Wertaf: An Inspiring Rogue
Wertaf in a way is a man of mystery. There are so many facets to him
that it seems to be a jigsaw puzzle
until you learn some of the facts.
As is so often said about the Internet, it's difficult to tell about a
person sometimes, especially if s/he doesn't talk that much.
I realized after I interviewed Wert that I hadn't known him at all, despite
the several times I had the good fortune to work with him. For instance,
how many of you who have seen his posts know that he is or has been, in
real life, a hunter, trapper, and fisherman? You think that's a surprise?
Wait until you get to the rest. He is also a college graduate with a Bachelor
of Applied Science degree in Electronics. See what I mean? A man of mystery.
Already, so many stereotypes have zipped through my mind that I am hopelessly
lost. Wert is not the simple, outdoors person I had tentatively labeled
him. Nor is he the brow-furrowed, analytical, scientific type. He is a
researcher though, and a nimble detective and, above all, an extremely
loyal family member and friend. Let's find out how all this ended up in
Wert, now 38 years old, grew up in a rural area on his parents' 10-acre
building site. He says he never owned a farm but he has done a lot of
fieldwork for friends who own farms. He also admits to having baled a
lot of hay in his day.
Loving the peace and simplicity of the outdoors, he couldn't live in
a town, never mind a city. The years when he attended college, perforce
in a town, were not happy years for him and he couldn't wait to get back
to his tranquil home, where his family and lifelong friends were, and
the solitude of the open fields and patches of dense greenery and dusty
When I first arrived at Vanguard Ten Ton Hammer, Wert was just gearing
up to go on his annual fishing trip with his dad and friends. Remembering
previous holidays like that, he almost waxed lyrical about the trip, looking
forward to it like the Vanguard fans are looking to the game's release,
I asked him why these trips were so special to him.
He thought for a few moments, then said, "It is just fun. It is
relaxing and peaceful. I guess when I go up north to do these things it's
like going to church." He shook his head, frustrated. "It's
hard to explain."
I invited him to tell me what it looks like. Again, he had trouble putting
it into words.
"The lakes are nice," he said. "I try to fish in spots
where I can't see houses or cabins on the shore line. At that point in
time I have the world to myself with just my dad and friends."
He was warming up to the subject. "The tree lines are awesome and
the bald eagles are getting thicker. They are fun to watch."
It wasn't for the fishing exactly, Wert told me, laughing. "My fishing
skills are worse than my writing."
There is just something about Wertaf that is so
okay, I'M having
trouble putting it into words. He is endearing
and he inspires people
without even knowing it. Mostly, he inspires them because of the way he
backs people. Without Wert at VTTH, my work would be so much harder. He
researches things that are impenetrable to me
even if I had the time
to do them. He digs up facts, methodologies, presents ideas for writing
that are just inspirations in themselves. He will struggle with the writing
of something and then, groaning in frustration, put it aside, or better
still send it off to someone like me or Lady Sirse so that we can implement
it. So far he has come up with two outstanding ideas that have helped
the site immeasurably (his idea for poll questions are brilliant and his
suggestions for article topics are first-class fan pleasers).
Getting back to the fishing trip, he told me, "I have spent a lot
of time on the water hope you understand why I go."
And this is how he inspires. He tells stories with his feelings, and
he inspires me to write from my own feelings, which, as every writer knows,
is the very best place to write.
I answered him: " Yes, Wert, I do. It's because of the sound of
water lapping at the shore, the cries of the birds, the warm sun and drowsy
buzzing of the dragonflies, the blue sky, and the quietthe blissful,
lovely, wonderful quiet."
Satisfied, he nodded. "That is good and true. Do you fish?"
Memories came flooding back to me of more carefree times and happy companionship.
"I used to," I told him. "In my far younger days, I would
get up at 4 a.m. and my boyfriend would pick me up and we would go fishing
for a couple of hours before workback by 7 a.m. in time for a shower
and to get ready for work. The world was a miracle at 4 a.m. on the lake.
