Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mooneschadowe Triumph of the Eclips III

For as long as I have been heralding events, never once have I been the Herald in Charge. Furthermore, never have I been the Primary Herald for Royalty.

After asking in May to Head up the heraldry for Triumph, I knew that Triumph was going to be a big deal for me.

Then Last Thursday came, and I realized that on top of managing all of the heralding for the event, I was going to be the herald for the Prince and Princess.

Yes, I was excited, and yes, I was thrilled.

-A quick qualifier; on Friday, I learned from Prince Gunther that the Kingdom server that stores all award recommendations had been rendered powerless by Hurricane Ike. Th bottom line, their would be no awards given out at the event. No one was happy about it, but I made sure to spread the word to all Mooneschadeen face to face as early as possible, and at the same time to avoid putting it on the list until most of the Province had gotten word. -

However, back to what was happening.

So, I was completely energized about what an opportunity I had been given.

But then I realized what I had undertaken, and a new reality set in. A lot (over 200) people were ultimately going to be depending on me directly or indirectly to help make the event happen. True, I didn't have the same type of pressures as the Event Steward, but this pressure was new to me none the less.

So come Friday, I set to my task with determination. It wasn't that I was or was not optimistic, but rather that I knew I had a job to do, and if I didn't throw myself fully into it, I was going to fail.

Friday proved to be instrumental as a preparation point for me. I wound up speaking with Her Ladyship Adalya, one of the best (and toughest) list heralds in the north. She said she would be glad to handle the heavy tournament on Saturday for me, and just as glad to take a new person under her wing and teach them.

Not long after that, one of Moonesdchadowe's newest members, Maggi, ran into me and after a short chat she offered to help wherever she could. I remember that she had choir training as a high school student, so projection and breathing wouldn't be a problem and that much less for me to worry about.

Not long after that, I happened across none other than the Princess herself, Elizabeth Seal I.

Actually, it was a remarkable conversation. It turns out that we shared several key thoughts on Heralding and courts, most importantly that the herald controlled the agenda (subject to court review and approval, as always), any and all business needed to be on the docket BEFORE court started or it wasn't going to be dealt with during court, and Court should be fun, so she wasn't in any hurry to make it long.

Honestly, I have met countless people in the past, nobles and non-nobles, who seem to think quite the opposite of the above. These things frustrate me as a herald because they can (and often do) diminish the respect and dignity of the court. To hear HRH Elizabeth's words were music to my ears.

-And yes, I was about ready to do summersalts after this conversation was over!-

On Saturday, the real work began.

I got up early (after not getting more than 3 hours sleep friday night) and set up herald's point in front of the feast hall. It was a table with two benches, and my notebooks, paper and some pens; a medieval secretary's desk in the truest form.

Morning wakeups were next, and I decided to do them myself. Partly because old habits are hard to break, and partly because I was the only herald out and about, so it made seance for me to tackle it. I kept it short and sweet, and managed to cry the whole site in about twenty minutes at a good, steady pace.

By 8:30, most of the site was awake, but not really moving around too much. I decided to go to the Crown Cabin next, and consult with them.

Having never been the primary herald for Royals before, I must say that this first encounter as a herald was spectacular. I made a conscious effort to be calm, unrushed, and to talk as little as possible. When I walked in, I was greeted by the entourage and her highness (the Prince was in the next room if memory serves me). The whole process of planning the court was a friendly conversation with minor adjustments made here and there by the royals and myself. The entourage helped, commented and joked in various places, and I must say that the whole experience was light-hearted and very, very non-threatening.

So I went out and called one more site herald that court would begin shortly, and then returned to lead in the procession of the Royals.

Court itself was simple, but I confess my heart was racing the whole time. The truth be told, it was simpler than most of the populace meetings I have heralded countless times. But also, I was a little intimidated by the fact that I was heralding a Royal, and even more intimidated by the fact that I was heralding before an audience of about 80 people.

-On a side note, court also included a welcome for Princess Annelyse of the Midrealm to join their Royal Highness Ansteorra. Anne was one of the people I helped introduce to the SCA a few years back, and to see her come home as a literal Princess was an emotional homecoming for her and a lot of Mooneschadeen. Though a small part, I felt honored to cry the welcome to her and her entourage that morning.-

I got through it all without choking, accidentally declaring war on anyone, or otherwise screwing up.

