Per pale azure and argent,
a ram's head cabossed
within a laurel wreath,
Arms by Khevron Oktavii Tikhikovich Vorotnikov
"The first meeting of the Silver Desert was a potluck dinner and revel held on September 30, 1978.
"Mike Coburn (Lord Michael MacLaren Cockburnpath) had started a science fiction club called Starbase 36. The members of this club saw a SCA demo at a SF convention. Bruce Chapman had already been an SCA member in Calif. and thought the group should start an SCA shire in Reno. Cadwallader Stone of Stonecroft and Kriemhild of Stonecroft came up and did a slide show at Bruce's apartment. A few folks stayed to talk but the rest went out to liberate pumpkins.
"As best as we can remember, members during the first year or so were Bruce Chapman (Wilhelm von Schwarzwald), Jim Ringener (Sir James Gael Mctire), Mark Murphy (Master Sir Connor MacAufflie FitzJames), Bill Stewart (Lord William Barkell), Dino Germano (Sir Vincenzo di Calabria), Steve Gaddis (Master Sir Khaalid al Jaraad, known then as Ambrose of Barduin), Kathy Beeson (Lady Liesel von Blauen Donau), Catherine Keegan (Vcts Mistress Ceridwen MacAoudhegain), Diana Carter (Lady Lasairfiona Muirenne of Amberwynne, know then as Aislinn de la Cheviots), Rene Averett (Lady Mirielle de Ferrier), Lisa Ross ( Lady Ritchenda de Chalfont), Becky Earl (Lady Gabielle de l 'Ambrosia), Larry Hewitt (Lord Ivan Stilanovitch), Patti Kelly (Mistress Aoibheann Caoilfhionn Aine O'Ceallaigh then known as Patricia O'Ceallaigh), Eric Robinson (inactive). Scott Giles (Louis van Helsing), Gary Cables (Galen Flamebeard), Allen Mixson (Alen de Meyner), Tina Tyson (Aislynn Cadell), Tina Fields (Taliesin the Unpredictable), Vicki Young (Lynn Frederick O' Death), Nancy Lancaster (Rachel Katyana), Sandy Ayers (Allessa Elrica Attenbrough), Marty Gerhart, Lorna Gerhart, David Cusick (Lord Eleazer Valentine von Mindelheim then known as Eleazar Greymalkin)
"Of the above, the following are still active in the Silver Desert as of AS 35 (2001) Mike Coburn, Mark Murphy, Bill Stewart, Dino Germano, Steve Gaddis, Diana Carter, and Marty Gerhart.
"The first event the new Shire attended was Twelfth Night in 1979 (AS XIII). At that time, approximately 25 people went up in court to request Shire status as the Silver Desert. We were referred to as The Instant Shire, The New Shasta, The Eastermark, Silver Slums (a song was written about it ) and a bunch of laid back, do nothing anarchists. We grew so quickly that we became a Province approximately a year later.
"In the spring of that same year (1979), Sir Strider of Duramon, Michael St. Sever, Michael Hugh Stewarts and Willowen of Stuarts came up for our first fighter practice. Connor was, at that time, a competitive fencer. Sir Strider had to tie him to his opponent to make him fight close enough. Connor was known affectionately as FitzJames the Faraway.
"The newsletter was originally called the Scrolls of the Silver Desert then The Sierra Sage and finally The Silver Sage.
"Vol II, #2 of the Scrolls has a note that Christopher of Hoghton and Kelwyn Darkstar were coming up for a fighter practice. Vincenzo wanted everyone to buy 9 ft of rattan to make pikes, a necessity in wars (some people never change).
"Vol. 2, #2 also mentions the beginning of our first Equestrian Guild.
"Ceridwen was the first peer (Pelican) in the Silver Desert. Colin Dearg was our first knight. Khaalid was our first Laurel. Our first Court Baron was Vincenzo and our first Court Baroness was Ceridwen. Colin and Ceridwen were Prince and Princess of Cuynagua while living in Silver Desert but they moved shortly thereafter. Since then we have only imported royal peers. Khaalid was the first Triple Peer in Cynagua.
"Our first authorized fighters were Vincenzo and Connor (in that order) at the West -Caid War in 1979. Vincenzo was first because Connor had too much of a hangover to put on a helm.
"At that same war, the Silver Desert made friends with EVERYONE. The large quantities of bottles carrying tax stamps may have had something to do with that.
"Although the name was decided on easily, the device was not. The ram's head was for the State of Nevada, the colors are the State colors. The blazon, however, has been submitted 7 or 8 times. After we had it passed the first time, we quickly realized how difficult it was to either paint or sew so we changed it again to its current, simple design.
"Our two great maxims are Blood shall spill before wine and Those who want it are not qualified and those who are qualified do not want it (formulated after deciding NOT to become a Barony).
"The first event that the Silver Desert sponsored was also the first Cynaguan May Coronet (AS XIV). It was held in Dog Valley (just outside Reno) and it snowed. A lot (about one foot). The Order of La Courtesia was formed because of the wonderful way in which people treated each other and handled the wet, cold mess at this event.
"In 1979 at Purgatorio,several members had just come back from Disneyland with 2 sets of Mickey Mouse ears with His Majesty and Her Majesty embroidered on them. A presentation was made to the Crowns which was supposed to state " these are the crowns from the magical kingdom to the south" but the word 'magical' was left out. Thereupon, the Kingdom of Caid's ambassador declared war on the Silver Desert which had one authorized fighter. Cooler heads prevailed and the declaration was graciously rescinded by the ambassador.
"Tonopah Wars I (1981)and II (1982). Held at Peavine Creek in Tonopah, Nv against the Shire of Starkhafn (Las Vegas, Nv) in Caid to decide the borders between the West and Caid. The loser got to keep Tonopah. At the first war we had 8 fighters and 9 archers and they had 8 fighters and 2 archers. They lost and got to keep it. At the second war, Silver Desert encouraged Tribe Rot Mahne to show up (Rolf the Relentless was Prince at the time). We had about 12 fighters (including the 7 mercenaries) and about 5 archers. They had about 13 fighters and no archers and did not want to fight against our archers. Their mercenaries (Heatherwine) came over to our side. They lost again. Many interesting stories came out of that war. Justin Bard wrote a song about it entitled The Ballad of Tonopah." -- Siobhan ni Seaghdha and Conner McAuliffe Fitz James
"Another of the first members was Mike Canfield. Mike and I were at the initial meetings, even before Galen Flamebeard arrived. I still have a scar that I received during an early party at Diana Carter's house (Aislinn de la Cheviots). Jim Ringener (Sir James Gael Mctire) and I were playing catch with a German SS dagger in Diana's living room. Jim made a poor throw and the dagger appeared to be headed for the screen of Diana's television, so instead of just letting it fly by, I tried to catch it. I fumbled the attempt rather badly and the dagger came to rest about 1/2 inch deep into my left forearm. As blood welled up, Diana yelled out in concern, "The carpet!"
"Mike Canfield and I were best friends. We continued as shire through Twelfth Night in 1979, after which we took a road trip to Boston together and ended up staying there. I was a pretty big jerk back then, so I doubt that any of the early shire members recall me with particular fondness, but history is history." -- Eric Robinson
Location: Reno, Nevada
Description of the history of this branch is from an email to Ceridwen MacAoudhegain (which was then sent to Hirsch), from Siobhan ni Seaghdha and Conner McAuliffe Fitz James. Location information is from the back of The Page.
The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).