I’ve been back home from Ragnarok for a week, and have only just now gotten to the point where I can even consciously be aware of what day it is. Recovery seems to get longer — and harder — with every year. And before Ron or Corey chime in with it’s “because I’m getting older” (because of course they’re right), it was also a relatively difficult year.
The first few days were fantastic! My dear friend, Kiki (Skadi), who recently moved to Pennsylvania, made the 4 hour drive to experience two days of Rag and to visit with us! It was so great to see her, and I think we might have hooked her into Dagorhir. The fact that Pole was included may have been an even bigger help. I’m quite confident we’ll see her next year, and hopefully for the entire week!
Da Juhr Gah in general was great this year. We had some folks new to Ragnarok join us this year: Victor (who has been running DJG fighting practices for the last year), Asbjorn, and his son, Ullfer, all camped with us this year. With myself, Mikar, Wasad, and Zagar (all the way from Japan again!), we had a really nice, close-knit group. We spent a lot of time playing games, and Clog of Dragonhorde planned a wonderfully elaborate game of Dungeons and Dragons for 12 people — complete with gorgeous, hand-made prizes — that kept us busy for a full day. Mikar completed our camp plumbing system this year as well; we had hot and cold running water (with a filter) in our kitchen area. The piece de resistance was definitely the shower. With a propane water heater, huge shower stall with a floor and tarp walls, we all enjoyed hot showers consistently for the first time ever at Rag.
The Poisoners’ Guild party was on Monday night of Ragnarok, and it was easily the best one we’ve thrown in my own personal memory. Wasad ran a game of his invention, aptly named after our guild. It was a live action version in which “marks” roamed the party, tracked by “assassins”. There were four “guilds”: Drink, Violence, Gambling, and Entertainment. Guild masters had tokens to give out to the assassins. If an assassin did something that the guild master(s) deemed good enough, the master would hand out a token to that assassin. Wasad believes in channeling the right person with the right talent for the right job. So naturally, I was Entertainment Guild Master. I made SO many people dance on the pole! Mikar was head of the Gambling Guild; he ran another game of Wasad’s creation, Runes and Bones. The grand prize winner of the entire game won a travel version of Runes and Bones, and was incredibly excited, as he had just spent the last hour playing it in Mikar’s guild. Nameless — being our founding Poisoner and head of the entire Poisoners’ Guild — was the Drink Guild Master. He got pretty creative in how he handed out tokens, and by the end of the game was adding Violence onto the Drink tokens. Clog and Mog, our resident former football players and Dragonhorde members, were heads of the Violence Guild. This was appropriate, as they acted as door security for the entire party, are both approximately 6’4″, and weigh I don’t even know how much. They were pretty generous with their tokens, which resulted in other party goers being able to hand out violence tokens. My favorite story of the night was of Loki: she would gather up violence tokens, approach another partier, slap him or her across the face, then hand him or her a token.
I’ve noticed a remarkable increase in the interest in Pole dancing at Ragnarok. People are now coming to our parties to seek it out. The first year, I had to beg people to try it out, and I got a few hesitant women giving a few moves a try. As the years have passed, more and more people have been brave enough to try, and a whole lot more men have been giving it a go! I had more men try it this year than any other year, which was really cool. I had my pole classes scheduled as well, and the first day of classes (Tuesday), I had two participants who have taken the classes from me before. It was nice because we could actually build on what they’d already learned, especially because — by doing Dagorhir — they’ve retained their strength.
Then the monsoon hit.
On Tuesday evening, a group of us were walking up the hill (or “upstairs”, as I like to call it) when the pressure changed. Little rain drops fell for about 10 seconds, and then the sky opened up. Rain came down in sheets as we all tried to shelter under a small tree. A camp nearby waved us over to shelter underneath their huge tarps, but no sooner had we run over, then the wind came. It caught the back of the tarp, knocking it into me, and almost pushed me completely to the ground! Then the wind switched direction, caught the tarp from the other side, pulled it free, and started sailing it away! Zagar jumped on the tarp to try and help the group hunker down, just as Mikar, Asbjorn, Wasad, and I looked at each other and realized that horrible things were likely happening in our own — currently unoccupied — camp. That’s when I ran down a hill — barefoot — faster than I think I’ve ever run.
I’ll spare you the gory details, but to shorten it: one of our tent poles snapped; while Mikar was lashing it back together with leftover plumbing equipment, the sheer volume of water running underneath our tent, coupled with the weight of our belongings, exceeded the tarp’s ability to keep us even remotely watertight. We had to bail out our tent 4 times over the next day, as rain continued off and on for the remainder of Ragnarok. Skadi was due back at work on Tuesday afternoon, so she had left that morning. I am somewhat convinced that the gods of Ragnarok were angered by her departure.
By the next night, we had our belongings clean, (mostly) dry, and our tent re-located to a spot that didn’t serve as the drainage area for all of camp, but that took up a day and a half, so by Wednesday night, we were pretty tired. So, Ragnarok was a bit more adventuresome than in years past.
On Friday, some of us actually made it up to the field! So many in our group this year couldn’t fight because of various medical reasons, so battle wasn’t a top priority this year. But Clog had come close to finishing my awesome armor, so I had to give it a go. It fits like a corset and he painted it black with the most beautiful and intricate hand tooling of the goddess Baast, Egyptian symbols, the eye of Sauron, the eye of Da Juhr Gah, and the Army of Mordor symbols! I got stopped five times on the field with people wanting a closer look and to compliment the work. It was awesome; the whole point of my armor was to make chest shots less painful, so I’d say it’s about the coolest way I could ever hope to achieve that goal.
We spent the remainder of Rag sheltering from the occasional storms, drinking, and playing games. On Saturday, we spent 15 hours breaking down camp, putting our things in storage, and getting ready to head back towards the airport to crash at a hotel before flying out painfully early Sunday morning. Dinner on Saturday was pizza at midnight in Ron’s and my hotel room. Everyone looked about thisclose to death, except for Ullfer, who is only 13 and apparently capable of handling heavy physical exertion.
So, Ragnarok was fun. But for the first time ever, I was very ready to come home! My things stay dry here in Colorado, rain moves through quickly, and my house doesn’t flood. It’s a good thing there’s a full year before the next Rag; that ought to give me enough time to be ready again!