Even all those years ago, 1982 maybe, I still remember rubbing my eyes and thinking there is no way I am seeing what I am actually seeing!
It was in a park in the Society for creative anachronism Kingdom of Caid (Southern California in mundane terms). And I witnessed two knights battling it out in a park near a baseball field where my Father was playing. I still remember that feeling in my chest, that overwhelming sense of awe and wonder. I've never forgotten that. Despite the more jaded and often times less-than-ideal introduction to the SCA I ended up having.
Still, something inside me pulls at me. A wander lust, a sense of wonder, a pull to another time and age that keeps me coming back and constantly dreaming of the things I see. The brotherhood, the camaraderie. I wonder what that would be like.
And frankly, I will probably never know. I'm much too old to start on the path of Knighthood, or fealty, and know far too little of the Society locally, or of its customs. I've already in my brief introduction burnt bridges (albeit accidentally), made enemies faster than Ned Stark, and all but given my first attempt a persona creation a banishment worthy of the backstory to which they ended on-dying on Crusade sometime in the late 13th century.
I see videos of knighthoods in the Society, of great fighters battling and then sharing laughs and hugs and handshakes and honors. And while I don't personally aspire to be a Knight right-off per say, what I do admire is the genuine honor and respect, the heartfelt duty and sense of camaraderie that all surrounding this knight seem to genuinely express. A perfect example of this can be seen here:
But this will never be my life.
I say that in hopes that maybe, just maybe, I am incorrect, and that there still resides somewhere in the vast and infinite possible universe of the Society a place for me.
Still...I go on. And I'm not sure why. That same pull. That 'otherworldly calling.' And I wonder if there is anyone that feels this same way? Even in the Society itself? Or do I just have an over-active imagination?
The door just barely opened to me before I found it slammed shut. And getting back in has been harder than the professor finding his way back into Narnia. But I still search, like a crusader on an endless quest to find some form of solace in my isolated and searching state.
I moved in the last few years to a new residence, but am still within the same SCA Kingdom and Barony, and that unfortunately makes activity difficult. At my new home in the westernmost mountains of the Barony of Loch Salann in the Kingdom of Artemsisia, I have even built my own retreat, filled with the trappings of travel, crusade, explorations and study.
But even surrounded by the very things that call to me, I still find something is lacking. Crusade era totems from Sicily, crosses from England, goblets from France, even gauntlets handmade and stitched with mail and leather, sitting idly by and waiting for testing.....
Recently I sought a more direct and almost charge-like approach to conquering this burden and worry that has plagued me for years. I contacted those individuals whom so embroiled me in conflict during my early years and set to right wrongs, clear communications, and ensure that truths were told. I knew not if any response would be received, and doubted it would be.
Sadly, I was all to correct.
I wrote long missives, lengthy messages and heartfelt communications to local Royalty. I had even purchased a golden idol from an eastern monastery on a recent trip to China, complete with an encased human tooth of a great warrior monk, planning to give this as a gift of largesse to this individual who thought I had wronged them so many years prior. All to no avail....silence. As if banishment unspoken was my curse.
But then a ray of light came through a modern message site that summed up a course of action that brought hope, and the thought that maybe, just maybe, there was indeed a possible place still remaining for me in the Society.
Maybe. Albeit, much further away.
Time will tell, and the battle cost the life of one SCA persona already.
Meanwhile, the largesse wrapped in fine leather goes unopened, and gauntlets go unused. But soon they will see their time. But along with the overwhelming feeling that there is something calling me to this organization, there is also the feeling that while it may be difficult, it may just eventually, become worth it.
Who knows, maybe even someday the individual, now royalty with great renown will see it fit to respond, and I will truly be able to put this first rough start behind me. But until then, it is a difficult, and lonely path on which Tristan Cenowülf de Cawdor must trod.