I'm sure all of you are asking yourselves the same question: What's a Spanish guy doing here? Well, me and my friends have traveled from far away to give voice to the online community that Brian belonged to. We truly believe that if all of us who call ourselves friends of Brian had showed up you would need ten times the space to seat us all, with folks coming from all over this earth to pay their respects to such a great man. You see, Brian loved to play games, especially games made by this one company Bungie, and especially this one game called Halo. Brian was known to us by his nickname Ar-Isildur, sometimes shortened to Issy or even just AR. In the game you are a cyborg soldier, and you basically go around killing aliens to save the earth. You would think that such a violent game would attract evil people, but that is not the case at all. Brian, when he wasn't blasting us away with his shotgun or sniper rifle, was a warm and funny person to know. When folks were in heated discussion about some silly thing, Brian would always be the one to pop in and spread some love around. He used the 'less than' symbol and the number three to equal "LOVE." [I used my hands to demonstrate.] That was his sign. He owned it. Many of us did not know Brian was sick until about a year ago. We all pulled for him and sent him as much love and prayer as we could.
When news of his passing spread, there was an outpouring of messages. We would like to read some of them to you now. Some are poignant, some are funny, and some are unintentionally funny. We're sorry if some of the terms we use are unfamiliar to you, but I think you will understand the meaning behind them. There are many many more posts that we could read but we want to keep this short and not step on Fred's territory.
In closing I want to let you know that I will always have Brian close to my heart.
At this point I lifted up my dress shirt to reveal my T-shirt with the Super <3 logo that Deimos Fawkes AKA 3of9 designed.Then I stepped off the podium and Mark took my place. We had picked some of the more eloquent and interesting posts from the HBO forum, by Louis Wu, Ferrex, Nijhazer, as well as others, and read them in rotation. He read his piece and then Rob took the podium. We switched places a few times. We then quietly walked back to a pew. On reflection, we probably could've read more messages, but I guess we were too afraid of losing the crowd.
Links are to the actual postings. Other posts may be found at halo.bungie.org
It is with a heavy heart that we here at BORG announce that Brian Morden, aka Ar-Isildur, died at 5:55AM. He was 19 years old. His younger brother, Jamin, posted a note on our forum telling us the sad news. Please reply with good thoughts.
I and a few others have actually met Brian in person, and I feel privileged to have been in the company of someone that was both a lover and a fighter. Brian shocked his doctors by fighting the cancer that was eating through his body to the bitter end. Yet through out it all, his love for his friends and family never faltered, and we never failed to give it right back to him.
You didn't have to meet him in person to see what a great guy he is. Just do a search through the forum's archive for his posts. You will see that we have lost a warm and decent human being.
For the man that popularized "<3", it is only fitting that he stayed with his family and friends through Valentine's Day. Brian was no fool.
There will be more from us here at BORG. Count on it.
I, too, will miss Brian Morden - he epitomized, to me, the strength of human spirit and the power of faith. That a teenager could keep up the courage to fight so long, and so hard, against a disease that simply wouldn't give up reminds me that we're stronger than we look - and I'll always owe Brian for showing me that grace and humor don't have to disappear in the face of personal horror. I spent most of yesterday on a plane, and was sleeping when Brian passed away this morning - but in lieu of a 21-gun salute, I'd like to offer a high-quality recording of Brian's single spoken line in the Halo script. (Thanks to Marty O'Donnell for providing this.)
The Autumn! She's been hit! (QT format, 76k)
If you're interested, you should also read poena.dare's eloquent tribute to Brian, over at Bungie Sightings. (Louis Wu 00:07:18 UTC) (permalink)
Posted By: Louis Wu
Date: 2/15/03 7:41 p.m.
