Sunday, May 18, 2003

A Quest for Camelot story

Once there was an SCA member who missed Northshield Coronet, but went happily across the Principality two weeks later to Quest for Camelot, expecting your average event. Then there was a valley in the rocky hills, a banner on the highest point of one of those hills, magical singing and incredible artistic pieces and wonderful hugging friends and shiny armored combatants fighting in the spring mountain air (and oh yes, due to a clerical error, she got a little [heated] cabin all to herself for the whole weekend!) She had the time of her life. Schattentor is magical.

In the evening, this SCA member, sitting happily in what was the most extensively hatted Court she had possibly ever seen (From right to left: Baron Rodrigo of Nordskogen, Prince Leif and Princess Astrid of the Northshield, the King and Queen of the Outlands, the Baron and Baroness of Caerthe in the Outlands, and the Baron and Baroness of Unser Hafen in the Outlands), had a bit of a shock. She was called up to be inducted by Leif and Astrid into the Order of the Northern Cross. All it took was "As a castle strong..." and she burst into tears. Whoever recommended this bewildered and overwhelmed grateful SCA member, thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you.

Ah, but that's not all. After Feast this SCA member went to Princess Astrid to thank her for the honor. Her Highness put out her cigarrette, took the SCA member's hand and said, "Leif, don't you go anywhere, I'll be right back," and led this confused SCA member across a dark field to a warm cabin. They entered and who should be in the living room of the cabin, sitting companionably among friends, but Count Tarrach and Countess Fina, recently King and Queen of the Middle Kingdom but now all ours in Northshield again.

"Astrid, I'm glad you found time to bring her, we wanted to tell her personally some of the things we said in Court two weeks ago," said Fina.

This SCA member spoke up and said, "Alissende told me you said some nice things about me, but that's all she said. Thank you for the compliments."

Fina continued, "We don't have the scroll, it was sent to Fiskr in the mail so we could give it here, but it hasn't arrived yet and anyway you know all about it."

After a pause, the SCA member said, "....scroll?"

Confusion moved all around the room. After some discussion it was determined by Tarrach and Fina that the SCA member did NOT know something that they had been assured she DID know.

"You have a Purple Fret," said Fina finally.

"Yes, I know," said the SCA member brightly and cluelessly. "I got it from Elashava at the Pie Snit."

"Then now you have two," said Tarrach, and it finally dawned on the SCA member what had happened.

She had been given a Purple Fret at Coronet, and two of her best friends went up to receive it, then successfully hid that fact from her for two weeks.

She had spent the entire weekend with dozens of people who knew she got a Purple Fret at Coronet, at least one of whom had miscommunicated to Tarrach and Fina that she had been informed about the award. And ALL of whom had kept it a secret.

Also, she had spent the previous Friday night with a goodly portion of her Shire (most of whom had been at Coronet), contentedly eating spaghetti and sewing and chatting. And all of THEM had kept it a secret.

Only one person even BEGAN to leak any information, and that was Alissende, the person with whom she spent 11 hours driving to Schattentor, and she had stopped herself when she thought she might raise suspicions.

(Going into first person now...)

Thus it was I walked bounced back across that dark field in the high hills with my Princess, having received two awards in one day, one each from the Kingdom and the Principality, and one in a living room from people in sweatshirts. (It was cold.) I was dazed, I was bewildered, I was more grateful than you can imagine. I sang "Three Words" with new fervor. I thank anyone who might have recommended me. I am overwhelmed and undeserving.




Saturday, May 10, 2003

I'm back from San Diego, or, as I will always think of it, Bright Calafia (bright because of the sunshine, blue sky, and flowers everywhere, and Calafia because that's the name of the SCA barony based there). I went for the annual conference of my professional organization, the Medical Library Association, of which I have just been elected secretary of one of the sections. Not having been to an MLA conference since 1999, I wasn't sure if I'd have a good time, but I really did. Librarians are very cool people. I wish I could remember that more during my day-to-day existence.

I also made good use of my non-conference time, shopping at the mall directly behind the resort where the conference took place, visiting Old Town San Diego (is it a state park? Is it a kitschy shopping mall? YOU decide), and trendy shopping/dining areas the Gaslamp quarter and Hillcrest (I was trying to go to Balboa Park to get some culture in me, but Hillcrest was on the bus route and it called out to me, so I got off there). I had two really excellent Italian meals (at Bella Luna and Arrivederci Ristorante, listed on that page). Any trip where I have carpaccio twice has to count as a vacation in addition to a business trip. Raw beef, yum!

In Hillcrest I found a fun used bookstore where I spent $80 on four books that were all together easily worth $200 new, including two out-of-print color plate illuminated manuscript books and a Folio edition of 1066 and all that. AND I had the nice lady at the check-out ship the books home to me, so I didn't even have to carry them around or find room in my suitcase for them!

I won't go too much into the conference itself, not wanting to stray too close to work topics in this 'blog. Suffice to say, I met some really neat people, heard some excellent speakers (including Lawrence Lessig, the copyright guru, who has a great idea in his new Creative Commons movement), got some catalogs and many freebies at the exhibits, and racked up enough continuing education credits to apply for MLA's Consumer Health Specialization.

While I was gone, Northshield Coronet took place near Minneapolis (actually, in Stillwater, MN. I have got to get back to Stillwater one of these days. Musicmakers' Kits in Stillwater has exactly the hognose plucked psaltery I want, but I want to try before I buy.). Several friends have gone out of their way to e-mail, call, or see me in person to tell me about it (thanks, Earnan, Chris, Robina, Kudrun, and more). It sounds like I missed some pretty prime schtick at Court and at feast, and an excellent Northshield Choir performance. Ah well. These things happen. In any case, MLA isn't until the end of May next year, so it won't conflict with what will hopefully be the first Northshield Kingdom Coronation, which has recently been scheduled for May 8, 2004 in Oshkosh.

Sir Aubrey won the tourney, inspired by Baroness Anne (and who wouldn't be?). I think this is a good thing. It does mean I will have to stop referring to Aubrey as "the Little Squire that Could" (which I've been calling him before, and since, he became a knight). Awww...






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