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Sister Games – Short Story Part 2

admin on April 30th, 2008

So off Kayla went with my dad the next day to the local mage school.  It was a two-day walk, even with Kayla on a horse.  She was enrolled and the following week she left for three months.  That’s how long she had to be gone since it took so long to get there and home.  She stayed there all the time.  I loved it.  When she’d come home, Kayla would have the most interesting stuff to look at.  A book she said would one day be her spellbook for all the spells she would learn in a few years.  I checked it out, all the pages were blank except for some squiggles on the first page.  My sister said they were magic words that wouldn’t be active until she could pronounce them, but I didn’t believe her.  I think someone just didn’t know how to write.  I could write better than that and I didn’t have much schooling.  Enough to get by and be a great barmaid, that was all I needed.  Kayla also brought home a pouch, that she said would later hold the spell components for her spells, whatever those were, and the robe that she would later wear.  I looked at them with little interest.

Kayla made this same trek for years.  When she got to be eight, she got to bring home more stuff, scrolls that she said contained spells, ink and quills to write in her spellbook, which she could now read spells out of.  I tried to take the spellbooks once to hide it, after she had brought it home with spells in it.  When I tried to touch it, I got a shock.  I don’t know how the book did it, but the shock hurt.  I decided not to try to take it again.  Once Kayla started bringing home all this new stuff, I started to hide some of it.  As she got older, she got even more stuff.  More pouches, actual spell components, which always seemed like ordinary things to me, a dagger for her to hid somewhere on herself.  She told me that a dagger was the only weapon a mage could use, besides their magic.  Not much of a weapon.  I just knew the first time she tried to use the dagger and her magic in battle, if she was even brave enough to get in one, that would be when she got killed.  My parents would mourn her, I would be sorry since she was my sister even if she followed a stupid life path, but there wouldn’t be anything we could do.            But life went on and we both got older.  I started working around the farm and when I was old enough, at the tavern like I wanted.  Life was great.  Kayla was away from home for longer periods of time.  She would even stay away when she had break and write home.  Mom said Kayla was studying to be the best mage she could.  I’d just nod and secretly laugh.  Of course I couldn’t keep hiding her things from her with her being gone so much.  And I had too much work to do at the tavern.  Not to mention the warrior who came into town and frequented the tavern, just to see me.  He was handsome and very nice and one day asked me to marry him.  Of course I agreed and I didn’t think about Kayla much after that.The year after my wedding, Kayla returned home.  She looked very different in her white robe and just smiled at me.  I hugged her, I had missed her.  But she wasn’t the same.  Not mean or anything, just different.  She met my husband, who left right after on a quest.  He was on those a lot.  It was dangerous but it paid well.  Once he was gone she looked at me and asked if I would be staying with mom and dad while he was gone.  I shook my head no and she smiled this funny smile.

            “Good.  Now I won’t have to worry,” was her only reply.  I walked away puzzled.  I had no idea what that meant.  She couldn’t know what I had done to her all those years ago, could she?

The End

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The episode begins as many do, with Robin and his merry band robbing someone traveling through Sherwood forest.  However this group is not to be had as easy.  Almost everyone gets bested by an opponent, including Robin by the woman who is the leader of the group they are trying to rob.  But in the end they run away and hide from the group as they pursue them.  Once the woman and her entourage leave, Robin and the group emerge from their new hiding place.  Between two rocks, in the ground in a lair that looks like the ground itself.  Much better to hide them all than their previously open camp.

Turns out the lady is the sister of the Sheriff.  She is just as vindictive as him too.  And she helps devise a plan to catch Robin so he can be executed.  In the meantime Marion and her father are taken into house arrest and Gisbon is very vile toward them due to her leaving him at the alter.  Gisbon even has their house burned down when Marion doesn’t beg to his satisfaction for him not to.

