October 20, 2010

Tribe Party

I am sorry for the delay in posting this! There were some technical difficulties involving the photos, and I needed to publish them and my account together. I simply had to. >_> To release them separately would be like peanut butter without jelly. Calvin without Hobbes. A milkshake without wood chips. ;)

Thank you for your patience. Here is my account.


Once upon a time, there was an elf. A fickle and often-prone-to-rapier-warfare sort of elf, but she had become good friends with several others of her kind and conversed with them frequently in a magical place called the Underground.

One day, as she was skipping through the forest, there was a contest, and she joined a tribe, and worked for months, and wrote many reviews, and put up posters, and had embarrassing conversations with librarians. Her tribe fought valiantly in the contest but didn't win, and so they didn't get to choose the location of the prize: a booksigning party attended by the two authors who started this contest. However, the victorious tribe did, and they selected Champaign, Illinois.... *cue fateful music*

All right, if you're not an Undergroundian elf, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. It's a long story. Suffice to say that I participated in a contest, talked online with a lot of really cool people who called each other "elves," and as a result of the contest a booksigning was planned in Illinois, and I was able to attend, along with many other elves.

Sitting in the hotel, a half hour before the party began, Hark, the Golux, and I ate ham sandwiches for courage and bounced up and down on the beds, giddy with excitement. I had never before come even close to spending so much worry and care over my appearance, as this could possibly be the one chance I would ever see these elves in person.

When the time came to depart, we paraded into the van and sailed triumphantly towards the bookstore - then turned around and came back because I forgot something. :) I retrieved it and we ventured boldly forth to our destination, where we spotted a book table being set up. I and my siblings - my parents were roaming about close by - crept towards the table and peered around a shelf. Several rows of chairs were set up and in front of them, the two famed authors, Christopher Hopper and Wayne Thomas Batson, were working on laptops.

I timidly led my siblings into the back row, where we stared with huge, nervous grins at everyone. Two rows ahead, I spotted the first person I could identify with confidence: Millard. He was wearing a blue shirt and holding a laptop. My brother and sisters kept whispering, "Do you recognize anyone?" I grinned and whispered back, "The one in the blue shirt is Millard, and I think the guy in the brown shirt next to him is Silver Angel." The word was excitedly passed along. My suspicions as to these two elves' identity was confirmed when I heard them called by their real names, both of which I knew beforehand.

Silver Angel got up and walked towards the back, surveying the crowd. He paused near my chair at the end of the row and I, with a nervous burst of courage, asked, "Are you Silver Angel?" He said that he was, and I introduced myself as Whisper. We shook hands and he returned to his seat. Then, to cheers and applause, the mighty Tribe Nightwing came marching in. I heard people pull up a bench and a few chairs in the row behind mine, and I turned around and saw Yodeling Dwarf. We introduced ourselves and made small talk. Sitting beside him were Christian Miles and Cson, neither of whom I recognized at the time.

I saw Leighton meet Millard and Ness sit down nearby. A girl was sitting near us and I wondered if she was Goldarrow. My chief problem with this theory was that I saw no one near her who might be Anduril, and as it turned out later, it wasn't GA anyway.

Then the party began. The authors asked who had come the farthest, and many voices suggested that Millard (from Oregon) had. "Anyone traveled farther?" Sir Hopper asked. I raised my hand and said we were from Virginia. I didn't know if that was actually geographically farther, but we drove while Millard had flown, so I figured that counted for something. :) The authors soon dueled together, debating in Scottish accents about the hairstyle (or lack thereof) of a true warrior. At one point mid-battle, while Sir Hopper consulted a young lad, Mr. Batson dashed over to our row, dropped into the empty seat beside me, and asked if I had any suggested tactics. "I have no idea," I admitted with embarrassed honesty, but Sting saved the day by leaning in and whispering to Mr. Batson, "Football style. Tackle him." Mr Batson nodded, his eyes shifty and conspiratorial, and muttered, "It just might work."

