This message is from the Kingdom Minister of Lists, Earl Marshal, and Authorizations Clerk.
Given the increased society-wide visibility on authorizations and remedies for not having proof of authorization, the role of the MOL in this process needs to be clarified.
Short Version: MOLs are no longer to problem-solve to get a fighter that has forgotten their proof of authorization on the field for that day. The fighter is to be referred to a Marshal who will then make whatever decisions are needed to resolve the problem. Not doing so comes with consequences from a warning up to and including losing your warrant for six months.
For more information, and greater nuance to the information above, please read the MOL Handbook.
Detailed Version: During check-in, MOLs are only to review the Authorization documentation for validity following the “Authorization Verification” section of the MOL Handbook. Specifically the following:
MOLs should direct someone whose authorization has expired or whose card has been forgotten to the Marshal in Charge. If the Marshal in Charge is not available, you may direct them to any other Marshal of that discipline present (ex: You direct a fencer to a fencing marshal and a heavy weapons fighter to a heavy weapons marshal).
MOLs are free to explain to the fighter the general information about how online authorizations are done and that the Marshal will need to direct the fighter through the process. It’s important that the hierarchy for Authorizations is preserved. MOLs are not part of this hierarchy and should not insert themselves into it.
For more information, and greater nuance to the information here, please read the MOL Handbook. The section under “Authorization Verification” is where you’ll find the information about what is expected and some special cases (including MOLs that are Marshals).
I know that in the past we have had a lot of leeway in how we could guide fighters to help get them on the field that day. We are no longer able to offer that guidance and must rely on our Marshals to assist fighters.
I encourage fighters to take a moment to take a picture of their authorization card so you always have a copy available in the event that you forget your yellow card.
Because we have already had an instance in the Society with sanctions being imposed on someone due to questions about how an authorization was handled, there are consequences for MOLs overstepping this boundary. There is an assessment process that will be followed if an infraction is reported. I will be using the yardstick of the “Reasonable Person”, which is a hypothetical individual who approaches any situation with the appropriate amount of caution and then sensibly takes action. This yardstick will be applied to any reports and each situation will be assessed thoughtfully before any action is taken by me. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, a reasonable consequence will be imposed which is anything from a warning to a six-month suspension of your warrant.
Thank you all for your time and I’m so sorry that the environment is such that this needs to be defined and enforced the way that it needs to be. This is not a reaction to anything that anyone has done, but to avoid sanctions coming to roost here in Aethelmearc.
Meesteres Odriana vander Brugghe, Kingdom Minister of the List
Duke Timothy of Arindale, Kingdom Earl Marshal
THL Deirdre Scot of Clann Scot, Kingdom Authorization Clerk
The Board of Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism has announced a change to its CovidSafe policy.
Effective February 1:
Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test shall not be required for children who are ineligible by virtue of their age. In addition to the normal sanctions process, anyone challenging event staff regarding the enforcement of this COVID policy shall be denied entry to or be immediately removed from the event.
Welcome to the Ninth Known World Bardic Congress and Cooks Collegium, to be held online on September 10th, 11th, and 12th. We are hosted this year by the Mid-Realm’s Barony of Ayreton.
Join us for a weekend filled with classes, concerts, and bardic circles. In addition to cooking and bardic, we will also have brewing & vinting, along with instrumental & choral music classes –and more!
We encourage attendees to register on the website. Much like Pennsic, you can use your account to offer classes, suggest others, request stage time, or create your personal schedule.
Most of you followed the predicament of the massive Ever Given cargo ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal until this past Monday.
It carried over 220,000 tons of goods coming from China to Europe, and all of that cargo was left to sit in the Egyptian sun until engineers were finally able to refloat the mammoth ship in cooperation with the Suez Canal Authority. The freighter’s position blocking the canal held up commercial travel for thousands of other ships and affected supply chains world-wide for almost a week.
The good news is that the rattan that was being hauled by the Ever Given and other ships delayed by its mishap is now on its way toward the Netherlands. From there, a supply of rattan will make its way to the U.S., Canada, Australia, and other parts of Europe. So SCA fighters, rejoice! Soon you should once again have enough rattan for all of your fighting needs.
Which are… uh… kind of low until the pandemic restrictions are lifted and we can have events and practices again.
But hey, rattan!
In related news, the following letter to the SCA Board of Directors was made available to the Gazette today for public posting.
Unto the Noble Lords and Ladies of the Board of Directors, Greetings.
