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The Fifth Year

Autumn Crown Tourney
October 10, 1970

Held at the Airplane Field, Tilden Park, Berkeley, California. Henrik reigned (Leanne wasn’t there). King Henrik knighted Charles of Mercury. Crown Lists were held. Sir Jean de la Grand ‘Anse won, defeating Sir Charles of Mercury. Ellen of the Gleaming Star was his lady. Sir Charles of Mercury gave the MGC to William of York.

“I was present when Charles of Mercury was knighted, and his ceremony involved a minor problem.
     “When Charles was called forward to be knighted, there was some sort of an objection from Sir Thumas ne Leabar o Conaire. I am unclear what that objection was. Now days, a Crown may grant a peerage after consulting with the order in question. When I came along, the King granted a Laurel to whoever he believed to be deserving (Laurel councils did not exist), and, if I remember correctly, Knight councils were not, as yet, completely formalized. My memory is King Henrik began the knighthood ceremony either (a) without having consulted with the knights, and/or (b) the council was not 100 percent behind Charles' elevation. During those days, it was unclear if a 100 percent agreement was necessary, or not, to proceed with a knighting – Edwin Bersark and Caradoc ap Cador were behind the "100 percent" contingent, and Thumas was, I belief, also of that persuasion. I understand I have just presented two conflicting stories (were there knights' councils or no? if so, was 100 percent consensus required or no?). If I sound a little confused, I am. I was not a knight, I was new, and all I know is what I saw.
     “In any event, Charles was called forward, Henrik offered him knighthood, there was some sort of discussion among a small handful of the belts. There was some sort of a pause in the action, and I caught Charles' eye and he looked a little flustered and frustrated. I told him, "Don't worry about it." He answered, "I'm not." A minute or two later, the ceremony continued and Henrik knighted Charles. Sir Thumas, in an effort to make amends and to apologize to Charles for the embarrassment, took off his chain mail, and gave it to Charles. (One story is Thumas dropped it at Charles feet. Another is Thumas handed it to Charles.) In any event, it was quite a scandal and quite a gift. A hip-length shirt of mail being given to someone as an apology was extraordinary. Such a shirt represented hours of work, was considered cutting edge technology, and few such items existed. Charles accepted the offering of apology (either because he forgave Thumas, or he just wanted to own something really wonderful and unusual – I have no idea of his reasoning), and wore it upon the field from that day until he left the SCA.
     “My recollection was this was the catalyst which required kings to consult with the knights' council. My recollection is Henrik was acting unilaterally when he called forward Charles to be knighted. Henrik's authority to do so was questioned because in the ceremony, it specifically says, "...and mindful of the wishes of your peers..." Thumas, Edwin, and Caradoc had an interesting point – how could the king act if the ceremony referred to some sort of a consultation, and a consultation had not occurred? To put oil on the waters, Henrik agreed to consult from that day forward; therefore, it seems to me, as of that moment, knights' councils were formalized.
     “This story is not to be confused with Paul of Bellatrix's knighting. That was a different, and unfortunately, a far more ugly scene.” – Anonymous

ADDED: June 1, 2010:
Both men were in my household, Toad Hall. This photo was taken when both men were brought before the crown; They were the final two fighters at that Crown tournament. Since Jean was already a knight, he said he did not want to fight an unbelted fighter in the final round of a crown tournament and asked that Charles be knighted before the final fight continue. Charles was crowned and the fight continues. Jean won. Edwin Berserk and Caradoc ap Cador objected strongly to Charles’s knighting and a court of chivalry was called over which King Jean presided. The outcome of the court was that Charles should keep his Knighthood. -- Geraldine of Toad Hall

“An anonymous member of the list suggests that I ask about the evolution of the Knights Council, and about Charles of Mercury -- for viewpoints ... this anonymous person sent me some stuff that they wish to go into the history but do not wish to open any old wounds or cause any ill feelings among people on the list (see above) ...
     “So, how did the Knights Council evolve?
     “Anyone have any stories about Charles of Mercury?” – Hirsch [Editor]

“When debating the advisability of not consulting the knights - or the absolute right of Kings to knight, perhaps Aonghais's 2nd knighting should come to mind. We've had nothing but trouble in recent years in Caid from this precedent. Maybe your Kings have better judgement than ours of late.” – Charles of Dublin
“Physically, he [Charles of Mercury] has about the build of Radnor, but skinnier- tall and rangy, and very fast. He was the son of Dorthea the Unsure and Edgar the Unready, both in Toad Hall. His parents were hard working and popular, so this may explain why he was knighted when he was. I was not privy to that stuff at the time.” – James Greyhelm
“[...] But let's start with Charles of Mercury. I have to back off a tiny bit. HE (Charles), Steven, Jean, Hagen, Paul, James (YES, my best friend) and a bunch of others annoyed the hell out of me ... I learned to be a killer fighter the hard way ... with absolutely NO talent (ask Bob or Steve or any of those Goddamn Naturals) . At that particular time Charles was in fact - and not his own fault - caught in the BIG confrontation about what KNIGHTHOOD was defined as being.
     “Anyone who knows me has a pretty clear idea how I feel about the topic (I won't accuse Charles of more than being a stick-jock).
     “I've got bunches more to say. - And I'm sooooo happy to have stirred Stefan up. THAT I won't apologize for. (We've had great talks for about thirty years now.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“Personally, I always got along with Charles just fine. He was young and a good natural athlete and fought well. I don't recall much in the way of any real talks with him, though I ran into him any number of times later at fighting practices. I don't recall that anybody was whispering in the corners at his knighting, but obviously I missed something.” – Steven MacEanruig

