Fyrd Retreat

Still catching up, I’ll cover the Fyrd Retreat and some personal stuff today.

First, the Fyrd Retreat. It is almost impossible to explain the impact and importance of a Fyrd Retreat. No other kingdom has anything like it, that I’ve seen. This is not to say that retreats by other groups aren’t important and in many cases very similar, but I suspect that participants in those retreats also have issues describing what they mean.

In the SCA, the Fyrd is unique. I believe it to be the only AoA level polling order. I do know that the Scarlet Banner and Stag’s Blood of Ealdormere and the Outlands, though their creators were influenced by the Fyrd pale in comparison. This is not a reflection of the quality of people and fighters in those orders, merely that the orders themselves have not evolved in the same way as the Fyrd have.

There is a brotherhood to the Fyrd that other AoA and most GoA level fighting orders lack. When I was Ealdormere talking about the Fryd Retreat a couple of summers ago, there were only two people who I felt understood the depth of feeling, Hereward and Adrielle. This isn’t surprising since we created an award specifically for Hereward that Adrielle has also received that says that were they to live in Calontir, we would consider them part of the Fyrd.

So, HRM Katrine, Eric, and I left Celidh to proceed down to the Fyrd Retreat, a four hour or so drive. We got there just before ten, but there was much left to be done. Usually a Fyrd Retreat has hanging out on Friday night, fighting and lounging on Saturday day, a good potluck type meal, and then the important part, the discussion of what’s important about the Fyrd and partying that happens on Saturday night. We got there in time to take part in some of that discussion. We each asked what was the single word which describes the Fyrd, my word was responsibility. It has always been a major thought in my mind that as a Fyrdman I have a greater responsibility, as my actions reflect not only upon myself but upon over 400 brothers and sisters. This is a responsibility I have borne since 15 February, 2002, and once I will bear the rest of my life. This can only be a good thing for me as a person.

Iggy also suggested we tell everyone our most important memory that we’ve had since the previous year’s Retreat. Mine, of course, was the rainy evening at Estrella when Katrine asked me to be her Champion, one of the greatest moments I have ever and will ever have.

The rest of the evening devolved in the silliness and fun of 40 drunken brothers and sisters. It was great. I can’t explain it more than that.

Random Thought

We interrupt your normally scheduled post with a comment.

There’s nothing quite so right as the crack of the bat on a home run, listened on a car radio, driving on a lonely highway at night. The quality of the sound of that crack is so pure and right I often know before the announcer says anything that it’s a homer.

Celidh

Greetings all, I have lots of posts to make so you should see a bunch between now and Monday, but we start with Celidh. This is a small event in Fort Leavenworth that I had never been to before.

I had heard that you could crash on site so after a day of looking at stuff in Columbia I got to Leavenworth about 10pm. I hadn’t really thought about it, but this probably wasn’t the wisest thing in the world, and the security guards were a little questioning but one of them came over and said there were already a bunch of us there and that this was normal so I made it through the checkpoint without a problem after that. I have a huge problem being nervous at such checkpoints after my first two experiences going up to Canada, but no real problem this time.

Anyway, to get to Hunt Lodge, where the event is at, you drive around Fort Leavenworth, past the Buffalo Soldier Memorial, which I’d really like to stop and look at closer some time, and also you drive through a US Army cemetary, which in the night is amazing. You see white headstones gleaming from the car lights as far on either side of you as you can see. It’s awe-inspiring.

Finally get to the event site and there’s hardly anyone there. Apparently, the crash thing is for Saturday night. Oh well, there are a few people there, and I sat around and helped assemble the feast tokens until finally crashing in my car. There being no showers, I woke up the next morning and put on garb. Since the day was supposed to consist basically of a morning court and then Katrine, Eric, and I running off to the Fyrd Retreat, I decided to just wear the Champion’s Tunic all day.

Of course, best laid plans and all that, we actually didn’t leave until 4pm, but that’s getting way ahead of the story.