Over the years I have been fooled on more than one occasion regarding the activities guided and supported by the Society of Creative Anachronism. For a while, I thought the Society was involved in a new musical style, and enjoyed it very much. Then I found out that what I thought my friends were referring to as ‘SCA’ was in fact ‘SKA’. You can imagine my disappointment. I still enjoy the music though.
However, I have been greatly encouraged that our Society has gone heavily into public good works. The re-floating of the Ever Given by the SCA is a great example of doing good works for the entire world, not just for our members. I look forward to more good works to support.
Master Jacopo di Niccolo of the Shire of Steltonwald passed away on February 12, A.S. LV, while recovering from open heart surgery. He was 72.
Master Jacopo was a familiar figure to the archers of the Society. His prowess as an archer was renowned, as was his making of high-quality arrows. But he was especially beloved for his teaching of archery and his wry sense of humor. Jacopo’s guidance is behind many of the finest archers of Ӕthelmearc, including the first Youth Ludicrous Bowman in the Society, Lady Ghalyla bint Joseph, who is protégé to his wife, Mistress Ysabel Graver.
Along with Mistress Ysabel, Master Jacopo was a driving force in the Canton, now Shire of Steltonwald. He served as Canton Archery Marshal and was regularly on staff for both the Steltonwald event called Archers to the Wald and Ӕthelmearc War Practice, often at troll and on the archery range. He served as Kingdom Archery Scorekeeper, and later as Kingdom Captain-General of Archers, stepping down in A.S. 41.
THLord Aidan Gunn, Seneschal of Steltonwald, announced Master Jacopo’s passing and said “Many in our fair Kingdom knew him. As an archer, teacher, mentor, brother and above all as a friend. He will be greatly missed by us all.” He later reminisced, “Back in 2001, I went to my first big event. It was Blackstone Raids. We were up early and wandering around when we noticed a bunch of people at the archery range. We wandered over and some of the archers started chatting with us while they warmed up for something called a 7 Pearls Tournament, whatever that was…
Over walks Joc. He starts chatting and decides to warm up. His first arrow drilled a pop bottle at 40 yards! That was his only warm up shot. Needless to say, he won for the BMDL. When I congratulated him later, which was a huge step for me because I was rather shy (stop laughing), he was very humble and gracious [saying] “ Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.”
A week or so later, I found out he was Captain of Archers for Steltonwald and held a regular practice. I started attending and over time he went from being my teacher to my friend, and then a second father, helping me along so many rough spots and encouraging me to grow.”
Master Anias Fenne posted on Facebook: “From my very first moments in the SCA, he was one of the kindest, most encouraging, most affable people I’ve known. For 25 years he never stopped encouraging me, pushing me to do more, making me laugh, and being my friend. So many late night conversations over a beer. So many early morning conversations over a coffee. So many laughs on the range. So many funny thank you cards in the mail every time I made a commission for him… The SCA and the rest of the world just got a little dimmer for me, and I know I’m not the only one. I’m really going to miss you.”
Master Denys the Decadent, Companion of the Scarlet Guard, said “My thoughts of Jacopo are two-fold: first, his teaching of archery to others. He took many under his wing and shared his knowledge, assisting, training and teaching. Second, has been the honor of shooting along side him on the archery line in competition. He had wonderful skills and enjoyed the sport. I will miss his smile.”
Master Jacopo was one of the most skilled archers Ӕthelmearc as ever had. He was recognized as a Grandmaster Bowman (scoring a Royal Round average of at least 100) by King Cygnus and Queen Dorinda in A.S. 34, and became a Ludicrous Bowman in A.S. A.S. 49. Ludicrous Bowman is an unofficial rank given to archers with Royal Round scores of 120 or more, because the first time someone scored that high, a friend said “That’s ludicrous!” A very select cadre of archers in the Society have reached this pinnacle of skill. He also held the highest score for longbow in the entire Society in the Gwyntarian Winter Challenge of A.S. 46, at 208 points. He served as Kingdom Archery Champion at least twice, most recently in A.S. 52, and was a member of the Kingdom’s Archery Champions’ team at Pennsic many times, including a stint as team Captain.
Master Ambrosius MacDaibhidh, also a Companion of the Scarlet Guard, recalls “When I think about Jacopo, I think about one word, “consistency.” Consistency as evidenced throughout his life and well documented by the ranks that he attained within the SCA and without.
