Listeners, listen, things like these do happen sometimes…
Come, you must also listen… The words of a Guild Leader about his fallen guild…
December 31, 2006. After months of playing Anima Ragnarok Online with a couple of friends, only_’d’ and sweetmoon88, I decide to make a guild. I had originally intended on doing so after I transcended into an Assassin Cross, but only_’d’ convinced me that it would be much more fun to have a group of people to talk to while grinding to level 99. Thus, on December 31 of that year, I went down to the beloved South Prontera map as a mere level 58 Assassin, hoping to start a little close-knit guild to spend time with. Well, I certainly got the close-knit part right…
I sat down in a little clear spot in the grass and opened up a chat room reading something along the lines of “New Guild Recruiting Friendly People!” At the time, AnimaRO was an extremely large server with 2000+ people on at all times; unfortunately nowadays people hardly play Ragnarok Online, and 2000 players on a server is an achievement. So when my first applicant entered my chat room, unaware of the competitive nature of guilds on the server, I just had to subject the poor guy to some questions before even considering him. Perhaps I got lucky, but after asking him the final question of “Are you friendly? :),” Hediki became the first member of Twilight Nekos.
A few other people joined the Twilight Nekos during that recruiting period; one of which who I remember well was… well I can’t remember her original name anymore. WindyCloud… CloudSnow … something like that (something tells me it is the former)- At any rate, she later went on to be known as SnowZ, and soon-to-be [friendly] rival of Hediki. After gaining a few more members including eddman, whose dad would often play on his character vidkid also in the guild, I figured that the logical thing to do would be to hold a guild meeting in a base and introduce them to their new lifestyle. Thus, our headquarters (or “hatwaters” due to an unfortunate typo by SnowZ) was declared in NorthEast Morroc Inn.
I had chosen the inn because it represented the comforts of home; a place where members could come to sit around and pass some of the lazy days in Midgard or just relax in the lounge. The reason I chose Morroc was because it was a simple place on the outskirts of town… a tiny getaway if you will from typical cities into a safe haven. As I assembled the rag-tag group into one of my most favorite rooms in the building, *cough* the kitchen, I prepared to deliver a formal welcome speech. I explained to them the meaning of our guild- the fact that the Twilight Nekos was a family, not an army. I encouraged them to talk and be friends amongst their guildmates and to come to me if they had any problems. As I lay the seeds for the Nekos, I could feel… loyalty in them. Enough so, that I was comfortable logging off, leaving them to talk amongst themselves.
Imagine my surprise then when I log back on and have Hediki proudly advertising his upcoming marriage with WindyCloud. Well, the poor girl was apparently so motivated to interact with the guild members that she had lept into a decision without thinking. If only she had known that Hediki was the type of overly-energetic guy that ground her nerves! Hahaha, it all turned out well however. In one of my recruiting sessions in Payon, I was able to recruit an introverted girl named Castile. Though quiet, Castile was a great person and often served as the “calm guiding force” in the tiny guild at the time. Perhaps it was the fact that she was a Super Novice or that she wore mini glasses which made her appear like the calm (Almost Nagato-Like) spectator. Perhaps it was her influence that made WindyCloud treat Hediki better (not that her criticizing words ever reached him), but eventually she deleted that character and made the character which she became known by: SnowZ. Since then, her relationship with Hediki became a playful one; a sort of comical relationship. They were always arguing about something trivial, yet having a great time doing so. At Morroc Inn, we had beds assigned to each member and often I would walk up the stairs to hear the two bickering away.
Around that time, eddman had to go out of commission because his grandfather decided to clean his computer with alcohol… not the greatest idea in the world. Hediki, SnowZ, and Castile were fun and all, but I really wanted to see the Twilight Nekos expand. As luck would happen, I managed to pick up a sweet girl named Miracle Blossom. On one of my quests to silence as many incredibly noisy leaf cats as possible in the fields of Ayothaya, I saw a lone archeress sitting on the steps of one of the temples. After noting her strange choice of a fancy flower headgear, I couldn’t say I was surprised that her name was Miracle Blossom. Some of those cats would really give me a beating… and well, I truly did hate buying recovery potions. Naturally, I decided to make conversation with the girl as I sat down to rest atop the steps. I can’t say that I recall the exact conversation, but in short, I offered my help in training her and she became a loyal member of the Twilight Nekos. Not soon after, her 9 year old little sister, Neko Boo joined the guild too! The sisters were absolutely polite at all times and to this day, still address me as “Captain.”
As a casual guild, we spent equal amounts of time training and lazing around the ol’ headquarters. Often, I’d fall asleep behind the counter in the lobby and Castile would sit down and read in her room (Second floor, first one on the right). Hediki would always try to cook in the kitchen (much to our dismay) and SnowZ would scamper about, playing with her homunculus. Miracle Blossom and Neko Boo would often be sleeping in a bed on such lazy days without a care in the world. My wonderous nap was interrupted as I heard a sharp knock at the door. As the door opened I was shocked; Either I had not locked it earlier or an intruder was making his way into
the base! However, as Elvenmarth walked into the lobby, I immediately breathed a sigh of relief. Now fully composed, I recalled that I had recruited Elvenmarth the same time that I had met Castile. Since the guy had been out of commission almost immediately after recruitment due to school exams, I had almost forgotten about him. A laid back hunter with a Sweet Gent’s hat on his head at all times, Elvenmarth was a great guy to hang out with. Who would have known that he was about to make my guild’s population grow exponentially?
