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First Word

Well, I hadn’t planned on getting so caught up in mundane work and pre-Pennsic planning that the Roundtable would go on a Summer hiatus. Sorry about that. But with Fall’s imminent arrival and my professional life a little more under control, we should have fairly smooth sailing (well, Roundtable-wise) for a while at least.

Our epic summer of inductions went off smoothly and I’d like to welcome (in print, anyway) all of the newest members of House Corvus. Lady Alessandra Ruscello was inducted at Sacred Stone’s In a Phoenix’ Eye event on June 30th. Lady Siobhán nic Dhuinnshléibhe was inducted at Hawkwood’s Tournament of the Blue Mountain on July 29th. Lord Michael O’Comhdhain and Lady Kyrystyne McGowan were inducted at Pennsic XXX on August 16th. Of course, with them, we also get a bonus Corvite: McKenzie of House Corvus, who’s due around December 6th. Congratulations again to everyone and welcome to House Corvus! We’re so happy you’ve joined our fraternity and have already been learning what great assets you are to the Household.

What amazed me the most with these inductions was the fact that THL Eldred had already included everyone on the rose window before sending it up to Pennsic XXX with Mistress Rhiannon and Lord Peter.

Joining the aforementioned Corvites in our Pennsic XXX role call were Lady Medb Renata, Master Oshi, Lady Sine, Messer Giuseppe, Lady Alys, Lord William, and myself.

Of course, Pennsic manages to throw us all new curves every year and, despite our best efforts to improve our yearly encampment, this year had some of the greatest hurdles to date. Aside from our remote location, lack of water pressure (and sometimes water!) made for a bit too much adventure. As always, though, hard work and a genuine team effort forged another amazing camp. So much work goes in to making Pennsic, and I know how testy I can get while trying to pull the camp together, but those days when I walk in to camp and just look around makes me so proud of all our effort. Job well done, everyone and thank you.

We enjoyed the company of some new additions to the camp this year and also reveled in the camaraderie of old friends. Certainly, Duke Paul and Mistress Susan of Bellatrix were a joy to have around. But how wonderful it was to also spend time with Baron Frederick and Mistress Lyndia of Woodlyn again! And what would Pennsic be without the always delightful Duke Merowald Sylveastan and the gracious Lady Sara of Denby Dale? Imagine our surprise when we found a House Corvus link to the Sylveastan lineage at their party! We should have guessed that something as cool as House Corvus would be connected to such a grand SCA figure as His Grace.

Our annual steak and shrimp night culminated in a wondrous assemblage of people and entertainments. So much so that I’m determined to have more such events in next years encampment. As always, the fifteen hour drive home enables a LOT of thinking and planning for next year. Incredibly enough, I’ve already put some of those plans in to action. I think it’s safe to say that next year will be even better. So look for your invites around January first and start planning for your own Pennsic adventure!

Michael O’ made some fabulous blackberry merlot which he shared with the encampment and also allowed me to use as personal gifts on behalf of the Household. Thanks for going that extra mile. I really appreciate it.

A lot’s gone on since the last Roundtable and I can’t begin to touch upon it all. Fortunately, the House Corvus e-list has been working double time. Both THL Rowen and Lady Medb remain e-mail impaired at the moment (but I pass along important info!). But, the great news is that Lord Joseph and Lady Sara will soon be joining us in the electronic world. We’ll soon be filling their e-mail queues with our boisterous communiqués! --BRAN

Ring Around the Raven

After two long (and frustrating) years of no new House Corvus belts, our dry spell promises to be over soon. I currently have twenty new belts being made by Lord Cormac and Lady Raven (how appropriate is that?) from Hawkwood.

The price is still the same ($50.00 each) but first dibs absolutely go to those members of House Corvus who have yet to ever receive a belt of their own. I know that it‘s tempting to get a new belt, especially since some of ours have certainly taken a beating. But it’s far more important to me that everyone receive their first belt before we start getting in to replacement belts.