The morning was spent greeting people, especially Vatavians. Katrine had actually given me the day off, had I wanted to go to the Fyrd Retreat. Caillin, who just got fyrded at Gulf, but who normally is one of Tristram’s retinue, did indeed go to the Retreat. However, this was also to be the Investiture for their new Excellencies Vatavia, Thomas and Cerridwyn. Given that Vatavia’s my home, I wasn’t going to miss that.

Anyway, there were a lot of my friends from Vatavia there and it was good to see them. Maeve had a bit of a panic attack because the event staff posted that court was at 10am, when Their Majesties had told all of the Vatavians that it would be at 11am, so that’s when all the Vatavian preparations were scheduled to be ready. However, it was just a mistake by the event staff and court was indeed scheduled for 11, which made everyone happy.

His Majesty rolled in around 9:30, and suddenly I became realy really busy. People kept asking me to do this or make sure this is in court and so on. Cerridwyn wanted her whole named pronounced in court. Don’t blame her. The problem is that her name is Welsh and goes back like 8 ancesters, so it’s incredibly long. We had her write it out phonetically for Eric to say in court. He got it all right, except, humorously enough, the Cerridwyn part.

Got stuff organized and at about 11, Her Majesty showed up. I’m surprised she had the energy to do court, she’s an accountant and she’d been working 100 hour weeks for the past month during tax season. She had originally decided to take the 16th off and recover, but the need for the Investiture meant that she had to be there. She’s a trooper though.

Court started fairly soon and it went fine. After a few Dun Ard awards, Wulfric was called up. Wulf’s a good friend of mine who had been the Vicar of Vatavia for the last eight months or so, and he brought up the Baronial coronets which he had had in trust. Once those had been given back, Tristram gave Wulfric a King’s Favor. Since Tristram’s an armorer, he gave Wulfric an awesome great helm. After that, Thomas and Cerridwyn were invested.

The rest of the day was spent in socialing and waiting on Her Majesty. Had fun watching the fighting and talking to a bunch of people. While it was fun though, Eric and I were itching to get to the Fyrd Retreat. Celidh was fun and the people of Dun Ard did a great job, but a Fyrd Retreat is something special. And it is another entry.

Melon Wars

There were several choices for their Majesties to attend this past weekend, and they chose Melon Wars. This event was near Burlington, Iowa and it was in the Shire of Flynthyll, at least it was by the end of the day. The Shire was incipient until court, when their Majesties made it official.

But we’re getting ahead of the story. It was held at a really cool site for a small event. Nice grass to fight on, a small kitchen, permanent restroom, cabin, and shower facilities. Wouldn’t work for 150-200 people, but very nice up to 100, which was about what we had.

Went up Friday night and got there in time to do a little drinking and having fun by the fire, but not much. Got up around 8 the next morning, primarily because I couldn’t sleep very well. Their Majesties and retinue were given the upstairs of the cabin, which was comfortable but we all snore.

This next paragraph, by the way, goes to Medb, Liam, Nazrynn and all the other people from the north.

It was a beautiful day, a few clouds to keep the sun from being too harsh, a nice breeze to get under the helm, and it was about 75 degrees. It was wonderful. How’s the weather up there, anyway? πŸ™‚

I fought really well for some reason. Maybe the weather, I don’t know, but I did better in the 6ft spear tourney than I have ever done in any tourney before. I did well in the 9ft tourney as well. In the Warlord tourney I drew a bye in the first round, which really sucks. A Warlord tourney is one where the winner of the first round is captain of a team including the person he beat in the first round. The winner of the second round has a team that has four people (in a full tourney) and so on. Ultimately, there are two captains, each with half of the people on his team. If you get a bye, you don’t have the person you might have beat in the first round so I had to fight 1 on 2 in the second round. I was on fire enough to actually win that fight. The list was structured so pretty much everyone was even with 3 man teams in the second round, and my team won, no thanks to me in the second round.

