Enjoying the thaw
This past weekend the Lish and I attended an SCA event called Mudthaw. Lish had been feeling under the weather a few days prior, but we made the trip regardless because one of the members of our house, Ivan, was to be knighted at this event. It was an awesome time. We watched the fighting, attended courts, attended his vigil (I’ll explain), and even got to participate in Ivan’s procession into court. Pretty cool stuff, and it reminded me more about why I enjoy this as much as I do.
We started the day helping set up. As you’d expect, things were a little hectic, but those in our household banged it all out without any major issue we were aware of. We headed over to morning court after awhile, and waited for Ivan to be called up. Now, if you’ve read my diatribes and such before, or know me personally, you know that I’m a sloppy mess over things such as honor and respect and whatnot. I still can’t watch The Last Samurai without full-on ugly crying at the end, complete with smeared snot across my face like horrible mucous war paint a-la Braveheart. So when I saw his face, and it dawned on him what was happening, it got me. I’d seen him involved in quite a bit in the short time I’ve known him, and he always seemed to just do what needed to be done without any drama or bullshit. I’d spoken to him about stuff as well, like fighting, armor, leatherworking, etc, and he was always warm and welcoming to me. As such, seeing the comprehension on his face, and the visible rush of emotion that hit him, was awesome! As he walked away, he was in a sort of shocked daze. Honestly, he looked like he was just proposed to by the love of his life. That’s one of the only times I’ve ever seen someone react as such. It made me so happy to see this.
Now, for those of you who are a bit confused, I will explain a few things, and hopefully I get them right. If I don’t, I’ll just edit this shit. At morning court, the king and queen called him up and extolled him, citing his accomplishments and his excellence of character. They then called up the Order of Chivalry, which is the peerage comprised of knights and masters at arms. A peerage is kind of like a group of earned nobility. You have one awarded for skill at arms, the Order of Chivalry, one for outstanding service, the Order of the Pellican, and one for the arts/sciences, the Order of the Laurel. There is more to all this, but that’s a basic gist. Anyways, at this point he is asked if he would pledge his fealty, accept the responsibilities, and join the order. After this, he spends the day in a vigil, where others can sit with him one on one and give him advice, congrats, etc. Following the vigil, he is called into evening court where he is to give the crown his answer, and if his answer is yes he is then knighted at court. Make sense? If it doesn’t, you can go to the SCA website and read up on that shit, cuz I’m moving on.
So after morning court, we watched a fair amount of fighting. Granted, most of this was for my benefit since I’m trying to learn this stuff. One thing I definitely learned is that I have a VERY loooooooooong way to go. A few years, I’d gather, before being able to really hold my own and possibly win once or twice. Also, I was loaned a fucking kick ass helm and gorget, which was passed to me through members of my household. This brings me one step further towards having enough armor bits to spar with. Anyways, we eventually made our way to the vigil to pay our respects. I must say I thought it was odd that it was called a vigil, because the only times I’ve ever attended a vigil was when someone died. Thankfully, Ivan was still alive when we got there. While we waited to sit with him, there was lots of awesome food prepared by members of the household, so I had enough bratwurst and meat pies to require a boatload of fiber to pass. We sat with him for a brief time, not wanting to take up time that he could spend with those he’s known longer and whatnot. We congratulated him and expressed our pride to be able to call him family, and then absconded to the bar for a pint, as we had no relevant advice to give him.
We hung out and talked to people for a bit, then eventually joined the procession to follow him into court when he was called. I must say, I always feel like I don’t belong in those. Not because anyone ever makes me feel unwelcome, quite the opposite in fact. I dunno, in my mind, I’m more of a nobody in the group. I haven’t been in this for long, and the only thing I really bring to the table would be sarcasm and alcohol. Granted, the alcohol is important, but still. I know the reason for this is that I believe being involved in such a thing is a place of honor, and honor is to be earned. All I’ve really done so far is ask an assload of questions and had people provide for me. I know, it’s my issue. I get that I wouldn’t be asked to be there if they thought as such, so I guess the better way to explain it is that I’m humbled by my inclusion. I still strive to find ways or skills to develop that would allow me to contribute more, but it’s a work in progress. Right now, all I have to offer is booze, horrible jokes, and the ability to pack a car.
Fuck, long tangent. OK, back on track. We followed him in, bowed, and then proceeded to the back to watch the fun. As if his emotion wasn’t enough, one person from each peerage Order had to speak on his behalf. Every person who spoke for him was choking up with emotion during their speeches, causing my “allergies” to go into overdrive. I found myself recalling why this game has allure to me. People are awarded for their honor, for the good things they do, and for the good people they are. Respect is shown, people are acknowledged, and honor is bestowed in a genuine way. It comes from the heart and the mind, and we all know that this is the stuff that really gets me. I watched and listened, all the while experiencing the storm of emotions it invoked. It was absolutely awesome, like being in person to witness such events previously only seen on film. Knowing those involved made it even more emotional and real. He rose up at the end as Sir Ivan, and we cheered and clapped for him. It was really cool to see, and to be a part of, even if only a small part of. Stuff like this is what makes this as much fun as it is.
So that was our experience. For both of you who read my blog regularly, if you have any questions, just hit me up in the comments. Vivat!