Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Northkeep Populace

Well, I know this is late, considering that Northkeeps populace was Monday and it is Wednesday night now, but such is life.

I made it to Northkeep on time and ready to go. This particular run I got to use my newly upgraded heralds bag. I went to Hobby lobby last weekend and picked up one of the small wooden boxes that look like a hardcover book when its all closed up. Not exactly period, but it made a great place to put my pens and note cards.

I was honestly expecting to sit out this month's meeting, but it looks like Lord Kevin was having a bad time of it, and said he wanted to sit this the meeting out as much as he could. He has been having a bad time with his health of late, and I hope that he's back to full strength soon. As much as I enjoy heralding, I don't like seeing friends or colleagues at less than 100%.

On a more upbeat note, I have something of a student. Lord Talbot The mad has become Kevin's local deputy for voice heralding. While I this is not any official relationship, the chance to tell Talbot about the basics of court and how its handled was a real good thing for me as I have been learning court heraldry and its kin for years, but have always been reluctant to teach it because I never really realized how much I knew.

As for Northkeep itself, the meeting went well, and I enjoyed heralding it.

And something else I have learned that I bet my 'big wig" cousins who cry for the crown might not have picked up on. Before the meeting, I asked for people to come to me if they had business, and told them i would arrange the items in order.

This comes from a bad experience a few months ago. I had never asked what was being done before and wound up having some poor guy have to stand up and offer a tent for sale AFTER the Baron had just got finished talking about some sad local news in the group. I don't know if their is a technical term for that, but where I come from, its called bad timing. I am going to make it a point to try and make sure no one ever has to follow somehting like that again with mundane or funny news.

But other than that the meeting was good, and smooth, just the way they are supposed to be.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wiesenfeuer Baronial Championships

Well, I know I didn't exactly get on this as soon as I got back, but life (in the SCA and out) have been hopping as of late.

Quick note from the real world: My car had been in the shop for over a month now, and i just found out that it will be a bit longer... The head mechanic got arrested and is likely going to jail for a few years.

Well, back to the SCA.

This weekend past was Wiesenfeuer's Baronial competition. And I had volunteered a long time ago to help out and head up the list heraldry. I would have loved to handle site heraldry as well, but Lord Thomas decided that he would handle that as part of his autocrating responsibilities. Not long before the event I (in my capacity as the Deputy Minister for A&S classes in Mooneschadowe) Attended a round table discussion on Largess, and heard from a number of people on the topic, including a bunch of peers.

I must admit, that as my goals include increasing the practice of heralding in the North, I consider myself remiss in not making my 'thank yous' more tangible. So, before actually heading out to the event, I stopped by Hobby Lobby and did some creative purchasing. I always wanted to make something functional, and not just "pretty" to hand out. I started in the wood section, and eventually found little hinged boxes that looked like they were meant to hold two small stacks of business cards. At $0.99 a pop (and 30% off that day) I grabbed 4. After that I made my way to the beading aisle and purchased a bag of red beads, a bag of pearls and a roll of black cord. After that I made off for staples. Once there, I looked around and located a box of golf pens (these were short G-3 gel pens, really nice) in boxes of 12 for $3 something, including tax. After that I purchased a box of alligator type paper clips for $2.50, and had the lady at the stationary counter chop me up about 140 blank business cards, that was a grand total of about a buck fifty or so.

So, what does all this get me... a few things.

1) I took each box and put 3 golf pens in it, about twenty five or thirty cards, and 3 alligator clips. End result, a relatively durable, basic heraldry kit for taking notes and the like while heralding.

2) I took the black cord, and strung a single red and white set of beads on it, then tied it off, an then tied a small loop in it, about big enouigh to pass around a belt. As thiose are my colors, but are not a badge or device, I can declare them as my informal token, a heraldic 'signature' of sorts that will let someone have a proverbial receipt form me showing the world that I thought their work was quality.

So, I arrive at camp Ek-Oh-Wa Friday night (thank God in heaven for Cabins, pitching my tent at night is a mess that I didn't want to deal with), check in, make sure everything is still going as scheduled with the event, and then, eventually, call it a night.

Saturday was a good day, court was mostly on time as I recall (a ever more common happening in the North these days) and I announced to the assembled people that I was looking for List heralds.

Well, let me say here, I was hoping and praying for four people to volunteer, and was ready for two. I got five, and fortunately, three of them had never done it before, but two of the volunteers had, and with myself included, that let me pare off someone experienced and new together and let the even more on without hesitation.

The first to volunteer was Lord Pookie. Pookie is the gentle giant of Namron, and has the work ethic of a draft horse. He had never actually list heralded before, but the man's "simple" looking expression is one that I know to be highly misleading.
Another Volunteer was Lord Lorenzo from Wiesenfeuer. He was another newcomer to the heraldic arts, but was eager enouigh, and again, I wasn't dealing with someone who wasn't up the task.
A third person to step forwas, much to my delight and surprise, was an eleven-year-old girl named Thora, who wanted to give it a try, but also had never done it before.