“As I recall, Charles was knighted in a rather ad hoc manner by the king in question (Jean?). He was certainly an excellent fighter, but was seen by some as young and not having many of the other knightly virtues. At the time there was much talk of earning one's "merit badges" in things like dancing and chess and music before being knighted. Robert of Dunharrow can respond with Toad Hall's reaction to that.
     “So a court of something or other was called (don't think it was Curia Regis, but I'm not sure) after Jean was off the throne to discuss how various folks thought knighting should be done. I know that Charles had definite opinions on the matter but Randal managed to persuade him to say nothing. Meanwhile, it was one of the last appearances of Fulk de Wyvern, who showed up with many ideas that would turn the SCA back into his game. Both Dorothea and my lady Luise taped the discussion, and I may have a copy of it sitting around. (Unless, of course, I'm actually thinking of another hot and heavy political confrontation-- always possible).
     “I am pretty sure that this was the occasion when Caradoc and I came up with the idea that only knights should compete for the crown, thus taking care of the problem of an unbelted fighter competing in the finals. One of the few times Caradoc and I were in agreement, and no one else liked the idea. Probably rightly so ... Certainly, it did not meet any favor with Hagen, who had been unbelted before winning the crown.
     “This discussion did get everyone thinking about what to do in similar circumstances, and sparked the first of the Knights Councils at a tournament.
     “However, all of this took place in the following late Spring (after May) or Summer, as Jean was already off the throne.
     “At the date given in the Subject line, Charles was just another good fighter who had been knighted. But you know, that doesn't seem right either, because I think the meeting about knighting took place fairly soon after Charles was knighted. My memory is obviously awry somewhere. Anyone else have a clearer recollection? Robert? Henrik? Dorothea? Jon? I believe Steven was still commuting to occasional events from Kansas at the time.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who remembers all too many confrontations about knighting and fighting, and they all run together after awhile...

“I have been following the thread regarding Charles' knighting of October AS V, 1970, and this is what I recall. Charles was called forward, the knighting ceremony began, there was a delay, King Henrik spoke to a small number of knights, the ceremony proceeded and was concluded.
     “As a result of all of this, I have the following questions:
     “(1) I cannot remember if the knights, as an order, were called forward to kneel before their King and beside their soon-to-be brother knight, as they do today. Were the knights called forward back then?” – Andrew of Riga

“No, the knights just stood with the rest of the populace.” – Stefan de Lorraine
“I don't recall it becoming customary until later ... an innovation resulting in part from this sort of stuff happening. I share Stefan's aversion to unplanned dramatics at Court (something about refusals to accept peerage orders I think).” – Kevin Peregrynne
“No, I don’t recall anything like that.” – Henrik of Havn
“(2) Should the King (now days, that should read, "Should the Crown ...") desire to elevate a candidate to the rank of knight, consultation among the knights council must first occur. Back then, on the specific day of Charles' knighting, if the King desired to elevate a candidate, was there any mechanism which required the King to consult with anyone, and if so, who and how? If there was some sort of required consultation, in Charles' case, what when wrong?” – Andrew of Riga
“Not a bit. As has been pointed out in some of the other comments. I once advised Henrik, when he was thinking of knighting Frederick of the West/Black Tower (adjective depends on where he was living at the time), that he was the king, he could knight who he pleased. Sir Charles' knighting helped put an end to that concept.” – Stefan de Lorraine
“No, only peer pressure.” and “I don’t remember this but my intuitive guess is, some dissent was conveyed to me after it was clear that Charles was to be knighted, and this mini-consultation was to mollify the dissenters.” – Henrik of Havn
“(3) In the case of Charles, exactly who caused the interruption of the knighting ceremony?" -- Andrew of Riga
“Given everything else you said, I would assume it was Edwin and Caradoc and Thomas and possibly some others.” – Stefan de Lorraine
“(4) Is my memory correct when I recall Sir Thumas gave his shirt of mail to Sir Charles as an apology for what he (Thumas) did? If so, when did it occur? The day of the ceremony, or sometime thereafter? If thereafter, when and under what circumstances? What was Thumas' part in the interruption of the ceremony?”
     “Lastly, the following question has plagued me for years.
     “(5) In a stretch, I can understand the logic of a white belt being used as an accolade of knighthood in the SCA, as a sword belt could be, and often was, associated with knights in the middle ages. Depending on the place and era, when one was knighted, he was dressed entirely in white; hence a white sword belt. However, I do not know or understand what could be the origin of the SCA's tradition of the knights' chain (the lamp shade chain). Who came up with this and why? For that matter, who came up with the SCA's white belt?” – Andrew of Riga
“I'll bet the Hodgheads had something to do with creating the belts. They often had something to do with such things in those days of the SCA. The chains are simply chains of office, which was very traditional during some part of the SCA's period. Of course, usually officers of state wore chains, but early SCA usage tended to get ranks and offices confused a lot.” – Stefan de Lorraine
“We'll have to ask whoever choreographed the mass knighting at William the Silent's Twelfth Night Court in January AS III. My dim memory (it was my first event) has both belt and chain being featured. If I were to speculate though I imagine the chains derived from period illustrations (e.g., the chain of S es and other similar marks of rank), lamp chain was simply a cheap and available source of big gaudy chains.
     “Of course there also was the rationalization that our Knights were belted Earls that was current then.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“The "white belt" was a take-off of asian martial arts "black belt".” – Henrik of Havn
“And what ever happened to the "knights' knot;" the specific way a belt was looped to signify the wearer was a knight? Who came up with that one? (This was before, and perhaps during early 1970. I believe, for the most part, it had died out by the time I came along in late 1969.)” – Andrew of Riga
“The knot was part of the instant tradition, as far as I can recall. It disappeared because most knights could afford belt buckles and, for that matter, could get themselves white leather for their belts. You may recall that I always wore my belt looped around the buckle in a semblance of that knot.” – Stefan de Lorraine, whose leather belt (and awards baldric) are some of the few bits of paraphenalia he has left.
“You know, to the best of my knowledge there is no such animal as a 'Knight's Knot'. The fighter's knot that is used on our customary over-long sword belts is featured in many brass rubbings and other period illustrations and didn't originate with the SCA nor as far as I can remember has ever been exclusive to the Chivalry. Our use of the doubled back and turned under knot probably is a result of the first batch of knight's belts being lengths of cloth with a single metal ring for a buckle, the knot is about the only way such a belt will stay on.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“The first Knight's belts were made of white cloth sewn into a long belt. The buckle was a gold colored ring. The only way to make them stay up when worn was to knot them as the "garter" knot has been depicted.” – Henrik of Havn

