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First Word

Itís funnyÖ twice in September, I sat down to type up an issue of the Roundtable and yet I never saw the completion of an issue. Itís as if I was overcome by a malaise that simply sucked away my intention and filled me with inertia. The feeling pervaded much of that month and the first part of October. Certainly, we all experience a sort of post-Pennsic lull, but Iíve never had the feeling persist for so long and touch my regular life as surely as it did my SCA time. Usually, after expending so much time and effort on Pennsic, I like a bit of down time to focus on my mundane life. Of course, living in Sacred Stone has always made that a bit difficult since Sacred Stoneís Baronial Birthday always follows hard upon Pennsic. This year was no exception.

What surprised me even more was that my own lethargy seemed to mirror something similar being experienced by just about everyone I knew and with whom I interacted. It wasnít limited to SCA people, but touched just about everybody. I saw this reflected in the House Corvus e-group, to be sure, but I also spied signs of distraction out and about in the ďrealĒ world. Whatever the cause of this energy loss, we definitely overcame it to get the job done last month. Spiritual vampirism victims or no, House Corvus rallied in the early part of September to accomplish a wide array of tasks, not the least of which was the successful completion of an Atlantian Coronation.

The first weekend in September, I had originally planned on skipping Baronial Birthday since I was autocratting an event in Sacred Stone the following weekend. Still, so many people in the Household were going that I couldnít pass up the opportunity to spend even a little time with you all. As it happens, a little time is all we had! It poured rain during so much of the event that we all ended up hidden away in various shelters. But I canít deny that I really enjoyed seeing everyone there and going out to dinner afterwards. We all fled to the fish camp down the road and had a fab dinner together. It was a perfect afternoon and evening for me actually and definitely made me glad that I had driven up. But, come eight oíclock, I pushed off for Charleston again.

The following weekend saw a big contingent of House Corvus gathering once again at Camp Bud Schiele in Rutherfordton, NC where we worked on the Coronation of Anton and Emer. While Iíve already thanked everyone individually for all of his or her incredible work on the event, please let me reiterate how great you all were! The strain was obvious on all of us and I think we were all relieved when the event was over. It simply could not have gone better. But it definitely took its toll on us all. Thereís just so much work involved in putting on an event but we sometimes forget how tiring it can be. All of us are so active and have been involved with so many events that we just take it for granted that weíll pull them off. While thatís very true, I know that everyone was tired come Sunday. I know I was! Thank you again for making this come together for Emer. Also, the Boy Scout Council was thrilled with our performance and the SCA is welcome to use the camp again. This was a real coup for House Corvus and a huge service to Sacred Stone. You should all be very proud of a job expertly done.

I think we set a new record for site clean up and check out Sunday morning. It gave us time to all go out for lunch before heading back to our respective corners of Atlantia. Iíll admit to feeling a bit anxious though and was relieved once I was headed home. Weird as it sounds, Iím just not into the SCA that much and so many events, all in a row, was beginning to wear me down. If I was testy to anyone on Sunday, I apologize. Like you, I was just very tired.

Once I got home, I began the paperwork that follows an event. It actually took me quite a while since I was unfamiliar with the check-in style employed by Troll and ended up pretty much having to go through each site waiver to figure out my numbers for adults and children. Amazingly, and to my huge relief, the event actually turned a decent profit (I had been really worried). But almost 500 people attended, a record for a Sacred Stone Coronation.

The following weekend saw me jetting to New Jersey for my motherís birthday. Friday evening, I was talking to my older sister on the telephone and she was talking about her plans for my momís birthday on Sunday. She was turning 60 and, rather than going out, my mom simply wanted a family dinner at the house. So, my two sisters had planned to make a dinner and celebrate in Trenton along with my brothers-in-law. The more we talked though, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized how important it was for all of my momís kids to be there. To be honest, I donít know why I hadnít thought about it earlier. I guess I was simply too distracted. Whatever the reason though, I hadnít made any plans to go up and certainly, no one expected me to travel that far. So, naturally, I did just that! My sisters had planned dinner for 6pm on Sunday and I was lucky enough to find a plane that arrived in Philadelphia around 5. A quick limo trip saw me at the house just in time to shock the hell of my mother and made for a perfect evening with my family.

Of course, I hadnít really planned on spending time in New Jersey and had to return to Charleston right away. So, the very next morning, I flew home and set back to work.

I was certain that the very next weekend was the Judgment of Paris, a 14th c. pas díarmes in Lochmere for which I had agreed to do the decorations. Yeah, yeah, I know what youíre thinking. Why would I volunteer to do the decorations for an event over ten hours away from me? Well, Iíll tell yaÖ when they first asked me to do the event; it was almost a year ago. Somehow, when you have that much lead-time, anything seems plausible. I was flattered that they had sought me out and really wanted to be involved. The fact is, they do such incredible events up in Lochmere that I really liked having the excuse to go. Actually being on staff made it irresistible. Again, it made so much sense a year ago.

