Award of Arms

Something very unexpected and wonderful happened to me on Saturday. I was at an SCA event called Yule, in the Barony of Bhakail (the Philadelphia area). During court (the period near the end of the event where the current royals give out awards that have been voted on secretly by members of society) I heard my SCA name called…Actually, I didn’t. Like many names, they’re uncommon, from historical times and places rarely spoken. For example, mine is Drustan, the Old Irish version of Tristan (meaning “calamity or tumult,” perfect for this walking disaster.) The herald put the emphasis on the wrong syllable (not unusual because it was the first time he probably saw my name), so I didn’t realize that it was me until Katie took my hand to walk me up and the rest of my friends were all smiles and hugs.

Once I was led up to the Queen (who is an absolutely wonderful person in mundane life as well as in the game) I knelt, and after telling the audience all about the wonderful things that people have noticed me doing, she awarded me what’s called the Award of Arms, or AoA. Basically, the AoA is the first award you receive in the SCA, for contributing in some way to the society, participating, and just making it more enjoyable for everyone. It entitles you to a noble rank, as in “Lord, Lady, or Noble,” (the SCA is very inclusive and recently added a gender-neutral title). I was given a scroll (or a promissory note for one, since the scroll wasn’t done yet) received cheers from the crowd, and walked trembling off the stage into the waiting arms of all of my friends…all of whom knew that this was coming.

I did not. I’ve only been in the SCA for a year and a half. I wasn’t expecting this so soon. Luckily, I like surprises.

It feels good to be recognized, that people have noticed me and said “we like what he’s doing, he makes the society better.” Based on the timing, I’m sure that I got it by impressing everyone with my music and storytelling at Winter Nights (I am interested in the Bardic Arts, big surprise, right?), and not for any fencing skill (since I suck). But I guess people have also noticed me just being kind, and helping out when I can.

I feel seen, and in a modern world where most of us are a shade above invisible, it feels good to be seen.

I love the SCA.

It should be noted, I had a bit to drink (we do a lot of eating and drinking. I think I’ve put on 15 pounds since joining), and I was wearing Christmas lights around my neck, over my tunic (I’ll post a pic).

Merry Yule.




doge in space card redux


EKCoP Assembly, and My First Performance

On Saturday, I did a thing. For me, it was one of the bravest I’ve ever done.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I joined the SCA in the fall, and became interested in Bardic recitation and performance. I did a very short story on Novice Day in front of a giant crowd of…three?..Four?.. It might have well been a hundred, for I was terrified. But I did it and I was hooked.

Saturday was an event for bards called the East Kingdom College of Performers Assembly and University. I not only taught a class on story structure (which I’ve done before at libraries so I wasn’t that worried) but I got up on stage and did two separate performances. Both were original pieces. I’ll post them below.

This is the first one that I did. I swear that I was trembling inside, and hoped that I wasn’t trembling on the outside too.  

This was the second one that I did. I felt a little more comfortable, but still nervous.


So why is this such a big deal for me? After all, I teach. I get up in front of kids all the time and talk away. I’ve even taught adults.

When I was a kid, I was impossible to understand. My voice was so garbled that no one knew what I was saying until aged 4 or 5. I had years and years of speech therapy and orthodontics (head gear, lip bumper, retainer, braces, the whole thing), to fix my crooked, chaotic mouth. Even then, my voice was still whiny and the target of many a bully.  (I still get mocked for my voice by students. It’s a very sore spot for me). Add in that I once literally froze while giving an oral report in college, and I have all sorts of anxiety problems.

This was a big freaking deal, and I’ve proven to myself that I’m not the unintelligible child that I was. I killed that monster that’s been hounding me as long as I can remember. Yes, my voice is still weird, but it was much, much worse.

I’m looking forward to more of this. I have many stories in my head that need to come out.

doge in space card redux