The Jacopo I knew consistently exhibited sound judgment, reliability, trustworthiness, technical prowess, and the ability to pass along wisdom as a mentor. It is obvious that I’m not the only one who saw these qualities – Jac’s induction into the Order of the Scarlet Guard, his Elevation to the Peerage as a Master of the Pelican, and his Navy rank of Senior Chief Petty Office are all testaments to the fact that others were able to see these consistencies as well.
I remember a humbling demonstration of his technical prowess when he borrowed my bow and struck a certain mark before any of the rest of us could zero in on it. His jocular response was that anyone who claims to be an archer should be able to shoot whatever bow is at hand.
He was willing to teach all who would learn about making arrows and bow strings. I took away some helpful tips on arrow making that encouraged me to spend some hours improving my skills.
Most fondly however, I remember an incident just a couple of years ago when I was struggling in my own role as a mentor. I was at my wit’s end and flat out of ideas. I had talked with a few people whose opinions and judgment I valued and then I finally turned to Joc and said “Senior, I need your counsel. Can we talk.” We metaphorically traded our SCA hats of Peers and equals for our old Navy covers and went outside for a private chat where I leaned in on his consistent judgment, experience, wisdom, and friendship, and took away a renewed hope and a new course of action.
My hope is that all of us who were fortunate enough to spend some time with Jacopo can see that we were touched by some aspect of the consistencies that he developed in his life and are able to lean on those lessons and become more consistent in our own lives.
Master Jacopo’s skill as a fletcher, which was recognized with the Orders of the Sycamore and Fleur d’ Ӕthelmearc, was legendary. Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope recalls, “Each year on the way to visit his daughter, Jacopo would stop in Missouri at the Three Rivers Archery store, which carries cedar arrow shafts. Cedar had become expensive and hard to find over the past decade or so, and this store had a bin full of them. But Jac wasn’t looking for just any shafts – he not only checked each shaft for straightness and soundness, he also brought a small scale which he used to weigh each shaft. He would put groups of shafts of the same weight, or grains, together in batches to create matching sets. He also made sure that the weight, or “spine” of the arrows he made for each person was perfectly matched to the pull weight of their bow. I was stunned when the first set of arrows Jac made for me caused my Royal Round score to increase by 15 points. He made me two more sets after that, and I’m sad that the ones I have now will be the last – though I will miss him for much more than his arrows.”
Baron Edward Harbinger, Society Archery Marshal, said “One of my fondest memories of Jacopo is from a couple of years ago when I was running a Kingdom fundraiser. I had come up with a “peerage” shoot, where there were effigies of the different peers as targets. Peers of the Realm could sponsor a target (put their name on it) and have people shoot at it for a dollar an arrow. They would match the hits, up to $20 max, unless they wanted to shoot at it themselves. If they shot at their own target and hit, it took a dollar off their count, if they missed, they would pay an additional dollar. It was all in good fun and a lot of the peers were having fun encouraging people to shoot at them.
I asked Jacopo if he would sponsor a target and his response was “of course! There are a lot of people who would like to shoot me.” He was wearing a big smile as he said it. Throughout the day he would stop back periodically and ask how the shoot was going. When the scores got close to 20 on his target, he would loose off enough to zero it out so people would keep shooting at him. He did this at least three times during the day. At the end of the day, his target brought in about $80 on its own…..and then he threw in a $20 bill on top of it. Throughout the fundraiser, his was the most shot at target, bar none. That day he impressed me with his generosity and skill. He gave me a lesson in what it is to truly be a peer that you look up to.”
Master Jacopo was inducted into the Order of the Pelican in A.S. 40 by King Malcolm and Queen Tessa for his service to the kingdom, and especially to the archery community.
In A.S. 50, King Timothy and Queen Gabrielle named Jacopo the 39th Jewel of Ӕthelmearc for his long service to the Kingdom. Now-Duke Timothy said “Our kingdom, our Society, has lost a treasure. I’ve known many fine men and women. I’m not sure I’ve met one better than Master Jacopo. I can’t imagine him ever saying a word about himself, he was also as humble a man as I’ve ever met. But he didn’t need to. Heck, no one needed to speak on his behalf. If ever there was a person who exemplified “Deeds, not words”, it was him
But I assure you, everyone in our kingdom who has ever drawn a bow knew this man and would agree with the above sentiments. We will conclude with this. Some years back, we happened to be Prince and Princess during the time the BoD was contemplating a rapier peerage. For a brief while, it appeared that there would be a blanket peerage for all the other martial activities that aren’t heavy combat, archery included amongst them. Hands down, Joc would have been the archer we’d have made one. If such a peerage ever comes to pass, it will be a travesty that Joc isn’t its principal member here in Ӕthelmearc.
