PMs are out — Sign-ups are closed! Gifts are due by the 24th
Hello everyone! All PMs have been sent out. Aaaah I am so excited! I stated this in the PM, but please make sure you answer it to acknowledge you have read it and will be creating a gift. If I do not see a response by the 20th, I will assume you are not and create a gift for your recipient in your stead. Other than that, I am definitely open to help you with ideas if you need it! Ask me any questions in the PM.
**It is also of note, since I was poked about this last year, that if you want to create an anonymous gift for more than just your recipient, you may include those in the PM as well. If you send a gift to someone that is not participating in this event, I will both post it here and PM it to them.
I’m not going to lie, when I saw that you were my Secret Santa recipient I kind of just went “oh ****”. I’ve honestly been worried and got anxious about what I would do for you. But, in the end I figured it out and somehow put it together in time.
Let me talk about you. I know you talked about how you see yourself as “a sack of garbage” in Peace of Mind, but I don’t see you that way. I see you for how you are at your core. You are genuinely a really kind and caring person who I feel is very sincere and just wants everybody to do well. You’ve shown this time and time again, and nothing you can do will sway my opinion of you. I’m always happy to see you on the forums and on Discord and to talk with you every so often. I always appreciate whenever you have something to say about me, because your words have filled my heart with warmth and definitely made me smile.
I’m also really glad you’re back on staff. I know it can be a thankless job, but I know you’ve poured your heart and soul into the community over the years and I am grateful for the work and effort you have and continue to put in. You definitely make the community a better place to be in with your presence, and with you on staff I know that Marriland is in good hands.
I know it isn’t easy to deal with social anxiety, but, honestly, I can’t help but admire you for how you’re able to handle it. The best example I can give is this. I know it can’t be easy to do your job with your social anxiety, given that not only do you have to deal with your coworkers but the customers as well, but the fact you haven’t let it stop you and you just keep continuing to work away is just so damn encouraging. You’re definitely a strong woman, and I can definitely learn a lot from you with how you’re able to handle your own social anxiety.
Obviously the future can be scary to think about. While you may be unsure of what exactly you want to do going forward, without a doubt I believe you will excel at whatever you choose to do, whether it’s pursuing something as an artist, becoming a baker, a combination of both or even something else entirely. You are definitely talented. Your art is so amazing, easily one of the best artists on Marriland in my honest opinion, and I feel so blessed to have been able to request something from you while you had your shop open on Azurilland. Although I’d have no way of knowing, I wouldn’t be surprised if your baking skills were really good too. With your determination, I know that things will work out for you in the end.
I am really fortunate to know you, and I hope we can talk more moving forward. I wish you a Merry Christmas and all the best in 2019. <3
I also wrote a short story to go along with this message. It’s definitely rough around the edges and could be polished a lot more, that’s my fault for putting it off for so long, but I hope you enjoy it!
[spoiler]“urg, Dad, it’s 4 in the morning”
“Come on, get up now. I want you to see today’s sunrise.”
My Dad always loved doing this with me. Once a month, he would take me out early so we could watch the sunrise. But I hated it. Why. Why would he cut into my sleep time just to show me some stupid sunrise? You can watch the videos of the sun rising! I don’t need to see it in person!
So while my Mom and my younger sister Jenna slept, he would drive us to the top of this local hill. I was still half asleep and only half listening to what he was saying. He would ask me about stuff, like how I was doing in school, how I felt about the family, and even what I wanted to do in the future. I would just mumble some random crap. I could barely stay awake. I honestly don’t remember a lot of what he told me now, but there’s one thing he would always say when we got out of his truck and sat down in some chairs he set up for us.
“Things are always darkest before the dawn.”
I don’t really get why he said that. Like, yeah, it’s dark. Sun makes it bright. Cool, thanks Dad. Real great thing you’re saying there.
The years went by. My relationship with my Dad was never that great. He tried his hardest to bond with me, but…I just didn’t care for it. I didn’t care for his attempts at bonding. Like, you’re my Dad, cool, doesn’t mean I have to like you. My relationship with my Mom wasn’t great either. But she never tried to bond with me. She was always on my ass, making sure I was doing homework, studying, not staying up too late, not staying out too long with friends. I honestly hated it, and hated her, too.
Really, the only real bright spot in my life was Jenna. Friends came and went in my life, but Jenna was always there. While she was my younger sister, she was also my best friend. Still, I can’t help but feel ashamed, since she always looked up to me as her big brother, but I didn’t feel worthy of it. She was much smarter, full of energy and overall a better person than I was. In some ways I was jealous of her, but at the same time I would do anything to protect her and make her proud.