In the last bout of the 6ft spear tourney I stretched my knee a little more than I should have and it was sore going into the Warlord tourney. In that second round fight I was legged and went down awkwardly, twisting my knee further in the process. I probably could have continued fighting, but I was smart enough to want a shower, ibuprofen, ice, and beer. It made the rest of the day go pretty well. The knee is still sore, but I’ll be able to fight at fighter practice and maybe fight this weekend. I’ve been fighting at every event and at least one and sometimes two fighter practices a week and my knees and ankles are getting irritable. I may take this week off though I won’t get fighter practice next week because I’ll be on the road to a special semi-secret place. We’ll see.

Anyway, court was fun. As mentioned, the Shire was made official. There were a lot of Shire members and His Majesty was impressed. Her Majesty’s shire was made official at Coronation with 46 members. Tristram asked how many were in Flynthyll and was told 53. He looked at Katrine with a smug look so I stepped forward with the axe and told Her Majesty that I would be happy to remove 7 of them :). She thought about that for a moment, but sadly would not allow me my fun. The Champion’s Axe, by the way, screams to be used for chopping off people’s heads. It’s in the way it is balanced. Really.

So several members of the new shire were given awards. The most humorous went to Odysseus Titanius Maximus. Max is the one person in that shire who travels a lot, so everyone knows him. The first award of the day went to someone else, and Max shouted out “Busted” when he was called up. Their Majesties and retinue took great pleasure in reminding Max of that when he got called up himself.

After court was a very nice feast, except for the one fishy bit. Ick :). Then there was a torchlight greatsword tourney which was combined with a best bodice competition. Just to remind you, this was Melon Wars. The bodice competition had to do with the best display of melons. So one kid, Olai, taped cantaloupes to his armor so that he could participate in both the great sword tourney and the bodice competition. Surprisingly enough, though everyone he faced in the great sword tourney aimed for them, his melons survived. They were in fact real melons, as Her Majesty asked me to confirm.

All in all, a fun, somewhat silly little event. Good weather, good friends, good fighting, good food, good beer, and a good time.

Current Status

You know, as I think about it, I’ve not really posted anything about my current status.

I don’t even know if I have mentioned that I have chosen to go to the University of Missouri for my PhD. The choice was made because Dr. Huneycutt really chased after me (it’s nice to be wanted) and because I can do Anglo-Saxon military culture with her and Dr. Richard Abels, who is from the US Naval Academy.

So right now I am sitting in a brewpub in Columbia, MO, one that has a very nice brown ale and wireless internet. This is the way life oughta be :).

I’ve decided to try and find a house here and the process is going though it’s so complicated.

Speaking of complicated, I wish I understood what I really want personally. Things are just odd with me right now, a fact pointed out forcefully by Maerwynn this morning.

I did have a good chat with my Dr. Huneycutt today, I’ll be taking four classes next fall, Intensive Latin, Roman Empire, Medieval Lit, and a Seminar from Huneycutt. Combined with teaching probably 2 classes, I’m going to be very busy come fall. I’m excited, it will be nice to be fully occupied again.

Bellewode Symposium

Bellewode Symposium was a very relaxed event. There was originally no fighting, but Ermenrich and Roberto helped me arrange to have fighting at least available. Since there was no advertised fighting, though, Liam, Fathmbjorn, and I were the only ones who suited up.

Since there were only 3 of us, we weren’t too anxious to fight. We fought for about half an hour once some mundanes came by and asked if we were going to fight. We hung out and talked about fighting and had a beer in the sun and eventually took a bit of a nap in the grass. How’s that for a hobby? πŸ™‚

But it was a fun event. I even danced, once in a class, once at the ball later that night. The first was because Tristram ‘suggested’ it would be good for the fyrdmen. The second was because Slaine dragged me out.

The result? Confirmation that I can’t dance πŸ™‚ I have the rhythm of a tumbleweed.

Court was nice and short, though I was a little confused at the start. I forgot that Dongal had not yet sworn fealty and been invested as King’s Champion so I was expecting him to be next to me up front so we were a beat or two late beginning to process in.

