Ansteorran Story Corps: April 4th, 2020: Tell me about a time that made you know: This game was for you. You'd found home!
"Picture it...2004....I was chatting with a new friend, and he said, "Hey, you want to go to war with me?" I answered, "But I thought we were getting along so well." He went on to tell me a bit about the SCA, and this "little thing" called Estrella. I was, to say the least, intrigued. I bought two ridiculously priced dresses via the internet, purchased a plane ticket, and off to Phoenix I flew. It rained the entire week I was there. It mattered not; it was just water, and I was having the time of my life. I had heard about Merchant's Row, and had brought cash.... perhaps more than I should have, but who knew if medieval merchants accepted plastic? Said cash was in the bag that went everywhere with me. Margarita Night came...there was much merriment, a lovely fire, and many songs and sagas shared. I woke the next morning, got dressed, and reached for my bag....and my heart sank. It wasn't there. My cash, my ID, my return plane ticket.....oh no! I retraced my steps, which took me to the common tent, belonging to the Outlands group I was camping with. There, inside the tent, lay my forgotten bag. Sitting, in a camp chair, feet and arms crossed, sat a young Squire. He was looking at my bag, as if it were going to skitter off on it's own accord. I said, "Oh! You've found it!" He answered, "No, my Lady. It was here all night. I stayed to make sure that no one took it." It was all there. Every cent, my ID, plane ticket, lip gloss, and gum wrappers. I tried to give him cash, as a reward. He refused. I asked his name, so that I could recognize him to his Knight. He again declined. He simply informed me that it had been his pleasure to make sure that it was returned to me. I never learned his name. I also never stop telling the story of how I fell in absolute Love with the Society, and it's amazing people. I went home, and promptly joined."
The very first meeting I went to in Tulsa in May of 1985. I had made a dress and walked up to the also funny dressed people standing around outside the library where the meeting was being held. I asked if this is where the SCA meeting was and someone said, "Yes, m'lady. Welcome." Afterward, one young man escorted me to my car, kissed my hand and bid me good night. I was sold!!
"It was my first event. We arrived late, set up camp and a lot of people were still up. I decided to meet the neighbors. Between the time of that decision and finally going to bed I had met more like minded people with more honor and integrity than I had met in my mundane life during the previous decade. These ARE my people."
"Braggarts war III, I had spent the weeks leading up to it planning the kidnapping of a good friends Crest. She had a small stuffed unicorn attached via magnets onto her helm, and while I could not personally go onto the field of battle to capture it, I could sponsor a fighter to do so for me! I put together a bag of goodies for the winning fighter, and announced the bounty. Come day two of the event, the melees began. The unicorn found it's way into my possession, via Count Crispin! I announced the capture of my tiny unicorn, and awaited the presentation of the ransom from the defeated party (one Lady Elionora inghean Ui Cheallaigh) the unicorn was returned to her possession, and with much glee I gained a wonderfully scaled bag with many goodies inside. The existence of the unicorn ransom solidified my love of the SCA, and told me that this was the place for me."
"My first event, Coronation of Inman III, I was introduced to so many different people that all seemed welcoming beyond anything I had ever witnessed. At the step down Court of Jonathan and Willow they named my friend Raganr as their Lion. I asked my friends Erland and Moonbear what a Lion was. Their explanations were similar, but different. It was soon after that that I knew the only things I ever wanted in the SCA were to be a member of the Bjornsborg order and to be a Lion. I now look at all I have and I am satisfied with my career in the SCA. I also learned that to have fun, make it fun for everyone."
I first met the SCA over the point of a sword. Literally.
This was in March of 1975; my residential college at Rice University was having its annual Shakespeare Fair. One of the college officers had a sister who was in the SCA, so they were invited out to add some color. At that time I was in the Rice Fencing Club and the rather battered-looking rattan-and-duct-tape swords the SCA guys were using looked awfully big and clunky compared to the foils and epees I was used to, so I didn't go over and check them out.
I *had* planned a choreographed duel with a friend from the fencing club, so I was wearing a sort of costume and carrying a sword. After the duel, I was wandering around the fair, when I ran across another guy from the fencing club. He challenged me, and I managed to beat him. I had just stepped back and half-jokingly said the fateful word "Next?" when this short, red-haired fellow wearing what looked like a rusty pine cone suit said "I'll fight you, what are your weapons?" I was carrying a fencing saber and had a costume dagger in my belt, so straight out of "Hamlet" I said "rapier and dagger." I drew my blades and he took a long duct-taped club and a short duct taped club and we started fighting.
We fought for a minute or two, and I quickly realized that while my fencing saber was quite a bit faster than his weapon, the blade was so flexible that he simply couldn't feel my thrusts through his scale armor. I went ahead and let him hit me, and ended up on my back in a mud puddle.
*That* was my introduction to the SCA.
About seven months later I went to a tournament, and was hooked. I can recall just sitting at home and grinning for several hours afterwards. I've been playing ever since.
(Oh, yes, the fellow with whom I had the choreographed duel also joined the SCA a couple of years after I did. He is now known as Don Robin of Gilwell. My opponent in the scale armor is now known as Duke Lloyd von Eaker, second king of Ansteorra. I am somewhat better with rapier and dagger these days.)
"Populace in the Park. I was wrestling my new dog, my lawn chair, water, and my keys, etc. And someone stepped away from their task to help. I said I could get it and he reminded me that I didn’t have to."
I have two, which are two of countless, that came to mind. The first, I was young, attending an event in Bonwicke. I was still in high school and there had been a terrible ice storm in Oklahoma and parts of Northern Texas. Then Prince Mahadi and Princess Valeria awaited the arrival of the King and Queen. I forget who it was at this time. (Editor's Note: Mikael of Monmouthshire IV and Mikaela of Monmouthshire II We had not heard from them and hoped they were okay, and just as Their Highness began to start court...from the back of the hall...a voice bellowed: MAKE WAY! ANSTEORRA! MAKE WAY FOR YOUR KING AND YOUR QUEEN! With Their full entourage and banners They marched in and the King then stood before us. It just gave me chills again to relive that.
The second was at Gulf War. Amelot Lisette and Aaron MacGregor were on the throne, and I was part of Their entourage. During the Chivalric Ravine Battle, I was working as a water bearer and it was hot and humid. The battle was brutal and hard, and some Ansteorran fighters had come to me, dropped to the ground, and removed their helmets. I was trying to water and cool them as fast as I could. They were wiped. Then...coming from resurrection point I hear the Queen's voice call to them: "Come Ansteorra," she bellowed. "Follow your Queen. The battle is not yet over! Follow me to victory!" At that moment, one of the Ansteorran fighters picked up his helmet and said to the others "Come on, y'all. This isn't over." They all left...and I stood there...in that moment...and it was gorgeous!