OK, so why was this woman standing in front of the Maryland National Guard armory holding a long string-and-wood thing and with a funny-looking tasseled pouch hanging out from below her jacket? Read on.
Yesterday I decided to go to the Bright Hills Birthday and Investiture. Yeah, I figured that I would get there after the morning court ceremonies, and I knew the feast was already sold out, but at least I would get to spend a nice afternoon with friends, instead of sitting at my keyboard and stewing over missing a fun event. At this point, I probably know more people in Bright Hills than any other barony except my own.
I zigzagged in a general northerly direction to the event site, which looked vaguely familiar, so I probably did attend another event there in the past. It's up near the PA border, in real farm country, and I drove through the hamlet of Boring to get there. The temperature up there was at least 10 degrees colder, with more rotting snow on the ground and a sharp wind. (Thank goodness for indoor events.)
When I first got there, the Kingdom Seneschal was leading a discussion on the "northern principality" issue. It had already started, and I couldn't quite hear everything because there was too much noise from the back of the hall. Oh, well, I'll just have to see what develops on the mailing list.
After that was lunch. Bright Hills can make even a simple lunch tasty. Lady Ingeborg (the wire-weaver) invited me to sit with her and a newcomer (I think her name was May). Then the newcomer and I watched part of the "bardic bear pit" in which Lady Ingeborg was competing. I also started a bit of tablet weaving using a pre-warped loom I bought from Herveus at Darkover.
Next, I decided to check out the merchant area. I asked some questions of Herveus, and then I went to see Fabricdragon, because you can't ever have enough pearls for an Italian Renaissance outfit (see, I was thinking of the upcoming Three Left Feet paid gig on the 26th). I ended up buying two strands of pearls of varying sizes and color tones; I think they'll make a nice necklace.
Right after my purchase, a guy I didn't recognize came up to me and asked if I was the herald of Storvik. When I said yes, he said, "The King would like to see the Storvik baronial herald now." Well, I thought that was rather strange, because there was no shortage of heraldic firepower at this event -- at least four of the heralds in attendance, including the current Clerk of Precedence and former Wreath Sovereign, are much more senior than I. And even though territorial barons and baronesses sometimes allow outside baronage to hold court in their lands, it isn't done often, and then only for unusual circumstances (for example, they want to present an award to someone who's about to go off on military deployment).
When I got to the other end of the hall, Lady Alexandra was just starting King Bryan's court (the Queen was taking a nap). His Majesty was presenting the Opal to a woman whom I think was a past baronial herald, so I figured that's why I was invited to the court, as I am a Companion of the Opal myself. (Storvik's Baron William and Baroness Sorcha were among the onlookers, but not doing anything else active.) King Bryan presented several other Opals and Coral Branches.
Then I heard *my* name called. It almost didn't register with me! (Well, with the background noise...) I knelt before the King on my left knee, which is slightly more accommodating of contact with hard floors than the other one. The King asked me if I could speak Lithuanian, and I said not much, but I knew that "thank you" is "aciu
." Then he said that he has heard lots of good things about my Lithuanian studies, and that it was great that I have been studying such a small country -- at which time I said something like, "But it used to be a much bigger country!" I'm sure I was blushing quite a bit and my face was pulling the blood out of my brain or something. Bottom line, the King inducted me into the Order of the Coral Branch
for arts and sciences.
I got lots of congratulations afterward; plus, a woman who said she is 77 years old sat me down and said she wants to write a historical novel about Queen Jadwiga
. I don't know if anything will come of that, but we exchanged phone numbers, and she said she has a copy of the book Lithuania Ascending
, which I have been really eager to read (and which is really expensive to buy).
Tale to be finished tomorrow... I will just note that my Coral Branch came on the same day as Zygmunt's elevation to Laurel in the Midrealm, so it was a really good day for Polish-Lithuanian studies in the SCA!