RetRollSpective – Stynth

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where we reflect on the history of marble sports teams that have appeared in the tournaments of Jelle’s Marble Runs. This time, however, we’re writing about a special Marblearth personality, a public figure for over four years – the Editor-in-Chief of Project Marblearth, Stynth.

It was the middle of 2017 when Stynth, a marble on an exchange program at the University of Rollence, discovered marble sports. Red Fox, one of Stynth’s roommates, showed them a clip of a Marble Rally organized by Jelle Bakker, where Comet raced to win against 32 other marbles.

Red Fox would bug Stynth about watching the 2017 Marble League together, and our blue marble needed little convincing. Sitting down for the live coverage of the penultimate event, the Underwater Race, Team Momo caught Stynth’s eyes. Learning about Momomomo’s injury in Fidget Spinner Collision that year tugged at Stynth’s heartstrings. They wrote in a journal: “My favorite team is Team Momo and I’m depressed that Momomomo got injured, but I wish the best for them and the team.”

First in line to buy tickets for the 2018 Marble League in Arctic Circle, Stynth drafted an article right after seeing Team Momo in action from the stands: a profile of Team Momo, the first “RetRollSpective.” It caught the eye of management at the Marble Sports Performance Network (MSPN), and they sent Stynth to cover breaking news: Team Momo’s double injury and their merger with Team Primary for the rest of the League.

Excerpt from Stynth’s first RetRollSpective, about Team Momo.

Having penned many articles by 2018’s end, Stynth received a new offer from Mellacus, a confidant of Jelle and marble sports connoisseur. Mellacus and Jelle had plans for a new committee in time for Marble League 2019, one who would assist the planning of each tournament and listen to the reception across Marblearth. As a member of the Jelle’s Marble Runs Committee (JMRC), Stynth would have personal contact with all the teams, profiling them and setting the narrative for new fans of marble sports.

Along the way, Stynth eventually wrote more RetRollSpectives, and soon enough, every one of the 28 teams would get their very own article detailing the history of the team and the stories behind them.

Stynth overlooking ML2020’s Closing Ceremony.

After Marble League 2020 was a massive success, it became clear that Jelle Bakker was the leading figure in marble sports; this also meant Jelle was bombarded first by dozens of cities wanting to host events, then by hundreds of teams across Marblearth wanting to enter the Marble League. The JMRC had a new role where they would check up on teams, scout new host sites, and publish team lore new sports fans were demanding.

Armed with a bigger budget, Stynth finished their recaps of Marble League 2020 and then went on a world tour. During the journey, they went first to the Showdown teams to see how they were preparing for the upcoming tournament. They would then visit all of the teams who were in the top flight Marble League and made many memories on tour, including a dance party with the Balls of Chaos and Pinkies, a private tournament with the Minty Maniacs, a trip to space with Team Galactic, and plenty of interviews with the marble athletes themselves.

Nonstop travel is a good way to see how vast Marblearth sports truly is, with hundreds of athletes, rally racers, and amateurs worth profiling. Stynth had so much to add, they did not know what to do with all of the recent developments. “Truth be told, I’m overwhelmed just by the thought of writing thousands of more words and I don’t want to burn myself out in the process,” they wrote in a journal.

(Art Credit: Betawolfs)

Stynth’s ingenious solution, though, came from their other experiences in 2020: being a staff editor for other publications like The Rollout and hearing article pitches from others, like Hornets Managers Spark and Thorax, and then from JMRC member Novawolf. 

In February 2021, in the break between the Marble League Winter Special and Marbula One, the plan was revealed. Stynth would become the Editor-in-Chief of a “Canon initiative,” Project Marblearth. With Jelle’s backing, Stynth would lead a new collective of writers stationed across Marblearth’s continents, telling the stories they know in the best possible way.

By March, interviews were done and Stynth had their first team. The authors included Phoenix, Nordique, Orbit, Ramen, ElrQ, Edu, Roilan, Ghostly, Vector, and the Emperor. They also found Piney, Laurent, Phantasm, and BJV to help capture the moments for the teams. A later addition was Fouc from the JMRC, who joined without hesitation in reporting and administrative roles. Together they would form Project Marblearth.  

