Friday, June 27, 2008

Online Class

Okay, I'll make this short and sweet. I' have been teaching List field heraldry in the classroom and on the field for over two years now. I dont mind teaching, and I love the chance to do it.

However, I still get people who don't know how to list herald, and they usually don't have time to take a class, and not enough confidence to jump in on the spot and learn on the fly. Its not a simple thing to do cold, but if you know enough of what is going on, then its not hard to take a set of cards and run with them

Well, for better or for worse, I have taken my class to the next level in accessibility.

I did an online presentation that you can click on and take in your own home.

No certifications, no spiffy cool gifts if you understand everything... just a lot of information that will hopefully let people understand and enjoy list heralding as much as I do.

Presently, its linked at the top right corner of my blog as an online course.

(IE, look left, and up of this post, and you should see it.)

And I know... It needs a LOT of editing...but I just couldn't wait that long.

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

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Little bit of housekeeping

Okay, I admit it, I'm a Google Addict right now. Between Firefox and its umpteen hundreds of addons (I think my home computer has thrity-somehting by now) and all of the Google features like calendar, documents, and whatnot, I am actually very happy to make make use of some of the features that I have at my disposal.

My Classes:

I have web published my List heralding 101, and my Site heralding 101 classes to theweb. The notes are actually fairly self explanitory, so I am comfortable with tossing them out to the world and letting the world have them. You should see them at the top left of this page, feel free to copy them to whatever word processor you want.

My Google Calander:

I dont know who really wants to know when and where I will be at what SCA activity, but I figured what the heck... might as well put myself out there and see if its usefull. You'll see that just under my list of the most current blog posts.

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

Stillwater Celtic Music and Heritage Festival

Okay, it wasn't exactly an SCA event, and I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this because it was not really relivant to me as a herald. However, Mooneschadowe decided, at something of the last minute, to do a demo and help out the organizers of the Celtic Music festival this past saturday.

All in all, it was a lot of fun, and a great chance to get out and show the public what we are and are about. I think some 200-400 people came by and asked questions and the like, and I am fairly sure that we will see some of them again. One former marine was litterlly giddy with excitement when I told him about heavy weapon's fighting.

Anyway, as Demos go, this one was well worth the time invested, and I am exceedingly glad that we pulled through and did it.

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

Monday, June 16, 2008

King's College

Well, this was a little break from my usual SCA traditions. Not that going to king's college was unuusal, I went last year and loved it. But how I went about it this year was a little out of the ordinary for me, but not to say that it wasn't fun all the way.

My wife decided weeks ago that she wasn't going to this one, between the fact that it was outdoors and that that we would have to take our son along, it was just decided that it was better if I go alone. So, I cleaned out my car and found someone to ride with me and split gas for the trip down there.

The other half of my trip down there was Aonghas, from Namron. I've known the man for some time, though never really gotten to know him very well. So, I knew the trip would solve that deficiency, for better for for worse, pretty quickly.

I got started off pretty early on Saturday morning, and was on the road my about five thirty in the morning. It was a little scary at first, a rain storm had moved in the night before, and left behind the making for a perfectly opaque fog bank its its wake. Well, guess what Mooneschadowe was looking at for the early morning...

Yep, I had trouble seeing the front of my own car for about the first forty minutes of the trip.

Anyway, the sun came out and cooked most of the worse of it off before I cleared Wiesenfuer, and by the time to got to Namron the sky was clear. Aonghas met me not far off the main highway, so it was a time efficient pickup and then we were off to the event.

I must say, its always fun to get to meet people, and Aonghas was no exception. It turns out we're both pretty well read in matters military, history, and some politics. We both like good SCA stories and both have more than a few to offer any conversation, and we both seem to not want to kill each other... no small accomplishment when you consider that we were crammed into my Pontiac Grand Am for 4 hours.

