- 1 Baron Sir Michael Winternight called by most the Wanderer, of Slaughter Creek.
- 2 High Points
- 2.1 My introduction to all of this
- 2.2 Helped Form Tori-Mar
- 2.3 Jingles
- 2.4 Dirk and the Wanderer
- 2.5 The Brigands
- 2.6 Helped Form Avalon's Gate
- 2.7 HMS War Maiden
- 2.8 Characters Over the Years
- 3 Some Fairly Well Known Facts
- 4 Affiliated Groups
- 5 Belted Family
- 5.1 Being a Page
- 5.2 Being a Squire
- 5.3 Being a Knight
- 5.4 Squires
- 6 Notable Accomplishments
Baron Sir Michael Winternight called by most the Wanderer, of Slaughter Creek.
"Not all those who wander are lost." --J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
''"Kings last six months, knights are forever..." --Wanderer
I learned the ins and outs of many things, and not the least of them was that "working" at a real job equalled money. It is sad, but yes, true. I won't bore you with the details, but to say that Rufus was my mentor would be exactly what he was.
I have been blessed to meet many important individuals people that have done much for the game over the years. I don't believe I am one of those people, although from the remarks above - others do.
I am very goal oriented, which is both a blessing and a curse. In 1993, Rufus was knighted and in turn was expected to hand down a red belt to me. I should have known I was in trouble when he came to me smiling. He wanted a reason list from me as to why I should be his squire.
So I handed over a 200 item list and basically told him he could choke on it. Many years later, he would present this list to the Circle of Knights as proof that I was ready for my belt. The things we learn later in life.
After many years, a few death defying acts <one of which involving a tornado at an event> I had the honor of being knighted by my peers and the Circle of Knights of the Celestial Kingdom. I still remember the cheers and the standing ovation I got from the 300+ in attendance at Spring War III. King Zephram and his champion, my own knight, had this planned out. I was knighted by Zephram's own priceless World War II katana that I had mentioned in passing when I had helped him move that last year.
This is where being goal oriented was a problem. Once I was knighted, I had no where to go. I didn't have much interest in politics or Empire-building. As the King noted, my security clearance went up, I was made aware of all kinds of ill dealings in the Kingdom at large. So I ran. It wasn't fun anymore and it made sense at the time.
I have returned over time and the years. Playing in Tori-mar, even returning and forming Avalon's Gate in order to help give my friends with families somewhere they could go to due to the more Stickjock-friendly modes of Tori-Mar.
Being one of Rufus' Red Belts, even the first, there is a certain responsibility to the game that has been ingrained into all of us. So I will support the Kingdom and Slaughter Creek, my new home, to the best that I can. Hopefully, My experience that I have gained over the years both in and out of the game will help future generations and my own squires.