Unfortunately, I’ll always remember the day I received that horrible news. It was a cold and snowy day in February. I was in Grade 11, and I was studying away for my Biology unit exam the next day, since I never bothered studying until the last minute. My Mom came into my room. Her face was pale and very sullen, she was trying to hold back her tears but I could see them rolling down her face. All I could ask is “What is it?”
“Dad is dead.”
My world was shattered. Dad? Dead? How? It turned out he died in a car accident as he was unable to stop due to the ice on the road, so he slid into the intersection and the other vehicle plowed right into him due to having no way of avoiding him. The police say he was killed on impact.
As the news sunk in and the tears flowed down my face, all I could think about was how bad our relationship was, how despite all his efforts I never treated him well. But I never thought he could actually die. I hate that my last words to him were “Go away, Dad”. Like, ****, I didn’t mean it like that!
I couldn’t help but think of that saying of his. “Things are always darkest before the dawn.” All I could think was “Why am I remembering that? what did you mean by that, Dad?” I’ll never know now.
After the funeral, I grew more and more distant from my family. I started getting angrier with my Mom, as it felt like she became more controlling, more demanding to make up for the fact that Dad was dead. Jenna tried to talk to me and spend time together, but I kept pushing her away, much to her dismay. Eventually, she stopped trying to talk to me altogether.
It was so much harder to concentrate in school, and my grades started to slip. I had tried to isolate myself from the world in an attempt to hide away my pain. I lost any friends I had before the accident. I no longer really knew what I wanted to do. But my Dad had always encouraged me to go to university, to get a degree and to go work in a field I enjoyed.
I struggled a lot of the way, but I managed to graduate Grade 12 with honors. My marks were good enough to get into university. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do, so I just ended up just entering doing a general Bachelor of Science degree until I found something I wanted to major in. Still, making university in the first place was a huge accomplishment for me after what happened, and I was hoping I could find myself while there.
I made it through the summer, then it was finally time to move into a place of my own and begin adulthood. My Mom was happy I was leaving, and it rubbed me the wrong way. Jenna just hugged me and said something to me.
“Things are always darkest before the dawn. Remember. For Dad.”
All I could think was why would she say that? I was happy. I was finally free of my Mom, free to be my own man. What was she seeing that I wasn’t?
My first year at university was really rough. I just struggled to keep myself motivated. I thought things would be different. But I couldn’t even make any friends. I tried, but most times things would fall apart after a couple of conversations. Most of the time I would just stay in bed, put off any assignments and studying I had to do until the last minute. I really had to force myself to go to my classes. And I ended up with a 1.7 GPA and on academic probation.
After my last final, I had to go find a job. I had gotten money from the university fund that was set up for me back when I was a baby, but that wasn’t going to be enough to sustain myself going into the next school year. I ended up getting a cashier’s job for the summer, and I hated it. It just really sucked to deal with all these customers. Just so oblivious to the world around them, not caring about me or anybody else. The pay was enough to make do and pay rent, though I knew I’d have to take out student loans to pay for my years of university going forward.
My sister came and saw me during the summer as well. I was happy to see her. But we didn’t really do much. We just talked. In her face, as we talked, I saw her go from happy to just…sad. I don’t really remember much about what we spoke about, but I remember what she told me as she was leaving.
“Listen, Silas, please, take care of yourself. Things are always darkest before the dawn. Okay?”
Like, why. Why keep repeating what Dad said. He’s gone. It doesn’t matter anymore. It’s just some dumb phrase he said. It doesn’t carry any meaning.
My employment ended before going back to university. They made it clear that I shouldn’t bother re-applying for a job again, that they didn’t want me back. Something about an attitude problem. Whatever. I don’t need them. I just needed to do well and kick ass during this year of university.
But now here I am. I’m in my second year. The fall term. I just failed yet another midterm. I’m probably going to fail all my courses. I’ll be kicked out of university. Yet I just don’t care. I do not care in the slightest. I don’t know how to motivate myself to care. I don’t know what I want to do in the future.
Like, what is the point of all of this? What is the point of life? Life sucks. So why. Why keep going?
I thought writing this all out would help. It would help give me clarification. It would help give me purpose. But I just feel useless. I feel horrible. My lack of motivation. My lack of a goal and hope for the future. The way I was let go from my job. The way I treated my Dad. The way I’ve treated my Mom. The way I’ve treated my friends. Even giving the cold shoulder to my sister.
