By Lord Christian Goldenlok
In relation to each other, the rubber band of geographical life is made from unequal parts time and distance. When it stretches, all too often we have too much distance between us and not enough time to spend when we are together.
The opposite is also true. While it’s nice to visit with old friends around the fire, hearts become restless to look out to the horizon and build bonds away from home. In a perfect world, we could all live within walking distance. Until then, we have to use our time effectively. I am terrible at time management, mostly because I spent half my raids hugging people. It’s a rough life.
At Court at Harvest Raids, an Æthelmearc event in Western New York, my King and Queen made the first set of knights of their reign. Two men were presented, two men with whom I have very different relationships.
The first man to be brought forth was His Lordship Thorsol Solinauga. The Thorsol and I have been friends for years. He sought me out from the VERY beginning of my journey and has never once not made me feel welcomed at an event. He is either a saint or an incredible actor. We have fought against and beside one another, and we have shared laughter, a love for this society, and many good conversations and will continue to do so. Thorsol is a popular man and inspired me to strive to build up people outside of the household and shire that I could love.
I have always measured my goodness based on his example. He is the gauge of inclusiveness to which I try to measure up. I have never heard him raise his voice in anger. Besides his deeds on the battlefield, I am sure that his diplomacy is something others should emulate. He can and will out-humble you. He is a dirty hippie. Sir Thorsol was the first man my King knighted. He is absolutely worthy of the station.
If he lived in Pittsburgh, we would throw pottery together, sing and play guitar together, or play boardgames together. He would be a part of my life because I would make him do so whether he wanted to or not. I love The Thorsol, and the beauty of the words spoken for him by friends I also know told me what I already knew for years: that many people are joined with me in sharing in my love for him. Thorsol spoke words of fealty on the Sword of State, he received his last unanswered blow from King Gareth, and he made his way, humbly and happily, to be with his new Chivalric brothers.
His ceremony was fantastic, and I wept happy, ugly tears for my friend, a man I wish I had more time with and less space away from. My house is a Bon Jovi-free zone.
After Sir Thorsol got the hell out of the way (Thorsol, GIT!), the crown proceeded to its next point of business and called forth Baron Dominic I-don’t-even-know-his-last-SCAdian-name. (Editor’s Note: Morland)
Down the isle processed a handsome man with his beautiful wife whom I can’t recall I’ve ever met. As he and his retinue processed I thought to myself, “I don’t know her, nope, don’t know that guy, nope not him, nope don’t know her.”
The stranger knelt before my King and Queen, the King and Queen I know better than ANY other SCAdians, are masters of the fighting house to which I belong, and with whom I have spent countless hours. As the seconds passed, dichotomies between Dominic and Thorsol and the differences in my familiarity with the Royals and my familiarity with Baron Dominic began shooting through my mind.
As the introductory words were spoken, I searched my memory and couldn’t remember a time I had ever interacted with this man save a handshake or two, maybe a pat on the back in passing. Dominic and I have NEVER had the opportunity to sit and talk together. Earlier, as I had passed his vigil tent, I actually couldn’t recall any of the people who were standing guard for him or in that general vicinity. I’m Christian (expletive) Goldenlok and I know everybody… yet an entire group of people were unintentionally foreign to me.
Dominic’s heraldry is stunning, however.
To my delight, as the moments went on, I started to become slowly, intensely connected to these people, the man being knighted, and the ceremony.
Other people I didn’t know stood before the crown and offered their endorsements of Dominic. I started to feel a connection between their love for this man in relation to my love for the people that I hold dear. Tears streamed down the faces of many friends of Dominic, the majority of whom I have never become acquainted.
I began to feel the spirit of reverence that emanated through the ceremony. Words like honor, mental toughness, and graciousness poured out of the mouths of his friends, and I began to see that the same kinship that exists between me and Sir Thorsol absolutely exists between these fine people and their fine friend and brother, Dominic.
He began to tremble while kneeling before Their Majesties. You could visually comprehend that all his sacrifice, all his time spent in harness, all his time serving his friends, family, and the kingdom he calls home were about to manifest into becoming a Knight of Æthelmearc. He was aware of all this and, I imagine, was reacting to it. I empathized with the weight he was feeling. You could see he was humbled at being exulted by his friends. His dream, and the dreams and hopes and expectations others had of him, seemed to turn into a heartfelt, tangible reality with every word that filled the hall of that great Court. With the mounting of spurs, the clasp of cloak, and the fitting of the belt, he was being reworked, remade.
And then I started freaking ugly crying.
With so much strife in the modern world, it isn’t surprising that we occasionally need to be reminded that there is so much positivity and so much commonality that transcends the boundaries of time and distance in the SCA. As we struggle, as we toil in the fields, we must be reminded that there will come a time for harvest because of our collective dedication. It was obvious to me that many placed stones for Sir Dominic to walk on in his path to knighthood, and it was truly inspiring to see the love his friends showed him.
In closing, we must learn to become even more inclusive, to become even more open and honest and caring, and to realize that there is so much love in this world to be seen if only we fix our collective eyes to see it. I felt that love for you, Sir Dominic, and I hope we have time in the future. I’m grateful for both of these men, their separate retinues, their relation to us all, and their example to me.
Harvest Raids was fantastic!