My first journey into Eden was one I went into and emerged from alone. I was left deeply impacted and inspired by such a beautiful ending, and I knew there was still so much left for me to find in the kingdom of Sky!
One or two days after completing my first journey, I found myself at the start of Hidden Forest. I was still fully dressed in my moth outfit, honking twice to say "Hello!" every time I lit somebody's candle, and it was here that a kind-hearted experienced player saw me and decided to friend me. As an experienced player now, I can't help but feel like it was especially kind of them to offer the first candle. I'm sure we all know the tendency of some moths to friend us and then vanish for good after their first journey is over. I named them "Umon".
Umon taught me EVERYTHING! They guided me through the most complicated spirits and the magical quests from seasons past, and over the course of the next month they never left my side. They celebrated every time I got a new cosmetic, cheered when I got my first new cape, spammed the leap emote when I got my first instrument, and even sat and intently listened to every little tune I practiced and played on the harp. When I got discouraged after several failed song attempts, they would offer a hug as reassurance and insist I kept playing. They would let themselves lose winged light several times when my clueless moth self would run into a krill's line of sight during the infamous "Don't Go!" spirit quest in Golden Wasteland. They even showed me every Winged Light location and the most efficient candle running routes through all of the realms! Whenever I messed up, they would show me the right way to do something and would emote to encourage me to try again. They never judged, never laughed at me, never scolded me, just reassured and encouraged me.
They believed in me every step of the way, unlocking all of the friendship upgrades and never letting me be the one to unlock it. It must have set them back over a hundred candles in the end, all for a clueless moth who could just disappear one day. We unlocked everything in the friend tree except for chat. We never exchanged a single word between us. I find it so magical and amazing how after all the time we spent, we had formed such a magical connection despite never talking once. Not even at a chat bench - even when we would sit at one to take screenshots of an area together! I think that was part of the magic: being able to form such a strong friendship through expression alone. Sky reminded me that no matter who we are or where we are, we can all experience the best of humanity together in-game.
One day, around a month after we first crossed paths, Umon stopped coming online. I vaguely remember it being shortly after we unlocked the final friend unlock at the time (Yeti's bearhug), I remember them taking me to Hermit Valley to look at the sun, and waving goodbye like they had every other time before. That was the last time I saw them. They taught me everything they knew about Sky, passing on their experiences to me as a final send-off to their own Sky journey. Without ever speaking to me, they entrusted me with all of the knowledge they had learned from the time they spent playing, trusting that I would not be like other moths who vanished.
One year later, to celebrate my 1 year anniversary of playing Sky, I did a full trip through all of the realms again, from Isle to Eden, skipping no cutscenes and taking in all of the scenery. No stopping for candles, no zooming through certain parts of a realm, just enjoying the adventure. Along the way I met a ton of moths and helped them with their own adventures. I couldn't help but feel like this was poetic. I had come full circle. Once, I was one of those moths, being guided by a player I thought I could never possibly look as cool as or know as much about the game as, and now I was that player: confident to help moths, protect them from krill attacks, guide them through the toughest quests, and cheer for them as they grew up just like I once did.
To this day, I am so thankful for everything Umon taught me. Every few months I get a gift of light and a heart from them, but I haven't yet been able to catch them online at the same time as me. I like to think that, every few months, when Umon lights my friend star and they see that glimpse of my Skykid coming down from the stars, they smile at my outfit and think about all the adventures we had together when I was still a moth, and all the adventures I might have be having since.
Thank you, Umon! If you ever read this, I hope you know how thankful I am to have met you. You changed my Sky journey and helped me become a confident player who is comfortable to teach and guide other players both inside the game and outside the game in the Sky community. Thanks to you I have been able to pass down everything you taught me to so many other players, and I can't thank you enough for that. And thank you, TGC, for making a game as bright and hopeful as this one, and allowing for such amazing memories to be made.
My Sky journey would not be the same without you! Wherever you are in life, I am so happy to have met you and I know you are out there achieving amazing things.
Maybe one day we'll meet again, so I won't say goodbye! Instead, I'll say...
See you in the skies!