I'm not a leader, let me start with that. I don't think of myself as one and I don't think I'm good at leading. And there are aspects to leading a group that elude me completely. Well, you'll see what I mean.
PTF gathered for our regular meeting and we decided to visit the EP tower and some of the crystal rooms. Almost all PTF members were present and we also had a few guests. Even Tharloch was there which is always nice (and rare these days). Then Babajaga, who is supposed to lead for a month as a penance for past sins, tells everyone that I'm going to lead the group.
Arg! What? Me? In a word: gasp! I tried to weasel out of it but she was steadfast.
You have to realize the company I'm in: I'm just about the youngest exile in that group. They're not all taintless but many are, and those who aren't have twice my ranks and have been in the lands for much longer than me. Of course ranks aren't everything and all that, but still these people have seen more things than me. Ok, so I usually know where I am, but that just means I can follow on a map, or perhaps that I made the map myself. That doesn't mean I know how to do things, or more to the point, it doesn't mean I can tell others how to do things. But I was leading, no getting out of this one. I got sunstone messages that reassured me I'd do well, and that helped ease my mind a bit.
I asked for preferences in ways to get to EP. I was partial to Melabrion Zodiac Maze myself but people were more for the direct approach so we decided on using Portal Island. We went to EP4 and I started to tell people what to do. I know what to do on entry and I've seen Yor do that often enough to know the basics. I checked if there were clouds in case we needed to establish a rod for it, since there were none I simply told Tharloch to hold stuff north and ordered the rest south to peel and kill.
That's where the part that isn't that easy for me starts: the fighting part. For me a giant vermine is a challenge, so how do I know how to evaluate the situation in terms of danger or in terms of what represent the biggest threat to these people? I don't even know the names of half of these creatures!
That's the reason I did my orga, scarmis and noth bestiaries by the way, to know more about them because I was always lost as to which one was stronger. Fighters and healers go on hunts and they learn that naturally over time, by repetition. I don't. And even though I've been in EP a lot, I have no idea how hard this one hits or what atkus is required to hit that other one. Well, it's not entirely true, I know some of them, like the annoying AGs that require specialized fighters like fell-bladers or blood-bladers, or a good atkus boost. But twenty of those blue-coated floating-like things up there near Tharloch? No idea.
To my relief I got help from people who know. Yor told me discreetly that we could charge the rest and so I ordered them to charge the rest. Hey, perhaps I could fake it! And that's how it went mostly the whole trip. I directed movements, ordered the basic structure of the tactic as I've seen it done many times, and I got help on most of the other aspects of it. People are nice, I got suggestions and gentle reminders from many on what to do. And in some difficult spots someone else took over briefly or suggested a way.
So actually I did fake it. What made it work was that PTF is a group that has been together for a long time, eight years now, and so we work well as a group and we know each other. And what made it work was that I just pretended to lead, I just gave directions to where we were going to and others took care of the rest.
That's not to say it wasn't stressing or that I wasn't exhausted at the end, just that it worked well and that I'm not the one responsible. I did try and it's hard to juggle with the communications at the same time as the decision-making and the map-checking, and the constant evasive maneuvers that a mystic must always do to stay up and out of the way of fighters and healers.
In the end the expedition was a success. We did what we set out to do and no one departed and there were no disaster. And it looked like I led that day.Back to the top of this scroll