We got to sight about nine thirty as I recall, and I knew instantly that the weather was going to be an issue. I knew weeks ago that it was going to be an out door event, and being in Texas and in June, I knew better than to expect anything 'cool' from the situation. But that Saturday was a clear sky with the sun beating down like a furnish. I wound up trying to take a coin making class that morning, but it turned out to be about a dozen people crammed under a small pavilion in one of the dead areas with no breeze. This, combined with my medical situation of late, the medications their with, and my own dislike of the sun finally made me duck out of the class at the half way point. I hated doing it, it was exactly the type of thing that I always swore I would never to to an instructor myself... But it was either that or have me pass out from heat exhaustion or worse.

I spent the next hour or so seated next to troll (one of the open front buildings that had shade but no breeze) parked in front of a fan, trying to cool down. It took time, lots of it, but I finally go to a point where I didn't feel like a balloon filled with boiling water.

When I got myself back to a working frame of mind, I decided to go and scout out my 'classroom' before the lunchtime hour wrapped out.

Interesting what I found. It turns out that my pavilion lost an earlier argument with the wind, so their wasn't even that when I got there.

However... their was this huge tree less than twenty feet away, with wide branches and thick leaves. The shadow this thing cast was as large of small small college classrooms I had been in, and the breeze at that point was just heavenly, taking the air temp down to the high seventies where I was sure it was pushing ninety in the open sun. So, it didn't take me long to figure out where my class was going to be held. Before coming, I had run out and purchased lemonade (three two-letter bottles), summer sausage and some apples. Honestly, most of it was for me in the event I got hot of hungry, but my plan was offer it to any of my students who wanted it as well.

So I set myself up under the tree, using one of the tables provided by Steppes (It literally had "Steppes" written across the face) I set up my drinks, some ceramic mugs, the apples and the summer sausage. Then, I sat down and waited while I ate my lunch (Wal-mart roast beef sandwich).

Now, here I feel justified in pointing out a few things. When I arrived on site that morning, each of my two classes had five or more people signed up to take the, and I noted that only two names were repeated between the two lists. Well, two o'clock rolled around, and low and behind, one person showed up. More to the point, she was from Namron (less than two hours of my house).

So, yes, I am just a little sore about that aspect of my trip down. I don't mind the travel, but the time and effort only to teach someone who lives a few hours from my home... I think you can probably understand my frustration.

Now, that being said, I started my class and went through the whole thing for her, answering any questions she asked, and explaining where my opinions differed from some of the more widely held thoughts on Site heraldry.

Attendance issues aside, the first class went wonderfully , and I felt that she really took away a lot of useful information.

The second class saw my existing student say and be joined by another, so my list heralding class, at least had that much more going for it. Its not that their was a lot of stuff to cover, List heraldry is pretty straight forward on its face, but I really wanted them to discover the background and history of what they were doing, and I feel like I managed to do that with a good measure of success.

When it was all done, I was happy with what I had accomplished, and glad for the chance to teach.

Still having lemonade and summer sausage left, I made sure to flag down the classes on either side of me (Belly dancing/ Drumming and side-sword). Its amazing how popular you can be when you have cold drinks.

Per chance, I wound up in an hour long conversation with the Baroness of Bryn Gwlad, though I didn't realize it until about half way though because she wasn't waring her cornet. It was an interesting chat, and I think we both walked away from it having learned as much as we had to tell the other.

The afternoon court was actually fairly short, and even though the room was air conditioned, even the AC was fighting against the sun and the number of people packed in their. A good number of awards were given out, Including a Sable Crane to Lord Miles, who's hard work across the north I have seen crop up time and time again, so a definite well-done to the man.

Afterwords, Aonghas and I stayed and helped break down the site with everyone. I have to admit, the heat of the day and my medical situation slowed me down terribly, and I really felt like a slacker about ten minutes into the cleanup because I was sweating so hard and feeling so tired.

