Yes, I know, I used a clickbait title. Shame on me. But I wanted somebody to read this. This is, after all, my 4th SAMB birthday. Nobody else has been on the SAMB as long as me, and no doubt after today there will be a new oldest oldie. This place has marked a huge portion of my life, and I’d like to take some time to make you read an essay about it.
Send your imaginations back in time to the ancient day of September 25, 2013. A young girl, fresh out of summer and having entered fifth grade about a month ago, had been playing Poptropica yesterday. She was rather bored, and was rolling through some island when she spotted an ad about something called Spirit Animals. She clicks on the link after talking to the Poptropica versions of the Heroes of Erdas. In the evening, she downloads Unity with her father’s help and makes a character called Julie Flamesage. The morning of this important date, she enters the SAMB for the first time. It was boxy and beautiful, with a backdrop of four stalwart heroes and their animals. She clicks on the first topic that interests her, one calling Fox Clan. Her spirit animal in the game is a fox named Jasmine, you see. She scrolls through a couple of posts about tips and tricks for the game and finds - to her surprise - a person who has a signature about the book series Guardians of Ga’Hoole. She rather likes this book series, so she composes an excited post after the style of others there. She’s also visited the 39 Clues website, so she adds that she’s an Ekat.
She thought they were cool.
She clicks the submit button, watches it enter “moderation queue,” and thus rainelf13 was born. I wasn’t Rain quite yet. That would be about a year later, when people started to have nicknames, but for now I’m going to tell you about two people whom nobody remembers but old me.
Enter darkfire62, leader of the Fox Clan for all those who had fox spirit animals, and dragonmist80, otherwise known as Owl and leader of Owl Clan for all those who wanted to adopt an owl name. The first made the topic, the second had the owl signature. I idolized them. They were the cool people back in 2013 and 2014 (I thought so), plus they were fairly popular. I crashed in on their stories in the animal Clan canon with poorly written POVs, and I posted on all their topics. I was a proud and active member of Fox and Owl Clan. I copied down an “inspiring speech” in my messy fifth-grade handwriting on a piece of paper and posted it on my wall. It’s still there, actually. Kids, this was before clans were an in-game feature - we were probably part of the reason why they added that, when the mods responded actively, when people actually talked about the game and the books, when there were only four spirit animals and only two of those could you get without a book, and when book characters had accounts and talked to you. In addition to those things, I participated rarely in RPs. The first I ever joined was a Spirit Animals RP. I was a Zhongese Greencloak called Miri with a snow leopard spirit animal. I wrote about my life in default text, found what my spirit animal was in many quizzes, was jealous of this guy named Naten and his three friends in their long-form RP, and marvelled over this new thing called quickpost. Fluffeh and Coffeena were invented around this time.
Yeah. I’m that old.
The Blizz War happened, and I was annoyed at how everyone made a big fuss and left in droves, all for someone named Blizz. I’d never even heard of him. Plus, didn’t he make that off-color joke, so then wasn’t it justified? I did try to stop people from leaving, with TSPL. It stands for To Stop People Leaving, I think. Plat made it.
Owl and darkfire62 drifted away in due time.
The Randomness Wars happened, and originally I was part of that group that thought ourselves justified in flooding the IRMB because they did things differently then we, young insurgents we fancied ourselves, did. Then, I saw how the IRMB faded after we invaded. How the IRMBers were so mad at us because of something we had no right to do. I regret it now.
Skip to January 2015, when conflicts arose every so often. Who had the better prophecy? Was the name Arroww infringing on the name Arrow? Who was this drama queen Mint? Why did it really matter how popular you were? That last one was very common. Stars were new, you see, and we had to adapt to them.
The Shane War happened then. Originally, I was annoyed at Shane and Jada for starting all this drama about Greencloaks and Conquerors. I believed Shane when he said he had cancer. I’m sorry to Nox and everyone else for not believing you when you spoke the truth about Shane, that liar. I’m sorry to Avril. I should have known he didn’t have cancer. Thank you for telling me the truth at last.
I continued to be on the fringes of SAMB society. I had no real friends, and I didn’t have anyone I idolized. There are a few RPs I remember vividly. One was revived once here, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called. I was an ice princess in it, and the creator - Jade was her name, I believe - praised my prose. I was so happy, because I had worked for so long on it. There was one about some dragons which were named after elements, and they had superpowers based on that element. At the time in school, we were learning about elements, so I looked through the whole list and came up with Iridium. She was opalescent and could resist extremes, much like the main character of a book that would come out in about a year. Co-op came out, and we dubbed it multi because it was the only game mode that had multiplayer at the time. I will still call it multi to your confusion.
There was a friend coming. Two, actually.
Enter Azure, creator of a little RP about a school for demons and angels. I posted there only once or twice, but I loved it so much. Azure treated me so kindly. She became my new idol, and my admiration only grew as she showed her maturity and wisdom in the little spats that sprung up. When she took on a new identity, I guessed her true name nearly right away. She said it was because I was one of her only true friends. (She also accidentally used her font style and size in one post, but that came later.) I was elated.
