The Chains That Bind — Part II

 

The other night, I finished the squire’s chain that I had been working on, made from the remnants of a spool of aluminum that I didn’t just want to get rid of, and posted this on Facebook as a comment to my Knight, Sabah:

Sabah, I’ll be handing this off to you at Ragnarok. Feel free to either give it to one of my house brothers who may not have a squire’s chain yet or keep it for whenever we formalize our mentor-dependent relationship.

In either case, it is made of imperfect rings to symbolize that we are all flawed in some way and will have many lessons to learn on the path of Chivalry.

The rings are all hand cut and formed by me, representative of the work and passion that goes into the path to becoming a fighter and person worth being recognized by the Chivalry.

The chain is light, but still bears weight to remind the bearer that one should be mindful of their deeds, words, and actions.

Sabah also requested that I make a segment for him to give to one of his Men-At-Arms who lost their chain on the first day it was given to them, which I have and is now sitting in a bag waiting to be given to him with the necklace.

The Chains That Bind

Sir Kith made a post the other day about a set of Knight’s chains that have imperfect links, symbolizing that those who have become members of the Chivalry still have flaws because they are human, not Gods, and still have opportunities to learn.

I’ve picked up chainmail as yet another skill in my lexicon of things I do in the SCA. As I’m making this chain, it is filled with little imperfections: links that may not close completely, some small burrs (that will eventually get filed or tumbled off), nicks and scrapes to the rings from me working them, imperfect cuts due to them being coiled and cut by hand.

This has become a personal project of passion for me. A squire’s chain that represents the lessons and reminders that the wearer (be it myself or another) will learn on the path to Knighthood.

A Year As A Willow

I wrote this post a year ago after an incredibly long, exhausting weekend. I should have probably posted this a year ago, but I didn’t think about it then.

I’ve also been somewhat inspired by Andreas/Drew at http://www.apapermuse.com and his SCA posts to start chronicling my more notable SCA experiences.


It never fails that I am called into court for whatever reason while I’m running around during feast prep. It’s becoming a “thing”.

Mid-stride, while returning to the kitchen from stirring carrots for feast, I hear my name called, so I drop the raised foot, pivot, and approach the dais and give proper respect to the assembled Baronages and kneel in front of Rachel, who is holding a Regency Court for Their Majesties William and Isolde. Cue Drew grinning with mischief and Aggie, Jeff, and Epona all looking at me. There is no doubt that I am loved and appreciated, and the feeling is reciprocated in spades.

I was inducted into the Order of the Willow, an armigerous award order for those who have “demonstrated proficiency, but not yet mastery of one of the peaceful arts” in the SCA, the medieval reenactment organization I spend most of my free time with.

I’m not sure if you can see it in the scan, but the open book says “We Love You” on it. When I finally got to thoroughly look at the scroll after feast was done and everything was being broken down, I about cried when I saw that. The SCA has been a ridiculously positive influence on my life, and I’m glad that I’m able to pay that back and forward.

I love you guys, too.

Words by THL Andreas Blacwode/ Drew Nicholson.
Calligraphy and Illumination by THL Gillianne/ Christine Wallrich

Let’s Talk About Goals (In the SCA)

I recently shared a post on my Facebook about goals in the SCA and mentioned that I should really write mine down at some point.

So, here we go:
– I strive to be as prow as the Knight. Confident in my abilities as a fighter both on the list and on the field. Striving to be better than the previous day, always looking for new people to learn from and to be challenged by. Recognizing that injuries and illnesses are part of life and that my body needs rest just as it needs to be worked.

– I want to be as giving as the Pelican. Willing to lend a hand where I see it needs being lent AND also knowing when it is better to let someone else help out instead. Knowing when to take a breath and delegate to ensure that the thing gets done and someone else gets the experiences I have had.

– I want to be full of knowledge like the Laurel. Constantly seeking new ways to do things. Always learning something new and dabbling in it enough to know if I want to do it more often. Being willing to teach as readily as I am willing to learn.