Recruitment art for the Project Marblearth team. (Art Credit: Stynth)

Over the next few months, the authors each came up with extensions of articles that Stynth originally worked on to include the story of what happened to each team post-2019. The many articles were read by thousands in the community and also brought attention to other teams that had connections to the top-tier teams. By the start of Marble League 2021, Project Marblearth was the first media source to report on the return of two teams to the League, the Gliding Glaciers and Solar Flares. The Glaciers made further history by finishing in 3rd place that year, stunning the competition.

Despite all these achievements, the journey wasn’t always sweet, as the JMRC ended up being disbanded near the end of Marbula One Season 2. With one phase of their career at a close, Stynth rented out a new corner office in the city of Pastone. It would then be a fast summer for the Project Marblearth team, who went to Felynia and reported live at the Coliseum throughout Marble League 2021. Even Stynth’s a cappella group from their alma mater, Marbist College’s Time Check, got to perform at the Marble League and eventually created the chants for all of the teams. 

What does all this have to do with Glassmas, you ask? 

It’s a Marbleous Life

an addendum

Today was the day before Glassmas Eve, and Stynth wrapped up the finishing touches on the first phase of Project Marblearth. The Project team now completed a profile of every active Marble League team, and vacation down in Orlango for the Editor-in-Chief was soon in sight. Yet there was one last assignment that Stynth could not refuse: an invitation to cover a special ceremony in the city formerly named Knikkegen, where Jelle Bakker would be commemorated for their service to Marble Sports.

“It’s history in the making,” Stynth told their team. “It’ll just be me flying for a day to what’s now called Nijellen, and when I’m back we can plan a party for some of us too!”

After Stynth finished their meal, a huge blizzard came through and they had to drive out of Rollkeepsie in it. Stynth’s car skidded off the highway and crashed before they got to the airport, leaving Stynth with a small dent. Eventually, when they arrived, things got even worse. Due to the bad weather, every flight to and from LaMarblia Airport was canceled for the rest of the day. With the entirety of the Big Marble area in a blizzard warning, there was simply no way of getting around. The runways were no better than the roads, slippery like an ice rink. 

The snow kept falling outside while Stynth channel surfed in their hotel room and settled on a hockey game between the Rubow Charging Rhinos and Vellis Chasers. By the second intermission of the match, though, something inside them snapped. They pushed their luggage out of the hotel and into the storm, all the while yelling: “Why did I even want to go? What’s the point of me covering this Nijellen thing, anyway? What’s the point of my writing at all?!”

But then Stynth realized they weren’t the only loud marble. Suddenly, falling down from the sky, was a bright marble with gold lines screaming their hearts out! Crashing right into a pile of plowed slow, the marble was still in a daze when Stynth rolled over to check on the marble that somehow did not have a scratch on them.

“You took quite the fall, are you alright?” Stynth asked the marble back in the hotel. “Ah I’ve had worse pain before, 200 years ago I once took part in an ancient Jousting tournament. You can probably guess how well that went.” 

Thinking this marble was quite the prankster, Stynth asked who the marble really was. The marble said, “I’m Clarence Oddball, A2M”. “What does A2M mean?” Stynth asked Clarence, to which they replied “Angel, second-tier member”. The receptionist fainted upon hearing that.

“You see, Stynth, I’m your Guardian Angel,” said Clarence. “I saw you needed help, so I came down to save you.”

Stynth finds Clarence after the fall (Art Credit: Piney)

To Stynth’s question – “If you are an angel, aren’t you supposed to have wings?” – Clarence had an answer: “I have not earned mine yet, but perhaps you might help me help you.” Stynth scoffed: “I know one way you can help me. You don’t happen to own a plane?”

Clarence laughed and said: “No, we don’t fly that way where I’m from.” Making no progress in the conversation, Stynth sighed: “As if this day could not get weirder. Days like this make me wish I was never here.”

Clarence was angered at that comment “Oh, you shouldn’t say stuff like that… wait a minute, that’s a good idea. You have never been born, you don’t exist!”