Other than the dance, the ball was pretty relaxing too. I sat around and chatted mostly. I’m sure that’s going to shock all of you, me sitting around and talking.

Crashed at Roberto and Helena’s, and it was very nice there. They really went out of their way for their guests and Roberto cooks a mean breakfast.

Gulf Wars

OK, so I’m a tad late with my Gulf Wars post, given that I’ve been to an event since that point πŸ™‚

I caravaned down with HRM Tristram, Caillin, Duncan Fathmbjorn, Seonaid, Maximus, and Genevieve. An interesting bunch. The trip was pretty uneventful, but in Sikeston an omen for the reign occurred. We passed Lambert’s to go to a Chinese buffet. It seems Tristram is partial to Chinese trough. It’s a good thing I like Chinese.

We got there on Sunday night and slept in the parking lot until Monday morning when they let us troll in. I got as much sleep as expected in a packed car. I got set up by noon or so and took a real nap. πŸ™‚

And then was ready for the war. Gulf was incredible for me. It was very different to be in and amongst the royalty. Usually at wars, I figure that royalty is best left alone :).

I also participated in as much stuff as I could. I fought in the Diamond Tourney, which was very interesting. You see, it was a team tourney with two fighters, one of which was a rapier fighter. Each team represented a kingdom or principality. My partner was HE Rodrigo of Northshield. There were six kingdoms represented. At one point, I was the only heavy fighter there. It’s too bad this didn’t continue, I think it would have been hilarious for the only kingdom to be represented in a combined tourney be the only kingdom that doesn’t have rapier fighting. Of course, a lot of Calontir teased me about me becoming a fencer.

The other individual thing I fought in was the Champions tourney, which really wasn’t a tourney but rather an exhibition. HRM Ansteorra and HRM Trimaris took turns picking a champion and the two champions would fight for the crowd. There were 15 bouts. Thanks to HRM Gunnar of Meridies, who allowed Calontir an extra slot, I was given the opportunity to fight Count Valharic of Atlantia. It wasn’t a long bout, he’s an extremely fast lefty, but I made him work a little bit I think :). Anyway, it was an incredible honor to be out in front of the Knowne World like that. Their Majesties Ansteorra gave me this cool Black Star pin as well, which I have to say rocks.

The battles were a lot of fun this year. It is very strange to me how much fun Gulf has become and how little fun Estrella has become. I don’t know why, either. My first couple of Gulfs were nowhere near as much fun as Estrella, but since they moved back to Estrella Mountain Park it hasn’t been as much fun and Gulf has been great the last two years. I suppose this is a good thing since it’s much more likely I’ll get to go to Gulf as opposed to Estrella for the forseeable future.

Either I have gotten better fighting with 9ft spear, or Gulf Wars spearmen aren’t as good as Estrella spearmen. I had a very good war fighting spear, which I got to do before Katrine fought. I had real good bit getting myself in a sheltered sniper hole in the town battle, and had a couple of other solid runs. I wasn’t quite as effective during the ravine battle, but I don’t like the footing in the ravine much and getting killed four times by archers accounts for a lot of that. Still, at the end, Marcus picked up a scutum and just gave me a veritable buffet of targets. I do like buffets :).

The rest of the war involved fighting with Katrine. Not to pat myself on the back too much, my idea of picking a random fyrdman to partner with me to be Katrine’s guard each day worked real well. I picked my squire brother Alasdair the first day, and he did great, including throwing himself over Katrine after she had been pulled over.

Caillin was fyrded that day, which was well deserved. She had fought incredibly well in the early town, castle, and ravine battles. We as the fyrd basically forced Tristram and Katrine to do her, as they didn’t want to because she’s on retinue. She did very well in the field battle as Katrine’s guard.

Arthur got fyrded so he got to be a part of the guard during the castle battle. Calontir as a whole did awesome defending the castle. In fact, after blowing up the troops assaulting the front gate, Calontir went out and swept around the outside including this silly, wonderful, crazy solo excursion by Ferd. Unfortunately, Katrine got to watch this from the back. We put her in one of the towers so she’d be shielded from arrow fire until she was needed in the front rank of scutums.

