Battle for the Ring XII should’ve been called “Holy Shit! We Made It!” instead of “Get Over Here!” I was one of three lucky ones who made it only a few hours later than intended, due to mechanical issues on my first flight. Unfortunately, that meant that I missed the setup shifts for which I had signed up. But don’t worry, I made up for it throughout the event.
I signed up for every weapons/arrow check shift during the event. I enjoyed the experience. Many hands made light work, and we got through a lot of weapons every day. People were always willing to step into empty spots, and it made me proud of our community. I was primarily working in arrow check and, after this event, would feel comfortable running arrow check for events. I got to learn a lot about different tech, new and old, and got a painful reminder not to let my bow technique get sloppy when I’m in a hurry (see: ugly bowstring bruise on my arm).
I was most nervous to serve as marshaling captain on Sunday morning. I loathe marshaling, mostly because I lack practice. The only way to practice is to do it, so I figured I might as well get my feet wet. I ran the field for two-and-a-half hours, and I’m so grateful that it went swimmingly. People were civil, and when issues arose were willing to discuss them with me, rather than throw a tantrum on the field. I appreciate you all so much. I feel much more comfortable with marshaling, and my lungs got a really good workout.
Photo courtesy of Lady Marek Photography
I did a handful of security and gate shifts. These are my favorite. Everyone should do these shifts. You get to do basically the same things you would do anyway, but help the event at the same time. Security gets to wander around camp and hang out with whomever strikes your fancy. This event was so chill, that security was just shooting the breeze with all the wonderful people at their camps.
You can’t leave gate guard, but you can bribe people to come to you with snacks, a warm fire, and good conversation. It’s event nightlife in a slightly different spot than you might normally hang out. It was such a wonderful time, I had so many good conversations, and met lots of people who filled my heart.
I didn’t fight a lot, but I was pleased with the fighting I got to do. I had a few sets of squire fights, and I went to the Valkyries meet and beat. There wasn’t enough sparring to say I picked up anything new, but it was fun to fight with some new folks. I barreled with my unit (I finally got to meet most of the members after about a year). It was so fun to get rough and tumble for a few minutes, and my unit mates are solid do no harm, take no shit kind of people. We wrapped up the Sunday night field fighting together, and hoo boy was that a blast! It is so rare in Stygia that we get a good line fight going (damn skirmishers). To be in a line with dozens of other people was a lesson in teamwork and, well… line fighting.
The final battle was [insert lion roaring here]. Every scenario battle has its technical difficulties, but this massive objective capturing bridge battle put me in my element. Joining the Great Hunt has unleashed my inner animal. With the hunger of the Dread Gods coursing through me, I took charge of a large chunk of our team and helped lead us to victory, and it felt so damn good. So much shouting, so much carnage, so invigorating.
There were TWO back-to-back knightings, both of which I was able to attend. A huge congratulations to Sir Sita Avaraa and Dame Black Rabbit the Courageous. I don’t need to know either of them to know that they are pillars of this community. The outpouring of love and admiration at both elevations spoke volumes. The ceremonies were inspirational. A wild congratulations to you both.
My biggest takeaways from the event, and the lessons I wish to share the most, are joy and courage. Find joy in volunteering. Volunteering at events is not always fun, but in my experience it is more fun than not. Make it fun. Take your friends with you. Wander around and socialize. Make new friends. Take a shift like troll or gate guard, and sit and read or craft when you’re not working. Find courage in stepping out of your comfort zone. I was dreading marshaling, but never could have imagined how much impact that couple of hours would have on my mental health. I have pretty severe conflict anxiety, which often makes being in charge of things very stressful. The healthy conversations that happened on the field made me infinitely more comfortable, not just with marshaling, but with my day job as a supervisor, and in general.
I could gush on and on about how wonderful this event was for me, and how much I love and appreciate everyone who was there, but I don’t words will suffice to express how much the weekend replenished my heart and soul. Thank you all so much. I am eager to see you again next year.