Sunday, July 18, 2004, 10:39:12 PM
One night in mid July, Ciale didn’t log on. While some thought it was strange, personally, I thought nothing of it because I knew Ciale had unsubscribed and I assumed we’d see him less and less until the day his subscription finally expired. A few days later, I read in guild chat that someone heard he had died in real life. I immediately spoke out and said there had to be some kind of mistake, because he was online on AOL Instant Messenger. In order to make everyone feel at ease, I figured the best thing to do was to go say “whats up” to him on AIM and let him know that people were asking for him.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the conversation I had with his father, there was no mistake. When I alt-tabbed back into the game, everyone was hoping that I had some kind of news that would make everything okay. All I had for them was a link to the SOE forums where Ciales passing was already posted by someone on the Eclipse boards.
I remember that it felt like time stopped that night. After I posted the link into guild chat, my eyes relaxed and I didn’t really catch what anyone even responded with. I think I was just praying that eventually, Ciales name would be one of the ones I’d see and this whole situation would just go away. In the background I heard the repeated dinging of /tells coming in from anyone who Ciale and I both knew in common. I didn’t know how to answer them, especially the ones from <LOK> members considering that not everyone were on speaking terms due to the recent flight to <DOM>. Obviously the severity of the situation nullified any kind of bad blood that anyone still harbored… and so, with a deep breath, I knew I couldn’t leave everyone hanging. Doing my best to keep it together, I began to let all the appropriate people know what had happened.
No one took the news well. Ciale was the most loved of any person I met on Eclipse. He was a good friend to everyone, and especially good to Rampage and I. The three of us had not seen as much of one another since <HHT> broke up, but we were always close. We still talked every time we were online together, and not a second went by when any of us wouldn’t drop what we were doing to aid one of the other ones. Our relationships transcended guilds, factions, or any other invisible border between us.
It was Ciale that set the example. Ciale was the one that put the rest of us at ease during times of crisis or tension. Ciale was the one that knew the ins and outs of every last game mechanic. When he left <LOK> for <DOM>, I didn’t even remotely hesitate. If that’s where he was, then it’s where I wanted to be. He was truly one of a kind, and to this day it’s hard for me to convey to people how his loss affected the game for the players that knew him.
My friend Ciale Yhagai died in the Summer of 2004 from a heart attack… He left behind a loving family in Michigan, and many loving friends from his second home… in a Galaxy Far Far Away.
From the Shoten Files:
"Hello Brian, I was somewhat relieved today when I talked with you about what happened to my son on July 17th. At about 11.30 am my son Fred warmed up some pizza in the microwave and sat at his desk, seconds later he complained of a jaw pain moving to the back of his neck, At first I thought he might have bitten his tongue or cheek.
He walked around for about 1 minute and asked me to call 911 which I did immediately. In the meantime he went outside to sit on the porch and wait for the ems. He was acting ok, he even took off his bracelet and handed it to me in case he needed an iv I believe. When the ems arrive about 8 minutes after I called, by the way I stated his symptoms to the ems operator which were jaw pain, numbness in right leg etc. Anyway a male ems worker walked up to the porch and asked my son what was wrong.
My son told him the same symptoms I mentioned on the phone. He then asked my son if he could walk to their vehicle. My son said yes he could and proceeded to stand and walk to their vehicle about 50 feet away. I found out later on that he died about a minute later in the ems vehicle. As we discussed earlier, I had talked to about 6 ems workers who all stated that asking him to walk with his symptoms was totally uncalled for.
They tried to revive him for about 20 minutes then told me that they were helping him breathe. We followed their vehicle to the hospital about 1 mile away and arrived at the emergency room at Garden City Mi. I signed a few papers and heard code blue on the pa system, they called our family name and my daughter and I went down a corridor and was approached by an orderly who asked if my son was allergic to any medications.
