We are still in Boston this week and at another iconic university. Today we walk the literal halls of science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT. If you think of Harvard as a philosopher’s retreat, MIT is a modern hodgepodge of sleek turn of the century buildings and relaxing green spaces.
Now that the school year has begun we are using smaller, easily hidden cameras to draw less attention to ourselves while on campus.
Cut to gymnasium.
The room is full of young men and women wearing protective fencing gear. Everyone is partnered up and lightly sparring with a variety of weaponry. This is the Historical European Martial Arts Club, or HEMA for short.
Cut to a shot of two people sparring with long swords.
The two are evenly matched and very skilled. Neither seems to be able to land a hit. At the buzzer everyone stops. These two bow and sheathe their blades before removing their helmets. One is a pale skinned blonde and the other has black hair with skin the colour of cocoa.
Cut to the dorm room.
The girls are out of their armour but haven’t changed out of their athletic wear. Their black skin tight crop tops and yoga pants don’t leave much to the imagination, not that we’re complaining.
“Hello, I’m Ashley.” the blonde says.
“And I’m Nicole.” the black girl says.
Nice to meet you. That was an impressive display in the gym.
Both girls smile.
“Thanks.” Ashley says. “We’ve both been training for years.”
And this love of swordplay is what brought you together?
“No.” Nicole says. “We actually met in a LARP group.”
A what group?
“Live Action Role Play. LARP.” Nicole explains. “We were in the same group when we were at the MIT LARPers Frosh event in freshman year.”
“And we’ve slayed man Orcs and looted many dungeons since then.” Ashley says with a smile.
Nicole smiles as well. “We’re always looking for ways to have a more authentic experience.”
Hence the sword training.
Nicole nods. “We also make our own armor.”
She gets a leather armor set from her closet. It looks like something you’d see on a movie set. It has a large leather chestpiece and belt, but the white long sleeve shirt and black pants are made of fabric.
“We’re always heroes in the quests.” Ashley says. “And the one thing heroes never do is lose.”
Why is that?
“Girls are a minority in LARPing. Girls who take it as seriously as we do are even rarer.”
“Guys are always the knights and girls are always the princesses in need of rescue.” Nicole says, rolling her eyes.
“Or in this case the guys let the girls win because they are girls.” Ashley says. “We’re getting tired of that. We wrote our own quest scenario this time and we drew on many sources to make it as authentic as possible.”
“Or as authentic as we can be with Orcs.” Nicole adds.
And what would this quest-gone-wrong entail?
“The most common explanation men give for not having women warriors along on a battle is when they are captured they are often raped. Well, when Orcs capture women they will do all the physical stuff to break them, but they consider themselves too above the task of sexual torture. They leave that to their war dogs.” Nicole explains. “Which is why we need your help.”
Authenticity is the name of the game on this how. We’re happy to help you attain it in your roleplaying.
Cut to signature shot.
“I’m Ashley Greene. I’m 18, an Anthropology major and I want to fuck a dog.”
“I’m Nicole Williams. I’m 18, I’m an Economics major, and I want to fuck a dog.”
Cut to the park the next day
When we arrive the LARP club is still assembling in the parking lot. Members to the washrooms with large bags and come out in full Orcish or Elvish regalia. The club is surprisingly large. When everyone has arrive there are over twenty Orcs and about fifteen Elves.
Cut to a shot of a middle-aged Orc.
This is Everett. He has gone full Orc with face paint, a set of protruding fangs, and a full set of battle gear.
Cut to close up of Everett
“I am Grok Axewolf the Houndmaster. These are my ferocious war dogs Brutus and Hunter.”
He indicates the Mastiff at his left and the Rottweiler at his right.
Getting right into the role, eh Everett?
Aye. I’m looking forward to splitting some Elf skulls with my axe, and my hounds will chase down any cowardly Elf and tear them to pieces.”
We don’t think Orcs say ‘aye’, but we leave him to mingle with his horde.
Cut to a shot of Ashley and Nicole.
The girls wave at us from where they are leaning against a silver car and chatting.
Nicole is wearing he armour she showed us yesterday. Underneath her leather chest armour she is wearing a loose white long sleeve shirt that extends past her waist. The bustier-like chestpiece fits snugly on her body. Her leg armour has several pieces. Over her spandex shorts she wears leather ‘hot pants’. Her legs are wrapped in leather thigh plate and greaves. Her ensemble is finished off with leather bracers, leather pauldrons on her shoulders, and leather calf-high boots. Slung on her back is a wooden longbow and at her hip is a quiver of arrows on her right, just behind a long dagger. Its pair is on her left hip.