Well, one guy changed it all. I was not around at the time ~Senel~ entered the family, but boy did he work tirelessly to recruit for the guild. In fact, he was probably the most experienced member at the time, having played on International Ragnarok Online for years. With his knowledge of War of Emperium tactics and fighting patterns, ~Senel~ was an invaluable member to everyone in the guild. It began one day when Elvinmarth brought ~Senel~ to Morroc Inn after having a great time training with him. I was more than happy to admit ~Senel~ into the Twilight Nekos, and was impressed when the new member at once offered to go and recruit some more people. Since he was the loner type, often Elvinmarth, sweetmoon88, only_’d’, and a couple other guild mates would go hunting as ~Senel~ wandered around. I was quite astonished as I became more and more accustomed to ~Senel~ excitedly telling me over guild chat, that he had another potential recruit.
When one joined, their friends joined, and their friends’ friends would join. It was a chain reaction, and everyone seemed to like the Twilight Nekos’ home-like atmosphere. When ~Senel~ got recruited, he brought his cousin, Lord Oblivion along too. After a few days, ~Senel~‘s unique girlfriend Samaka shows up after catching word that he was playing at animaRO. According to ~Senel~, Samaka has been following him around ever since his days on International Ragnarok Online. It was odd, but I was happy to have her. Personality wise, Samaka acted a lot like SnowZ. She was friendly in an oddly abrasive way, especially towards ~Senel~. In a couple days, I was presented with yet another recruit: this time, Samaka‘s classmate, Kamala. When I thought the chain reaction would stop there, Kamala introduces me to a good friend of hers named tsukasa01. It was kinda neat having a band of friends within a family. Headquarters had gotten a lot busier and I’d often walk in on my guildmates sharing stories with one another in the basement. Things were going so well that I had not even anticipated the leave of any members.
Castile had been a loyal member for a long time at this point, but I guess it was just time for her to move on. One afternoon when I logged in, ~Senel~ yells out in guild chat, “No Castile, don’t leave!” It was completely out of context, as Castile was not even in a conversation with him at the time. Much to her annoyance, ~Senel~ had made the comment to prompt some action from me because she had previously toyed with the thought while I was offline. Wishing to have a word with her, I called the girl to Headquarters, as she was currently out training. I sat down in the lobby with her and just asked her to speak her mind. As Guild Leader, I had become a sort of counselor or teacher for many of the members. I just simply wanted to know what was bothering Castile, as I knew that if she even thought about leaving, she would have a good reason to. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when she said that it was due to personal reasons and could not elaborate, I respected her decision nonetheless and did not even attempt to make her stay. My guild is a place where members can feel comfortable and have fun, I would have felt completely wrong by making her stay against her will. I was a little down over losing a great member, but Castile‘s words did serve as a silver lining. Before leaving she mentioned that her situation had nothing to do with the Twilight Nekos, and that she would be glad to be in it after having some breathing room. She is still welcome to come back any time.
As the guild continued to grow, I decided that it was time that we pursue grander goals such as War of Emperium. Of course, I never forced anyone to train for or participate in the guild battle, but everyone was ecstatic about the idea. ~Senel~ was especially happy as he had an opportunity to teach us some of his sneak and defense tactics. On the day that we were going to engage in battle, we boldly went into the Prontera castle realm and… lost horribly. At the time we were all astonished, but looking back on it, I made a number of mistakes then. For one thing, I had decided to take on the most desirable castles in the game. The Prontera castle realm had the most competition from the most powerful guilds in the game… hardly a starting point for a guild such as ours. I wasn’t so naïve that I couldn’t see that more fighting power would be an order however. I made it a point to go out and look for a few guild leaders who were willing to make an alliance and fight together with the Twilight Nekos, but finding one proved to be more difficult than I thought. My luck turned around one day while I was in the crowded Glast Heim prisons. I had randomly joined a large party, hoping to get some experience points and was having a great time despite dying because of all the Zombie Prisoners. One priestess in particular kept ressurecting me and was really nice too. After being ressurected for possibly the fourth
time by Kairi’s Shadow, I decided to offer her to join my guild… after all, she was guildless. I was a little taken aback when she told me that not only was her priestess her alternate character, but that she also was a guild leader herself! In that case, I asked her if she wanted to form an alliance. Being a good person, she gladly accepted and we vowed to combine forces to take down some of the other guilds.