To lure Robin in the open a woman is set in the castle square, tied to a post.  Robin tells her who she is but she will not let him release her because she is taking the punishment for her children.  He gives her a plan to get her food and money after her punishment has ended.  Later that day the Sheriff is going to take the hands of the children anyhow for punishment.  Robin steps in to save them, and falls right into the trap of the Sheriff, finding out the woman is the Sheriff’s sister with makeup on.

Captured, Robin finds out the real plan of the Sheriff, kill King Richard by raising an armor with his newly formed black nights.  When Marion shows up as the Night Watchman, Robin has his chance to escape when everyone leaves the room he is in.  Unfortunately it is not as easy as it seems since he is being lowered into a pit of snakes the Sheriff’s sister calls her babies. 

Using his wit, he gets his bow and uses it to stop the wheel lowering him into the pit and, when the Sheriff’s sister shows back up, kick her into the pit.  Robin tries to help save her but she flinches the wrong way and is bitten by a poisonous snake.  The Sheriff arrives at this time and helps Robin get her out.  Robin tries to kill the Sheriff as his sister is dying but she reveals that if the Sheriff dies of unnatural causes, all of Sherwood will suffer and die.  Robin escapes and is almost captured again when his crew shows up to help.  After defeating Gisbon and his men they run away to their underground hideout. 

The only one missing is Alan as he has swindled many men out of money in the local tavern and Gisbon catches him.  In the end, Gisbon lets him go by making a deal with him.  Alan will give him information so he does not look bad and Robin never gets killed by any of Gisbon’s men.  He will pay Alan as well and he will never go to jail for being the outlaw he is.  Alan, foolishly, agrees because he is weak.

It is a great way to start the new season.  Exciting and action packed as always.  You wonder just what will happen as things progress.  And of course what is Robin going to do when Alan is revealed as a traitor.

BBC’s Robin Hood Returns with a Vengence

admin on April 28th, 2008

Robin HoodRobin Hood has returned to the BBC for America as of Saturday April 26th.  And it’s not a moment too soon for fans.  The first season was incredible and left viewers hanging in May until the following year.  England gets the show in the fall, since that is where it is filmed and originally for, and so American fans have to wait 10 months for their beloved show.  And what a new season it looks to be this year.

The first ten minutes of the new season prove it is going to be a gritty and darker story than the previous season.  The sheriff is more vile and heartless than ever before.  Gisbon does not show any feelings for Marion or her father anymore.  He does not care how he hurts them in any way.  Even Djaq looks different.  The producers have decided to let her look like a female now, no longer hiding her sex from the world.

The king is still not back and of course it is unknown when he will return.  Yet for the show to stay on the air, he actually can not return.  Robin and his group still get in trouble and back out in ways they probably shouldn’t but you can’t have a hero in a show without some bit of reality suspension.

Of course the show still has some funny moments with the characters and situations they get themselves into.  Since the show is part comedy and part drama, it wouldn’t work any other way.  One of the best lines from the first show came from Djaq when the man she was fighting captures her and claims “I’ve got the girl” and then she breaks free telling him “but not the woman!”  What a statement that made to me about how much changed.

The best part however, is that the love Marion and Robin have for each other is no longer a secret.  Marion has realized she loves Robin and viewers no longer have to watch Robin struggle with his feelings for her.  Now it is only a matter of waiting for them to be able to show the entire world how they feel.

This show came out and became a hit quickly last year.  Now it is going to make more fans with the changes.  Even though Robin Hood has never been proved to be real or fake, his legend lives on.  And even more so with how he evaded the law and helped the starving people during the Crusades.