Our hearts go out to his family, and all those who share in their grief.”
Master John the Artificer of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands passed away unexpectedly in his home on November 25th, A.S. LV, at the age of 66.
John was an SCA member for over 40 years, and was honored with the East Kingdom Orders of the Silver Crescent (service) and Maunche (arts) as well as a Laurel in 1987. In 1999 he received a Millrind from Æthelmearc. Until her passing almost three years ago, he was champion and companion of Mistress Achren of the Debatable Lands.
Lady Bronwyn Jourdemaine notes “More recently, John had retired, and was enjoying himself. He had become involved with Mistress Siobhan ingen Ragnaill, a fellow companion of the Order of the Laurel, originally from the Kingdom of Trimaris. They traveled together to New Zealand and England, and were planning a trip to Scotland next year.
Master John had a keen interest in medieval sciences. Mistress Kris Gilibari recalls: “John really was about investigating medieval technology, he was always up to some project or other. I once remember Master John doing a demo in Mistress Achren’s living room, to show how cochineal was made. This is a messy, chemical process that can even “boil over”, which is to say it can foam up and you end up with pink dye everyplace. Chemicals and raw materials went in, and out came some bright pink goop that will later dry out and become a useful pigment. But he did it, and made a rather complicated operation look pretty simple. This is what he was about, investigating old processes and recipes, drawing from ancient accounts of how to build, make, or brew countless concoctions and devices just for the sake of knowing, and then explaining to others how to do the same.”
Lady Bronwyn said, “An engineer, it would surprise no one that his interests included alchemy and other medieval sciences. His researches in those subjects were known throughout the Known World. It was through them that he got to know Mistress Achren. who would be his partner until she died three years ago. He would be a large help to Achren’s family, including her two children who live abroad now.” Lady Bronwyn also notes, “John was truly a renaissance man, interested in brewing, cooking, dye making, metal working, printing, painting, and theater.”
Master John was probably best known for the replica Norwegian stave church that served as his merchant booth at Pennsic. Before he purchased it, the stave church was used at the Carnegie Mellon University annual Spring Carnival. Mistress Kris remembers: “His little stave-church shop was a fixture for so many years at Pennsic, serving as both a store and as a meeting place for any and all comers, and the benches out front provided shade and rest for weary Pennsic shoppers. At night, the warm golden lights inside the tiny building made it look so inviting and joyous, and more often than not, laughter or song could be heard from within. To be honest, once you stepped inside it was difficult to leave, since one story or joke just led to another, and on into the summer evenings. And that is how I’m always going to remember him, laughing and telling his tales, explaining how things worked, there in the shop of many things.”
In that booth John sold a variety of goods, many of them scribal. Mistress Kris continues, “John kept the scribes and artists of the Barony well supplied with pigments and other period tools. In fact, I have a piece of sterling silver rod that I bought from him years ago for silverpoint drawing, and I still use it at my desk every day.”
Mistress Filipia Cupbreaker shared John’s merchant booth and also traveled to Europe with him. “I will always treasure the time I had with him at the stave church, putting period materials into artist’s hands and knowledge into their heads. “Cennini-weight gold leaf – go on, touch it.” He provided a cornerstone for the community and a nexus for information exchange.”
Mistress Una de St. Luc remembers how hot it was in the church at Pennsic. “The filtered light through the wood, surrounded by various artistic things. John was such a lover of the arts and supporting artists. I remember he was really getting into trying to make block prints. We would talk about block print scrolls and designs. I think some people received some of his block print scrolls. For scribes, I feel like for a long time he was the place to go to buy pigments. I went there many times and sat with Master Brendan Brisbane and John, taking notes on art. Master John… was one of the foundation stones for the scribal community by providing the artists with needed supplies. He helped to bridge the gap for many scribes to go from modern day artist to using medieval equipment.”
Mistress Ts’vee’a bas Tseepora recalls, “I remember one time he tried to grow flax to make linen, but the smell of the retting flax made his neighbors complain. The stave church he sold out of was originally built for CMU carnival. It made him happy to have people come in and let him [explain] what it was modeled after. The pigments he sold, he ground himself.”
