The fifth DC Darkfriend Social was held Saturday, September 26, 1994 at Slade's restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. A record-breaking 16 people attended, including all the Evil Hoaxters (me, Chad, Judy, Joe Shaw, Joe Morris, and Mike "Sir MPS" Macchione), FAQmother Pam Korda, and other rasfwrj dignitaries such as Hawk Sedai, Brad Smith, Melissa Horn, Andrew Millard, Don Matthews, Jim Folsom, Mike Ikeda, and Mat and Kristen Fisher. Jain Farstrider was there, too, incarnated as several of the other attendees at various times throughout the evening. Bela was there; Hawk found her on her plate, disguised as a steak. Despite the open invitation, Roy didn't show up. At least, we don't think he did. More about that later. Hawk and I arrived early (I choose to collect my homecooked meal from her on Saturday -- hey, guys, I haven't died yet!) and walked around the area a bit. Ballston, named Parkington in a previous Age, named Ball's Church before even that, is a mysterious city. Tall, empty buildings, line broad streets, their ancient purposes forgotten and their ancient occupants long gone (ie, since 5pm Friday). Towers, spires, arches, fountains; these are only a few of the architectural wonders there. Steel and glass carapaces solemnly reflected the evening sun, casting a golden light about the area. Unfinished buildings dot the city, suggesting that the place was abandoned and the work halted before it was completed. The skyline looked like a toothy maw. Content with our pre-prandial stroll, we stopped by one of the bookstores in the Commons, on the whim that if we waited a while we might meet some other jordanites who were also trying to kill time before the social. Alas, we were all alone. We later found out that everyone *else* was in the other bookstore in the Commons. Alas... We arrived at the restaurant 20 minutes early. I spotted one fellow who looked to be... ah... shall we say "a shady character"?... but we let him be at the bar. We took up seats across from him, making sure that we didn't sit with our backs to the door. Hawk made a point of mentioning this to the bartender, who was confused by our wary looks and worried by the fact that I kept fingering my sword. I swear he was a darkfriend. He made the mistake of insulting Hawk -- he said she looked 12, which is a far cry from saying that she looks ageless -- so I threatened to kill him. He groveled sufficiently so I let him live and actually gave him a tip. The bartender asked what sort of group we were. I replied, "A good first-order approximation is that we're geeks." But I had no need to say the same thing twice. Judy "Math is Hard!" Ghirardelli objected to my characterization of the group and insisted that we're a literary group. Yeah, whatever. Others started arriving: Judy and Melissa, Pam, and Joe Shaw and MPS Mike. Joe Morris arrived shortly thereafter, bringing with him the combined symbols of the One Power, the symbol under which the Dragon will conquer. That is to say, he brough a damaged Yin-Yang. This attracted one or two lurkers at the bar, who turned out to be rasfwrj lurkers. At this point we started looking for Jain. Several people who had been lurking in the local bookstores had acquired newsletters with a blurb about the upcoming "Lord of Chaos". We all took turns marvelling at how silly the art looked, especially when it was less than 1 inch high and we couldn't tell what the heck the figure in the foreground was wearing on it's back. And what's with that pterodactyl flying around in the sky? Don't tell me RJ is trying to cash in on dino-mania. As the group swelled up to 16 people, we went through several rounds of introductions. It was fun to watch the expressions on the faces of people who've never been to these socials before... As we introduced ourselves as the (in)famous rasfwrj writers such as Chad Orzel, Pam Korda, Bill Garrett, Joe Shaw, Sir MPS, Judy Ghirardelli, etc., peoples' chins dropped step by step to the floor. So much royalty all in one place... and think how much the group might improve if someone had bombed the restaurant that night! As usual, I was the recipient of such dubious comments as, "Oh, so *you're* Bill Garrett!" Argh, I hate that. I can never tell whether people are impressed, scared, or disillusioned. I think it tends toward the latter two. We discussed the plot summary submissions and tried to figure out who sent which. I was fairly certain I had recognized Joe Shaw's writing, only for him to tell me that he hadn't submitted anything. He spotted mine, though. Everyone spotted Judy's. Folks, I have a bone to pick here: Roy was only parodied in three submissions, while I was parodied in four! That's even more than Bela appeared in. Sheesh, I've got to take stock of what sort of reputation I've developed here. I had brought along my sword with the wolfshead pommel, to prove that it really exists (cf. my writeup of the March social). "That's not a wolf, that's a dog," said Brian. "Yeah, looks like a doberman," added Mike. Philistines. As our crowd was growing unruly and starting to take over the entire bar, we moved out to the tables that the waitrons had prepared for us. We were out on the patio, and as such were treated to occasional comments from inebriated passers-by. We had fun guessing if any of them might have been Roy. By this point, I was again playing with my Sword That is Not a Sword. Mike started getting nervous, although for good reason... At an earlier social, he was beaten with the sword, then bitten on the arm, then his pants were ripped off (not by me, of course). See, Roy, the DC socials are even better than you imagine. See what you've missed? There were also other jokes about the Sword That Ain't (as Chad affectionately calls it). For example, "Is that a sword between your legs, or are you just happy to see me?" elicted the rejoinder, "That's not a sword; it's not even a dagger!" Worse things were said but I've been asked not to repeat them. Remember, there are probably lots of people under 18 reading this group. Another thing in my bag of tricks was my pet spider Moghedien. See, I told you in one of those IKIBRTMRJ threads that I had done that. Anyway, for the benefit of those not at the social, she's kinda rubbery, has 10 legs, and squeaks when you squeeze her belly. Hard to imagine Nynaeve having so much trouble with a creature like that. Speaking of YKYBRTMRJW and IKIBRTMRJ, I came up with a few things that ought to go under YKYHBRERJW -- you know you haven't been reading enough Robert Jordan When -- but I forgot what witty, pithy sayings I had proposed to go under such a category. IKIHBRERJ. Brian and Hawk discussed sword-- erm, Foil-- forms they had been learning. Hawk told about one foolish defensive move an opponent of hers made, called Parry Down To Crotch. Ouch. But Chad was partial to "Needless Hundred-Line Cascade" and was trying to figure out what the heck a purple beret was supposed to signify (Plot Submission #17, he says). We brought up the thread about Black Ajah and/or darkfriend warders, and wondered if either partner could sense the other's true nature. And if so, how could one break the bond? This engendered the idea of a song entitled "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Warder". You know, "Stab him in the back, Jack/Send him to the Blight, Dwight/Poison his food, dude" etc. We all traded stories of how we got our nicknames, those of us who have them. The most interesting for me was Brad Smith, aka "Puppy". Hawk lamented being associated with Berelain (whom she considers a bitch and a slut), and Judy told about having to balefire someone who tried to poach the moniker "Piglet" from her. Chad explained how "Oilcan" was a nickname given to him by a guy whose nickname was "Buttplug". I think Chad got the better deal there. We did something for the next two hours. I don't remember it too clearly, since I was developing a headache. Maybe it was a delayed effect of Hawk's cooking... Hmm, Hawk was getting one, too. Maybe I'm on to something here! There were no Yellow Ajah present, although there was one saintly Grey, who immediately volunteered to run to the convenience store and get some medicine. At about the time I started to feel better, the group broke up and we went our separate ways. Final disclaimer: Robert Jordan was not there, although two people said they sent him an informal invitation! Judy reiterated her offer of a free drink to anybody who asks RJ, at one of the upcoming book- signings, whether the frequent flier miles go to him or Tor.
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