Thursday, March 28, 2013

The origin and evolution of House Wolfhaven

According to the SCA by-laws:
A Household consists of a group of gentles who have chosen to ally themselves with each other in friendship or towards a mutual goal.

This translates into a very wide variety of households in the SCA. Some are Great Houses and Duchies, with a pyramid descending from a central figure, with households within the house. Some are small, loosely associated bunches of friends who simply like to hang out together and have banded together for camping space, or simply companionship.

I became a part of House Zeebera, my Peer's house, when I began in the SCA. This was even before I became his protege... I knew his family since childhood, and his mother declared I was "one of hers"... so he took me under his wing and made me his responsibility.  We have a strong family relationship... Olaf is Harald's son, after all... :)

A number of years later, I began organizing my own House. This was not really intentionally at first... I found myself with a group of people... all fighters... who were unattached to any house. There was not really a Northern Outpost fighting unit, and they had no real tie to the Northern Army. I decided to give them a place to belong, and a group to fight with. I organized... though that is a bit of a strong word... the Wolfhaven Free Company. It did not seem right to me to take on someone's oath... I was relatively new to the game myself, and not really a known fighter, so I decided to treat these fighters as a mercenary group... a free company in my employ. They would fight for me, and by extension the Northern Army... but not have a fealty tie, free to sever their contract if a better fit for them came along. It was not a large group... at it's height, it was maybe 6 or 7 people. We were never really a formidable fighting force... we consisted of largely newer fighters, and did not get to many events together... but I feel that the camaraderie we shared was important.

People moved on, moved away, and left the game... the unit pretty much became nonexistent. I also took my break from the game, around that time. When I got back in, I decided to reorganize the House, and make it more in line with my reevaluated goals in the Society. Dalla and I sought to make the newly reborn House a place for those who shared our goals, and an outlet for those goals to be furthered. 

We called it House Wolfhaven, and the principles we dedicated it to were excellence in all we did, integrity first, and service to the Dream. (Yes, those are the Air Force core values. I know a good idea when I see it.) Our loose goal was to make it something like a household that could have existed in period... set up something like a Norse farmstead, with us as heads of house, with our family and hirĂ°menn (household troops).  As such, our members have been people with whom we are fairly close and comfortable with.

We decided that members would be required to work towards a set of standards of appearance…. Clothing and gear of linen wool and silk, appropriate armour and weapons, etc.

We also encourage service in our members... Dalla and I are sworn to a Pelican, and believe that volunteer service is the only way our game functions. Any of our people, and any who camp with us at Pennsic, are expected to put in service time. I have never really enforced this, because... well, because I never had to. :)
We also try to reenforce the fact that this game is our hobby… we are supposed to be doing it for enjoyment. 

Our intent was to create a House where people could belong for as long as they needed to. We did not, and do not, expect that we will be anybody's final stop in the game. We expect that many or most will seek out a Peer/student relationship, and so far two have.
Our House started small... our friend Laura joined us, and Gunvar returned to the game and hooked back up with us. Ger joined a bit later, and thus we remained for a bit.
We took Snorri on as a prospective member, and gave him a year to decide. We tasked him with seeking out others in the SCA and finding out what it was that he wanted in the game, what a Household would mean to him, and then after a year, if this was what he wanted. He did so, and joined our merry band. He was followed by Alfrun and then by Arnbjorn.
I mentioned that two of our members have moved on. At Pennsic, Gunvar became friends with some of House Serpentius, and joined their ranks. I  happily granted her release from the House... it was a wonderful thing to see her find where she belonged, and I was proud to be there when Darius took her as his squire.
Laura also moved on, and became an apprentice to a cooking Laurel.
We do not actively recruit. We feel that if the House is the right answer for somebody, they will find us.  I try to encourage people to get out to events, and really see what is out there before they join a household in the SCA. It is a commitment, and not one that should be taken lightly. As such, our membership remains small. Currently included in our House are Dalla and I, my SCA son Snorri Olafsson, my steward Arnbjorn Grettirson, our freedman Ger, and Alfrun Alfarsdottir. All of these folk are very dear to us, and I only wish we lived closer so we could be together more.

What sorts of Houses do you belong to SCA folks?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

On inspiration

This is kind of a sappy post. Cope, a guy is allowed to occasionally show a feeling or two.

