Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just a little venting.

You know, I am perfectly capable of at least trying to work with other people, even those who diametrically disagree with me on a lot of things. Am I always successful? Hardly. As  a mater of fact, I'm willing to bet that I probably annoy or offend more people that I probably should, especially in the role of a herald.

I don't mean to sound crass about it, but there is a healthy measure of "oh well" involved with that type of conflict. When I can, I try and reach some middle ground, and probably just as often as not, no middle ground is reached and I just wind up grinding my teeth for as long as I am working with them.

But then... sigh

Then there are people who herald  with me who have absolutely no respect for the art, and their attitude just chafes me the wrong way, six-ways-till-Sunday.

As a voice herald, a lot of people depend on you to get them the information you are saying. In list heraldry, that includes, but is no way limited to giving the fighters their pairings.
But what a lot of people don't realize is that there are a lot of other people, who aren't in armor, who want to hear, or need to heat that information as well.People like sitting nobility or royalty, spouses, friends and children. A List herald has to make sure they try and be loud enough that all of those people can hear too. Sometimes they can't but the effort is usually appreciated.

I have tried for as long as I can remember to accommodate those demands on the list field. Like  giving fighters time to come up so they can hear me clearly. Or making sure to pronounce the names clearly and properly, or at least trying to, anyway.

When I do the salutes, I take special care to give each salute as much dignity as I can. If the fighter opts to make  a joke out of it, that is their right, and often times the salutes can be very dignified and humerus at the same time. But I have never let myself give a half-ass, half-mumbled charge of "yeah, salute whoever" or anything of that ilk. I have seen men take a knee and pray to a deity that is very real to them. I have seen fighters salute the sky, and explain a moment later that a loved one is over seas in a combat zone, and that the fight is dedicated to them. Salutes are so very personal, as a herald, I make sure to never undercut the dignity or honor of what someone might do after I charge them "Salute the one who's favor you bare."

Trust me, I expect best effort from the people I work with, but I have by no means forgotten what it was like when I first started playing. I don't chastise for human error, and I don't reprimand for mispronouncing a name. If you give it your honest best, I'll back you up all the way.

So, you can probably just imagine my internal reaction when I wind up heralding next to someone who just don't give a flying flip about some, or all, of the above. They go through the motions, fill the roll, and then sit down, looking for all the world like an unwilling high school freshman who got drafted into a bit part in the summer play.

Yeah, it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that I've run into one or two of those in the past little bit.

Ive already had some people ask me why I am so worked up over it.

Well, I am and I'm not.

I'm not walking around steaming over it. Its a headache, and an embarrassment when its happening, but I get to walk away, take a deep breath, and then move on.

But still... Every time I see it, I just have trouble shaking the feeling that we (heralds in general) just blew another opportunity to help make the dream that much more real for someone. I don't expect everyone to share my passion for heraldry, even voice heraldry. But Heraldry is about a lot more than just being loud, and when people forget that, I feel like they are disrespecting a lot of other things too, and a lot of other people.

The good news if that my next event is protectorate, and half the Barony are solid, hard working voice heralds. Say what you will about Namron, but I can't recall the last time I was disapointed by one of theirs. And Protectorate will be an awesome event, evn at its 'worst" it has never failed to make the trip worth it for me.

Okay... I got that out of my system.
Thanks for listening.

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

"Non unus step tergum"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Well, I have spoken with some of the powers that be and plan on making a showing at protectorate as a list herald. After my shoddy performance at my own group's event, I figured I should get back in the game a little and not let time add to my deficiencies

Also, above and beyond that, Protectorate is always a fun event.. I Remember traveling to Namron when advocating such a thing wasn't 'fashionable" in certain political climates. Even in the darkest of hours, people in that barony have welcomed me with hugs and smiles. And even those that aren't overly crazy about me usually had the decency to just let me be, I can't argue with that.

