Ansteorran White Scarf Ruby Anniversary

The event this weekend was an absolute blast – I got to see old friends, amazing rapier fighting, meet new people and even spend part of my day in service to the community as a scribe. Plus I got to learn The Very Basics of listmistressing, which is the art of pairing fighters on a list field – something I’ve never done before, but which was fun. 

The event was in Livingston, which is almost exactly 100 miles north of where I live, so it took a little over 90 minutes to drive there, even early on a Saturday morning. I planned my morning well, so that I arrived at Sonic at 7:10 (right after they open), got my breakfast not-in-a-burrito (you can order breakfast burritos in a tray instead of a tortilla) and an iced tea the size of my head, and hit the road. There had clearly been storms the night before – site was wet and parking was muddy, but no deep or dangerous mud. I got great parking right near one of two huge permanent pavillions on site. 

Found my friends – lots of people to hug (especially Baron William, he gives the best hugs). Gated in, and set up shop with Elena and Brian to spend the day at a picnic table doing scribally things. I knew I was there to paint – Elena had done original scrolls for all the tourneys that day, and had done the calligraphy and drawn in the illumination, but they were not all painted yet, so I painted the three youth awards. 

Her Majesty also gave out two Queen’s Rapiers (basically a “wow you really impressed me” award), and though we only had one on site – and we really did try to get a second one – I painted that too. (The other will come from Sable Scroll this week and get given out on Saturday at Queen’s Champion, presuming the recipient is there – which I believe he said he would be.)

Then Elena got roped into helping with the afternoon lists, and I went and learned the very basics. Fun skill, got to meet a lot of fighters. There was truly some spectacular fighting on display – some of the best rapier fighters in the Known World were there, and HRM was clearly delighted to be part of this.

The backstory is that originally in the SCA if you wanted to fight, you fought heavy armor chivalric fighting. But a couple of upstarts in Ansteorra (led by one Tivar Moondragon) started researching period rapier fighting manuals, and began a tradition here in our own kingdom that led to HRH Tessa creating what was first called the Order of Cavaliers – the insignia of which is a white scarf tied on the left arm above the elbow (or at the shoulder). These became the White Scarves – and rapier fighting has always had a very special relationship with the Queen. As the King’s Champion is the King’s personal defender, so the Queen’s champion – a rapier fighter – is hers. Many a Don (the title taken by most White Scarf holders) remembers poignantly which Queen granted him access to the order, and the Queen’s Champions all hold very dear their relationships to their queens. 

It’s a special thing, and a thing that really doesn’t exist anywhere else in the Known World (there are some kingdoms where there was no Order of the White Scarf at all). Now that there’s a rapier peerage – the Masters of the Order of Defense – many kingdoms are closing their White Scarf orders, which is a grant level award, and I find that to be a loss. I grew up in the SCA in the rapier community, and there’s a panache and a style to it that you don’t see in other places. 

My thoughts on rapier fighting aside, it was a good day, not too hot, though muggy once the sun came out and started burning off the puddles. Feast was excellent, and by the end of it I was exceptionally tired, and chose to drive home rather than stay and see the bardic circle that followed. Many folks camped Saturday night, and the site has running water and showers, so hopefully it’ll be a site we use regularly, even if it’s a bit far away.

Next event I’ll be at will either be Steppes Warlord (Memorial Day weekend) or Ansteorran Heraldic and Scribal Symposium (late June). Possible detour to Known World Dance and Music in mid-June as well.

I’m doing my best to dance these events around when D&D is – some events (like the AHSS event) will be worth missing D&D for, but most won’t, so I’ll be scattering my event attendance in between weeks or on off weeks. 

I’ll have a post up later this week about garb. I need to make some decisions about what I’ll be wearing, since the garb I have needs alterations or additional layers to be really period. 

Dreaming the Dream

So after many long years away, I’ve decided it’s finally time to really rejoin the SCA for really real. I played seriously from 2004-2010, and then a little in 2014, but hadn’t even unpacked my garb from the move over two years ago. (I’m still missing pieces of it – I have no idea what boxes it might be in.)

But I need people. I need MY people – the nerdy ones, the ones who geek out about hem stitches and wool types and pigments, the ones who make parchment and who cook over open fires. I need people who won’t expect me to be an authority except where I actually am one (see: nowhere, right now), and who will meet me where I am and let me find my footing in a world that captures my imagination AND my desire to create things.

D&D is amazing – I still play every weekend give or take. But D&D is 4 hours  a week, and since I’m not DMing, I’m not having to prep for a game – it’s just time set aside to do things with friends, and those friends are virtual.

I need people in real life, friends to do things with and people to teach me new things. I’ve become very focused and specialized and I miss being able to talk about all of the things I was learning. 

So tomorrow I’m going to my first SCA event in almost six years. Some of the people have changed, but others are still around – probably much better at their arts and skills than they were when last I saw them. The event is Ansteorra’s White Scarf Ruby Anniversary – celebrating rapier fighting in the kingdom that started that entire line of study and fighting in the Known World. 

This is a really apt event for me to go back to. When I first joined the SCA, I was in college in Waco (Emerald Keep), which was being run by a gentleman named Don Edward Mercer. Don Edward was Queen’s Champion for HRM Sibri in the fall of 2005, and he basically offered me a free ride (I’d bring breakfast and gas money) to whatever events he was going to. We’d talk in the car about the history of rapier fighting, about the stories and legends of the art, about the relationship between a fighter and the Queen. It set up a magical thing for me to be part of and to sink my teeth into at the same time as I was first starting to play WoW. 

So from Emerald Keep I moved to Loch Soilleir, where I still live, and there I truly blossomed – learning scribal arts and fiber arts, learning cooking and weaving and dyeing. I made friends that I’m still friends with. 

It’s hard to explain what it’s like to be spending my free time this week getting ready to event – the early morning drive, the garb, the feast gear, the packing a cold bag with snacks and things to eat and drink. The realization that I have no feast gear, no period-looking mug to drink out of. I’ll make do, but I’ve got some kit-rebuilding to do. (And I really probably need to pick up some mundane camping gear.)

But most of what I’m excited for is the chance to meet people – to have friends again that I share common interests with, or that I can nerd out with about things that are interesting to both of us. There’s so much out there to learn, and so much that I want to start doing again, that I’m having to pace myself. I’ll get there though.

And until then, tomorrow I get to go and see if the dream is still alive, in the little things. I don’t have a full set of garb yet – I’m just wearing a plain burnt orange kirtle and a white headscarf/veil. But that will come with time as well. I love making clothes for the SCA, and I think an order of linen is in my future, for a new sideless surcoat and for a proper veil and wimple. 

Wish me luck then, as I start this new (old) chapter in my life. I’ve been Anna online since 2004… but I’ve been Anne in the SCA since 2006 or so, and it’s time to try that name back on again.

Lady Anne atte Rydeforde

A new SCA advertisement

Lysts at Castleton 2009

Lysts is one of the premiere high-persona events in Ansteorra (The SCA kingdom in Oklahoma and Texas). There is only one tourney field, so everyone gets to see all of the fighting, and the local Baronies show up with pavillions and food to sponsor fighters. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m really hoping that in the midst of all the house stuff, I can manage to go this year.

People in the SCA often talk about The Dream – those moments where, even though you know you’re a reenactor, you feel like you’re really there. This can be one of those events.