Ashley is wearing a similarly elaborate armour set. Her chestpiece is a leather corset that pushes up her breasts and accentuates her cleavage. She pairs the chestpiece with a leather skirt that is made of leather covered platemail. Whether it is actually of metal plate, we are unsure of. Completing her outfit are knee-high leather boots, leather bracers, and leather pauldrons. She is considerably more armed than Nicole. On her weapon belt are a longsword, and a dagger just like Nicole’s. She has additional daggers on her body. One in a sheathe on her right boot, and one kept in the small of her back in easy reach. She has two more slim short swords on her back that look like the Elven blades Legolas wielded in the Lord of the Rings movie
To complete their look they are both wearing prosthetic pointy ears.
Nicole, Ashley, those are amazing costumes.
“Thank you.” Nicole replies. “But when the roleplaying begins can you refer to us by out character names?”
Of course. Not a problem. Can we get another shot of the two of you?
Cut to signature shot.
Ashley pulls out her daggers and strikes a pose. “I am the Elf warrior Lieren, bane of the Orcs, and Knight of Galadhon.”
Nicole unslings her bow and strikes a post. “I am the Elf Ranger Soliana. I am a member of the Sunspire Regiment.”
Cut to wide view of the entire LARP group.
Everyone is gathered together. One representative of each group is out in front and addressing everyone else.
“Hello. I’m Urzog, the Commander of the Kezgan Orcs.”
“And I an Theodluin, Commander of the Sancaphis Elves.”
“Today we will be running a scenario one of our members have written. I’ll give the floor to them to elaborate.”
Urzog and Theodluin step back to allow Ashley and Nicole, or rather, Lieren and Soliana address the group.
“Thank you all for coming. I know this is a much smaller group than usual but we felt everyone here would be interested in participating in today’s scenario, and you didn’t disappoint! Everyone we sent the scenario to is here today.”
The camera pans over the crowd. I can’t contain my surprise and feel like I am seeing these people for their true selves.
“We have a special guest today.” Nicole says and motions for Everett to come up.
“This is Everett, or Grok Axewolf. He will be a very important part of today’s scenario.”
Murmurs and chuckles are heard throughout the crowd. Many are smiling.
“Out other guests are the camera crew.”
She points to us.
Several members of the crowd give us a polite hello, but I get the feeling our attire is drawing a bit of criticism.
“The commanders of each group has the full scenario. We’ve gone through the entire thing to ensure everyone will enjoy it. Let’s get to the base camps and have some fun!”
The crowd claps politely. A few people shout phrases in Orcish and are met with shots in Elvish.
Ashley, Nicole, and a couple other Elves approach us.
“I was wondering if you guys would mind getting into the roleplay?”
Not at all, but I think our knowledge of Elvish is fairly sparse.
“No problem.” Nicole says. “You could be human scribes.”
The crew seems open to the idea. We all put on the costumes offered, which are mostly odds and ends. We look like a group of monks who depend on the castoffs of the villagers.
We set off to the Elven camp with Theodluin in the lead. Once there he lays out the campaign.
“The Orcs have a warlock with them. This particular warlock is wanted for war crimes during the Hodira War. Our mission is to capture this warlock alive and bring him back to our capital to answer for his crimes.”
“What kind of resistance will we be met with?” someone from the crowd asks.
“The warlock is traveling with the Kezgan Orcs.” Theodluin replies.
Murmurs are heard throughout the crowd.
“That is an entire battalion.” the same Elf says.
Theodluin nods. “Luck is with us today. A small party broke off from the main unit to procure ingredients from the land that the warlock needs. With their forces divided we can ambush them and then move on to the main camp. Even so we are still outnumbered almost two to one. Therefore this will be a mission of stealth.
Lieren, Soliana, this is your plan. The two of you will lead this mission.”
Soliana addresses the group. “The Rangers and archers will scout ahead and take sniper positions. One shot, one kill. Clear the area. If you have to take the shot on your way, make sure no one sees or hears the kill.”
