Saturday, 19 September 2020

Family History – Tsvetan Arinsson’s Laurel Medallion

This medallion comes with the history of my SCA family. The story begins with Dame Enid Aurelia, first baroness of Skraeling Althing and my own mentor. Though I was never formally part of her household, my best friend (Mistress Etaoin O’Fearghal) was her apprentice, and Ouen atte Thorne was a member of both her household and mine. Tsvetan Arinnson was also one of her apprentices. 

Tsvetan started as a member of Skraeling (now Caldrithig) around 1980. A couple of years later TSvetan moved to Der Welfengau where he became seneschal. He was keen to learn to dance and became apprenticed to Enid, who taught him what she knew – his favourite dance was Sellinger’s Round. He loved to camp and he loved Pennsic; he was one of the first people to teach dance in the barn. He was also quite a good cook (more evidence that he was family). TSvetan put great energy into the SCA. One of his greatest achievements was producing An Evening at Castle Althing, which the canton put on in 1980 or 81 at Carleton U. He arranged the venue, the funding, the props… Enid put together the play, and coordinated the writing, singing and dancing, but it would not have happened without him. 

I first met Tsvetan at an event, possibly in Skraeling Althing, shortly after I moved here. He was very sweet and kind – so kind that when I headed off to my first Pennsic and discovered that my tent and other gear had not arrived (it was being delivered from Trinovantia Nova), I went to him. I knew almost no-one else there, and Tsvetan was the only one I felt brave enough to ask for help. He kindly offered me a place to stay and made me feel welcome. It was a very generous thing to do for someone he barely knew, and I have never forgotten it, even though, in the end, my stuff arrived and I didn’t have to take him up on the offer. 

In the late 1980’s, Tsvetan became very ill and Ouen moved to Guelph to help care for him. The Order of the Laurel had recommended him for elevation and he was officially elevated on January 20, 1990 in Der Welfengau by Ariake and Tadashi. He died a few days later. Tsvetan like to display a bi-coloured pennon, black and yellow, and for many years friends and apprentices had these and brought them to events. The medallion pictured above was made by a member of the order who lived in Ohio and admired Tsvetan’s work. Enid thinks he was also a dance laurel. If you look closely, you can see a little TA at the bottom. The medallion arrived too late for Tsvetan, so Enid kept it in trust for an appropriate moment. When I was elevated in 1999, Enid presented me with the medallion and told the story at my elevation. I have treasured it ever since. It seemed appropriate share my medallion with Xristina when she was elevated at Feast of the Hare. She is now holding it in trust for the next worthy member of the household. 

Mistress Siglinde

[Skraeling Althing Chronicle, February 2015]

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