Hrafna at Steppes 12th Night, 2023 - taken by Cassian Jaskółski
|Order of Precedence|
Per pale sable and argent, two ravens respectant counterchanged.
Her Grace, Hrafna Wyrdmake, KSCA, CSS, OL, Defender of the Dream
Previously Known As: Hrafn Olafson
Nickname(s): Olaf the Well-Travelled
Proprietor of The Raven's Table
Additional Registered Heraldry:
- Local Offices Held
- Knight Marshal, Barony of the Steppes
- Regional Offices Held
- Central Regional Knight Marshal
- Kingdom Offices Held
- Other Positions
- Gulf Wars 2013: Deputy Marshal-in-charge
Early period (900 BCE) Norwegian
- Chivalric combat
- Rapier combat
- Cut and Thrust combat
- Period gaming
- Middle-eastern drumming
- Scandinavian history
- Armor making
Pyrography - "Mjolnir" I created for Bjornsborg event in 2015. Photo by Kalista Zvereva Rostova
Pyrography - Birthday present commission, delivered at War of the Rams 2015.
Viking 6-panel chest made for Mistress Kyna Terricsdottir elevation to the Order of the Pelican. Scroll text w/ Royal signatures on the inside of the lid. Poplar wood with pyrographic art. Total construction time, 3 weeks.
Commission for Nicaize Maupetit as a surprise to Liam Gordon upon his safe return from deployment. Axe head was purchased elsewhere, I did the handle work - pyrography and wire wrapping.
Timeline of Activity:
2004: First Event -- Steppes 12th Night.
January 16, 2023
To say this past weekend was a memorable one is a massive understatement. [VIDEO HERE.
Coronation is frequently a bittersweet moment in time. The stepping down of one Crown for another, when those who sit upon the Sable Thrones pass responsibility for The Dream to their successors. Witnessing Creppin and Toryn lay down the Crowns after a glorious reign and seeing Gabriel and Sonja place that same joyous burden upon their brows filled me with pride and confidence for the future of Ansteorra.
The day was also filled with joy in many other ways, both large and small. Being able to see friends for the first time since the Pandemic was an amazing thing. All those in attendance were laughing, swapping stories, and otherwise celebrating the day. If nothing else had happened, that shared experience made the long trip from The Steppes to Bjornsborg more than worth it! But little did I know that the day was only to become even more memorable.
After the standard step-up court rituals of oaths sworn, announcements made, and the granting of Duchy titles to Creppin l’Ostriche and Toryn Sevenstitches, Their Majesties Gabriel & Sonja weren't done. I was off to one side of court, sitting with Simha Bint Yusuf, Elen Verch Phellip, Ceara inghean mhic an Ghabhann, Alden Drake, Osanna van der Linden, Nicaize Maupetit, and others watching the proceedings. At one point, His Majesty Gabriel starts describing their desire to sit upon the Thrones of Ansteorra once again and asked me to come before them to help with a story. Not knowing what to expect, Simha and I dutifully made our way into court, where HRM regaled everyone with a tale of what inspired him to re-grow out his long hair.
***I want to pause my account for a moment to make something VERY clear. Gabriel had actually pulled me aside at War of the Rams, over a month previously, asking if I would be OK if he told this story. Not knowing why he wanted to tell the tale, but finding it to be hilarious and worthy of a retelling, I happily granted my permission. I am proud of who I am, have no shame for my life in the "before times", and referencing my life in that phase of my existence causes me no discomfort. It meant a lot that he asked for my consent before regaling folks with the tale. We all change as we experience what life has to offer. Things that might have once been funny or acceptable, may no longer be so. But in this case, I did not consider the story offensive in any way and neither of them misgendered me at any time. I wish to thank Their Majesties from the bottom of my heart for thinking of comfort and my desires here. *** ***
His tale spoke about how, at that time, there were a number of folks in the Kingdom who presented to one and all as men and were known for their glorious long hair and that I was in good company. He also was clear to say that "Our understanding of the situation has drastically changed", eliciting a hearty laugh from both me and the crowd. He went on to start listing out those who He was referring to, namely Ulstead the Unsteady, Caelan MacRob, Cynric of Bedwyn, Phelim Gervase, Airaklee Wolf, and others - describing them all as "An inspiring bunch". It was at this time, that Her Majesty Sonja looked me dead in the eye and uttered words that will forever be burned into my soul:
"You'll notice that they are all Lions"
At this point, I have no shame in saying that all rational thought left me. Looking back at video taken of the event, I very ungracefully fell on my butt in absolute shock. The next thing I remember is getting back onto my knees, hearing the crowd, and seeing Simha walking up to hand a medallion to Their Majesties.
Me? Being chosen to be counted amongst those who I have looked up to for more years than I care to admit? This cannot be real?! How can I, a simple sword-slinger who has an occasional ability for helping others have fun, be considered to be as worthy as those who have led our beloved Kingdom for many years?! But, to my continued amazement, this was not some fever dream. Lions of Ansteorra were emerging from the populace smiling and applauding with the rest. Each communicated to me without words, "Welcome, you are one of us". Amelot Lisette even produced and handed me a bouquet of roses.