When it was all over, I Recessed the court, and then attended to something that had been four months in the making.

About fifteen minutes later Robert Fitzmorgan, his wife Katrine, Myself and my Wife and child met off in the shade of some trees by the feast hall for the formal ceromoney where I was taken as Protege to Robert.

In attendance were TRH, Duchess Vanessa De Verona, Aonghas and his wife, and a host of others whos faces are frankly a blur, even though I know all of them and call most friends.

Robert Spoke first, talking about how we started down the current path that we are on with a conversation at Namron's Beltane Games, and then me talked about how Protege was was not a rank, or a title, but more of a Job description. It was a way of telling everyone that I wanted them to judge me as a peer, and that I was aspiring to be a peer in my actions, abilities and skills.

I spoke next, thanking the people there for coming, and asking them to help hold me to my course, keeping me true to both myself and my goals. I related to them my origional Thesis, and then thanked them again for coming.

"If ten years from now the north has ten really good heralds who all got their start from me, and were trained by me or because of me, then I could die the next day with no more rank than I have now and I'll consider my role in the SCA a sucess. But if ten years from now I become a pelican, but only have one half-ass herald who never does anything, then rank or not, I just wasted ten years and failed as what I want to do here."

After that, Robert passed me the yellow belt that his wife had knitted, and Looked it around my waist. In closing he added that this was less of a start than it was a continuation of our already existing friendship.

The crowd cheered and clapped, and I got more than a few pats on the back and well wishes when it was all done.

After that, the day got started in earnest.

The first order of business was to collect my heralds. I had announced in court that anyone interested in heralding could see me, and tru to form, I got one heck of a cew this time.

Like I explained before Adalya is one of the best, and the toughest List heralds in the north. Their was no doubt in my mind that she would be all over the heavy weapons List from the word go. And as the list went on, my hopes were not proven wrong.

However, Mooneschadowe usually run's two fields, meaning that it needed two heralds. Lady Alisa Blackdragin, who had never heralded before, stepped forward as well, and from all reports, aquitted herself smashingly well over the course of the tournyment. Asside from me having to find her some sunscreen (she hadn't really noticed how much such she was getting) she tookt he ball and ran with it.

Also, later on during the fighting, I saw Gunhilda Amberstar, OP, heralding. I never got much of a chance to talk with her, but I know she has a long histroy on the heavy weapon's field, and what is now becoming an equally long one with the light weapon's field. No doubt in my mind she could teach me a few things about list heralding if she wanted to.

And then we come to the Site heralds.

For the past six or seven years, I have site heralded Mooneschadowe's events by myself. It wasn't that we coulnd't get any help, but rather that I loved doing it and did it as much as I could.

This year, however, was a whole other story. I needed to be where the sutocrat could find me fast, and I needed a ready reserve of heralds as well.

So, the first of my Site heralds was the Maggi. And the Second was Marcus Crawford.

Marcus was a member of the Blackheart's fencing club. A group of unoffical light weapon's fighters out of Calonteer (the ONLY kingdom in the society without a light weapon's program) who come down to our event faithfully each year and just have ouragous amounts of fun wit us. I knew Marcus from previous trips, and was glad to see him again.

My plan was to run announcements every hour, with the site heralds meeting me at herald's point at about ten of, and then each to take half of the site. Both Maruc and Maggi set to their jobs with dedication. And because I had two people heralding, the speed of each message's delivery was incredible.

The overall strategy was for them to meet me, get their list of announcements for the hour, go out and herald them, and then return and check in with me. As it happened, I was able to give them well over half and hour off between each cry for them to go and do whatever they wanted. The simple addition of one more person to the equation (as opposed to just me, like it had been in years past) was such a stress reducer that it was actually shocking to me.

Another person I need to talk abut is Lady Sakami, a young herald from Namron who, as it happens, heard about the SCA from me when she was still in Highschool, and decided to see what I was talking about when she went to college down in Norman. Towards then end of the day, she came and fulled in a few times for me when I needed a message rushed out super quick.