I told him no and he asked us to wait in this small room, about 20 seconds later 2 Dr’s arrived closed the door and told me that my son had passed away. The autopsy report states pericardial tamponade and aortic dissection and cause of death. I would appreciate any input you can give me and will send copies of anything you may need. Again Brian, thanks for taking the time to talk with me."
This was written by Ciale’s dad, explaining what happened. I still have Eragi’s (his jedi) training lightsaber on Shoten. There was a glitch where the "no trade" lightsabers could be put into a droid with a storage compartment, and then the droid was traded. There are statues that still stand in Purgatory to this day, honoring "Ciale Yhagi" and "Eragi Yhagi, True Jedi". I have a kimogila from Ciale’s Bio-engineer days, a "Cialegila", as he named it. Some residents of Purgatory have furniture made by him in their houses. I remember a thread started on the Eclipse forums asking for stories of Ciale to remember him by. I remember stating quite simply "Remember him? I shall never forgot him!"
Friday, August 06, 2004, 11:54:03 PM (ScreenShot2295)
Weeks went by, and I found myself unable to log into SWG very much. Everything in the game reminded me of better times… when things were exciting and Ciale was with us to enjoy it all. SWG really seemed up in the air to me, but just when I didn’t know what to do next… a familiar name popped up on my AIM…. The “other fish” of our crew was back from his 4 month break. I quickly logged in and rushed to Purgatory where I was greeted by good ol Florian, wearing his trademark white “fish twins” outfit… but instead of a Swoop Helmet… he had a… chefs hat?
After we exchanged hugs and stories, I quickly learned that Flo had returned to the game and power grinded the Chef profession in record time. Flo was one of those guys that was unable to play casually. If he was subscribed, he was grinding until he got where he needed to be. This time around, he was going to make millions from selling food and drink buffs to the masses. This was obviously good news for me, because Flo was the type of guy to leave creates of all sorts of stuff in my house to “try out.” Translation… free uber food buffs without even asking. But stuffing our faces wasn’t Flo’s only order of business… since he left, the big <LOK> / <DOM> split had happened, and now that he was back, things were in desperate need of readjustment once again.
Sunday, August 22, 2004, 4:27:06 PM (ScreenShot2305)
Two days later, Purgatori accepted me back into <LOK>, no questions asked. I would never again stray from the guild, and when I finally retired Vroflus, he was proudly wearing the <LOK> tag over his head. This choice was obvious to me. The only person I really “knew” in <DOM> by this time was Rampage, and it had been weeks since I saw him online last. I carefully drafted up a long game mail to Spoon, and explained that the loss of Ciale meant that needed to leave the guild and go back to <LOK>, where I belonged. My email was well thought out and very apologetic. Spoon never responded.
Monday, August 23, 2004, 6:23:53 PM (ScreenShot2307)
With Florian back, my desire to log in was renewed. First order of business was to re-master Pistoleer, and then I’d figure out where I wanted to go from there. In the meantime, I was just having fun getting acquainted with the new names in guild chat, as well as reconnecting with the people that I missed while I was gone. Everyone was very accepting of me coming back into the guild… I think when Ciale passed we all kind of took a step back and realized that our time together, and especially what we accomplished together in the past, meant a lot to us all. So there I was, on Endor… powering my way back to respectability. I knew a CH/Pistoleer was now useless in the Jedicentric PVP world, so I think I was subconsciously relegating myself to PVE.