Some more info on SCA Heavy Weapons Armor

admin on April 25th, 2008

It might help to understand how armor works for Heavy Weapons to delve a little deeper into it.  Helms can be just about any shape and style that a fighter wants.  The big things about them is no big gaps for a rattan sword to get in between and actually hit someone in the face, a chin strap to keep it on, the minimum thickness, and padding.  Some people have very elaborate helms while others get a basic one they like.  Some have a front that flips up so they can take a drink during rest times without having to remove their helm.  Of course the front must be secured so it does not flip up during combat or practice as well.  Nothing can protrude from the helm that could harm someone.  You can have a pointed top helm and even have a neck cover on the back, but no spikes or such things that could harm a sword or person if they were knocked into the helm. Armor itself comes in three basic materials: steel, plastic, or leather.  Some people have suits made of one style only, while others mix and match as they see fit or their budget allows.  Some plastic armor has padding underneath to make it more comfortable or protect the wearer more.  Others wear it as is.  The exceptions would be shoulders, elbow, knees, kidneys, and wrists.  Leather armor must be stiff leather or have some form of padding underneath.  Steel is pretty much worn by itself but not everyone wears it that way either.  How it is “attached” to the body varies too.  Some armor ties on the sides, some on the front, some on the back.  Some armor uses straps that are attached to it to keep it on the body.  Other people use some form of rope to tie knots.  I have even seen something that had Velcro on the sides.   Plastic armor is definitely the cheapest to buy.   It can also be made if you are handy with a saw and can find a barrel.  Yes I said a barrel.  I don’t recommend just wearing the barrel without a covering or something to make it look less like a barrel.  If your armor is fitted together right, it can look like leather from a distance or even black, dull steel.  You can even make or buy a lamellar design to make it appear more period. I do recommend trying on armor before purchasing something.  If you have no limit on your budget that is not going to stop you from buying the most expensive items out there.  However if you are not comfortable in it, you will never fight in it and then you have wasted your money.  Different armor feels different on every person and if you can’t move in what you wear, you can’t fight.  And then what is the point?

SCA War Videos – Just How Big Are They?

admin on April 24th, 2008

Since two weeks ago I talked about SCA wars, I thought putting some videos up to show just how big they can be would be educational.

Pennsic 36 (2007)

When you get to a little over 3 minutes, watch for the fighter on the personal mobility scooter. Shows you that anyone can do this.

Estrella 24 (2008)

Gulf War 17 (2008)

This is a good one to see a lot of what goes on besides fighting at a war.

Great Western War 10 (2007)

Sister Games – Short Story Part 1

admin on April 23rd, 2008

I used to steal things from my little sister.  She doesn’t know it, even to this day.  I’d sneak into her room while she was at mage school, and take her magic stuff, and hide them around the house.  Mom didn’t even know I had been in her room.  I’d take a few jars, a spellbook or two, and hide them in various places.  Mostly around the house itself, but occasionally outside in the barn or near the stream where my sister studied her spells.  A few times I even hid the stuff I took in my sister’s room, but never any place she put her magic stuff.  It would be so funny to watch her face as a puzzled look came over it when she tried to remember the last time she had used whatever she had found.  Once I even hid her mage’s robe that she had to wear to school, and would one day wear all the time she informed me once.  But when I laughed at how frantic she was looking for it instead of helping to look for it, I got in trouble and decided not to hide the robe again. I could never understand why my parents let her go to that stupid school.  Mages weren’t good for anything, except maybe to entertain people at fairs.  Still they encouraged her.  After she had asked to go, my parents asked me if I wanted a mage’s education.  I vehemently shook my head no and went to the local tavern.  I wanted to be a barmaid, the best job in the world!  And definitely better than being a magic user.  Ugh.  I still shudder at the memory.  I still can’t understand why they let her go so easily.  But then again maybe they thought with her pale complexion and thin frame she’d never be cut out for hard labor.  Wouldn’t be able to work a farm like mom did.