– I want to be as graceful as the Master of Defense. Recognizing that one needs to be flexible in our ever-changing Society. Representing the underdog among equals.

Ultimately, I simply strive to be better than I was the previous day. That I can continue to learn from my mistakes, learn new things, and can work towards enriching the SCA and playing the game the ways that I know how.

Rumchata Cheesecake

Ingredients:

150 ml of Rumchata

12 oz bag of white chocolate chips

2 Prepared Graham Cracker Crusts

Prepared Cheesecake Base (Philadelphia makes a fantastic one)

Extra Creamy Cool Whip

Cinnamon Sugar to garnish

Instructions:

1. Set up a double boiler using a heavy pot and a Pyrex bowl. Fill the pot approx. 1/3 with water and heat water to just below boiling.  In the bowl, place your chips and 100 ml of Rumchata. Place the bowl over the pot. As the chips begin to melt down, stir the Rumchata and chips together, creating a smooth mixture.

2. Pour half of the ganache in each crust, spreading so that it creates an even layer, then place in the fridge to set for 20 minutes.

3. While the ganache is setting, add your remaining Rumchata to the Cool Whip and stir to blend. Put aside in the fridge until ready to add it.

4. Once the ganache has set (it shouldn’t move about easily if the pan is tilted), add half of the cheesecake base to each crust and spread so it creates an even layer.

5. Add half the Cool Whip to the top of each cheesecake, spreading evenly.

6. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over each, and serve or store in the fridge until later.

Letters to Pennsic – Aug 7 2017 (AS 52)

Dear Mistress Acelina,

I must confess that my heart is full of joy and pride at hearing of the chivalry and courtesy that the Dragon’s youngest warriors are displaying, possibly more so than our esteemed Crown. And even more so that you are once more being called to guide them on their journeys! These are exciting times, indeed!

I have been lucky thus far to work with Gareth on training some enthusiastic fighters in Carraig Ban who are slightly younger than myself. Their thirst for battle rivals my own, though I seek more now to temper mine with tenacity rather than simple prowess. I am hoping, too, that I can encourage Sirs Sabah and Robert Downey to come out and assist with their training, for I am certain that their experience will help hone both the blades and minds of those who wish to learn from them.

I visited with Baroness Epona today in her home, which is not far from my own, and she is alive and well. We spoke at length about her upcoming elevation to the Order of the Pelican and I gave her a small token to wear on her chains. I once more conveyed my regret at not being able to attend such a joyous occasion where I would see not only she, but Baron Gareth be recognized for their contributions, but they both understand — the Watch demands me to be present, and present I shall be. Lady Johara also visited during that time, so I was able to enjoy both of their company and see that they both are in relatively good health.

I admit that I was overjoyed to hear that our kingdom’s champions were victorious today in battle. I know that Brynn is excited at the opportunity to fight for the Midrealm as a newly minted Combat Archer, but please ensure that he is properly rested and healed from his injury before he fights. I do not wish for him to enter Valhalla before his time.

You mentioned in your last missive that you are planning on playing one of your instruments this week. Do you have a particular time that you will be performing, or just as the feeling moves you?

My turn on the watch is nearly through. After I sleep for a bit, I shall begin working on new garb for Johara and Sabah, and packing for my own journey later this week.

With all fondness,
Samii

Letters to Pennsic – Aug 5 2017 (AS 52)

Dear Mistress Acelina,

Today was an unseasonably cool and supposedly drizzly day on the Western front. I ended up roasting some carrots and tossing them in a butter and honey whiskey sauce, and roasting off some zucchini and summer squash for lunch earlier since the day called for a heartwarming meal.

I heard from the missives of several others earlier that it was cold and wet at War today. Hopefully, the weather passes into less humid and drier conditions for the armies that are gathering. I hear that there is another day of so of revelry where all parties are at peace before everyone takes up arms.

