Cage Valley History
- 1 The History of the Valley of the Cage (AKA Cage Valley)
The History of the Valley of the Cage (AKA Cage Valley)
The Valley of the Cage has crawled out of obscurity, joining the community of the Pacific Northwest, and rooting itself in the collective consciousness of the Amt-world. But what are the origins of this thriving shire in the Southeast corner of Washington? The facts are known to few, so I decided to write a history chronicling the group's first year. The story begins on a rainy winter night of 2001 in Bellingham, on the campus of Western Washington University.
Malcolm sat down at his computer after another bland meal from the Ridge Dining Hall, catered by the friendly mega-corporation Sodexho Foods USA. He brought up a website about the different University clubs, and immediately dropped his jaw at the first description he laid eyes on. Near the top of the alphabetical list was "Amtgard." The next day Malcolm had created his character, and left the dorm to attend his first meeting.
The WWU group was founded by Ellie Tavik, a member of Shrouding Mist and two year Amtgard veteran. Another core member was Reign, squire to Sir Whitewolf the Hunter. The group became known as the Northern Forest, and usually fielded about six fighters during this time. The cold, wet climate and lack of exposure took its toll on membership and activities. Nevertheless, Malcolm fought and listened to the words of the experienced Amtgarders. He purchased weaponry from the Armory of the Whitewolf, and took his foam sticks home to Walla Walla during the December vacation. His brothers Lyme and Kit took an immediate interest in it, along with Malcolm's good friend Andrewurst Haverstad. In early 2002 Malcolm moved back to Walla Walla, and the weeks became filled with single sword duels at night. The four made garb, read the rulebook, and dreamed of full class battlegames...
The months went by, Andre and Malcolm broadened their knowledge of the game at Thousand Stars III, an annual campout put on by the Barony of Stormhaven, Spokane. Andre, Malcolm, and his brothers Lyme and Kit brought the Whitewolf weapons out to Pioneer park that same April of 2002. A good deal of ditching and non-class games were played, along with occassional class battles. Some people walking through the park saw the foam fighters, and joined in. The word about Amtgard was passed to friends, who were encouraged to come out. Kit drew many members from Walla Walla High School, and by the end of May the park was fielding up to ten players.
A name was chosen, referencing the State Penitentiary that looms over the idyllic agricultural fields that cover the hills of Walla Walla. Dues were paid, rulebooks and liability waivers were handed out. The first Champion’s tourney of Cage Valley was held at the end of May, presided over by founding Sheriff Malcolm. Andrewurst Haverstad became the first Champion of Cage Valley. Kit was made the Prime Minister, and acting Regent. The official contract with the Burning Lands was signed and mailed in early June. By the time a copy of the contract came back four months later in Oct 2002, Cage Valley had already become a permanent member of the Walla Walla community with a consistent player base.
Malcolm's main job as Sheriff was to get people interested in the game, and keep them interested. He knew that the strength of a group was in its populace, so he made an effort to ensure that the people who showed up had a good time. This wasn't too hard because Amtgard is inherently fun, and the idea of hitting people with sticks has a sort of universal appeal. He tried to have enough loaner weapons and garb available for everyone to participate. Kit kept people coming from the high school, the others tried to goad their friends into trying Amtgard.
Malcolm had two main goals for his first term as Sheriff. He wanted ten people on the field playing battlegames, and for them to be familiar with the rulebook. He was also concerned with setting up an Amtgard government infrastructure and establishing good habits, but that was also very easy thanks to his friends and brothers. They made sure to always have someone at the park with loaner weapons, sign in sheets, and waivers. Malcolm demanded high standards for weapon safety, required covers, made everyone learn the rulebook, started a treasury, and held Althings. The twice a week schedule became routine, and the populace began making garb and equipment for themselves. Cage Valley had two assets in those days, enthusiasm and inexperience.
13 members of Cage Valley traveled to Wenatchee for Pac War IV, everybody's first inter-kingdom event. It was good for everyone to see what Amtgard had to offer outside of Walla Walla, and meet some of the famous people. Whitewolf did a good deal of business with Cage Valley, and our presence became better known in the Pacific Northwest. Out of the 15-25 fighters that participated in the newbie tournament, Cage Valley had a tremendous showing. Malcolm took first place, Andre took 3rd, Vanious 4th, Kit 5th, Otis 6th. While not a particularly impressive tourney to sweep, there were generous prizes awarded. This event gave the citizens of Cage Valley a chance to observe the different kingdoms that might be interested in sponsoring them in the future.
