|The Things We Forget
This article was originally submitted in mid-2010, but I've been somewhat off the ball as far as posting articles goes. I obtained permission from the author to edit it as necessary. The background of the article is personal and difficult, but I believe that the larger point regarding how Amtgard often treats its newbies is valuable and worth posting. I therefore edited the article with the goal of getting the point across without picking at old wounds. It is my hope that I have been successful. -- Randall
By some people's standards, I started Amtgard long ago, and by some veterans' standards, not so long ago. Let's just leave it at a decade-plus for our current purposes. I started playing Amtgard in New Mexico under Dragonspine proper with the name of Severin. I still claim that as my first Amtgard home, and still wear my beaten-up Dragonspine belt favor proudly.
I doubted the "family" part of Amtgard back in those days. Other than the friends that I already knew outside of Amtgard, after six months in the game only three people spoke to me in anything resembling friendly or familiar tones. I must admit though, I mostly stuck to myself. One day, I was sitting with one of these people trying to learn more things beyond basic battle-game rules, and ended up asking about what it took to get into a belted line. The reasoning I gave for wanting to be belted at that time was that those in belted lines and their close friends were the only people who seemed to be regarded in a familial sense. I was holding this discussion with Sir Egil, and he told me to ask for a belt from a person I respected and wanted to learn from. I immediately asked him. One stiff writing assignment later on what it meant to me to be in a belted family, he accepted me as his page. I finally felt like part of the local family. It was short-lived.
Due to mundane complications, I spent a while living on a friend's couch in a different town. I wasn't part of any of the cliques, so I fell back to my ignored status. About this time, a large chunk of my friends from Dragonspine stopped showing at the park, or at best showed up a lot less often. A few remembered me, but most who had any recollection of me just remembered me as the guy who used to visit from over the mountain. I've heard a few stories from back then from people. . . for example, there is the tale of a wizard making a Macaroni Duck Wand to prove that he could fight evil with it. That wand took me forty minutes to make and I gave it to a friend in Pegasus Valley.
Fast-forward to the start of the year 2001. Me and a mundane friend who was also an Amtgarder moved to northern Indiana. When we decided to start a park, we first went down to Gryphon's Perch to visit. We both got the distinct impression that, since we didn't introduce ourselves with any titles or anything of the like, we were looked down upon. (I have been back to Rising WInds since then, and this is not my feeling today.) My friend started referring to himself as the squire of a person from Dragonspine (who, if memory serves me, wasn't a knight then), and also referred to me as a squire. I never denied it. When I left Satyr's Crossing, it was still a freehold. Beyond its members, I was a ghost. When I moved to Utah, I was followed by an Amtgarder who had been in Satyr's Crossing as well. With me being the foolish person I am, I had never told that Amtgarder the truth about my belt status. In lieu of doing the right thing and telling the truth, I kept the lie going. I had already been led to believe that the Iron Mountains at the time considered "page" to be an insult or a joke at best, with man-at-arms being respectable.
Eventually, a question was brought up concerning my claim to being in Sir Egil's belted line at all. Message after message made its way to me charging me with lying about being belted at all, and for having "Egilssen" as part of my Amtgard name. Due to yet more mundane concerns, I was in no mood at that point in my life to deal with these things, so I ignored the emails. I also had, at that time, intended to quit Amtgard. Then someone else got in contact with me about it, not in a way that felt to me like a hunt but with real questions and curiosities. I did reveal to that person at the time of the lies I had made, and he chose to keep them to himself.
Time passed and I came back to Amtgard. I have not claimed any belted line since. I have chosen to keep the Egilssen on my name as a memory to the only knight willing to try to befriend a newbie so many years ago.
My reasons for saying all of this? I have seen in my time:
Many of the experienced of Amtgard ignoring the new. We want newbies, we want growth, but often we forget them soon after we get the waiver.
People assumed to be new because they were not noticed when they started.
People ignored because they do not hold titles or relation to a belted line.
A long-standing, traditional form of belt, "page," being belittled.
Many things need to be righted. I admit my lies and accept the questions and punishments I may get from the members of my new kingdom. I just hope that we as a community will grow from my mistakes.
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