“Oh shit ! I was still Robert's #2 squire ... Dai of the Tulips - the senior squire, was (as also I had been, eclipsed) as potential knights by the bolus of Natual Athletes that dropped into the Lorainne - Dunharrow practices and the tourney field - (Jean, Steven, Hagan, Michael, out of order probably) come to mind. Jim and Paul, who are natural warriors were right behind.
     “Charles of Mercury fits right into the low end of this pattern - a natural athlete, who (I'm going to lay it right down on the table) had a [negative number] conception of what knighthood was all about. There was an ongoing around-the-campfire debate about what it meant and why a person becomes a knight and a significant proportion of the talkers agreed that Charles didn't make it. To be blunt, I wasn't yet a Knight, but I had a Damned firm concept of what I was shooting for and it wasn't STICK JOCK of the day (can you spell Gator-hide?).
     “Dai gave up fighting because the risk to his legs was too acute. I hope Robert will back me up here, but Dai was right on the bubble at getting admitted to a professional level dance-troupe training program, getting smacked on the knee by an SCA broadsword was a big risk to what he really wanted to do.
     “When it comes to Knights' Council - at this point in history I have to rely on Hear -Say (and reason in advance of our chronology). But, among the populace, Charles’ knighting was considered to be too rapid by everyone I talked to.
     “I've already commented as much as I truthfully can about Charles of Mercury. I wasn't a Knight's' council insider for yet another year.” – Kevin Peregrynne