I lost count of the number of folks who hugged and congratulated me afterward. In many ways, the rest of the evening is still a blur of happy smiling faces, hugs, and words of encouragement. The journey back to The Steppes was spent in a continuous loop of "WOW!", "Why Me?", and "What does this mean?". I am sure that there are details I missed in my retelling, folks I missed. But these things I can say for certain:
I am still amazed and very much humbled by the confidence Their Majesties have placed in me. I will never stop trying to be the best person I can be, never stop fighting for those who need defending, never stop trying to bring happiness to others, and never stop trying to do the right thing. As I said in this little post from back in July, anyone reading this and who may feel like you don’t have a place, please come find me. My camp is open to you, there will always be a place at my table.
The gorgeous medallion presented to me was crafted by Master Alden Drake pictured here.
May 29, 2023
What a weekend at Steppes Warlord!
From the moment I set foot on site Friday, to the time I left to set sail into the (north) west Monday morning, I was surrounded by folks who I've been privileged to call friends and family. If ever an event met the definition of "bittersweet', this was it for me.
Over three days tales were told, memories given voice, drinks raised, omelets consumed, laughs shared, and games played. There is no way I could compose a complete list of everyone who touched my heart, taught me something new, made me laugh, or even brought tears to my eyes. I can only say that each and every one of you have made my life better in immeasurable ways. Thank you for your words, your hugs, and above all - giving this wayward soul a home for the past 20 years.
Asking His Majesty to release me from fealty was difficult but turning and seeing a hall filled with so many people I have known... that was the hardest of all. My voice shook, words failed, and tears fell to wet the floor as I attempted in vain to express my gratitude to everyone for a wonderful double-decade in Ansteorra. Thank you to ONE AND ALL for the best send-off a Norse gal could ever ask for.
I will not say "goodbye" here, because I know there will be more times together in the future - they will just be delayed.
With eyes once again overflowing with tears as I head back to An Tir...
- Barony of Elfsea
Populace Provided Information:
Blood starling of Steppes, the
Stormborn of Hrist’s blizzard,
Plumed often in pitch and
Powder inspires many.
Steel talons have torn the
Triskel-sons that dared to
Stalk the fields and strike the
Star of jet she keeps well.
Drums she beats and drinks for
Dreamers brewed most strongly,
Rouse voices to revel
Reaching late to night’s end
Seek the battle-swan and
Set your brow orbs skyward
High over the oaks her
Ebon wings are soaring.
Below I say that His Majesty stated that Her Grace Hrafna was the inspiration for HRM growing his hair out. Thinking back, that is not what was said. His Majesty wanted to make clear that originally he was going say something along those lines regarding long hair...but that situations are fluid and that making that sort of "joke" would now not be accurate and that He wanted to acknowledge that people change. And that Their Majesties wanted to recognize Her Grace as who she is. Any implications of anything different were absolutely not said by His Majesty, they are simply me remembering things inaccurately from a very emotional moment. If anyone finds fault in the tale below, aim your ire at the faulty memory of an enthusiastic storyteller...me.
Yesterday was Coronation here in Ansteorra. I will bear witness to something that happened that made my heart very glad.
Upon taking the throne, the first act of Their Royal Majesties Gabriel and Sonja III was to call Duchess Hrafna into their court. His Majesty, standing with his long hair draped down past his collar, waxed about what an influence to grow his own hair out had been Her Grace. That His Majesty was not sure to do so, but seeing how wonderful Hrafna's hair looked, he was inspired. And he then mentioned others who also had long hair, who were also inspiring...Master Pug, Master Cael, I think there were others, but those are the ones I remember....but that there was something all of these others had in common.
At this point, Her Majesty Sonja stated " and they were all Lions."
It was said so casually, that the hall suddenly went silent for a period of time....I am sure it was only several seconds, but it felt like maybe hours as we all processed what had just been said. And then we all watched as Her Grace fell back in shock. And my friends....I know I am one to never let the actual facts get in the way of a good story...but to say that the entire Hall exploded in joy and cheers as we all realized what Their Majesties had done....that would one of the great understatements of all time. The approval shared by all was palpable.
As this is all happening, the other Lions all looked at each other. Our Crown had not told us this was going to happen. Usually, we are told "someone will be made in court" so we know to be ready to come in and meet our new sibling. This time, the Crown kept it to themselves....and looking at my sisters and brothers, you could see the smiles and surprise as we quickly filled in to stand with our new sister.
We live in a time where things are in turmoil. Different people have ideas that some feel are radical or dangerous or uncomfortable. We have people who sometimes feel that being afraid of something different is preferable to simply letting our fellow humans be who they are and loving them because they are good humans and they are our friends, our family...our heroes.
I have know Hrafna for almost 20 years, and she has always been honorable, honest, passionate, and absolutely willing to defend those in need. Her Grace is a Knight in every way that one can measure. She is a Laurel who makes events better by sharing her love of period games and encouraging others to simply sit and play and have fun. She is my friend.
Yesterday, Ansteorra named her the newest Defender of the Dream.
And the Hall did shake with joy and awe at the sight.
All this I swear is true, so witnessed by me,
Avery Shaw, Lion
Notable Contributions or Accomplishments:
- 2016: Steppes Brewing Champion
- 2013: Protector of Namron
- 2012: 67th Crown of Ansteorra
- 2011: Steppes Warlord
- 2010: King's Champion to Jean Paul de Sens I
- 2010: Glaslyn Rapier Champion
- 2009: 61st Crown of Ansteorra
- 2008: Bryn Gwlad Chivalric Champion
- 2007: Emerald Keep Chivalric Champion
Non-Armigerous Awards and Recognitions:
- Reigned with Elizabeta di Valore della Rosa
- Previously squired to Duncan Arthur Ross the Black
- Previously apprenticed to Debora of Durham
In Case of Court: