ANST - History Worth Repeating...perhaps? [Long...with commentary applying beyond martial endeavors]

Kihe Blackeagle kihe at
Sun Apr 22 12:39:37 PDT 2001

OK, I admit that I have been much out of the loop on some recent
tempestuous discussions, and am taking a few moments away from
employment search & home maintenance (you DON'T want to see our
front yard right now...)

A comment at the end of one of Sluggy's messages reminds me of some
ancient Moonschadeen history, however, and it is a matter which may
be of more general usage in FUTURE discussions.

First, the quote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-ansteorra at
> [mailto:owner-ansteorra at]On Behalf Of Sluggy!
> Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2001 2:05 AM
> To: ansteorra at
> Subject: Re: ANST - Re: History Repeats Itself Again and again and
> Hopefully by then, we won't also be completely cocooned in 13
layers of bubble
> wrap.

Now the historical item:

In the dim recesses of Ansteorran history, in the Land of the Crying
Winds, in the by-then Shire of Mona Sceaduwe (I'm *reasonably*
certain that was the name variation in effect at the time of the
events I am about to relate), a certain maid of the populace was
possessed of fierce heart, undoubtable courage, and a
previously-injured physiology.

Leta Amaryllis Goldenglow was also absolutely determined to
participate in at least one of the then-available SCA combat arts
practiced in Ansteorra.  I remember the events about to be related
as being associated with boffer weapons, as they existed circa A.S.
XIV -- she longed for the other combat forms as well, as I remember,
but responded with defiant humor when the collected masses around
her said, with varying degrees of determination, what can best be
paraphrased as "Are you NUTS, Bobbi?"

Know as well that this was in the days well before such modern
introductions as combat authorization cards, required vambraces,
metal / "solid" knees & elbows (saddle leather attached to a
"normal" pad sufficed), and prior to the exclusion of unmodified
hockey gloves for heavy-fighter armor.  In truth, the ancient among
us (perhaps two years of SCA participation!) had even seen the last
gasp of the "freon can" helm as acceptable for practices, although
my memory is that they had already been banned from tournament and
war -- while regulation against converted modern metal military
helmets was still a subject of some debate. True standards for
boffer weapons may have been in effect elsewhere in the Knowne
World, but they had not reached our distant frontier in any
published fashion that I can recall, or have record of:  given a
half hour with open-cell foam, duct tape, perhaps some
fiber-reinforced strapping tape, and maybe a bit of garden hose to
stiffen the core of the handle (only!), I could easily reproduce one
of the weapons we used then.  Give me an hour, and I can make the
whole from tape and open-cell: getting a "proper" grip that would
not flex in the middle of a blade-slash and so throw off one's aim
was more difficult without *some* additional material...

"Armor" beyond perhaps a light gorget was not usually required for
boffer at that time (except for gender-appropriate groin
protection -- and, usually, some level of strongly-encouraged chest
protection for females), particularly among adults consenting to
square off with an oddly-shaped bit of tape&foam in one hand and a
fierce grin upon their lips.

In the name of sanity, and fierce protectiveness for "one of our
own", Leta's less-than-completely healed injuries were sufficient
for the collected masses -- and the local Marshall -- to encourage
something above and beyond in the way of protection.  Ever the
ingenious and inventive soul, m'lady Leta rose to the challenge.

The flashing eyes of an Ansteorran battle-maid are no less effective
for staring out at you from above what I remember as a cot mattress
(or was it a large pillow? chaise lounge cushion?) duct-taped around
the left side of her body -- especially when the glare & grin are
followed by a fierce flurry of well-aimed dagger blows leading a
RAPID advance.

Modern authors have gifted us with a phrase to describe Leta's
unexpectedly effective style:  "Scream and leap!" would fit it
rather well, I think...

I wonder, often, how much we have lost (while never doubting how
much we have gained), as the needs of the modern world and our
advancing maturity / wisdom cocoon us in ever more-stringent
regulation and mandate protections for new combinations of
circumstance.  I would see none of our company needlessly injured by
omission or through ignorance.  (I read here, recently and once
again with sadness, of the deliberate destructions visited upon the
bolt-maker's crafted works by a combatant unwilling to accept a new
addition to "his" game, and wonder at how low some of the fires of
enlightment were burning on that day -- but I am encouraged that the
SCA Earl Marshall has spoken in favor of keeping combat archery
albeit at the addition of ABD to the projectiles we are expected to

I know what we have gained over the years of my association with the
SCA and its many and varied folk. We have gained light-hearted
laughter as bated blade scrapes along bated blade upon the rapier
combat field. We have gained new appreciation and respect for the
tribulations visited upon man-at-arms, squire, knight, war-leader --
and yeoman -- of old, as they trained for the preservation of their
lives, honor, and lands. We have learned their ways, or built our
own new way based upon what learning survived and was appropriate to
our hobby-form of combat, with the weapons of the footman and the
archer, even delving into the mysteries of the artillerist.

We have seen most directly in practice & tourney why, to quote a
small bit from Kipling by way of Master Ioseph, "the female of the
species is more deadly than the male". I saw that determination in
Leta's eyes and "quick attack" style, in the never-quit attitude of
an axe-woman I faced on the tourney-field in Bjornsborg long ago
[whose name I have long forgotten -- bad Bard, no biscuit! --
perhaps Gunnora?], and in the quiet determination of so many whose
labor and love keep their families clothed, fed, and happy while
playing our "game".

And, at least for many of us, in all of these efforts and in all of
these fields of endeavor we have gained a far closer insight into
the hearts of our friends, companions, acquaintances (and others
less well-disposed) as we met them blade to blade, pen to paper,
heart to mind, word set against word, research tempered by
experience -- both refuted and reinforced, and often both!

Including, of course, the more cerebral of these exchanges being
made through electrons to the screen.

Recorded to disk, to paper, to tape, to CD-ROM, and to forms yet
unrealized by modern alchemist and craftsman, these are the
chronicles of our lives made manifest for the future. I have spoken
or written of Leta's foray into the martial ranks before. What was
spoken, a few heard and may remember, and some may tell others, but
unless my words somehow made the events "real" within their
imaginations, how long would the story survive? Two generations?
Forty years? Beyond my lifetime, or that of my sons? Perhaps...

Committed to the pages of a single local group's newsletter, how
long until the paper is discarded or crumbled, untransferred to more
permanent form? A century? Two? ...

But in *this* form, through this forum, how many more lives might be
touched down the span of time? I pray thee all, remember this when
your tempers flare hot or your thoughts run wild.  We write here not
upon the wind of the world, but upon the very stream of time itself.

Amra, known also as al-Sayyid Amr ibn Majid al-Bakri al-Amra,
Moonschadeen forever in my heart, if ever any has reason to doubt
that affiliation,
and supporter of Tomonaga's nomination of REHoward as patron saint
of this Kingdom:
     A long bow, and a strong bow,
     With the foreign foe for our mark:
     Draw to the ear, make their nobles fear
     As the sky with our shafts grows dark!
(para-re-phrased, after the model of "Song of the Bossonian
Archers", Robert E. Howard)

Mike C. Baker
dba: Rev. Kihe Blackeagle, PULC ("the DreamSinger Bard")
kihe at OR MCBaker216 at
Any opinions expressed are obviously my own unless explicitly stated
Alternate Contact Information: MikeCBaker at   KiheBard at
kihe at
Themestream site closed 4/13/2001 -- I contributed for over a year.
Pax in requiescat, "Oscar" ...

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