Please get in touch with me if you want to arrange one of the new belts. I’d like to fit them to you personally (which will necessitate a bit of travel, I realize). We can also work out how to pay for it at the same time. Let me hear from you as soon as possible, okay?

Color me Cerulean

As I mentioned online on Wednesday, August 22nd, I spent a lot of time in thought while driving home from Pennsic XXX contemplating the Chapel Project which we’ve been working on for a few years now.

For several years now, we’ve had a dedicated chapel space in our Pennsic encampment for contemplation and prayer. While all of the members of House Corvus certainly don’t share a single faith, the project has always been wonderfully supported. I’m very grateful for that. Yet, it’s never quite coalesced for me the way I had hoped. That’s mostly due to the fact that we’ve not had a dedicated pavilion for the chapel, a situation soon to be rectified. But, on some level, I guess it also seemed like a game to me; just one more cool House Corvus prop to show off how cool we are.

I think a lot when I drive, usually a bizarre mix of reviewing the past and plotting the future. Riding the emotional high of a successful Pennsic, I couldn’t help but think back to my earlier days in the SCA and other people with whom I’ve shared an extraordinary household relationship. Many of the college members of Caer Daibhidh (the SCA branch I founded at Davidson College an eternity ago) still fill me with a special joy. We tend to remember the last crew who passed through those doors (and destroyed them). But there were many wonderful people who called themselves Dhais and I’m still blessed to have had them in my life for a time.

Certainly it was Davidson College’s Class of 1988 who yielded the single greatest crop of Dhais at Caer Daibhidh. Amongst them was a quirky and fascinating young woman named Beth Parker. She had a unique outlook on life and managed to blend her inordinate genius with a down to earth whimsy that I found intoxicating.

Frances Bethune Parker (she always went by Beth) succeeded me as seneschale for Caer Daibhidh in 1986 and continued to steer the branch through its tumultuous, but incredibly rewarding, early days. Of course, she earned her AoA along the way. There was an innocence and joy to the SCA then that has dulled somewhat over time but is still echoed when House Corvus gets together and reminds me (and others) what the SCA is all about.

Beth was one of the very few Dhais to continue her involvement in the SCA after her graduation in 1988. Originally from Gainesville, GA, she became very involved in the SCA in Athens, GA until she moved to Japan to teach English there for several years. Upon her return, she reconnected with the SCA until she died of ovarian cancer on Friday, April 2, 1999.

Like many friends from that time, my day-to-day connection with Beth since her graduation was superficial at best. My most vivid post-Davidson memory of her in the SCA was watching her perform in the Second Shepherd’s Play at the Atlantian Twelfth Night held here in Charleston. Of course, my fondest memories are of her playing with my then puppy, Wolfie, at the first Mabinogi held at King’s Mountain State Park.

It was while ruminating on her life, friendship, and her impact on the SCA that I came to the realization that her life needed to be celebrated and remembered on some level within the SCA itself. The dissolution of Caer Daibhidh affected me less than it might have because I had a new legacy within the SCA -- all of you in House Corvus. But for Beth, the loss of that branch meant, at least on some level, the loss of her legacy, her history within our Society.

That’s when it came to me, obviously. I had the oppor-tunity to combine a project that was important to me with the memory of someone who was equally important to me. And I could share that person with the people I love, namely you, whom I know would have cherished her as dearly as I do. Believe me when I tell you, she was all House Corvus through and through.

Her name in the SCA was Lady Ester Cerulean. She registered her name and device in 1988 (Azure, semy of compass stars, a sheep statant and a base enarched and indented, all argent -- for the heraldically curious). She enjoyed heraldry and garb making but especially performance arts and medieval scholarship.

Along with her work in the SCA at Davidson, she was also a member of the Eumenean Society. Founded in 1837, it is the oldest student organization at Davidson College. The Society encourages creativity and literary achievement on the parts of its members whose ultimate goal is to cultivate the mind. It’s no wonder Beth was a core member of this band of Southern intelligentsia.