Inspiration comes in many forms in our game. You say inspiration, and people immediately think of that moment at the beginning of a tournament when they say "salute the one who inspires you this day"... but there are far more forms of inspiration than that.
That is not to say that my lovely wife doesn't inspire me... she does. She is among the kindest and most caring people in this world, and you would be hard pressed to find a more trustworthy individual. She keeps me sane (sane-ish, anyway) and on the path of light. There are, however, many people whom I have drawn inspiration from to better myself in this game we play.
In the early days, I was overwhelmed by stories of legends. Master Tearlach, Duke Randall, Master Allyn, Duke Lucan... they all took on mythic proportions, giants whose mention I marveled at, figures whose prowess was the stuff of legend. I strove at that point not to equal or surpass their prowess, but to learn what I could from the stories... I was not able to travel much in those days (travel is still pretty limited, actually) and I fed off tales of these men. When I did finally meet some of them, I was not disappointed... Tearlach thumped people soundly and dispensed sage advice in between fights ("you need to not freeze like a deer in headlights and get run over like that!"). Master Allyn was friendly and inviting, quick with an encouraging word or cautionary tale, and made even the most unimportant of us feel like we mattered.
Others did not take on mythic proportions, but were no less influential. Thorson was my first authorization fight, and observing him over the years has made me want to always have this game be fun. Though an excellent fighter, Thorson always seems to be able to not take the game too seriously, and know when a bit of silliness was necessary.
Elezar was my first inspiration to make my gear look better... when I saw his leather lorica I thought it was the coolest thing, and it was when the light bulb went on and I said "Oh! I can look good AND kick ass!" Ishido was a model for me of working for the Northern Army... playing with tactics, training for the task at hand, and executing it effectively.
I went through the stage of my SCA career where, as any new convert, I tried to convert people to my new found faith... in my case, the path of authenticity. I quickly came to realize... wow, I was being a douche. I instead tried to lead by example... I focused on my gear, and tried to help people improve theirs when they sought my help. Trying to shove my vision of how things SHOULD be made me no better than the people who were telling me to drop all that heavy metal crap I was wearing because it was not good in our game.
A few years ago, there was a ruling handed down at the Society level to improve the overall look of the Society... making people cover their plastic armour, sports gear and logos. There was a lot of hullabaloo about it... on both sides of the issue.
I was actually one person who did not like the ruling... not because I don't want people's gear to improve... I do... but because of how it was being done. Lead by example, not by mandate...
One person who Stood out as an example to me during this time... Sir Stephen Grandchamp. He pledged to not only improve his gear, but charged his House to do the same as well, and they have risen to the challenge, several of them getting their gear together to participate in the Battle of Hastings battle at Pennsic. This struck me as such an excellent example... a man of status leading his people to set an example for others. Sir Stephen has always been an inspiration... his hospitality and kindness in opening his property for the Opening and Closing of the Inne at Coldwood is one example. This act simply added to that.
There are many others... too numerous to mention. I wish I could mention everyone, but alas... I can not. I do apologize to anyone I’ve missed, but... you, my friends, are not the type to take offense at such things. That’s another reason you inspire me.

Monday, March 25, 2013

QOC mystery solved.

I had my friend Gunvar pick up the scroll for my Queen's Order of Courtesy this weekend at Mudthaw this weekend, and the text of the scroll solved they mystery of how the award came about...
A couple of years ago, Duke Thorvaldr from Drachenwals mentioned on the Armour Archive that he wanted to fight in the Warriors of History Tournament at Pennsic, but it would cost too much to carry all his gear on the flight from Germany. I offered to be his courier... have his gear shipped to me in NY, and I would transport it to Pennsic and get it to the Drachenwald encampment. He agreed, and much fun was had at WoH.
He must have mentioned this to my Royals, because this incident was specifically mentioned on the scroll.
An added cool factor... I was originally slated to get the award soon after my wife got her Silver Crescent. The same scribe did both scrolls... and did them to match! I cannot wait to have them on the wall next to each other. It feels good to know why I got the award.... I know it sounds silly, but in the back of my mind, it still felt like some sort of mixup or mis-communication that resulted in me getting it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stone carving

