August 2009
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What is a Ranger?

I've decided to break up the religious talk with background on other topic areas as religious discussion in mixed company is best in small doses. So today's topic is a definition of the term "Ranger" as I and my tribe use it. A Ranger at Homestead (which is where my tribe is located) is anyone who has come of age and mastered all their basic training. Another way of putting it is everyone at Homestead is a Ranger or is in the process of becoming one. There is no opting out of this training as it teaches you what you need to survive in our world. The training is not easy either. It is not uncommon for youth in training to die because of their mistakes. Then again, its not uncommon for adults to die while out on a mission. The system is set up in a way that provides a gradual learning curve. By the time you are facing challenges that can kill you, you have had enough training. Its basic survival, combat, land navigation, horticulture, butchery, bushcraft, and anything else you need to walk out into the wilderness alone and survive indefinitely. The training reflects the world we live in, harsh and unforgiving. Why are we called Rangers? Well, there's a number of different reasons why we prefer that term. First of all there's The Book. Books are pretty rare these days. Some would say extremely rare. Before I started studying with Adrias I had seen two, if that's any indication. Back when things were going to hell, books weren't usually the thing that people grabbed as they ran for their lives. Books tended to be discarded or burned for heat. In fact, most things that didn't provide an immediate increase in your chances of survival tended to disappear. The Ranger Handbook was one that did survive. While we don't fight wars, we do have our conflicts, both between tribes and clans. We always have to be prepared and we always function as a team with a purpose. Knowing how to construct an Op Order is as important to us as knowing how to make your first bow. Supposedly, back before everything went dark, there were other types of Rangers here, at least that's how Adrias tells it. Some looked after the land and animals, making sure others didn't prey on them. Supposedly there was also a school here back then and they even called themselves the Rangers. Things are a little cloudy about this as there were a couple of schools. One was down river from Homestead and the other was over the mountain and out in the woods, the type of place only Mreens could use. I Of course, while books didn't survive in great numbers, music and the odd vid left on a data key somehow managed to hang on. If there's one thing people from the past seemed to like to keep in digital storage, its music and vids. That's why we even know who Aragorn was, and let's face it, who wouldn't like to be like him. In many ways, he is more like us than the other Rangers. We live off the land, frequently operate in small groups and fight with bows and knives when we want to keep things nice and quiet. If you gave Aragorn a nice old fashioned slug thrower, you'd be hard pressed to tell him apart from us when we are operating in lotek mode. Our hitek magic is as good as anything Gandalf had, so I guess we are just missing dwarfs, elves and orcs. The Wildings might fill in for orcs in some ways, if you squinted real hard. Then again, if you were squinting around them, you'd probably end up dead and on their dinner menu. You can't be too careful around them. It seems I have wandered a bit, but it's all good info you should know. The term Ranger fits us, for a number of reasons. It's what we call ourselves and what others call us. People know not to mess with a Ranger, because if you do, more will show up. Looking back I will have to revisit some of these topics, but that's the way of things. It will be awhile before you begin to understand my world and what it means to live in it.

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