Gentle Readers,

This weekend I was encouraged by HerRH to go to Winter War. I didn't especially want to go. It's in London and thus a ridiculous amount of driving for an event where the organizers seem to push the boundaries of minimum effort every year. For example, this year "feast" was "we'll have some take out and delivery menus at gate but you have to book space to sit and eat." They did eventually consent to providing dinner to the royalty from those same sources, but had to call for volunteers to plate it. The gentleman running rapier was an exception as he spent a great deal of energy to make sure that his fencing scenarios were interesting and provided plenty of fencing for everyone. I would have done it differently but it wasn't bad.

So the thing that convinced me to go was that HerRH had invited out of kingdom fencers, MoDs in particular. They seemed to be there to help give an outside perspective on our fencers and I think it really behooved me to be there.

So I went and the event was exactly what I expected. I ended up getting far less fencing in than I expected sure to a combination of obligations (EAOD stuff and running an authorisation for HisRH) and physiology (I had a blood sugar crash, more about that later). But I did get to play with some of our visitors and they were delightful.

I learned several things about my fencing.

First, my offline movement is terrible. I'm doing a terrible job at getting off the line and it's resulting in my getting stabbed as I try and move into distance our try and control the space and move in to attack.

Next, my sense of distance and my opponents reach is actually pretty good. Once I realized that one of my opponents was using a 45" blade and not 42", he was no longer able to sneak into distance.

My armor new armor is comfortable and moves well except for one minor flaw. The back plate on the helmet locks down into the ruff and prevents it from moving with my head. This sucks a lot and needs to be fixed. Right now I'm thinking articulated lames.

Finally, if your DOMS takes about 2 days, perhaps you shouldn't be surprised when your arms and shoulders hurt if you did a kickboxing class two days before the event.

As for the blood sugar thing. Well. I'm not sure the cause, but by mud morning my blood sugar was sub-optimal. My body just stopped responding the way I wanted. My hands were shaking and I was feeling fuzzy. It took me a bit to get realigned.

My endocrine system managed to get it's shit together, but my body continued to act weird.

As a result of not having to drive, I had the opportunity to go to a BBQ restaurant. I don't know what caused it, it certainly wasn't the alcohol but I just felt physically drunk for the rest of the evening. It was a very strange feeling and lasted until the wee hours. I ate the remaining leftovers on the morning and it didn't reoccur. I'm going to have to pay attention to see if it happens again.

Elevation

Feb. 29th, 2016 06:59 pm
Gentle Readers,

It's been a week since the elevation. I suppose I should probably write something down about it. In theory, I've been putting off writing because I've been processing. However, I haven't really been thinking about it to be honest.

One of my friends, and a ceremony junkie, did a lovely write up that in the Ealdormere Gazette. From the inside however it was not exactly the same kind of magic. The last few months have been spent making sure everything was in place, coordinating a ridiculous amount of support from friends.

Writing the ceremony was probably the hardest part. I didn't do the actual writing but I did have editorial control. Which is good as I caught a few things that were miscommunication between me and the main writer. We needed to find that sweet spot to make it clear that this was still an Ealdormerian peerage but was still something new and special. We also had to make sure that it was clear that it was a martial peerage but without cribbing from the Knights.

I believe we succeeded.

As mentioned in the article I spent my vigil going back and forth between quiet contemplation and swordplay: advice or adversary. I think I would have liked a bit more of the adversary.

The advice was fairly consistent. Many people were proud of me and pleased that I was being recognised. I was told that I was clearly doing the right things and I should keep doing them. I was reminded not to be a jerk. I was told that I now get to carry the weight of the peerage and my behaviour will be seen as typical. To be honest, a lot of it feels like being Baron. There were three pieces that stuck with me. Firstly, in your life there are very few opportunities to have a whole day filed with people telling you that you are doing good; so revel in it. Secondly, when it's your turn to provide advice at someone else's vigil, never take more that 2 min. Finally, and most important: Love more, be awesome.

