These are different times in Æthelmearc and the rest of the Known World. Postponed events, unusually long royal reigns, and uncertain plans for future changes of leadership are of major concern. Like many aspects of the “new” SCA, tried and true old-school methods are being slowly replaced with new high-tech solutions.

In the early months of 2021, the tech staff began work on a new system designed to provide some relief to the overworked leadership of Æthelmearc (Kings, Queens, Baronage, and Officers). Since many events are now virtual it was postulated that a large portion of the Æthelmearc leadership could be replaced by a virtual, computer generated counterpart. This would provide the Kingdom with required decision-making and oversight, and allow the current seated leadership to return to their normal lives.

Instead of picking one set of leaders to provide the model for this new virtual leadership, advanced computer programing allowed the tech staff to create a linked artificial super mind made up of the collective experience of all of Æthelmearc’ s leadership from beginning to current.

Of course, leadership requires a physical component to conduct in person business such as delivering award medallions, scrolls, or placing coronets on heads. To accomplish this, the tech team, in conjunction with the Steward’s office, constructed a large force of high-tech drones. These drones, or Æthelnators, are designed to perfectly emulate the normal populace and provide a calming, familiar, and personal touch to the new virtual leadership. Additionally, to provide safe-practice partners for the populace each Æthelnator contains a specialized set of combat training programs ranging from heavy to siege.

To coordinate the new virtual leadership, the Æthelnators, and the pre-existing virtual online entertainment, the tech team is creating a new Kingdom website lovingly known as Æthelnet. Æthelnet is scheduled to go live 2:14 a.m., EDT, on August 29. Soon after, the Kingdom can expect a return to the many activities we love.

While this may seem a little out of the ordinary and a first, the tech team encourages the populace to welcome Æthelnet and the Æthelnators. The Kingdom looks forward to the many posts, photos, and stories of this great new age.