This is a story all about how my life flipped upside down… The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air seems somewhat appropriate to the topic. This is how I met my fantastic husband… While I was taking a deep dive into the toxic wasteland we know as online role-playing games.
The lonely FC leader
FC is a shorthand for a Free Company (FC) in a game called Final Fantasy XIV. It’s an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) game where tons of people come together to go on various adventures. They defeat challenging foes and even battle each other for grand prizes and glory. FC in this digital world is a clan, a guild you can create for yourself, your friends, and your community. It comes with many perks such as housing, facilities for various needs and desires, and more.
Anyway, I had run an FC before, on another server, in another life. One day my co-leaders betrayed me and my world collapsed. After the fallout, I decided to end my misery and follow some fresh raiding friends to another server. I had to leave my fully packed manor, my greatest accomplishment, behind. Lucky for me (and for the person in question), an old friend was ready to take it off my hands.
I was practically on my own once more, nothing to my name. Slowly, I started building my legacy anew. I poured my time into crafting and running in circles in the fields, gathering every stick and timed diamond. Eventually, I made up my mind and once more formed a Free Company. With some help from the Aetheric Gods, I found people that were incredible at recruiting, and so my clan grew. One shaved ice at a time.
One fateful day, in the shady alleys of Limsa Lominsa, the navy capital, my recruiter found a mysterious man. He wore nothing but glamour armor (clothing that looks cool but doesn’t offer any protection). Either my friend run out of ice cream, or it was the new blood’s peculiar request… In any case, my second in command compelled me to go meet this person in the flesh.
He was low-level considering the game had seen many additions to it. It was as if he had not been walking the lands for months or even years. He had no interest in my trinkets and abundance of gifts. And even less for my services as a player who could power-level him up the ladder. For my particular FC, this man did not seem like a good fit, if I am completely honest. He wanted nothing, nor did he have any inclination to socialize.
Who is this PVP fiend?
The rift became even more obvious as I found out that this maverick from the shadows of Aether was actually possessed by the demons of war. His mind was always on PVP (player vs player). I joined him on his journeys, in the PVP hub of the realms, and got used to the new scene. Back then I didn’t know how involved in the whole player battle fiesta I would be later on!
I must admit, this man was too witty for his own good. He’d often greet the other members with a pun or remark, leaving us puzzled as to his motives. He took advantage of the gracious FC leader’s (that would be me) lapses in speech and typos, yet kept it warm-spirited. I could not, for the life of me, figure out what this man was doing here. The company was clearly out of his world as he wasn’t eager to play with others. Except when it came to me.
The long nights
Our battle royales sometimes lasted to the small hours of the night, one match after the other. I screamed at him, the healer, to support me, howling “WRAAAATTTHH!”, while dying to yet another bizarre lapse in his spellcasting. Amicably he kept his composure in the fights, spreading his astral light on all the friendly combatants. And off we went again. I must’ve gained 90% of my PVP points and achievements, not to mention the experience, during those times.
We also spent tons of time in the dueling arena. I was never much of a fighter on my own, but he managed to beat, poke, and magic some survivability into me. We trained and trained, and on occasion, I got the upper hand on him. Of course, I found out later in life that he had given me the gentle grace of victory. Truthfully, I’ve never had an up on him, not then, and not now. Even if I’ve turned into quite the Player Killer myself.
We spent hours in repetition, refining the team-working skills I never knew I had. I laughed, cried, and talked about everything and anything in between the flying arrows and flashing spells… This had never happened before, despite my believing the opposite. This man seemed to understand life deeply, on a level that surpassed all the people I’d come across before him. When we came up with the thought of leaving our video chat open for the night, I couldn’t believe it. That night, I slept lightly, smiling. In the morning I woke up to see my beloved beside me for the first time.
A few months into our adventures tragedy hit my household. I had to fend for myself, something I had never done before. I had no access to funds, and my Borderline Personality Disorder was in a deep pit, breathing out Chaos where it could. The sudden loss of stability and safety left me a wreck. My mystery man was on the line when the news reached me. He witnessed me collapse into a husk in a matter of moments.
I fell into a deep dissociation, not belonging, and barely surviving. It was a sorry state that lasted for a time that felt like weeks. People offered their help, but I did not accept it. I couldn’t bare the real world and drowned in my tears behind my screen. I locked myself into my room, dissociating to the point of non-existence when I had to go out. And then my life changed for the second time. My mystery man wanted to come to my aid.
And so it begins
Once the customs cleared the trip he hopped on the plain. He took with him nothing but a duffel bag on a journey he had never taken before. All this, so he could stand by the side of a wreck of a woman he had never truly net. Within three days of the gates of hell opening themselves by my feet, I was sitting in a car. I drove to the airport, not quite understanding what had just happened. My future walked out of the terminal, duffel bag on one shoulder, curiously looking at this new land. In the first few steps we took together, he turned to me and asked:
“Where is my kiss?”
From then on, I was on my way to Becoming Mrs. Maria Vana. Not an FC leader or a soul claimed by the Chaos of the Void any longer. Instead, I would become a housewife, writer, and partner in both real and virtual battles.
Last Updated: 03/06/2023