He and Mr. Hopper met and dueled once more, neither really emerging the victor. After the battle was a dramatic reading, in which Sir Batson read a piece from his upcoming "Sword in the Stars" and Mr. Hopper read a bit of tale that he had just typed the night before. :) They finished up with a live performance of their song "The Lost Ones," then thanked everyone for coming and said that they'd love to talk to us.

Now came the part I had been most looking forward to, in a nervously-dreading sort of way: meeting my fellow elves. So far, I had only met SA, but I knew that Millard, Goldarrow, Anduril, Christian Miles, Evergreena, Ness, Star-Dreamer and others were scattered somewhere in the room.

Epic. XD

I walked to the front of the room, where the laptop was broadcasting live a video to those unfortunates unable to attend the party in person. An elf was petitioning Sir Hopper for a chance for us to speak to those watchers. 'Twas there Goldarrow found me and we first met. She was nothing like I pictured (methinks my impression of her was influenced by her namesake in Curse of the Spider King) but was an extremely kind and friendly elf, just as she was on the Underground. Then I got to meet Sir Hopper, who blew me away with his enthusiastic friendliness. We talked a bit about our trip and the Underground and I asked when Athera's Dawn was coming out. "Keeneye's on life support, remember? Waiting for it to come out?" I reminded him. It took him a moment to remember the conversation I referenced (Keeneye had once on the UG made a desperate and dramatic plea for the release of Athera's Dawn) but when he did, he laughed heartily. He disclosed that he wanted to move all three of his White Lion Chronicles to a different publishing house, and when he had found one he would hopefully then publish AD. But he expressed sympathy for his poor readers who have been wallowing in the depths of curiosity and ignorance, waiting for Athera's Dawn. He said that it had been two years since the Lion Vrie came out, and he would not force his readers to wait much longer. If he couldn't find a publishing house for AD soon, he might possibly self-publish and release it online. Readers and fans of the White Lion Chronicles, take courage! He has not forgotten us!

Then I got to see Millard! I approached him and with an introduction and a handshake we had officially met. :) Then I talked to Anduril... and Christian Miles... and some more with the Yodeling Dwarf... and I met Cottia.... and Ness... and Evergreena... and talked more with Silver Angel... and more GA... and more Millard... and Ness again...

I got the signatures of both kind authors and also those of many other elves. I got to hear Leighton play the bagpipes, Ness the fiddle, and Adele the Irish pennywhistle (or so I've been told it's called) and employ her lovely singing voice. We lamented that Macey, Keeneye, and so many others could not be there. I saw a lovely picture Star-Dreamer had drawn of Batson's character Anne Ross. I was present when Hark - under the instruction of Sir Hopper - revealed to a few elves gathered around the identity of the mysterious Undergroundian named X. (And sorry, can't tell you. Been sworn to secrecy.) ;) I got to speak with Mr. Batson about his pirate books (my favorite of his works) and he mentioned the vague possibility of a third one. *hopes*

Then, once outside, there were some epic duels between some epic elves with duct-tape swords.

Afterwards, several of us drove to Culver's (GA, Anduril, Cson, SA, Millard, myself, and our families, to be precise) where we ate salads and hot dogs and ice cream and talked. Much talk.

Millard had a leftover chicken strip, and SA made history by being the first person ever to write "pie" on a chicken strip with a permanent marker (if you follow the Flikr link at the bottom you can find a video of the momentous occasion), and then GA also made history by being the first person to eat such a chicken strip. It was here at Culvers I met the legendary Cson; I wish I'd had a chance to talk to him more! We elves debated Storyteller's gender (Hark and Millard are convinced, for some silly reason, that it's a he, while Goldarrow and I believe it's a she because ST is so secretive with his/her/its identity and shows care in word usage.) SA doodled frog faces and "pie" all through his notebook and various other pieces of paper he got his hands on. Then Cson left (*weeps*), we talked a bit more, took a group picture, and then stormed Millard's hotel.