John was also involved with one of the first theatrical troupes in what is now Æthelmearc, called Commedia Forensica. Master Dani of the Seven Wells recounted an incident when Comedia Forensica was rehearsing on Mistress Achren’s lawn. “John felt the frolicking wasn’t up to snuff (the play was “Undine”), so he demonstrated how to frolic – a combination of dance, leap, and make a bad landing. Okay, the bad landing may not have been intended. When they asked him in the emergency room how he’d hurt his ankle, he said “frolicking”, and that’s what they wrote on his chart.”
Mistress Filipia took a trip with John to Italy, and says “John and I often looked at the same artifact and had a different intellectual experience/association. My favorite memory, though, was climbing the newly restored and opened tower of Pisa, and laughing as we wondered if it was safe to have both of our massive egos on the same side on top.”
Sir Maghnus an Chnoic na n’Iora recalls that, together with Mistress Achren, Master John founded the Chiurgeons, Hermeticists, Alchemists and Thaumaturgist’s (or CHAT) Guild, which met monthly in the Debatable Lands. “I went to several [meetings]. I remember a lot of talk about Hermès Trismagistus, as one would expect. I also remember the discussion of the high level of technology indicated by the Antikytheria Mechanism, and the terrible impact that the Pompei eruption must have had on the civilization of the Mediterranean Basin.”
Lady Arcana, daughter of Mistress Achren, recalls “I was an apprentice to the erudite Master for Artificing; the myriad projects were ever shifting from notorious Lexan armour (stormtrooper-esque, which appalled authenticity police) to astrolabes to massive period pavilions. Not to mention Viking oar tents, rope beds, hand ground illumination pigments, the Pennsic Stave Church, a gigantic bread oven for giant feast loaves, leatherwork belts and shoes, metalwork, to printing, exploding mead, and a beautiful and loud bronze calyx. This is but a sample.”
Lady Arcana also noted, “John used to sneak ferrets into Pennsic, codename ‘Geraniums’. People thought he was horticulturally minded as he often nipped out to ‘water the geraniums’. He was in fact into gardening as well and grew some of his plants for dye paints though never gave me the long promised blue turnsole. His mind flit rapidly from subject to subject, thus he was well matched with SCAdian life. ”
Lady Arcana continues, “John was mundanely part of my family and remained so unto the end. We traveled on Medieval and Renaissance research in US, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Portugal. We toured obscure museums and sites of historic interest. He always had thoroughly studied for these trips, and made travel plan packs with maps and highlights. Life without John will be considerably less interesting. He was rather eccentric, thorny at times, yet generous of nature with an unusual brand of kindness. There was inside a good heart.”
Lady Arcana’s children also recall Master John fondly. Her son Arden said, “Master John the Artificer, with his partner Baroness Achren, graciously hosted me at Pennsic many times since the 80s. He got me my first ever job, as an SCA paper boy in the early 90s, and brought me to my first sword fighting tourney. I assisted Master John with his stave church for a couple years in the early 2000s. A beautiful Norse treasure chest on wheels; gems and gold, precious pigments and scrolls, incense and all manner of craft and luxury items occupied every dark cool corner of it.
At Pennsics 25 and 30 each Scadian received an astrolabe designed by Master John the Artificer as their ID band medallion. These beautiful works, engraved in metal, were functional for star gazing and navigation. Master John’s diverse skills and learning were a great light for many, and our loss is deeply felt.”
Her other son, Art, has “fond memories of John at the war helping him in his church. He would be selling all kinds or interesting and wonderful things including limpet shells as paint tins, which I would collect for him from when I was a young age back in Ireland at Streedagh beach (where 3 Spanish Armada ships had crashed).”
On October 3rd, A.S. LV, Æthelmearc lost a beloved subject when Sir Thorgrim Skullsplitter, companion of the Keystone, Sycamore, and Golden Alce, Companion of the Gage and the Millrind, and Knight of the Society, passed away unexpectedly at age 50.
With his lady wife, Mistress Katla Ulfheđin, Sir Thorgrim was the head of Stormhaven, a large and respected household centered primarily in his home Shire of Sunderoak.
He served in many offices, ranging from knight marshal, seneschal, and chatelaine of his shire, to Regional Commander of the Æthelmearc army and Kingdom Youth Marshal. Along the way, he autocratted a number of events including the Æthelwald Proving Grounds, and was active in many arts and sciences, like brewing, leatherwork, woodwork, and armoring.