A great gust of wind blew outside and going out of the hotel Stynth and Clarence were on the streets of Rollkeepsie again. But this was not the town Stynth stayed at this morning; also, the dent from their earlier injury was gone completely. What Stynth remembered as the town’s key features were nowhere to be found. Especially where the Project Marblearth office was as a nightclub was in the building.

“Hey, this is supposed to be where our office is!” Stynth shouted before Clarence interrupted. “Well since you were never here there is no Project Marblearth.” “Ah I must be seeing things, let’s go get some dumplings. Maybe that’s normal.”. The two went down the block to a restaurant, the one Stynth remembers as a Momo’s Dumplings.

To Stynth’s surprise, it was Nordique at the counter as a bartender;  when not writing this marble usually covered sports abroad or performed at the restaurant. Nordique barked: “Who are you? I don’t recall seeing you come in ever.”

Neither Stynth nor Clarence felt at ease in their bar seats with the crowd of rowdy marbles. The two eventually placed their orders and settled in anyway and talked about what had happened. “Hey, so of all things, why would you jump from a tall building into a snowbank?” Stynth asked Clarence about the incident. “I jumped to save you” Nordiques register dinged interrupting Clarence. “Oh, some angel made it,” said Clarence. “Every time a bell rings, it means some angel just got their wings.” Stynth did not understand what Clarence meant but played along with them. They then asked Clarence about their life and why they came by. Clarence did not have a car, money, or a place to stay.

Nordique gave the two a strange glare. “OK, you two get out of my bar. You are starting to freak me out.” Just as the bartender was getting heated, a silver marble came in – Shiny of the Shining Swarm.

Stynth rolled up to Shiny, but the marble was chipped and unwilling to talk. “Shiny, what happened to you?” About to push all three marbles out, Nordique had one last thing to say: “You know, that’s another reason why I think you are off. The Shining Swarm retired after the Showdown in 2019.” 

Thrown out of the bar, Stynth, Clarence and Shiny heard Nordique spamming the register bell and exclaiming: “Yo, I’m giving out wings!” mocking Clarence’s statement. Then, Stynth looked up to where the Momo’s Dumplings sign would’ve been and then noticed it actually said “Nordique’s”.

 “First, without a backstory from you and any chance at the limelight, the Shining Swarm hit the bottom four in the Showdown and thought they did not belong in the Marble League,” Clarence told Stynth. “They also stopped performing as the MarBeats. As for Team Momo, their passion was lost after constantly getting injured and not having the fan base they had that you helped create for them. They still compete but they’re pretty forgettable.”

Stynth was angered: “Their start this past year was memorable! Momomomo even won a gold!” Clarence replied: “Well, you never wrote that article about their start…”

“Let’s get out of here. I just want to go home.” With Stynth rolling ahead and Clarence catching up, they boarded the train out of town and were quite surprised to see Orbit as the conductor. “Orbit? You remember me right? We worked on a few articles together!” Orbit was stumped and said: “I have never seen you before in my life.”

“We even worked on the Fruit Circuit reunion!” said Stynth. “Heck, you are part of the JMA! Don’t you remember any of this?” Orbit replied back “Fruit Circuit? Also, no one works for the Marble League so it’s clear to me you do not belong here.”

Orbit signaled to the Emperor, who was a security marble on the train; they dragged both Stynth and Clarence off the train at the next station and into a police car. In the back of the Emperor’s car, Clarence told Stynth the dark truth. 

“Without reporting from the Marblearth team, there was no interest in reviving the Fruit Circuit, or any of them – the Surculo, Bug Circuit,  Stardust Classic, Ramen Bowl, or Seven Seas Circuit. And there sure wasn’t interest in setting up Cranythm or the Midnight Melee. The Marble League’s the only game in town.”

“Wait! You did not mention Herbotamia! All the Hubelino teams came from there and even the Gliding Glaciers and Solar Flares came up from it to get to the Marble League this year.” The Emperor heard this, “The Gliding Glaciers? That’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. They have not been in the Marble League since the qualifiers of 2018.”

Stynth knew otherwise: “But they were just in the Marble League this year, and they finished third in it!” To that, Emperor just laughed: “I don’t know what Marble League you watched, because there were no marbles like them there.”