As the event loomed closer, I was dreading the drive. I had been doing so much traveling and most of it long distance. What I wouldnít give for a break. And, low and behold, I had my dates mixed up! It turned out that Judgment of Paris was actually the last weekend in September! I had a reprieve. You have no idea how sweet that feeling was. The idea of a weekend to myself! Glory be and hallelujah!

I savored the time and used the God-given weekend to collect myself for the following weekend. I was fully packed and prepped by Thursday even though I couldnít take off until after work on Friday. Still, it was such a relief not to going full speed and I actually enjoyed the long drive up to Lochmere. I arrived at 3AM and really didnít know what to do with myself so I simply began decorating. It was pretty cool since almost no one knew I had even arrived and when they came in Saturday morning to the hall, it had been transformed into the 14th century feast hall I had envisioned. How often does that happen? Something actually turned out the way I planned!

Despite my relative exhaustion, I was really anxious to come home after feast and decided to go ahead and get started on the road. Of course, there was no way I could make it all the way back to Charleston after all that, but I figured, any closer would make me feel better than having to tackle the whole drive the next day. I was surprised that I drove almost six hours before I really felt that I should stop. A few hours at a rest stop napping got me through the night and I made it home safe and sound the next morning. It was so great to have gone to an event so far away, done my work, and still be home in time to accomplish personal work on Sunday.

If you think that Iíd be slowing down though, youíd be mistaken. The following weekend, I was en route to California and the Great Western War in Caid. For those of you at Pennsic, you undoubtedly recall our wonderful camp visits from Guillaume and Felinah, the King and Queen of Caid. They had asked me to attend GWW and even offered space in Their encampment for Medb Renata and I. Goofy me, I was so smitten by Their charm and perspicacity that I immediately accepted. It seemed so plausible at the time.

My flight to Los Angeles was uneventful and even the first time experience of flying with my armor turned out to be no big deal. I had purchased a new cargo box for carrying it and it checked in and made the trip just fine. Although I couldnít believe how heavy it was! I think the baggage handlers were a bit shocked too. When I got the trunk off the carousel at Orange Countyís John Wayne Airport, there was a big tag on it that I hadnít seen them put on earlier that said ďHeavyĒ in big red letters.

Renata had planned wonderfully for my arrival and had already set-up her pavilion in the Caid Royal Encampment. To my surprise and delight, she had even set up a bed for me! I couldnít believe the luxury. It was awesome.

We shared a meal plan with her friends from Lanternís Keep and it was great to meet so many of the people whom Renataís talked about all these years but I had never met. Of course, the reverse was true too. Hopefully, meeting me in the flesh wasnít too big a disappointment!

Saturday saw me armoring up and fighting with Guillaumeís household mates under the command of Sir Ethelred. While I enjoyed the fighting to be sure, my favorite time was spent simply talking with Ethelred while sitting on some hay bales between battles. Itís always a thrill to spend time with members of the Chivalry who truly know the meaning of that word and live up to those ideals. For that alone, Iíd happily fly to California on a regular basis.

But the extra special thrill of the trip out there was finally meeting the ďotherĒ House Corvus! What an amazing experience! Weíve all known about the Corvus group who operates in Caid as a Celtic-Roman fighting unit. Of course, I couldnít help but notice their encampment with the Corvus badge all over it. Itís simply an astonishing case of parallel development between two SCA groups. In the simplest terms, they are exactly what the Dhais started out to be when I created that group all those years ago. Drawing inspirations from the same sources, the Caidan Corvites set themselves up as a Celtic war band which raided invading Romans for armor and supplies. Their true household name is actually in Welsh. Only the bedeviled Romans refer to them as Corvus. Watching them battle in their Roman style helms with their horsehair crests invoked the same images as my earliest days in the SCA with all my kerns. It was awesome.

At the same time, it served to show me just how far weíve all come since those early days. I was excited to see that my original vision for an SCA Celtic household could in fact be achieved with little loss of focus. But I didnít feel any sense of disappointment that I had never achieved that. Instead, I looked at our Household and was impressed at what we had developed for ourselves. Despite our incredible similarities, our House Corvus is exactly where I want to be in the SCA and exactly the direction Iím glad weíre all going. But, Iíll admit that meeting them put a huge smile on my face.

