Real Name: Brion Woods

SCA Name & title: Lord Caius Julius Silvanus, aka Lord Brion (called Bearclaw) of Gryphon Woods

Years in the SCA: 30

How did you find out about the SCA?

I was 12 years old when my aunt, who shared her love of Tolkien with me, handed me the Deryni Trilogy of novels by Katherine Kurtz. The bio of Kurtz in the back of the book mentioned the Society for Creative Anachronism, and I spent the next 8 years intermittently trying to locate a SCA group in my area. I finally succeeded, inadvertently, when a classmate of mine in Drafting mentioned an upcoming SCA demo in 1990.

Where did you start, what was your first event?

My first event was that demo, held at the Sunrise Children’s Museum and Planetarium, in Charleston WV, in 1990, long before Aethelmearc became a Kingdom and before Blackstone Mountain became an actual Barony. The Charleston group was the Canton of Riversmeet at that time. I had no idea what the rules were, or what was acceptable, so I attended “blind” as it were, wearing a chainmail shirt and a wooden sword instead of the real one I already had. I was hooked instantly.

What is your persona?

Usually 6th Century Romanised Celt, living in southern Britannia, just after the retreat of the Roman garrison, in the time period associated with Arthur. Recently however I have been leaning more towards the Viking era just after the sacking of Lindisfarne Abbey.

Why did you pick this persona?

The time period of Arthur, if he lived, is of especial interest to me and has been so since I saw Excalibur in 1981. I naturally wanted to find out more and my studies soon led me away from the high fantasy of Boorman’s take on La Morte D’Artur and into studies of Romanised Britain.

Do you have any group or household affiliations?

House Sable Maul for over 20 years now. At one time in the early 1990s I was part of the southern detachment of House Drunken Badger.

Tell us a little bit about your life outside the SCA.

I am an artist, a crafter, and I love to camp, kayak, hike, and spend as much time outdoors as I can. I tackled a through-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2016, making it 1400 miles over 5 months, hiking from Georgia nearly into Connecticut. My hike was cut short, however, when I contracted Giardia Lamblia, a nasty cryptosporidium, probably due to a failure of my water filter or inadvertent vector transmission.
I seek to return in the next two years to finish the last 800 miles of the Trail to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. I am also a LPN, of 15 years.

What SCA activities do you or have you participated in?

Mostly fighting over the last thirty years, but increasingly bad eyesight has slowly degraded my fighting ability. Changes are coming however, as I have recently have 1/2 of the cataract surgery needed to restore my vision and depth perception. I once provided original art for the local newsletters and briefly served as the Barony Chiurgeon, many moons ago. I woodcarve and hand engrave on metal items, mainly in soft metals such as pewter and brass, using a Dremel for the level of control and precision it afforded me as my eyesight grew worse.

When you started in the SCA what goals did you have?

When I began I wanted to be the best fighter I could, to become a Knight, and to discover where my talents could be best put to use.

What are your goals now?

I still fight occasionally but I long ago accepted that my eyesight would limit me and I seek instead now to find outlets for my art.

What was the most intimidating thing you encountered in the SCA?

The power of the clique, the heresy of gossip, and the betrayal of friends. The self-serving politics of SCA groups nearly caused me to quit permanently, and I took a long hiatus from 1997 – 2008.

If you could accomplish only one thing in the SCA in the next year, what would it be?

To rebuild my armor and finish several art projects.

What advice would you give to a new person in the SCA, or if new yourself what question would you ask and who would you ask it of?

Don’t let anyone in the SCA tell you who you are. Stay true to yourself, keep an eye on your goals, and pursue them with dogged determination. Be honorable and fair. Remember who you were meant to be, and rise above pettiness and gossip.

If you magically woke up with an SCA talent you do not already have, what would it be?

I have always wanted to be able to play a stringed instrument, but I have no head for it.

Don’t be modest, what award or honor would you like to receive above all else and why?

At one time I wanted to be a Knight, but time has taught other lessons. I would instead pursue the path of the Laurel, if I could. I follow my own rigid Code of Honor, very much in line with the Knightly virtues, but I substitute Knowledge for Faith.

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