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Annotated History Project

"Magic" Moments

Those moments that you can recall where everything was “just right” and the magic was real, even for just a second or two ...

“The only one that comes immediately to mind for me is the sight of my lady, closely accompanied by the lady of newly-knighted Sir Houri the Savage, charging across the field at me as Sir Houri lay at my feet that September in 1969. I'm sure others will come to my mind when I have a chance to think about it.” – Stefan de Lorraine

“One such would have to my first Ward Lord melee, sometime in the mid-70's (circa A.S. IX).
     “I was a green fighter, scared, awkward, self-conscious; exchanged a flurry of blows with one big fellow. To my surprise, he fell. To my greater surprise, I realized I had just killed Martin the Temperate!
     “I turned, saw one standing opponent. Small, easy kill. I advanced, then froze suddenly when feminine eyes glared at me from that other helm.
     “Then Mary of Uffington knocked me across the field.” – Edward of Southhaven

“This surprised me. In AS IX, I was barely past "green" myself. Who would have thought I had a reputation.” – Martin the Temperate

“Well, there was the time that King Andrew called me up to receive a leaf of merit along with my two ex-ladies, Bevin Fraser and Eilonwy ap Lyur. I don't think it was quite a "Magic Moment." Possibly more of a "If looks could kill" moment.
     “Real "Magic Moments" for me?
     “The Quest in St. Hildegarde's Forest, much discussed here, and the feeling we had as it went on that everything was working perfectly. I'm sitting here looking at the write-up for it done by Andrea and thinking that I may have to scan it and submit it to the AHP group as well as put it on my web site.
     “The time when I traveled up, on my own hook, to Portland in hopes of meeting the lady who later became my Queen there with no real knowledge that she'd be there other than a vague mention and having gotten friendly at an event in Eureka. Hanging around the hall hoping she would come, and finding that she was delighted to meet me there. I ended up missing my flight back because we were sitting in the airport cafeteria the next day talking so that we missed all of the boarding calls.
     “That time in Eureka when, at a banquet, Maelgwyn the first and brand new baron stood up and in the course of his speech said something like"We have been informed that as a barony we are entitled to create baronial awards." Silence from the audience. "We have decided not to create any." Wild cheers from the audience. Perfect timing and a great group of people.
     “My very first tourney. May 1, 1966. Sort of dragooned into fighting I wacked away at Paul Zimmer, later Edwin Berserk. Double kill the first fight. Double kill the second fight. He won the third fight. My good friend Felice, later Felice of Mayhem House, rushing over to me as I pulled off the fencing helmet saying "Are you all right." My response with a huge grin on my face "I've never had so much fun in my life." Her response, "I'll never understand men."
     “Getting kissed by Bevin Fraser (Katherine Kurtz) after fighting for her the first time in a crown tourney. One of the few times I've ever seen stars before my eyes without getting clobbered. Or maybe I was clobbered. Can you say deep in infatuation.
     “Marching out on the field and inviting Lady Trude Lacklandia to come out and meet me in combat on the grounds that I had been wrong in my opinion of women fighting.
     “And perhaps the best of all, going out on the field in a local tourney on the old airplane field during a contest to see who could come up with the best challenges and challenging all and sundry to meet me in honor of my engagement to my lady Tara Dwynwyn. That's how we announced the engagement to the SCA and now, after 18.5 years we're still together.” – Steven MacEanruig

