Sunday, 27 October 2013

Old Friends of Septentria

By Duke Finnvarr de Taahe

Please note: This article was written by Duke Finnvarr for The Ursus in the mid-90s and highlights important people and events from the early years of the SCA in Ontario. It has been kept as originally published; hence the references to the Principality of Ealdormere, 13 kingdoms, etc.)

In an earlier column, I mentioned that Septentria is one of the oldest baronies in the Middle Kingdom. In the years when Eoforwic, Noerlanda (the first attempt at Skelder gate), Ben Dunfirth and Starleaf Gate were founded, our region was remote from established centres of Society activity.

This meant, of course, that we had to do most things for ourselves, relying on publications, a few veteran members from elsewhere and imagination to create a New Middle Ages in the midst of everyday Mundania.

We didn’t do it all ourselves. Even from the earliest days, there were neighbors who were willing to lend support of one kind or another.

In this column I will talk about some of our connections with North Woods, whose people were the earliest friends of Septentria. In a later one, I hope to talk about early friends of the Barony from the East.

The connection between Septentria and North Woods goes back to the very beginning. Three of the earliest members of Eoforwic - myself, Gillian d‟Uriel, who was the first
Baroness of Septentria and Elizaveta - had been members of North Woods, which is the Baronial Seat in Lansing, MI, before we came to Toronto.

As a result, we had many friends in what was perhaps the premiere group in the Middle Kingdom - a group that was, fortunately, a mere six hours‟ drive down the road. In those days, this was no great distance - at that time, the barony in Atlanta was, at least in theory, subject to a king dom based in Phoenix! When we started recruiting new members, we had a place to take them, where they could see how to do things right. Even better, some of those dynamic people were willing to visit us, even before we started putting on events.

On incident that sticks in my mind is an early expedition from North Woods to Eoforwic in November of A.S. IX. My then lady, Countess Caellyn, came up to visit during
American Thanksgiving, bringing with her three new Northwoodsers and a gift from the Barony to our struggling fighting practices: several old helmets they no longer needed! It was a generous gift, but not as prodigal as it sounds - they were Freon tank helmets, which were surplus because Northwoodsers were beginning to build proper ones.

Perhaps the friendships made then were even more important than the helms. The three new visitors later became famous as Mistress Catherine Aimee le Moyne (OP), Mas ter Brusten de Bearsul (OP, OL) and Countess Fern de Foret (Kt). When, some months later, Eoforwic staged its first event, we were able to convince a large company from North Woods to show up to fill our lists and share our feast and festivities. We were grateful for their presence and they seemed to like us, too - they kept coming back for years.

As Septentria developed, the connection with North Woods grew in width and depth. Particularly significant was the friendship with the Canton of Roaring Wastes and its biggest household, the Clan of the Disputed Tartan, AKA The McGregors. Various McGregors were very important in the Midrealm then, being Kings and such and they were a great deal of fun. The McGregors were particularly impor tant in the early days of Ben Dunfirth and Starleaf Gate-- no longer part of our barony, but still part of our early history. If you run into Count Rolac, Duke Dagan, Sir Coley or any of their friends and connections, you’ll find they have good memories of our early days.

It’s my impression that people no longer troop back and forth between North Woods and our barony in great num bers. The reason is simple: there are so many more events close to home. This affects me as much as anyone: even though I helped found the place. I’ve been in North Woods only three or four times in the past 15 years. But a recent visit confirms my feeling that the two baronies should still have things in common. We do. We both like to have fun, with a minimum of bureaucratic nonsense; we like to do things informally, but with class‟ and we love good, chivalrous, friendly fighting. If any of you have the opportunity to take the road to North Woods or Roaring Wastes - now on the verge of becoming a barony on its own - I highly recommend the journey. I think you will find a friendly welcome there and feel strangely at home.

Originally published in The Ursus #185, June 1995 A.S.

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