“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes, the Holy Bible)
It seems so long ago now when I remember how, one morning I woke up to an offline on yahoo messenger, with a website address, and I saw “Before the Mast” skinned by Raven, with a banner and all empty otherwise. A few hours later, I got persuaded to become her co-administrator and to put my love for the Age of Sail and my knowledge about the era into a new RPG which should have everything we loved in others, while avoiding, at the same time, what we didn’t like.
We took pride in being not the regular, common RPG everybody sees around, but something different, more of an interactive story puzzle written coherently by several people, a puzzle matching together from various little stories and chapters. It promoted community spirit, open communication, interesting discussions, fun and friendship.
And after a strenuous work of three weeks of writing all kind of documentations, on Transfiguration Day – 6-th of August 2010 – we had the official opening. Since then, we had no offline day, not even for replacing the site’s appearance. But there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot – so the site, which had 3 volumes in the 9 years it had been ongoing, will close at the end of 2019.
Who can forget the nine years passed since that Transfiguration holiday chosen as the official opening date of “Before the Mast”? Three years and a half spent on Invisionfree, (sorry, it was bought by Tapatalk and all the coding went to Hell in the transformation, not to mention also the Photobucket disaster) for Before the Mast 1719 and four years and a half spent on jcink, in the second year of our story, for Before the Mast 1720, plus the time spent on our newest volume, the third one, the more colonial-focused Caribbean Dawn 1720, which has its own two year birthday celebration on New Year 2020. The moment of its closing up, too…
Nine years of pouring my love for the Age of Sail and my knowledge about the era into a coherent story to be written with others have passed. We have striven to be a writing community of likeminded people, gathered together for doing a common project –writing together a soap-opera style, collaborative and consistent swashbuckling adventure story, each thread being a chapter of it. In this spirit, we kept discussing potential turns and twists and plotting them with the others, in order to fuel our inspiration and excitement about the story, to avoid inconsistencies and to put all the partners on the same wavelength, to write together towards the same objective.
Nine years are a lot of time, so writing partners have changed, characters have changed, the story has changed too with the sinking of some ships and the advent of peace in the West Indies. Nine years with joys and disappointments too, because nobody is exempted of them. And if nothing else, even this would be a reason to consider it an accomplishment – but I think we have much more.
We have built up an epic Caribbean saga. Some of my share of the story will be rewritten differently, in Romanian, into an adventure novel series titled The price of freedom. For now, I have definite ideas for 4 novels in the series, but 1-2 more aren’t impossible.
They say that people come into our life for a reason, for a season or for a lifetime. I think all of us knew that our site wasn’t meant for a lifetime, but for a reason and a few seasons. And the final season has come. I know that my stress and lack of free time won’t change in the next future. I am less motivated – or, rather, I have less life force to keep the site running, in the conditions that I can’t hand it over to anyone, as their lives had changed too in nine years, and their motivation had dwindled. So, better wrap up our stories, leaving place for a sequel which will never be written.
It wasn’t a decision taken lightly. It’s almost a decade of my life invested in this site and story, and in the friendship with most of my members – my crew, as I used to call them. I kept receiving signs heading in this direction for the latest months, until I understood there will be nothing better waiting for me upwards… A man has to do what a man has to do. It is valid for fleet admirals and pirate captains, as well! Including for me. My roleplaying time will soon be over.
“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met,
our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.”