Kayla is still the mystery child.  Mom and dad are both medium skinned, with dark hair and built for hard labor.  They say I’m a lot like them, could work on a farm or anything like that.  But Kayla was born small and frail.  I used to tell mom that somehow we had the wrong baby.  Mom told me that a few people on her side of the family are like Kayla is.  It just doesn’t show up very often.  Since I’ve never seen any of my family, I can’t really find out if mom is right or not.  Kayla was a good baby, didn’t cry much, but she didn’t each much either.  I always wondered if she’d die, but somehow she didn’t.  So when she was five mom and dad took her to the local fair and showed her the traveling mage that comes through every year.  She loved the man and his tricks.  When they asked her if she would like to learn how to do that, she just nodded.  They caught me watching her and asked me if I wanted to go also.  How could they think that about me?  I was nine, too old for such childish thoughts.  I had to think about a real future

Attending Your First SCA Meeting or Event

admin on April 22nd, 2008

The first time you attend an SCA meeting or event can be scary if you do not know anyone.  Someone that introduces you to the SCA is going to make the transition easier because they can explain things to you.  However if you find out about the SCA from the local paper, the website, or some other way and do not have any friends already members, check it out by yourself anyhow. 

Upon arriving, find someone who does not appear busy and talk to them. Explain you are new and checking things out.  The SCA member will be happy to talk to you and if the group has a greeter, called a hospitaller, castellan, or chatelain, they can take you to this person.  If this person is actually busy (since sometimes it is hard to tell) they will direct you to someone else in the SCA who can answer your questions.

You will notice that the majority of people are in medieval garb.  Those that are not may be just arriving and have not changed yet.  Some people will stay in modern garb all day due to what they are doing.  Some crafts that the SCA member is doing at the meeting or event requires special clothing that medieval garb did not have.  Thus for safety these people stay dressed as such.  Many fighters wear modern clothes under their armor for comfort and ease of movement as well.

It may be daunting to be the first to speak to someone you do not know, but if after several minutes of standing near someone that does not acknowledge you speak.  They may be so engrossed in their craft that they do not realize you are there.  Some hobbies in the SCA take lots of concentration.  It could also be that they are shy around new people and just need you to initiate the conversation.  And the SCA person will be very happy to talk about their hobby with you.  And you just might find another reason to join the SCA besides what drew you there in the first place.

Explore everything at the first event or meeting you attend.  There are so many things you might want to try and will not know about if you stay in one area the whole time.  This does not mean that if something catches your eye, you shouldn’t learn all you can while at the event or meeting.  But keep your options open as the SCA has so much to offer and some gatherings have more than others.

The Children’s Crusade of 1212

admin on April 21st, 2008

Medieval England was the backdrop for what was considered one of the darkest moments in Western civilization and one that hurt the Catholic Church. A series of eight wars, spanning from 1096 to 1270, the crusades were religiously inspired, probably more so with the start of the first. However the view today has many looking at the crusades as a time of greed and ambition. This is something far from the meaning of the word crusade, that of a noble or praiseworthy pursuit.These medieval military campaigns were wars against the Muslims from the Middle East. When the Muslims had captured Jerusalem in 1076, therein began the struggle for the Christian’s City of God with the Muslims, fighting for the Dome of the Rock, where Muhammad had sat and prayed.

In between the Fourth Crusade from 1201 to 1204 and the Fifth Crusade of 1218 to 1221, was a crusade called the Children’s Crusade which took place in 1212. It all started when a twelve year old French shepherd boy, named Stephen, approached King Philip with a letter he said had been given to him by Jesus Christ while he tended sheep. The letter instructed Stephen to carry on the Crusade.

Naturally King Philip sent him home. But Stephen would be a leader like the men before that had travelled from town to town encouraging others to join the previous four crusades. Within a month’s time this eager young man had amassed thousands of children, of course being the stuff legends are made of, in certain places in history there might have been more touted, as many as thirty thousand and possibly all under the age of twelve.

After their blessing and being sent on their way, word would spread to Germany. As the French children waited for the sea to divide like the Red Sea did for Moses, a boy named Nicholas in Germany received his own letter instructing the Germans to convert the infidels in their own Crusade.