"Now, Kevin, I don't think James is a natural athlete. I killed him in 2 blows in his first Crown tourney, when he was 16 or 17, but he just worked really hard and persistently, and by the time he was 19 he won the Crown, then went on to make a habit of it for 8 reigns over the next 15 years or so. Jim deserves credit for earning it by hard work with only average natural talent, and that goes for you, too, Kevin. You did win a Crown & also Mists Coronet, and you earned it by hard work. You also deserve a lot of the credit for making SCA combat much less hazardous by instituting real armor requirements as West Earl Marshal, then Society Marshal.
     “Chuck Blanton (Sir Charles) wasn't so much a stick-jock as just an affable young man who went along with his mother & step-father (Dorthea the Unsure & Edgar the Unready, later Sir Edgar) and his younger sisters, Crystal & Celeste (remember her as a 13-year-old belly-dancer?) to this great picnic and costume party of the SCA. We recruited them and got Chuck & Edgar learning to fight. As to chivalrous behavior, if anyone needed help carrying heavy stuff or any other such task, Chuck was right there doing it with a smile. I'll take that over certain other young fighters who could talk knowingly about the philosophical aspects of chivalry but couldn't be bothered to help set up a pavilion as they strutted about in their finery. (However, one I remember would show up later to sit in our shade.) I think a couple of teen-aged fighters who had been around for a while resented this newcomer (Chuck) who could beat them most of the time.
     “I had forgotten about Dai's dance ambitions. He was a fighter at 14 and chose to become a jester at 16 or 17, saying that there were plenty of fighters but a shortage of fools. He and his parents moved from Berkeley to Vancouver Island (near Nanaimo, BC), where Sterling & Aaron (my stepsons) & I visited them in 1977, but I lost touch after that.
     “After Jean was crowned at 12th Night V, he called a meeting at Toad Hall to which all the Chivalry were invited, but not only they, for I'm sure Geri was present & probably Queen Ellen, too. As I remember, Edwin, Caradoc, & Thumas wished to criticize Henrik for knighting anyone without consulting all the knights, questioned the validity of Charles' knighthood, and wished to assert that it required unanimous consent of the chivalry to knight anyone. When Thumas referred to "Charles", King Jean interrupted him and said something like, "Let's get one thing straight. It's "Sir Charles", and that is not in question." Further discussion led to an agreement that in the future Kings must consult all the Chivalry present at an event before knighting anyone, but that the King made the decision. In other words, the knights could try to talk him out of it, but they had no veto, either singly or even collectively. The same principle came to be extended naturally to the Laurel, and later the Pelican (when it was created some years later.)
     “Jean didn't knight anyone, but he made the 10th, 11th & 12th Laurels (Harold, Randal, & Johanna), his Queen, Ellen of the Gleaming Star (whom he met & married through meeting her in our household) invented the Order of the Leaf of Merit to honor Ellen Cross Quills (Mrs.Hodghead) for all her hard work at unglamourous but needed tasks for the SCA. Queen Ellen made that first Leaf herself (she was a talented amateur jeweler) and I think it had green stones set on a silver base. After that, the design was simplified for ongoing production. Also Jean agreed to let me expand Siegfried's written laws into a complete & exclusive code of laws for the Kingdom. (I was getting really tired of the arguments over divergent memories of "The Law" as an oral tradition.) I got it done just in time to be proclaimed at Jean's final court in May. Jean glanced at it for a moment and said to give it to the Heralds to proclaim. Siegfried deserves credit for much of the core ideas in it, Jean for letting me do it, but I'll have to take the blame for the last line saying that "all proclamations of previous reigns not herein included are hereby rescinded" and the admonition that "all additions, deletions, and changes to Kingdom Law in the future shall be in the form of amendments to this Code." Later Kings actually could have thrown out the whole thing, but it stuck because it was useful and everyone could know what the rules were, so it has been continually refined ever since, and copied to a great degree (I think) by other Kingdoms & Principalities.
     “At March V Crown, King Jean loaned his Viking Roundshield to Hagen (who had previously used longsword in every crown tourney, but I finally convinced him, too, to use a shield). Hagen won, defeating Sir Houri in the finals (Houri's 2nd time as a finalist). Hagen had a sort of Civil Defense Helmet and a full hauberk of mail he had made (Hood to below the knee) but nothing on his lower leg but khaki pants and was barefoot. He legged Houri, who then could not reach anything but Hagen's forward leg. However, when Houri swung, rather than back up or block, Hagen lifted his leg for an instant, letting Houri's sword pass below his bare foot, then brought his foot down again as he struck at Houri's head. Houri never touched him despite desperate efforts to do so.
     “This is too long and it's now 2 AM, so I'll have to save May & June VI for later, except to verify that Hagen (who was not intimidated by Edwin & Caradoc's somewhat threatening dramatic gesture; in fact he - a Karate Blackbelt - could have broken them both in two with his bare hands) indeed did say something like,"alright then, despite the wishes of your peers" and that Steve (as the King's Seneschal) ran at them with his long red staff held horizontal, placing himself between them and the throne. (I don't remember you calling them idiots, Steve, but I'm pretty sure you sort of growled, "You sons-a-bitches", between clenched teeth as you ran at them from beside the throne.) Now I did half-draw my steel broadsword (worn for court) but not to protect my lady and myself, but in an instant rage at what I perceived as something like treason. This was an unconscious reflex, and I caught myself in a second or two, but didn't fully resheath it until they backed off. Of course, Edwin & Caradoc were good friends and I wouldn't have dreamed of actually harming them, unless of course they had physically assaulted the King, in which case I suppose my oath of fealty would have required me to skewer them, despite the mundane complications. (Yeah, OK, I'm just kidding. I reminisced with Edwin at many New Years Eve parties at Greyhaven over the years until his recent untimely death, and I saw Caradoc at Greyhaven last New Years, but he has been in quite poor health recently.)” - Robert of Dunharrow
“Goody, goody, goody!
     "Look at all this great insider history stuff from Robert. Sorry I pushed your on button so late in the normal waking cycle, but I didn't conk out until 2:30 myself.
     “OK I give up, Chuck was a nice kid (all of 18 months younger than me as I recall), polite and helpful at the drop of a pavilion pole, for that matter Edgar, Dorothea, Chrystal and Celeste were good citizens too and fellow Toadies (I'm smiling as I say that). But Robert's message confirms what I said about his Knighting being controversial and his natural athletic ability.
     “Mercifully I have forgotten the identities of the philospher-freeloaders Bob alludes to...Patti and I earned and wore our Toad badges (No toadie, no eatee, no sittee in the shade proclaimed Geri).