All the while, the steady flow of new members did not dwindle. While training near Orc Village, ~Senel~ passed by a wizardess with elvin ears training in the fields. He didn’t think much of her until he passed by her again five seconds later… or did he? Doing a double take, ~Senel~ goes back for a closer look and sees that there are two wizards with identical appearances. Willow Waterford and Whisper Waterford were sisters who had been training together from the point of character creation. Maybe it was because of their uniqueness, but ~Senel~ was overjoyed that they were guildless… potential recruits! I too, was charmed by the unique nature of the two when he brought them back to ol’ Hatwaters. The two gladly accepted, but warned us that they were a tad shy. At any rate, I was confident that they would find a place in the guild… people always did. The two later went on to make their own unique characters that they became known by, ~Mia~ and Sister Emma, most probably because the guild members had trouble telling them apart. Upon being dismissed from the introduction meeting, I glanced at my roster to notice that SnowZ had not been online for a while. I supposed that she was entitled. The poor girl lived in the UK and often missed out on a lot of guild activities due to the timezone difference. Perhaps she was a tad bored and needed to miss Ragnarok Online for a while.
Now that Kairi’s Shadow‘s guild, the Vampyre Chocobos O_O was on our ally list, I would often meet with her to discuss upcoming battles. At the same time, ~Senel~ was trying hard to find willing guild leaders to form alliances as well. Never did I think that one ally could form so much drama… ~Senel~ had found a guild that allied itself with us, but they were extremely disorganized. The guild leader was nice, but one of the members of that guild apparently felt that it was his need to better their guild in any way possible. One evening, I got a private message from him… Chris I believe was his name. Apparently, he had gotten tired of his guild and wanted to join mine instead. The guy had struck me as strange even at his own guild’s headquarters. Normally I was very accepting of new members, but something just struck me as suspicious about him. He usually didn’t talk much with me or the other members of the Twilight Nekos, so I found it odd that he wanted to join my guild so badly, despite me telling him that I would have to speak with his guild leader about this. I knew something was fishy so I had to consult my Council of Elites, which consisted of only_’d’ and ~Mia~ at the time. We agreed to admit him, but I placed the guild on alert status. I locked down the forums to protect guild-specific information and ordered the Council to keep an eye on this Chris guy.
I was quite proud of my ranking system in the Twilight Nekos. The system was practically a government with me as Guild Emperor and a decision making force known as the Council of Elites. In order to ensure non-corruption, the Council and I had to agree unanimously on major decisions… even my status as Guild Emperor did not override the decision of the Council. All members had a chance to attain the Council rank by climbing the ranks based on tax and other criteria. Elections would be held for proposed candidates of the Council and members had a right to appeal and/or impeach incompetent members of the Council. A few days after Chris joined, he spoke into guild chat, “Sigggh I was a spyyyy.” As I thought, I promptly thanked him and expelled him from the guild. Luckily, the thought of having a spy within the guild did not alarm anyone, but I did have to terminate the alliance with his guild. Luckily, he did not stay long enough to observe anything useful… the days that he was with us turned out to be out “lazy days” in Morroc Inn. He claimed to have learned alot… perhaps he was after my government system after all? In the long run however, his guild didn’t do any better and didn’t even pose a threat to the Twilight Nekos. Looking back on it however, I must say I am a little flattered. A spy in my guild? I’m ever so glad that you found my guild worthy to be spied upon… you would think that such things only happen in movies. Ah well, C’est la vie. The guild went on.
One night while the rest of the guild was out hunting, I was sitting in my room with my buddy ~Senel~ and discussing what a good team an assassin like myself and a priest could make. sweetmoon88 had been my friend since even before the guild was created, so ~Senel~ half suggested that I marry her in game to take advantage of the skills accompanied with the bond. The priestess would have a special skill to give me an SP boost and I would be able to give sweetmoon88 an HP boost if needed. But quite honestly, the thought of a partner to fight by your side like in Negima! was an awesome one. ~Senel~ and I thought that it would be fun to make it as realistic as possible so I was to “propose” to sweetmoon88. Knowing that she was looking for a Romantic Flower headgear for a long time, I decided to go look for one, but finding one proved difficult. Luckily, while taking a break in the tribal village of Umbala, I got a private message from ~Senel~ that he had found one in the Yggdrasil fields! It was amazing how awkward I felt as I walked over to sweetmoon88 in South Prontera despite it being just a random marriage… looking back on it, it was quite funny. As I asked her with my Romantic Flower, everyone in South Prontera watched us. sweetmoon88 was surprised, but was glad to comply. I distinctly recall a girl squealing “I love young love!” upon hearing my guild member accept. The day wasn’t over just yet though; When I came back to Headquarters to tell ~Senel~ the good news, I found a young monk snooping around Miracle Blossom‘s dresser. I must have caught him slightly off guard cause he was really startled when he saw me, clad in my Guild Leader Captain’s Hat, walk into the room with a stern expression on my face.
As ~Senel~ walked out of the bathroom he quickly explained that the monk was to be a new recruit.