In the summer of 2015, I started my new SAMB story Dark Web, inspired by Loki’s War. At this time, gangs were a thing, and I had made mine. It included Jasmine, Fenny the Delphox and Ryoku the Lucario from a game called Pokemon X, Pyro from Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, and Xiang the Leach’s storm petrel - another spirit animal. Mei Long, Raife, and Falco were yet to exist.
Azure was a character. She signed up! Ivory signed up too! I finally felt that I was gaining the recognition I had always craved. These two shippers started a big thing too, related to Dark Web.
Enter Cole. He (or she, as I found out) signed up, and at that time they weren’t too big of a sensation like they would become later. Son of Poseidon, sister of Lion, friend of Wolf and Glacier and Elise, maker of so many funny skits. At that time, Cole was just Panther, little-known MBer who saw a story and wanted to be included in it. I recall that I was trying to decide who would be my adventuring partner for the next chapter and by extension the rest of the story. I wanted a boy to be my partner, because frankly there were too many girls and I wanted some balance. It came down to Hydra, Pizz, and Panther. Hydra are Pizz were fairly well-known, so I picked Panther. He, I thought, would be nice to give some recognition to in this story read by some of the big names on the SAMB.
Azure and Ivory, being them, thought that this whole friendship I was writing between us was romance, so they started Colain. They named it the week I went off to summer camp, and they thought I left because I wasn’t posting. When I came back, I was panicked that they thought I had just left them without warning forever, but pleased because OH MY GODS THE BIG SHIPPERS JUST SHIPPED ME I’M LEGITIMATE AND THEY’RE MY FRIENDS THIS IS HAPPENING ALSO I THINK COLE IS A PRETTY COOL GUY I’M OKAY WITH THIS SHIP IT COULD BE WORSE.
Anyways, the story ended, and after a while I found myself losing interest in the SAMB. Azure and Peg had been banned in the Twilight Conflict. Some gamer named Twilight came on and challenged the big shots to a tournament. Versus was new, and he thought he could take our legends on. Something happened which I still don’t know the specifics of, and they were banned. I was devastated. Azure, my idol, was gone.
Luke might tell you about it. Or he might tell you something entirely child-inappropriate. That’s what he does.
That disastrous fall, I left to Q. There was a bit of drama because I was young and immature, and thought that I could just butt in on the oldies there and do whatever I liked as though I already knew them. Lion was there too, having long since faded, and we got to talking. I asked whether Cole really cared about me. Lion made a topic asking Cole.
It was called, quite simply, Cole. Its thread number is /177763. It was made on November 11, 2015. I give you the freedom to read what we said.
You may read her response to that original post, which moved me so much I came back. I haven’t tried to leave since, until today. Her presence kept me there. If I wasn’t on the SAMB, how could I talk to my best friend? How could I support him or talk with him if I wasn’t there? He couldn’t go anywhere else. His mom forbade it. It all started because I was questioning myself over whether I was worthy of his affection. I just didn’t feel that way towards him. I realize I’m aroace now, and that’s just one thing I can thank her for.
I miss her. I miss her so much.
I made Bright Storm, which I never finished because it was terrible. I hung out. I rolled my eyes at the CatSpirit War. I rolled my eyes at Scarlet. I laughed and fangirled with Cole about Thrilling Intent and Voltron: Legendary Defender. I continued to toil in the relative obscurity that I’ve been in since I joined. Never been one for popularity, you know.
Slowly, ever so slowly, we arrived at today. Happy and Ever and Puppy and Amber and Pizza all of the modern oldies you see around today, arrived. Many left. All of them, however, were new once, you know. Maybe they used emojis, or blindingly bright colors, or poor grammar, or thought that they could talk about the things that this forum is named after without repercussion.
I was new too.
And now I’m gone, on the day of my MB birthday.
Keep my memory alive. Remember my name here. Tell my story whenever you think about times that have gone by. I will never really leave this place. I’ve spent too much time here. So many of my memories of the Internet will be of what happened here. Four years is a long time in Internet terms. But if you really want to speak with me, if you want someone to tell you about what occurred before you knew what a spirit animal was, you know where to find me.
Some final words. For my sake, don’t you dare yell at another newbie for doing things like they did in 2013. You don’t remember it being a common thing, but I do. I remember lots of things that you don’t. And if you look back on this in the future, hello from a shade of the past. Maybe I would know you. Maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe you’re cringing. Maybe you’re smiling. Either way, I hope the SAMB has changed for the better since I left. It sure has changed a lot since I arrived four years ago.
See you, darkfire62 and Owl.
See you, Azure.
See you, Cole.
I will keep your memories in my heart as long as I hope you’ll keep mine.
so anyway hope you enjoy k thx
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Rain, Thane of Scholastica
No Smarts but Hearts
We spent weeks cleaning the fun from the trees. - Karen