Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Samhain was this past weekend, and I have to say that it was a spectacular event for me in terms of heraldry. To set some background, about five or six months ago, Lady Muirenn , for whom I have heralded before, asked me to herald the removes for feast at Samhain. To this I gladly agreed, Muirenn is a good friend and always wants whatever she does to look its best. So when she asked, it was just natural for me to say yes.

So, fast forward a few month, like five and three weeks, and I get an e-mail from Rose the Obnoxious. (hay, she picked the the name!). Turns out that she wanted to make sure she had site heraldry covered, and asked me to come in and act as a backup for the crew she had already assembled. Since I was going anyway, I agreed without hesitation. I love site heraldry, and besides, I wasn't scheduled to do anything else during the day.

So, I arrive Friday night at Camp Kate, fiends and family in tow, and we settle into the cabin (thank God for cabins!). I checked in with Rose, who was glad to see me. It seems that last minute scheduling issues had eaten up her cadre of site heralds like candy. She had a few still, but they were also obligated to other activities during the day, leaving some big blind spots in the schedule.

Rose was looking a little worried about wake-ups the next morning, so I volunteered to go ahead and handle them at the least. My logic was two-fold. The first was that I knew I could do them, but also, walking people up can be intimidating for some, so I didn't want to saddle a rookie with it and possibly have them getting grumbled at the whole morning.

Let me tell you, as much as I have heralded in the past, and as much as I enjoy heraldry, Saturday morning, I hit my stride like never before at eight in the morning, and never got off of it. It wasn't just walking around heralding, I hit a synergy where it was like I was having a conversation with the whole site. I recycled some of my old jokes from past events like Triumph, but it all just came together so much better than it ever had before. Each herald was a little different (including some customized ones for the Wolf Star camp), but overall, I tried to keep the same theme going.

“Hear yea, hear yea, hear yea! Good morning to you! I bring tiding of the eight O'clock hour. If you recognize the tent your waking up in, then you obviously didn't start the event off right last night! The sun is bright, the sky is clear, and the morning is calm! We much change that last part! Now, rise up and give to revelry that which would otherwise be given to sleep. Rise up and embrace the day, make merry, and enjoy this that is the event of Samhain!”

Each herald only got better, and after a while I was getting laughs, and claps and cheers. Even when things were delayed I made the most of it.

“Hear yea, hear yea, hear yea! I pray you all attend, for when the schedule was made for today, their was much revelry, and much drinking, and not a great deal of sleep. So of course the schedule is now subject to changes, and here they are...”

After lunchtime, I started offering to do some on-the-road classes to anyone who interested in site heraldry. Like everything else, I did my best to make the announcement as much fun as the possible.

“For any and all who might be interested, I will be teaching the skill of site heraldry throughout the day. In other words, I will be teaching the art of making large masses of people mad at you from a safe distance.”

or another take on it..

“For anyone interested in learning how to inflict mass punishment on a large population, I will be teaching such skills today. Note, that's mass punishment, not punishment with mass weapons... different class.”

The day went on with each herald turning out that much better than the one before it, I was really in a Zone by the time the afternoon rolled around.

Not that all of this didn't come without cost; by three or four, I was dead on my feet, and wound up crashing hard in the cabin for an hour, but after the day I had, I wasn't complaining.

Now, of course, lets not forget the original reason I came, heralding feast for Muirenn.

The logistics for feast were not simple. The room was marvelously well decorated, but modest in size. Once everyone was seated, their would really only be room for the servers to move around, and then only in a controlled fashion at that. The only access into the room was through a curtained doorway opposite head table, and that was a narrow aisle.

Myself, I had arrived dressed in my best, a black shirt, red tights, my burgundy surcoat (which got no small number of good comments), my velvet sugar-sac cap, and my walking staff. I was deliberately trying to look my absolute best, Feast was all about the presentation, and I was part of that effort.

The head server and I decided that the party for head table would go in first, then I would announce the remove while they were serving head table, and then once the head servers were back out of the room, the rest would go in and serve. It would be a tight set of moves, with little room for maneuver, but I wasn't overly worried, things have a habit of coming together in the end.

And in this case, they did.

Still feeling the rhythm that I was before, I treated each announcement like a mini bardic performance, adding enough theatrics and pomp to match the decor of the room.

Now, Ill admit that as soon as each remove was over, the surcoat came off in short order. The drawback to small rooms with lots of people in them is that they collect heat at an unholy rate, so I spent most of the feast standing outside trying to vent heat between roasting sessions in the surcoat.

But when it was all said and done, it was a marvelous event, the servers came together well, and aside from some small slips here and there, the whole presentation went off without any major problems.

I know I sound like I am trumpiting myself here, and to an extent I am, but at the same time, I need to say how fiercely proud I am to have been part of the whole thing. We all did our parts, and the result was well worth the effort. It always feels good to work with people, and feast is no exception.

I went to bed late Saturday night, I usually do at events, and then got up early enough that Rose tapped me for another round of wakeup calls. I really didn't mind, I was still feeling whatever it was that had a hold of me Satruday, so I went at it yet again.

Now let me be clear, I wasn't the only site herald there that weekend. The Eldern baronial herald did his fare share, as did a few others, including Chad (Rose's Husdand) when things got tight. A lot of people pulled more than their weight around, and my biggest regret there is that I don't know all of their names to acknowledged them here.

But when it was all said and done, Rose was ecstatic about my efforts, and as a “professional” herald, I admit to taking a few minutes to bask in the glow of a favorable job appraisal.

I am so looking forward to Samhain next year.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk

Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Real Quick...

Okay, just a quick update on me.