Pretty much to my surprise and hopefully the surprise of many parents, these children were great in number. Many made it far in their quest, even though the ones that survived the early parts of their Crusade either went home or stayed in new countries when they decided not to continue their Crusade. A great number that continued on were lost along the way, some died at sea, some made it to Africa after a storm and sea and lived in captivity, some “comfortable captivity” if the were smart and could be purchased by the governor of Egypt who wanted to learn new things.

Unfortunately, the Children’s Crusade was not the last crusade, as the wars carried on via four more crusades following the attempts of Stephen and Nicholas.

For a great read on Stephen and Nicholas’ journeys, see HistoryGuide.org’s reference to a portion of Steven Runciman’s A History of the Crusades.

Submitted by: Violette DeSantis

Becoming a member of the SCA is easy to do when you decide you want to participate beyond practice in combat or enter your A & S project in a competition.  While membership is not required to attend events, meetings, or practices, you must be part of the SCA to hold office and fight. 

You can mail in your membership payment and form or pay it online.  The advantage of paying for the membership through the mail is that you sign the form for release.  Signing this form gets you a blue card, which means you do not have to sign the release at every event you attend.  If you pay for the membership online, you get a white card until you do mail in a signed release form to the SCA home offices.  SCA Membership is valid for a year.  Along with your card, you get the monthly newsletter for your kingdom so you know what events are coming up.  There are different levels of membership: sustaining, associate, and family.  Associate and family have one person who is a sustaining SCA member.  Having these levels helps keep the cost down for those with multiple people in their families who wish to participate in the SCA.  If you want to hold office, you must become an SCA member.  It is also required in some kingdoms, to receive awards for various aspects of the SCA.  And if you are into combat related activities, you can not fight at an event without being an SCA member.  The newsletter that comes with membership shows events in your kingdom for the year.  As the year goes on some events are added, while others happen every year.  It also gives you contact names for that event.  As SCA events come closer, there are excerpts about them for you so you can decide if you want to attend.  These excerpts also will tell you what will be part the event, such as combat, A & S competitions, if the crown will be in attendance, etc.

By formally joining the SCA, you provide valued financial support, are counted in the growing ranks of those supporting the Society’s aims and ideals, and may receive a discount at many Society events. The SCA is one of the few organizations, however, where you can participate without paying dues, although those who are able are strongly encouraged to become paying members. (http://www.sca.org/officers/chatelain/ForwardIntothePast.pdf)

 

Heavy Weapons SCA Helms

admin on April 17th, 2008

heah210801.jpgSCA heavy weapons helms are the most important part of your armor in combat.  While there are rules about the minimum to wear, this one protects your life more than any other piece you wear.  But helms are not all created equal.  In fact in the SCA the rules are the gauge and how the face is protected.  Beyond that, it is personal preference as to what it looks like. Some people where helms that have a front grill with bars going all the way down the front.  There does have to be a metal piece at the bottom for the helm to look complete so all the way down the front is not worn.  The bars can not be any more than one inch apart but how many or few is not a law.  There are even some fighters in the SCA who have partial bars going down.  These only go across the face or have a nose guard in the middle to protect the heavy weapons fighter’s nose.  Some fighters in the SCA have a helm made out of steel and other metals to give it a unique look.  The contrasting colors can let them create a design or “face” on the helm.  One guy I fight with even has his with just open blocks on the helm to allow air in.  It is created such that when he wears it, you think he is a very mean guy due to the expression on the mask.  Finding a helm can be interesting too. One that looks neat may not fit your head very well.  Or it’s possible as you fight in heavy weapons, it moves too much for your tastes.  Try on as many as possible to see what you like.  As people where they found their helms, who made it, or if they dislike anything about the one they currently wear.  Many people will let you put their SCA helm on so you can make an educated decision.  I was told this is the one decision you want to make right, although some people still purchase a new helm when they find something later they like better.Whatever you decide on an SCA heavy weapons helm, my suggestion is to purchase it first.  This is the most expensive, single piece of armor you will purchase at one time.  Get what you like and splurge for it that helm.  You will not regret it later.