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Ansteorran Story Corps: October 9, 2019: Describe a Sovereign of Ansteorra, past or present, whose behavior or leadership help crystalize your personal definition of the ideals of the SCA (aka "The Dream"), and what it was they did that helped you to that realization.

Miesterinde Annes Clotilde von Bamburg

A Sovereign of Ansteorra, Past or present, whose behavior or leadership helped to crystalize my personal definition of the ideals of the SCA...

Aside from the two people who held my newcomers house? They weren't sovereigns... just a Laurel and a Knight, so I suppose I can't use them for this story. But as far as Crowns who inspired me, there are so many. I guess I will start at the top and work my way down.

Kindness is always an ideal that I strive for, and no Crown has embodied that ideal better than our 3rd Princess and 9th Queen, Countess Tessa of the Gardens. She is always gracious and smiling no matter the situation. Just to be near her is to feel peaceful, and so much of our history is tied up in her. She is a treasure beyond compare. I have witnessed countless acts of kindness from this great lady...from graciously offering food, drink, shade and conversations to the weary populace, to comforting a small child, to helping a newcomer find their place. Despite - or perhaps because of - a number of personal tragedies as her life has gone forward, she has learned that kindness costs nothing and means everything. When I think of kindness, I think of Her Excellency, Tessa, and try to do what she would do in that situation. She inspires me constantly. Kindness is Her Excellency, Tessa.

Strength is a virtue which is one that I admire greatly. There is none stronger in my mind than our 21st, 23rd, 26th, 33rd, and 47th Queen, Her Grace, Duchess Julia de Montoya. The only Queen to have served in 5 different reigns, she still holds this record. It is hard to think that her last reign was in 2002, as it feels to me like yesterday. What strength she embodies with this service to our kingdom! She always reminds me of a swan... all grace and calm, gliding from one part of the event to the other, yet underneath the feet are paddling like crazy! People who have never been close to a Crown may be unaware of the energy that it takes to fill that role. She and Patrick Michael set the bar for everyone who came after them because they were the first Crown to try to travel to every corner of the kingdom during their reigns. They were Mother and Father to us. Nowadays we simply expect our Crowns to travel widely, but it wasn't always the case prior to their first reign. Her Grace, Julia, was very instrumental in setting up their progress. It was this ambition that others now strive to emulate. When I think of strength, it isn't prowess on the field that I think of. No, I think of Her Grace at those events...event after event after event...never allowing anyone to see her exhaustion except a few closest to her. She always had just a little bit more to give back to the Kingdom that she loved so dearly. Strength is Her Grace, Julia de Montoya.

Love is a virtue that we should all strive to acquire... not just love for self or others but a great love for this kingdom and all it means. There are many crowns which had this love but if I were to choose a Crown that embodies love of Kingdom the best, It would have to be His Grace, Duke Inman MacMoore. Not only was he our "once and every other king," but he served during some of the most contentious times of our Kingdom’s history and that of the SCA as a whole. The terrible issues he struggled with, both in and out of kingdom, could only be taken on by someone so in love with what our society means - that the personal sacrifices were worth keeping our dream intact. He stood between us and terrible things that would have torn our kingdom and our society apart. He was a shield of love between us and basically annihilation. He was loved by many and yet made many, many enemies in this fight. Sadly, after his final reign, he was so exhausted from the fighting to save us that he left us for a good while. I am overjoyed to see him starting to return. Love of Kingdom is His Grace, Duke Inman.

Now that I have spoken of ancient history, if I were to pick a more modern Crown to speak of, it would be of Their Graces, Gabriel of Maccuswell and Sonja Ryzaja. To me, they are giants of the virtue of flexibility. Coming from another kingdom with its own history and culture, they plunged headlong into our culture and embraced it with a fervor to be remarked upon. We are not "unicus et singularis" for nothing. Our kingdom is unlike any other. But when they sat the thrones, it was as though the great kings and queens of old were sitting there. I had some trepidation at first that they would change so much about Ansteorra, but instead they became protectors of all that we were and are. This came clear to me best when I got to know them a little better during the Society's 50th year celebration in the Midrealm. They didn't come into our lives in a whirlwind of change, but instead became the embodiment of Ansteorra in every way. When I feel that I am becoming hidebound, I think of Their Graces and learn to give a little to gain a lot. Always being ready to learn is Their Graces, Duke Gabriel and Duchess Sonja.

There are dozens of others I could speak of... the inspiration to every woman in the SCA, our own Iron Rose, Her Grace, Duchess Rowan Beatrice von Kampfer ...the personae play of His Grace, Duke Abd al-Mahadi Jamal ibn Hakim...the courtly inspiration of Their Graces, Duke Miguel Sebastian de Oporto and Duchess Conall Ó Ríoghbhardáin ...the fighting prowess of His Grace, Duke Sigmund the Wingfooted...but I will leave these stories for others to tell...until then, I remain...

Forever in Service,
Mistress Annes Clotilde von Bamburg, OP
"Munerius Ultra Sanitas"

Jóra Smiðsdöttir

My very first SCA event, I was completely overwhelmed and under-prepared. I didn't have a single stitch of garb, or clue about how I should address the folks in crowns. To put it mildly, I was terrified. So there I was: sitting down, learning how to card wool, and low and behold, His Grace (Majesty at the time) Jason Drysdale, was standing behind the instructor, looking mischievous. The wonderful lady teaching me (I have forgotten her name, my apologies!) turned around and suddenly curtsied (as best she could whilst seated) to His Majesty. I, in turn, did the same, and then he moved on. Later that night at court, the call for newcomers was put out -- so I went up, in all my t-shirt and shorts glory, and was introduced to Their Royal Majesties Jason and Margherita. Jason made eye contact with me, thanked me for attending, and gave me a lovely black metal star, which I still have (and now use as the pendant of a necklace). He was funny, kind, and very, very welcoming to me as a newcomer and someone who was *scared out of her wits* to be standing in front of all of these very well-dressed people in my decidedly modern clothes. To this day, he remains a funny, charming, and truly wonderful person, who I am happy to be an acquaintance of.