Stephen Fischer fischer at cse.unsw.edu.au
Fri Jul 14 03:18:42 PDT 1995

| I'm glad you stopped lurking, Etienne. Tell us all about Lochac.
| Kein MacEwan

Well Kein, you asked for it.  As some of you know, I moved down here about
1 1/2 years ago and promptly found the local SCA dance practice (surprise,

The SCA in Lochac began about 15 years ago when a lady went to the States on
vacation and went to an event.  She fell in love with the idea and promptly
got people involved upon her return, armed with a copy of the Known World
Handbook and an incredible amount of energy.  They started up the Society
for the Current Middle Ages and formed the Kingdom of Cumberland, since that
is what one did, they thought.  After a while, the group joined the SCA and
became a barony of the society, rather than any kingdom, with the proviso that
a kingdom would be chosen at some point.

At this time, our heroine, now named Rowan Peregrynne, travels to the U.S. to
go kingdom shopping.  She visited I believe 4 kingdoms, including Ansteorra
and the West, and still remembers the people in Ansteorra from that trip.  She
decided against Ansteorra because it was still too young a kingdom at the time,
and one of the others (which shall remain mercifully nameless) because the
king decided to parade around in his neon biker shorts.  She chose the West
and Lochac has been a part of it ever since.  I don't know when it became
a Principality, but it probably has been for at least 10 years, since there
are a lot more people who are Viscounts and Viscountesses than who used to
be Viceroys.

A brief interlude in the history, for those of you who are still awake.  
Rowan herself is a very interesting character (maybe there is something in
the name).  Her first award from anyone in the SCA was a Pelican, which I
believe is unmatched.

The first group started out in Sydney, which is currently the Barony of Rowany,
cunningly named after Rowan, and there are now Baronies in the capital city
of every state (Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth, Melbourne) and in Canberra.
This means that the Prince & Princess get to travel around quite a bit in
their reign, since they feel it is their duty to get to events for some reason
(For those of you that don't have a feel for the size, Australia is as big
as the lower 48 states).  

There are a few consequences of this size.  If one wants to go to many events,
one travels an awful lot.  We are lucky in Rowany to have 3 other groups within
3 hours drive, but most have about 1 other group in 6-8 hours drive.

This leads to the question that I am sure everyone is interested in:
                What is the SCA like in Lochac?  
There is of course more than one answer.  Several people from the West have
come over here and gone back saying that they do it correctly in Lochac.  In
many ways, I think they are correct.  Because of its origin, it never went
through the "growing pains" of the rest of the society, trying to identify
what the goals are.  The KWH says that it is historical recreation, so that's
what was done.  I haven't seen any chain mail bikinis, bunny fur, elf ears,
or vampire teeth that are seen in many places (although Ansteorra is also
largely free of that).  The level of interest in accurate historical recreation
for the average person is quite impressive, and the West Kingdom has complained
several times that the standard for Laurels is too high.  To give an example,
I thought I actually knew a bit about dance in the European Renaissance before
I came here.  At one of my first events I meet 5 people who have done serious
research in the subject, including learning Italian to translate the 15th and
16th century masters, and sit around and have very heated scholarly discussions
on all sorts of details.  They lost me in the first couple of minutes, but
I am slowly learning.

Looking at it from another perspective, it's not as good.  This view is
mainly in the martial arts.  To take the armoured combat (was that the
agreed term?) first, there are few knights here that would be able to match
up against the average squire in Ansteorra on the list field, and none
who would be top contenders in a crown tournament (although there is the
knight which went over to vacation in Europe and became Drachenwald's first
king, but he decided to stay there - Sir Elfin, who I am sure some of you
have met).  In fact, all the best fighters have trained at one point or
another in the States.  I have a couple theories about this.  First is the
population density.  I would guess that a fighter in Ansteorra could go
to about 30 tournaments a year if he wanted to travel a bit.  Here it is
more like 10.  At these 10 tournaments you would meet a much smaller number
of different fighters, so new ideas and techniques aren't generated as quickly.
Also, the oldest fighters here have been fighting for only about half as
long as in the States, so there simply hasn't been the time for all the
techniques to develop.