     “If Jim wasn't a natural it wasn't evident by the time I started fighting - being left-handed and fast was good enough (to paraphrase P.T. Barnum you can beat some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time...which is sufficient). Nuff said”
     “Stefan quite clearly said to Edwin and Caradoc "You sons of bitches!" (his articulation always has been good it was 'of') through teeth gritted so tightly that they nearly threw off sparks. (Patti and I and a crew of the young crowd from both households were only a meter or so away, huddled directly to Queen Ruth's left providing emotional support to Ginny and Carol who were going through the "Oh Help they might make me Queen" syndrome for the first time.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“Actually, I never felt that either Stefan or myself was a natural. Whatever I came to in the end when I was still fighting, I came to by hard work, not by any particular aptitude. I got knighted in the early days when the standard was somewhat lower. What made me into a good fighter was a period in, I think, summer of 1971 when I went to regular practices with Paul, Thomas of the Pines, and a few others. William the Lucky, William of Hoghton, Loren sur la Roche, and I were all graduates of that school.
     “While they didn't make the history, the practices in those days were a lot of fun. We used to meet on Sundays at what we called the "Dogs Must Be On Leash" park in Oakland, a tiny park with no known name just off of Piedmont. It had a lovely stone bridge, just right for bridge fights, and a small open area for general practice. We'd get together, arm up, and start fighting. After awhile everyone else would poop out and Paul and Thomas would fight until the rest of us got our wind back and fought some more. Repeat scenario several times, add a fair amount of bridge fighting, and that was how it went.
     “The hard core of the practice were Paul, Thomas, William, William, Larry, and I, with others like Andrew of Riga pretty regular as well. I don't recall us doing a lot of teaching, but we certainly did a lot of fighting.
     “Come to think of it, I think I'm one of the few people who ever fought Lady Diana Listmaker. That was way back in year one, when she came to a practice session and wanted to learn a little about how to fight.” – Steven MacEanruig
“Once again I find myself a victim of my own imprecision in expressing myself. Those folk I named (Steven B., Jean, Hagen, James, Paul et alia) - formed a string of fighters who, from my jaundiced point of view, got knighted and won crowns with a physical ease and natural talent that made my efforts feel futile. They were the un-blameworthy targets of my jealousy back then. Charles of Mercury was the one who came up in our dialogue (polylogue???) and was definitely one of those fighting naturals (my Y chromosome is too dominant to judge how pretty he was). I had and have no quarrel, other than generically, with his knighting.
     "I named Robert and both or either Steve (de L or MacE) as witnesses to my own struggle and basic ineptitude, not to cast any aspersions on their own hard work and training.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“Can't use me as an example, Phil. My first real memories of you were as a pretty good fighter. I don't recall your knighting, so I assume it happened at a tourney I didn't make.” – Steven MacEanruig
“The practices at the little park off Piedmont boulevard - I remember as being hosted by House Lorraine (wasn't Chaos Manor adjacent?) but almost always had a strong contingent of Dunharrow fighters in attendance if for no other reason than we were more elusive than pells (that's self-deprecating humor).” – Kevin Peregrynne
“It was at those practices at “Dogs Must Be On Leash Park” that Paul refined the snap and turned it into the terror weapon of SCA combat. The idea actually came from Caradoc ap Cador, who had done some research on the Gurkha and learned how they used their kukris. Houri the Savage got it from Caradoc and told me, and I started passing this along to the people at our practice. Paul picked it up immediately and started working with it and refining it and working on some of the basic principles behind it. If I go any further I'll just be repeating material Paul put into a couple of articles that have appeared in various SCA publications.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who was at most of those practices, too. We would retire to Chaos Manor and Luise would have a big pot of Chaos Glop (whatever she had put in the pot this time) waiting for everyone and we'd feast and talk into the evening. Good times ...
“I can confirm this - Caradoc taught the blow to me, and called it the Kukri blow. But - there were differences, and Paul refined it to where it was usable in a variety of motions - the one that Caradoc knew was limited to beheading water buffalo ... (well, almost)” - James Greyhelm
“I had an off-line discussion with Stefan on this. I don't remember the conversation. In any case, my earliest memory of where the 'snap' comes from is a side-arm throwing motion similar to the one I used to throw with a shepherd's sling. The 'snap' never did include the technique of keeping the last three fingers loose on the sword handle, and tightening them when throwing the sword. I always kept the hand firmly on the handle, and the wrist stiff.
     “I did use what Stefan described as the Kukri blow in a limited technique which brought the sword straight down towards an opponent on his knees. It works quite well in this instance. Unfortunately, I described that technique, with illustrations, in the first major paper I published on fighting. Most people apparently just looked at the pictures, and that became the 'snap' in a lot of places. I was constantly correcting that impression during many of my classes around the country.
     “Of course, as I told Stefan, I have a spotty memory. Either I remember a thing in detail, or I forget it nearly completely. No disrespect to Caradoc (or anyone else), but the Kukri blow is a different technique from my 'snap', and has a different basis.” - Paul of Bellatrix
“I have no dispute with the facts as presented, but my analysis is a bit different.
     “Both the Khukri blow technique and the Snap were written up in TI (I still have the article that Luise of the Phoenix illustrated for the latter). However, over the years Paul and I have discussed the snap as his theories evolved ... originally he thought it was the hand-closure technique, but eventually he and those of us who listened and tried realized it was more a matter of total body mechanics starting from the ground-up, driving from the heel and all the way through until the hand delivered all of the generated kinetic energy. Probably came from his black belt background if one looks far enough into the technique's ancestry.
     “As far as I remember (how many decades does it take bruises to fade from memory, anyhow?) Houri didn't need Caradoc's technique, but when he learned it he hit even harder.
     “Dogs must be on leash park got downright crowded with those dead water buffalo ... but what barbecues!” - Kevin Peregrynne
“The practices there varied in size. I remember once John the Silent showed up and I got to fight him. I may have the summer wrong, but by and large, I remember mainly the ones I named, Paul, Thomas, Lauren, William, and William.” – Steven MacEanruig

