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First Word

My house is filled with the peculiar smell of accomplishment. I think itís a combination of odors: cut wood, paint, varnish, laundry, the computer. In the frenzy that is inevitably the last two weeks prior to an event, Iíve been buzzing to complete a variety of chores. Of course, theyíre not all event related.

I find that, even when Iím pushed with a deadline for a specific task, I need smaller diversions while working. Since I donít want to go out of ďwork mode,Ē I pick chores that wonít take too awful long and will push my instant gratification button. Naturally, I start a few projects that I thought would be brief, but turn into larger projects all their own. Itís been that mix of event-related and non-event related tasks thatís kept me going these past few weeks leading up to Atlantian Crown Tourney.

While attending Gulf Wars in March, Mike and Christine bought a collapsible bed. I thought the design was very clever but I didnít care for the materials from which it was made. Still, never let it be said that Iíll let a good idea fall by the wayside. After the event, I borrowed their bed and designed a new pattern from it on the plywood of my choice. I had a definite deadline since they needed the bed back for a trip they were taking.

So, in a flurry of activity, I ran to Home Depot (three times, but thatís a whole other story-- grrrrr), drew the pattern on the plywood, and took their bed back to them. Of course, this left me with three sheets of plywood in my living room! I live in a very small place here in Charleston and that just wouldnít do. So, I spent the next day, jigsaw in hand (Lord, how I sometimes miss all of the workshop space I had in Davidson), and started cutting. After all, I couldnít store the sheets of lumber, but I could stow the finished bed in a closet. Finished being a relative term, of course.

Needless to say, that project has turned into something a bit more elaborate than originally anticipated. While all of the pieces are indeed cut out, thereís still sanding of edges and staining to be done. While over at the house one evening, Mike suggested painting my device on the headboard. Argh! What a great idea. So, now thereís that to be done.

Fortunately, this is one of those projects that neednít be done until Pennsic, so I have plenty of time. Iím actually very excited about it. Iíve always had a bed at Pennsic, true. Rather than wooden palettes upon which I set a mattress, Iíll have an actual, portable (yet sturdy) bed to keep me off that chilly Pennsic ground with room to store crap underneath!

In between a few sewing tasks for Crown, Iíve been working on a project for the House Corvus website. Slowly, but surely, Iíve been replacing the large, single-image montage pictures from events in the Gallery section, with click-able galleries of full size photos. Single .GIFs are steadily being replaced with .JPG pictures from various events. Not only have I managed to replace some of the older pictures, but Iíve also managed to get a few of our more recent events up there. Obviously, this will take some time to complete overall, but it does afford me little successes in the meantime. After all, it only takes a few hours at a pop to scan in a single eventís worth of photos, write the code, and pop them online. Each gallery has a series of thumbnails, which will give you an idea of what photos are available from any given event. You can pick and choose which, if any, you want to see full size.

Now, I am the worst for taking pictures at events! So I definitely want to thank Sine and Elsa especially for all of their awesome pictures. They often take pictures at events and send me copies for the website. I honestly could not do any of this without their kindness and generosity. Adeliza also e-mails me pics periodically and Giuseppe is looking though some of his as well. I canít wait to get Sine and Medb Renataís Corvus í99 picture galleries in place. But that will definitely have to wait for June.

The bottom line is, if you have photos from events, especially ones for which I currently donít have photos, do consider sharing them. The Gallery on our website is a great way for us to keep up with our Corvus brothers and sisters. There are so few events where we can all manage to get together. This is an easy, fun way to keep everyone in the loop. And Iím happy to scan them in and post them.

Iím actually looking forward to spending more time working on Corvus projects as soon as I get these two May events out of the way. Between Crown Tourney and Hidden Mountainís Baronial Birthday, both of which Iím autocratting (yes, I know this is stupid-- but itís a long story), my April and May have been pretty shot. Itís only tinkering on these little House Corvus projects that keep me sane. After all, what better use of my time than improving stuff for all of us! Yeah, yeah, I know. Adding pictures to our website is hardly revolutionary. Still, small victories. In an often-harried world, I take what I can get.