Tugging against Stynth, Clarence whispered: “Quick, I can get you out of here!” In a snap, the two of them vanished from the car. “Hey, where did they go?” Emp thought before alerting the department of two runaways. 

Rolling through downtown again, Clarence and Stynth rolled by a mural, whose painters were still running around with brushes: designers Stynth recognized, like Piney, BJV, Laurent, and Phantasm. However, unlike the art Stynth was familiar with from each of them, this mural was all black and white, and did not look good at all. “What happened here? You were all great designers!” Stynth asked the designers. 

BJV told Stynth: “Since when did we become professional artists?” Stynth tried to bring up some of the past graphics work, whether it was certain photos from articles, or in Piney’s case, the entire Raspberry Racers RetRollSpective. None of them knew any of this or what was going on, except for Piney who knew some of the Raspberry Racers. They told Stynth to go to Roilan’s they would explain everything. 

Stynth met with Roilan at their place. There they talked about what happened in the past couple of years. “Marble League 2020 in the Andromedome was very dysfunctional, to say the least,” Roilan told Stynth recapping their memory of the past tournament. “Yeah, as a Raspberry Racers fan we didn’t do too well, but the way it happened was pretty chaotic compared to the previous four.”

Stynth interrupted: “There’s got to be a twist somewhere. Every marble I’ve talked to had something happen differently than I remembered.”

“Well, after Razzy couldn’t finish the Hurdles no one knew what to do. There was no rule about subbing a marble mid-event. So the team was disqualified and Razzy did not return for the rest of that season. In fact, Berry took their spot in Collision.”

“Without you, there was no real Committee who made calls on complicated situations like this one,” said Clarence. there was no clear-cut way to analyze the Marble League.” Stynth was surprised to hear no one supported Jelle on their mission to build a successful League. 

There was a knock on Roilan’s door, and in came another writer Stynth knew: Phoenix, reporting on tournaments like the Cranthym Challenges. “Who are these two?” Phoenix asked as they grabbed a cup of cocoa.

“It’s a long story,” Roilan said. “These two were wondering what led to the downfall of Marble Sports.” To which Phoenix replied: “Have you got to Misty Mountain yet?” “Just getting there now,” said Roilan. “You want to tell them about this one?”

Phoenix obliged and stated: “Well, it was the tenth race of Marbula One Season 2 in which the Crazy Cat’s Eyes were bound to win. However, the race was delayed because no one knew where the Hazers were. By the time the race started, things went haywire. Clutter got trapped in the safety marble lane, Bumble was stuck after colliding with Cerulean, then the safety marble and the other marbles kept passing them, a red flag was issued.

“The race restarted late and eventually Hazy won at their home track. Though while the fans of the home team went crazy, fans of the other teams, namely the Balls of Chaos, Bumblebees, Kobalts, Midnight Wisps, and Team Momo were angered at the result and started throwing stuff onto the track and eventually rolled toward the podium. It was so painful to witness for Jelle that they suspended the season for a whole month.”

Stynth remembered this race as it was the one that eventually led to the JMRC resigning, but the way it was handled in this world was much worse. 

Clarence then said, “There was no control among the fans 2020 onward and that moment ended up being a turning point in the era of Marble Sports.” Stynth could not take it anymore. They then asked the other marbles in the room “What happened to Jelle?”

The only one who could answer was Clarence, who told Stynth “You really do not want to know what happened to Jelle, or Marble League 2021, as a whole.”

Lights flashed before Stynth’s eyes again, and then they and Clarence were standing outside of Felynia Coliseum. The billboards flashed and declared the 2021 Marble League was underway.

“Maybe Rollkeepsie isn’t the same without me, but nothing’s changed in Felynia,” remarked Stynth. “That’s for the best, honestly.”

“Guess you have to find the truth for yourself,” replied Clarence. Nudging past fans of all colors, they found two seats in the stands just in time for the Opening Ceremony. What Stynth noticed right away, though, was the booing: each team would roll down the stadium grounds and a rival fan section would jeer and insult them.

“Without your work setting the standard for marble sports coverage,” said Clarence, “Nothing stopped Marblearth from descending into petty gossip and accusations about the athletes.”