“I remember Steven returning after his stint in the Air Force - still using the Ashenlands surname I believe (at least in my mind [until then I only knew of him by hearsay]). As could be expected at first he was a bit rusty and out of touch with the changes in the state of the art since he had been gone. By October of VI he was fully up to speed and was one of the members of the first SCA Company of Arms troupe at RenFaire, which was at least one of the venues where a dozen or so of us got the intensive concentrated fighting experience that put us out front of the pack. (OK - I caught up with some of the naturals, I didn't want to remain a newt ... so I got better).” – Kevin Peregrynne

“By October VI I was getting there, but I certainly didn't regard myself as fully up to speed. I do remember the company of arms, though. That was a fair amount of fun to do and got us into the faire free. Given faire economics, that was about all it did, but we had fun.” – Steven MacEanruig
“Steve's helmet nearly cost us the gig - during our audition I caught him right under the back rim with a wrap that shredded his chin strap and sent the helm straight up (like an SRB twenty years before they had been invented). The THUD! when it came back to the floor of the main stage was awesome - but the Faire representative was rather skittish until we all reassured him that no one had ever really gotten killed in our sport.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“Here we have a clear disagreement. I have been telling that story for years and I have a perfectly clear picture of it being my shot and Kevin's helmet. I check on everything else. Anyone else there remember the incident. I think Paul and William the Lucky were there as well.” – Steven MacEanruig
“We're all heroes in our own saga ... looking at the flash photos in my memory it was certainly one of Jon's Freon tank helms heading for the balcony. If Steve didn't own one, I did - so maybe I was the launch pad not him. It's still a great story and it IS true in some virtual sense of the word. And if Steve did the launching, it's even more impressive because mine was Jon's 12 ga. prototype helmet - so nearly twenty pounds of steel was launched into a suborbital trajectory by a one-handed shot ... (who claims not to have gotten back into shape???). Other witnesses we can poll are James, Siegfried and Frederick.
     “Never mind ... I just asked Patti - Steve launched my helm.
     “By that Faire I had only been Knighted since June and was rounding into shape to get smushed by Paul in the upcoming finals. Then James, then ... (second place got real boring after a while). My recollection was that I was a new knight when Steve and I first met at Chaos practice sometime in late summer.” – Kevin Peregrynne

“At Oct. V Crown, Henrik was in his 5th reign (of 6) (and 4th & last with Leanne) and would be until 12th Night. It was a great tourney for my household (Toad Hall/Dunharrow Eored). I think we started with 24 fighters, single elimination, and after 2 rounds were down to 6, including Jean, Charles, and me (my best-ever crown tourney showing). I had finally persuaded Jean to use sword & shield for the first time, instead of two shortswords. He built a "Viking Round" and used it quite effectively (i.e. nobody got past it at all) Well, in the 3rd round, I was paired with Charles and he beat me with his lightning-quick style. Jean & William Gordon of York also won their matches (I think one of them beat Caradoc.) This left 3. Jean got a bye (by lot, I think, rather than by being the only then-belted fighter of the 3). Chuck then beat Gordon.
     “Until Jean had been knighted a while earlier, all the members of the Eored were my squires (if under 21) or men-at-arms (21 & up). With Jean's knighting, I named him Deputy Commander of the Eored and he took Charles, whose quickness matched Jean's own, under his special tutelage. So when Jean faced a Crown final with Charles, he (Jean) asked King Henrik to knight Charles first, before they fought, so that the finals would be knight to knight, not a knight vs. his own squire. Henrik, firmly believing that the King's Word was Law, didn't consult anybody or hesitate at all, but called Charles up and knighted him. Then Sir Jean defeated Sir Charles in the finals.
     “Now to diverge to some comments in response to Sir Kevin's remarks about "natural athletes" &/or "natural warriors". In general, I agree that some of us start with much less natural talent or previous relevant experience than others. Jean, Hagen, and Paul all came to the SCA as martial-arts black-belts (in Aikido, Karate, & Judo, respectively, as I remember), Steven Blackeagle was a well-coordinated, very strong, 6'4" tall high-school athlete (football, was it?- do you remember, Henrik? or anyone?) & he was the only one to be King while still in high school (though turned 18 and in his last semester.) Charles of Mercury (Chuck Blanton) was about 19 and a runner on his Jr. College track team, lean but strong, with a very fast reaction time (reminded me of Sir Kerry the Rock, who was deadly fast at 16, and finalist in one of the early tourneys.) By Michael, I guess you mean Michael Walrus, (Mike Peterson) also of our household. He chaired the Math Dept. at Marin Catholic High School and also coached wrestling & JV football there. For a big & incredibly strong man, he was amazingly quick on his feet. He was also a very kind, considerate person and surely would have been knighted had he kept at fighting longer. He got to the semi-finals (I think) one time when fighting for Geraldine's handmaiden (& Sir Earl's little sister) Mitzi, who was 9 or 10 at the time. (He didn't have a lady to champion, so Geri found him one.)” – Robert of Dunharrow

“I’m not aware that Steve played any football in High School other than whatever his regular P.E. class might have had him do.” – Henrik of Havn
“I'm chiming in for the first time, as the discussion has reached my first 'real' tourney. From the point of view of the social/political development of the SCA, a significant thing happened at this tourney, or so I was told at the revels afterward. Although a rank novice, and greatly outgunned by the likes of Charles of Mercury and Jean de la Grand 'Anse, I did reasonably well in the lists, reaching the quarter finals. I was the first 'outlander' to do so, and I have been told that during the lists, some of the organizers became concerned with new questions if William of York won, would the next Crown Lists be held in LA? COULD the next Crown Lists be called there? Such was the concern, I was told that night somewhat apologetically, that the matches of the quarter finals were altered so that I would fight Charles of the Mercury. I was asked, "WOULD you have called the next Lists in LA, had you won?" I said I would not, of course, since the thought of having several hundred people journey down to LA for a dozen or so natives seemed outrageous.
     “It was these questions, however, that caused the venue of the Lists to get written up in Kingdom "law" shortly thereafter...” – William Gordon of York

