Then I got an update notice in my email letting me know that Conspirator, one of my favorite Rurouni Kenshin authors had posted a new story, Elegy, and when I opened the email I was shocked to see the summary "In memory of Haku Baikou".
I tried to be in denial but a quick Google confirmed that Haku Baikou, Charlene Sun in real life, is gone. She died in a car accident January 27th.
I never got to know her personally, either in person or online, the closest I got was reading her stories and leaving comments (and I have the unsettling feeling that I may not have commented on everything I should have), but her stories included one of my favorite Kenshin stories of all time, Recovery, that contains THE best characterization of Hiko-sama and insight into his relationship with Kenshin that I've ever read. She also did an awsome job with Megumi. In reading the article about her I found that in real life in addition to being an artist, writer, and filmmaker, she was also a doctor and so was especially suited for doing such a realistic portrayal of Megumi.
If I was aware of it before I'd forgotten that Haku Baikou was an excellent artist. When I went to her DA account to browse I was stunned to see that one of her more recent pictures, posted in December, was Death and the Maiden (Not work safe). That sent a chill through me. Even before that I've been brooding on the randomness of life and how much or little time someone might have to make their art and share it. Looking at the date stamp on the comment I left for Recovery I've only known of her work for about 4 years and now there is no more.
There are beautiful comments on her DA journal and at a website her family has set up to memorialize her and start a college scholarship fund in her honor. I was pretty weepy after reading them we have lost a remarkable person.