Let me tell you about Tovin. Tovin was born the day after Ultima Online
launched the Sonoma server, I'm really not sure when that was!.
Created on the Sonoma shard of the game, I needed a name that was feminine and yet seemed able to handle wandering of the wilderness alone. I did a Alta Vista search for the name and came up with one researcher somewhere with the last name of Tovin, and thought, this is the most perfect name ever. I've been this name ever since.
Tovin spent her UO life doing many things, but the one I am most proud of is her work with the Sonoma Counselor's Hall.The Beginning
I had finally made enough money to buy a tower in UO, and in those days, it was expensive, and a wonderful accomplishment for me. I was so excited!! Someone at the West Brit Bank (in game) announced they were selling a tower, and I wanted it! So I gave him money, and expected my tower deed while the guy wandered off and laughed.
After almost throwing my monitor against the wall, I paged in game support, expecting an email or an invisible character to talk to me. Lo and Behold, a blue robed character appeared in front of me, named Stormsong. Immediately he was mobbed by the bank going characters. The question, "Can I have your robe?" was the most popular, but he was simply bombarded. He took me to the side and explained that I had fallen victim to a simple trick that was allowed under game rules, since there was no exploit or bug, it was simply that I was uninformed. He was nice and wonderful, and I fell in love. I wanted a blue robe.
Immediately after that moment, I went to the Counselors Hall in Brit, and found it empty. The counselors hall was behind the mage shop, and it was empty! I hung out there, talking to myself, waiting for an invisible GM or Counselor to pop out and talk to me! No one ever came. After a 4 hour wait, I gave up and logged out. I spent a lot of time in game after that wandering around between Yew and Britannia, avoiding players at all costs since I died at the drop of a hat, killing afk people (MWA HA HA) and picking up all regents that I found.
I sheared every sheep I ever came across, a dangerous trip in the Yew sheepyards, since it only had one opening and I could be killed within moments if someone saw me. I used the wool that I sheared to make cloth, which was then cut up and used either as bandages for wounded players coming into town, or to make clothing. That's right. Tovin was a tailor and a healer, with VERY high hiding skill.
I was always drawn to the Counselors Hall though, and I often returned. I began putting out food, and tables, with games and items. I spent hours there, sometimes 8 at a time, to help new players that thought, obviously, that they could find help from Counselors at the Counselors Hall.
Finding information was always my forte, and while I didn't know all the answers, I did know where to find them. I used Stratics for most of my information, and may I just say, I am XenaDragon's biggest fan!!!
I began spending all of my playtime at the hall, and I enjoyed myself tremendously. One day, 2 blue robes popped in. I was ecstatic!! One was the counselor I had originally met, and the other...well I don't remember his name, unfortunately. It was, after all, almost 9 years ago.
They hopped in said hi, asked what I was doing, and thought it was great, since the server (Sonoma) only had a few counselors on, and it was a volunteer position, they couldn't be helping people all the time, and I had no life and spent 8-10 hours online a day!
Tovin worked her speech of the dead skills, and healing skills, and made clothes for the newbies that would come to the Hall looking for help. I constantly brought chars, food, tables, etc to the Hall, to flair it up a bit, and have a very homey, welcoming feel for everyone that came.
Every now and then the counselors would hop in and say hi, and spend a few seconds between calls chatting. I ended up spending more time then I care to remember in that hall. I loved it. I met a lot of very nice people, got involved with a lot of the community, and really enjoyed the time I got to spend there. Eventually, the tables got locked down with the games I had to keep re-supplying when random griefers would walk in and steal everything I had used to decorate the hall with.
A throne appeared, along with several long tables, several chess tables, and decorations on the walls. It was wonderful. I don't remember if it was the first decoration sweep that included bread, cheese, and drink for our Hall comers, but I know they were added at some point.
Tika and Revo, the Senior Counselors for Sonoma popped in every now and then, for very short periods of time, to say hi, and chat. But the staffing levels for Counselors at that time was so limited that there was no way that they could keep up with what was going on. At that point, counselor applications were released! Alas, I did not qualify! The age minimum was 25, and I was about to turn only 21.The End
After begging everyone I could find, letters to UO, and basically crying my eyes out because I was about to miss the opportunity that I wanted so badly, UO came to my rescue!
I was allowed into the Counselor program!!!!!!! Tika had arranged for me to take part in the program on Castkills, headed by Senior Counselor (SRC) Terendil. I was added to the ranks of Blue Robes as Counselor Lady Jade. I spent hours and hours in IRC and ingame, answering more questions with my cool blue robe then I care to remember.
I was awarded a jester's hat by a GM once, and ran around thinking I was just so cool! I loved my position as a counselor, a community member, and an addicted UO player! My Assistant Senior Counselors (ASRC's) Alazar, and Braveheart were awesome, and I love them!! There were, of course, other counselors, other src's, and other asrc's, but those are the ones that stick out in my mind.
I eventually moved to the Oceania server as it opened up, and though I was offered the SRC of training position, I left the program before I took it.
The Counselor program was in the process of consolidating cross-server queues, when I left. And the program was dopped within 3 months of my leaving.
I truly treasure the time I spent as a counselor. I met a lot of great players, and worked with a lot of great Counselors. It gave me a lot of experience in IRC, leading online communities, and just basically being involved in customer service.
I left UO several times, but the Trammel/Feluca split was my last straw. During my time as a counselor, I met Counselor Weasel on Sonoma one day, in the Sonoma counselor's IRC room. He and his family are some of my closest friends, and people I love, respect, and have adopted into my family.
Tovin has gone on to be the main name that I use across online games, and online persona's. I respond to the name, I respond to Jade as well. They are me, and I am them, and I miss the days of UO a bit sometimes when I think of how much of me I put into Tovin.
Tovin is now a part of my life, and I love her!