The first event in this parallel Felynia was the 5 Meter Sprint, and controversy started right away. A photo finish was decided for the Speeders, and the crowd immediately booed with one coach petitioning to investigate if the starting gate was “rigged.” In the end, it was Swifty of the Savage Speeders who won by fifteen lengths: before the podium ceremony started, Stynth could see opposing fans start trickling out of the stands.

After the podium ceremony, Stynth at least saw two familiar faces: Fouc and Edu, writers they knew well, rolling down to the podium for an interview. However, Stynth would have never predicted their questions for Swifty: “Where’s the proof from your team that you’re not doping this Marble League? And will you clarify Rapidly’s insults towards Coach Berry?”

Stynth had to exclaim: “Fouc! Edu! You’re better than this! You can’t just accuse like that without evidence!” But if these two Raspberry Racers fans heard Stynth, they only glanced at the blue marble for a second before focusing on Swifty.

Clarence held on to Stynth and then they were jumping through time, past event after event. Every event in this Marble League, it seemed, would end in baseless drama.

In the High Jump, Momomomo slammed against the crossbars and the medics took five minutes to carry them off the field. Stynth was above the Team Momo fan section and heard one charismatic Momo fan giving a diatribe. Stynth recognized them as Marblearth writer Ramen Powder, but the words out of them were ugly: “I never liked the CCE and now we see what’s going on! They are so intimidated by our Marbula One performance that they plot to injure our team.” After the event ended, Vector rolled onto the field in protest of another dismal Limers performance by leaving a pile of trash and dumping it on Sublime before being taken away. 

In the Triathlon, Blue Eye’s disqualification for contacting the Rojo Rollers led to CCE fans pushing Rojo fans out of the stands and onto the grounds. The fighting did not stop there, as the Turtle Sliders fan section next to the Cat’s Eyes started to block security guards trying to calm the situation. Stynth could make out one loud marble leading the push: Ghostly, writer and eternal Sliders fan, yelling “I fight for my friends!” 

In Block Pushing, poor track design meant each heat of four teams had either blocks or individual marbles flying across lanes, hurting athletes and causing several team disqualifications. Reaching a boiling point, Stynth jumped out of the stands and onto the field, rolling over to the JMA office for an explanation. Suddenly, they were hit by a marble behind and then cornered by five more.

“Oh my gosh, was that a streaker?” announced Greg Woods. “I’m glad the security marbles got them this time.” Before Stynth could shout in anger, Clarence transported them to their next event.

Through every controversy and every botched event, our blue marble could hear other fans laughing along, or cheering at the drama. “These are just rowdy fans, right?” they asked Clarence. “The majority in Marblearth would not stand for this.” 

“Let me just show you the end,” said Clarence, and the two were at the Final Event. It was a Marblocross race without suspense, as the Savage Speeders already clinched the title two events ahead. The stands were mostly empty, as opposing teams’ fans either left or were expelled after they stormed the grounds. With a final gold in the event, the Speeders celebrated on their own as Greg Woods announced in monotone: “It’s another championship for the Savage Speeders.”

No music was played during the closing ceremony, only hisses of “dopers” and “rigged” from remaining fans. One by one, the security marbles went up and carried the loudest fans out. Stynth and Clarence still watched from the nosebleeds as the Speeders rolled out the stadium.

“Now you know, Stynth, that this was a controversial Marble League,” said Clarence. “If you look at those VIPs gathering around their seats still, you can make out that they want their money back from the organizers.”

Stynth could see a few marbles being pushed left and right by the VIPs: Fouc in their raspberry uniform, Emperor with a flower to their side, Spex sporting a constellation of green. “This is so sad,” said Stynth. “It’s a travesty they have to deal with this!”

“It’s a real shift from the Marble Leagues you covered, isn’t it?” said Clarence. “You see, Stynth, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?”

Stynth, at the moment, noticed one marble missing from their usual seat. “Where’s Jelle, Clarence?” they asked. “Jelle, most of all, doesn’t deserve this!” When the Guardian Angel only looked down to the ground, our blue marble bolted out of the stands on their own.