So, needless to say, I am looking forward to the event for a number of reasons, heralding being a big one, but far, far from the only one. 

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

"Non unus step tergum"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Well, My plan this weekend was to go easy on myself, and be able to help watch my son while getting in a little extra heraldry.

I guess you could call it a success in that I wasn't running anything, but I think I am still recovering from the lasting effects of my past illness. I spent a lot of the weekend very winded, and at times nursing a throbbing headache.

But to be honest, being hot and tired is hardly a new thing for me, especially at events, so let me just get past the complaints and talk about Triumph itself.

My wife and I got to site early on Friday. So early, in fact that when we ran into Pete (one of the event stewards) my first words were “Don't tell me we [three] are the only ones on site.”

To this, he just shrugged, smiled and said “okay.”

Anyway, a little while later others arrived and my wife and I spent the majority of the morning pitching provincial pavilions and helping to set up the list field. By mid afternoon, (and after a happy-hour drink run to Sonic) people started to trickle into site bit by bit.

Attendance was something of an oddball thing this year. We had a lot of day-trippers, in fact, I wouldn't be totally surprised of as many as a third of the two hundred something gate count were Saturday-only people. Note: I'm, not saying that that is a fact, just having been there, I would not be surprised if that is what the numbers looked like.

As for heraldry, I did the morning wake up calls, like I usually do. Herald-in-charge or not, that is always fun. I tried to channel some of whatever inspiration I had at the last Samhain, and make the calls entertaining, or at least less obtuse than most eight am Saturday morning wake-ups are.

“Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! Powers greater and less (or more) sober than myself have deemed this to be your morning wake-up call. Rise up, rise up and embrace the day that we can share company and joy with one another. If you recognize the tent you are laying in, than you obviously didn't drink enough last night. But that's okay, because you will all get a second chance tonight.

Know now that armor inspection for the heavy weapons tourney starts at eight thirty, and morning court will start at nine.

But also be aware, that both of these items could easy be subject to change at the determination of the people running them. So if any such changes take place, I do disavow all knowledge of this announcement, and therefor hunting me down and inflicting bodily injury will not correct the schedule.

Thank you one and all, and welcome to the First morning of Mooneshcadowe's Provincial Triumph of the Eclipse.”

I got more than a few chuckles out of the “disclaimer” part of my herald.

To be honest, the bulk of the day was quiet in terms of heraldry and the like, at least for myself. I wanted to catch some list heraldry for the Guardian tourney, but between wrangling my 4 year old son, and a splitting headache, that didn't happen.

However, that is not to say that heraldry was a lost cause. Allow me to digress for a bit.

The Blackhearts Fencing Club is a rapier group out of Calontir that comes down every year and just has an abject blast with us. They are good people, hard working, and a real hoot to hang out with. Each year I get to hang out with old friends and a few new ones from their club, and this year was no different. A young lady names Crystal and I spend some considerable time talking, and she voiced interest in learning voice heraldry before the heavy weapon's tournament. As much as I wanted to give her my short and sweet list heralding class, time and logistical constraints (AKA child wrangling) didn't allow for it. The good news, however, was that Lady Mave, another veteran herald, was happy to take a student for the hour and show her the ropes. And when it was all over, I got a good report on the effort. So that left me happy in many ways, and Crystal seemed satisfied with her efforts.

I did some site heraldry, and by afternoon, my voice was starting to burn out, so I was grateful for the break that came with dinnertime.

Now, evening court... hum... here is something I thought would be entertaining, but I drastically underestimated the situation.

I arrived just as court started, and watched the opening comments from the back of he crowd, all the while watching my son (4-years-old) play with a rambunctious pack of 7 through 13 year olds, and more or less hold his own.

His highness, Prince Own, started things off with a few comments, and then turned the court over to Their Excellencies Ian and Kalandra, Baron and Baroness of Northkeep.

