Alex Griffiths died, aged just 21, on 4th May 2011.
By Mark Hannatt
I’ve sat at my desk for a number of days now wondering if it is appropriate to post an OC obituary for someone very dear to us.
Did I have the right to post it? I’m not family, I’m not part of Harts command, I’m just a friend.
That’s why I guess I’m writing this. Alex was a friend to many of us and in turn, us to him. For many years in the Harts, he played Valen Darkblade, a drow living in human society, going against his drow upbringing and being different to how people perceived his race.
Alex loved the Harts faction, Valen slowly rose through the ranks to become an Earl and be named General of the Winchester Batallion. Throughout all this, he led and guided his group, The Order of the Black Hand – a group that still exists in the Harts today.
When he lost the character of Valen, Alex departed the Harts to start anew in the Tarantula Faction. Although he had fun, he missed his home faction and due to work commitments, took most of 2010 away from LT.
It was February 2011 that I got the best phone call from him. He’d decided to come back to the Harts and the Black Hand. After almost a year out, he was looking forward, plotting and planning the continued rise of the Order, looking forward to new challenges and being able to roleplay with us again.
Spring Moot 2011. Alex was back, playing an Elven Incantor / Warrior by the name of Kaine. A trainer of the Black Hands elite military force for many years, Kaine was at court to assist Thessias and Dean and the Harts.
At every combat, a member of the Black Hand was there – mostly weilding Excalibur – against those who threatened the Harts.
Alex and his brother Elliott (Thessias) stood shoulder to shoulder against everything. It was a sight to see and be a part of. We three sat in our IC tent for periods, discussing the future and troops and roleplaying. It was a great weekend and Alex was incredibly proud of what Elliott and I had achieved with the rest of the Black Hand and was looking forward to a great prosperous future for “his group” (although Elliott did occasionally remind him that Thessias was in charge!!!)
During quiet moments, Alex was always there with a hug for me. I’d had a bit of a rough time recently and he was always making sure I was ok. A laugh and a joke, a smile and a “witty” comment would pass between us and all too soon the event was over… and so was I – stupid tent ropes…
Before I got shipped off to Hospital he came over to make sure I was ok. We shared a couple of texts later in the evening when I was more with it, and he said he’d call me on Friday for a birthday chat.
Tuesday we sent a couple of texts just to catch up and plan the rest of the year and talk about photos that were going up on facebook.
Sometime on Wednesday May 4th, Alex passed away. I spoke to Elliott very late at night and he broke the news to me. I heard the strength just vanish from his voice as the words came out and the tears began.
I’ve lost people before and it’s affected me, but this… it was like a great hand had torn out a part of me. It didn’t seem possible. I’d been with him not 2 days before and he was laughing and joking and really enjoying himself.
That is what I have to carry forward now. What we all carry forward. The memories that we have, knowing that in his last days with us he was having fun and enjoying himself.
I look back with great sadness that my dearest friend is gone and there is a gap in my life that can never be filled. I take nothing but happy memories that I got to meet this wonderful person, to share a part of his life, to be a friend to him, to be someone he’d turn to when he needed to talk.
Elliott lost his big brother. His parents lost a son.
We lost a great roleplayer and great person
I lost a special friend. I had to write this to help me heal and I hope that Elliott is not offended by this because in my own way, I loved Alex so very much as a friend and I needed to ensure that the Harts, and Lorien Trust never forget him.
Rest peacefully Alex. We all love you and miss you.
by Gavin Bodill
Yesterday Alex Griffiths passed away, suddenly and unexpectedly.
My deepest condolences go out to Alex’s family and friends.
I have known Alex for a number of years, role-playing together in the Harts faction. His enthusiasm and love of the hobby was evident to anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. He will be sorely missed not only by one faction but by the hobby as a whole.
There will be a remembrance at the GEF for Alex so we may raise a glass and share a story of our dear departed friend.