I think that dedicating the Chapel Project to her memory will give the project a focus which it’s lacked up until now. Coupled with the enthusiasm of the Rose Window Project, I truly feel that this will spark exactly the impetus we need for this project’s completion. As a nebulous ideal, we’ve slowly been adding to the chapel. But, as the Cerulean Chapel, it has a new and special center.

Along with the Household Saints currently represented in the Chapel, I’ll be adding Saint Esther to that list as Beth’s SCA namesake. Beth certainly wasn’t a Saint! But she still has the same power to inspire me now as she did in life. I hope, through this small effort, you’ll come to know her a little and help me keep her memory alive.

Frances Bethune Parker
27 December 1965 - 2 April 1999

From the Journal of Saint Andrew Scotus...

as translated by Bran Trefonnen

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

Part VI.

How much like a raven’s eye,
I spy battles from afar --
Black birds wait on meaty prize;
Their carrion caviar.

Ebon things make food of men,
Sharp beaks tear at softer eyes,
Blank orb glimpses hollow shell,
Shouts, then to the next corpse flies.

In that bloody bacchanal,
Intent on gluttonous feast,
Ravenous hordes sweep the field,
Focus only on the least.

Naught but flesh form left behind,
Monument corporeal --
Dripping statues to their King,
Frozen in memorial.

I hear tales of battles told,
In mocking condescension;
Has my own voice echoed this,
With pious predilection?

Mockery and derision:
Such simple invocations,
Fragile thoughts from feeble minds,
Blind to these mutilations.

Feathered, black veil falls away,
The face of horror exposed;
Let my eyes remain open,
Marked by those forever closed.

From the Journal of Saint Andrew Scotus...

as translated by Bran Trefonnen

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

Part VII.

The cacophony of death,
Still more conflict stains my day,
Female hands bury husbands,
Encasing their joy in clay.

But, wherefore is my mentor--
Donatus, most wise of friends?
He shies from yon battle,
While to me the war commends.

Older eyes paint greater pictures,
Brush the world with wide vision,
He turns only towards God--
I question this decision.

Such wisdom as my mentor’s
Could mold both prince and minion;
But he preaches peace to none,
Keeping his own opinion.

Seeking to engage again,
Contest our role in this mêlée,
I hit ‘pon my lord in song;
Sotto voce slays gainsay.

Ancient arm holds new born babe,
While family gathers near;
Simple prayer fans simpler spark,
And gentler souls persevere.

My eyes, distracted by war,
Almost missed this exclusive.
Is this the hidden mountain?
Blinded to the elusive.

Corvus Calendar

1st - Sacred Stone's Baronial Birthday.
1st - Trimaris' Fall Crown Tournament.
8th - Atlantia's Coronation of Galmr and Aryanna.
15th - Hawkwood's Tournament of the Golden Moon.
18th - Eldred's Birthday!
19th - Peter's Birthday!
22nd - Nottinghill Coill's Love Conquers All.
29th - Hidden Mountain's Silver Chalice.

6th - Alriker's Birthday!
6th - Wyvernwoode's Baronial Bash.
6th - Atlantia's University.
13th - Atlantia's and the East's Kingdom Crusades.
13th - Baelfire Dunn's Below the Salt.
16th - Isabella's Birthday!
20th - Hindscroft's Would Caesar Believe This?.
20th - Falcon Cree's Passage East IV: Cross and Crescent.
20th - Trimaris' Panhandle Skirmishes.
23rd - Signy's Birthday!
25th - Michael O's Birthday!
26th - Trimarian Medb's Birthday!
27th - Rhiannon's Birthday!
27th - Nottinghill Coill's and Hidden Mountain's Labyrinth.
27th - Bright Hills' Treachery n' True Love.

Last modified on Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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