If Ansteorra is known for its fencers, then Lochac is known for the archers.
About the same proportion of people here do combat archery as do fencing there,
which makes for very different tactics in wars from what I understand,
especially since the arrows are real, with blunts on the end, so that they
are actually shot with some speed and accuracy.  There are many archers here
that want to go to Pennsic just to take on the Calontir shield wall, and may
just do that at Thirtieth Year next year.

Fencing is just getting started here.  We use fibreglass rapiers instead
of foils and epees and are still struggling for recognition from the general
populace for a number of reasons.  Luckily D'Gaunt and Muirghein, our current
P&P are all in favour of the sport and have chosen the Princess' Guard 
from the fencers and have created an award similar in intent to the Queen's
Rapier.  So, we are getting there.  I have also been getting people interested
in using the theatrical rapier blades when and if they are approved by the
powers that be (possibly when Lochac becomes a kingdom), but nobody is very
interested in the lighter blades because it doesn't engender authentic
recreation, as the argument goes (ideas and thoughts on the matter welcome).

So the real answer is that it's recognisably the same game that you know and
love but with a few differences.  They still have the oath of fealty lifted
straight out of Lord of the Rings (To do and to let be, to speak and to be
silent... until my lord release me, death take me, or the world end) that I
would like to see go away and the regalia all looks reasonably similar, but
they say Huzzah instead of Vivat and all the peers swear fealty to the crown.

Rowany Festival.  I mentioned it before, but I have to mention it again.  The
2 festivals I have been to are simply the best events I have attended.
Anywhere.  I have been to events in 4 different kingdoms now and nothing can
compare to it (although I have to support Kein's endorsement of the Gulf
Wars - way cool event).  It is held on a private farm, and the owners let us
have permanent use of the site in exchange for a minimal fee (I think about
$2 per person) plus keeping the tea tree at bay, which we do clearing out 
campsites each year.  We have built showers (army style showers with hot
water), privies and a tavern, although the tavern blew down last year during
a major storm and needs to be replaced (we are still trying to get the
manufacturers to reimuburse us, but it wasn't during festival).  The entire
site is forest and meadows, which provides lots of shade for camping and lots
of space for battles.  Parking is across the creek from the actual site, right
by the entrance and no cars are allowed on site for the event.  There is a
market day, a fighter auction tournament (the King of the West went for over
$300 this year - he thought everyone was crazy), lots of classes, 2 restaurants,
a baker who delivers bread to the campsites every morning (and has a laurel in
it!), and a few other artisans who set up shop for the duration of the event.
Mistress Rowan organises a period encampment every year (those of you who
are trying to come up with medieval names for things can give suggestions
since they don't like Enchanted Ground since it doesn't sound medieval) which
is a great place to go visit and has some 20 people camping there, right off
the list field.  A couple of problems: dancing has to be held outdoors, there
being no hall, and it isn't long enough.  I have been trying to convince
the baroness that it should be a week long event, just like Pennsic, and it
may yet become one.  Oh yeah, no fire ants, although the event has been
known to get, shall we say, wet on occasion, which makes the tavernkeeper
very happy since people drink lots more cider.

One last thing about Rowany Festival.  Every year they have a Sunshade Lounging
Competition.  Last year it was won by 4 ladies who researched and built a
16th century wooden bathtub for 4 and lounged in it in their chemises under
the sunshade.  To complete the decadence, they had a minstrel serenading them,
culinary treats, rose petals in the bath water, and they were playing cards.
Sir John Theophilus (sp?) from the West came over to ask the ladies for a 
drink of the water to inspire him to victory in the Fighter Auction Tournament
that day.

Anyone still paying attention?  Like I said, come down and see for yourself,
everyone is most welcome.

In service, somewhat verbosely,

Etienne d'Yverdon
member of the Princess' Escort

So, we'll go no more a-rovin'
So late into the night.
Though the heart be still as loving
And the moon be still as bright.

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