Myself, I had come with a very focused goal. I had brought my new archery gear, and intended to part on the range and practice as much as I could. As it happened, I was (politely) elbowed into the royal huntsman's competition, where I proceeded to both have an amazing time, and roundly get my head handed to me. [I wan't quite dead last, but there weren't many below me when it was over].
Afterwords I spoke with HL Vincinte and ultimately helped with the range during the kids archery shoot. About ten minutes into the process I realized that we had a problem, the first was that we had two effective ranges, and the second was that we weren't coordinating on them. Almost had people walking out with arrows still flying. I spoke with Margerita, and asked about standing on the firing line and calling both ranges while she and her helpers managed the kids. I wouldn't say things were "great" after that, but a single voice making the final call about when to loose and not to was piece of mind for everyone, and a load off of the minds of the marshals.
When the archery wrapped up, I figured my day was done, and had only feast to look forward to. As the afternoon rolled into later afternoon, we started to set up for feast. About half an hour before, Lady Zaahira, the feat steward, walked up to me and in an almost apologetic voice said "Ivo... could I beg a favor of you?"
As it happened, they needed a herald to cry the removes, and from the look on her face, I think Zaahira felt like she was imposing on me for asking. I don't blame her thought, our introductions were made only weeks before at Gulf Wars. A wonderful sole, and married to Don Trevor, an amazing person. I smiled, laughed and said "sure."
I love feast heraldry, and I love adding pageantry to the display of feast itself.
I cried the removes with I felt was a good mix of humor, honor, dignity, and drama. The audience cheered where appropriate and I didn't see any frowns.
One [name/title/descriptors redacted] was obnoxious enough to use me for target practice with his food catapult. I'll need to think long a hand about how to handle that in the future.
The feast was a success, and the event transitioned into court.
A good event to be sure, with only one small detail left to be discussed.
Saturday night at Beltane, I found out that my exploits of Gulf Wars were actually intended to be even grander, but in a twist of irony, that page in my story was moved to another chapter, another day.
It seems that the crown wanted to recognize me for my work in heraldry. However, I missed court that night because I was... well... talking with a client so I could herald him into a competition the next day.
So, none the less, I walked into court Saturday night wondering what in the hell I had done to be called before the crown. His majesty spoke simply and said "And here we have yet more unfinished business from Gulf?"
As those words echoed in my ears, I wonder what he could be talking about now, weeks after my return.
Could this be a Sable Sparrow for trenching the herald's pavilion?
Maybe a Flur for stalwartly manning my post at the scribal tent, even as the ceiling was letting water in by the bucket?
I honestly had no idea. As much as I loved gulf, and I did, most of my best memories were of me running around, talking with cool people, working with cool people, and occasionally getting to be loud.
As the herald took his first breath to read the scroll into law.. His majesty opened his hands and spread out a gold garter with black edging and a single black star stitched on one end.
I felt my jaw go absolutely slack, my eyes wide and my breath leave my chest from total shock.
|The Black and Gold garter denoting a|
Companion to the Order of the Sable Star
I gave up on awards a long time ago. Not for spite or anger or anything as dramatic as that. I just realized that I didn't need rank to do what I was good at, and looking for it did nothing but distract me from so much else. Constantly asking what I could do/had to do/should do to get noticed had me looking in 20 different directions at once, and none of them had anything to do with heraldry.
The moment I said "enough", and walked away from it all was one of the great moments in my life. A re-embrace of what I love to do, and the people I love working with. Building those types of relationships was so much of why I went to Gulf this year, and so much of why I think of the war as such an outstanding personal success.
And yet it seems the king has his own design on the war to make it even that much more epic for me.
Signed by the same King who had signed my Crane years before, and his current Queen, Nicollet, the scroll was signed and dated for the Thursday of Gulf, the night I was at the Green Dragon, taking notes for another heraldry Job.
I was now a Companion to the Order of the Sable Star, holder of a grant of arms for service to the kingdom.
As I half walked, half staggered away from court, completely stunned by the turn of event, and listening to my wife celebrating next to me from excitement over the award, I happened into a friend form my local group. Jon was are relative newcomer, but hard worker and pure hearted to be sure. A good friend to have I dare say.
"I heard all of the commotion, what was the award?" he asked.
"A star of Merit." I answered.
"Okay, what does that mean?"
"Think of it as a promotion," I explained to the former US Marine. "In this case in recognition for service.
"its a Grant level award."
"Well then," he said. "Congratulations, Your Lordship."
The comment caught me of guard, and gave me pause.
Even in wearing the award, I had had yet to be addressed by that title. For some reason, Joned simple congratulations helped make the whole thing real for the first time since I had been called into court moment before.
I was now, indeed, an Honorable Lord.
Honorable Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Mooneschaodwe Minister for Arts and Sciences
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"Long Live the King"