Like, man, I don’t know why. Why did this have to happen? Why did my Dad have to die? Why did I have to have a ****ty relationship with him? Why is life out to get me?
…My phone just went off. It’s a message from Jenna. She wants to talk. But no. I can’t let her see me like this. She…she looked up to me. I am her big brother. She looked up to me growing up, but how does she see me now? I’ve let her down. I’m no role model. I’m not making her proud. I’m a disappointment. What am I doing?
…I looked and read back at what I had written. Jenna had kept saying “Things are always darkest before the dawn” to me, didn’t she? Just like Dad. Maybe…maybe she saw. Maybe she saw what was happening to me. She was always smarter than me, more observant.
I’m going to get help. This isn’t right. How I’ve been acting for years. It isn’t right. Something’s wrong with me. Something needs to change.
It’s been a couple of years. Looking back now, it’s crazy to think about how bad things were, how things were teetering on the edge of disaster. I’m definitely ashamed of how I acted back then. I was very immature, and also suffering from depression that my psychiatrist thinks was brought on by my Dad dying, which I agree with.
I quit school for a year, got myself a labor job. It wasn’t fun, but it taught me the value of hard work and just grinding things out no matter what. Now I’m back at university and going for a degree in Psychology. I want to help people in the future, and I feel this is the best way to do it.
I’m a lot happier nowadays. I remember meeting with Jenna this summer, and she was so taken back by me. We had fallen out of communication for awhile while I was just trying to help myself get better, so she didn’t know what had happened until I told her. I’ll never forget what she said to me.
“I’m so happy you’ve changed. You were so sad and bitter before. I just…I was just afraid of saying anything because I didn’t want you to hate me, like you did with Mom. I’m glad you’re my brother, Silas. You’ll always inspire me to do better.”
I’ve got two people to thank for this change. Jenna, of course, but also my Dad. His words still carry strong to this day for me.
“Things are always darkest before the dawn.”
I finally understand what he was saying all those years ago. I finally get what he was trying to tell me.
"Hey!! We haven't talked much and I'm not a super artsy person, but I just wanted to let you know that I've noticed your artwork from afar and I really love it!! You're so talented, and it's clear that you've put a lot of time and dedication into your art. You're a shining star on the forums- don't let life get ya down, I know it's easy for that to happen when you're a college student."
“Like a bolt of lightning, it’s Brett. A fan of Pokémon, Shinx, and all that is funny, he is sure to leave an impact. Whether on the forums or Discord, his precense is always felt. May he find great happiness in his future endeavors.”
(Obviously the characters are completely fictionalized just for the laughs. Hope you enjoy!)
List of Characters:
And of course, SarasaKat
Rosen: Alright, we have a small group today, so this should be quick. Mafia Day 1 begins… now!
Diarkia: Hey guys. Sorry, I won’t be on much today, I have finals week for uni.
Kilza: Yeah, same with me. So I won’t be on much.
Kirichaki: Hmm, interesting.
Kat: Wanna explain why that is so interesting Kirichaki?
Vayatir: Wanna explain why you asked why Kat?
Varhii: Whoa, this is getting juicy already!
Varhii: Oh yeah, and I know we’re supposed to do this once, but I’m double posting now because that’s totally strategic!
Vayatir: Hmm, by your choice of words, and by your enthusiasm (which totally is relevant to your role and not because you’re actually like that), you must be Mafia! 1! Mafia sucks, and so why would you double post now? 2! You obviously have a happy demeanor with that post and Mafia is obviously drunk off of life! 3! Because I’m always right and anybody who says so is permanently, officially, totally, for real, fact, banned! Boo yah, another one for Mr. Godmin!
Kirichaki: Uhh… ok then.
Varhii: Wait what?! How did you come to that conclusion?! You know that I am like that in real life! How is how I am all of a sudden proves that I’m mafia?!
Vayatir: Proof! I demand proof you heathen!
Varhii: But I did provide proof?
Vayatir: Not valid! You didn’t provide valid proof! That right there in of itself is proof that you are mafia! Everybody, /Varhii or else you’re all banned!
Kirichaki: Whoa, whoa, whoa, way to jump to conclusions! We haven’t even seen one night yet, so how can we know for sure?!
