It was the best year yet, in my opinion. So many people I haven’t seen in years came out, including Koobak and his girlfriend, Dara, Princess of Chaos. Da Juhr Ga’s camp was set up perfectly to allow for a lot of room to socialize, cook, and play games. We also had a
grassy, shady area next to our camps that proved to be perfect for fighting. The shade came in handy, as the temperatures were triple digits with 95-100% humidity for most of the week. Yowza. We didn’t even go up to the sun-baked field until Friday.
Wasad has a way of bringing his mundane friends into this world of Dagorhir. A buddy who we used to play D&D with (yes, Dungeons and Dragons; are you even surprised that I’m that big of a nerd?!) came out with his brother and nephew. Clog, Mog, and Trog are all
former (or current) football players. The “smallest” of them is Trog, who is 15 years old, and I would guess around 6’4″, 280. Ridiculous. Luckily they’re all really nice. And on our side. They call themselves Dragonhorde, and they owned the field this year! Clog loves to do leather working, so they’re all outfitted in amazing armor; that combined with their size makes them generally untouchable. A glorious moment on the battlefield was when Dragonhorde plus Wasad led a charge on Rome! They lined up two by two at the front with Clog and Mog going in first. The Army of Mordor (including yours truly) formed a wedge to their sides with shields and swords. Inside the wedge were Zagar, Mikar, archers, and Black Company (the mercenaries we hired to fight with us for the day, whom Zagar was in charge of on the field.) When we got the order, the wedge moved as one towards Rome’s line. Clog and Mog put their shoulders down and punched through, while Wasad and Trog turned their backs to the front with their shields held up so that no Roman fighters could land a hit on anything but a shield. They punched through, and AoM and Black Company flowed through the hole, decimating Rome from behind their own line! It was such an adrenaline rush, and quite an achievement, because Rome definitely knows how to hold a line. I cannot WAIT to hit the field with Dragonhorde again!
In-camp and night fighting were also great. I’ve been using Pole to help me improve my fighting, and it seems to be working. I sparred a lot with Wasad, which I really appreciate; he gives me the chance to learn while I’m fighting, and doesn’t just come in and kill me immediately (as do a lot of sparring partners.) I’ve been working on stepping forward as I swing so that I don’t give any ground to my opponent; seems to be working. At one point, Wasad won a match, but Koobak said I should have won based on ferocity alone. That was probably the biggest compliment I got all week.
Because it was so hot, one night some of us decided to head to the lower battlefield for night fighting. The area is large and lit up with a light tower, so it makes for a nice (coolish) fighting environment. Most of the fighters were AoM, and Clog came along for the ride as well. We have been trained well; we fight, resurrect, and die as a unit, so if one fighter goes out, he or she (well, she being me) waits for their other companions before hitting the field again. We were so well organized that Wasad eventually had the lot of us switch teams because it was woefully uneven! I got a lot of kills (and got killed plenty in between); it was the best adrenaline rush I’ve had in a long time.
But, what about Pole, you ask? Oh, let me tell you. Ron (Mikar) of course rigged the Stagger Inn up with poles again so that I could dance during the Poisoners’ party and teach classes throughout the week. But Nameless had a great idea to build an actual sturdy wooden bar for the Stagger that would highlight the second, oft-neglected pole that is usually right in the middle of the serving area. Ron came up with a design that allowed for a stage to be crafted around the second pole. Oh my…I almost died from excitement when
I saw it! It allowed me to dance on a pole elevated above the crowd while BARTENDING AT THE SAME TIME. Mind? Blown. The dancing at the Poisoners’ party was a hit. Wasad even re-wrote the lyrics to Adele’s “Rumor Has It” for “Gruumsh Has It.” (Gruumsh is the orc god that Da Juhr Ga follows, in case you haven’t been nerding out enough so far.) He had asked me to choreograph a pole routine to the song, which of course I did. We tried performing it at the party, but it was so loud that no one could hear the music. Good effort though! It looked really awesome in rehearsal.
People loved the dancing so much, that representatives from Mirkwood (the dark elves down the road) asked if they could borrow the poles for their Mardi Gras party later in the week. The issue with the poles in the Stagger Inn is that they need the Inn to work! But I could see Ron’s brain working. He figured out how to winch one of the poles up to some trees in Mirkwood so that the pole was not only safe and steady, but safer and steadier than the poles in the Stagger! It was quite a feat; he’s a handy guy to have around. Mirkwood wanted the dancing at their party to be very safe, as there are a lot of ways one can get hurt during Mardi Gras if proper precautions are not taken. I was in charge of deciding who could dance on the pole, and Mirkwood provided security to make sure that no one who didn’t know what they were doing could use the pole. I made little bracelets out of parachord, silver rings, and amazing leather tags that Clog was generous enough to make for the cause. I got most of my class participants up there, which was really cool! It’s so rewarding to see someone you’ve taught do a move that they learned from you. I am so proud of you Celestia, Jareth, Dara, Phredd, and Wolf! You guys are amazing. Thank you also Vythl and Ronin! Those two were troupers during Mardi Gras; I think they danced most of the night.
I think the overall attitude towards the poles and the dancing was really positive. Most people seemed to genuinely enjoy watching the dancers, and most were very well-behaved. I think nerds might be more polite than the average citizen, in fact. That’s one reason I like hanging out with them so much.
What else can I say about Ragnarok? I think I covered the highlights. I am already ready for next year; I am missing the friends I made and the friends I saw there whom I only see once a year. I miss waking up to the sound of breakfast being cooked over a campfire and reminiscing about past Rags and about what happened during the last battle or party. I miss having a darn good reason to drink hot sake right after waking up (because why not?) And I miss the laughter that struck me so hard at times that I was doubled over. Thanks for another great year, Dagorhir; here’s to many more.