The Lovestory of Maleena and Sam Hane
t could have happened to anyone: falling for someone in an MMO. In 2001 this happened to me, and here is my story: It was opening night at the Big Mamas Nightclub on Europa and I, the owner - Saphireena of Occlo, scurried around amongst the hundreds of customers trying to make sure everything was going smoothly.
There had been many fun and games that night, the most memorable being the bachelor auction where even Orangebeard himself was auctioned off. But when things finally started to settle down, Saph had more time to stop and chat with the customers. That was when she saw a handsome silver haired man who introduced himself as Sam Hane.
They got to chatting and he kindly offered any assistance he could provide in running the nightclub for the following weekends to come. Saph had quickly noticed that she definitely needed some hired help, so they agreed that he would start to work as a doorman at the nightclub.
Next saturday Sam arrived on time and was greeted by a beautiful mage girl who introduced herself as Maleena. She was Saphireena's sister and would be working at the nightclub selling tickets.
As the customers started to line up outside, Sam would let them in one by one and they'd purchase a ticket from Maleena. Thus the two worked side by side over the next months, got to know each other extremely well and became close friends.
At some point a mysterious young woman with long red hair started showing up at the nightclub. She was very popular amongst the gentlemen and thus it was no wonder that when Big Mamas Nightclub held a bachelorette auction, she would take part, sure to fetch a grand price. Maleena had formed a crush on Sam, so she decided to also take part in the auction, secretly hoping he would bid for her, which would reveal him to have similar feelings.
Little had she taken into account that others may bid as well, and before Sam had a chance, several wealthy gentlemen placed high bids for winning a date with Maleena. Sam was a humble man and had little in the way of gold to his name, so Maleena was not surprised when he placed no bids on her. She tried to snap out of her huge disappointment and convinced herself that he probably had no feelings anyhow, for she had never acted in any other way outside mere friendliness and professionalism.
The red headed beauty, on the other hand had been flirting with Sam openly for some time, so when Sam bid for her and won, it was no surprise. Maleena was secretly devasted by the outcome of the auction and fell into a deep depression over the next weeks as she saw a romance form between the two. In fact, the couple soon got married, after a courtship of 2 months. They were close friends with Maleena and her siblings, so it was self evident they hold their wedding party at the Big Mamas Nightclub.
Saphireena and her brother Shillard worked hard in making preparations, but Maleena stayed away from the scene, unable to face what was to come. Although Saphireena was extremely happy for the couple, she felt great sorrow on behalf of her devasted sister.
So what was happening behind the scenes, "In real life"?
As you may have guessed, Maleena and Saphireena were both my characters and by now I had real feelings towards Sam, but never showed them since I was still in a RL relationship and couldn't let my feelings go free nor show them. It would have been like cheating and I insist on being faithful to my partners.
Sam had no idea I felt this way (in game or IRL) for him and since I didn't want to be nosy about his relationship with the redhead, I had no idea if they had RL feelings or if it was just a RP romance. But I suppose that in my mind I was assuming the worse - that it was for real. I couldn't stand to watch their happiness and gameplay together in UO. Add to that the horrible griefing problems I had been having for so many months at the nightclub, I decided to quit UO and escape to DaoC.
There I made a secret character and didn't tell anyone, not even my friends who she was. It had only been one or two weeks since I had escaped to DaoC when Sam followed. I still refused to reveal the identity of my DaoC character though, wanting to protect myself from any more pain.
With Sam leaving UO for Daoc, problems started to arise with his UO marriage. One could often find the redhead walking the streets of Britain asking if anyone knew where her husband was. The poor lass was very sad and felt like she had been abandoned. She would even ask me about him and although I felt bad that she had "taken my man", I knew she was innocent of any feelings I might have had, and my friendship side took over. I would then send angry messages to Sam, telling him to take care of his marriage in UO. So I was acting as confidant for the redhead whilst snapping at Sam for treating her that way. It was a strange situation indeed! This drove all three of us apart and a month went by without any contact what so ever.
Soon after, my RL relationship came to an end for various reasons and I started spending more time playing DaoC, chatting with friends etc. One night Sam messaged me and tried to rewarm our iced friendship. He started talking about some new girl in his life and then I just snapped. I just snapped. In an outburst of words, I told him that I can't bare to hear him talk about his romances anymore and wondered why he tormented me although he must have noticed how I feel about him. He was silent for about 2 minutes. Not a word. Then revealed he had never known, but had always felt the same way about me. We both just sat with our hands trembling over our keyboards, faces flushed and hearts beating hard. He went on to say that he'd always been strongly infatuated but had respected the fact that I was in a RL relationship, thus - hadn't said anything.
It took us several days to get it to all sink in and really believe it. In fact we were so sceptical that we scoured through old conversation logs and screenshots which had revealing elements of our feelings - going "See see? Do you believe me now?!". Over the next weeks we communicated intensly, reunited in UO and finally met face to face (he lived a couple of hours train ride away). It was evident that the infatuation we had had secretly all those months had turned into a passionate love.
The relationship was a wonderful and long one and I shall always cherish the time I had with Sam Hane. Today we are still good friends, for which I am thankful.
As for Maleena, well her heart belongs to that silvery haired gentleman, so she hasn't seen any action since. ;-)