Heroes were born in the fire and bloodshed of the wars which followed, and their names and deeds will never be forgotten.
- Myth: The Fallen Lords Prologue
I can tell you are new here - otherwise you wouldn't have that confused look on your face. It's OK, we're used to it around here. Pull up a seat, grab a Surly Dwarf Ale, and listen to a tale about a young man named Brian Morden.
Brian was born in Altoona Pennsylvania on January 10th 1984 to Fred and Dawn Morden. Twelve days after he was born he watched Apple's now famous 1984 commercial, which no doubt influenced his life.
Brain was a bright boy born into a bright family. His father is a composer and his mother is an educator. Genetics were obviously at work here, as Brian soon exhibited musical talents, too.
Fast forward to the late 90s and we find Brian twitching his mouse to throw Myth armies at his opponents to devastating effect with the rest of his *Wolf Pack* order. Brian, being a hip guy, is right in sync with the Bungie philosophy: have a good time while you crush your enemies mercilessly. Brian was not necessarily the best Myth player but he was quite better than say, me. He and *WP* acquitted themselves admirably in the 1999, 2000, and 2001 Myth World Cup tournaments.
When Brian wasn't humiliating opponents of the battlefield, he was doing normal high-school kid kind of things: he went to innumerable band practices, wrestled with school work, thought about college, and worried about girls - and not necessarily in that order.
By all accounts, Brian was growing up to be a good man. He was level headed, had a good sense of humor - scratch that - a great sense of humor, and could post on message boards using complete sentences! He was a number one Bungie fan and was right there along with the rest of us who were salivating to get the next glimpse of Halo.
In late 2000 Brian developed a pain in his hip that was keeping him awake at night. The pain progressed rapidly and became so severe that Brian had to drop out of school. After visits to the doctor and tests, Brian was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as Ewing's Sarcoma.
Ewing's Sarcoma is an aggressive form of cancer that usually targets the young. Let me paraphrase the FAQ:
Ewing's sarcoma is a cancer that can start in bone or in soft tissues and usually strikes young people between 10 and 20. Doctors do not know exactly what causes it or what kind of cell gives rise to Ewing's sarcoma. Like other sarcomas, Ewing's sarcoma can spread to other parts of the body. Even when the tumour is detected at a very small size, there may be evidence of microscopic spread. For this reason, Ewing's sarcoma always requires treatment to the whole body; usually chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is intended to destroy the tumour cells which have spread to the rest of the body and to shrink the main mass of tumour cells.
In other words: very bad news.
In January of 2001 Brian began chemotherapy to treat his cancer. (A fact that was lost on a number of us.) Brian would never complain in his regular HBO posts about what he was going through. He did mention that he had to go to the hospital from time to time, but to be honest, I for one never caught on that his life was in danger.
Things were looking so dire for Brian that the Make a Wish Foundation granted him his wish. And what was Brian's big wish, you ask? To visit Bungie. How's that for a fan? While many of the detail's of Brian's trip to Bungie are still classified, you can read the account of his trip written by his father and himself.
Visiting Bungie must have had a positive effect on Brian, because in December 2001 he was given a clean bill of health and he was ready to celebrate with an End of Chemo party.
Quite a few people attended the event including Louis Wu, Miguel, SilverBrin, and Mahlon. It was basically one weekend-long Halo LAN party. Not only did Halo fans play each other, but family, parents, aunts and uncles were even sucked into the fun. Saying "a good time was had by all" would be an understatement.
Things were definitely looking up for Brian as the year progressed. Despite the body weakening effects of the chemotherapy he was still able to graduate on time from Altoona Area High School. On top of that, he received Leo J. Wachter, Sr. Foundation Academic Scholarship for outstanding achievements and dedication to family, church, country, education, and enterprise.
Oh, did I mention that he had a killer date for his Senior Prom? Excuse me while I bite on my knuckle...
Ahem. Anyway, Brian had recovered from his close call with the Grim Reaper. He was back to playing trumpet at jazz band rehearsals and the First Evangelical Lutheran church. He was looking forward to attending college at Penn State University. He planned to major in film and video - no doubt so he could make ultra-cool Halo videos.
Even though recent medical check-ups had shown he was cancer free, in December of 2002 he had a relapse and the cancer was once again spreading aggressively through his body. Despite intense chemotherapy treatments the cancer could not be stopped.
Brian died February 15th, 2003.
So there you have it, my friend, a rough sketch of Brian. His was a good sweet voice that spoke clearly and politely amongst the babble of many clueless people. His spirit was strong and his sense of humor was unblemished by truly tragic circumstances. Even while he faced death's door, he was thinking about us. I don't know many other people I could say that about.
Brian's body may be gone, but I believe his spirit is still out there. Some of us on HBO think he's gone and joined the Guardians. Next time you put down your Xbox controller and you spontaneously throw a grenade don't cuss - it's probably Brian trying to get back in the game.
Brian's 1999 Myth World Cup Profile
Brian's 2000 Myth World Cup Profile
Brian's 2001 Myth World Cup Profile
Brian's Bungie Trip written by Himself
Brian's Bungie Trip written by His Father
Brian in Halo: "The Autumn! She's Been Hit!" Sound File
Brian's End-of-Chemo Party Invitation
The Story of Brian's Senior Prom
Brian's Halo: Fall of Reach Book Report
SilverBrin Brings News of His Relapse
Brian's Last Post on the HBO Forums
SilverBrin Announces More Bad News
The Announcement of Brian's Passing on HBO by His Brother, Jamin
Follow the Gleam, Brian - A Bungie Sightings Tribute
Brian's Memorial Service Program
Eulogy for Brian Andrew Morden by The Reverend Jaime G. Olson
Brian's Memorial Eulogy and Report by Miguel
Eulogy for Brian Morden by Brian Johnson (SilverBrin)
Dawn's Eulogy for Brian Andrew Morden, Her Son
Fred's Eulogy for Brian
Brian's Legacy by His Aunt Lori
Contribute to the Brian Morden Memorial Fund
The Make a Wish Foundation
Ewing's Sarcoma FAQ