Monday, August 23, 2004, 7:28:39 PM (ScreenShot2308)
About an hour later, I was joined by Destroyer. He saw that I left <DOM> for <LOK>, and he was having similar feelings. The only problem was, Destroyer was one of the guys who left <LOK> because he wanted to, not because he was following someone else out the door like I did. Him and Purgatori had some major issues, and as far as I know, they were never really resolved fully. There was no arguing one thing… <LOK> was not the same as it was when those few brave souls erected a settlement in the first weeks of launch. The game changed drastically since then, and <LOK> changed with it over time. <LOK> still exists in 2009, so if anything, all these trials and tribulations were merely proponents to the longevity that it still enjoys in some capacity. All things considered, my memory is to foggy to tell if Destroyer rejoined or not… but I do know that he quit the game long ago just like most of my friends…
Wednesday, August 25, 2004, 5:47:45 PM (ScreenShot2315)
As the days ticked by, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get back what was lost. You can clearly see the look on Vros face. By now the gravity of Ciales passing had truly set in, and there were no in game events that could possibly nullify the immobilizing grief that I was feeling. I didn’t have a friend who took a break, or one that quit a game. My friend died. He was gone in real life. And where was I during his last days? I sat there in between the corpses of two dead Klikniks and realized what I had done. I made a big deal when <HHT> didn’t merge with <COL>, I completely abandoned Eclipse and restarted somewhere else, and then I came back like nothing happened at all. I felt like a garbage friend, exactly the opposite of what I always wanted to be.
It’s all part of the process though. Sometimes when you lose someone, you might end up trying to figure out what you could’ve done… obviously no one could’ve prevented a heart attack… but I could’ve been closer to him I suppose. But as I sat there, feeling my worst, I remembered… Ciale, of all people, didn’t give a flying **** about guild drama or server split bull**** or anything else. Ciale was my friend, and he never once even mentioned that he was upset about the things I did. He was happy that I was happy. And I realized, that there was only one thing I could do by this time to honor his memory… and that was continue onwards.
And just like that, I rose to my feet, the sky opened up, and a Yavin IV style torrential downpour fell from the sky like an anvil on top of me and everything else. Sopping wet, I walked to the top of the nearest cliff… and looked out towards infinity:
Wednesday, August 25, 2004, 5:54:37 PM (ScreenShot2319)
I opened up my character tab, and deleted whatever was in there. I then started to type the truth about what I knew Vroflus had to become. Giant Mecca’s would play no part going forward. Vroflus had no place in bustling cities, and he no longer had the desire to meet new friends. The one time group leader, the first ever middleman, the most social of the socialites… would disappear. He’d become a fish of legend, a nomad, a rumor in the wind. Vroflus saw the writing on the wall. He knew he’d be the last of “the beta crew,” years away from what they once were. And with that, I chose to become a recluse. Of course I spoke in guild chat all the time, but if you caught Vroflus in the fishy flesh, then you were one of the few who did. It started off as a slow withdrawal from society, but eventually, Vro was nothing more then a shadow on Eclipse…
Saturday, August 28, 2004, 10:27:09 AM (ScreenShot2330)
Although I decided to make myself a ghost, one thing was for sure. I needed to let <LOK> know that I was there if they needed me. I headed back to Purgatory, placed a medium Tatoonian style house, and made the rounds. I noticed that since my absence, they had adopted a shuttleport, a previous no-no for the city. By now, travel was so easy, that it made no sense to deprive ourselves of having our own shuttleport. Not having one served no protective function anymore, as Imperials could easily shuttle to a nearby city and swoop over in just minutes. Plus, having a shuttle was good for commerce…
Saturday, August 28, 2004, 10:14:09 PM (ScreenShot2336)
12 hours later, I rounded out the day by attending a <LOK> guild meeting. Bhaylor, Florian, and Purgatori were named as the new <LOK> council (along with someone that I no longer recognize), and order finally looked to be restored. Everyone was on the same page finally, and I actually used the time to explain that going forward, although I could always be counted on for anything the guild needed, I would be physically as far from other people as I could separate myself. The guild was just glad to have me back, and everyone pretty much knew that being in guild chat was as good as being next to someone, so it really didn’t matter anyway.
When the meeting was over, everyone went their separate ways. For me, that meant finding a place on the world map of Lok that had no city anywhere near it, and heading that way by myself. It was time to say goodbye to yet another old friend…