“My first event was magical and that was why I joined. It was colorful with colorful folks, who shared, brought me in as though I had been a part of it all, forever. It was the Barony of Golden Rivers at Gadbury's Farm in Lodi CA.
     “When I joined the SCA, I never expected to serve the SCA as a Queen of Love and Beauty. I thought that was for others! For this, I am eternally grateful to Duke Ronald Wilmot, who made me his Queen in AS XIX, Beltane (1984). I have to say, that after taking the vows, when I stood and turned around to face the sea of faces and colorful costumed folks of The West and my many friends were looking at me; I felt a sense of a fairy tale dream come true (as all little girls either play the role of a bride or a princess or queen) . . .and there I was, living that dream, right there in a created reality. The populace allowed me to be their Queen of Love and Beauty and showed me all the respect and honor of that position. It was awesome and something I shall never forget!
     “As the reign as K/Q came to a close and Ronald and I had traveled far and wide, visiting with so many folks; my Queen's Guard and Archers requested presents, led by Lord Sebastian von Baden (God rest his Soul). They then presented me with some 15 dozen Red Roses, each saying a personal thanks and laying roses at my feet. That was possibly one time in my life when I was speechless for a while. I do not remember what I said, except "thank you" to each and every one . . . I had never seen that kind of appreciation in the SCA and it touched me deeply. It reaffirmed again that the populace had allowed me to be their Queen. It was a heart-warming, awesome moment in this alternate world of yesteryear that the SCA creates. Such devotion and care, such a showing of kindness and love for their Queen (and Ronald knew about it, as Sebastian coordinated it all and my ladies-in-waiting had the bucket of water, so they knew, too). Yes, that was a real surprise and a True Dream of a Magical SCA Moment in time! Thanks to all, once again for that gesture!” – Dierdrianna of the Misty Isles

“Over many years, I've had many Magic Moments, but one comes clearly to mind right now. John and I were merchants at Pennsic, camped with our big white Four Seasons pavilion behind the barn. There was a light shower during the day of a Mid-week Midnight Madness sale, so everything was fresh and un-dusty. Our merchant group, The Caravan, decided to hang lanterns (made by one of our group) outside each pavilion to light the way for the night-time sale. Music and dancing started in the barn. Just as people began to browse the merchant area, a light, waist-high mist arose from the damp ground, swirling around people as they walked down our merchant booth path. Suddenly, the dance music stopped, and there was a long silence. Most of The Caravan merchants were standing outside their booths, admiring the ambiance of their lanterns on the mist, listening to the silence. Then a bright soprano voice in the barn began to sing a beautiful Celtic song with soft violin and dulcimer accompaniment. At that very moment, a caped figure in dress armor and helm escorted a lady through the mist into the lantern light. "It's Brigadoon," quietly said someone behind me. Another second, and more figures appeared, breaking the spell.” – Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani

“That martial moment, rarely experienced and only once by me; my melee team decimated to a man save me, I walked into the midst of the opposing team of about 8, expecting a glorious if somewhat messy death, only to walk out unscathed and unopposed, having killed every one, all in about 10 seconds which had seemed to last far longer. I have been as successful many times since, but have never experienced that particular state of mind since.
     “After winning a crown tourney, realizing that instead of visualizing my opponent's defeat, I had been visualizing my lady's pleased face.” – Martin the Temperate

How the ten year old princess came about ...
“I met Balin at a Atenveldt war. He and Gregory of York were camping together. I was very fond of Gregory, he treated kids like they were people. So when I found out we were camping next to each other I knew we were in for a fun weekend. Gregory introduced me to Balin and I spent the rest of the event helping them as an impromptu squire. We had a great time teasing and joking with each other and the friendship grew, so did my crush on Balin. When he asked to carry my favor into the coronet lists, he, I and my family all had a talk about what would happen if he won. Yea, right. I know I didn't have a clue that this tall thin boy was that good and I'm pretty sure mom and dad didn't either. So it came as a shock when I came back from the play ground at the semi final rounds to see if I could help the list mistress to find Balin still in it. When final rounds came around and he was still in it, I was shucked out of my grubbies and put into my nice gown we had brought for the revel. Then the mob of ladies hit. I was surrounded and sat in a pile of ladies watching the final fight. I can still see Balin's last shot and remember thinking, Oh No! From then on till the wreath ceremony was a blur of hugs and tears. I wanted to go help Balin disarm but the swarm had me. I was carried onto the field and Balin knelt on one knee and called me your Highness for the first time. I burst into tears and hugged him. We had a lot of fun. And Balin was one of two who ever carried my favor into a crown or coronet lists. Thank you Balin for turning a little girl into a princess even for a little while.” – Lorissa du Griffin

