Tales of Janet Virago Parva of House Morningstar

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(Original source: The Rialto, reproduced here with permission of the author.)

Many of you don't know her, or know her as a merchant in her later years. When I joined she was a dynamo of action in all fields—service, arts and fighting.

Though of small stature, Janet was a fierce competitor on the field. Her shield was well known—tierced per chevron throughout azure gules, and vert, overall an Egyptian hawk displayed Or, crowned of a bezant and maintaining two bezants. I can still picture it coming at me—fast. She was loud, joyous and fierce.

The records show that she was the fifth Queen of Love and Beauty in the Steppes, as Amra won the fifth Steppes Warlord tourney carrying her favor. What the records don't show is that, going into the final round, she already knew she'd won. She just didn't know which title she'd have yet. The finalists were Amra, her husband Telbyrne, and Janet herself.

In a war in which her knight, Sir Simonn, was legged, she stood at his side to defend him. A blow was aimed at Simonn, but Janet threw her own shield out to cover him, exposing herself for a half-second. Asked about it later, she said, "I did that? That's dumb."

But nobody who knew her is surprised that, instantly and unconsciously, she did something dumb in service to somebody else.

She was equally aggressive in everything she did. Disagreeing with Janet was never fun, because she would fight for her beliefs with every fiber of her being. She carried her passion into everything she did.

She was known for her arts, but her greatest contribution to Ansteorra was her work with the Texas Renaissance Festival. She co-ordinated our extremely well-paid activities there, and thus made huge contributions, not only to her own group's coffers, but also those of every active branch in Ansteorra. If your branch dates back to the seventies or early eighties, then Janet materially helped you fund your events and activities. All Ansteorran branches were relatively rich, at a time when the rest of Atenveldt (our home kingdom then) were close to scrounging Coke bottles on the side of the road to help pay for events. Her arms had three gold coins, and it was quite appropriate.

But it isn't just about the money. She was part of Ansteorra developing its own character and its own identity, and was therefore instrumental in the rising of the Star from a principality to a kingdom.

The Egyptian Eagle is no longer displayed. It has soared into the heavens, and has a crown more glorious than a bezant. But as long as Ansteorra is a kingdom, there will always be an Egyptian hawk following the Black Star.

Robin of Gilwell