The mist was clearing and the water was as warm as a baby's bath. Birds
were beginning the business of finding food and the fish were blips of
water out in the lake. We would fish and not even talk because you didn't
Wert sounded a little forlorn. "See? Why can't I say that or write
I told him that his forte was detecting, not writing. Wertaf is VTTH's
data coordinator and one of the best. If I told you all the things Wert
had detected, it would make me out of breath. For instance, when I desperately
needed research done on the Vanguard: Year in Review piece, along with
Niborea, Wert stepped in and did a huge portion of the research I needed.
He has sent me ideas for articles, suggestions for approaches, news items
he noticed, and a long list of potential writers for VTTH, three of whom
came on staff, much to my delight. That is just the tip of the iceberg.
I asked him how he had developed his sleuthing skills. This he knew off
the bat, or at least had a reasonable guess.
"I think it goes back to my trapping days and hunting," he
said, and I settled in for a good story. "With trapping or hunting
you have to find the right spot where things are the best and then wait
to see what happens. This takes patience. I can sit for an entire day
being quiet, not seeing anyone it. It doesn't bother meit's relaxing."
He added, "You learn to research your spots to find out what works
I nodded. "That makes sense and sounds very interesting to boot."
"I do this with people too," he said.
Not understanding exactly what he meant, I asked him to elucidate.
"I have to learn about people before I can accept them," he
replied. "That is why I watch themto learn."
"Does this apply to your researching as well?" I asked. "You
have awesome skills in that."
Wert nodded. "I like searching things outit's kind of like
"So you are doing the kind of job you actually love," I said.
It wasn't a question.
I asked Wert about his gaming background, when he started playing, what
games, and what his favorite class was.
"I started in the early '80s with AD&D and Nintendo games,"
he said. "After that came AD&D computer games, Pool of Radiance,
Baldur's Gate and so on."
He paused. "Then came EQ."
"And you were hooked?" I asked.
As for his favorite character, I already knew the answer. "Why a
rogue?" I asked.
answer was a natural. "I use to trap for part of my living. It was
fun. I wish the game [EQ] had more trapsthat is what rogues do
with traps and be sneaky." He grinned.
"Use their cunning to outsmart their prey?" I asked.
"Yep, I'm kind of a roguish hunter," he replied. "Rangers
track until they catch the target. A rogue knows where his target is going
to be and waits. Then HE decides when to take it."
A new thought occurred to me. "Then you are geared for the future,
and the ranger is geared for the past. Interesting. I never thought of
it that way. The ranger looks where his target was; you look where the
target will be."
Wert nodded. "Yep, a rogue knows his target where it will be and
makes sure he has the advantage by never being seen. It's fun."
He thought for a moment. "Rogues don't have to be bad either. I'm
trying to change their image
Robin Hood was good."
I asked Wert what he was proud of accomplishing in his life.
"Not my schooling," he said. "I'm not that fussed about
it." He thought some more.
"I have shot some nice deer," he said with pride. "I'm
not sure of the stats anymore, but at one time I think the Minnesota deer
hunter success rate was around 35%. I'm at about 95%.
I was suitably impressed, then asked him if there was anything else he
was proud of.
He thought some more. Finally, he said, "I have good friends that
I have known most my life. They trust me without question and I trust
them the same."
I agreed that was a pretty nice accomplishment. I had enjoyed my interview
with this amazing man but it was getting time to wrap it up. I asked him
if there was anything else he wanted to share with the readers.
The answer came quickly to him. "I'm just me, I guess. I have issues,
but I try to be a good person."
For a rogue, Wertaf is pretty honest and open
and helpful. Did I
mention helpful? I still don't exactly know how to "classify"
him. I think he may be in a class that defies description. All the same,
I am glad he is he, and that he sticks around with those of us who are