One fateful day, I was sitting in the Havens with Aonia, whom we’ve lovingly nicknamed Vowels (just in case I code switch later on), and I was researching spider facts. Yep: I’m not actually an expert on these eight-legged plot devices, so if I’m doing something that involves Viravain’s creepy army of arachnids, I hit the (proverbial) books. In fact, as I’m currently working on [redacted] for the Order, I’ve been face-deep in article after article of spinnerets and real-life webbing designs, all in an effort to ensure that Viravain’s followers have a somewhat believable story to follow; I wanted to make sure I could write each description well, right down to the names of each kind of web.

And the entire time I was doing this, I was commenting to Vowels such one-liners as:

Who knew there were so many horrifying, nightmare-fueling, jaw-droppingly terrifying arachnids in existence?

and

Who needs to spend money on a movie ticket to see a thriller when all you have to do is Google “deadly spiders” to fill your brain with enough content to disrupt your sleep for the next month?

We both laughed, and I kept going. It was a good-natured bit that helped ease the tension that was building in that little spot between your shoulder blades that turns to iron when you’re actually about to explode into an anxiety attack. Did you catch on yet that the Mother of Spiders is actually deathly afraid of insects? Well, she isn’t. But I sure am.

Part of the fun from there was Vowels and I wondering aloud about what other secrets there might be lurking in the Havens, and then I thought: why not expose us all in a very public way as the frauds that we are, for the raw entertainment value? After all, Elder Divine are enigmatic beings with a whole host of quirky personality traits, but the humans who drive these screen deities are also just as peculiar. I figured that being strange must come with the territory when you’re an internet divine, so I cast a lure to attract all of Viravain’s divine friends so that they, too, might be tricked into sharing their own intriguing behind-the-scenes factoids. In no certain order, including a beefier version of my own, here are the fruits of my labour:

Viravain: I’m horribly, mind-numbingly, teeth-clenched-together-in-fear terrified of spiders in real life. If I see them in my home, I would rather pack up my life and vacate altogether than deal with it, and I’ve had to, in the past, call friends over to help me get rid of them. This proves quite awkward when I’m working with their imagery in-game, as I’m sure you can understand, and I’ve done quite a bit of research on them (for as long as my anxiety can hold out) in order to help spur along my various plots. So, the key takeaway here: every time something really cool with spiders happens in Vira’s world, just remember that Her player is likely going to have nightmares about it for a few days.

Aonia/Czixi: Several years ago I transitioned to veganism from vegetarianism. This deprived me of easy access to one of my absolute most favourite things on the planet: macarons. Fast forward a year or two, and someone asks one of my priests what her favourite food is. On instinct, I say macarons. Now the entire order are obsessed with feeding her macarons, and every single time they do so I find myself deeply sad at how hard it is to get vegan macarons and how long it is since I’ve had any. Sob.

Lantra: Since I imagine Lantra as a health conscious and highly opinionated person, I thought it would be a funny quirk for her to dislike most sweets. Particularly chocolate, with this being a solid point of contention between her and Crumkane. This is a very small detail buried in one sentence of a sprawling god profile, but it keeps unexpectedly coming up again and again with players, which makes me laugh. While Lantra prefers something subtle and vanilla if she absolutely must have dessert, I personally love and adore dark chocolate and may even be eating it as I RP my disdain.

Carakhan: One of my friends in secondary school, exasperated by my pop culture illiteracy, dubbed me the “little mermaid”. The epithet stuck for a number of years, and said friend did make me watch the Disney film. (My pretentious secondary school self was not a fan, due to how drastically it changed the source material).

Mysrai: Despite my delightfully gay and rebellious nature, I always fit the niche role of ‘person who knows too much about things no one cares about’ in school. This has come in VERY handy as pop culture has become more nerdy, and it is doubly handy as Mysrai. I get to play so much with the subjects I was obsessively reading about throughout school (and well after). However, I was never really that deep into philosophy until I ended up playing Lusternia. Specifically, when I made my very first dracnari who wound up in Mysrai’s order, and got to talk with Sebitti for all of three emotes. Suddenly, I was less obsessed with learning EVERYTHING and thinking more about WHY I wanted to learn everything. WHY was I so curious and WHAT did I want to do with my knowledge, and after falling down that rabbit hole I somehow ended up as Mysrai myself. The moral of the story is philosophy inevitably leads to drugs and Mysrai. Nietzsche is the gateway pondering to paradigms.

Drocilla: I used to wear my Lusternian “I’m a Mag IRL” t-shirt while teaching at a kindergarten (oh so many years ago). Nobody knew what it meant, or cared, but I was and remain deeply amused. It’s a very Drocilla-like thing to do – say, flaunt a piece of jewellery that reveals so much about you but no one is able to tell the meaning at all. Hiding in plain sight is her specialty. She is very much a wolf in sheep’s clothing. She is restrained, always putting on an act, and almost never lets her guard down. You need to get really close to see the cracks in the facade or catch her off guard with one of her triggers.