Lady Adalia Vanderburg was heralding for them, and after a few very brief comments (and a few shameless event plugs) they turned to their herald to start their official business.
HL Adalia spoke, “Their excellencies do call Lord Ivo Blackhawk into their court.”

I would be lying through my teeth if I said that I was expecting anything involving me at that point, never mind an award from Ian and Kalandra when Owen was holding a Royal Court at our event.

I admit that I was actually a little worried as I walked up to the thrones, wondering what I might have done that would get me called up to a Northkeep court at a Mooneschadowe event.

I walked up, bowed to their Highnesses, and then presented myself before Ian and Kalandra.

“You requested my presence, your excellencies. And here I am.” I said to them dutifully. It wasn't a loud announcement, jut an acknowledgment to them of their authority.
Ian spoke up at this point. I don't recall the specifics, he was rather detailed, but he spoke about my heraldry for Northkeep, as a court herald, a list herald and a site herald. I wasn't overly surprised about the subject mater, I was rather up front from the word go about what I wanted to do as a herald, and how I wanted to do it while I was in the Barony. But I was just perplexed as to what in heck I was doing up there. I had a Sable Crane for my heraldry already, and I was sure a Thistle or something like that should come from Royal hands when royalty was present.
Then Adalia started reading from a scroll. Five words into it my jaw went completely slack and my eyes went wide as dinner plates.

They were giving me a Caistael Cridhe, the non-armigious baronial service award. I don't even live in the barony and I was getting one!

I've seen a lot of Caistael Cridhe's handed out, and almost always they went to people who lived in the barony. And as well they should, those are the people who work and cry and sweat and bleed for the group on a day to day basis. The bar should be set high for such a thing, and I was completely comfortable with the idea that it was a level within the barony itself I would probably never reach.

It looks like I was wrong, however. After the scroll was finished, Ian held up a small brass medallion and announced that it would be the first Caistael Cridhe to have a linage (more than one owner). Mine had been handed down from Her Ladyship Elizabeth De Calis, specifically to be handed to me. This means that the medallion itself now has a legacy, and it is up to me to uphold, and preserve that legacy.

Ian put the red loop of cord over my head, and then offered a very sincere thank you with a handshake and a hug. Kalandra did the same, and both specifically thanked me for my work for the barony.

I walked away from the whole thing...all four minutes of it, or there 'bouts, a little thunderstruck at the fact that I had gotten the award. I know, it sounds a little over the top to be so wrapped up over a non-AOA level award, but coming from Northkeep, the fact that they considered me one of them enough to give it to me at all is still something of a revelation. A good one, mind you, but still a big one none the less.

Anyway... moving on.

The next morning was, as it always is at triumph, dominated by the Rapier Tournament.
You know, as many times as I have done this goofy tournament, I was really mad at myself for how it went this year. Since I wasn't in charge of heraldry, I know my opinion only carried so much weight, but damn it, between my own screw ups and some less than stellar attitudes on the part of a few others, I was on the verge of just handing the cards back to the list mistress and quitting on more than one occasion. I didn't, and mind you I kept my opinions to myself at the time. But as a dedicated herald who got his start as a list herald, I don't think it the least bit inappropriate to have some standards for at least myself.

I shouldn't, and won't comment about anyone else here, but I, for one, was just totally disappointed with myself. It was amateur-hour out there for me. I was forgetting heralding orders, forgetting salutes, forgetting procedures... argh... I'm still steamed about it, and was ready to chew on nails Sunday night every time I thought about it. So, the rapier tourniquet wrapped up, and then came closing court. I know that's a fairly brisk summary of what was actually almost an hour by itself, but as far a substantive material for this blog, that really about covers it.

Hardly the glowing, shining review I gave last year for the same event, and I know it sounds like I didn't have any fun. In reality, I did have loads of fun. But this was just an off event because I didn't have a lot of heralding to do. And when I did... I was just not up to snuff this year.

Anyway... that's about all I really have to say on Triumph, this year, anyway.