Alex you will be missed but you will never be forgotten.
by Chris Lamb
What can I say about such a wonderfully talented role-player and a welcoming friendly young man? An awful lot…
Y’see, I started LARPing three years ago…and one of the first people I ever met was Alex. I’d recently joined the Harts and was wandering round, and he stopped me. He asked me what my name was, both IC and OOC, and then he invited me and my friends into the Black Hand. For that event, three years ago, Alex was my leader and it was the most wonderful start to LARPing I could have ever had.
Alex was a person I admired. He led with skill, fought bravely but above all else was always welcoming. The Black Hand led by Alex as Valen was what prompted me to start the Crows of Albion a year later and even after a few years I found myself wondering if I would ever be as good as Alex. The man had a real talent, drive and skill…
And now he’s gone and I find myself wondering where I would be today, not just in LARP but in my life, without him. I barely knew him as a person. We only ever spoke briefly – he was always so busy, getting involved and helping as many people as he could. I wish I had gotten to know him better because if it wasn’t for Alex, I doubt I’d be LARPing. I doubt I’d be leading my own group or have met people who I know today. Alex is a foundation stone in my own history, one that I haven’t always mentioned, but one I always had a lot of time and respect for. I’m going to miss him. He’ll always be the friendly welcoming person I remember at The Gathering those three years ago and someone who I will always, always remember.
So Rest in Peace Alex Griffiths
Thank You for Changing My Life.
by Elliot Roberts
As I write this my body is aching and bruised. It is Tuesday, and yesterday I was at the Gathering 1111AF (2011). I am Elliot Roberts and I play Utred Ketilson, son of Ketil Snorason, Leader of the Order of the Black Hand and (currently) a Mature Werewolf in Raddick’s Pack. As Utred Ketilson I took over the leadership of the Order of the Black Hand following Valen Darkblade’s demise. As Elliot Roberts my story is much longer.
I went to Oxted School and there I met many friends one of whom was a boy with a love of fantasy and a father who sold historical replicas of swords and other medieval artifacts. His house was always the most fun to go round to. One day, presumably whilst talking about fantasy and Warhammer, maybe Diablo 2, this boy invited me along to Chiselhurst Caves to do something called Live Role-Play. I went and from that day onward I was a LARPer. I went often to Chiselhurst until I became too old for their young players section and so I stopped. However, a couple of years later LARP is brought up in the conversation again. The young man, grown a bit from the earlier boy but no less enthusiastic in fantasy and history, told me about going to an event with some people called the Wolves and that they were with a system called Lorien Trust. The only natural progression of the conversation was the question of whether I wanted to go. I did and so in 2004 I went to Lorien Trust’s Faction Moot 2. That event was a bit confusing and in order to help us sort it out and make our own way in it we decided that we would start a group together. We called it the Order of the Black Hand and we agreed that he would lead it first.
Thus began a new chapter in my life. As co-founder of the Order of the Black Hand and a dedicated and enthusiastic LARPer I had a lot in common with that young man. We became best friends hanging out together loads in and out of school. So often would our conversations turn to Lorien Trust and our group. The rest until now is history for anyone in the Harts.
That is the essential basics of my relationship with Alex Griffiths. I spoke to him in February 2011 because I missed him and during that conversation I managed to persuade Alex to return to the Harts. He was toying with the idea and it wasn’t hard to sway him. In all my life I am most proud of that conversation. And yet that conversation led to the greatest regret of my life so far. I allowed Elliott Griffiths the chance to fight alongside his brother in the front line, something that I knew he hadn’t been able to do up until that point due to age. Of that I am proud. However, I didn’t attend that event. I never planned to and so I missed it intentionally. That is my biggest regret.
I write this now. So late after the other entries because I still struggle to believe it. Yesterday was the Gathering 1111AF and I didn’t get to roleplay alongside my best friend, my old leader, and the man who I founded a group with. Today I miss him more than ever. Tomorrow I will not forget him. How could I with such a history with him? From a boy to a man did I know Alex Griffiths and we shared many memories. I play a fey character defined by his memories. What remains of Alex is memories, may he be our Fey. May he live on through our memories of him. Alex will never be forgotten.