18 Mar 2014 by gebhard, No Comments »

dubbingWhen someone is going to be elevated to become a peer, he or she is placed on vigil. I suspect a vigil is meant to be a time of introspection. Vigilants will often isolate themselves, with some exquisite snacks, and will welcome friends and peers alike to give them sage advice on their new path.

I must admit, I have stood in line for many vigils, but I infrequently go in. This is because my only claims to fame are carrying really heavy things and perfecting the art of blocking with my face.

Don’t get me wrong, I have demonstrated this fine art at events nearly every week, and I have often offered my “Getting hit in the leg only means you’re not dedicated enough to the face block” class. But no one has taken me up on it, and such a fine martial class needs a little more room than is often allocated for a vigil.

Pretty much all there is to be said about lifting heavy things can be summarized with “Bend at the knees, not at the back”.

However, this type of advice I’m sure every vigilant has heard before, so it seemed inappropriate to give to someone such as Duchess Elina who has so many accolades and has been such a significant part of the SCA not just in my Kingdom but throughout the Known World, “I don’t think I’m allowed to look at her”.

So, I did my default thing. I wrote something in the vigil book and allowed those with something of significance to say to visit in my place. Should you one day find doodles of funny animals in your vigil book, I apologize in advance.

After much thought, if I had gone in to see her, I would have said something like this:

Your Grace,

I met my wife at my second event.  She was in front of me in the shield wall. From the first night we spent talking by the fire to the many weeks to come after, when we spoke of fighting, your name often came up. She had read your book, attended lessons and looked up to you as a fighter.

You and I first met in a bear pit tourney at event called “Harvest Days” in that same year, roughly nine years ago. By word fame, I knew you when I came out to meet you on the list. When I spoke to Katayoun later, she was amused when I told her you clubbed me like a baby seal. At that time, you used what I will call a shield “bump” technique where you bump my shield down, delaying my ability to block,  and time a blow coming in.  While I have nowhere near your skill, it’s a method I still incorporate in my fighting to this day.

As I grew in the the SCA, I learned about other areas in which you have enriched our game, and in my mind, you and your husband, Duke Stephen, became celebrities. I would watch with big doe eyes every time you came around.

During this reign I’ve gotten to know you, not the legend, but the person: Your sense of humor and quick wit, the amazing way you personify inanimate objects and bring them to life, your honest straight forwardness and directness, your confidence on the field, your conflict resolution abilities, your prowess, and your teaching abilities.

All of these and many more reminded me of what it is that makes what I do worthwhile.  It’s all of the amazing people we meet. The people like you.


Learn more: Sir Elina’s peer page

Her Book: The Armored Rose

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