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First Word

It's true that Robert and I had a fantastic time in Las Vegas in November. It's so very rare for us to get to travel anywhere together that, when we do, it really stands out. Since Robert had never been to Vegas before, and I'm a frequent visitor, I had a blast showing him my Vegas! We got to see my two favorite Cirque de Soleil shows, Ka and O, and managed to pack in a bunch of site seeing and casino hopping as well. I'm pretty confident that, the next time I go, I won't have to twist Rob's arm all that much to come along!

Of course, the big SCA fun of that trip was my jaunt to Los Angeles to participate in our own Dame Medb Renata's elevation into the Order of the Laurel at Caid's Coronation. Sadly, a late flight prevented me from actually making the ceremony. Poop. Instead, I got there just after it had occurred. But, I still got to spend time in Renata's spiffy vigil area and chat with all of the extraordinary people she knows in Caid. It really is a joy to see how Dame Medb has flourished out there. Getting to see her and Messer Giuseppe is a too rare treat for me and any amount of time spent in their company is worthwhile.

After spending time at the event, Dame Medb and I took off with her roomie, Mistress Tonwen ferch Gruffydd Aur (I just call her Rae!) to have a fun lunch together off-site. I really enjoyed getting to have exclusive face time with both of them. I'm hoping that Medb will get to come East and meet more of you. Maybe Gulf Wars and, hopefully, Pennsic where I have always especially enjoyed her company (and her juggling!).

Admittedly, there are incentives to visiting Medb in Caid as well. Getting to see Duke Guillaume's smiling face alone is almost worth the plane fare! How strange it will be when Robert and I head out there in June. Two years in LaLa Land. It gives me a mental Doctor Smith moment, "Oh, the pain, the pain!" Still, getting to see Medb and Giuseppe on a regular basis and actually play with them... I really can't wait for that!

No sooner did I return to from Vegas than I skidaddled right off to the airport again so I could fly up to Greenville, SC. There, Master Eldred picked me up from the airport and shuttled me over to Victoria and Gryffyth's house (it's awesome, by the way!). Together, we all attended Cyddlain Downs' event, Feast of the Unicorn, Enter the Ki-Lin on November 18th. What? You weren't there? Well, twenty(!) people from House Corvus were!

It's funny, it had never really occurred to me before, but it bears mentioning. A few month ago, THL Adeliza reminded us all how very important it is to make a contribution to the events we attend. And, certainly, we do do that. From serving feast to, providing hospitality to helping with site management, Corvus has always strived (and will always strive to make a difference at events and in the SCA, in general.

However, what a difference our mere attendance can make. House Corvus made up about 20% of all of the people at the event. Financially, that has to have an impact on an event's success. So, even if you can't make some obvious sort of contribution to an SCA event, remember, sometimes even just going can make a big difference! That is especially evident when attending smaller, local events.

It's easy to want to attend an event, though, when House Corvus inducts new members!!! Wheeee! Lord Ronan mac an Stalcair and his lovely wife, The Honorable Lady Muriele of Aberdeen did House Corvus the honor of joining our ranks at Feast of the Unicorn. Our own Master Peter Hawkyns had the pleasure of making Lord Ronan his protégé already but, now, all of House Corvus gets to enjoy the addition of this wonderful, Hawkwood couple. Welcome to our Circle, indeed, you two!

Inducting Lord Ronan and THL Muriele along with me were (in their Corvus order!), Mistress Rhiannon, Master Oshi, Baroness Sine, Master Eldred, Mistress Ealdthryth, Master Peter, THL Michael, Lady Krystyne, MacKenzie, Lady Anne-Marie, Colin, THL Gryffyth, THL Victoria, Baroness Deirdre, and Lord Caelan. That's only eighteen of us, you say? Well, we had the pleasure of Lady Krystyne's friends, Donna and Alicia, with us as well. Truth to tell, I don't just consider them to be her friends alone any more. They're already like part of our family and welcome to spend any and every event with us!

I know I've said this before, but I really would like to thank all of you for being the kind of household I truly admire. We all have a lot of friends in the SCA. Surprisingly, being in House Corvus doesn't seem to negatively impact our ability to have those relationships. We've never been cliquish or anything less than delighted to share our time and hospitality with anyone at an event. And, while it may be hard sometimes, it's a wonderful, wonderful thing to be at an event and look around and see members of House Corvus everywhere! Not just huddling with "our own" under a tent, but spread throughout the event enjoying the unique camaraderie that is typical of being in the SCA. We prove that you don't all have to be in the same household, hold the same views, or suppress your individuality to have deep and meaningful relationships that cut across every aspect of the Society. When it comes to "Dreams," that's a damn good one.

The same thing is obvious when I look around under the House Corvus pavilion. What a fun collection of faces! It's certainly true that I covet the time I get at events to be with all of you. Nowadays, I'm probably the worst offender for wanting to sit on my ass in a tent and run my mouth with my fellow Corvites. That's because my time with you is so very precious to me. But I get an equal measure of joy when I sit back on my prodigious derrière and scan a tourney field. There's a Corvus belt over there working with fighters at the M.o.L. table. There's a Corvus belt over there shooting archery. There's a Corvus belt over there setting up for court. The list goes on and on. And, my happiest glance is right there -- a Corvus belt sitting next to me, reminding me that, wherever I am and however long I've been away, I have good friends and good family whose members are always there to welcome me into their company once again. Honestly, that's as good as the SCA gets. --BRAN

Courtly Virtues

('self-'sa-kr&-"fIs, ME. from Latin sacrificium)

Self-sacrifice: the sacrifice of oneself or one's interest for others or for a cause or ideal. It is certainly not a new concept, but it's definitely a virtue that was exampled and readily practiced in the Middle Ages. Generosity and Charity were the cornerstones of the overall concept of Chivalry. Whether through sharing one's worldly wealth or helping others through deeds, selfless dedication to others was viewed as desirable behavior. Likewise, one can find numerous examples in the literature of the period that its antithesis, selfishness, was oft cited as an example of the evil that can lurk in the hearts of men. These concepts remain very much unchanged even today.

