A friend (Alias H.S., Hide Seek) is an enigmatic person who made several posts on The Secret World's forums. There is very little information on the person other than what can be speculated about him.
- Main article: The Photo
First four clues
The community at large was first made aware of A friend through an e-mail that was leaked to various websites and forums on May 7, 2007. In it, A friend asked that individuals take a look at a document that was attached to the e-mail, later identified as Dark Days Are Coming. The Poem was in fact a clue that needed to be solved to be led to a website.
Upon solving the poem, people were lead to a website, DarkDaysAreComing.com and another puzzle that needed to be solved, the Cities and Symbols puzzle. Once the puzzle was solved by individuals, they were allowed access into the forums and were greeted by a single post made by A friend. He warned that the forums might not last long and that They were preventing people from posting, even going as far as to claim that this was all a game to Them. He made mention to the Sanskrit that was flashed on the Cities and Symbols puzzle and that a code still needed to be cracked.
It was revealed that the Sanskrit characters were co-ordinates for latitude and longitude that could be plotted on a map of earth and revealed five separate locations related to significant human history, myth, or religion. He congratulated the community for cracking the code but there still remained a mystery as to what the co-ordinates meant and that he was taking what information had been revealed so far to "powerful friends".
On May 10, 2007, another post was made by A friend that was soon censored and deleted, telling the community that he was trying to be shut out by Them but would persevere. After this post was deleted, A friend sent an e-mail to registered forum members, given that his posts were continually deleted while anyone who reposted his post was censored and replaced with the message "There is no conspiracy". In his e-mail, it was revealed that a picture was found by his friends and needed the community's help deciphering The Photo that was posted on flickr. Accompanying the picture was information that an "A.B." sent it to him. He asked many questions about the photo including who took the picture, who is in the picture and where was it taken. A friend urged the community on, stating that even the photo would soon be gone. True to his word, it was shortly thereafter deleted.
As it turned out, there was hidden text in the metadata for the photo, a journal by a man named Nicolas Belmont. The community went wild with theories and speculation as to what the photo and journal could imply and who exactly Nicolas Belmont was.
Friends and enemies
A friend sent another e-mail on May 11, 2007, urging the community to remain focused and that he still needed pertinent information that was coded on to the photo:
When was the photograph taken - on the minute. Year, date, time.
Where was the photograph taken - exactly.Who took the photograph - and who was his most trusted friend.
—A Friend, no source
A friend attempted to keep posting on the forums but the posts would be deleted soon afterwards. If not for the members of the community, the posts would have been lost forever. He urged the community not to get lost in the details and that an exact date, down to the time the photo was taken, would be needed for the code to be solved.
The community discovered the date and time the picture was taken, December 21, 1924 at 20:12 military time. This date happens to coincide with the Mayan's date for the end of the world, December 21, 2012. The very next day on May 13, A friend posted that the correct date and time were found but the code still wasn't broken.
Breakthrough and au revoir
On May 14th, a sharp mind combined the dates and co-ordinates of the Antarctic location and added it to the DarkDaysAreComing url. 1921122120128615241534 was produced by combining the photograph date, 19211221; the clock, 2012; and the South Pole coordinates, 8615241534. A username and password was required to access this website: Belmont/Amundsen.
When accessed, the back of the photo was discovered. On May 15, 2007, A friend congratulated the entire community and confirmed the final code was cracked. He was going to use the information from the letter to track down A.B. and would have her help hide himself.
See also: Aveline Belmont
Feeling as though they had done a good deed, the community celebrated throughout, congratulating one another. However, the celebrations were short. Aveline Belmont, known to the community up until then as A.B., had sent an e-mail to the forum members on May 16, 2007. In it she said that she was trying to hide from A friend, that he was a friend to no one and that they have endangered the entire world with helping A friend uncover things that were meant to stay hidden. It had turned out A friend had duped the forum into furthering the coming darkness, and to emphasize the point, a new counter was added to the home page of DarkDaysAreComing.com, counting down in sanskrit to December 21, 2012.
They Are Coming Back
- Main article: They Are Coming Back
A friend was absent from the forums for nearly 2 years before coming back into the spotlight, albeit in a small yet crucial manner. On April 4, 2009, a post was made by a new player in the conspiracy, Apis. Apis had linked a video that started a brand new puzzle. On April 6, 2009, the post was edited by A friend and the link removed from the post. New speculation was made as to the true intent of A Friend's motive and nature. A friend also made one last post on the forums about the new group.
No one can say for sure what A friend's true motive is. Some say that he is an anonymous benefactor trying his best to warn everyone about the coming darkness. Others claim that he merely used and lied to the community as a way to get to Aveline Belmont. To date, A friend's official allegiances haven't been made clear, which is the subject of much discussion.