Hail and well met. Welcome to the Guild of Dark Haven. If you are reading this, it is most likely because you have been selected for recruitment into the ranks of this guild, or have expressed an interest in being selected. Before we start piling onto you the expectations and details about the guild, we feel it is first and foremost important to explain in general what we are and are not:
WHAT WE ARE:
- We are a family. Above all else, we are a family of individuals who have decided to band together for a common cause.
- We are support. We support each other and assist each other in times of need. While our Guild exists, none of its members shall go homeless, hungry, or hurt in times of need without at least some sort of attempt at assistance from your fellow Guild Mates.
- We are an ideal. We promote the ideal of chivalry and honor in a time where chivalry and honor seems to have all but died. Differences between religion, culture, and race have no meaning here. We believe we are the entire same human race and thus share common values to care for and be there for one another. I will explain more about these values in a later section of this book.
- We are a network. In a sense, this is a form of social networking to enable individuals with common beliefs and values to meet one another – to know you are not alone in this world. NO that does NOT mean “boy meets girl, girl meets boy,” etc. This is NOT a dating organization. This is a family organization, although it is known that dating among Guild Mates is not prohibited or even looked down upon. But the purpose is unification of people as a whole, not as a pair.
- We are a purpose. In forming our ranks as an organization, we hope to assist others who are looking for a positive purpose in life. I love nothing more than knowing that I have helped give someone who has values like we do find purpose by joining our ranks. Your particular purpose may vary, but as long as it is a positive one that helps others around you, then that purpose is definitely welcome here.
WHAT WE ARE NOT:
- We are NOT a Reenactment Guild. As some of you may know, a good portion of our Guild consists of “Rennies” – those who live a lifestyle that fits in well with the Renaissance Festivals and time period of the Renaissance. Admittedly, that is where I gained my motivation for starting this organization. However, we are not a stage act troupe, nor do we do this for the purpose of any reenactment whatsoever. We really do believe in our ideals and have formed an actual guild to share these ideals with those who also share the same values in life.
- We are NOT a dojo. We are NOT a training dojo. If you joined us to learn to sword fight, sew, sing, etc. then that is NOT our purpose. HOWEVER you will easily find Guild Mates that trade skills and train others in what they know, but this is personal and of their own accord. This is NOT an occupational training Guild, and thus any “training” that happens between members is not of liability or responsibility of the Guild as an organization. Any injury or harm that is resulting of such interaction between Guild Members is at your own risk.
- We are NOT For hire. We are not for hire. We are a non profit organization (NPO). Under federal and state laws, we are known as an “Informal NPO.” What this means is that we do NOT handle finances or money of any sort. The only money handling that happens within our ranks is when members pitch for supplies used or expenses when taking a trip together, etc. In my case, members pay me for making their Guild Sashes, which covers expenses; however I do NOT make a profit from doing so. The money just pays for the material used, and thus I am still volunteering my skills to do the labor. We do not accept money for tasks as a group. We cannot do this or we would have to declare ourselves with the IRS as a for hire organization, and frankly I have enough trouble dealing with the IRS on my own personal taxes, let alone a corporate level being tossed in there.
The idea of Dark Haven began in 1997 when, whilst sitting in Acacia Park (Colorado Springs, CO) with a few friends, the founder (Knikolaes Asaru Dravin) mentioned that there should be a group or something for people who wish to uphold chivalry and honor, in a way that is almost unheard of today but was quite common long ago in our history. His friends agreed and told him he should start one.
Knikolaes immediately rode his bicycle (He was an exercise health nut, prefering manual transport over a car) home and hopped online, starting a Yahoo Group for just such a purpose. At the time, the Internet as still relatively young, and Yahoo Groups were the main social networking at the time. Almost anything was done via yahoo Groups if you wanted to get any sort of word out there about it. The name he came up with was The Clan of Dark Haven, which took meaning from a haven amongst the darkness. It does not matter how dark or dreary your world may seem, there is always a haven for those who wish to be honorable and true.
Sometime later, the group became popular, with response from around the world on members. Knikolaes ended up creating a Geocities Web Site (Geocities was the main thing for making free web pages back then) dedicated to the cause.
Around 2000 – 2002 we noticed an increasing amount of confusion when in conversation about the Clan. In modern society, people do not think of “Clan” as a family group any longer (I.E. a family clan from Scotland). Instead, every time someone heard the word “Clan” they mixed it up with “Cult” and thus a certain level of discomfort seemed to surround our name. Knikolaes decided out of political correctness, and considering our purpose, we should change “Clan” to “Guild,” and so we did.
Soon after becoming a Guild, Knikolaes managed to get a personal web hosting service via PowWeb. We ended up with the domain name we have today, and plenty of web space to work with for forming a customized web site. With VERY basic skills in web design, and using Microsoft Front Page 2002, he managed to get up a basic page with chat and, later on, a forum.
Unfortunately, PowWeb sold out to a larger corporation, who immediately took away the awesome tech support Knikolaes had and outsourced it to India and Canada. With his good history with the original company, he tried to stay with them, but soon after the merger, problems started rising from all directions, including server instability. As a result, we lost crucial data on our forums and the backups failed as well.
Knikolaes was rather . . . to put it lightly . . . displeased with this, and immediately started looking for new hosts. he came across In-motion Hosting, who advertised they were US based, planned to stay that way, and had all servers and support within the US. he jumped on board with their professional package, getting a sweet price for the features we are currently getting. As a result, we were able to re-launch with a great new look, faster speeds, a forum that’s able to produce back-ups OFF line as well as on, and superb customer support.
After this transition was a realization of just how few of the hundreds of members we had were really active. The response to re-register on the new forums was low, and Knikolaes decided to form an attendance policy to maintain an accurate account of who really cared about this family. The shocking result was a drop from hundreds of members to about 10. However, we’d rather have 10 traceable members than hundreds of “ghosts” creating false statistics as to the size and geographic spread of this Guild.
Today, the Guild of Dark Haven has a great looking web site, forum, and staff. We have sashes that represent our departments and a crew that really cares. That is how we plan to keep it.
We thank you so much for considering Dark Haven, and we look forward to personally getting to know you.