[Balin’s current lady ...] “You'd better believe it! Balin's current lady had joined the military just before Coronet lists, and he needed to carry someone's favor. No idea why he asked for Lorissa's, but we figured it was pretty safe. After all, a whole bunch of very good fighters were in the lists, so what were the kid's chances? Slim to none, right? We agreed, just so Balin would have a chance to fight. As usual, I didn't pay much attention to the fighting, but John was field herald and saw most of it. Suddenly, we had this tall, sweaty young man standing before us, saying "I'm the new Prince." Well, fudge (or words to that effect), I thought. What do we do now?” – Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani

[I was surrounded and sat in a pile of ladies watching the final fight.] “Since I've never been a Lady in Waiting, I was totally unprepared for the flurry and scurry around Lorissa all of a sudden. I couldn't even get near her until someone noticed me standing on the edge of all those people, and pushed me forward. But mostly it was those ladies, crowding around Lora that gave me a clue about what the next six months were going to be like.” – Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani

[I burst into tears and hugged him. We had a lot of fun.] “Actually, John and I didn't enjoy this time nearly as much as some might think. First, several people circulated the rumor that we were the Power Behind the Throne (showing they knew very little about Lorissa!) and it was a push to keep coming up with the money to get to events, and keep the costume accessories coming. I did get a great deal of help from Xemina and Arabella on costuming (they were about the same size as Lorissa), as well as from all those ladies who surrounded Lora. Without them, we would not have managed at all. We owe everyone who helped a huge vote of thanks!” – Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani

[Thank you Balin for turning a little girl into a princess even for a little while.] “Without any discussion from the elder Trimbles, Lorissa and Balin agreed that when the coronet was on her head, she was Princess of Caid. When it was placed on the throne, she was a 10-year-old girl who could run and play. It seemed to work out pretty well. I'm glad Lora has happy memories of that time.” – Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani

“Although John, Bjo, and Lora did not realize Balin's potential as a fighter before the coronet lists, the result did not surprise the 3 fighters of Griffin Freehold (Martin, Charles, and myself). Before that tournament, Balin would modestly describe himself as "just a viscount's sidekick" (Gregory being the Viscount), but most of the fighters in Caid recognized him as being very fast and dangerous. While not one of the top 4 favorites, Balin was definitely among the top ten single combat fighters in Caid at the time.” – Robear du Bois

(Not in the Adobe version of the History, added by Lorna on May 1, 2001:)
"One of my most favourite memories was at a 12th night. I believe it was the second time we stepped down. I think it was a lady who got the cherry from the cake and was the lady of misrule. She wanted to waltz. Somehow the Blue Danube was being played. Even the period police was on the floor. I was in conversation with Rosemary Bonner and itching to get on the floor when a 9 year old young man came up and asked me to dance. I thought I would have to teach him how, but he was one of the best dancers I have ever encountered. His name is Tristen (sp) if any of you are in contact with him, please let him know that I still remember that dance fondly.
     "I had the occasion to waltz with his father later at a Bye Gone Era event, I think his name was Edward or Edmund and I must say that Tristen was by far the better dancer." -- Lorna of Leeds

(Also not in the Adobe version, added by Geraldine Sept. 19, 2010:)
The most magic moment ever in the SCA for me was in August of AS VIII, The Feast of Jupiter. It was not an official SCA event. It was a small feast that my then husband Robert of Dunharrow and I hosted at our hilltop home in Lafayette. At Purgatorio, King Henrik and his Queen Seitse, elevated five lords and ladies to the order of the Laurel at once. A staggering number at the time. They were:

Andrei de Sevastopol
Bela of Eastmarch
Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin (aka Dorothea of Paravel)
Rima of Rockridge
Ruthven of Rockridge

In celebration thereof, my Lord Robert and I decided to hold give a feast in celebration for all the then members of the Order of the Laurel, plus of course the King and Queen. We also decided that this would be an excellent time to showcase the youngest members of our household. They ranged in age from 8, my youngest son Aaron the Mighty, to Glynn, Roberts youngest squire who was also our household herald, age 14. There were seven of them in all, only two of whom still play. (Allison is the seneschal of Caldarium and her brother has been king several times in several kingdoms)

So the arrangements were made. The night was chosen, the invitations sent out, the menu designed, the front weed mowed, hay bales set in place to make a U shaped feasting table, a pig, sheep and goat slaughtered, mead brewed, cheeses laid down and my ten year old son Sterling Beast Tamer, (whom we lost this February (2010), took his 2-20 and went into the woods.