Herald's Point ran until about four in the afternoon, and with the last announcement sent out canceling the live chess tourneyment, I closed herald's point after a whirlwind six hours.

Side note: During the day, I had to leave herald's point on more than a few occations. The Following written messge was scrawled scross my notepad and left on the table for anyone looking for me.

Please leave a message...


(flip page to write your missive)

After fest, I changed into a clean shirt and then went to the royal cabin again to plan the evening court.

Much as it had been before, the court planning was a smooth, painless process with the roylas and their entorage helping here and there. It was decided to close court that night (they could always reopen it if they needed to the next morning), so I had to do closing vivats. It turnes out that part of the big thing for their highnesses was to see Mooneschadowe's famed Triumph of victors duriong court.

In short, the triumph is a huge, heralded processon where the immeedieately previous and current champions for each event process down the aisle to great fanfair and celebration, and are handed their awards in short order at the end of their walk. Where I have seen courts where it took over an hour (yes, over 60 minutes) to hand out awards for two competitions, Triumph managed to present awards to 10 competators in five competitions (past and present) in less than fifteen minutes this year. And the whole time, either heralds are calling people's names or the audience is cheering them on as they process down the aisle, its fast, but great fun and wonderful fanfair.

Anyway... all of the entorage and their highness were really interested to see what it was like, and wern't totally clear on how it would get started. I guess they were thinking that they might have to say something or do somehting. But I assued them with this comparison.

"Look at it this way, once I call the autocrat up, we've just pulled the pin. After that, you toss the (proverbial) grenade, sit back and enjoy the show, becuase their's no stopping it after it gets going."

They seemed to like that idea.

BTW, for the closing "Vivats", Midrealm doesn't do "Vivat"s. They always just shout a single "Hubla!" (pronounced "Hoobla", and no, I have no clue what it means or where it comes from). When I heard that from Princess Annelyse, I ran back to our Prince and Princess, told them, and then said "I so want to have a photo taken when I call out "Hubla Midrealm". Half of the audience will scream "Vivat", and the other half will probably be looking at us going "hu?". We ALL had a good chuckle out of that.

With twenty minutes to go, I went out and heralded to everyone waiting for court to start that if they had any business with the Princess or Princess, they had to get on the docket before court, or they weren't going to be called up at all. A bunch of people jumped up, mostly with event plugs. But a few seemed to think that I was exaggerating my situation and that the Prince was somehow required to ask if their was further business from the populace. I have it on good authority that their were more than a few people who were a little surprised when Gunther followed through on my statement (which originated with him in the first place) that their would be no call for further business during court.

When I got back, I realized that I had a little time on my hands. I decided to take a bit of a chance.

About twelve years ago, Mooneschadowe's senechal at the time invented the phrase "Mooneschadowe Overlord Government" as a joking reference to his supposedly iron handed leadership. Well, that abbreviates to "MOG", and ever since we decided to go for Province, its been a strong tradition to shout "Hail MOG" after any meeting or court where Mooneschaodwe is the local group. Its always shouted by someone other than the herald, a combination of a jokingly rebellious shout and a patriotic battle cry.

Well, I told this history to the Queen, and told her that if she wanted to really win over Moonescadowe in droves, she and her husband should shout the "Hail MOG" cry at the end of court. She was enthusiastic about the idea, and Gunther was a little more subdued, but none the less positive about it.

Well, about about 8:40 (I think anyway) We started court from the front, already seated (Someone in the entourage had jokingly commented beforehand about one procession a day being more than enough). We did two small items of business, and then I called the auroctart into court and she Started the Triumph itself.

Now, about the heralding for the Triumph. While I didn't plan it this way, four herlads from Namron wound up crying the names and titles for the procession. HL Owen Stott, HL Tadhg macAedain uiConchobhair, Lady Samaki, and Annais de Montgomerie. Owen has been heralding for about as long as I have, and I've seen him catching Namron Courts here and there at their events if memory serves me. Tadhg is a hard working A&S type with a solid grasp on Court heraldry as I understand. The moment I heard he was willing to herald, I jumped at the opportunity to ask him for the triumph. And Annya is just one of those people who loves to help out whenever she can, but in this case, can most definitely be loud when called for. Lady Liliana of Mooneschadowe was organizing the Triumph, and most of it success was due her, but I do want to point out the contribution of Namron's hard working heralds towards the success.

note on the above paragraph: In my efforts to record the names of the people who helped, I accidentally put down a wrong name. It is corrected here, and the proper name of Annais de Montgomerie is now in place, with my many apologies to the lady in question for this most dreadful oversight.

