It was not long after Ben's
sixteenth birthday party that he and his friends were going into the
hills of Palmer Park just about every chance they could get, armed with
padded boffer swords and wooden duct-taped daggers.
found his calling (beyond the one he still pursues of finding the
midget assassin who killed his good twin), immediately started engaging
in behavior that was most unlike his habitual silence; he sought out
and talked to people of this strange new hobby.
and some threw him into a trash can and backed over it with their
trucks, and still more pretended to hear a distant friend calling their
name down the hall. However, a select few - of similar mental illness to
Ben - found this idea interesting and compelling. And so the group grew.
About this time,
Ben decided that it would be fun to come up with "medieval" names for
the people in the group. Probably this was influenced by the countless
hours Ben had spent poring over his old Dungeons & Dragons books,
though he later learned that the SCA engaged in similar madness.
And so, Ben
became Rillion, and his friend Ben became Pyridan. Brian, Andy, Zack
and John became - respectively - Roland, Treylane, Vagnad and Zodzarikk. These were the names of legend, shouted across the stony hills of
Palmer Park on summer days.
As the group
grew, Rillion thought that it would be a nifty idea for everybody to
not only use "medieval" swords and names, but dress in like fashion as
well. It should be noted at this point, that Rillion had little idea
of true medieval history beyond what his woefully inaccurate high
school history class taught him, and so his ideas - and those of the
group in general - were highly skewed as far as authenticity was
Nope, the garb's still not so great. Pyridan, Cynara, Ceolmhor & Rillion get ready to go. Cynara soon found that black eyes were habit-forming.
Lance and Flynn
joined the sword-fighting group, as did Cynara and Aldric and Farlin. Cynara distinguished herself early on by being not only the first girl
fighter (besides Ben's sister Laura, who was still only a now-and-then
"member"), but also the first knowledgeable seamstress (and to general
knowledge, still the only one) to join. She was therefore set upon at
all sides by requests for garb.
The rule at this
time was that if a fighter was hit three times in any manner, he was
considered to have been slain. This seemed to all, at first, to be
However, as time
progressed, it was found that - due to a lack of proper understanding of
medieval sword-fighting technique - fighters had a tendency to swat each
other in one spot three times in quick succession.
was done, and finally, it was decided that a new system was needed. According to TV and fantasy literature and movies, sword-fights were
supposed to be long and epic!
Rillion in his first armor, weeks before suggesting the first war. Still no smile.
And so an
eight-point system was devised, whereby each warrior was considered to
have eight "hit points" (a number taken from the original red-box
Dungeons & Dragons game) and that each location on the body would be
worth a certain number of hit points. Legs equaled one point, arms
equaled two, the stomach equaled three, and the chest and back equaled
dragged the fights out for a much longer period of time, as fighters
had a tendency to aim for the legs. Therefore, it seems prudent to
those concerned to count stabs as doing "double damage." There was
even a point when a stab to the stomach would give a fighter only ten
seconds to continue fighting before he "died."
This was the
system - strange as it seems - by which the group fought for many a year.
For two years
the group fought and dressed in quasi-medieval garb, and experimented
with all manner of PVC weapon. Swords, daggers, axes, quarterstaves,
bows, crossbows and javelins all found their way into regular use at
one time or another.
going peacefully and quietly until one day, just before his high school
graduation, Rillion was sitting in the computer lab at school with
Pyridan, Aldric and Farlin. And he said, "We should have a war."