Member Spotlight: Elatheara Bal A'Vilzaine

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Author: Zandera Sommers, February 2015

Time to meet another Citizen. This time we're focusing on Elatheara!

You may not have seen Elatheara Bal A' Vilzaine around lately, but that’s because she has some exciting news!

I first met Ela (pronounced ‘Ella’ with a short “e”) when she joined the site on August 22nd of 2014. At this time I was just becoming mayor, going through training and starting to get a feel for the new and active members for which I was now responsible. Ela was just beginning to learn the ropes too, but her excitement and and optimistic attitude knocked my socks off from the moment I met her. When asked about how she found the site, she said, “I found through the magic of Google! I was so fascinated by the books I started searching key words which led me to a forum post that mentioned the site and I think I created my account the next day.”

Talking here and there, I learned she also has a huge range of interests--especially in the crafting arena. “I want to craft all the things!” she said. “I love making things and dabble in everything from making soap to scented pinecones to crochet to drawing and painting. If it seems interesting I will probably try making it at some point or another.” If only I could have such a huge variety of hobbies!

From the moment I met Ela, she struck me as open and confident, and when I asked her if she found senior members intimidating, I was shocked to hear her say, “Oh, only about as intimidating as veiled Aiel! That was my initial perception but after diving into a few conversations and getting familiar with community etiquette all of a sudden I realized they were sharing water and shade.” I hadn’t gotten that impression at all! Ela was full of more surprises than I could have anticipated.

In the process of learning about what she was getting into by joining the site, she learned that Fall Ball 2014 was just a short drive away. Though it was something new to her entirely, she took the plunge, registered, and attended this on-site event. When she returned, she told me that “Fall Ball was fantastic! It was amazing meeting the folks I get to chat with online in real life. My advice for new attendees and new citizens is to just be yourself. The community is as welcoming in real life as they are online. I love you guys!”

As part of being mayor, I sometimes make my Citizens real so they may attend events. Such was the case for Ela before she could attend Fall Ball. She had a long conversation with my on Skype in the middle of family appointments on a busy Saturday. I was blown away by her energy and obvious real-life administrative skills from our conversation. What did she do for a living? I wondered. “Well,” she said, “I’m an administrator for a realtor association. What that boils down to is eight hours of computer and phone time.” Her natural knack for administration explained why she had made a career out of it! I felt she really was an accomplished lady. For the rest of the conversation, she was kind enough to listen to me complain about how hard it was to be a brand new mayor, shared kind words and encouragement, and suggested things I could do to make life a little easy on myself.

Not long afterward, when I found out I had to step down as a Citizen Representative in the Integration Focus Group, Elatheara came first to mind as my replacement. Though she had only been a member of for a few weeks, Ela became a member of the Integration Focus Group on September 4th of 2014, teaming up with Aran Cherubim to release a Definitive Guide to Integration for citizens in City Hall that nicely summed up Integration so far and helped guide and represent her colleagues until the Integration discussion's completion last year. When questioned about how she felt about the new changes, she said, “I am looking forward to seeing just how much the changes will affect our community because honestly, you all are so amazing, I cannot imagine any real negative here.”

The following month, during Shaoman, Ela was instrumental in producing the Citizens’ group-written entry in the theme contest’s story both with her contributions to content and her activity in the planning thread. You may recognize Ela from the Shaoman Festival as “Wrinkly Kitty”, the avatar granted to her to fit into the Citizens’ theme, Night of the Living Gargoyles.

[insert Wrinkly Kitty Avatar]

Few others were as active as this Citizen in the Faire Grounds of the Shaoman festival, as she posted hilarious Lolcatz images, wrote funny blurbs, and brought joy to all those with whom she interacted. I am honored to share a little more about Elatheara with you in her own words and focus this month’s spotlight on this deserving and amazing Citizen.

What is your favorite thing about the site?

“Its people, TarValon.Net is made of people! Lol! Seriously, though, TarValon.Net is the only forum I participate in and I thought trying to fit in with an online group might be weird and well, it is. But it’s exactly my kind of weirdness!”

Have you read The Wheel of Time?

“[I’m a] HUGE fan! Robert Jordan is a literary genius. I cry through the stories on a regular basis and anyone that can make a story THAT real to me is wonderful. I am currently on book seven and cherishing each book in succession.”

What was it like joining TarValon.Net?

“I was a bit intimidated at first, as I mentioned I don’t participate in any other community like this so... what was it like? It was like realizing I had all these friends all over the world that I just hadn’t had a chance to connect with yet.”

If you could tell everyone one thing, what would it be?

“I would very much like to share a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to...the Senior Members and all members on the site. Thank you for accepting me, thank you for welcoming me, thank you for making me feel like TarValon.Net is home.”

Other Fun Elatheara Facts:

~ Ela’s big news is that she’s getting married! She has posted an LOA in City Hall that she and her fiance, who is also a citizen of the site “but not active” will soon tie the knot. One day, we will take over everyone… starting with Ela’s fiance! One of us! One of us!

~ Did you know that Ela has a lot of pets? “Two dogs, Franklin and Cleo, a kitchen fish named Mr. Miyagi and six chickens, Penny, Puzzle, Daisy, Delilah, Sweetie Pie, and Olive.” She has chickens, people! Real, living, clucking chickens!

~ Upon asking Ela if she would recruit friends for the site, (since that of course means you are prime Tower material,) she said, “Yes I would definitely recommend TarValon.Net and try and recruit people….but I think I’ll start by making them read the books first!” It’s amazing how she’s full of common sense like that!

~ We all have them: hopes and dreams. Ela’s dream is to obtain “Aes Sedai agelessness: maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline?" Her dream is to find out!

So as I mentioned, Elatheara’s a little scarce right now, due to that whole-getting-married thing, but when she comes back, give her a holler and feel free to throw a “congratulations” her way too. I am very glad I’ve met Ela. She is awesome and wonderful and consistently brightens my day. In such a quick time, she has done a lot for this site, and she’s an amazing person all on her own. Thank you for spending the time to learn a little more about her on this glorious February day.