Hash Brown was a lecherous but hilarious member to have around. After Miracle Blossom threatened to make him wish that he never snooped around her bed ever again, the monk quickly became one of the most unique members of the guild. Don’t get me wrong, he was an awesome fighter and taught a few of my own members better battle tactics. Possibly the funniest guy I have ever met, Hash was funny in his own puppy-love way and was able to make any female afraid of him. Of course, he always had his Guild Emperor… ;3
The next morning, I woke up a little groggy and shuffled zombie-style into the Morroc Inn lounge. As I flopped into a chair I watched Senel walk down the stairs… wait the other one. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I was still asleep or if through some horrible experiment gone wrong, ~Senel~ had multiplied into two! On closer inspection, I noticed that the “imposter” was most certainly not ~Senel~ as he was a monk, not an assassin! Looking at his identification badge, I could see that the new guy was named senel* not ~Senel~. Once again, ~Senel~ gave me an explanation as he came downstairs with his hair all messy from sleeping. Apparently, ~Senel~ had spotted senel* training in the Orc fields and simply had to recruit him because of the name similarity. Of course, I chided him for acting on impulse rather than reason, but he did say he interviewed him and asked the monk if he wanted to join. ~Senel~ had a great instinct so I didn’t question. In fact, I’m extremely glad that senel* was recruited. It turns out that this monk went a long way and became one of my best friends in the process. I would always chuckle slghtly whenever he would say his trademark “isee” instead of “i see.” He always had a tendency to misspell stuff too… what can I say, the guy was unique! Lucky none of the guild members were grammar Nazis (No offense, but at times, SnowZ was quite the opposite of one!) and all it did was add to senel*‘s charm. Heck, I almost enjoy seeing the guy say “isee” … its like him saying, “Whats up, guys? I’m senel*!” He’s just a great guy.
Similarly to how Kamala and the gang joined after ~Senel~ did so. senel*‘s friends started rolling in soon after his recruitment. Geeze, I hadn’t thought about it until this very instant. Is there something with “Senels” that yield large boosts in guild members? Can I buy these somewhere? Hahaha! At any rate, senel* had a friend named Mythos the Pirate, an easy going guy with a strong sense of duty and loyalty. Mythos was a knight and would always be seen wearing his trademark eyepatch and Pirate Bandana headgear around Headquarters. I remember how he always thought of the guild as family and was always rearing to go whenever we would have guild hunts- Boy did he love those guild hunts. He was a great friend too, he always returned borrowed items and kept a look out for you. Soon after, his little brother Godx who later became known as Gilse joined the Twilight Nekos. However, the name God really stuck with most of the guild because it was just so funny to greet him when he logged in by saying “Sup, God.” Of course, one wouldn’t even think about making him mad… I mean, who wants to face God‘s anger? He was a pretty cool guy too, the only downer was that at the time, Mythos and God had to be on separately because they did not have a router to allow them both to be on simultaneously.
Then suddenly out of the blue, Mythos asks me to recruit Ace Aurion into the guild one day. It turns out that Ace, Mythos, and senel* were all friends from school… and good ones at that. With Ace, we officially had two distinct groups of friends residing within the Twilight Nekos. One was the ~Senel~ circle and the other was the senel* circle. (What’s the difference?!) But really, it was awesome. The Twilight Nekos would feel more and more like a grand empire. In fact, senel* and Mythos eventually rose to the Council of Elites… but that’s later.
When it was finally time for sweetmoon88 and my wedding, the guild thought it would be fun to throw a party and make it into a full fledged guild event! At once, preparations were made on the forums, outlining a reception list, marriage date, and activities planned for the day. When I logged in the afternoon of the event, I was so proud of my guild when they were all lined up and in formation as I walked into Headquarters. I half expected Sister Emma to quote Scotty from Star Trek (as she sometimes did) and say “Captain…! Time’s a wastin!” (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock). As we warped to Prontera Church, the guild settled itself into the pews as sweetmoon88 and I went up to the pastor. The ceremony was about to begin when a few more guildmates logged in and requested we await them… I was more than happy to oblige. When everyone had finally assembled, I was so touched; Everyone on the roster was there… including SnowZ! I was impressed at her unfaltering loyalty towards me and the guild. Vitalized with the passion of my guild, I began the ceremony, binding obtaining a wedding ring to give me the marriage skills. The Twilight Nekos were absolutely ecstatic and crowded at the alter as my priestess and I stood up there in our wedding clothes. Afte
r a few photos, at once we formed a procession to head towards Jawaii Islands, a place for couples. As we arrived at the relaxing islands, we did the logical thing… we headed straight to the bar! A whole group of dancers were there to greet us and made sure that nothing too weird happened in the bar. The bartender must have had a morbid sense of humor because I soon noticed that my HP was decreasing every time that I would down one of his drinks! Even though a few people had to leave, I’d still see people “passed out” randomly on the stools because their HP had reached 0. Luckily we had plenty of priests on hand to assist the passed out. Thoroughly tired out, the entire guild headed to the luxurious Jawaii hotels to relax. The hotel clerk was astonished that so many people wanted one room… generally couples would go alone. I finally convinced the desk to let us, despite nasty looks from some of the maids in charge of roomservice. Imagine my surprise when I walk in and see Castile! One of my members had remembered her and even invited her to join the wedding celebration. I was absolutely overjoyed and honored that she had decided to join us. The guild and I loafed around for a bit, sitting and chatting. But then of course, we had to top off the day by ending it in good ol’ Hatwaters! As we left for Morroc, Castile decided to stick around for old times sake. As the party began to wind down on the second floor of Morroc Inn that night, it was finally time to hit the day. Truly one of the funnest events the guild experienced, I had slept on the floor that night from sheer exhaustion.