But, it wasn't a fruitless endeavor. I wound up talked at length with Lord Sebastian, who had taught archery class during the day. After some small talk about mundane items and firearms, Sebastian pulled out one of his smaller bows and gave me an ad hoc class in how to draw and shoot a longbow. Now I know their are plenty of different methods, but his actually seemed to click for me. It just made sense and seemed intuitive for me once he showed me all the little tricks and such. Im looking forward to pulling out my bow now and seeing how well I can shoot it once I get a decent set of arrows made up.

Afterwords, we decided to run south a but (a long bit) and have dinner in Arlington with some newly founds friends. For the record, Arlington was like an hour and ten minutes south of us... and we walked into this Sushi restaurant dressed in the same hot and sweaty clothing that we had on all day.

But hay, it was fun and I really enjoyed the chance to meet even more people. Between the dinner and the barking lot conversation we didn't leave Arlington until nearly eleven thirty that night.

God bless the family that was putting us up for the night, Aonghas and I each had guest bedrooms, with our own showers waiting for us when we got there. I showered, dress for bed and barely remimber hitting the mattress before I was out like a lite. The next morning breakfast was fresh fruit and cerial, as well as pleasant conversation. All said and done, Duncan and his lady were wonderful hosts, and I look forward to seeing them again when and if they make it north.

The trip back wasn't quite as smooth as I would have linked. My car has AC, but it wasn't up to the thermal punishment of a June, noontime sun, and I was cooking my the time I made it to Norman. I wound up crashing at the Denney's there for a while just to cool down for a while.

All in all, I'm glad I made it. I'm glad I went out on the 2 hours dinner run I did, and I'm glad I got to talk with all the people i did. It was all worth it... even if Gas is 3.79 a gallon.

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

Monday, June 9, 2008

Eldern XXX

Their are days where I wake up before an event and honestly pray to God for a perfect event. Its not often; I'm just chaotic enough to enjoy a little havoc in my day, but still, when things need to happen right, I really, really want them to, and I try and make sure I do everything I can to help that happen.

Well, guess what. This weekend at Eldern... that's exactly what happened.
More to the point, just about everything that could go RIGHT, did.
and Just about everything that could have gone wrong... Didn't

I was only really there for the tournaments, my ride had obligations that kept us hopping throughout the day. but I showed up at Lady Muirenn's request to manage the site heralds, and things just started falling into place after that.

First of all, the first two people I had sign up were Lady Mave and her Sister Myren. I had seen Myren a few times before, but never seen her herald that I could recall. Mave assured me she knew the routine just fine. And Mave... well I knew she could teach me a few things, so I was good to go there.

Muirenn, for her part, was situated under the list mistresses' Pavilion effectively sweating bullets because she had never done List-mistressing before. HL Elizabeth De Calis was next to her, and much calmer, but equally inexperienced as I recall. I took the initiative and asked JP (their current champion) to check on his support crew. Part of that was because JP hadn't had a chance to say hi yet, and part of it was because Murienn looked like she was about to have a heart attack, and needed a little positive reinforcement.

JP walked over and spoke with both ladies for just a few minutes about how a classic "swiss five" format worked. He walked away very surprised at how receptive they were to basic instructions. I guess its something of a commonplace occurrence for people to argue with the system, but JP said they listened, nodded, asked questions, and then repeated back what they needed to know without any problems.

The tournaments themselves were something to beheld. Rapier and Heavy, each had their own field, and both heralded by an extremely competent, capable herald. I walked between the two fields, making sure my charges had water, shade, any just about anything else they needed.

The water Barrer's pavilion kept everyone loaded with fresh fruit, Gatorade, water, and cookies. A Job well done.

Something of a side note, one of my Heralds, Mave, was wanted to herald specifically so she wouldn't have to think about the fact that her husband was in the heavy weapons tournament. She wanted to stay busy, so I gave her the light weapon's field and told her to keep it well under watch.