I never actually set out to carve runestones. That sounds kind of dumb to say... "Oh gee, I didn't use tools to shape that stone on purpose, I just slipped, fell, and BOOM, art happened!" It is, however, true.
I decided one May that the yard behind our apartment needed to be cleaned up a bit, so I went out to pick up sticks and leaves. While I was doing so, I took a look at the steps down the embankment behind our place. They were old railroad ties spiked at intervals down the hill, with flat spots in between. It was not an effective set of stairs, and I decided that they should be replaced. Since I knew nothing about working with stone, either dressing it or laying it, that was obviously the best choice of materials to work with. :)
It took me about two days to finish the stairs, which came out quite nice. At the end of it, I had some sandstone left over, and thought.... I should carve Dalla a stone for her birthday! I'll need to learn to carve stone. I decided that the best way to go about this was to start bashing on rock immediately. I didn't lay out a design or anything... I just started pecking away with a hammer and chisel. This was the end result...
I carved more after that one... not sure exactly how many. I have done them all as gifts... not intentionally, exactly, but people say they like them and hey... what the hell am I doing with them?
My friend Laura Schappert (Eithne in the SCA) is a very good artist, and has designed a good number of the "runebeastie" stones I've carved. She had done some sketches of rune serpents, and commented "they never seem finished".
My response was that it was a matter of purpose... she was trying to breathe life into these creatures on paper, while it is the purpose of the beast to give life to the stone. The designs certainly seem to bring otherwise cold stone to life, in vibrant color. This is a poem I wrote after that conversation...

"Her mind has given it shape, this beast. She has drawn if forth from memories far older than she...memories from her ancestors, mine, yours. Memories from a time before any of us were born, a time when gods walked among men, and the wyrm was feared. It lays before me given shape...but it wants life.
Tap tap tap of hammer and chisel sound out the first beating of the beast’s heart, carrying my own blood into the stone. The whisper of brush across stone is its first breath. The beast comes to life...and the stone with it."

I have done a decent number of stones now... some not runestones. I did a gate stone for Duke Lucan and Haus VDK at Pennsic, and I also did a stone for the anniversary of Sir Steven's knighting. I really want to do a large stone, carved in place over a weekend event. I am working out the logistics of that in my brain now. Stones were carved in period for a number of reasons... memorial stones, stones commemorating events, praising people, or simply because somebody got bored. (there's runic graffiti on the ass of a stone lion... no joke) I hope to possibly do a few stones for SCA awards in the future... but we'll see.
The stone above was given as a gift to the King of the Middle at Pennsic a couple of years ago... King Arch, I believe it was. I intended to loan it to them for beside their gate, but when I saw the look on his face, I made it a gift. I unfortunately did not get any pictures of it at Pennsic, nor do I know what happened to it after... if anybody knows more, or has pictures of it in Midrealm Royal, let me know.

I have been asked to teach classes on carving stone, and I can't. I am not trying for false modesty here... but I really don't know what the hell I'm doing. I am not using proper stone carving tools, or proper technique... basically what I do is take a rock and hit it till the parts that don't look like what I want are gone. There are plenty of folks who do truly excellent stone carving... Master Alaric comes to mind... I recommend seeking them out for instruction.

Here is a link to my Picasa album with a bunch of my stone carving:


So yesterday, I sitting, checking Facebook, minding my own business, when I get a chat message.
"Congrats on the QOC!"
As I am a well spoken individual with excellent writing skills, I respond "Bwuh?"
My friend directed me to the Court report from an East Kingdom event called Black Rose Ball, held on the 8th of March. In the Court report, sure enough, there it was... "Her Majesty caused Olafr inn orvi Haraldsson to be recognized with the Queen’s Order of Courtesy, the which deed was memorialized in a document created by Sunniva Ormstung."

The Queen's Order of Courtesy is an award "presented by the consort to those who show exemplary courtesy to all ".

Huh. "That has to be a typo." The post is technically an "unofficial" court report... so this could be a possibility. I decide to check into it. I eventually found out from Kenrick that yes indeed, it was me!

Turns out, there was a bit of a mixup... apparently it was supposed to happen at an earlier date. Something happened, and it didn't... Kenrick read it into the record at last year's Black Rose Ball, but the Court report had never been published... so the mistake was corrected this year. I am amazed and humbled... this was not an award I had any expectation of getting.