A few days later when I logged in, I noticed ~Senel~ being strangely quiet. As the guild members noticed my presence, Miracle Blossom, who ~Senel~ had a crush on, requested to see me. I knew that ~Senel~ had been getting grief from his stalker-girl Samaka for playing with Miracle Blossom more than her, but he had also assured me that it was only a mild annoyance. I was in the peaceful fields of Amatsu when I saw Miracle Blossom emerge from the bamboo. As we entered the shrine for privacy, she explained to me how ~Senel~ almost left the Twilight Nekos in my absence. She detailed that the sudden decision was so shocking that some of the guild members even wanted to fight him (PvP) to make him stay. The news most certainly shocked me. Hastily thanking her, I took the quickest boat to the port city of Alberta in order to rush to Morroc right away.
The whole guild went silent when I sent the Guild Notification Message. On every guild member’s message box, a distinct message paging for ~Senel~ appeared in clear yellow letters. As he slowly entered through the door leading into Headquarters, I noticed that he looked a little jumpy. Indeed, his first words to me when he walked into the lounge were “I’m not in trouble, am I? I feel lik I have been called to the headmaster’s at school…” In all honesty, at the time I did not have a true answer to this question, but I answered “No” just to calm him. It was strangely reminiscent of my conversation with Castile. Basically I asked him what was bothering him… I mean, if one of the best members of my guild are planning to leave, I would at least want a plausible explanation. ~Senel~ had done so much and caused the guild to double, and probably even triple in size. Half distractedly, ~Senel~ suggested for us to go on a walk to his favorite place in Ragnarok Online: a mini lake on the outskirts of Eastern Prontera fields. I obliged; I could see that this guy needed to be calmed down. When the grass beneath my boots became lush and we had reached our destination, ~Senel~ then went on to detail how a stalker (not Samaka) had been following him across the internet for years. For him, it was much more than a minor annoyance as this individual would also, according to him, malaciously attack his computer, causing him to contract numerous viruses and keyloggers. As I listened to him, it all began to make sense. At times, ~Senel~ would randomly have a new “main character” and would not seem himself. ~Senel~ explained to me how his attacker would often infect his Ragnarok Online characters with malware, threaten to attack the server because of him, and take control of his characters. Apparently, this individual would follow ~Senel~ from server to server and harass the GM team and the characters of his friends with threats to hack and damage property. There was an awkward silence after he finished his story. He did have some good news however; he had decided not to leave the guild and instead had a plan. He was to take a “leave” from the guild long enough to trick his attacker into thinking that he had gone to another server. He was sorry, but he loved the Twilight Nekos more than anything. In order to keep his memory alive, he gave me his treasured Neko Mimi hat to await his return. Whilst explaining to me all of this, he slowed the speed at which he was talking and uneasy looked at me; I had not spoken at all since we had reached the lake. I couldn’t. My mind was occupied, trying to make the most important decision I had to make since the formation of the guild. Resolutely, I stood up, startling ~Senel~. I still remember my words that I spoke to him. “Well in all honesty… you have placed the guild and the guildmates in an extremely dangerous situation. I’m sorry, ~Senel~, but for your own good and ours, I am forced to expel you from the guild.” I had tried to make my words as gentle and rational as possible, but the news could only be softened so much. He was visibly shaken and softly replied “I understand.” At this point, only a handful of members were online… it was late into the night. As I expelled him, he turned his back and ran out through the bushes. As the sound of his footsteps faded away, I softly whispered under my breath, “I’m sorry.” I still have his Neko Mimi hat.
Sometimes I still visit ~Senel~‘s spot around East Prontera fields.
Immediately after his expulsion, I headed to Morroc Inn, yearning for the company of my guild. As I walked up stairs, I saw Sister Emma, only_’d’, and ~Mia~ sitting with solemn expressions… after all, member expulsion messages are broadcasted
throughout the guild. What bothered me then was whether I made the right choice or not. only_’d’ must have read my mind as he opened his mouth to say “Boss…” (He always did call me boss) “I’m sure you did the right thing.” I explained the whole thing to my guildmates, leading well into the night. My spirits were noticeably down, and I felt better just thinking that my guild was worried about me. Trying to raise my spirits, my friends took me to different places in the Kingdom of Midgard; From the majestic castle of Morroc to the serene canals of Al De Baran, they accompanied me, supporting my decision. Thanks to them, I was in a much better mood the next day when I logged in.
When guild members began to log in and noticed the absence of ~Senel~, I believe that I did not tell them the truth about what happened to him. In retrospect, I believe that I should have told my guild mates the truth, but perhaps it was because of the impact that it had on me that I chose to cover up the nature of his expulsion. I didn’t want the guild to have a negative impression of him after he left; After all, he was a great person and did wonders for the guild. I suppose that if I had to make an official log of it, I would be writing “killed in the line of duty,” because essentially, that’s what the case is.