Thank you in advance for everyone in House Corvus whoís been helping me with these events. Iíd be a fool to think I could accomplish any of these things without you. And, while I may be a lot of things, a fool isnít one of them! --BRAN

What Do You Want From Me? Blood!

Well, with May first looming, not only do we face our Pennsic registration deadline, but also the deadline by which we have to order the House Corvus pavilion if we want it time for the War. With a little over a thousand dollars in the fund, Iíve decided to borrow the rest of the money so that I can go ahead and order the tent in time for Pennsic. After all, that really is why we want it.

Since thereís no way I can actually underwrite all this expense, Robert and I came up with a clever, albeit bizarre, way to help subsidize the cost. Did you know you can make $200.00 a month selling plasma? Well, thatís what Iíll be doing for the next year to pay off our household pavilion. We heard an ad on the radio and I checked it out. Despite my aversion for needles, I figure itís an easy way to help out the household. And now weíll have our pavilion in time for War.

Now, you can feel free to continue to keep contributing to the Pavilion Fund. Keep buying t-shirts. Keep making contributions, etc. Iíll be thrilled if I can stop having needles shoved in my arms a few months early! Really!

The only difference is, just go ahead and send them to me directly now, instead of Rhiannon. Iíll continue to make a running tally in the Roundtable just as I have been all along until the pavilion is actually all paid off. So, if you havenít managed to contribute anything yet, nowís a good time! This is especially true if youíre actually going to Pennsic and will be using the thing. I mean, címon!

Cool News to Share...

Cassanís sister was recently named to the World Cup team! She's rowing a quad (that's four scullers, or rowers with 2 blades each, for us normal types). On top of that, she's the stroker, the rower that all the others watch, and the person who steers (since she's sitting in the stern). This is in spite of the fact that two others on her team have competed in the Olympics previously. Cassan wonít be able to attend the World Cup this weekend since heís saving all of his vacation time for the World Games this August in Switzerland.

Two... Two... Two Poems in One

Unfortunately, with all of my various mundane deadlines (I really do work, you know), I wasnít able to get my regularly scheduled cover and poem in to the Hidden Mountain newsletter, the Mountain Mayhem in April by the appropriate deadline. While I did manage to get an unrelated piece of cover art to our Baronial Chronicler in time so there would at least be a cover, there was an unplanned hiatus in the on-going saga of Andrew Scotus. Fortunately, I think Ií have a pretty clear grasp of just how to budget my time better and accommodate the writing and drawing time necessary for the project. So, I donít anticipate more lapses.

However, we only have ten months in which to complete Andrewís tale, so the Mayhem could ill-afford to lose even one single chapter. In time for the May issue deadline, I submitted both the cover art and two installments of Andrew Scotusí 'Journal.' So, naturally, they are reflected in this monthís Roundtable. Youíll find parts III and IV of the 'Journal' which will bring us right up to speed. The cover illustration shown actually goes with Part IV.

From the Journal of Saint Andrew Scotus...

as translated by Bran Trefonnen

Part III.

I fear my crossing the sea,
Plunging headlong in to death,
Not Ďneath bitter tossing waves,
But facing the heathenís breath.

ĎTis a strange chord of Christendom
That weaves through the Scottish breast--
How now this Celtic clergy?
Even Augustine failíd such test.

Still, I follow in their wake,
Columba, Aidan, Brendan--
Irish giants cloaked in Christ,
Whose work they did but begin.

Unto that Holy Isle,
Where Columba did first set,
I too shall know Iona--
And the Abbey that stands there yet.

Only three decades have passed,
Since Norse evil washed ashore
To sack, pillage, and plunder--
Yet nothing we canít restore.