I spent the better part of a week cooking with the help of Sterling and Aaron. The day finally arrived. It was a glorious, warm and perfect summer evening. As the guests arrived, my boys coordinated the parking, (always a problem on our narrow goat track that called it’s self a road) and our young herald showed people where to assemble. There was a place set aside with beverages and snacks for the guests to wait until they were seated.

I must make an aside here: I got everything for the multi coursed meal cooked and laid out in order of sequence, but there were of course still a few things needing last minute attention: salads to be tossed, sauces to be added, garnished to be set in place at the last minute so they wouldn’t wilt – all things that are usually attended to by an experienced chef. Even the rabbit in its sauce needed carful last minute attention. Young Glenn, the herald, also oversaw the steps in the kitchen once I was seated. He would come out and discreetly whisper in my ear that the sauce for the lamb was hot or the rabbit was properly browned and needed my attention, or that he thought the third coarse should be served in five minutes. He was brilliant.

And so, when all was in readiness, Robert and I seated ourselves on either side of the two central seats at high table, which were of course reserved for Henrik and Seitse. Young Glenn, with his herald’s staff began calling out names, two, by two, beginning with the newest members of the order and their dates, who were seated at the bottom of the U. There was a place card with the arms of each guest at their seat. Glenn would then call the next pair of names and seat them on alternate sides of the U, until there was no one left unseated but Henrik and Seitse. He then called out, “...all rise for their magnificent majesties, Henrik and Seitse, King and Queen of the West. We all stood, and young faith, struck up a sprightly tune on her accordion as the king and queen walked to their seats. Hey! She was nine, it was the only instrument she knew and she was the only musician in the household. Don’t be picky.

When we were all seated again, the young serving people went around to each guest with pinchers of scented water for the washing of hands, then the meal was served, with Glenn calling out each course and naming its dishes. One course was served to the king alone. Sterling and his 2-20 had not been able to shoot 4 and 20 blackbirds, so the king had to doo with a pie made of 4 blue jays, which he proclaimed to be quite tasty indeed, and appropriately passed portions down to chosen people at the lower tables.

The courses rolled on and the moon rose above the shoulder of Mt. Diablo. About halfway through the event, a bright star also rose over the mountain. It was one of those special times when Jupiter is in conjunction with other planets to form one brilliant, gleaming star. Dance Master, Allen van Ore rose and lifting his goblet, brought out attention to it and proclaimed, “...see how bright the stars do shine in the heavens, and so does the light of our Noble Majesties, King Henrik and Queen Seitse, shine over all of us; thus I dub this “The Feast of Jupiter.” And so it went until the wee hours of the morning ...

And that is my most magic SCA moment. I still bask in the reflected glory of magic that those seven oh so very young people worked so hard to create that very special and magic night.  

Incidentally, The Feast of Jupiter made the front page of T.I. -- Geraldine of Toad Hall

Description of this event, © Copyright 1980 by William R. Keyes (Wilhelm von Schlüssel)
This is from The History of the West Kingdom, Volume 1 (the only volume produced). When reading this text, please keep in mind the following disclaimer:

Disclaimer: This history may have errors in it, as much of the detail is “remembered” history, or as one of the cover pages of the original type-written manuscript states “The material within is derived from the information printed in The Crown Prints and in The Page, and from the memories of the participants.” The original document was typed on onion-skin paper, with hand-written notes (often in the margins). All attempts have been made to reconcile the notes with the original document.

Annotations, when they are added, are from The Annotated History of the West, Volume 1, which is the same text as Master Wilhelm's mentioned above, with commentary from members of the SCA who were active at the time of the event, and are added to help clarify questions and expand on what happened and why. This volume is copyright © Ken Mayer (Hirsch von Henford).

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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).