Ansteorran Story Corps: December 27, 2019 -- Share a story about an individual who inspires you - who is NOT a Peer - and why they are an exemplar to you.
I’m reminded of my first time at Gulf Wars. Well, really, it’s been my only time, so far. Nevertheless, it was memorable. It was there I met the incomparable and incorrigible Leo.
Leo was such a nice young man, and so very helpful. Always ready to tell a story, lend a hand, or just walk beside you to keep you company. It was enjoyable to sit under a pavilion and listen to him tell his many stories, and he was always ready to laugh, even at himself. The greatest memory of Gulf Wars happened late one evening, when his then-Highness, Vlad, happened upon our pavilion and began to talk with Leo. Some light banter was exchanged and then, as the fate of the gods would deem, someone suggested to Leo that he tell one of his stories to his Highness.
Leo replied with, "Well, my best story is how I accidentally joined the Spanish Bloods."
You can only imagine the look on his Highness' face, as he settle back against a pole and said, "Do tell."
Leo then proceeded to give a rousing rendition of his most hilarious story which left his Highness in tears. For the next hour and a half, Leo regaled the group with tales of his "accidentals" throughout his young life, and there wasn't a dry eye in the area. Laughter that was hearty, deep felt and strong rang through the night as Leo shared his light. Laughter at himself was easy, and it made the night happy and fun for all. After we had finished laughing ourselves to oblivion, his Highness asked Leo to accompany him on a round to the tents of Calontir. Leo gladly went along and told stories where ever they gathered.
I will never forget that night, nor the stories that Leo told.
He remains a friend, and someone I love to sit with and listen to any time I'm able. A strong young man with a giving and happy spirit.
I heard this story at Lillies War 2019: The Earl Marshal for Calontir came up to the lady in charge of waterbearers and asked if anyone was standing out, by doing an exceptional job. She pointed to a fellow in an Ansteorran tabbard and said, 'he is!' That person was Northkeep's own William O'Harra - proving that Northkeepers stand out wherever they go! William not only serves in Northkeep and Ansteorra, but throughout his travels in the Known World. He shines a light on the Crimson Star and the Keep of the North.
The story of my Sable Falcon: When I first started in the SCA, like most folks, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I floated around trying a little bit of everything. The one thing I hadn’t tried was heavy fighting, because I didn’t know that it was something a female was allowed to do. Then at one point I went over to a friend’s house for a class on stained glass. There on her mantle was a picture of her, in armor, receiving a Sable Falcon for combat on the heavy field. I was sure this was something I wanted to try.
The local group was doing a demo and needed a spare body for heavy fighting, so I volunteered. They put me in some familiar looking armor and took me off to get authorized. It turned out that my friend had donated her stuff to the loaner gear when she was done with it and so I got to authorize in the armor I saw in the picture.
I fought for many years, always trying to improve myself and learn more. I became a squire; I ran with Centurions; I commanded my local unit. The only thing I ever really felt I was missing was that Sable Falcon given by my King on the field of combat.
Time passed, things changed, and my friend died from a reoccurring cancer. I felt her presence with me every time I took the field. One Gulf War I was called into court after the Ravine battle, still covered in dust and sweat, to be given my very own Sable Falcon from the hand of a King who I greatly admire.
I had achieved my first goal, the first thing I had ever set myself to do.
Two weeks after that Gulf War I was informed that I should not take the field ever again on pain of blindness. My eyes are failing and one more good shot to the head might ruin them permanently. I should not go back into combat, just in case.
So tonight I make a toast. To Baroness Brianna ny Oran, who never knew the path she set me on and the joy that path has given me, but who always believed in me from the very start.
“To Absent Friends”