I also think it helped to dispel their own conceptions about us. When Renata and I first visited their camp, we were ďthoseĒ people from the ďanti-Corvus.Ē As in all cases though, actually communicating and getting to know one another was the key to understanding. I learned so much about them and the way they approach the SCA that, at least on my part, I felt a genuine connection was made. Iíve already been e-mailing back and forth with some of them and really hope I can get a chance to fight with them sometime soon. Itíll be a hoot to pull out my old Roman-style fighting rig and fight with a scutem! --BRAN

Corvus in Caid

Greetings from Medb Renata, I am writing to bring you up to date on my activities here in Caid. I miss you all and wish I could be around for some of the local activities, like the Shakespearean Festival, or shopping in Asheville, or work parties for household projects, but I am just too far away.

So here is a summary of the highlights of the month of September:

Top of my list is the imminent Great Western War, October 4-9 at Prado Dam Regional Park. It is a nice park, a nice time of year, and hopefully the flies from the nearby stockyards will be at low ebb this year. This is one of those events for which fly strips are standard camping equipment. I discovered to my dismay last year that flies like to find a nice cozy spot in the evening to sleep, usually in the peak of my pavilion. Once they get inside they won't budge until it starts to heat up again in the morning.

The War schedule will be tight since it is technically a long weekend only for a lucky few. I expect to be working at WarMart Ė your local one-stop convenience store at the war. My roommate started the ball rolling last year and I was the resident Sherpa with a Truck (I am looking for a deputy SWAT if anyone is interested.;-).

I am taking the freezer and store stock out on Monday and Tuesday after work. Then on Wednesday I will be taking out and setting up the Army Medium tent we use for a gather tent, as well as my own personal pavilion. Thursday I am making a trip to the airport to pick up the Guest of Honor Ė Bran!

I have to work Friday, but I may send him ahead to the War with my car. Friday night is the party for my roommate Tonwen's squiring ceremony to Sir Ieuan. The theme is Fire and Ice Cream. We will have fire juggling (if the autocrats don't object too much) and root beer floats made with Thomas Kemper root beer from a keg. Saturday I will be teaching juggling classes, helping out at WarMart and possibly helping host Their Majesties for dinner. Sunday is another trip to the airport.

I have been making some improvements in my camping gear including a new sweater rack, shelf and closet pole for keeping clothes organized and clean in the pavilion. I also have a period-looking table that actually fits inside my tent.

Lantern's Keep has nearly finished their new kitchen pavilion, which is done in a flying BC style (like two lean-tos facing each other) with storage under the eaves. I am impressed with the progress we made in just a few weeks. I have much more respect for tent manufacturers now.

I am still working on my 12' silk standard. I have been afraid to put ink to silk but I am running out of time so I am going to have to bite the bullet.

I was also hoping to get some more casual tunics made in time for war, having been inspired by Sine and all the tunics she made for Signy. I ordered my Inkle loom but have not had time to assemble it yet. That will be first on my list after war.

Last weekend I attended Angels Anniversary up near Pasadena. They had a triathlon style contest to determine their next Baronial A&S champion. Each person who entered the contest needed to prepare an entry in three of following five categories: fiber, visual, culinary, practical & performance. I entered a favor that I embroidered at my very first SCA event, a scroll that I calligraphed in the Middle Kingdom a couple years ago, and my fire-torch juggling performance.

All went well in practice, but when it came time to light the torches in the performance, I went through 6 or 7 matches that refused to light. It was gruesome trying to perform for a captive audience (the King no less) when I couldn't get the matches to light. Finally a kind gentleman supplied a lighter and I finished without further problems. Not very impressive I'm afraid.

This Saturday I will be attending Collegium and hopefully teaching His Majesty how to juggle. He is planning some interesting visual comedy about juggling the books. It should be fun. I will be submitting a proposal for juggling classes I would like to teach at Collegium in the future. I am also planning to teach at Estrella War in the spring.

At the Baronial Council last month I took on the job of Baronial Sexton - the person in charge of keeping track of the Stuff. I spent an afternoon cleaning out my garage to prepare a suitable place for the Stuff (after waiting for the temperature to drop below 95), then went and picked it all up from the Baron and Baroness last Sunday. I still need to wash the tablecloths that were wadded up and stuffed in the boxes dirty after the feast at our Baronial Anniversary Ė in July! Soon I will be organizing it all so we can tell what needs to be purchased or replaced.

In mundane life I have been learning my new job in Technical Support at Continuous Software, taking a Unix class, draining the swamp (our small inflatable pool in the back yard got out of hand and had to be dumped, cleaned and refilled) and planning my next trip back to Minnesota over Thanksgiving weekend to see my new nephew.

I have not been able to find reasonable tickets to come out for Mabinogi, but I haven't given up hope. Keep your fingers crossed!

And yes, Guiseppe, my needlepoint kneeling cushion is Almost Done!! --MEDB RENATA


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