Rolling out of the Felynia Coliseum, bumping between Cat’s Eyes and O’rangers fans, Stynth looked all around for that flower adorning Jelle Bakker. Not until Stynth rolled two blocks down into downtown Felynia did they spot it: an orange marble with those pedals of blue, rolling alone down the crosswalk.

“Jelle! I need to tell you something!” Stynth belted as hard as they could, but the Marble League organizer didn’t turn around – they couldn’t hear Stynth, or maybe they did not want to. A van pulled up beside Jelle and a security marble came out, uttering: “your plane to Knikkegen is ready, your honor.”

By the time Stynth rolled to that spot, the van was long gone. Clarence took a while to catch up as well, and they saw Stynth at a loss for words. Finally, Stynth whispered: “This is not how marble sports should be.”

“What marble sports are, Stynth, is what we decide on as a community,” mused Clarence. “Strange, isn’t it? Each marble’s life touches so many other lives. When they aren’t around they leave an awful hole, no?”

Tears streamed down Stynth’s face. “All I wanted to do, Clarence, was to give Jelle some encouragement after what we saw… That they still bring joy to Marblearth, that there is so much that is still possible because of them. Why is even that so hard?”

“Don’t you understand, Stynth? Without you, who exactly would say those words in this world?” asked Clarence. “If controversy is what we’re used to, who has the heart to say such things?”

With those words, Stynth darted off again; all Clarence could do was sigh and mutter: “There must be some easier way to get my wings.” 

Rolling down Red Eye Boulevard, Stynth was crying out: “Help me, Clarence! Get me back!” exclaimed Stynth. “I don’t care what happens! I want to live again! Please, Clarence, I want to live again…”

“I want to live again…” Stynth was by themselves back outside the hotel. It was still the night before Glassmas Eve and what was a snowstorm was now just flurries. Still, in tears, they did not notice a cyan marble covered in red and green stripes rolling towards them.

“Hallo, Stynth!” said Mellacus, Stynth’s old JMRC partner. At first, Stynth screamed and jumped back, but then said: “Mell… you know me?”

“Know you? I’ve been looking all over for you. The airport said to find you here and, hey you have a dent on your side. Is everything alright?” That was the moment Stynth felt they were officially back. “I got a dent, what do you know about that!”

Mell then told Stynth, “I heard you’re in need of a flight to Nijellen and I thought you needed some help.” The two rolled down to LaMarblia Airport, ready to board a supersonic jet with two words emblazoned on the side: “MELLOSPACE INDUSTRIES”.

An hour later, on Mellacus’s private jet, Stynth was sitting side by side with them. Shouts and laughter filled the cabin: our blue marble had many tales of their travels to share, and Mellacus the pilot had their own stories about managing their company, sending them to the farthest corners of Marblearth.

“I’m just thinking back to all the stories I’ve heard and the places I visited, and it just makes me feel so alive!” To see a friend after Clarence’s vision, not to mention knowing they can see friends again, made Stynth happier than ever.

“You know, early into the year I thought it’s going to be a pretty rough ride,” said Mellacus while cutting their steak. “We were so invested in marble sports, but the very thing we both were so passionate about was just… taken away from us. 

But look at us now, man…. We got through it. It gave us strength. We’re still going strong and following our dreams. I was so proud and happy for you when I heard you were directing choirs, moving to the city, and being a freaking media mogul. Never stop doing what you do and follow your heart.”

The last thing Clarence told them, as Stynth remembered, was about heart – the heart to stay determined, follow what’s right and build a vision that goes beyond Stynth themselves. “I don’t plan on writing forever, but whatever I do next I want to do with friends like you,” said our blue marble. “I really couldn’t have been luckier.”

“But whatever you do,” said Mellacus with their mouth full, “Remember the next round of ramen bowls is on you when I visit you next time!”

It was morning when Mellacus’s plane landed. Stynth had three or four hours, give or take, to make it to the big ceremony; despite Mellacus’s assurances, they were still on edge.

“Do not worry at all, my friend,” said Mellacus, “Because we’re on time and I have a plan to get you to the ceremony.” Stynth remained jittery: “Mell, I should’ve told you that I’m writing a profile about this event. I have to get my interviews in as well!”

“I would relax about it, just stay seated until we taxi to the gate,” said Mellacus. Stynth waited and waited, seeing the plane roll further from the terminal they’ve been through.