- Sir Tawnee Darkfalcon
- Sir SkyWise
- Squire Wort
- Sir Therressa Willowtree
- Dame Mistress Wynd
- Dame Aylia Greenfire
- Dame Spice , inactive
- Squire Dagney , inactive
- Squire Misty Dawn , inactive
- Squire Larkin , inactive
- Squire Soliaqui aka Slinky, inactive
- Squire Clover
- Squire Luna Starbright
- Squire Blackthorn Caelich
- Page Tribble , inactive
- Squire Athalmea , inactive
- Squire Old Woman of the Woods
- Dame Mistress Wynd
- Sir Ke-She
- Sir Askar (Deceased)
- Squire Guinniver (Deceased)
- Sir Killashandra (Inactive)
- Squire Sweet Leaf (Inactive)
- Sir Snake Bite Grimwulff
- Dame Rose wyngarde
- Squire Lady LeLundra Micky Shadow Night
- Squire Lady Old Woman o' the Woods
- Squire Ahsa
- Man-at-arms Burg
- Sir Ke-She
- Sir Rufus Grimwulff (Flame)(Serpent)(Crown)
- Sir Denah hap Tugruk (Flame)(Serpent)
- Sir Reynen D'Van (Serpent)
- Sir Mara Ibormieth (Serpent)
- Sir Cedric Einarsson (Flame)(Serpent) Transferred to and knighted in HFS
- Dame Kittah Tannon (Flame) (with several other Knights)
- Squire Lunara Stormcloak (2006)
- Squire Morrigan McCru (with Sir O'Banion)(inactive)
- Squire Amulette (inactive)
- Squire Nyx Tanner (with Sir O'Banion)
- Squire Thara (2014)
- Squire Triztal (2014)
- Squire Isaura Unloved (2015)
- Squire Jawa (2017) (with Sir Luke Wyngarde)
- Page Cap'n Huggs(inactive)
- Page Arilynne(inactive)
- Sir Denah hap Tugruk (Flame)(Serpent)
- Dame Alara (MIEKA)
- Sir Wanderer
- Squire Iridian (Deceased)
- Squire Caith (Inactive)
- Squire Shiva (Inactive)
- Squire Reaper Forsaken (Inactive)
- Squire Raven Dracul
- Squire ShadowWeaver
- Squire Dragonmouse
- Lord Sir Nightmare Silvertongue Stormblade Dragonspawn (Flame 2014)
My introduction to all of this
Enter Barad Duin
I went to a small sci-fi fantasy convention down in San Marcos, Texas called, Sanmarcon <apparently they weren't too imaginative on the name.>. They were having a demo for the SCA and I wanted to see what that was all about.
Apparently, the SCA had either cancelled or the High Fantasy Society was misunderstood - either way it was Barad-Duin who put on the show. I watch them storm all over the cobblestones like forty or fifty strong. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen.
I walked over to a pretty girl in a dress, yeah - i know, I'm predictable. Her name was Robin, her persona name escapes me, but she was nice to the high schooler that I was at the time and gave me the rundown. I asked to borrow a weapon and have a sparring match. She called over a handsome college age guy and asked him to have a go with me.
If I had known then what I know now, I'd have sworn she was going to enjoy watching me get my ass kicked. The guy she called over was Arthon of the Golden City, mundanely known as Harry Plumbley. I set up and tried to mimic his footwork and tapped his sword like I had seen in the movies.
Harry made a face and quickly dispatched me. Now, to be fair, I've seen Harry dispatch a battalion of people and not break a stride - still, I do enjoy fighting him to this day. Maybe one day he will slow down and get too old, hopefully before I do!
Freaks and Geeks
To put you in my frame of mind at the time, I was raised pretty sheltered. The big town of Buda, Texas is where I was at the time, all one thousand of a population. So, when I ended up at the south end of Pease Park, this was a first. I saw a battle game going on and knew that there was no way I was giving these guys my real name till I knew some of them better. Cute girls or Not!
I remember people that were playing that haven't done this in a decade. Sinjin, Kelvis, Koronada, Exile, Terwin, Tiberius, DOA, Terris Ember (whew, had a crush on her for years too - god, I loved Lisa).
I really didn't have a character or persona name in mind, I just played and enjoyed myself. Kind of the point, wasn't it?
Helped Form Tori-Mar
I really hate this name, and it has been tied to me for longer than most of the Amtgardians I have met recently have been living. But, it seems to have become it's own entity and I feel it needs to be explained.
In the first year of my playing, 1990-ish, I was a player in a Dungeons and Dragons game at a player named Booga's home. Booga, portrayed by Keith Land - an original founder of Tori-Mar as well, was known for his charity and in general, allowing everyone and God to crash on his floor. As you can imagine, this resulted in some huge parties and games. In a truly epic gaming group twenty-five people strong, we played under the GM, Onyx Grimwulf. I played a paladin, ironically a class I wouldn't touch with a ten foot cattle prod today, and wore the heaviest armor you could get: Plate Mail and Chain. I remember trying to sneak up a long winding staircase and at the very top step, Onyx, portrayed by John McNeil, asked for a simple dexterity check. Of which I rolled a "1". Never has a simple roll affected an entire lifetime. I fell down the stairs all the way to the bottom, as John put it, Jingling and Jangling all the way. The girl I was sitting next to, one I fancied at the time, turned and said, "Way to go, Jingles". Every one laughed and we moved on with the game.