Lieren speaks up. “Once the ranged units have cleared the area the melee units will move in to secure this chokepoint and the surrounding area. We will be within their perimeter at this point. The archers not scouting ahead will wait here at the fallback point and cover our escape.” she points to the map as she speaks.
“We cannot leave anyone behind to guard our human scribes. You will have to accompany us into battle. You will stay at the fallback point. Soliana will meet up with you when she can.”
With that the Elves pack up and march into the woods. The Elven company splits up after about five minutes of walking. A handful of archers stay with us while the rest go on ahead. It’s very peaceful in the park, bu after five or ten minutes of silence it is bordering on boredom. I try to make smalltalk with one of the Elves but he puts his fingers to his lips to indicate silence.
Moments after Soliana arrives with two archers at her side. “Lieren will give the signal. Green burst for success, black for reinforcement.”
Our guards nod. More waiting now.
One of the Elves gets up and motions that she hears something. An Elf runs up with a large emblem hanging from his neck. It’s very ornate but the letters ‘DM’ are unmistakable.
“The Elven Warrior Lieren has sent a signal of black smoke.”
Soliana and the other Elves spring into action. “Let’s go! Humans! Follow but stay in the rear!”
We run after then and shortly come to the place of battle. Lieren and four other Elves are trying to hold off the Orcs at the chokepoint. The rest are dead. Every soldier seems to have made their last stand count. Nearly every Elf body has one or two Orc bodies close by.
Two Elf warriors fall before Soliana and her troops are in range. The archers fire at will, cutting down any Orc they see.
Suddenly, Orcs are beside us, each with at least one nasty looking blade with poison-green runes etched on them. The Orcs have the Elves surrounded now and make short work of them.
The DM walks onto the field of battle and raises a flag in one hand and sounds an emergency horn with the other. Everyone stops what they’re doing.
“The battle is over. The Orcs have suffered medium losses but are victorious. The Elves have been massacred, save for the leaders of this group and the Human non-combatants. The Orcs have the choice to execute them here or bring them before their leader Urzog.”
“We choose to bring them to our leader.” one of the Orcs says.
We are led to the Orc Camp, which is only a short distance from the battlefield. We are taken to the main tent where a group of Orcs are assembled around a table and discussing plans while pointing at several points on a map. They pause when we enter and the tallest Orc dismisses the others.
He grunts and sneers at us. “The would-be Elven assassins. And their Human pawns.”
“We are not assassins!” Lieren says loudly.
One of the orc guards hits her across the back with the flat of his sword. “Silence! If Urzog wants you to speak he will speak to you!”
Urzog looks at us now. “Why are you with them, Human?”
I’m caught off guard and have no answer.
“These Elves are only using you.”
He motions to the guards behind us, who take our bags. They empty the contents carefully (thankfully) onto the ground. In addition to our cameras there are scrolls of parchment. The guard picks up the scrolls and hands them to Urzog, who unfurls them.
“Troop movements across our borders. Battle reports. If an Elf were caught with these they would be killed on the spot. But Humans? And unarmed scribes at that? It would be seen as an unprovoked attack and break the tenuous peace we have with your people.
These Elves were hoping you would have been killed today. Then we would be forced to fight a battle on two fronts. So you see, these Elves are not your friends.”
Are you going to let us go?
Urzog looks at us carefully. “Yes.” he nods. “But first you are going to bear witness to what will happened to those who cross the Orcs. For it will happen to their allies as well.”
Urzog’s men give us back our gear and we are all led outside. The sun is setting now. A firepit has been dug and some Orcs are piling in kindling and wood. Others are raising posts in front of it, to which Lieren and Soliana are tied.
One of Urzog’s guards motions at us. The crew take their cameras out and start filming. Once the sun has fully set the fire is lit and the interrogation begins...
The first part seems to be public humiliation. The senior officers allow the troops to do what they want to the Elves; within reason. They cut the straps of their armour and pass the good parts around for anyone who can use them. The men throw scraps of food at them and pour the contents of their cups over their heads. They jeer the Elves with repeated shouts of a certain word. It sounds Elvish but it’s passed through many levels of Orcish and lack of understanding.
The interrogator steps in now before things get out of hand. He asks Lieren and Soliana several questions, to which they refuse to answer. The interrogator allows the soldiers to draw lots to beat the prisoners. Lieren and Soliana take several blows across the face and in the gut before the interrogator stops them.