This experience has brought one thing into sharp focus for me... the importance that the pageantry and theater plays in our game. I was given this award... obviously... it was right there in black and white. However, it didn't seem real... still kind of doesn't... because there wasn't that experience of Court involved. When you are called in front of the Crown, in front of the assembled populace of the Kingdom, there is a gravity and weight to the proceedings that is palpable. Your brain knows that yeah, this is all make believe... but it is also very real, because we make it real.
 I am very humbled by this, and will do my best to live up to what I feel someone who bears the token of a white glove should be.
It does make me hope though, that anybody receiving their first award gets it in Court, with all ceremony and gravitas. I will try and arrange for people who are to receive awards to make it to Royal Progress events so they can be recognized, and also for newer folks to get to the same events, so they can see what Court is about and know what to expect if they are called up.
Thank you to Their Majesties (though Edward is not on Facebook) for read ing the award into their Court at Black Rose. Also, a big thank you to Sir Kenrick, for apparently going out of his way to make sure this got into the official record. I am lucky to have friends such as this.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Early days of fighting

Yeah, I really used to look like this... I thought it was the coolest.
Master Harald was one of my first fighting teachers. He had been a fighter for many years, and before he was recognized as a peer, he was squired to Master Randall of the Dark.
Physically, Harald and I could not be more different. I'm fairly short, he is tall, he weighed at the time nearly 400, I was near 130lbs. When I first squared off against him, I was like "Big guy! I'll be faster!"
Harald said "I'm going to hit you now."
"Did you see that coming"
"Ummm... I saw it right here." *indicating my eyebrow.

We laughed, and then he began to teach me. Proper stance, body mechanics... though he was big, and strong, he didn't rely on power, he taught me that the fundamentals were important.
Harald shared my love of melee fighting, and I learned a lot from him there as well... when to charge, when to countercharge, shift to refuse or wheel to envelop. Others joined in this education... Baron Ishido from Freehold, Sir Thorson, Master Tearlach. I may not have been the most apt pupil, but I was constantly watching, trying to pick things up.
Watching Thorson and Ishido was where I picked up spear, and that was pretty much a baptism by fire. Picked it up at a Northern Army practice, and authorized with it... then jumped right into it at Pennsic. I was in love. Now don't get me wrong... I love to slug it out in the shield wall. I fought, at that time, with a Byzantine kite... think an oval with a tail. I loved being "in the trenches", the shock of slamming through a wall, shield to shield. Probably why I loved playing kickoff team in football... it was the closest I could get to that feeling.
But spear... that was just such a different experience. Do it wrong, and it's just ugly. Poke away at the opposing wall and spears till somebody stabs the shit out of you. Do it right... and you can be a game changer... make the enemy react to you, read the energy of a line, put your point in the right persons face, and BAM... charge stopped before it starts. I always love running with the spear... though I don't always get it right. :)
I mentioned before that I have had a longstanding love affair with axe. When I began fighting, I was told that it was nearly impossible to make a usable axe, as it had to be all foam (except for the handle) and I would be  hard pressed to get people to take shots from it. They had a point. There came a change in the rules, however, that changed all that... the allowance of "clackers". These are just rattan strips added over the foam. They don't really increase the weight, or even the power... but they do make that "CRACK!" sound that we all know and love when they hit. This made axe a viable weapons form... one I vowed to make my own. Since my early axes, I have been through several incarnations. My early ones were like what Icefalcon sells now... foam all the way around the haft, and a clacker on the edge. They were followed by the ones abpve... a combo of kayak foam, leather and rattan. I now use premade By My hand designed heads with a rattan clacker, and they are my favorite. I have used them to decent effect. I took a real steel Dane axe out to play, and found that it was a much more fluid and agile weapon than I expected, and that changed how I fought the axe. Not a brute force smashing weapon, but a quick graceful cutter.

I switched stances somewhere along the way... I began fighting with my sword foot forward. I'm not sure when it started, but I do think I picked it up from watching Duke Lucan, as he fights that style. I have drawn influence from many fighters... Sir Thorson, Sir Stephen Grandchamps, Ian from here in Outpost. Sir Rhys and Viscountess Jimena moving to Outpost helped as well... both by exposing me to different fighting styles, and as added push to improve. I have stopped trying to be just a brawler, and tried to become a smarter fighter, using range, speed and technique.

I have a ways to go. I look forward to the journey. :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The beginning of Olaf