Well, that worked until round four out of five was over, her lord, HL Aldrich De Kurr, was 4-0 and so far looking sharp. Going into round 5, it was known that if he won his fight, their would be a one-on-one fight off between him and the only other undefeated fighter on the field, Earl Daffyth.

Mave insisted on heralding the round, so I stood next to her as her husband was called out for the first fight. The round lasted three blows, Aldrich delivered all three of them with skull jarring efficiency. Mave was literally giddy with excitement, so much so that she was shaking as she tried to flip to the next set of cards and call out the next paring. I reached over and snatched the cards out of her hand. "Go kiss your husband, I've got this!" She didn't even hesitate, and shot off to be with Aldrich as he contemplated the fact that he was about to face off against a past King in the last round.

She came back a few minutes later, looking VERY relieved, and grateful for the chance to congratulate her husband. I let her call the last fights while I got ready to call the last round.

The two remaining fighters agreed to a single sword fight. To quote JP, the format would be simple.

Two men enter... One man leaves.

I stood in the middle of the field and called both men on by their full tile, and then declared to the audience that they were now witness to the final round of the event, and that the fatal blow delivered here would decide the next champion of Eldern Hills.

The Baron and Baroness both instructed the fighters towards their honorable conduct, and then the men came to the center of the field.

I called a full roll of salutes, and let each man take as much time as he wanted.

Mave was standing at the sidelines, practically shaking with excitement and worry.

After the final salute--honor to your opponent--was given, I stood asside and let the marshals command the field.

On 'lay-on', the two men moved in a slow circle, Daffyth making wide, steady motions, Aldrich moving with slow, deliberate steps, his thick arm cocked to deliver a blow the second he felt a target was open.

In one instant, both men fired. Dafyth's sword hit Aldrich's left arm...a severing blow by any measure.

But Aldrich's shot sent his weapon into Dafyth's helmit like a rifle shell. The good news for Daffyth was that his helmit stayed attached to his body... the bad news was that it stayed attached to his body!

The shot sent him flying like a rag doll. and a half second later, his helmit, and everything in it, hit the ground like a sack of potatoes.

I exploded at the top of my lungs the instant I realized what I has seen. "Victor by right of arms! His Lordship, Aldrich De Kurr!"

When it was all over, and everything was said and done, the one thing everyone was saying was that the tournament couldn't have gone any better. It went through fast, it went smoothly, and it happened without any delays or problems.

A lot of people thanked me for my work organizing the heralding. But the truth of the mater is, and I told them this, that I was handed a great team of people who knew how to do the job, and a majority of the thanks was due to them.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk

Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Populace meetings....

Well, I managed to make it to the traditional three-meeting run last week without any hangups. I wish I could report something interesting, but Wiesenfeuer was business as usual, Mooneschadowe was crammed into a back room... so that didn't exactly get me going in the best of moods, and Namron was Namron; one big dinner meeting with a lot of conversation and a lot of business.

I wound up heralding Mooneschaowe's meeting, though I wasn't exactly in top form that night. The truth be told, I'm actually regretting saying yes; someone shouldn't take on a heraldry job unless they are in top form; your too 'up front' and in the public eye to get away with the type of mistakes or expressions that a tired officer or even a tired scenschal could pass off.

Namorn was actually cool, however, but when you frame you meeting around the whole idea of "we need to chill out and just enjoy this"... you're going to be a pretty mello crew:)

Also, It turns out that Lady Adelheid got the job of Baronial herald.

Cheers to her and best of luck. Lord Wolfgang quickly pointed out how many heralds their were in Namron, and then added that I was the regional force to be reckoned with, or something along those lines. I'm hoping to be taking the warranting class at red tape later this year, so I'll probably see her there.

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

Sunday, June 1, 2008

And about Eldern XXX.

Okay, as you probably know, this past month and a half have been hell for me. And while Castellan was a blast, it didn't just erase the down sides of my life.

Their were, however, a few things that happened that helped keep me going through the thick of it. Below is one of them.