At this point I was ready to pull my hair out. Without another experienced person, the situation would be too much for one experienced herald to handle.

However, the good lord provideth!

lady Fiedya (spelling?), whom I had never met before, stepped forward and said that he had heralded a bunch of times and would be happy to help out. A few minutes later, Lady Elisabeth Pendarin (I think that's her surname) stopped me as I was walking by and said much the same thing.


So, I paired off the newcomers with the tried and true corps, and made sure to check on everyone for sunscreen, water and shade.

Pookie helped where he could, and according to lady Fiedya, he did well before he had to step away to tend to another matter. Elisabeth said that Thora had a lot to learn, but she did what she understood well, and stuck with it as long as she could before her father needed her. I wound up calling a few rounds, but Fiedya and Elisabeth were on their feet for most of the tournament. Lorenzo set a steady learning curve for himself, and just kept with it until he had the ropes figured out for himself. About halfway through I let him take over for himself, and was pleased to see that he did, indeed have it down.

Everyone did their best, and that was a lot in and of itself. I made sure to pass word on to the Baron and Baroness of Wiesenfuer the high quality and enthusiasm for Field heraldry I had seen, and both of them were very happy to hear of the turnout at my request.

After that I crashed at the cabin. I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, and I was just tired after running around heralding and checking on five other heralds.

Indicently, I slept through the second two tournaments, but the people running both very clearly told my wife that both tournaments formats really didn't need a herald and to let me sleep. Honestly, I was glad for the rest.

That evening at Feast, I was invited to speak to the assembled people about the list heralding. I started off by saying that I would be brief, and that along got me applause. but seriously, I thanked the people who helped, gave each of them one of my cords and beads to signify what they had done, and then gave Pookie, Thora, Fieda and Lorenzo one of my boxes. Don't feel too bad for Elisabeth, she had a kit with her that puts MY herald's bag to shame.

I also went to the head table to thank His Excellency for letting me herald his event. HE Elric and I have known each other for some time, and I was really touched when he replied "Ivo, your continued service to this barony, even after stepping down as its bardic champion, is heartwarming, and wonderful. Thank you for you service to us and our barony." With that he handed me a small marble or polished stone egg and added. "I collect stone eggs, and this is the smallest I have ever seen, take it as my thanks."

I replied with a hand shake and another of the beads and cord assembly. "This is my signature, I have seen your works, your excellency, if any should call them into question, this is my promise that I will stand up in defense of your good name and noble character."

The event itself was far, far more involved than the small bits I mentioned above, but it was a good event, and I wanted to cover the heralding, and what I managed to accomplish.

I'm hoping to make a bunch more of the boxes and the bead and string tokens in the future. It looks like help will be needed heralding at Beltane also, so I'll probably be able to get some use out of them there.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Nomran Medeival Fair

Well, this weekend was thew annual Norman Medfair, the single biggest recruiting opportunity for Oklahoma SCAers.

The original plan was for Myself and Cair (the 9 year-old daughter of a friend) to load up in my car and spend the weekend down in Norman with the Barony of Namron working the SCA display at the fair.

Well, Plan A fell through on Friday when the mechanic said my car wasn't going to be ready for another week (New engine, the old one died). So I headed back to my house and called some friends.

Fortunately, I managed a ride down to Med Fair Saturday morning, as well as rides to the post revel, and a place to stay Saturday night. Thank God for friends and the hospitality of the Barony of Namron.

The fair itself was something else, word amongst the SCAers there was that the 3 day total would be over 500,000 attendance. I arrived before the fair opened on Saturday morning, and after helping to pitch tents and pavilions I wound up helping Lord Wolfgang with showing people the rather Impressive Ballista and Trebuchet that were set up at the entrance to the SCA encampment. I wasn't trying to become a showpiece performer or anything, but by lunchtime I had a lot of SCAers telling me that they were referring visitors to me with questions about the siege equipment because I knew what I was talking about.

If they only knew ;)

but seriously, by the end of Saturday, and lunchtime Sunday, i was commanding crowds of fifty or more every half hour or so for my little ten minute lecture about the workings and history of siege weapons. I spoke about the English "War Wolf" treb, which was reportedly able to put a 300 pound projectile through a castle wall like a hot knife through butter. And about the old Roman Ballista, which were fielded in batteries like modern light artillery and used with devastating effectiveness in the centuries before and after Christ's birth. I also talked about how modern reconstructions of Ballista were able to launch projectiles with enough force to crack small engine blocks if they had the right type of bolt.

Here is some footage of a modern Treb to give you some idea of what type of firepower these things did (and didn't) have.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"