One of my students is the autocrat for the upcoming Axman event, so I will be day-tripping that to help her out and cry some of the rounds.

I have been asked to help site herald Fair of the Harvest, another event that I will day trip and help out with as much as I can.

Lastly, Rose the O has asked me to help her shore up her Site heraldry crew for Samhain this weekend. I went the extra mile and offered to do an on-the-job training class for her group of rookie site heralds.

On the homefront, I'm getting geared up to try and start some sewing parties where I hope to start helping people make Heraldic surcoats or Tabards locally. The idea is to help promote some of the old pageantry that I really liked seeing in Mooneschadowe back when I joined.

And lastly... I am working to register a new badge, and taking the opportunity to try and learn about blazons and armory heraldry.

Okay... thats life in a nutshell.

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

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Namron Protectorate

Namron is, in its own way, one of my favorite events. For sure, it does not top Mooneschadowe's Triumph of the Eclipse (and I don't even begin to claim impartiality on that decision), but I remember Namron from my first days, and I remember the years between then and now. And to be sure, I know that a good number of my friends both live in Namron, or make an effort to attend Protectorate each year.

Well, this year was a little differnt, but is many good ways.

Lady Adelheid had asked me some time ago to help her with heradling Court at Namron, she's new, and the Crown would be there, so to say that their would be pressure was a fair statement.

Well, let me tell you, I arrived saturday morning, and found out that the pressure got turned up just a notch, Adelheid had been drafted as herald for their majesties, and Sarrait (whom was one of the organizers of the Skorrgard Heraldry day) had been drafted as the herald for their excelencies Narmon.

I offered to stunt herald (stand next to her and act as a second set of eyes) with Sarrait for morning court, and she jumped at the oportunity.

To her credit, she handled her first court well. Adelheid had written out the whole court on 3x5 cards, and all that was being handed out that morning wound up being a few baronial service awards (
Torsades as it happend). Not diminished the Torsade, but it is one type of award, and the text isn't wind warpingly hard to read, so for a first time herald, its not a bad way to cut teeth. Sarrait did well, and I only really had to lean in and offer occation encouragements. I had to pass a few messages that came up from beind the court, but those went over without a hitch.

On a side note, two of the people who were called up her Adelhaid and her Husband Lucas, both to receive Torsades. HE Donnchadh spoke well of both of them, and as a fell herald with Ahelhaid, and a fellow bard with Lucas, I was really happy to see them thustly recognized.

After court, I set to work organizing the heraldry for the Heavy tourneyment, which was my promary reason for coming in the first place.

As a herald, your only as good as the effort you put into the job, and as an organizing herald, Your only as good as the people you have working with you. Well, I]ll tell you, I poured my heart and sole into that job, and the people working with me did the say, I coulnd't have asked more of any of them, and I dont think anyone was even remotely disapointed with the result.

My undisputed right hand during the heay was HL Adalya, whom I have said before is easily the better list herald, and someone I have reciently dubbed a "voice of nature" in refernce to how she commands most situations. Not that I mind, I've never seen her bite off more than she can chew, she's never failed to give her best when heralding.

Working with us;
Sarrait would be heralding her first list.
Layla, whom I had only seena few times before that.
Michelle, who had done so well at ATriumph a few weeks before
Sarron (SP) whom I had only met that day. (As a totally unrelated asside, he had a 9 month old german shepard puppy with him who was the friendliest things you have ever seen)
Master Cadfin, who not only heralds, but makes every world that leave his mouth a bardic performance, and is just a sight to behold!
And finally, Castallina, formerly known as Gipsey. Young and eager, a little baudy at times, but a good head on her shoulders and projection to spare.

I did do something I hadn't done before, I held a quick get togeather with the marshals to make sure we were all on the same page. Lord Rolf said that he was as new to marshaling as some of my heralds, and when I propoased a quick coordination meeting, he was very agreeable to it. Honestly, while nothing was changed in terms of planning, I think everyone benifited from seeing who they would be working with ahead of time, or at least I know I did:)

Now that I've described my team, let me also describe my job. we had over 30 fighters, and untimately ran 4 fields in a swiss five, and then had a bunch of elimination rounds afterwords when people kept double killing. I didn't herald anything myself, health concerns kept me away from the adsolute front lines, but I kept people going, and kept them cycled in and out, and made sure they had drink, sunscreen and rest in good measure.

Sarrait had me on her shoulder for the first round, just making sure she was ready for it. A few bumps her and there, and a few questions were the worst of the learning curve. But the Majority of it she picked up quickly and took off with it. I pulled her out for the next round, mostly because I wanted her to get a drink. But a little bit later, I walked up to her and asked how she was doing. With a huge smile, and a bit of a glow about her, she goes "I'm hooked, when can I go back in there?"

All of heralds did a spectacular job, and like I said before, the heavy went on a little longer than even the nobles were expecting thanks to a few more double-kills then usual.

Anyway, when it was all done, I had to round everyone up again and get a team togeathe for the rapier tourney.

Adalia had stepped out (this was prearrainged, and agreeded upon by me, so no accusations of ducking responcability) and a lot of the people who had taken the lions share of the work for the heavy were looking like the effort had taken a bit of a tole on them. But none the less, the rest were still eager to go. This time we ran two fields, and their were only about 14 fighters, so it was much, much more low key. I know Sarait was having the time of her life out there for a good portion of it, and Michelle was just living it up in much the same fashion.

Towards the very end, my own health got the better of me, and I had to sit down before I collapsed, to their credit, my remaining heralds stuck out to the end.

Their isn't really much I can say beyond the above. I had a great team, a good group of marshals to work with, and fighters that completed out the triad that make the SCA list field such a magical place.

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