In the fall of 1996, I began attending college at the State University of New York at Potsdam. There were a number of activities to choose from... from intercollegiate sports to music groups, a campus radio and television station, and numerous club activities. One of the clubs drew my attention right away... the campus Medieval Reenactment Club. Meetings were Wednesday nights, and I decided I would attend... I had been fascinated by the middle ages since childhood, fashioning wooden swords from old tool handles and tilting at rings on my bike. There was a medieval demonstration put on for my  6th grade class, and I had a great time. So primed by all of this, I attended my first meeting.
I hated it.
I walked in, met a few people,and went... "meh". I walked away. This was obviously not for me. I stayed away till spring, when I happened across the group fighting in the quad. Aside from the folks doing armoured combat, there were some fighting with "boffer" weapons... swords and pole weapons made from PVC and foam. No armour required, light contact, giving people the experience of fighting without having to get into armour. I was hooked. I immediately hit the local hardware store for PVC, foam and duct tape, and began making boffers. This was in the spring of 97... before the current litigious climate, and campus was pretty laid back. We had furious running boffer battles through the dorms and across campus. This was a year or two post Braveheart, and I, like so many others, was completely caught up in the craze. I made basket hilted boffers and a round shield, and several axes. (yes, even back then, I loves me some axes...)
I continued to fight boffers for a couple of years, but the next semester, I also got into armour. I picked up a helmet and assorted other gear from a local guy, a former squire (or maybe just a man at arms, I dunno) of Duke Morghunn Sheridan. A simple barrel helm, it served me for several years to come. I was loaned a plastic lorica segmentata by Harald Ulfson... who, as it turned out, was the same person who had done the demo for my 6th grade class! I added to that an armoured kilt I got from Gabe, and i thought I was just the coolest. I fought in this gear for a couple of years... the picture here was taken in 1999. My girlfriend (now wife) was tolerant of my interest in teh SCA, and hung around as well... not as caught up in it at the time as I was, but actively participating  if only so we could spend the time together.
I authorized for the first time in sword and shield at my first event against Thorson... at that time not yet a knight, but a squire. It was a "Tournament of Love and Beauty" event, I think Nikki ran it. Suzy (this was before she was Dalla) made me a faux rabbit fur favor, which i still have on the wall of the pub.
I became a protegee to Master Harald around this time as well... I was new to the SCA, and jumped in to it quickly, but he and I hade history. He was the father of my persona... the Harald in Haraldson... even before I had a norse persona.
We began travelling to Northern Army fight practices in Swanton Vermont in 1999 as well... they were being held at a National Guard armory up there. I met Elazar at those practices, and immediately decided that the coolest armour ever was his leather lorica, which I vowed to copy.  This was how I fell in love with melee fighting... I fought sword and shield off Harald's shoulder, acting as his "shit scraper"... because of his size, he got jumped by everyone, and they overlooked me. I got lots of kills that way...

Pennsic 29 was my first Pennsic. That cemented my melee love. We fought the 10 man melee tournament, and our first draw was an absolutely stacked team called "10 Little Indians". The team was made up of knights, dukes, and princes, and it was over in a flash. The woods battle was the next day though... and that was a different story. I found out where I belonged... and that was it.
The years I couldn't make Pennsic were sad, but I still had fun. I never was able to afford to travel much (I still don't) but I got out a bit, and I served as the event steward for Winter War. That event, which started out fairly small, grew into a really excellent winter melee event. I continued to o it even after, in 2002, I had my first SCA burnout.
I can't tell you why I burned out, really. My fighting had plateaued, and I knew it was my own fault... I wasn't pushing to get out and travel, to fight new people, and improve. That wasn't why I burned out... it was just a symptom. Point is, I needed a break, and it came in the form of football. I had the opportunity to play semi-pro football, and I took it. I played for three years, which basically meant that from May till October, I didn't fight. This allowed me to continue to play in winter, and do Winter War... but I didn't do much else. 

The summer of 2004 was my last year of football. I took a beating... I was literally the smallest player in the league, and football is a collision sport. It took a toll on my body... but it also invigorated me. The drills were actually good for my knees, which I had problems with for several years before. I finished football ready to come back and play the game with a new focus... my gear. My wife and had been working on our gear slowly for a bit, making it look more authentic bit by bit. We found that therein lay our passion in the game, and threw ourselves into it wholeheartedly. Cotton and polyester went away, replaced by linen and wool. Period shoes were made, armour was tweaked and re-tweaked. I have been through 11 distinct incarnations of armour in my time in the game. We were rewarded for our effort by King Edward at Pennsic with our King's Order of Excellence. We received it the same way we play in the SCA... together. It was a momentous occasion.

Now, here I am 16 years after starting to play in the SCA. I've had some fun, and intend to have some more. What follows in this blog will hopefully be some descriptions of projects I've done or will do, observations of my fighting, and probably, knowing me, some random and hopefully entertaining stories. Enjoy. Or don't. Either way...

The Facebook post that spawned it all...