Which of course meant that an arrow from out of nowhere hit a 3in x 3in target and hit her in the back. Best laid plans and all that.

Other highlights included walking Katrine and Tristram into Grand Court. Aiden served as Tristram’s champion. They only allowed 3 retainers per crown, so neither of us stood behind the thrones, but we stayed to escort them out. This actually meant that we could escort the Ansteorran War Banner into court so Calontir could give it back. We sang a verse of Non Nobis as we came in, which was really cool :).

I hung around Katrine quite a bit, and we had a lot of fun sitting around the fire on Friday and Saturday singing. Ferd made a scutumhenge on Friday and on Saturday, Rebecca’s tree house was created. Damn it’s good to be Calontir at war πŸ™‚

This was definitely a great war, enhanced by the opportunity to be Champion. I have to say that I’m truly a lucky man.

I’m on my way to Bellewode Symposium and am taking a break from KC rush hour traffic at a Kinko’s.

A couple of small notes. First, isn’t it frustrating how you always have something great to say when you don’t have a forum? And when you do have a forum, you forget what you were going to say.

I need to figure out a way to get my ideas that I have when I’m driving or lying in bed in the middle of the night recorded. I’m like a genius then.

Anyway, a couple of irksome notes recently. I was watching this stupid ESPN show called First and 10. The premise is two sports media people debate topics. It might be interesting but it has Woody Paige and Skip Bayless, two sportswriters who know conventional wisdom but have never questioned that wisdom. They have no clue whether that wisdom is true, apocryphal, or was true and no longer is, or whatever. They just accept it without looking at it critically.

So it leads to some very stupid stuff. The question came up as to who is the greatest shortstop ever. Bayless said Alex Rodriguez. Paige ridiculed this choice because ARod now plays 3rd for the Yankees. Actually, ARod is a fine choice, not my choice, but a fine one. Paige promoted my choice, Honus Wagner. Why is this humorous to me? Well, Paige’s argument was that ARod isn’t a shortstop because he’s playing 3rd now. Huh. Umm. Apparently Paige is not aware that Honus Wagner played 3rd too. In fact, it wasn’t until Wagner’s 5th year that he began playing short a lot and it wasn’t until his 7th that Wagner starting playing short almost exclusively. All in all, Wagner played about a 3rd of his games at other positions. Most people think of Wagner as a shortstop sure, but for someone who is promoting himself as an expert to not know this? Idiotic.

Bayless’ counter-argument, was to point out that ARod has hit for more power than Honus did. Again, a supposed expert not looking into things critically. Yes, ARod has hit more homers, but Wagner would have hit a ton had baseball of his career been like baseball of ARod’s career. ARod has a career .574 slugging percentage compared to the league average during his career of .436. He’s also lead baseball in slugging once. ARod has been 32% better than the average, which is fantastic.

Wagner? .466 career slugging when .351 was average, or 33% better than average. He also lead the majors in slugging 6 times, including in 1908 when he had a .542 slugging percentage, 90 points better than the next guy at .452.

Again, Bayless, who is commonly clueless, presents himself as an expert but doesn’t do the work to justify his self-aggrandizement. He’s happy criticizing players for being too rich, too good, too this, too that, and in almost all cases better than he is.

Well, almost out of power, probably should go.

Random Music

One of the longest running and most enjoyable bloggers out there is Aaron Gleeman (www.aarongleeman.com. Yesterday he randomized his IPod and listed the first 40 songs that were shown. I don’t have an IPod, but WinAmp can do the same thing, so, here are my 40 random songs.