There, the card games began. With Twizzlers supplied by the ever-thoughtful Goldarrow, we alternated between playing various card games with one another and checking up on the Underground. Spoons was tense, the Golux was ruthless in I Doubt It, and Millard and Anduril were Kings of Slapjack. As 'twas getting late, the Golux and Hark went home with my Dad to our hotel.

Then came what was, perhaps, my favorite part of the whole trip.

The Elves turned Ninja. >:)

Out in the chilly night air of the hotel parking lot, GA, Anduril, Millard, Shadow, SA, Sting, and I dueled one another in several epic rounds of ninja. Funfunfun. I tried to take a video of some of the battles but then... my camera died. >_>

After Ninja we trotted back inside, where Millard's dad had been kindly guarding our laptops and various other expensive electronic devices for us in our absence (thank you, Mr. Millard!). We talked for a few more precious minutes, and then - woe! - my Dad came to pick me and Sting up. We exchanged final farewells, hugs, and handshakes, then my Dad, Sting, and I went outside, with encouraging cries of "Always hope!" and "Endurance and Victory!" ringing in our ears.

As we stepped outside, the kind elves followed us for a last farewell. I clambered into the passenger's seat and, as we pulled out of the hotel driveway, was able to wave a final goodbye to those splendid elves. (Though as it turns out, for two of them, this was not the very last goodbye.) >_>

That night in the dark hotel room I spent a while on the laptop, sadly visiting the Underground and thinking about all the splendid elves.... 'twas fitfully I slept. Then the next morning, while eating our breakfast in the hotel, we received a final, happy surprise: Millard and Silver Angel jogged over to our hotel for a last farewell! 'Twas so very kind of them. :) After they'd left and we'd crawled gloomily back into our van to begin the very long drive home, we found a note in our car window. It was from SA and Millard, and it wished us well on our drive home.

I looked at it for a long, sad, grateful time during the drive back. What a marvelous privilege it was to meet all those great elves!

Well, that's about all of my side of the tale, and not nearly as well-told as several other witness to the great Gathering of the Elves. If you'd care to read some more entertaining accounts than mine:

Millard's - http://onehundredelectricians.blogspot.com/2010/10/tribe-party.html

Silver Angel's - http://silverangelsmusings.blogspot.com/2010/10/party-that-is-not-party-part-2.html (see also part 1)

And, to any who'd care to see a more complete collection of pictures of the event, I direct you here.

UPDATED - Now you can also see Goldarrow's pictures of the party! To laugh and cry all over again, click here.

To any who took the time to read this, thank you. To any who I met at the Tribe Party, it was wonderful to see you. To any who couldn't go (Jake, Macey, Squeaks, Vrenith, Eagles' Wings, Keeneye, Seth, Storyteller, AB, Madeline, and so many others), know that I hope very much to see you all at the next one!



Squeaks said...

Awesomeness! You did a grand re-telling :) It's cool to see how your story fits in with Millard's and SA's :P

I only wish I could have been there *sighs*


Brianna said...

=( This post makes me sad. What an awesome experience, that I didn't even know about until afterwards... (sort of; I knew it was happening, but didn't realize how many people were going). But, at least I got to "live" it through your eyes with this post... thanks for relating your experiences! :) And there is a recorded version of it I can watch somewhere, right? And, most importantly, it's not like I'll never get to meet all those people!! That party in Champaigne was almost like a glimpse of Heaven... where we'll meet up with every single believe that's ever walked the face of the earth. Now THAT will be cool. Suuuuuuuuuuuuupppppppppppppppeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrr cooooooooool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

whisper said...

Aye, Squeaks, I loved reading others' perspectives on the Tribe party and figuring out where they were when something was happening, or what they thought when they heard about such and such... I wish you could have been there too. :( Hopefully next time!

Brianna - I'm sorry it has saddened you... before the party Mom and I were seriously thinking about offering to take you and Madeline along with us, but we didn't have enough room and and we had to take a side trip to visit family for a day or two. :( But I wished that you could come! Next time, surely something along the lines of carpooling can be arranged... *rubs hands together in a plotting manner*

Do you have the link to the recording of the party? I can get it to you if you require it...

