words to paper. I accidentally bought menthol-scented Kleenex this morning. Now my entire face smells like I'm wearing a mask made of chewing gum.

Mats is one of the most amazing people I've ever known. He was kind and giving way beyond that of most people. In roleplay, he always remembered that there were people behind the screen, and he did his absolute best to make sure that everyone walked away from it happy.

One time, Chit had kicked Ibelin in the crotch during a particularly catastrophic training session. The only nearby healer was a paladin, and the only spell she knew powerful enough to cure Ibelin's shattered family jewels was "Lay on Hands" which required exactly what the name implies. It was a hilarious moment with sitcom-levels of awkwardness as both Ibelin and the paladin found the situation extremely uncomfortable, not at all helped by all the people watching. Mats was never afraid to let his character be the butt of a joke because in the end, he knew that we were all just playing a game. We could always laugh together at the situations his characters got into.

What mattered to Mats was being able to spread joy in our lives. He was selfless and kind, always above the petty drama that sometimes arises in online environments.

When I was diagnosed with depression, I felt bad about telling him. After all, what did my little problems matter to his? How could I justify being depressed when he was dealt so much worse cards than I? Yet he never held that against me. When I spoke of it, all Mats cared about was helping me. He didn't ask for anything in return, he was just there for me whenever I needed him.

He asked me how I was all the time. Mats was the kind of person you always knew genuinely cared, and you could really allow yourself to open up to him. At one point, when I started on antidepressants, we were playing the game "Wildstar" together. He asked how I was doing and I told him that the medicine was helping. That while I didn't really feel okay, I felt nowhere near as terrible as I had before.

I remember what he responded.

"I'm glad", he typed. ":)"

And he was, that's the point. Mats was truly happy to hear when things went well for his friends. He was so genuinely concerned about our happiness and he so wanted the best for all of us. As I once told him, I was always in wonder of what an amazing person he was in spite of the hand he had been dealt. While most of us would have grown bitter, Mats didn't. He was always there for me, be it with a silly joke or offering to play a game together, whatever I needed to keep my head high. When I lacked the strength to reach out to others, he reached out to me. Despite his handicaps, he still found the strength to be there for us.

He was a person with such amazing inner strength. Though Mats was bound physically, he still managed to reach so many people through the magic of the internet. He transcended his physical boundaries and enriched the lives of people all over the world in ways few ever could.

I'll always love that guy. He was one of my best friends and the world is a worse place without him. I'll remember him fondly, and I'll always treasure the time I got to be a part of his life.


Mats "Don't ya cook my mama" Steen, you'll always have a place in my heart.

- Kristian Hansen
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Re: The passing of a friend

Post by Nouala »

Finding the right words is hard...

I have very fond memories of Ibelin. Always a joy to meet in the streets of Stormwind or whereever he turned up. Often confusingly wearing wet clothes in dry weather.

Ibelin was one of those people that always brightened your day to run into. I will miss him.

I really don't know what more to write here. Knowing that I'll not run into him again is hard...

- Niels Friis Nielsen
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
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Chit
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Re: The passing of a friend

Post by Chit »

I thought Starlight might like to be present in some small way at Mats funeral, and we will buy flowers for him. If you'd like to contribute, you can do so at Nomine's paypal - kai.fredriksen@talentandpotential.com.
Richeron
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Re: The passing of a friend

Post by Richeron »

I only just randomly came across Karina in-game, and she gave me the sad news and led me here.

As merely an outsider friend to the guild, I didn't really know Mats personally and our interactions were few and brief. So, I hope you will not find it inappropriate for me to comment here and offer my heartfelt condolences to his family and his friends. He always came across to me as a very nice, very mature person and I am sorry I will never get to know him as his friends did.

Again, my condolences and my regards,

Robin 'Richeron' Burgess
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