In the middle of the triumph, with the audience going absolutely bananas with the whole thing (think modestly watered down rock concert), I reminder HRH Elizabeth leaning over to her husband and (relatively quietly) saying "We have to come back next year and see this again!"

As much as I would like to say that I got through court without any hookups, that wasn't the case. After everything else was done, I started with the salutes. Got through Prince, Princess King Queen, Mooneschadowe....

and then, just as I was about to do "hubla Midwrealm" my bran blanked, my throat clamped down and my only thought was "SHIT, not now!" I guess it was just a stress thing, because it cleared after a second, but their was no missing that I was stalled, and when I got my voice back, I stupidly uttered "um...where was I?"

Shrug... I can't say that I find it funny in retrospect (yet, anyway) but for the moment I'm not mortified by it either.

After a very conspicuous pause, cough and me wanting to kick myself, I picked up where I left off. With a stern and serious face I called "Hubla Midrealm". The audience actually echoed that pretty well, btw.

And then I stepped out from under the pavilion, shot my fit into the air, and cried as loud as I could "Vivat Ansteorra!"

And just then, TRH Gunther and Elizabeth came out next to me, thrust their fists to the air, and Shunted "Hail MOG!" with me (hay, I was Mooneschadeen before I was a herald).

The replying "Hail MOG!" from the audience was loud enough to make some of the entourage jump a little.

After court, I wound up talking with Lord Alehandro (SP?) , one of the entourage, for a while. He was just sitting under a pavilion, in the dark, mellowing after the day's happenings. Master Robert joined us after about a half an hour, and I have to say, it was a lot of fun to just sit back and let the buzz of the whole experience finally ware off. I knew I still had Sunday to go, but I had made it through Saturday as both the Herald in Charge and the Royal Herald. I had Heralded my First Royal court front to back, and I hadn't left any of the heralding duties during the day slip by unattended. These were not small items, and It was well after eleven before I really even started to wind down from it all.

Sunday (today, or Yesterday as its now 12:30 in the morning now) could have gone better, to be honest, though I wasn't totally displeased.

I got up and did wake up heralds, even had a little fun with them this time.

"Hear ye, hear ye. This is you morning wake up herald. If you can hear me, 'good morning'. if not, you obviously had a better night than I did."


"I hope you recognize the tent that your waking up in right now."

And finally

"It is quiet, calm and still this morning,we need to fix that!"

I really, wasn't happy with the Raper list heraldry Sunday morning. First of all, we wound up Drafting a relatively new member named Attya (spelling?) to help me. She really tried, but 30 seconds isn't enough to teach a total first time herald much of anything, and I think she was entirely overwhelmed by the hole experience. I couldn't shadow her because I had my own field to run, and the whole tournament was pretty choppy during the first round because of it. After the first round, one of the Royal Entourage, a lady Anwn, I believe, offered to help and made all the difference in the world.

Also, I have to admit, I was spent too much time socializing, and their were more than a few times where I wound up not looking at the fight and consequently missing who the winner was or not calling the next pairings for several moments while everyone else was sitting around waiting for me.

I still want to kick myself for the whole thing honestly. The Insegnante tournament used to be the tournament that I heralded all by myself. But with me wanting to socialize, and the marshal running two fields, I just didn't keep my head in it like I should have and I feel like I gave a pretty piss poor performance. I didn't ruin it for anyone (thank heavens), but next time, I need to have a game plan that accounts for what I want to do and what I can do, as well as having some heralds lined up ahead of time, help was sparse during Sunday.

Aside from calling a final gathering to announce the victor of the Insignanti list, the day for me as a herald was over at about 1:00pm, give or take.

I'll probably go over stuff in more detail in later posts... but as for the event itself, that was it for me.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Protoge to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

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