|Wander into another world
The warriors of the Shire of Dark Hold in the Kingdom of the Burning Lands made the journey to the great Gathering of the Clans to meet with and battle the people of other kingdoms and clans from around the country.
For four days the clans practiced their talents with energy and dedication. Warriors clashed swords, pole arms and battle axes; wizards cast spells and practiced charms; scouts and archers vied with their bows to see who could shoot the farthest; and the barbarians practiced their yells as healers looked on in consternation.
Children were send on a special quest to find favors from Amazons, feathers in hats and fairies wings amongst other things. They found everything they looked for.
On the fourth day, the great war took place with the kingdoms of Dragonspine and Burning Lands facing off and others from around the country taking sides. With mighty insults and great hollerings the two sides approached each other, arrows began flying and the war had begun.
Great warriors bearing names like Deathstalker, Atog, Raphael, Forrest, Garik and Lord Death, lived and died in the war, then lived again to die some more. When all is said and done, the war is over and the sun set the drumming begins. Clannish groups settle around fires spotting the mountain sides, friends mutter to one another, dancers flash in the firelight, tales are told, ribald songs can be heard and everyone settles back for an evening of camaraderie lasting well into the night.
Then there are those who would rather continue to fight and can be heard in the distance, still at the sparring field under the flood lights.
The great war took place last weekend in the mountains and fields around what is mundanely known as Bonito Lake.
The Shire of Dark Hold exists in the same mundane space as the city of Alamogordo.
The people, the warriors, scouts, wizards all have mundane names and places in todays world.
Amtgard is the name of the structured system these people follow to escape their every-day lives. The groups have strict guidelines as to how to behave, how to arrange their groups, and how to create their weapons.
The end result is a relatively safe way to visit a world mixed with fantasy and history and become someone or something from a simpler time.
Amtgard weapons are padded and protected, the rules are structured so that few will get hurt and if they do its probably because someone broke the rules.
The XXII Gathering of the Clans at Bonito Lake is but one of many group events Amtgard hold throughout the year.
This article originally appeared in the Alamogordo Daily News on August 5th, 2004. It is reprinted here without permission. We provide a link to the original before presenting the article and derive no revenue from any source by posting it here.
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