May 28th-Mooneschadowe List:


Would Lord Ivo please contact me off list?

Muirenn inghean Chonaill
Barony of Eldern Hills
Humility is not thinking less of you, but of you less


I replied about half an hour later, directly to Muirenn and then got the following.

Thank you for being so prompt. I need a list herald for Eldern XXX
(actually two) and again I beg a boon from you. If you can do this I
would so greatly appericate it.

Newly talked into being list mistress


Well, of course I wanted to help, but I didn't have a ride yet, so I posted to the Mooneschadowe list to see if anyone was going. I think it was the next day that I got this E-mail from Muirenn.


I noticed that you are trying to get a ride to Eldern. While I know
you are the most dependable Herald and Lord I have met, please do not
take time from your family to do this. My cry has been answered by
many, though I still think you are the best herald and work endlessly
for those of us in need.


Well, if I was going or not, thats the type of letter a man needs to lift his spirits after a bad month. I was about ready to kiss her I was so thrilled for the compliment.

However, not one to let a call for heralding go unanswered without a fight, I replied with this:



I have secured a Ride for Saturday with JP, who will have to be there

before the lists as he is the current Champion.

I will be happy to come and help herald the lists for you.

Besides, I've never heard anyone complaining about having too many heralds, right? ;)



I think the woman was doing hand springs when she replied to that. here, judge for yourself.


You are so awesome!! I so wanted you to be able to do it and this way people can rest their voices.


Okay... so that is all taken care of, right...


I most recently met up with Murienn at Castellan.

Specifically, she was one of the louder "vivats" in the background when I got my Sable Crane.

Anyway, later on, JP (who is the current Chivalric Champion of Eldern Hills) gathered me and Muirenn up and did a quick sketch of how this year's tourney would go. At the end of the ad hoc planning session, I stopped Muirenn and asked her who was in overall charge of the list heralds.

I don't know if she hadn't thought of that before, or if she was just hesitating with her answer, but after a moment nervous fidgeting, she looked at me and said. "Would you do it?"

Nodding with a smile I told her it would be an honor. She seemed a little worried about how everything would go, but I smiled again and said " Don't worry, you will have a top notch knight managing the format, you have a good plan of how to organize the parings, and you will have a top rate team of heralds to run it all. We're going to have a blast!"

She smiled back at me and said "You are so wonderful, Ivo."

I'm not perfect, but God help me, its good to know that I am making a difference out there.

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

Not the only one in town!

Another quick bit of news from Castellan.

A few weeks ago I posted about how Northkeep's Talbot the Mad (he said it, not me) was stepping up to the role of local herald and with Kevin's help he was learning how to handle a court setting.

Well, let me tell you, Talbot was, from what I remember, the Baronial herald for all of Saturday at the event. And he was handling himself well with a good court presence, excellent projection, no more fumbling with big names than anyone else in the field, and diction that I can only qualify as professional in grade.

Like I've said before, I was an outsider who was welcomed to Norhtkeep and allowed to herald. This is no shame in letting someone else step up to the job, and only joy in my hear when I consider how good Talbot seems to be at it.

On another note, I also spoke with lady Adelheid, from Namron. She mentioned that she had put in for the office of Baronial herald, and from the way she was talking, she seemed a little worried that maybe she had bitten off more than she had first thought. Their was no real fear in her voice, mind you, but, she definitely was both excited and a little nervous at the prospect of getting the job. She hadn't gotten it yet, and it may still go to someone else. But none the less, she kept saying how she wasn't sure how to call a court or announce a meeting.

I gave her big pat on the back and reminded her that a healthy portion of the norther regional herald brain-trust resided in Namron. Also, I told her that she could call me and I would help her out any way I could. If she gets it, I'll be there (hopefully with a lot of other heralds) to make she she gets the training she needs. And if not, I told her that all that means is that she had a excellent chance to learn the ropes as a deputy and then take the job the next time their's an opening.

