[MR] From my blog: A long strange trip

Dexter Guptill via Atlantia atlantia at seahorse.atlantia.sca.org
Fri Jun 17 18:53:11 PDT 2016

In the Society for Creative Anachronism, we're celebrating 50 years of the
Society. The Kingdom of Atlantia, comprising Maryland, DC, Virginia, and
the Carolinas, turne 35 years old last month.  Roughly the first half of
August (and a day or two in July), will mark the 45th Pennsic War.

For me, personally, this night is bigger.  Tomorrow is the Birthday
Celebration of the Barony of Stierbach. Now, it's been a Barony for
20-something years.  As a group, starting as a Shire, Stierbach is, like
Atlantia, thirty-five years old this month.

Once upon a time, around 40 years ago, a group started in what was then the
southern middle-of-nowhere in the East Kingdom. It was a college group,
centered around UVA and called Isenfir. That was my introduction to the
SCA.  In the Army, in Oklahoma, I endured an SCA-less dry spell of three
years, until the Shire (now Barony) of Eldern Hills cranked up outside Ft
Sill, Oklahoma.  Returning east, I was not going to suffer another dry
spell. I became an actual SCA member, and started reading my newsletters as
they came in.

I remembered sneaky tricks of group founders. Started a D&D game in the
basement that my parents rented to me while I was back in school on the
GI bill. Got them interested in my, admittedly, crude armor. Soon, I told
them about this group I belonged to.

I actually brought my newbies first to Markland. Got them hooked on
fighting there, because Markland swords didn't hurt that much.  Then, in
February, took 'em to Ice Axe in Yarnvid. They were hooked. In April, I met
this Knight, Sir Strykar. He went out of his way to be casual, and not
trigger White Belt Phobia.  He introduced me to Sir Kenneqrae of Gilchrest,
who lived in what we'd started calling "our" turf.  These two Knights, and
their households, did us the huge service of serving as multi-godparents to
the fledgling Shire.

This brings us to the meaning of this weekend's Birthday.  Thirty five
years ago, the not-yet-even-incipient Shire of Stierbach held its first
event.  It was at a campground in the middle of nowhere, out past Front
Royal. It rained cats and dogs.  The feast hall was a couple of tarps, over
a couple of picnic tables. The feast itself, was a bucket of Bambi stew, a
heap of bread and cheese, and a keg of beer. Things were different in those
ancient days.

This was the first of our signature melee tourneys. The King of the East,
Siegfried, came down. He brought along sundry notables of the East.  His
Royal Highness, Bertrand de Flammepoing, came up from Caer Mear.  Despite
the rain, everybody had a freakin' blast.  Bertrand, in fact, had so much
fun that he invited us to host his Coronation feast.

In September, my brother roasted beef for 200 in the ovens at the Manassas
National Guard Armory.  I, meanwhile, cooked a hundred Cornish game hens
over a charcoal-filled trench in my parents' back yard.  There was a
tournament.  The feast was well received, and the Shire was recognized as
being a going concern.

Most of the ancients are long gone -- moved on, moved out-Kingdom,
gafiated, some passed away. One of Sir Kenneqrae's Squires, Viscount Sir
Richard of Gilchrest, has returned to the Barony, with his household.
Scattered around Atlantia, are former Stierbachers, gone on to serve other

Stierbach taught me what it meant to Do the Job.  I was a pretty good
Exchequer. Seneschal, meh. That's despite having been the first, third,
fifth, and (for a week or two) seventh Seneschal. I was, for a brief time,
a Herald. The warrant I still hold, from those days, is Marshall -- since,
if I remember right, around 1985-ish. Of course, I've also been a
Chirurgeon (formerly warranted, now a Master Chirurgeon in the Guild) for
17 years now.  It was this group, that taught me how to be more than just a
beer-guzzling stick jock.

I've seen drama in this group. Before learning better, I've contributed to
it.  I've seen the group have its ups and downs, and I've seen it saved by
some extremely wonderful people.  I've seen it grow to the mighty Barony
which it is now, with each set of Baronage striving to build the Barony
higher than the last.

Our Fighters are some of Atlantia's mightiest. Our archers are the bane of
the foes' existence.  Our cooks, crafters, artisans, and bars are the equal
of any in Atlantia, or any other Kingdom. It is my honor, my joy, and my
privilege to proclaim, "Ich bin ein Stierbacher!"

I love this place.

Lord Erich von Kleinfeld,
Perpetrator of Stierbach

"Maxim 37: There is no overkill. There is only 'Open Fire', and 'I need to
reload'. " http://www.schlockmercenary.com

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