Sir Thorgrim believed that to be a knight is to be more than simply a good fighter. In an interview in A.S. 50 for a Gazette article about knighthood, he said, “The Knightly Virtues align well with the Boy Scouts’ creed, which I very much hold to. Prowess is not as important as being a good person. Without those other virtues, a fighter is just another thug.”
Sir Thorgrim also emphasized the importance of service and relationships in the SCA. “At one point I trained with fighters who had prowess as their goal, but over time I found that service to the fighting community was a better path for me.”
Initially, Sir Thorgrim was squired to Duke Rurik Longsword, from whom he learned most of his fighting technique. Later, he was squired to Sir Kadan Chákhilgan Ger on Echen, who he said helped him to have the right attitude.
Sir Kadan recounted this story about his former squire: “He was a good student and had improved to the point where he was being discussed by the order of the Chivalry. He had a lot of support from my brothers in the order at one point, but I spoke up saying that I I thought he needed a little more work and training and was not yet ready.
You can’t make a statement like that in an order meeting without taking action; I needed to have “the talk” with Thorgrim. It was one of the most difficult conversations I have ever had in my life. I said I thought him a knight in every way save prowess, and even there he was so, so close. I told him I wanted him to take that one final step. I know that was hard for him to hear but all he did was take a deep breath and say “So what do we need to do to make that happen.” He took my advice to heart, ramped up his training and put it into practice quickly. His skill exploded to the point of being way past my own. There was a stretch of about eight months where Thorgrim placed in the the final four or the top two in every tournament he entered.
On the day of his knighting, I hugged him and told him that I could not be prouder of him. He and I never spoke about that conversation again except once, about seven years after his knighting. I apologized for having said what I said, and I told him that the previous years and hindsight had shown me that I was wrong. He was ready and I didn’t see it. I wanted to let him know that I recognized my mistake. All he did was smile and say “Oh that’s OK boss, that lit a fire under my ass so I don’t hold it against you.”
Mistress Aleea Baga, wife of Sir Kadan, commented “I remember how, as any good parent would, he set all of his personal goals aside to take care of his son (Lord Torstein Thorgrimsson) who went to Children’s Hospital with a severe stomach bug, to then find out it was cancer. When his son lost his hair due to chemo, [Thorgrim] shaved his head in solidarity. In 2017, when I was fighting breast cancer, he dyed his hair bright pink for the war that I missed.”
Fortunately, Torstein, now an adult, has been cancer-free for over 15 years.
Sir Thorgrim had many squires, including Lord Titus Marius Caninus, THLord Rhys of Myles End, THLord Garreth Whytbull, Lady Takasukasa Riku, Lord Wolfgar Ronaldson, and Lord Uthred Aet Pyttansburh. Two of his children, Lord Torstein and Lady Runa Thorgrimsdottir were also squired to their father. Lady Runa said “I think my favorite memory is the first time I got to fight side by side with him on the field! I will never forget that feeling of pride cause I got to fight with my dad.” Torstein said, “I’d have to echo that, and just how great of a leader and a knight he was.”
Another of his squires, Oliver Sutton, was knighted at Blackstone Raid last year. Sir Oliver posted this remembrance on his Facebook page:
“Being a great leader isn’t about achievement and it isn’t about having the ability to make snap decisions that are always right. Being a leader is about choosing the best options in front of you and what is best for all of those affected. It is taking and accepting responsibility when you choose poorly. It is about being an exemplar. And being a great leader, ultimately, is about developing new and better leaders.
Being a great father isn’t about just playing ball or making sure the kid knows how to wash dishes and change oil. It’s about showing the child how to love. Teaching empathy and respect. We do that by opening our homes to those in need. We do it by being inclusive. By showing tolerance. We do it in leading by example. We do it by being a shelter from the storm. Being a great father is showing our children how to be great parents.
Being a great teacher isn’t about giving the answers. It isn’t even about showing how to find the answers. It’s about instilling that want to know. It’s about teaching to ask the questions. Sure, the discipline is a part of it. The rules matter. Knowledge is needed. Form, footwork, values, how to tie a knot, which fork to use, the history of a thing…. But being a mentor is the desire to walk a path towards excellence and mastery, all the while developing your student’s desire to walk that path by your side. Being a giant isn’t about stature.