That sponsorship came many months later, during the second term of Malcolm. Andre remained champion, Kit was Prime Minster, and Vanious was chosen as Regent. Malcolm, Vanious, Anusolace, Mordagren, and Fuschia traveled to the 25th coronation of the Mystic Seas, a campout held at Battleground State Park, Washington in late February 2003. Sir Lukor was awarded the title of Grand Duke upon stepping down, and King Lucifer approved the petition that added Cage Valley of the Empire of the Mystic Seas.
As the seasons turned to spring again, Malcolm's second term as Sheriff drew to a close. Cage Valley had survived its first winter, and continued to hold regular meetings twice a week. Battlegames with under ten participants had become rare, with attendance records peaking at 20-25. The populace had become comfortable with the rules. The weapons were less crude and more numerous, the garb of higher quality. Whitewolf continued to provide equipment, and infrequent trips were made between Cage Valley and Stormhaven.
Malcolm regarded the progress with triumph and satisfaction, but also with occasional pangs of regret at the thought of placing the future of Cage Valley in the hands of another. His term limit reached, Malcolm handed over his office in April 2003. The people rallied behind the second Sheriff of Cage Valley, Andrewurst Haverstad. Malcolm served as Champion during Andre's first term and then moved away from Walla Walla in September, leaving his land to friends and family.
Malcolm having left the shire in the hands of Andre the keeping of the records fell upon Hannoske. With little to go by and Malcolm's calming influence gone, Andre began a reign of terror, upheld with an iron fist. The rules were law, and you would have fun or else. Awards were slim, and the people began to be uneasy under his dominion. With the advent of a few more people into the shire, and a loss of some of the more dependable characters, the shire started a transformation.
Already the weaponry had gone from the old fashioned PVC and Duct tape, to the new ultralight funnoodle technology. Weapon's were reaching an all time lightness, and safety. New smiths were found and Lalailom started to provide the masses with garb. The people were starting to catch up with the 'tyrants' running the shire.
One day it was decided. The time had come for a change. Erastin stepped forth, with new ideas and visions of the future, and persuaded the masses to follow him. He promised a rule of friendship and longevity. Unfortunately, no one can truly be unbiased, and be a friend. There was contention amongst the people over the treatment of those in power. Erastin, Azeran, Slapshot, and Stri(y)fe, were close, and it seemed to the people, that only those that were united with them were getting anywhere.
So the political inquisition started. Any minor mistake was drug out before the populace, and the pressure was rough. Awards were stripped, egos bruised. After only one term, the group shunned the power they had sought, and Kit quickly stepped up to fill the void. Not long after the strife of these drastic changes, another catastrophe hit.
Mundania would charge its toll upon the shire. Long time seamstress, and arts leader of the shire, Lalailom, was to move away to College, as well as a few of the more notable people in the shire. At this time the shire had lost almost all first and second generation players (basically all the 'veterans'). With a shire composed of few people over the age of 18, things started to decline. Numbers decreased, recruitment all but stopped. Some of the younger kids started getting jobs, and Vanious 'lost' the treasury. How could the people have faith in those it had looked up to for so many years?
The fates conspired against the shire, for over the course of two years the shire started dieing. Not even the monthly visits from the Blackstone Sages members could support the shire. WOW had struck. After Aug 2005, Kit had also moved to the Blackstone Sages. The populous was decimated. All that was left were about 10 people, fighting WOW, school, and work. Those few people that were left remembered the good old days. A new leader had stepped up, Kai. He was skilled with the sword, and quickly grew able to challenge any with his blade, but his way was only with the sword. Morale declined, rules were set reducing magic use to try to balance the game, due to small numbers. The magic users became disheartened with their inability to be effective. The fighters, ruled the game, progression stopped. The flurbs stopped coming, the rest ran out of people to fight. The cause was lost... Gilfer was left remaining with the odd man to support him. The shire has died... whoa is the day, but the future shows promise, for WOW will not always rule the hearts of the masses. One day, Amtgard will return, and the people will remember the GLORY! Until that day, we will remember the shire of Cage Valley.
Empty (Oct'06 to present)
First Generation members:
Second Generation members:
Third Generation members:
Fourth Generation members:
My apologies to those who have been forgotten, feel free to add yourself to the appropriate section.