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

"Non unus step tergum"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And marching off we go

I guess the best way to describe my feelings right now is to say that I am... out of sorts, if that makes any sense.

I've been heralding Triumph, at some level, for nearly a decade. I know I have been refereed to as "the" site herald for the event by more than a few people over the years.

This year, however, I'm not signed up for it. That's not to say I won't site herald. As a mater of fact, I would be surprised if I didn't jump in on that more than once this weekend.

Its been a while since I heralded a Saturday tournament, and I'm hoping to do that for at least one or two rounds this year. I do miss list heraldry at times, and this year I think I am going to make an effort to do some more of it.

Other than that?


I don't know. The weird part for me is that I am not signed up for a million things in advance. That was my usual MO for the longest time. If it was heraldry and I had a free moment, I was there. Now... its almost like my first event all over again. I'm not signed up for a single thing.

Well, except for Insegnante. I already told Reis that I was heralding that. And trust me, that is one tradition that I am in no hurry to break. The rapier community has been good to me over the years, for me to no give back would be completely selfish on my part.

Also... This will be my first year as a Regional officer. I know that that doesn't really effect what I do at Triumph. However, it is something new, and I have discovered that being a regional has its share of surprises and whatnots associated with it.

But anyway... that's my take on this weekend, at the moment.

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

"Non unus step tergum"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Grand Assembly of Archers.

Well, its been a while, so I figured I should sit down and say something about Namron and Wiesenfeuer's Joint event; Grand Assembly of Archers.

As I understand it, the hope was for seventy five people to gate in. And that was considered a respectable mark because it was opposite of a new Medieval fair in Tulsa, and ultimately, it was during a not-no-minor wet spell that hit central Oklahoma that weekend. So, frankly, all the ingredients were there for a disaster. New event, plus crowded calendar plus rain... almost never fails.

So just imagine the shock-and jubilation--the autocrats must have felt when the gate count clocked in at 150. That's right, over 150 warm bodies, and well more than two thirds (at the minimum) were shooting that day.

It was honestly great to see. Some of those targets got turned into pin-cushion by the volleys of arrows that got sent flying down range. And for those of us who didn't shoot (I went down to support the archers and help out if needed) it was always good to see friends again, especially people who don't normally see that often. And of course, its always fun to see people in their element, and the archers were certainly in theirs.

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

"Non unus step tergum"

Friday, September 4, 2009

This Northern Regional thing...

Well, I'm not going to say I'm sorry I took the job. Far from it, as a mater of fact. But I am a little surprised by some of the politics involved. Nothing earth shattering, mind you, but certainly eye opening on some levels.

in any event, Nordsteorra herald can, at the moment, be described as a little bit of authority and a little bit more responsibility. Frankly, I'm glad for the minimum of authority, the SCA works so much better if you persuade someone rather than order them. I'm a little disapointed at how easy it is to reach the dead minimum levels set for the office. I mean, I wasn't expecting sweeping power or anything, but the list of things I have to do in order to keep my boss happy is actually small.

Small enough, as a mater of fact that I am quickly seeing how heraldry could languish very quickly if more than the minimum is not done. Locally, its not like I have to give each applicant a 10 credit hour college course. But, I am responsible for making sure they get trained and educated if they ask for & need it. I'm already hatching some heraldry classes for my locals, starting with some warranting, but I would also like to talk about some more advanced stuff. I'm not totally sure what that will entail, yet, but I'm working on it.

And after that, there is my plant to get regular installments into local newsletters.

Frankly, that idea is sputtering like a poorly kept 1960s 4 cylinder. I don't know what I am going to do, but I am not giving up on that just yet.


Anyway, I am by no means even remotely discouraged with the office, just sizing it up not that I have it. It has its good points, and its not so good points, and even some bad ones. But I still think I can make a hell of a difference given a little time.

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

"Non unus step tergum"