In Response To: *Ar-Isildur (Ar-Anarion)
My son just came in and asked me why I was crying. I told him a good friend had died. I don't think that's fully true, though. I'm old enough to have lost friends, acquaintances, family. Sometimes I cry - but often I don't. I think I was crying not because Brian had died (I cannot even imagine the horror of this final stretch, and truly believe that wherever he is, he's better off now than he was 24 hours ago), but because of the unfairness of it all. As so many have pointed out, Brian never complained about his lot, never griped about the pain or the hassle of the treatments. He fought because there was no point in doing anything else - but he fought without letting the anger he must surely have felt for being singled out with this affliction spill into his online life here and elsewhere. He showed us nothing but optimism and bravery - and that's incredible in anyone, much less a 19 year old. (He was 16 when all this started.)
I called Brian's hospital room a couple of weeks ago - and though he was in pain, and heavily drugged, he insisted upon taking the call. Even then, he was upbeat, refusing to allow the cancer to take his spirit as it was taking his health, and eventually his life.
I will miss him. I'm glad I've had the chance to meet him, and his family - they have all made an impact on my world view, and remind me about what's good in the world when I feel cynical and negative towards humans. My grief for the loss of Brian is the worse for what could have been.
Posted By: ferrex
Date: 2/15/03 3:07 p.m.
In Response To: *Ar-Isildur (Ar-Anarion)
Ar is a hero today.
In the cruelest circumstances, he remained stoic and kept looking forward. He had a crushing burden to bear, but he never complained, never let us see him strain. He encouraged us, showed us hope and high spirits.
We should all be so courageous, and so generous.
Brian's burden is lifted now, and his pain ended. But though he is gone, look around. He set an example, and showed us all how to live, not dwelling on what troubles you and always looking ahead. Even as we mourn, we should celebrate his triumph of spirit over death.
Remember how he lived. Though we are deprived of his presence, we are enriched by his essence.
*Ar-Isildur, Brian Morden, let us carry your memory now. Rest in the peace you have earned. My heart and thoughts go out to his family, and I hope that memory eases their pain.
Posted By: Nijhazer
Date: 2/15/03 12:59 p.m.
In Response To: *Ar-Isildur (Ar-Anarion)
Despite everything he's been through, never once did I hear him complain about his lot, never once did I ever hear of him quitting in anything he did-- whether in a game or in real life. A lot of people in his situation would have taken it really hard; I know I would've. But that guy, he had his priorities straight. And frankly, he was twice the man I am.
Ar's family knows we looked up to him here. And that's a key thing: we didn't just view him as a friend or a guy that hung out with us over here, we really looked up to him. A lot of the folks here are actually a good bit older than he was, myself for example, yet there's so much we can all learn a lot from Ar and from the way he lived his life. In the face of despair, he never quit, he never gave up-- he never stopped firing.
So right now, as we all cope with the loss of such an astounding man as Brian Morden, I don't think he would want for us to be sad. I don't think he would want us to dwell on the end, but to live in the good times, just as he did. Tonight I'm going to remember Ar-Isildur through Halo-- the game that united all of us and, through that union, allowed all of us to share in the light of his life. And going forward, I'm going to remember Ar by following in his example: by never dwelling on the dark parts of life, but instead, focusing on the positives and enjoying life for however long it lasts. If we were all to follow this example, the human race would be far better for it-- really, there can be no better way to immortalize Brian Morden than by proving that he really had the right idea.
February 24, 2003
We received the following message from Bungie today:
I'm sure Brian's family is thankful for their support, most importantly the emotional support they gave Brian during his ordeal.
I had the honor of attending Brian's memorial this past Saturday, along with Have Blue and Frogblast. I am writing up my experiences and hope to have something up soon. I'm also waiting for permission from Brian's family to include some pictures that I took while there.
I can't say it enough, so I'll start saying it now: Having Mark and Robert there with me was an awesome help in getting me through that memorial. I am an emotional man and I think if I had been there by myself I would not have made it through the night. But Mark and Robert's firm resolve to properly represent the online community kept me anchored.
It is a great thing to be surrounded by good people.
Posted by bs (Miguel) at February 24, 2003 01:15 PM
Miguel Chavez has written up a stunning recap of Brian Morden's memorial service last month, over at Bungie Sightings. Read it, if only to see what a relationship primarily built through the internet can generate. (Louis Wu 20:38:19 UTC)