Amtgard's integration and inability to let a simple joke die
We had played that DND game on Saturday night, so the next morning, we went around the block to Pease Park and did our thing. Keith was held highly in those days, and decided to call me Jingles on the field. Before you knew it, everyone was. I'd be introduced for the next decade to new incoming members as "jingles" over and over again. Before you knew it, EVERYONE thought it was a name that I had created for myself. Oh, I tried to kill it. I growled, I corrected, I threatened, I pretty much tried everything. So for years, and I do mean Years, it's followed me through Amtgard. Ironically, it became something I could tweak to an advantage. I couldn't get rid of it, I sure as hell was going to use it!
Jingles vs. Wanderer
Since I signed in and was known throughout the kingdom as Wanderer, people didn't realize that I wasn't properly known as Jingles. So, when I am at a campfire - I'd hear about "F*cking Jingles this and that" because that was Wanderer over there. Pretty soon, Jingles had his own history and was known to be quite the hellion. Wanderer, on the other hand, was a respected, and eccentric, member of the kingdom. Over the years, anything bad was associated with Jingles while anything good was associated with Wanderer. After generations of members, who just repeat the same battle stories over and over again (while adding their own tweaks to them) tell these stories - it's surprising how things change over time. So yes, Jingles was nothing more than a nickname - and like anything that won't ever go away, it started with a girl.
Dirk and the Wanderer
At some point in your life, you encounter someone that you can raise hell with. No matter what gets in your way, if you are with this partner - then that barrier vanishes into a cloud of debris. To be honest, Dirk isn't remembered by other's that knew him with much fondness. If any, depending who you talk to. He was known to powerslide across the field, bowl people over and in general - be himself. He was as good a friend as an outsider could have though, we raided baronies up and down the kingdom. If it wasn't bolted down, we stole it. If she wasn't tied down? Well, you get the idea. We raged like that for about five years, him with his huge vinyl covered axe, known as Destiny, and me with whatever variety of katana I could get my hands on. We were roommates for a while too, as Amtgard seems to always bring people of our unique calibre together. I do look back on those days with fondness, but don't really try to find that kind of connection with other's these days. I think like everyone, I go through phases. I seem to have outgrown that one.
The Brigands were a group of the more experienced fighters in Tori-Mar, and my good friends. I think it was sometime around 1995, I wasn't a knight yet - that much I remember. You have to realize, that when Rufus was king, and I was squire to the king, I could get away with anything. and Gods, did I push that limit. Zephram MacLaren and his wife, Melinda <known as Curtis and Donna Wade> had joined Tori-Mar at the height of our population growth. We were fielding 70+. How could you NOT want to be out there? When Melinda won her run for Duchess, we decided to really role play it up. So we had Melinda, substituted for an evil witch <Donna loved playing the villainess> and formed a group of Merry Men to fight against her. For the duration of the reign, we ran a series of battles that really couldn't be considered organized or even fair given the odds against the group. But we had fun and that is what mattered.
Members (updated as I remember them)
- Dirk Thunderblade
- Lady Roo Grimwulff
- Zephram MacLaren (under an assumed name that escapes me now)
- Jade Grimwulff
- Fnord Farthing
- Fxior Grimwulff
Helped Form Avalon's Gate
HMS War Maiden
The HMS War Maiden was assigned to Wanderer by the Celestial Kingdom Royal Navy to assist in his duties as the Emmissary from the Queen for Esuom's Third Reign as Monarch.
