Membership Spotlight: Bao the Wyld
This month’s Membership Spotlight focuses on one of the site’s longest-standing members, Bao the Wyld. He joined TarValon.Net in 2003, and continues to serve as a Gaidin of Mahdi'in d'ma Dieb. Bao the Wyld has served in multiple roles during his time at TarValon.Net, including several terms as Warder Councillor and Company Commander. He has earned a total of thirteen merits to date, and is bonded to Yelenia Hylraren of the Brown Ajah and Arisaema Draconis of the Green Ajah.
Bao the Wyld does not follow TarValon.Net’s usual naming guidelines, because there is a story behind this name. As Bao himself says:
“A long time ago, at DragonCon, Brandon was first tapped finish the Wheel of Time series. We were playing this game of Darkfriend, which is a version of Werewolf, and convinced Brandon to play even though he was super busy at the time. A group of us from Tar Valon lead this coalition to kill Brandon off, and then he told us that we would regret it. He would kill us off in one of his future books. All of our ears perked up at this and we made this card with him and printed all of our names on it so he could remember for his future books. And that's the story that I like to tell. What actually happened was that he saw my name badge and he was like "Bao huh?" and I was like "Hi Brandon," and the name just happened to be very similar to a name he was looking for for SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS. RAFO.”
This has influenced his favorite character from the Wheel of Time series, it is, of course, Bao the Wyld.
Bao came to TarValon.Net as a result of his wife’s interest in the site, and attended a Tower event to protect her from “a bunch of random people she met on the internet.” There he met other random people who were also on the internet, and that solidified the site’s hold on him. Bao says it is the friends he has made over the years which has kept him coming back, including the Amyrlin, “Rhed was one of the first people I've met and I hear she's become some sort of Admin on this site or something.” The forums provide another space to interact with people he holds dear. He has also built connections within his company since the group’s beginning. As he says, “MDD has a certain flavor to it, you definitely know if you're in.”
His company has also impacted Bao’s favorite Tower memory:
“There was this one time at Anni, and we were just kinda standing around trying to make it through the raising ceremonies. I was standing with the MDD guys and we watched this guy go up to get raised. Everyone knew that he was going to go Val'Cueran. At the end of the ceremony, he rises up and the Amyrlin asks him what company he chooses. The guys from VC all get up, huddled together, looking with eager, anticipating eyes. Waiting to welcome him into their company. Then Doquel says, "I choose MDD." And we all die laughing and welcome him into the fold.”
There are other aspects Bao enjoys about TarValon.Net as well. When asked about his favorite real-life event, he looked back fondly on one of the site’s anniversary parties. While he did not remember which anniversary, he enjoyed his time at Estes Park building a snowman and enjoying the snow. Bao also enjoys the site birthday announcements, and says it would be one of the things he would miss most about the Tower. In his words, “It's nice when people remember it's your birthday even if it's just Name-day Narg.”
Thank you to Bao the Wyld for providing an interview, and here’s to many more years of membership!