Things settled down after that. Things went on and we got a lot of new members such as Katemari, Mysterious Wizard 000, HTHGuy, and Tomsta. By this time, we were a really diverse guild. SnowZ was in Britain, Tomsta was in Canada, Mysterious Wizard 000 was in Mexico, and we had a huge variety of races and ethnicities. I remember one time when my wallet was running a little thin, Tomsta followed me into Amatsu Fields to help get me some zeny. The Twilight Nekos would spend a lot of time in the PvP arenas back then. The whole guild had become powerful and was confident fighting other players without getting defeated every single time. Well that is, mostly everyone. Often times when everyone was away at PvP, I would be out walking about the eerily quiet Yuno fields or sitting in a restaurant at Louyang. It was not that I wasn’t good enough, but I just felt like I was more of a tactician than a fighter… I simply felt more at ease making decisions rather than engaging in combat. However, the participation of my guild in PvP also served as a method of recruiting. During a particularly engaging battle, only_’d’ was partying with a rogue. For reasons unknown, the duo fought particularly well and in sync- so much so that only_’d’ decided to recruit him. Raveil The Destoryer, though not the best speller in the guild, was a pretty good fighter. At times when the guild was relaxing at Headquarters, Raveil would be the only one still fighting in the PvP arenas.
With a large guild and a promising PvP force, the members of the Twilight Nekos were intent on training hard to achieve glory one day. I would conduct “guild hunts” regularly which would involve the guild as a whole battling its way through a dungeon or through hostile territory. The guild hunts were wondrous int he way that it not only gave everyone experience in the battle field, but also because it formed an unbreakable bond between the guild members. It got to a point that it did not even matter if the place we went to gave optimal experience as long as the guild could go there together. The hunts really improved the fighting force too. At times, the players could execute combos without speaking a word; everyone was in synch and anticipated what each other was going to do. From the Rekenber Somatology Labs where illegal experiments were being conducted on the poor population of the city of Lighthalzen to the serene Japanese-style fields of Amatsu, the Twilight Nekos became adapted to any environment.
Having originally played on a Ragnarok Online server without healer or warper NPCs for a few weeks, I thought that it would be a fun exercise to play the game without such crutches. Thus, the Twilight Nekos Great Adventure was born. At once the idea was a hit; The guild was to journey through the land of Midgard without an aim and without the use of healers or warpers… together! If one member died, we would have to journey back to their spawn point to fetch them. The idea was seen as such a good one that even player who had not been as active as before came back to experience it. To expand the event, even our guild alliances were invited and we traveled together! Words cannot describe the carefree atmosphere as the guilds traveled together, fought together, and collectively chose to rest in the middle of a field to revitalize. Looking at the scenery, you could see people lying down, counting their loot, adjusting their inventory, babbling with their friends, or even a couple flirting off to the side; It was a sight to behold. only_’d’ was our designated navigator, and sometimes we would head to the nearest town to restock and prepare for the journey ahead of us. Once in the town, the guild was allowed to roam free within the city limits, but most of us just chose to head to the bar to get something to eat. If the town had a dungeon or someone in need, sometimes we would go out of our way to help- we acted completely on impulse, yet synchronized at all times. The whole experience really strengthened our bond both out on the battle field, but also with each other. Even SnowZ became more active after meeting our Hash Brown and his interesting sense of humor.
We had come a long way, and we were pretty confident with our combat abilities. One Saturday, we had a guild meeting on the second floor of Headquarters to prepare for the War of Emperium later that day. To prepare for the battle, I first put the members through a series of exercises designed to improve their reaction time to my commands. I would call out a series of commands ordering them to arrange themselves in a series of formations. For the meeting itself, they were expected to sit in a certain pattern without me having to tell them to. The exercises were not to be mean, but a battle cannot go without discipline, and every single member understood that. At the end of the assembly, I assured them that as long as we tried our best, we would not be true losers. At once when the signal for the start of War of Emperium was given, we rushed to the rendezvous point in Payon to meet with the Vampyre Chocobos O_O.
The battle progressed smoothly for the first few minutes. The guilds would wait outside the target castle where I, with my Golden Thief Bug buckler to ward off magical attacks, would be the scout. Once the entryway in
side the castle was clear I would signal to the troops and we would rush to the Emperium Room. The guild was to proceed in such a formation as to shield the more vulnerable members in the event that we would be attacked on the way to the Emperium. However upon reaching the room, the sheer number of enemies would wipe most of us out. Only a few would usually survive enough to damage the Emperium, including myself but only because of my cloaking ability. When I looked around for survivors, I saw ~Mia~ and a couple others including Mythos The Pirate… He was doing exceptionally well. Prior to the battle, ~Mia~ had entrusted one of her best swords to Mythos, which he was using splendidly.