There were other things, that I wish I could remember but I'll hold in to these.

After the vigil we had scheduled some time to decompress, but I think I really could have lived without it. While the day was filled with human interaction, it was mostly one on one so not as draining as it could have been.

After taking a few moments, I got my self into my new suit and it was time.

The ceremony was as we wrote it so there were no surprises except for the fact that the sword of the order got left in the car and there was a last minute substitution. Everyone had lovely words (which I will be asking them for) and it was clear to me that people carry moments of kindness with them and that, more than any words during the day drove home what this collar is really going to mean.

The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur but it wss spent with friends and I couldn't have asked for more than that.

I'm very blessed by the generosity and kindness I have been shown and it's my job to pay that forward.
Gentle Readers,

One of the important things to realize about a vigil is that you can't it all yourself. Well, I'm sure it's possible, but it's a recipe for an unpleasant time so if only because no matter how perfectly planned you will still not be able to deal with everything on the day of (because you are supposed to be pondering).

With the established peerages, the vigilant often has a formal relationship with a member of the order who can take them through the process our at least offer advice. There are also years of tradition that can be drawn on for all of the ceremony.

With this there is no presidents for any of it. We have to build the ceremony from scratch. What we do may, (or may not) be the start of a tradition. I've never formally been anyone's student so that's a relationship I don't have to draw on. I also don't have a formal relationship with an active household. Ore an active relationship with a formal household.

What I do have is lots of friends. Friends who are throwing themselves into helping like piranhas in a feeding frenzy. I feel really lucky to have so many people willing and eager to help but asking fire that help is really hard. Not because I'm worried that I'll look like I'm weak our anything, I just hate imposing on people. I don't want people feeling obligated.

I might also be a little worried about being obligated back. Fortunately I can recognize the silliness of that thought and mostly let it go.
Gentle Readers,

For those of you not in the SCA, this won't mean much but it's kind of a big deal.

Last weekend at the Queen's Prize Tourney, I was put on vigil to be the premier member of The Order of Defence of Ealdormere.

For court I was sitting at the back with friends. Not doing the snark, but but fully paying attention, joining in with the cheer as appropriate. There was an elevation happening in this court so I wasn't really expecting anything particularly interesting.

Then his majesty started talking about prowess and knowledge and I thought "ok, cool, they are going to laurel someone, that makes sense. It's an A&S event." And then his majesty begged the boon of her majesty. I thought "That's weird. I wonder why they are doing it this way."

Her majesty agreed, if it was a right and proper thing.

His majesty responded saying he would like to make me the premier member of the order.

Things get a little hazy at this point. I remember the feeling of the blood draining from my face. I remember slowly standing and feeling unsteady. I remember my focus narrowing and thinking all I have to do is walk up there. I remember walking like it was in a dream, floating and unsteady. But I didn't stumble or trip. I got to the stairs up to the stage and I think Cortejo was there and hugged me.

I ascended the stairs. I remember keeping a grip on the banister. I knelt and settled and my knee complained and I ignored it.

Their Majesties spoke and the herald spoke. I think I said thank you.

They bid me rise, and I rose. I thanked them and bowed. And went back down the stairs. I think Cortejo was there again, but I wanted to go sit down and I did.

And even people started coming up to congratulate me and I couldn't decide if I wanted to risk standing. And every one was so nice and saying such nice things and I was just trying to figure out what had just happened.

I'm told it was about 3 seconds before I registered what happened and stood up.

I'm told that there was a standing ovation.

I'm told that the herald read the requirements for the Master of Defence.

I don't remember any of that. I just remember shock and lots of people saying they were glad it was me.

All that was the easy.

Now I get to define the ceremony that everyone after me will use as their foundation. I get to be the exemplar. I get to be the old gun fighter. I get to be very very visible.

I'm not sure if that or the fact that maybe I wasn't as invisible as I thought is the more overwhelming thing.

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