“[...] October Crown, AS V [...] was my first event. I didn't get to fight, because Edwin didn't have the leisure to qualify me. It's probably just as well, since my swords were made of eucalyptus. I do retain several impressions. The main one was when I arrived, and came out of the woods overlooking the field, just as a melee started. WOW. I also got a first impression of Jerry P., which didn't change during the years of our association. I got a much better impression of several others, including Randall of the Far North, and Count Stephen, whose household I joined.” – Paul of Bellatrix

“Sorry I missed you there. I'm not sure when we met, but I think it was just after I got out of the Air Force. I remember trading Kansas stories with you and talking about the first Reforger exercise just after I separated. For what it's worth, my impressions of Jerry P match yours exactly. Randall was a heck of a nice guy whom I've actually seen once in the last several years when he was back in the states. As I recall, he teaches in Scotland now, though I may have the country wrong. I remember killing him in a tiny renaissance faire we were at. I had him on my knees, did a beautiful shield hook, hit him over the head with a mace, and staggered off the field crying out in agony, having had my thumb between my shield and his for the shield hook. Such fun.” – Steven MacEanruig
“I remember the pile of weaponry Paul showed up with, all made of things like eucalyptus. Not just broadswords, as I recall, but weapons of various compositions and sizes. None of them field legal. But the sheer work to amass this collection was very impressive. Am I right in remembering that Paul was one of the folks attracted to the SCA through BayCon? Paul, Luise and I are trying and failing to remember the Connection that brought you into our household. Did you know Gregory first? He wasn't in our household, but as an assistant Seneschal he was someone I spoke to regularly. There was a mutual friend in there somewhere, but which one?” – Stefan de Lorraine, who wishes to point out that at this point in the SCA there was already a Count Stefan and a Count Stephen (except the rank of Count had not yet been inaugurated), and Paul and his family joined Stefan (me) de Lorraine's household, not Stephen Blackeagle's household (which was pretty much just part of Havn, anyway). Since my real name is spelled Stephen, confusion ensues amongst my friends who have known me in both Ids.
“I never went to BayCon. Wijade the Wondrous, he of the multi-colored plastic mail, was a classmate of mine in college, before I went in the Army. He told me about this neat club where you could fight. I looked him up after I got out, and went to October Crown, AS V with him. Carol and I even had the proverbial costumes made from the old curtains.” – Paul of Bellatrix
“Of course. Wijade the Wondrous (Bill Denholm) had been hanging around the periphery of the group for some time. I think I might have met him in fandom, as I remember he came to meetings of the Elves, Gnomes, and Little Men Chowder and Marching Society. He built a suit of mail out of plastic rings and fought in it. Finding all the broken rings after a fight was something of a tradition for awhile. I believe he was one of the people I beat to become King.
     “I ran into Bill several times after he dropped out of the SCA. Our mutual interests in comic books and science fiction and naval war gaming kept bringing us together again. And sometimes we'd just run into each other on the street, which was odd since he lives on the Peninsula and I lived in the East Bay. Last I heard he was programming somewhere in the Silicon Valley.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who also remembers Wijade being called the Psychadelic Knight because of all the flashy plastic colors in the mail. Of course, he was never knighted...
“Someone at that event introduced me to you and Luise. I can't remember who it was, but I'm glad that they did. I didn't meet Gregory until some time later.
     “The first fighting I did was at Chaos practices in late '70 or early '71. I seem to remember a small demo in there, somewhere.” – Paul of Bellatrix
“I doubt that it's any help ... my first clear memory of Paul was fighter practice at the pocket park adjacent to Chaos manor in or near Piedmont (I am unclear on the specific municipal boundaries). Since Paul already had a very well developed leg shot I doubt that it was his first practice, just the one that resulted in my using a cane to get around the UC campus the following several days. No criticism of Paul implicit or otherwise ... shots to the knee were legal at the time and he had a doozy, but pain has a way of reinforcing memories associated with it. Perhaps Andrew of Riga remembers more from his squirehood days that more or less coincided.
     “Switching emphasis, it might be fun to reminisce about some of those unique houses such as Toad Hall, Chaos Manor and Greyhaven that formed defacto group capitols and corporate headquarters. Toad Hall as all will recall was notable for its smaller mammalian citizen-owners, Bortai the War Puppy, Aunty Lobelia the feline owner of the universe, Charlie who never could figure which of the three water dishes to step between and White Kitten the feline Xaveria Hollender of South Berkeley. Chaos Manor's collection of books always made my mouth water, I probably was thought terminally anti-social because everytime we visited Steve and Luise I would wind up curled around a book in a corner (consider a long delayed thank-you for turning me on to John D. MacDonald as officially delivered). Greyhaven (AKA Elf Hill) was beyond everything else Mom Zimmer's house - everybody loved Mom. Then there was the Black Hole of Calcutta in the Haight which combined all of these attributes into one gingerbread Victorian confection.” – Kevin Peregrynne

“This was also the event where Headlesse House first made its appearance. Actually, I had been at the second day of Blackeagle's (split) coronation and Reina de San Diego and I had caught a little of Purgatorio. But for October Crown we managed to arrive with about 8 Cal students (mostly that nobody knew); in outfits which, if simple, were at least a step beyond the two towels over blue jeans stage; and with pavilion. (I'm told it made quite an impression -- though of course we were too new, and too out of the social milieu, to hear at the time.)
     “Of the original group, Master Alan O'Doubda (sp?) was on the East Coast, last I heard, and still attending the occasional event. Mistress Masae Lorane and I still turn up fairly regularly. Not a bad retention rate for 28 odd (very odd!) years.” – William the Lucky

