[Northkeep] The Story of the Katana and the Gray Sweat Socks

Jennifer Carlson talana1 at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 22 08:35:29 PST 2009

Sir Sir Lord Lord John John is the gentleman to the right who is and holding a sword in this picture:




His name was originally John the Plain.  Back in 1982, I first met him at a Stargate event, where he explained how he got his name: At his first event, someone asked his name.  He told them it was John, and when they asked his last name, he said, "Just plain John."  So, of course, he came to be known as John the Plain.  He received AoAs from two different kings, and came to be Lord Lord John.  Then he was knighted by two kings (both holding the sword, I think - someone correct me if I'm wrong), and thus the "Sir Sir" thing.


Mistress Roselynde has added some comments to several of the photos on the Flickr page, which you might want to check out.  


She has also been kind enough to write down the story of Sir John's encounter with burglars, which, like Sir John himself, has become an Ansteorran legend.  Enjoy!


In servicio,



Sir Sir Lord Lord John John (aka Sir John the Plain of Shern)
A Story of Japanese weapons, a fierce warrior and a pair of socks in need of both washing and mending:
Back in the early '80's John the Plain of Shern had relocated to Ansteorra.  He was well employed during the oil boom of the time and so had sought out a 
"fixer-upper" in a less than savory neighborhood in Stargate.  John had few possessions at the time and was waiting for most of the concrete ones of them to be delivered when he took possession of his antique two-story abode.  John was always a collector of antique weapons and most especially those of oriental derivision.  For a great feat unknown to me (or else long forgotten) he had been gifted by an ancient Samurai family with an hereditary kitana and short sword.   They were quite literally priceless, should probably never have been allowed to leave Japan and other than his son, the one thing John truly cherished in this world. They were (to his death) John's most prized possessions.
While awaiting the delivery of his other worldy goods to his new home, John had taken up residence in the master suite with his two swords on their mounting stands and he, himself, sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag.  John worked high-rigging construction in those days and it was tiring work.  His routine was to come home, eat his take-out, take a shower and then seek his rest in the all together (read - naked).  One night he had done just that, having locked his doors, and determined that tomorrow was laundry day.  He had just drifted off to sleep when he heard a breaking of glass in his downstairs.  Not thinking too clearly, he grabbed the nearest clothes to hand - a pair of gray, grimy sweat socks - and pulled them on.  He did not think about sweats or underwear - just socks.  He grabbed his katana from its rack and drawing as he ran, screamed his way down the stairs in the direction of the breakage - his kitchen.
He was confronted by two gentlemen of Mexican descent upon he drew and charged - the first he cut in the hamstring leaving him on the kitchen floor (the back door through which they had entered).  The second fled out the back towards the fence - in trying to escape over this obstacle John stabbed him at least twice in the buttocks leaving him screaming on the ground.  By this time, the Houston Police have arrived on the scene, broken down the front door and are confronted with a red-haired Irishman - waving a katana - in only dirty grey sweat socks - and two injured individuals who swear he is both mad and from another realm. John then agreed to calm down, surrender his katana until the investigation was finished and to press charges against the Mexicans of breaking and entering and his own of self-defense - because he feared for his life.
He was cleared of all charges and the Mexicans served the time assigned by the courts.  
However,  any of you who have never scene a gentleman of John's build, demeanor, size, presence (and sheer encoumbrance of wild red hair all over his body)  will never appreciate how excellent this scene must have been.
Sadly, John suffered a fall from a 6+ story work platform a few years later.  He was not expected to survive.   He did, had a large metal plate installed in his skull and an in-dwelling shunt to relieve fluid build up on the brain as it occurred.  Remarkably, while he remembered nothing of the accident itself nor of most of the two months in the hospital that followed, he remembered each of his SCA friends and experiences as though they happened yesterday.  His short term memory was severely damaged but most of his long term was intact.  He learned to walk again, but was never again permitted to operate a vehicle.  If you put an object in each of his hands, he froze - because his brain could no longer prioritize what to do with them.  While he remained an engaged member of the belted circle, he would never fight or marshal again.  This was a great disappointment to John who loved all things marshal, especially teaching others the skills he had aquired in years of travel.  I was fortunate to have his friendship and his company for another 4 years.  He eventually died of a seizure he suffered that was one of the several on-going  side effects or remainders of his nearly fatal accident and its complications.
While my favorite memory of Sir Ricardo is of him standing in full-dress, his sword thrust into the air on a windy Oklahoma plain under lowering skies the day he was knighted, my memory of John will always be of a wild redhead in dirty sweat socks holding a bloody tipped kitana and no doubt looking for more opponents to skewer.  Sleep well my beloved friend.
Hotmail: Trusted email with powerful SPAM protection.

More information about the Northkeep mailing list