SCA Name & title: Lord Éadaoin Ruadh (she/her), Sylvan Bard of AEthelmearc
Years in the SCA: 5ish?
How did you find out about the SCA?
Through one of my closest friends. We had been in Dagorhir starting 2001, and without a chapter at his college, he got involved with Falcon’s Gate (Northshield) at UW Stevens Point
Where did you start, what was your first event?
I grew up in the Dragon Lands, my first event being Summer Faire in Illiton (Midrealm) as a spectator. I did not officially start doing practices and events until spring of 2007 in the Shire of Blackhawk (Midrealm)
What is your persona?
Turn of the 14th century Irish woman who was exiled to Scotland. Still researching the feasibility of it, but the idea is that Éadaoin was the only daughter / third child of a minor Irish lord who took after her brother (second son) and never learned any feminine skills. Getting to Scotland, she was mistaken for a male from her demeanor and physique, so she stuck with it, got adopted into the Mackintosh clan and fought beside Robert the Bruce in the First Scottish War for Independence.
Why did you pick this persona?
Mundanely my mom’s side traces back to the Glenny family of the Mackintosh clan, so Éadaoin gives me a tie into our genealogy. I love the Irish and Scottish country sides, was able to stay with long lost relatives in County Sligo while studying in London and found we are like peas in a pod. The Irish have a strong bardic tradition, which I got into later in my LARPing experience. Spear fighting also fits well with the Irish and Scottish for my heavy kit.
Do you have any group or household affiliations?
I identify heavily with Tuatha de Bhriain (they are basically my spawn point on the Pennsic map), and I ghost around the Woodland Watch camp as a groupie, but I am not a member of anything.
Tell us a little bit about your life outside the SCA.
I work in IT and exhibits at the local kid’s museum, which is a perfect mix of technical know-how, creativity, and problem solving with my hands. I love the opportunity to foster exploration and living in diversity within our local youth on a daily basis. I am an assistant Mariner Girl Scout leader for my high school ship back home in Illinois. I greatly enjoy giving back to my community through service, and seeing it improve through compassion, understanding, and humor. I am a writer of stories, songs, poetry, musings in my web journal, and am trying to find an agent for becoming an author. Pre-pandemic, I performed at several open mics throughout the western NY area, to help practice bardic skills, but to promote diversity in performance art as well, you would be surprised at how many don’t realize straight up singing without an instrument is a thing. I coach pole vault for a local high school, which fills in for the in person mentoring that I miss with my scouts. I’ve a love for the outdoors, table top and PC games.
What SCA activities do you or have you participated in?
My main involvement and skills are bardic related. I delve into wood and leatherworking, archery, rapier, “brewing” (making delicious non-alcoholic ciders), throwing, and minor fiber arts. I also teach a class called The Stigma of LARP. I have fought heavy in the past in melees, not too big into one on one bouts unless practicing new combinations.
Tell us a little bit about your SCA experience (jobs, offices, duties, etc.)
I was Exchequer for Blackhawk for about a year, but got burnt out between it and real life stuff, and went inactive for a while. I have been baronial bard for Rhydderich Hael for a year, and currently serve as AEthelmearc’s Sylvan Bard. My main concentration is to increase visibility of our bards, to get our fledgling bards the resources they want or want to try, and to recruit more people to try out bardic arts (especially in kingdom).
When you started in the SCA what goals did you have?
*laughs* I wanted to be knighted and earn Queen by Right of Arms, mainly to weed out all the chauvinism I have experienced as a female fighter in the heavy lists. However, I have had 3 ACL replacements, one tear from my heavy authorization, and I’ve never had the same confidence in single bouts since then.
What are your goals now?
I still want to weed out all the chauvinism, from subtle to obvious, which is not to say that it is rampant, but I see it often enough that it still weighs on my heart. I want to pick up fiddle, and be better at bodhrán. If I happen to someday earn a Laurel for bardic, I would feel honored, but a reputation for being both a genuine human and a talented bard is far more important than a scroll and a mantle. I would love to earn a Known World reputation for harmless pranks and shenanigans. I’d like to establish an order, award, or something to be able to conscript its members / awardees to compete for, fight for, represent AEthelmearc no matter where they move geographically in the future. Our kingdom seems (to me) one of the best in terms of diversity, acceptance, and progressiveness I’ve seen, and it hurts thinking about not being able to be counted in her ranks simply because I move away. Given how most kingdoms view fealty and all that, I doubt this will be possible, but if we can’t have dreams within the Great Dream, why are we really here?
What was the most intimidating thing you encountered in the SCA?
Being questioned about historical authenticity. I wanted to enjoy all ranges of involvement and not be shunned or looked down on for not needing to be exactly accurate in my arts.
After the unexpected shutdown ends, what is one thing you would like to accomplish in the SCA?
I would like to see more active listening, and less of people just waiting for their turn to speak. It is amazing what you learn when you ask questions of people, when you learn more than what they give you on the surface.
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?
There is absolutely something to learn from every encounter, criticism, and person, from 15-time duchess to other newbies and children. Do not take them all to heart, since some feedback can be simply without genuine reason, but even negativity can teach you something about yourself and the other person(s).
If you magically woke up with an SCA talent you do not already have, what would it be?
Being able to carve wood organically, adapting the design when a pattern goes awry, or being able to apply a vision without tracing an exact design onto the wood
If you had to join the SCA in another “era” (1970, 1980, etc.), what “era” would you pick and why?
None. I like the one I am in, because of the talented, amazing, and generous people that I have met in this timeline. Even the “hardships” have given me inspiration for some of my best work.
Don’t be modest, what award or honor would you like to receive above all else and why?
Order of the White Horn. I am a huge Narnian fan girl, and it’s always been a personal narrative that the award is a subtle nod to Queen Susan’s archery skills.
If you could pick one thing you would like to see more of in the SCA, what would it be?
More outright holding people accountable to the harm they cause, be it through words or actions or inactions, and it can even be diplomatically or with sharp wit, but without subtlety. I hear too much complaining about drama and harmful habits without people taking action to resolve the issues. I’m honestly not trying to defend a negative image of SCA or LARP in general—it’s just a big pet peeve of mine, no matter what world I’m in, and when I notice it, it’s hard for me not to want to correct it.
Please add additional comments as you see fit.
I love to encourage cross gaming, especially to SCAdians. There is a lot to be learned from other games, and SCAdians have plenty of resources, humor, and talent to share wherever they go. Negative (and false) stereotypes exist on both sides of the fence, and I am standing at the gate, more than happy to discuss them with anyone who’s willing or curious.
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