Characters Over the Years
Connor was always just "Wanderer" for most of my Amtgard life. I created the name so I wouldn't have to go by Sir Wanderer. I never did go in for those Arch Duke Viscount Baron Baronet Sir <insert noun proper name here> kind of deals. Go with the highest peerage title and plant "Sir" right after that. Connor was my Highlander character, yeah - an Immortal. I watched Highlander (the original movie) and most of the series after a day at the field, it was bound to happen.
Knight Eldritch was an assassin quest character that accidentally got trapped in Amtgard from the parallel quest world he was from. He was my first experiment with an evil character. I hope to build on that a bit.
Michael is a truly cursed man.
His family, the Baronial rulers of the land of Everfrost, have lived with a literal shadow over them. His father, Damien, died under mysterious circumstances and the Shadow has moved to Michael.
The Shadow is what grants Michael his Anti-Paladin abilities.
His situation is very similar to that of "Spawn" from the Todd MacFarlane comics.
Due to Everfrost's long nights and barely registered days, Michael has become allergic to sunlight. Only his immunity to flame keeps him from dying from over-exposure.
The Anti-Paladin innate ability steal life is treated as if the body is turned to ash. Think horror movie effects. :) Touch of Death is the same, but no power is passed over to him. This is the Shadow's idea of a practical joke on Michael. Winternight is looking for a way to banish The Shadow from his family and himself, before the prophecy comes true that The Shadow will finally take him over...
- Lord of the Arbors
- Baronet of the Glen
- Baron of Everfrost
Some Fairly Well Known Facts
- Wanderer is infamous for posing out while fighting.
- Wanderer was a flurb before flurbs were "cool".
- Wanderer is the godfather to Rufus' three real life children: Sally, Kaitlyn, and Mandy.
Rufus' belt goes back to Sir M'Deth
- Squire Caith (Inactive)
- Squire Reaper Forsaken (Inactive)
- Squire Shiva (Inactive)
- Squire Iiridian Despawna (Deceased)
- Squeer Lady Roo Grimwulff (Inactive)
Being a Page
As you read above, I was a page to Squire Rufus. This was a long two year process helping where I could and basically learning the ins and outs. I never wore the yellow belt of a page - just never bothered, I suppose. I didn't mind it too much at the time, and knew that Rufus would be knighted soon enough. I met our knight, Sir M'Deth of the Burning Lands, at Clan IX. I really liked M'Deth, portrayed by a man named Brian, though he really was a hand's off knight. Just went out and did his thing. It seemed effective. Being a page means that you get handed the dirty jobs by your squire. You do it and take it on faith that they are going to watch out for you. This puts a lot of pressure on the squire of course to actually do what he says he is going to for both the knight and the pages below him. This is probably why I don't bother having pages under me as a knight, if I like them enough, I'll just give them a red belt.
Being a Squire
If you thought being a page was tough, try being a squire. Three years of that! I had accomplished up to four roses by the time I got my red belt. Those last six are a bitch. Then you have to top it off with a cherry for the masterhood!
To say I did some insane things as a squire would not be stretching the truth. I recall one event at Burnet County Fairgrounds that we were under a tornado warning. This means that the twister on the ground in your local area. It was night and other campers were trying to pack up their belongings into their cars and hope that no one got sucked up and vanished to parts unknown.
Rufus stripped off his furs and went with pants and tunic. I didn't even get a look of request from the old fuzzy one. He knew that I was going out with him, no questions asked. People needed help, we were gone.
I remember the lightning flashing, rain was pouring down in literal sheets. We were both drenched within seconds in seemed. I recall half lit faces of people that were hopelessly bogged down either with frightened children or a tent that threatened to carry them off. We helped where we could. It didn't matter if I liked them or not. To be honest, when you are in that kind of mode, it doesn't come up. They need help. You help them. That's how you have to think when you are out in that kind of mess. If you didn't want to help, you sure as hell wouldn't be out in it to begin with. You'd be inside flirting with some hottie in a corsetted gown.