Nearly three centuries strong,
Mission to a pagan nation,
Survivors of Viking wrong,
Monument to salvation.

I keep watch on hoary prow,
Warmed by such inspiration,
Soon will I touch holy ground,
To join this congregation.

From the Journal of Saint Andrew Scotus...

as translated by Bran Trefonnen

From the Journal of Saint Andrew Scotus, Part IV.  Copyright ©2001 Scot W. Myers

Part IV.

I watch as hoist, rope, and men,
Rebuild roof and hope once smitten--
Word of Christ will tame this land,
And civilize all Britain.

Neither ruined Lindisfarne,
Nor Jarrow down and battered,
Will dampen Christian resolve--
As if buildings truly mattered.

Our faith resides in our hearts,
A mountain of strength hidden,
But always there to renew,
When despair looms unbidden.

How diffírent these Vikings be,
What a simple faith to bear--
Through combat one reached Valhal,
And remained forever there.

This warriorís religion,
Where gods are destroyers like men,
Worshippers in like image,
Rain death and ruin again.

So effortless to live up to,
The gods they themselves have made,
Scottish victimization,
And still gentler lands to raid.

But again will we rebuild,
Make permanent the passing,
Create where others destroy,
One moment of Grace eíerlasting.

Notes on the Poems

Iona was a famous center of learning and missionary work off the western coast of Scotland. It had been founded by Saint Columba in AD 563 and was an Irish establishment. Christianity had come and gone several times in the various British kingdoms (Mercia, East Anglia, Northumbria, Wessex, etc.) over the centuries, but the Irish Church was in continuous descent from the Romano-British Church.

Originally episcopal, as the Roman Church, the character of the Irish Church was subtly altering in the 6th c. with an increasing importance on monasticism. Their monasticism was very ascetic and, despite their closed communities, there was an extraordinary emphasis on individualism. Many Irish monks, like Saint Brendan, traveled great distances in boats with little care for their own safety. This eagerness to journey and lack of concern for physical comfort made the Irish enthusiastic missionaries to the then pagan Anglo-Saxons and they had profound influences on English Christians.

By AD 825, when this poem is ostensibly set, Egbert of the West Saxons defeated Beornwulf, king of Mercia. In AD 829, Egbert invaded Mercia itself advancing as far as Northumbria and received their submission. The next year he successfully invaded north Wales. These successes made Egbert the first of a long line of West Saxon rulers upon whom fell the main burden of defending England against the Vikings, who had already sacked Lindisfarne in AD 793, Jarrow in AD 794, and Iona in AD 795.

Everyday Life in Roman and Anglo-Saxon Times.
Marjorie and C.H.B. Quennell. Copyright © 1959 by Dorset Press, New York.

The Penguin Atlas of Medieval History.
Colin McEvedy. Copyright © 1961 by Penguin Books, New York.

Roman Britain and Early England 55 BC-AD 871.
Peter Hunter Blair. Copyright © 1963 by W.W. Norton, New York.

Rites and Religions of the Anglo-Saxons.
Gale R. Owen. Copyright © 1981 by Dorset Press, New York.

Corvus Calendar

1st - Pennsic XXX pre-reg and camp forms due.
7th - Atlantian Coronation.
14th - Branís D&D weekend.
19th - Ealdthrythís birthday.
21st - Williamís birthday.
21st - Crown Tourney Work Weekend at Branís.
25th - St. Markís Day.
28th - Sacred Stoneís Novice Tourney.
28th - Crown Tourney Work Weekend in Florence.

1st - Pennsic pre-reg fees due.
5th - Atlantian Spring Crown Tournament.
9th - Antoniaís birthday.
12th - Alysís birthday.
18th - Cassanís birthday.
19th - Hidden Mountainís Baronial Birthday.
24th - Signy graduates from high school!
26th - Atlantian 20 Year Celebration.
26th - Pre-Pennsic work day in Gastonia.

Last modified on Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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