Upon rcommendation of Analeda Falconbridge, I have started this blog to detail my progress int he SCA. This was the Facebook post that prompted the recommendation:
What next?
A couple of years ago at Pennsic, I was awarded my King’s Order of Excellence by King Edward. This was the SCA award I coveted... awarded for superior authenticity in persona and/or equipment. I like trying to be as authentic as possible in my kit... I fight in maille, with appropriate weapons, using natural materials where practical and possible. My garb is linen and wool, and I wear period shoes.
I was deeply honored at receiving the award, and I found that most people were very glad as well... there had apparently been a bit of a write in campaign to get my wife and I recognized for the award. However, it also made me sit down and take a look at my kit and say... what next?
I have continued to work at my authenticity, adding small things here and there... leather and cloth and steel and wood... I was not going to stop with that just because of the award. But what hit me was this thought... that I was letting my kit down. Everybody seemed to respect the choice I had made being as authentic as I could with my gear... but I kept hearing, over and over that the gear was what was holding me back. The maille weighed too much, the cross hilted swords weren’t as effective as a basket hilt, that the axes were inferior to an unpadded pole due to the nature of our game. “He’s as good as you can expect with the gear he’s wearing.”
I was offended. Not at the inference that I was a mediocre fighter... I was aware of what level my skill was at. I was insulted that people thought the gear was at fault. My maille and my swords weren’t why I wasn’t fighting better... my lack of practicing and physical conditioning was the reason. I decided that was was next was to stop letting my gear down, and prove that it didn’t limit me. I began to train more... I am still not training as much as I’d like, but getting in and fighting weekly, fitting in an extra practice when we can, and trying to keep myself in better physical shape. I made a vow after Pennsic 40 that i would fight with my axe every week, and I did. Every single practice, for a full year, I fought the Dane axe, sometimes exclusively. As my physical condition improved, I was able to get back to using a full sized round shield. I had injured myself years ago, and never really healed, and could only use a smaller shield... as my strength built up, I was able to again.
I noticed a difference in my fighting. My endurance improved, my technique got better (though still far from perfect). Others apparently noticed as well... this year I was invited to take the field as one of the East Kingdom Unbelted Champions. The Unbelts are a team of fighters chosen from those who are not members of the Order of Chivalry to represent our Kingdom in a battle against a team from the opposing side, chosen from similar candidates. Generally this means fighting against a Midrealm team... though this year, with the alignments at Pennsic changed, we fought alongside the Middle against the Allies. I feel I acquitted myself well... at least nobody openly told me I sucked. :) I also fought a decent amount of pickups at War, taking advantage of the time to fight folks I wouldn’t otherwise get to.
My work, and that of my Shire mates in helping me train, paid off, and at this year’s Winter War 16, I was made a companion of the Order of the Tygers Combattant. This award is an East Kingdom Order of High Merit for rattan combat, either for excellence in one weapons form, or for surpassing competence in several (that is a quote from the EK Wiki). King Edward commented that a couple of years ago, he had made the trip up and said “Nice kit... but I need to see more.” I chuckled, because it was kind of what I had said about myself, and what started this journey.
It was a great honor to be made a companion of this order. The OTC is a highly prized award in this Kingdom... I have seen fighters chase it as hard as a Knighthood, and the rolls of the Order are full of legends whose stories I have heard from my earliest days in the Society. I am humbled that they think me worthy to join them.
And I find myself again saying... “What next?”
Obviously, I’m not just going to drop my authentic kit, or stop fighting. I plan to keep training and practicing... I’m on the Unbelted Champion’s list again, and I plan to be in shape to do my triad and team proud. Also, I owe it to those who believed in me enough to make me a Companion of the Order to show them they were right to do so.
I plan to add to my gear... we have a new norse slat bed, wooden trunks and boxes for our clothing and other kit, and I am making more. I am making game boards and boxes and trunks to gift and barter and sell, and I still carve runestones. I have taken up blacksmithing, mainly to be able to make the metal parts of our gear that are simple but harder to find. I plan to still do service to the society... though I will no longer be serving as Winter War event steward, I may be taking over the office of Seneschal, and plan to play an active role in Fall Frolic this year. I have been putting in a lot of time at Marshal’s point at Pennsic, and will continue to do so.
I have never really cared for the idea of chasing awards. I have seen too many folks chase an OTC or knighthood, only to see them, upon reaching that goal, be completely burnt out. I don’t want that for myself... I love the game for the game... it’s what I do for fun, I don’t want it to be a job.
So do I need a goal? Do I need a next step? I don’t know. When I said “what’s next?” before, it was not with the end goal of the Unbelts team or OTC in mind... it was simply laying a challenge before myself. What do I challenge myself with now?