Kat: Yeah, to me, if there’s any indication, it seems like you’re mafia by the way you’re acting so aggressive all of a sudden! Lemme counter your question with a question of my own: Why are you so aggressive, huh?! Explain yourself now or else…
Kirichaki: I second Kat’s interrogation.
Diarkia: I’m too busy with Uni to pay attention, even though I promised Rosen that I’d pay attention, so I’ll just follow what everyone else is doing and vote /Vayatir.
Kilza: Yeah what Diarkia said. /Vayatir
Seaturtle: Sorry, mod duties. /Vayatir just cause I’m a mod and I can do that.
Rosen: Well, I know I said that the day will last for the next 97364 hours, but I’m lazy, sleepy, busy, and hungry all at the same time, so I’m gonna end day 1 right here. Sorry Vayatir, but quite frankly, you suck. You were once so good, but now you lost it. Finally you set yourself up to die. ****ing piece of ****. Good ****ing riddance.
End of Day 1:
And so then, the day ends all of a sudden because of a terrible tornado! The citizens all run inside, and lock the Mayor (Vayatir) out, causing him to get sucked into the twister and die!
Night 1 begins and ends.
Dawn of The Second Day! 48 Hours Remain!
And so then, after the tornado disappeared, somebody suspicious quickly seized their opportunity, sneaks into somebody’s house, and hides in their closet! A Dancer (Diarkia) comes in for the day, tired after an eventful night’s work of “caring” for all the scared citizens ;) and then dies by the suspicious person’s hand! Also, Kilza (Dancer) gets mod killed by Vayatir and is legit permabanned from the game and forums. Also, Vayatir is gonna permaban me once this is over, and that he’s gonna take over, so, uh, yeah. Bye guys. You suck Vayafuck!!!
Vayatir: Ok, Day 2 begins! I want Varhii gone or else I’m gonna permaban you all like I did Kilza and Rosen!!!
Seaturtle: :sweatbears: Oh no, Vayatir threatened permaban, which actually is a threat to members and not of the staff, what am I to do?!
Varhii: Um, what’s going on here?
Kirichaki: Why are you all picking me?! I did the most to help you all out! AND I don’t wanna get permabanned!
Kat: Kirichaki has a point. What reason has he given all of you?! None! So unless you two start giving reasons, I say you two are actually mafia, because who in their right minds lynch a helpful player!
Varhii: Hey listen, I’m just doing it cause I don’t wanna lynch myself!
Kirichaki: Well, I get that, but why not seaturtle?!
Varhii: Along with Kat’s post, that’s a good point!
Vayatir: According to my new rules which I purposefully left unknown to you all, when Varhii changed his vote, /Kirichaki and /Varhii were no longer tied, which means that Day 2 ends! See you later Varhii, you pathetic piece of **** Mafia! Mwahahahaha!!!
End of Day 2:
And so, the citizens faced a new problem: the moon was about to crash down onto the town! All the citizens grabbed all the fast travel packs they could and teleported to a new town that was identical to theirs somewhere millions of miles away! But oh no, it turns that all but one made it! The Doctor (Varhii) didn’t teleport in time and died a fiery, burning, blazing death!
Night 2 begins and ends.
Alas, during their forced sleep because of teleporting, the suspicious person awoke earlier than the rest and killed Mafia (seaturtle) just because they felt like that! What a horrible person!
Vayatir: ****, and I permabanned Varhii too, and I can’t unpermaban him! **** **** ****! **** **** ****ing ****! **** **** ****ting ****! Well, there’s only two players left in the game, you know what to do…
Kirichaki: So, it has come down to this. Either you or I has to be mafia, but which one is it?!
Kat: I know I didn’t get a chance to help as much as you do, but something tells me you were playing the system all along to win!
Kirichaki: Really? That’s your reason? Really?! I’ve seen enough.
Kat: Not if I lynch you first!
Vayatir: It seems we have a two-way tie. Well, might as well end Day 3. Damn, that was boring.
End of Day 3!
And so, it is with a heavy heart that I announce the death of Citizen Kirichaki. He was such a helpful soul. May his soul rest in pepperonies. *offers a moment of silence* Congrats Serial Killer Kat for winning this pathetic game! As for your reward, you will not get permabanned! Oh yeah, and you can FORGET about seeing Kirichaki and everyone else that participated ever again! Love - Vayatir. :)
all the gifts were so incredibly cute and had me smiling so big, but mine is very special to me. i already thanked my SS privately (could absolutely tell it was you) but thank you again, really, i wish i could put into words how much it means to me