For Amtgard this weekend I went to Dusk Hollow (Dallas, OR). It was a cold, but sunny day. I actually got there at a reasonable time, about 12:15. There were several people there already, including Darb and Morath.
Darb and Morath were making spell balls for a kingdom initiative that Darb has instituted as Kingdom Champion. He’s going to be going to parks and administering a practical battle game test, something to test situational knowledge. If you pass you get a spell ball. It’s an nice and interesting way to help raise awareness of the rules. I aided them by holding down the fabric squares from the cold, mighty, wind.
Shortly before 1 Critias, Minerva and the reason I came to Dusk Hollow, Ozzward arrived. After they were done unloading their stuff, which was quite a lot, I pulled Ozzward off to the side to have a chat. I asked him if he wanted to do knightly belt stuff and offered him a man at arms belt.
You might be asking yourself, “Why a man at arms belt and why not a squires belt?” and that’s a good question. I don’t do straight squire belts. I had a bad experience once. The details aren’t important but I once offered a squires belt and it didn’t work out and when I pulled the belt it was hurtful for the other person. Since then I’ve had the policy that I would offer a man at arms belt, with the understanding it’s a trail period, before a squires belt might be offered.
For my squire Indra I actually started him out as a page. I broke a rule in which I said I wouldn’t belt anyone under a year in the game. However there was a certain someone trying to belt him and Indra approached me and asked me to be my squire. I knew the other person wouldn’t be a good fit, I liked Indra and the fact he approached me was amazing. So I told him I wouldn’t have him as my squire, I explained why and offered him a page belt. He took it without complaint. Eventually I raised him to man at arms and then squire. It’s been a good relationship and I’m proud to have him in my knightly family.
I explained why I was offering Ozzward a man at arms belt and I said that he would have to put in work before I would consider a squires belt. Much to my disappointment he didn’t want to give me an answer. He seemed put off and and even said “But I want to be a Sword Knight”. I took the chance to explain that I am actually knowledgeable about fighting, even if I can’t always show it on the field. I know enough to give him a good foundation to grow from and part of the knight relationship is having access to contacts. I can make introductions he would otherwise have to make himself. I also pointed out Indra as an example, he’s my squire, on the sword path and is happy to be belted to me.
Still, he didn’t want to give me an answer. He asked me to give him a week to decide. I said alright. It wasn’t the answer I was was looking for. I was hoping for an excited yes, what I got was a confused maybe. Still, I understood it can be a big decision and I said I would give him the time he requested. I tried not to prod him to much throughout the day but I did a little.
I took the time at the end of the day to talk to him about his fighting. He was holding his shield to low and hunching over. I pointed this out to him. I said “You are fighting like a short person, don’t, you’re tall, fight like a tall person.” Critias laughed and said “That’s what I’ve been telling him!” I also pointed it out when he missed a good opportunity to hook a person’s shield but I didn’t go into a lesson about the situation, not wanting to give him to much for the day.
It turns out that I didn’t have to wait a week, today (Monday) he messaged me and said yes. I gave him his first task, to read The Book of the Five Rings, something I require of all people belted to me. Now to see if he lives up to the potential I see in him. He’s young and seems somewhat driven, so I think he will make it along the path to knighthood, even if it’s not the sword path he desires. He’s currently the regent of Dusk Hollow and wants to be more involved in the community. That means he has some interest in the crown path and the flame path, both paths I’m intimately familiar with.
Ozzward is pretty new, being about a year in, so he has a long way to go but I look forward to the journey. Long term I’m wanting to mitigate burn out, something I know affects a lot of people along the way. I’m not sure how many other knights make an effort to prevent burnout, but I think it’s a good thing to keep in mind when someone is on the long path to knighthood.
Sorry to go off on a tangent but this is pretty big news for me and it was the big announcement I said I might have for this week. I don’t take belted people lightly and I have very few because of it. People might not realize it but I’m harsh and opinionated. I have a standard that I’ve set for myself which I hold fast to, although I’m willing to budge on occasion. For example I asked Ozzward to be in my belted line when my preference is to be approached. I broke a rule I set for myself, further making this a big deal for myself.
If you’re interest in topics related to knighthood I wrote a few articles on it. It’s not all just my opinion, I sought other perspectives as well. Here are three articles that I think would be a good follow up to read. Masterhood and Knighthood, So, You Want to be a Squire? and You’re a Knight, Now What?
On to the rest of the day! Shortly after 1 Ozzward ran a battle game. It was a ring the bell style game. Each team had a shield and the objective was to hit the shield with a melee weapon. Doing so would kill you. After a team had hit the shield a total of five times a point was scored and the round would reset.
The trouble with the game was the balancing. There was a mix of experienced, high level, players and new players. It made for some pretty unbalanced teams. By the time the teams had been tweaked enough one team had 2 points and the other team had none. The reeves then decided they would make the game go from 3 points to 5.
In retrospect it would have been better for them to declare the one side winners, reset the score and start fresh. As it is the game dragged on for a long time with the losing team making up a 3 point spread. I don’t know exactly how long it went on, but it felt very long, well over 40 minutes.
I watched the game and sort of reveed a little. Mostly I stood there cold watching. I left my coat at Indra’s the other week and I didn’t think to bring my new garb coat I bought from Uriel. Luckily Old Man Lee, who I am pretty sure is younger than myself, loaned me a blanket for the day. I stayed nice and toasty warmed.
That was the only battle game for the day but it wasn’t the only event for the day. Ozzward had organized a tunic contest and a sword making class. There were three entrants for the tunic contest, with Donjen being the winner. The sword making class, while organized by Ozzward, was ran by Critias. Almost all of the park participated. I spent the time talking with Darb and Cid while they made more spell balls.
The class took a few hours and afterward people started to drift off home, but the park day didn’t end till after 6. It was a long but fun day. There was food, hot drinks and good company. I managed to get a few rounds of ditching in, but it died shortly after I joined. I have some video of it HERE. I also got some video of Torg, Critias and Ozzward fighting which you can see HERE.
Next week I’m also not going to be able to make it to my home park. I’m thinking I’ll make the drive out to Dusk Hollow again. Hopefully the weather holds and it will be another nice and sunny day. This time I’ll make sure to bring my garb coat.
A little bit about my writing adventures. I’ll be releasing the second issue of Failed Schemes Magazine on Friday (November 1st). It’s all fantasy based writing this time and I think my readers would enjoy it. I’ll be making a separate post talking about it on Friday.