With a sudden flash of light off to my side, I saw ~Mia~ collapse. Other allies tried to finish her job, but much to my annoyance, another guild claimed the castle after just a couple hits more. We had been close. After being kicked out of the castle due to the change of ownership, we regrouped attempted to assault it again. Suddenly, the wind stopped blowing and the sounds of footsteps around me stopped. As I looked around it was as if time had stopped… nothing moved. The server had crashed- we were so close too! Following standard procedure, everyone promptly logged into the chat room hosted on the Twilight Nekos website. As we waited for the server to come back online, I praised Mythos for fighting exceptionally well that evening. The guild as a whole had come very close to obtaining a castle; I was quite proud. When we were finally able to log in, War of Emperium was canceled and we went back to Headquarters to hang around. As we settled down, Mythos reached to give back ~Mia~‘s sword, but noticed it was missing. Panic stricken, he began searching the entire inn; He checked the Kafra Storage Services, in his inventory, … everywhere. Despite the fact that ~Mia~ was not angry, the guy took it pretty hard. We figured that it was just a glitch in the server crash and that we would simply ask a GM to address the situation.
The tension built up as days passed without response. Finally a reply from the GM team arrived, restoring the sword to Mythos‘ relief. However what bothered me was the postscript attached to the bottom of the letter. The GM mentioned that for some reason there were a lot of hacking cases going on and that they were trying to correct as many problems as possible. Then in a few days, ~Mia~ was targeted again, this time for a powerful dagger. Once again, a petition was sent to the GM team to plea for its restoration.
GMs seemed non-existent; one would assume that they were busy, but I had my doubts. Finally, I assessed the situation. Hacking cases were apparently becoming rampant, what could I do to protect my guild and I? I had to make a difficult decision, and thus I decided to see what the guild thought of it. On the forums the next day I posted a poll; A proposal to move to EuphRO because of the condition at AnimaRO. The choices read: “Sure!,” “No way!,” and “I don’t care where I go as long as I am with the guild leader.” There were a couple of “No’s” but quite a few “Yes” answers as well. What made me happy was that the third choice was the most popular; It showed how much the Twilight Nekos weighed in everyone’s hearts.
In retrospect I wish I had chosen another server. To be honest, I had chosen EuphRO because I had previously played on it before for a week or so. Unfortunately I did not do any research for servers that would be closer customization-wise to AnimaRO. Because of my bad decision, only_’d’, SnowZ, Hediki, and a few others left, or were left behind. Later, a few more including sweetmoon88 left because they found the lower rates and lack of healing and warping npcs too difficult to cope with on EuphRO.
With the deficit of members, it was logical to make up for it by recruiting more on the new server. However, with the new recruits, there was one thing I could not make up for: The loyalty that my old crew members had towards the guild. In fact, recruiting proved to be a challenge on the new server because of two key reasons: The population of EuphRO was significantly smaller than that of AnimaRO and new members had a hard time integrating with the existing, tightly-bonded guild body. While I was able to recruit a few members, because they did not have the loyalty towards the guild that the rest of my members did, they turned out to be either excessively inactive or just plain rude. To try and remedy the problem, I attempted to change my method of recruiting- instead of my traditional approach of opening a chat box requesting interested members, I decided to seek potential recruits while out training.
Well… I would like to say that I had thought of that plan before I met Leo9, but by sheer luck, I recruited him through the very method. One time when ~Mia~ and I were training our thief characters in the Orc Dungeons, we came across another thief battling it out with an Orc Zombie. Naturally, we went over to ask him if he wanted to party. Upon his agreement, we proceeded to wipe out all the Orc Zombies in the area and during a short break began to talk about guilds. When he noticed our guild insignia and my Guild Emperor rank, Leo9 asked what it was like in the Twilight Nekos. Of course, I could not even begin to describe the feelings and the atmosphere within the guild with mere words, so I instead told him that he could see for himself. After I assured Leo9 that the guild was a fun one, he graciously accepted the invitation and effectively became the first Twlight Neko (or “Tweako” as he likes to refer to himself as) recruited on EuphRO.
Motivated by a successful recruit, I redoubled my efforts to seek out members while out training. While I did succeed in recruiting a couple more players, the whole process felt tired and worn overall. Nonetheless, I was glad to recruit two more members: Shurelia and Crono. Crono was an aspiring assassin that I met who was focusing on speed and quick kills; A potentially valuable build during the War of Emperium. For Shurelia, I met him in a a similar manner as I
did Leo9. While walking through Archer Village alone, I saw an acolyte attempting to train near the exit of Payon Cave. Without a conscious intention of recruiting him, I decided to try and help out, as training priest-type characters can prove difficult alone. Oddly enough, our conversation while fighting turned to guilds yet again. Shurelia mentioned that he wished to be in a guild that was like a family… a guild for fun, not just training day in and day out. What he wanted sounded a lot like my guild so I figured that I might as well invite him. The result? Shurelia indeed enjoyed the atmosphere within the Twilight Nekos and also became good friends with ~Mia~.