My last comment to her was "Hay, herald's watch out for their own."

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

A herald's Point

Okay, some stuff from Castellan that I thought deserved its on little place here.

When I got to the event, I saw that lord Kevin had set up a table in front of the feast hall, covered it with a table cloth and a Heralds tabard, giving the herald a central, static headquarters that all heraldry, site, list and even court could be coordinated from.

I haven't had a chance to talk with Kevin about how it went, but it was good to see that type of idea put in place again at a local level. I'm really only used to seeing it at regional or kingdom level events, and only sometimes at that. I'm definitely going to talk with Kevin about how it went and what he might do differently if he were to do it again. I've been campaigning to get a herald's Pavilion acquired for Mooneschadowe for a while, but the way Kevin set his up reminded me that their are plenty of alternatives to be had.

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

Castellan XIV

The plan for the me this event was to day trip it with my son and Master Robert Fitzmorgan. We all piled into my van and made a early morning day run out of it As far as heraldry went, the only plans I had was to do some list heraldry for the rapier fighters, and other than that was to watch my son and socialize.

Quiet, easy, nothing happening to me, lightweight event... right?

eh... try again.

Things got off to an interesting start when we pulled up to site and were told that court was due to begin in like 5 minutes. About ten minutes later I heard the distant cries of a royal court opening, and about three minutes later mother nature rendered the whole situation mute when it opened up with a rainstorm worth of the title downpour.

So, I got to watch as a hundred or so SCAers did a mad dash to the main hall for cover. While a horrible thing to say, I must point out that several people were making better time than I would have thought possible in their specific garb.

However, I still had to change into garb so I ducked into the administration building to use their bathroom. When I came out, I heard a thunderous, roaring "Vivat" from the main hall. I jokingly said aloud "Wow, sounds like they're about to make someone." And of course, I started towards the hall at a quick clip to see what all the fuss was about. A moment later The herald stepped outside and cried "Her majesty has summoned all members of the order of the Pelican."

"Holy smokes! They ARE making someone!" My hustle turned into a run at that point.

I got there in time to hear that Elizabetta ap Isfjord was being offered the rank of pelican. Considering her history in Northkeep, as well as friendships in Mooneschadowe and across a good part of the north, it was, needless to say, a pretty good way to get an event kicked off with a bang!

Well, the rains cleared, the sun came out and promptly turned the event into a sauna. It took me about an hour to admit it, but I finally had to loose my headgear for fear of passing out in the heat. This was also the first event where I was carrying around my staff. it was nothing more than an 1 3/4" pile from a local hardware store, but I kind of knew that it would be needed given my current condition, the heat, humidity and how long the day was going to be for me.

A short time later, I ran into an old friend who I hadn't seen in a long time, and he was setting up his merchanting tent. During the ensuing conversation, I was offered a trade up in walking stick, he had a really nice, spiral cut staff with an ornamental head (In reality, it was a decorative curtain rod with only one end screwed on.) The plan was for me to carry his stuff around for most of the day and advertise it, he got free air time, and I got a cool looking staff.

The morning was spent walking around and talking with friends, catching up with people I hadn't seen in a while and watching my son, who was being traded off between me and his mother throughout the day. (My wife was camping the event because she and a friend were cooking food for the crown that weekend.)
I'll cover some highlights in separate posts after this one, mainly because of how diverse the topics are.

The afternoon brought the Rapier tournament, which I had asked to do a little heralding for, so that was my big treat to myself for the day. The list was a little smaller than usual this year, only ten people, and the way Dirk was running it meant that all I really had to do was call the pairings. In honesty, I was hoping for a more traditional format where I got to go out and call rounds and salutes, but at the same time I still got to hang out and talk with the rapier fighters, and calling parings is always fun.

