|Two Highborn warriors, fresh from kicking the Druj|
in the face on Saturday evening's skirmish.
Thankfully, everything fit into place immediately. We turned up on Thursday evening to camp the extra night for the first time, having only been back in the UK for 24 hours, and promptly had the best Empire weekend yet. For Kasia, it even rivaled some of the best events of Maelstrom, which says quite a lot.
Most people will do a Good/Bad/Ugly review of their weekend, but there was nothing either Bad or Ugly for me, just Good points and bits between the Good points when I was resting or recovering. But here goes all my cool bits anyway (of which there are many), in elaborate bullet point form:
- Being welcomed back so heartily after 3 events was brilliant. Everyone remembered us! To be missed so obviously both IC and OC is a testament to how good the friends are that we've made over the three long weekends of 2013.
- General Ruth had waited a whole year just for me, in order to dedicate her to Ambition. I'd barely been IC for half an hour and already had a lovely, intimate bit of game. Doing it in the Highborn Chapel just as the Speaker was ringing the bell for an Inquisition of Senators made it even better.
- Revealing the fact that General Ruth and Earl Bohemond, both candidates for the Throne, were also both my dedicates of Ambition as they chatted together shortly afterwards was hilarious. Two of the three horses currently in the race for Emperor/Empress having Jacob as a spiritual adviser seems appropriately ambitious!
- Being a unique and special snowflake in terms of the priests within Highguard brings its own game. Everywhere you see Vigilance and Loyalty, but considering there are only 8 Ambition priests in total on the entire field of 2,000 people, and none other in Highguard, really helps. The downside is Jacob can't help in group priestly Exorcism matters except in special circumstances (i.e. leading a ceremony or when all 7 virtues are required) but that's not that much of an issue. Cool stuff always awaits.
- Saturday's battle. Finally I got to use the shield that was finished in time for E4. Finally I got to assault the fort that had been put up for E4. Finally I got to have a real near-death experience and a proper Big Damn Heroes moment. Long story short: After Highguard had cleared the left flank of the fort, we also had to protect access for the battering ram, and then make a hole for entry as well. Valiant assailants rotated in and out to get through the door, until I got to the front and was promptly dropped. 'Take your fallen!' cried the Orcs, giving me an opportunity to not-die. 'Do you feel safe lying there?' asked the refs, making sure I wouldn't get splatted. No-one came to pick me up, so the Orcs dragged me into the fort, to lie in the shade of the walls with some water and let me die in peace. No-one was breaking into the fort and even if they did I wasn't going to be rescued in time. I was dead, Jacob was on his way out, and there was nothing I could do about it. There I was, counting the 4 minutes that I had away, when part of the fort wall collapsed and I rolled over a few times to get back into the shade. Next to me I found Earl Bohemond, of all people. With less than 30 seconds to go, he came over, gave me a potion to drink, and shortly there were around half a dozen of us on our feet inside the fort. Nobody paid us any attention, and when the fort finally was breached we charged, rather gloriously it has to be said, into the rear of the Orcs to link up with the Imperials who had broken in. It was, all in all, amazing. Without the extra minute of bleed time from the Oakheart Shield bonded to me before the battle, and without the Earl, Jacob would be dead. Instead? Glory. Rousing the vanguard to get us past the few defenders and into the woods was also great, plus I never got to see the tragedy of the rearguard in the retreat. Mission frickin' accomplished.
- Actually playing politics. Taking part in the Inquisition of the Senators about the Jotun treaty on Friday, asking a tough Jacob-appropriate question in the election of the Bastion Senators on Saturday and voting based on trust, lending some votes to the Ambition and General Assemblies and even being asked to proxy Cardinal of Ambition for a short time on the Sunday. Having to work out how to deal with the fact that the potential Bastion Senator I trusted least was the one who answered General Tyrus' "Metre of Ground" question the best.
- A second Ambition dedication, this time to a newly-installed Senator Jada. Rather than an impromptu ten second ceremony, this one had candles, incense, an audience, face paint marking and even applause and theological debate at the end, under a shooting star.
- Hearing that Senator Adamah had mentioned Jacob's advice in Senate question on whether he'd thought about taking the Throne or not, and also General Ruth mentioning Jacob as a potential spiritual adviser in her Inquisition for the Throne by the Nine. The Ambition to lead the Empire by guiding the major players is really starting to come off, and I haven't been there for the last 3 events!
- Songs and stories with the Navarr on Saturday night. The woods are a lovely place to be at night when music is playing, and the gathering led by Jamie Wakefield was excellent and very welcoming. Songs like Mariana and Ride On were fabulous, as well as showing the crayon-faced murder monkeys how to dance like a Highborn (which evidently looks like some stern sort of Riverdance thing, based on what I was doing). Even better than that, though, was finally understanding what it means to be a Navarr, all thanks to The Raccoons theme tune 'Run With Us'. Seriously, Youtube it, it's a perfect fit.
- Good fighting all round. Moving fallen players out the way before being trampled on, taking and playing heroic strikes suitably awesomely and, for me, the look of abject horror on the face of someone on Saturday when he hit me on the top of my head with a one-handed axe as hard as he could. He was mortified, and I was fine and just made sure to Shatter his shield a few moments later as payment.
- My group, The Cenotaph, with all their food, fighting and fun, seeing everyone who I've not been hanging around with for a year. Singing rounds and joining in on the choir practice because I thought I had nothing better to do and it turned out there really would have been nothing better to do than that. Armouring up for the Saturday skirmish with Kasia to feel really badass in a smaller group of 30-ish, rather than 200. Combat practice, one hit and you're out, was great fun and really worthwhile, too.
- Kasia enjoying the event more than the other three put together and comparing it to the best Maelstrom ones really made my weekend, as she's been struggling with the setting and finding the right character. A few long good chats over the weekend have really helped her get excited to play a Black Swan in the future.
- Finally defining real, specific, long-term goals for Jacob rather than vague overall ones. Sure, they're lofty, but he's not a Priest of Ambition for nothing.
Missing it already.