So how do we, in the current Middle Ages, practice self sacrifice? We do it the same way as those in medieval times did it -- we do it through both our deeds and our generosity. Giving of ourselves means sharing our abilities, our knowledge, or our time with others. Whether we do so by helping someone make garb, by cooking, by calligraphy, or by sweeping the floor; it doesn't really matter. We all have different talents and abilities and can contribute in a multitude of ways.

By its very definition, self-sacrifice comes at a price: one must give up something, be it time, money, goods, etc. Imagine this scenario: you arrive at a local event to find the marshal became ill, and you are the only one available. You were really looking forward to fighting. Yet. you decide to forego fighting and act as marshal instead, so that others may still enjoy the event. This is an example of self-sacrifice -- the giving of yourself for the good of others. It's something we often see at events. Indeed, virtually every member of an event's staff is sacrificing some portion of their own weekend of fun for the greater enjoyment of others. Events simply couldn't happen without it. Such acts are the very foundation of all SCA service.

There is great value in sharing some aspect of yourself and giving to others. So often, I have found that, while giving, I often gain much more in return. One doesn't have to be a martyr and sacrifice every moment of an event towards toiling for others (although many people in the SCA have and still do). Rather, be mindful of those opportunities to give of yourself for another's benefit, It can be in small, personal acts, or larger acts of service to your branch. But, in the year ahead, try to pay attention to the people around you and identify a need -- then do what you can to meet it so that others will benefit. --JULIANNA

Speaking of which...

His name is Umesh, he's eleven, lives in India and, as of January 1, 2007, is an honorary member of House Corvus. What?!? you say?

We have talked about this before and I have wanted to do it for a very long time. That is, sponsor a child on behalf of House Corvus who could really use a little bit of the kindness, charity, and generosity of which we so often like to speak.

I've done a lot of checking around and the Christian Children's Fund (yup, you see them on TV all the time) really does seem to be the best charity to support for this sort of thing. The reality of it is, I don't honestly know if giving to the CCF is going to genuinely impact on this young man's life. But, I cannot stand the notion that cynicism or, worse, apathy would keep us from trying. After all, we all work so hard to improve each other's lives, why not at least make some effort to help a stranger.

I can't force anyone to contribute or participate, but I genuinely would like to make this a House Corvus project. That is, giving $24.00 a month to the CCF on behalf of this boy. I realize that we're really just contributing to a "pot" that goes into his community and (ideally) helps many others along with our sponsored child. But, putting a human face -- Umesh's face -- works for me. And, I hope for you as well.

I'll be including whatever updates, letters, etc. I receive from the CCF regarding Umesh here in the Roundtable. And, I hope that once in a while, you'll be inspired to donate $24.00 for his continued support. In fact, I think I'll do that. I'll add a notation each month which mentions whomever sponsored that particular month. You don't have to feel obligated or guilty. No matter what, I'll make sure the money is paid. But, I'd like to hope that some of you will get on-board with me and get caught up in the spirit of the thing.

House Corvus' contributions within the SCA are nigh unto phenomenal. Maybe we can let a little of that ethic spill out of the SCA and into the real world. Years and years ago, when I was baron of Sacred Stone, Lady Philippa Suzanne of Andover undertook a fantastic idea. At every event within the Barony, we collected money for a specific charity. It often wasn't much and the charity was always different. But it was a meaningful act. Maybe not in dollars earned, but in tweaking our community consciousness.

Doubtless, many of you already contribute to various charities near and dear to your hearts. But, I think that our collective heart is big enough for one small boy and less money each month than I spend in comic books weekly.

Umesh Kumar Patel, Age 11

Corvus Calendar

4th - Krystyne and Michael's Anniversary.
6th - Caid: Twelfth Night in Gyldenholt (Laguna Hills, CA). Giuseppe, Autocrat
9th - Adeliza's birthday.
11th - Julianna's birthday.
13th - Atlantia: Twelfth Night in Charlesbury Crossing (Charlotte, NC).
13th - Ronan's birthday.
13th - Northshield: Twelfth Night in Nordskogen (St Croix, MN).
20th - Atlantia: Fool's Twelfth Night in Crois Brigte (Winston-Salem, NC).
20th - Atlantia: Midwinter's Tale in Border Vale Keep (August, GA).
27th - Atlantia: Tournament of Manannan mac Lir in Tear-Sea's Shore (Cordesville, SC). Michael O, Autocrat
27th - Caid: Unbelted Tourney in Gyldenholt (Irvine, CA).

3rd - Atlantia: Atlantian Winter University in Baelfire Dunn (Claremont, NC).
3rd - Atlantia: Baronial Birthday in Bright Hills (Westminster, MD)
3rd - Calontir: Clothier's Seminar in Cum An Iolar (S. Johnson County, KS).
10th - Atlantia: Tourney of Ymir in Windmasters Hill (Wake Forest, NC).
11th - Oshi's birthday.
13th - 19th - Atenveldt: Estrella War XXIII in Florence, AZ.
17th - Trimaris: Winter Arts And Sciences Faire in Weeki Wachee, FL.
20th - Isolde's birthday.
28th - George's birthday.
28th - Guillaume's birthday.

Corvus Crossword

Only the solution grid is displayed on the online version of the Raven Roundtable.

Solution to crossword appearing in Issue #44.

Last modified on Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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