The lasting effect of Thorgrim isn’t the memories we made with the man, though God I will cherish those…. it will be in the legacy of those he has touched. Those who have grown because of him. Those great leaders, great fathers, and great mentors that saw it and learned it from him. That legacy will ripple down through generation after generation ever widening. Ever teaching. Ever loving.
My Knight. My friend. My brother. You are a giant.”
Mistress Mahin Banu Tabrizi, who says she moved to Æthelmearc at least partly because of Sir Thorgrim and Mistress Katla, commented, “I met Sir Thorgrim before he was a knight, at Landgrab one year when his group was new to the block. Over the next two weeks I was welcomed and shown Æthelmearc hospitality from a household that would soon become my own. Early on, he and his household explained the meaning behind the name. What I found was exactly as described, a haven in the storm.”
Duke Gareth Kincaid posted this to his Facebook page: “Sir Thorgrim was a good friend to me for over 20 years, I thought of him as a brother. We worked together so many years training fighters in Æthelwald. Our households are close like first cousins.
What I have been remembering this week is the honorable man that loved his wife. When you spend time with someone you know which ones have the wandering eye. He never did. It was always all about [Katla]. You could see the joy they had in each others’ presence.
I remember how proud he was of his children and the example he was for them.
I remember how, when my best friend died, Thorgrim and Stormhaven wore black armbands at war that year with us to honor Shane. We will wear ones at the next Pennsic to honor Thorgrim.
There’s no replacement for friends lost, no getting over it, only pain that surrenders to memory and thankfulness for time you were gifted. I will miss him beside me on the battlefield: his wisdom and advice, his strength and loyalty.”
Sir Thorgrim is survived by his wife, Mistress Katla, his children, Erin Gurnsey, Jessica Rose (Ava Thorgrimsdottir), Katryna Marvel (Lady Runa), Ian Reitemeyer (Ragnar Thorgrimsson), and Garrett Gurnsey (Lord Torstein), as well as grandchildren Misty, Scarlette, and Edward.
The family has requested that anyone wishing to honor Sir Thorgrim consider making a memorial contribution to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Free Care Fund, https://www.givetochildrens.org/ freecare.
Our sister publication, the East Kingdom Gazette, has published a memorial article about Viscount Edward Zifran of Gendy, who passed away on July 15th after suffering a stroke. Also known by his nickname “Fast Eddy,” Sir Edward was known throughout the Society, most especially for his work at the Pennsic War, held here in Æthelmearc.
As so many of us struggle with the pain of separation from one another socially, so too do we struggle with the realities of systemic inequality and racism in our society. In the United States and around the world, the recent senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many before them have unleashed an avalanche of pent-up emotion.
Our Core Values, which guide us in even these darkest of times, include the following tenets: to “act in accordance with the chivalric virtues of honor and service”, to “value and respect the worth and dignity of all individuals”, and to “practice inclusiveness and respect pluralism and diversity”.
If we are to live by our core values then there is only one path forward: we must both fight against systemic injustice and support those that do.
As the unique educational organization that we are, we have the opportunity to leverage our greatest resource: our community.
It is our community that makes us who we are. That is the true value of the Society for Creative Anachronism. We treasure the rich diversity of our community as a reflection of the rich diversity of history and we owe it to ourselves to deepen our understanding of pervasive inequitable treatment so that we can move forward on a journey of healing.
There is a tremendous amount of work to be done. It is time for us to take a hard look at who we are in order to hold ourselves accountable for the actions we take – and the actions we don’t take.
There is also fear. Our current reality is the direct result of generations of discrimination and collective trauma. As we educate ourselves to best support every member of our community, we must acknowledge the fear – and speak regardless. The time for inaction is over.
Every member of the SCA can effect positive change through personal accountability. Educate yourself and those around you on issues of injustice. Speak out against it when you see it, and use any platform that you have to elevate other voices speaking out against it, particularly those voices of marginalized groups. Assist those causes which seek to address discrimination, racial inequity, and all systemic injustice through the resources that you have available to you.
I invite all members of the SCA to continue to think about further ways they can help strengthen our commitment to our Core Values.
My SCA stands against bigotry. My SCA will not be silent, and therefore complicit, in the face of injustice. I will continue to work to make my SCA a haven for all, and a key player for progress in the battle against inequality through education and community.
It is my most ardent hope that you will join me.
Jessica Van Hattem
alias Baroness Zahra Tesfaye
SCA Corporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer