The Shire of Hyl Tao in Mesa, AZ. Was the very first group of Amtgard in the Sunset State.
Hyl Tao was the result of 8 table top players looking to jump into the world of LARP, searching online and running across the "Beginner's Guide to Amtgard." Needless to say it wasn't real Amtgard in the beginning, and was more of a personally owed park to four founding members (Wraithmore Everdark,Tatalia, Doug and Dane). The park was plagued with misuses of the park funds,illegal weapons, and lack of communication between the monarchy and it's members. However this only lasted about a year, as new players from the actual Amtgard world filtered into the area (Hazzard Havaar and Jacob Moriningkill) and politely advised the original members of the then Current RoP(V6) and the idea of kingdom sponsorship. This sadly had not been as welcomed by four of the founding members, as it was with the other members of the park now averaging around 15 players. After a political attempt to oust the four founders who continued to keep monarchical positions to themselves (Wraithmore Everdark and his wife Tatalia, as well as the twins Doug and Dane.) The park tried to elect-in new players into the monarchy, with the results of only 1 member actually not being disqualified from the elections on grounds of they had not been dues paid for over 6 months, were not 21 years of age, or an active member for six months. Crispin was elected into the position of Regent, in place of Tatalia who had always coveted this office. It began a time of contention and awakenings. The four who had maintained control of the park had been shaken that the populace of the park wanted them replaced and for the group to follow the RoP as written, not as a pick and choose rule set accepted by the four. Over the next 6 months the twins Doug and Dane became less active due to an obsession with the online game "Everquest" and then ceased playing altogether, the park had enjoyed having a monarch who attended every week and made sure to get sign-ins recorded, new games being played other than "Fox across the river" and "Caravans and raiders" as well as being introduced to the world of A&S, this had set new standards for what Amtgard could be for the Arizona group. In late 2000 elections came around again and successfully (Jacob Morningkill, Hazaard Havaar, and Kudzu) ran for the positions of monarchy and won in a landslide vote, this however resulted in Wraithmore and his wife Tatalia, taking the park funds and destroying all records of attendance and awards for those who had voted them out. This sadly killed the park and turned several members away from ever playing again.
So ended the Group know as Hyl Tao, but it didn't end the dream in Arizona with only a months disbanding Jacob Morningkill, Hazard Havaar, Kudzu, and Crispin Silvermain decided to start over from scratch with an actual contracted park, under the new kingdom of Dragonspine, and formed Ardent Sands in January of 2001.
As the only active founding member of Hyl Tao, I have described the events as politely as I could and wanted to make a note to any readers. Even though there was horrid politics, greed, and resentment. I feel it necessary to say that through it all We had great days, made great friends, and laughed as hard in our deaths as we did in watching the one dying. My point is; Amtgard is what you make of it, it should always be about having fun and making the day fun for all, if you have to deal with the bad parts of corrupt players or nasty politics, you should do so remembering the real reason to play Amtgard, which is to have fun and go home exhausted and you should never ever give up on making it so - Crispin.