After about three or four rounds, I started to feel really tired, a direct result of my medical situation I knew, so I waived down Dirk and told him that I was good for another set of parings and after that I was going to track down some shade and cold water. So, I called the next set of parings, and then handed the cards off to the marshals for the last time. I don't think I was clear of the list field when I heard HE Donnchadh let fly with "This does reopen the court of her Majesty, Vanessa De Varona..." I spun on my heals to see the royal court and champions walking out into the list field with a rather quick spring to their step.

I've known most of the rapier fighters who were their for a long time, so I hung around so see what the Queen had in store for them. The first item of business was the naming of the General of the Rapier army of Ansteorra. That title went to Dona Therese Maria Giovanni, whom I know is not only a good leader, but a charismatic one who the kingdom will follow to the front door of hell if need be.

Next, her Majesty presented the northern region with the Queen's battle ribbon, a fitting rapier counterpart to the Kings battle ribbon which was awarded to the north at gulf wars.

Their was a lot of chatter after that, and a lot of righteous (and well earned) cheering, Figuring that court was over, I decided that I really did need to get a head start on some shade and some cold water. I was less than five feet from the edge of the listfield when the next words came from Donnchadh's lips.

"Her majesty does summon lord Ivo Blackhawk."

Now, understand, with this not being a Mooneschadowe Event, and me not really working that day, I was totally NOT expecting to have any court time.

I handed off my staff, took Lilias's arm, and walked up before her majesty. I have to admit, I was really, really tired at that point, and their was an audible grunt as I knelt down and let my weight rest on my knees. The whole time I was trying to get a handle on the situation, thinking of what possible business the crown would have with me at a Northkeep event. Mooneschadowe usually is pretty good about making sure its own get awards at its event, so I just couldn't get my heard around what the queen could possible have for me.

I don't remember every word, but what I do remember was these. "Everywhere I go, I see this man. And when I see him, he is working. That is truly service to the kingdom."

I don't know why, but at the time I just couldn't think of what award she would be talking about. my head was still swimming in fatigue, heat, humidity, and shock. Then her herald started reading the scroll. About a third of the way through the text, my mind finally clicked and registered what was being read.

A Sable Crane!

By the time Donnchadh had finished reading it aloud, I just remember being slack-jawed and wide eyed over the whole thing. Her majesty placed a huge medallion over my head and the pewter cast piece felt like a lead weight on my neck after so many years of waring my normal largess and awards. Vanessa leaned over and hugged me, and I remember barely managing to reply, "God bless you, Your Majesty, and thank you."

After that it was a lot of congratulations, hugs and handshakes. Their excellencies Ian and Kalandra both pulled me aside and gave me hearty congratulations, as well at Peter Macentire, and a host of other names and faces that will likely be lost to history.

The last time I was in court was 2001, when I got my Thistle in bard craft, so its been a long time since I was at that end of the show.

Court closed on another high note, however, after Her Excellency Kalandra Carmichael was given a Queen's rapier for her work on the rapier field.

While it wasn't all Mooneschadeen, it was still a lot of good friends, and a lot of people I consider Family in many respects.

However, I must say the best comment I got was from His Excellency Uriah of House Wolfstar. He walked up to me and said "So, Ivo, how does it feel to have the whole kingdom give you the bird?" After all of that, I must admit, Uriah's comment just seemed the perfect footnote to a perfect "gotcha" court.

I also spoke with Her majesty after court, I wanted to tell her that as much as the award meant to me, it also meant a lot that it came from her hand. I thanked her again, but she replied that I didn't need to thank anyone, and that I had earned it every step of the way, and it was something that was fitting for my level of service.

A lot of the rest of the day me watching my son, socializing, people talking to me about various items of interest, getting some more congratulations on my Crane and me trying to corral my son.

Other than that, the event went on as planned, and the night ended with the elevation of Elizabetta ap Isfjord to the order of the Pellican, giving Northkeep it first local pelican in a very, very long time.

I told Elizabeta that morning what I thought of her elevation, and I say it here so that others know what I think of it.

"When I heard the news, my first thought was that one of my prayers had been answered."

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