“Somewhere in previous comments I made a dumb mistake, saying that Jean didn't create any knights. When Hagen defeated Sir Houri in the Crown finals in March V (1971), naturally Jean then knighted Hagen. (I believe that every unbelted fighter who has ever won the Western Crown has been knighted (or mastered) upon that occasion.)” – Robert of Dunharrow

“I am certain Hagen was knighted before he won the Crown. I am also certain he was knighted before the final round began.
     “I was not an insider during those days, but the unmistakable rule of thumb was, if you made it into the finals, you were knighted.
     “As an illustration consider Paul's knighting. When he entered that final round as an unbelted fighter, any number of us were wandering about in confusion because everyone who had ever won their semifinal round was knighted before entering the final round.
     “Knighting a man (no women knights back then – let alone authorized fighters) who did not prove his metal by advancing into the finals of a Crown was a rarity – it did happen, but not very often. On those occasions where it did occur, in some quarters there was a certain about of question attached to it ("But, how can he be a good enough fighter if he has never made it to the finals of Crown?").” – Andrew of Riga

“In an attempt to clear up some bits of confusion, I offer the following: After Jean became the second knight in our household, Charles came to be specifically HIS squire (whereas previously all 8 or 10 fighters were squires, if under 21, or men-at-arms, if over 21, of mine, as head of the Eored.) At Oct. V (1970) Crown, with single-elimination, 24 fighters were reduced, after 2 rounds, to 6, including 3 from Toad Hall/Dunharrow Eored (Jean, Charles, & myself - closest I ever came to crown finals). The other 3 included William Gordon of York, Caradoc (I think), and one other I forget. Well, Charles beat me, Jean & Wm. of York also made the final 3. Jean either drew the bye by lot or by reason of being the only knight among the 3, I don't know which. Charles then defeated William Gordon of York (who got much closer than quarter-finals, as I think he stated). At this point, Jean (having remembered that Houri had been knighted before fighting his knight in Crown finals) publicly requested that King Henrik knight his squire before the finals. Henrik did so, without any particular consultation, nor did he think it was required at that time. (Frederic of the WestTower had been knighted at RenFaire, on the main stage in fact, on the spur of the moment after an impressive victory on the bridge. There was an evident consensus of those present, but I don't think any formal council.) Since Thumas, Edwin, & Caradoc had expressed concern over knightings without consultation (or possibly consent, or even unanimous consent), shortly after Jean's coronation at 12th Night V, he called a meeting (held at Toad Hall) wherein it was agreed that in future, Kings must consult the members present of a peerage order before creating a new peer. The Crown, however, has the sole final say, no matter what.
     “Apparently the concept that "the King's Word is Law" had not been fully grasped by Edwin & Caradoc by June Crown VI, when they were unfortunately moved to challenge the authority of their Sovereign Monarch. The reaction of all the rest of us made it pretty clear that they had no further support in this action. After Paul offered to decline, and then Edwin wisely took that opportunity to withdraw his objection, Paul was knighted, and Hagen then called forth Fleig & Kevin, both of whom were widely accepted as being ready for a white baldric or belt, regardless of the fortunes of the fights of that particular day.
     “Hagen's 4 additions to the Chivalry are all still around almost 3 decades later, and among them have won something like 19 crowns & I don't know how many coronets.” – Robert of Dunharrow

“This is an interesting fact. Given that nearly all of the active fighters at the time have dropped out, I find it amazing that the four that Hagen knighted continued. Three of us still fight, and I am sure that Kevin would also save for his injury. A strange coincidence ....” – James Greyhelm
[At this point, Jean (having remembered ...) ...] At that Ren Faire where Frederick was knighted, I was spending the weekends guesting at the then-home of Richard of Montreal, la Rana, Leanne, and a mutual friend named Tom whose family name escapes me. At some point, and I'm not sure if it was before or after Frederick's spectacular victory at the bridge on the Faire grounds, Henrik said to me that he was intending to knight Frederick, and was uncertain whether he should first talk to all the other belted fighters. In my best Thomas Cromwell mode, I told him what he could knight whoever he wanted.
     “I have no idea whether he consulted with anyone else on the subject and what they answered him if so. Perhaps he remembers?” – Stefan de Lorraine, who has seen people arbitrarily knighted and people knighted with careful consideration and consultation, and not seen much difference in their later conduct and longevity within the organization.
“I believe that as Lord Chancellor of the Kingdom and attorney for the SCA I was consulted at the Faire on this issue and confirmed then as well as later that while politics strongly suggest consultation, the King's decision is law, whether arbitrary or not. I agree with Stefan that I haven't seen much difference in the quality of those elevated by either method. All of such elevations have been of worthy people.” – David of Ilwheirlane
“Tom Tomkins. I don’t recall if I did consult with anyone else. In those early years I didn’t do anything that didn’t seem to be acceptable to the members of the Kingdom from my perspective. I may have only consulted a few people at times - such as Steve, but those were people who I thought represented the perspective of the populace/peers and could speak for them, even if the rest didn’t know what was being discussed at the time.” - Henrik of Havn

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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