Van Halen – Top Jimmy
Ekova – Starlight in Daden (Aurora Remix)
Eddie Van Halen and Brian May – Starfleet
Bob Marley – Jamming
Wolgemut – Processional
Altramar – O Columba insignis signifer
King’s X – I Can’t Help It
Judas Priest – Breaking The Law
Dream Theater – War Inside My Head
Peter Tosh – Mega Dog
CSN & Y – Teach Your Children Well
The Cult – Big Neon Glitter
Michael Longcor (Duke Moonwulf) – The Irish Guard
Stevie Nicks – Landslide
Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
Yngwie Malmsteen – The Sails of Charon
Blind Melon – No Rain
Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Kingston Air Force – There’s a Riot Gwaan
B-52s – Love Shack
Smashing Pumpkins – Bury Me
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem – Whack Fol The Diddle Oh
Korn – Blind
The Calais Consort – Cuckolds All A Row
Wolgemut – Schottish
Led Zeppelin – Rain Song
Conn MacNeill – Echoes
Gordon Lightfoot – The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
King’s X – Skeptical Winds
Enya – Caribbean Blue
Ozzy Osbourne (with Randy Rhoads) – Paranoid
Blues Brothers – Rubber Biscuit
Rush – Something For Nothing
Flogging Molly – To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh)
Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
The Ealdormere Bardic College – Lifeblood
David Munrow; Early Music Consort Of London – Je ne puis – Amors me tienent – Veritatem
Smashing Pumpkins – Landslide
Dropkick Murphys – Time To Go
The Who – Squeeze Box

Leave me comments and I’m curious what you all came up with.

Here’s the second post. I separated them because it seemed like the thing to do as I talk about my real life in the first and talk about my hobby in the second.

September is a long way away, but I suspect it’s going to fly by. This is going to be the most interesting reign I will have seen because for the first time I’m seeing it from the inside. I’ve never been part of retinue before.

Yesterday, though, I swore my fealty to TRMs Tristram and Katrine as Queen’s Champion.

Not surprisingly, I am incredibly excited. I have been bouncing since Her Majesty asked me at Estrella. The request came from nowhere, as while I have spent time with Her Majesty and her husband Eric St. Leger at events before, I did not know them very well. I think I’ll know them better in six months, :).

Some early notes. I’ve never dealt with Kingdom regalia before. Now I have in my possession the Champion’s Axe; the Champion’s Circlet, a replica of the circlets that the Warlords of Calontir wore; two Queen’s Favor Gloves, one beaded, one painted; several Champion’s Tabards, including a beautiful embroidered tunic donated by HE Magnus, a great friend, who was Queen’s Champion a few reigns ago. The history that each of these items has is amazing, simply holding these things is an incredible honor and a great responsibility. They’re also a great inspiration. I can already tell that if I even think about relaxing any, a simple look at one of these items and my enthusiasm will be reinvigorated.

The overall responsibility is awesome. I felt a great responsiblity to live up to the ideals of the fyrd when I was fyrded three years ago. This is a hundred times more. I am now a representative of the Crown and Kingdom of Calontir and a missed shot or a crass word or a mistreatment of someone now does not reflect on me but on something much greater than me, something I truly love. I am both terrified and overjoyed at the prospect of living up to this ideal.

More mundanely, I am very glad I went and got gel-soles for my boots last week. After two courts, fighting, and helping clean site, my feet and knees are sore. I shudder to think what it would have been like without the new soles.

Stamina is my greatest concern, in fact. I’m very concerned with being able to keep up at Gulf Wars, but most importantly at Pennsic. Her Majesty’s request has crystallized my goal of exercising into a need, so that’s a positive. And it’s not just feet. The axe that the Queen’s Champion bears is very heavy.

So Coronation is over. Gulf Wars is next week, and I am thanking my lucky stars that I have spent the past two summers up in Ealdormere. Those summers gave me a much better understanding and appreciation of the SCA as a whole I feel, and I am glad for the experience as I approach a foreign war as a person who will interact with Royals and peers of other Kingdoms. It should be one of the most interesting and fun wars I’ve ever been to.

Anyway, much of my LiveJournal over the next six months will consist of me trying to record my experiences as Queen’s Champion. No matter what the next few months entail, I know that I’m going to grow as a person because I’m going to have to to fulfill my obligations.

Opinions and fiction of person misplaced in time.