I have consoled myself often with that fact, that even if I never meet some of the people online (or at least never see them as much as I'd like) I can share eternity with them and all my other brothers and sisters in Christ. It gives me indescribable comfort. How completely awesome heaven shall be. :)


Jake said...

Ack! I shall not write so much of a lengthy and woesome comment as I did on Millard's blog (that was a confusing bit, to be sure).

Thank you so much for posting this. And, in the spirit of EaglesWings, I formally smack you over the head for writing such an amazing account of the Tribe Party. Ellos willing, I shall be able to come to the next one and outseat the Kings of Ninja.

*bows* Farewell, and Endurance and Victory.

Millard of Swiftstorm said...

A most complete and utterly well done account of the occasion.

Great job Whisper, even though I didn't actually really win Slap Jack, Anduril is brutal in said game >_< Hehehe! Thanks for posting, I will definitely look at the pictures right now :D

Nathan R. Petrie said...


::dies on life support::

whisper said...

Oh, 'twas my pleasure to post it, Jake. Thank you so much for reading it!

Ouch! *rubs head* Um, sorry! Direct quote from Silver Angel before giving his account of the Tribe Party: "I am gonna make everyone who was not there so sad that they weren't and everyone who was there sad they are not anymore!" Heh. It's been so true. Sorry if I accomplished that. *sheepish*

Sir Jake, I most earnestly hope that I may one day compete with you for the title of Ninja champion. :|

Why thank you, Millard! :) You were both brutal. >_> I couldn't get a hand in edgewise, lol! :D My slow reflexes were further proved in Ninja... but that was so much fun! *grins*

Nathan, no! Give him more oxygen, someone get the cardiac - er, - reviver thingy!! Don't go, Nathan, you're too young to die!! And besides, Silvertree needs you!


Brianna said...

Whisper -- Don't be sorry, it certainly wasn't because of your blog post I was sad, just because of missing the event. :D Thank you for thinking of bringing us! Maybe something could be arranged next time. I don't have the recording; but, I don't think I really care to see it anymore, as it would probably be a long thing to watch.

Nathan R. Petrie said...

::revives as he realizes this is all for points here::

Hey, this is 100 Points as is. Toss some links in where you place WTB and CH's names, or even for TUG, and you've got several hundred more :D

::skims and finds the mention of x again:: ::faints::

whisper said...

@Brianna - aye, it was a bit long... perhaps something you could settle down to watch on a wintry night when you - (HA!) - have nothing to do. ;)

@Keeneye - o.0 I hadn't even thought of that. Heh. Though I feel a bit, er, dishonest by counting these as points because I'm 'preaching to the choir,' as the saying goes. *ponders this* I'll probably still count these anyway. If WTB wants us to be more honest in our methods of point-earning, he should have been more specific. :)


Jake said...

You accomplished it in such a manner that I felt as if my heart were to burst within me with longing and heartache that I was not there--congratulations.

*bows* May the best Elf win on that far day.

The pictures likewise told an excellent story. Especially the video of SA writing 'pie' on a strip of chicken--and the picture of GA eating it. >_> Twas epic.

I feel, now, like I had the chance to make and partake of history and lost it, gripping only thick air in my hands. :P But thank you so much for posting this: twas like pouring salt into the wound, but nonetheless it heals all the better.

Nathan R. Petrie said...

haha ah it's not that dishonest. Someone is bound to find this blog that doesn't participate :P And this will stay on the internet for years and the links will be there ;)

whisper said...

@Jake - Wow. 0.0 That's a wonderfully tragic way to describe it. Your words both honor and sadden me. *bows solemnly*

@Nathan - True, true... *will be incorporating various links into blog post soon*


Jake said...

You deserve the honor...now, I think I shall leave off inflitrating your blog further. ;) After all... *glares at Keeneye* This is a...*ahem* OtherTribely blog. *disappears in a flash of smoke, which forms a "Go SS!" before dissapating*

Squeaks said...

*laughs uproariously*