God knows, I wished I was doing just that when I was in that rain.
I made smart ass comments all the way through it, Rufus replied with whatever came to mind. He knew that what we were doing was crazy, but that's just the kind of guy he was. He wouldn't have thought any less if I hadn't have followed him into the torrential downpour, but my place was at his side - a place I haven't left really to this day.
I remember coming back into the barn, my ponytail bedraggled. We were soaked and looking like drowned rats. Smiling like madmen though. We were doing our jobs, and people could only stare at us as if we were insane.
But, that was the point. It takes a special person to really kick it when the chips are down. You don't do the easy clean up and then make noises about where is your rose from the King. You get in and mix it up, you make sure that others are having fun, that they are fed, that the event happens, and if there is something you see that needs doing - then you do it. That's where getting the Flame belt makes it worth it.
Not everyone is going to see everything you do. To be honest, it will go unnoticed by the King until someone walks up to him and tells him. But, you have to have faith that what you are doing is worth it in the Big Picture; someone will take notice and make sure that the Monarch knows. You would be surprised how often that one random person that you didn't even know was watching will follow suit and help out next time.
Being a Knight
I commented on this a little bit, but I want to cover it in depth. I hunted the idea of "Becoming a Knight" without really thinking it through or even considering what I would do once I got that goal. I figured it would attend to itself. It didn't. So I was forced to reconsider and really think about what I wanted to do, be like, and in general where I wanted to go from there. So that brings us to where I was both forced to make decisions and to really figure out where my place was in the game.
My own individual style has evolved over time, and exponentially grown within this last year. I care about this kingdom a great deal, and will guard it against those that threaten it. That sounds paranoid when written out, if I'm honest. Mostly I try to keep people from threatening our liablity as a non-profit and helping those who can't help themselves. If there is a theft, person in trouble from partying too hard, or "situation" - I am there or on my way. This isn't because I enjoy interfering in everyone's fun or being the party pooper, in fact - I hate it. I was taught by my own knight, that things will not get done by themselves. I use him as a role model, go figure considering that even as a knight - I have stood by his side whenever I could. With this latest return, I decided I wanted it to be different. According to my own squires: I would previously come back to the game, cause some explosions, and then leave. So when I have yet to set off a large explosion (ok, there have been some small ones. Give me a break.) and have been building instead of destroying - I am sure there has been a fair amount of confusion. My present style is to work on being more of a mentor. It might look like a pile of squires up there, but I really have the lowest number on average squires of any of the Grimwulff knights. (To be fair, there are a lot of us.)
Individualism, Fifteen Years Later
I have been a knight since 1995 and in 2010 at Spring War XVIII - I'm having a keg party. I got drunk that night at Spring War III, and see no reason not to continue the tradition. During the past year, I have decided to really strike off on my own. After discussing it at length with Rufus, who supported my decision, I started working on a way to set us apart. After coming up with a simple heraldry, I sat down with my guys (staff, squires, crew, posse, whatever...) and have started hammering out how we would want to do this. A bunch of ideas have actually come to fruition, hopefully more will prove interesting.
Grimwulff versus Winternight
Life is a journey. I learned a ton of stuff from being paged and then squired to Rufus. As I have continued my journey, I find that it is time for me to strike out more on my own and experience my path with other people. I have really begun developing a management style when it comes to mentoring my squires and other belts. It is not always a compatible system with other knights. I am trying to find ways to communicate and interact to bridge those differences so that we can all enjoy the game and journey further down the path together.
Nothing could replace my time with Rufus and I don't think anything should. One of the key factors of a great knight is mentoring others to the limits of their potential and I feel that Rufus has definitely worked hard to help me find the limits of my own. I continue to consider him a close friend and mentor as I go forth and build on what he has taught me and what I have learned.
The Third Generation Beltline
I have had squires in the past who have hopefully moved on to bigger and better things: college, the military, etc. They were great people and I enjoyed working with them and I learned a lot from the experience. My return to the game in April 2008 heralded the need for a new beltline.
