Becoming Chaos

How many times have you heard someone say, with a wince in their voice and pity in their eyes, “I wouldn’t want to be in that guy’s shoes”? I imagine the vast majority of you can picture a time in your life when someone you know, or even you yourself, might have said that.

I know that when I first came up to the Havens, if I had heard that after my ephemeral training I’d be stepping into the role of Mysrai as a solo patron? I’d have said it myself.

Still, time can make fools of us all, and what a fool pre-ephemeral me would have been. As I read into all the lore that was written on Mysrai, flagged down gods and dragged them into eph-jail to beg a few scraps of wisdom out of them, and contemplated what Chaos was to me, I found myself really connecting with the god. After all, with more than a thousand faces to them, how could anyone not find one part that they could identify?

Whether that part was the older sibling who was irritated that their younger brother (Zvoltz is totally the baby, fight me) kept interrupting their plans to the absolute heartbreak of attempting to defy fate itself to save someone you love, there seemed to be something for everyone. As time went on, I slowly came to identify with more and more of these parts.

Whether or not I knew it at the time, even as I was weeping into Czixi’s waterproof pauldrons about how scattered the previous Mysrai’s notes were or swearing up and down as I kicked at the wall and shouted about how my most recent prog had failed dramatically, I was becoming Mysrai.

There’s a certain level of authority and responsibility that you feel settle around you when you graduate from ephdom to godhood. When you’re taking on a role that’s integral to an organisation’s identity and is both old and famous? Easily twice as much.

Imagine logging in to your character and having literal years worth of news posts, changelogs, messages, and more waiting for you with a bunch of bright and flashy colours that were painful to look at. Some of those were more easily fixed than others (Bless you, Ianir, for saving my poor eyes from old!Mysrai’s firework-style colour scheme), but it is all incredibly overwhelming.

The very first thing I did was clear out the public section of news. After all, between my player character and my ephemeral, I’d kept up on public, announce, and so on and I had nothing new there. All those numbers did was solidify exactly how long it had been since there had been a Mysrai at the wheel. Then, looking at the Gaudiguch and Mysrai boards, I went through every. Single. Post.

It was definitely enough to overwhelm anyone, and I spent at least three days doing nothing but sitting in the Havens, slowly making my way through the posts, and talking with the other gods. Can you believe their audacity? They were walking around like I was already one of them, and not an ephemeral who had freshly graduated! The nerve! The sheer, unmitigated GALL!

Ein, who was so incredibly busy with real life that he had very little time, gave me what little he had to spare. He forwarded me emails about various patron requests, walked through them with me and talked about what progress, if any, had been made towards them, and then was gracious enough to sit down and let me bluster at him about how nerve-wrecking the whole situation was.

He knew better than anyone, after all, having been the solo god of Gaudiguch for as long as he had, and he told me these wise words, “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you do. The players will love you just because you’re there.” If I could go back in time, I’d kiss him for telling me that, as during some of my roughest patches it has kept me going.

When my progs were throwing up errors and I was submitting dozens of changes in twos of minutes, I wanted to throw my hands up and cry. When I had no idea how I wanted to handle my Aspects, I wanted to cry and give up. Instead, I found myself repeating his words and telling myself it would be okay if my return wasn’t the absolute best event that Lusternia had ever seen.

Because Gaudiguch would have a god, and they would have someone around. They would love me for that. So instead of crying, I put through another dozen prog errors and sat down and read through every single Aspect and decided absolutely none of them would do. No, if I was to be Mysrai, then I had to put my foot down and make a move. I had to find somewhere on this infinitely spanning wall to make my tag amongst all the other graffiti that already stained it.

And I did. Maybe you weren’t there for the two-month long lead up that led to my release, where I slowly re-introduced players to the concept of roleplaying without concrete mobs. Did that colourful god-mote say there was a tae’dae sitting here, or a human in a cage? There is, even if you can’t see it! It was a bit of a slow start, but soon people became more used to this, and became enthused to come to the bottom of this mystery.

After hours of roleplay, I would go back up to the Havens, exhausted, and be met with the ecstatic squealing and high-fives of all the gods who had been in my shoes, and asked about my plans and how people had done. Even if I couldn’t do all the admin work perfectly, at least I could get people enthused about roleplay – like a real Mysrai would do.

I slowly began to tackle the double-digit number of patron requests that had been gathering dust for (in some cases) more than a year. I was determined to do it on my own, to get used to the idea of being self-sufficient.

Some things were far easier than others, and I found myself quickly falling into the groove of it. With each little change I made, even as simple as fixing a typo in a guild rank, I felt just a little more sure of myself. Slowly I began to tackle bigger problems, and then work on bugs that were related to Gaudiguch.

I can’t say I fixed them all, or quickly, but slowly things were getting done and players were noticing! After I got my first rave on the forums as a nameless admin, my heart soared and almost every admin who logged in that day gave me the link to make sure I saw it. Even if people didn’t love my roleplay and felt that I could never be the Mysrai they wanted, at least I could fix the mechanical issues – like a real Mysrai would do.

When my event was beginning to come to a head, all of the ephemeral trainers came together and helped me learn about the new type of progging I would have to do for it, something so far away from normal progging that I was certain I’d fail. Yet, despite that, they kept me going through it, echoing Ein without even realising it:

“Well, don’t fret. I’m sure we can make this work, and even if they miss this one little part, they’ll still love the rest because of how awesome it’s going to be to have a god!” My ideas were complex, and they were far-reaching, but by asking for help when I needed it and collaborating with the rest of the team in the Havens, I was able to make my dream a reality.

An enormous pink globe hid Gaudiguch from view as people in the city witnessed an enormous black sandstorm engulf the Palace of Pleasure. I was able to introduce a priest, show off a new Aspect, and finally return Mysrai to the Basin of Life. And even if I could never go back to being the eph I was after that, at least I could keep moving forward – like a real Mysrai would do.

As I write this, I’m fortunate enough to have a second admin at my side in Gaudiguch. Crumkane and I are one hell of a team, and his prog expertise is able to keep up with even my wildest ideas, and we’re able to dream up all sorts of beautiful things to fill our city with.

Our work is far from over, but together we’ve managed to take what was dozens of patron requests down to only three or so while fixing bouncing bugs back and forth between us. The administrative side of things has become almost second nature, and while I’m still discovering new things (I shrieked a litle when I read my first email about a potential historic house), it’s nowhere near as frightening as it used to be.

I’m certain I’ll never be the same Mysrai who existed several years ago, that beautiful firecracker of creativity and hallucinogens that carved an unforgettable path through Lusternia, but at the end of the day there is no one else who could be the same Mysrai that I am. Chaos isn’t just your lolrandom plot twists, after all, it’s the act of change through destruction and creation as you shape what was into what is.

The in-game teachings I offer to my order mirror so much of a personal philosophy I never knew that I prescribed to until I began to consider it for myself when I would ask, “What would Mysrai do?”

It’s hard to mark exactly where it happened, or what caused the flip to switch, but I managed to become Mysrai. I became Chaos.