The plane came to a stop and Stynth darted out the door and down the exit ramp, only to find something extraordinary in front of them. A massive crowd of marbles was on the tarmac looking up at Stynth – every writer of Project Marblearth, tens of marble athletes, and many old faces from the JMRC.

The crowd yelled out: “SURPRISE!” Streamers flew in the air; Stynth’s writers rolled up to give them a hug, and our blue marble let out a big “WOW!”

For two weeks, some of Marblearth’s luminaries planned to surprise Stynth before this Nijellen ceremony, then invite them to a big afterparty to celebrate four years of service to marble sports. At the moment, marbles went up one by one to offer their good wishes for the Editor-in-Chief.

Nordique went up to Stynth feeling emotional. “There’s no one who has contributed more to the JMR community or put the fans first more than you, Stynth, with all the lore you have created in the last few years. Together, all of us here at the project will make sure the spirit of your stories will carry on forever. You have been a mentor for all of us on the project and have been a great leader in both the Marblebase and the Marblearth. Thanks for being here for everyone even in tough times. I am deeply grateful to be part of the project and to have a friend like you.”

“Today, we’re gathered here to celebrate your unmatched long-time commitment to make the marble sports world more alive. Without your effort to bring us the stories, origins, and experiences of each team, we wouldn’t have the inspiration that led us to be more involved with the developments of the events, nor have the opportunity to continue this great work to share the messages these athletes want to state for the fans”, said Edu G. J., a rising writer in Stynth’s project.

“I appreciate your commitment and your coverage, Stynth,” said Speedy of the Savage Speeders. “Our team is in debt to you for the time you spent with us.”

Phoenix rolled over, beaming. “Hey Stynth, you’ve always been an amazing friend. I’m so glad we can celebrate you here because you really deserve it! Incredible author and talented musician, but above all, someone who is always there for a word and who you can put so much trust into. Thanks so much for all you’ve done, and all you do. No matter where you go, being a good friend will always be enough for me.”

“It’s an honor that we were the story of your very first article.” Mimo of Team Momo said as they rolled over. “Thanks for being such a big fan of our team and we have been avid readers of the articles that you and the project have sent out.”

Fouc, writer and friend of Stynth’s, rolled up and said: “Heyo Stynth, thanks for taking me along this journey of yours.”

“Here’s to Stynth, the most clever of them all!” said Captain Shiny of the Shining Swarm. “Let’s make a promise right now, we’ll do a jam session at the afterparty.”

A note randomly appeared behind Stynth on the tree. When they read the note, it said “Remember, Stynth: no marble is broken who has friends. Thanks for the wings!-Clarence” The bell rang on the tree when Phoenix said “Look! Every time a bell rings an angel gets their wings!” Stynth remembered what Clarence said then acknowledged Phoenix. “That’s right! Well done Clarence!”

It was the last well-wisher that morning that rocked Stynth to their core: an orange marble with blue flowers, Jelle Bakker themselves.

“Greets, Stynth!” said Jelle. “I love your project, and I hope that this will be continued in future events. It is very important we talk about your plans before we leave.”

Stynth could not stop nodding before the Marble Master said they must catch their ride into Nijellen, but had one last request: “We must have more reporters attending the Marble Rallies, in order to increase interest and popularity. Can you make plans for this?”

“That’s what I’m here for!” gleamed Stynth. Once again they would roll into the Project Marblearth news truck, on their way to more breaking news. But on this special day, they were right next to all the writers working for their Project, the talent whose lives they touched over the years.

Glassmas Eve or not, our blue marble was set to write again. And in Nijellen later that night, at the end of Stynth’s journey, bells were ringing from the city hall in anticipation of the celebration ahead.

Stynth, the Project Marblearth team, plus Alpine, Mimo, and Shiny together for Glassmas Eve.
Front row: Jelle, Stynth, Mell.
Middle row (Left to right): Fouc, Edu, Ramen, Piney, Phoenix, ElrQ,
Vector, Orbit, Ghostly, Roilan, Emp, Nordique.
Back row left: Phantasm, Laurent, and BJV.
(Art credit: BJV)

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