I must confess that my heart beats with the sound of war drums in my ears and I am longing to stand next to my friends and family and take up arms. But such is the way with fighters, as I’m sure you know. I am passing the time until everyone returns home with crafts and chores. There are scrolls to paint, clothes to sew, leather to tool.

In a week’s time, I will be on my way to curate a market in the Barony of Sternfeld dedicated to the celebration of our animal companions. It will be my last time in this role, and it is bittersweet. However, as I mentioned, the war drums call to my heart and soul, and I shall be able to answer them more readily in future years.

May your days be dry and filled with enjoyment, and I gleefully await your next missive!

Samii

Letters to Pennsic – Aug 2 2017 (AS 52)

Dear Mistress Acelina:

The weather in Carraig Ban is less ominous than that at War today, though still hot and a touch humid.

I picked up fabric yesterday to start working on my clothes for Fall Crown, though I have zero desire to start working on anything just yet. Not for fear of mis-cutting something (though that’s always a worry), but just simply because the day is quickly getting away from me. It’ll pass and I’ll take care of it eventually.

On my way home, I took some of the less traveled roads between Ayreton and Carraig Ban. The crops will soon be ready for harvest and there appeared to be a lack of bandits. I avoided the waterways, however, for I hear there are tax collectors that prowl the banks relentlessly, or so Sir Sabah has mentioned.

I think that I shall lie down for a bit and maybe take on a bit of cider while I enjoy the last bits of leave that I have until tonight when I am on watch again. Carraig Ban’s towers require constant vigilance in the event that travelers call for aid, and I am grateful that Their Excellencies Hillary and Gareth have allowed me to remain in Her Excellency Epona’s territories and be of service while they sort out their disagreements.

31 Fight Challenge – Fight 1

Today, at the Canton of Rokkehealden’s event Day of Playe 2, I had my first fight of 31.

Many thanks to Siobhan, as MiC, for providing me space to hold the field, and to my friend Zygarr for the first fight of the challenge.

When I arrived on site, I wasn’t sure if I was going to armor up or not. My right shoulder has been bugging me a bit since Tuesday afternoon and I didn’t want to reaggravate it, especially with Swine and Roses coming up next weekend. After a bit of chatting with folks and being prod a bit by both Siobhan and Zygarr, I armored up to fight.

Zygarr just built a new greatsword a couple of weeks prior and wanted to try it out, so I grabbed Nameless (the smaller and lighter of my two greatswords) and we danced. We did 4 rounds of pickups, with each of us taking 2 of the rounds as wins and then having a discussion about greatsword form and headspace following it. Mostly, though, that 20 minutes of fighting did more to restore my confidence in my abilities with my weapons and armor than the last few months of practices have, and that is invaluable to me, especially as I’d faced several bouts of imposter syndrome recently.

1 down, 30 to go.

Be The Knight

There are a lot of things that are swirling about in my head regarding the SCA as of late. It’s where I hang my metaphorical hat when I’m beyond done being a responsible adult and 911 Dispatcher.

The pervasive thought in my head currently has come up because of a parade I’m walking in tomorrow for the 4th of July with some of the Barony of Ayreton members. I asked a question a few days ago: garb or armor? I received responses mostly leaning towards armor, and I agree with them, but for my own reason that representation matters.

To some kid, tomorrow, I’m going to be their knight. And so is my friend, Saraswati.

To some of these kids that will be along the parade path tomorrow, we will represent to them that they can be anything they want to be, even a knight. And that’s huge. That’s what The Dream is about, to me. Being the inspiration to someone when they need it, even if they don’t realize it.

That is why, despite the fact that I am at work tonight and will get zero sleep before the parade, I will armor up tomorrow morning and walk in 80+ degree weather with my Baron and Baroness and members of the Ayreton populace.

Because I’m going to make some kid’s day when they see me in my red tunic, black pants and boots, and silver armor. Because representation matters so very much in this day and age. Because the simple act of me playing the part will give someone hope and make them smile, even if it’s just for a little bit.

So, I’m going to gear up and act like a knight despite being so very far from that goal within the Society.