After deciding that I was going to stick around instead of darting in and out of the game, I started looking around at the people playing the game now. I started attending Slaughter Creek and ran into The Raven. We engaged in a lengthy (three month) negotiation and decided that he would take the red belt from me.
Soon after, my attention was captured by a new player to the game, ShadowWeaver. I saw her saving someone from a great deal of stupidity and really taking control of the situation. We had a quick and dirty negotiation and decided a red belt was in order.
Raven, as Wanderer's senior squire, started talking about this other player, DragonMouse. After extensive observation and discussion with DragonMouse's knight Yonnah, brought her onboard as a joint belt.
I thought I was done recruiting for a while and I was approached by Zemya Ukus. Our initial conversation did include the preemptatory question, "If I am your squire, do I have to be evil?" With a request like that, he was hard to ignore.
Most recently, my attention was drawn to the North Kingdom again and I belted Hobbes. I really felt that I wanted to have a squire who was active and talented on the field of battle and not just behind the scenes. I also thought we needed a token good guy. Hobbes is honorable almost to a fault and genuinely cares about the game and his fellow players.
There are other belts in my line (men-at-arms and pages) that are under my squires. I try to get to know all of them as best as I can. No matter how well I do at meeting all of them, there always seems to be new ones. My squires seem to be as prolific as I am.
Closing the Celestial Kingdom Office
From my point of view, my moving to the Wetlands was something that I didn't have a lot of choice about. A job was offered and I'll be honest, it was better than the one I had at the time. The belt line was fresh from a marathon session of logistics and essentially helping run the kingdom during Esoum's third reign. We were awarded an Order of the Flame, and I was aching for a vacation.
Upon my leaving the kingdom, literally every one of my squires departed for their own destinies. This writing brings us up to date in November 2011, so it's been a few years. I hope I have gained a few experience point worth of wisodm, because I don't intend to go through that again.
Did their leaving hurt my feelings? Yes. Do I understand now that I have had a chance to think long and hard about it? Yeah, I'd say I've had a chance to look back and shrug. Would I take any of them back? Family is family. Who else can piss you off so deeply that you want to do bodily harm to them? So yeah, that would end up involving a mature discussion and a few beers.
Will there be a fourth generation?
Honestly, I am not sure yet. It's hard to look at newbies and not think, I could help here or there. Would I use the lessons I learned from Belt Line 3.0? Yes. I've already had a few jokes from newbies that want to sign up, and I think that I am not ready to go back in there again. Not without a hard hat, flashlight, and a map.
Only time will tell...
None at Present.
Shiva is presently at college in Colorado and out of contact. She is currently inactive. Caith is currently inactive due to finishing college and attending seminary. Reaper Forsaken has been sent for an additional tour in Iraq in the U.S. Army Infantry. Due to the extended duration, he is considered inactive as well. Iiridian Despawna passed away in May of 2007 in an auto accident. Raven Dracul, Shadowweaver, Dragonmouse left to join Esuom's belt line after the move to the Wetlands. Zmaya Ukus left to join KeShe's belt line after the move to the Wetlands. Hobbes retired to attend church functions without the distraction of Amtgard.
Lady Roo Grimwulff is currently wearing a pink belt under this belt line and referred to as a "Squeer". He is currently inactive.
- Knight of the Flame in 1995, by King Zephram MacLaren
- Baron in 1994 for reigning as Duke of Tori Mar
- Baronet in 1992 for reigning as Baron of Tori Mar
- Lord for service to the kingdom, by King Pebyr Ap Cucorin
- Eleventh Order of the Rose for service to the kingdom, by HRM Queen Esuom III
- Duke of Tori-Mar 1994
- Baron of Tori-Mar 1992
- Prime Minister of Tori-Mar 1991
- Emissary from the Crown, Celestial Kingdom, 2008-2009, for Queen Esuom III.