I wish I had more success stories to tell, but then again the whole guild was starting to slow down. ~Mia~ made a friend called Ethereal Angel who was subsequently recruited into the Twilight Nekos. Ethereal Angel was, unfortunately the last member that was recruited into the guild… I believe. Strangely enough, I am not certain. While I did a large amount of research to ensure that I do not forget a soul in my memoir, including retrieving old data from AnimaRO and combing forum archives, I am still left with missing data. While one would not suppose so, the areas that I am most fuzzy on are the parts near the end of my guild’s lifetime. I suspect that this has unconsciously come about because of a refusal to believe the death of my guild and thus I never labeled a distinct end to it. At any rate, Etheral Angel is the last member that I remember entering the guild. Around that time, SnowZ and Hediki would pop in sometimes to say hello, which was nice for the guild body, but by then the whole guild was having a sort of tired feel.
Still, I was determined to not give up. In order to keep the guild together and inspire spirit within the guild mass, I, along with my Council, attempted to hold a number of events to break the everyday monotony. A notable one was my wedding on EuphRO, an echo of the event on AnimaRO. Since sweetmoon88 had been lost in the server transfer, I had to find someone else to unlock the ever helpful marriage skills. Reminiscent of my marriage with sweetmoon88, one morning my guild members were greeted with an announcement of the event on the forums. I was marrying ~Mia~ in what I hoped to be another guild-bonding event. Because of the fond memories the Twilight Nekos shared from the first marriage, a number of inactive members including SnowZ attended the wedding. While the turnout was significant, it unfortunately paled in comparison to the first event. At any rate, the event was a huge success. The guild had a great time partying all around Midgard; From bungee jumping in Umbala, to sitting around the cozy Morroc Bar, to standing close to one another in the frightful Nifheim Inn, the Nekos had a great day.
Another method I tried to inspire more activity within the guild was to hold the ever popular “guild hunts.” The guild hunts were one of the elements that made the Adventure so successful on AnimaRO. There is just a thrill fighting alongside your guild members who, at this point, are surrogate family members. The Twilight Nekos would participate in guild hunts all across Midgard… it never mattered where as long as the guild was fighting as one. Sometimes, we would travel through the claustrophobic Tatami Maze in Amatsu to reach the beautiful, forbidden indoor garden deep inside Himizi Castle. At times we would travel into the gruesome Rekenber Somatology labs where the remains of the subjects of unauthorized human experimentation would accost our group. A few times, we even went to the Glast Heim Churchyard where zombies had overrun the once-holy church and brought death all around the area. Though for a light hearted change, the Nekos would sometimes head to Santa’s Toy Factory in Lutie or to the beautiful Ayothaya ruins. Even the breathtaking fields of Louyang proved to be a treat for the Morroc-raised guild.
But alas, while it was great fun, the number of active members slowly dwindled. The once glorious, huge guild with massive events and guild hunts was now down to 8 core members, including myself: senel64, Mythos The Pirate, ~Mia~, Miracle Blossom, Godx, Ace Aurion, and Shurelia. From the moment that they were recruited, these members never left my side, and I could have never asked for a better or more loyal crew. But of course, at this point, they were getting busier in life as we matured and could not possibly dedicate as much of their time to the Twilight Nekos. Even I, who founded the guild, realized with sadness that I could not do the same. As we became increasingly inactive, the Twilight Nekos slowly faded from existence… C’est la Vie…
… Or did it? It is funny how we are unconsciously compelled to do things. As I am typing this, it has been exactly two years since the creation of the Twilight Nekos; approximately one since it was pronounced “dead.” However, a number of my guild members have been feeling the same nostalgia that I feel all the time. It’s human nature, I suppose. One never knows how much he has until he has lost it. At any rate, A few weeks ago, senel64 and Mythos The Pirate decided to try out a different Ragnarok Online server that Godx found out of boredom- DestinaRO. Enjoying being able to relive their memories with the guild, they called over their friend, Ace Aurion to play with them. What was also strange i was that DestinaRO is the very server that Miracle Blossom had been wandering around in after the guild. Is this what people refer to as fate? Or is it an unconscious bond between the Twilight Nekos that influences their subconscious activities? Nontheless, I was alerted shortly after and asked if I wanted to participate.
Of course, I agreed.
To be able to walk across the maps we toiled through, to listen to the wonderous soundtrack, to walk through parts of Midgard and imagining the apparations of our fellow guildmembers is … breathtaking. Words cannot describe the joy I feel to be able to play with my guildmates and relive the Twilight Nekos. Ace Aurion, Mythos the Pirate, senel64, Miracle Blossom, and Godx– along with this loyal crew, I can say that we are definitely true Ragnarok Online veterans. Upon my arrival on DestinaRO, I was greeted with an Emperium. The Twilight Nekos guild emblem had been lost, but I recreated it through a number of screenshots in my archives. Whether this new venture will yield fruit or not, regardless I can say with great confidence, that on this day, the second anniversary of the Twilight Nekos, the guild is still alive…
… and it always will be.
Miracle Blossom: Oh, the [Twilight] Nekos are some family between the trekky captain and his trekky wife, and a cow named emma, and of course the loyal miri, we could have a sitcom!
Hediki: WELL NO! I WANT U TO BE OUR LEADER
senel64: FUN is the most important aspect in a guild. So have FUN!
Ultimate Sonic: I will not do anything without my guild. I would like to see your opinions on this. Remember, I dont want to abandon any of you, or have you leave.