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Good Peers of the Outlands heed the words of your King and Queen!

After much consideration, We have decided that We will not be holding peerage circles at Battlemoor as We will be holding them 10 days prior at Crown Tournament. We look forward to your counsel at the other scheduled circles throughout the summer. 

In service to the Dream,
King Kolgrimr and Queen Danielle

Hail to land where dragons dwell! Good tidings from King Kolgrimr and Queen Danielle.

This weekend past We had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful barony of Dragonsspine. We enjoyed Ourselves very much and would like to thank Our populace for their joviality and kindness. We would also like to thank Baroness Mary for the use of her incredible land. The site was far more than beautiful and it certainly made this already incredible event much more so. 

His Majesty enjoyed Himself greatly in the heavy tournament held on Saturday morning. The fighting was chivalrous and most entertaining for all who participated and watched. The rapier tournament was held afterwards and Her Majesty felt great joy at the acts of chivalry and prowess that She did see upon the field. After that, an archery tournament commenced and there was much skill to be beheld upon the range. Congratulations to all the new champions of Dragonsspine!

We also held baronial polling to determine the next Baron and Baroness of the barony. We thank all of the good gentles who did come and speak their words of counsel to Us on this matter. We determined that Don Gianni Sangermano and The Honorable Lady Jeanette deVallier will ascend to this honored position. Congratulations are due to them both!

We made such wonderful memories this weekend past and We very much look forward to seeing all the good gentles in this wonderful barony again!

In service to the Dream,
King Kolgrimr and Queen Danielle

Greetings to the land of the scorpion from King Kolgrimr and Queen Danielle!

We thank you for your gracious hospitality at this past Grand Outlandish. It had been many years since His Majesty had attended this magnificent event and He greatly enjoyed his return. Her Majesty had never before had the pleasure of attending and was impressed by the hospitality of the people of al-Barran.  

 The tournaments that were held were a fearsome display of prowess and honor, both upon the heavy field and also the rapier field. The Knight’s Bannerette Tournament was thrilling and We will always remember the gentle who took the field and sang beautifully for all to hear. The Templar Twilight Tournament was most entertaining and Her Majesty was struck by the kindness and chivalry of the warriors who took the field. We also very much enjoyed the spectacular Hafla that night. The dancing was mesmerizing and the drumming was inspiring. 

 We wish to thank Jarl Gunwaldt and all those who assisted with the Baronial Polling. We also wish to thank all of the gentles of al-Barran who took the time to speak with Us about the future of the Barony. We announced at Grand Outlandish that the next Baron and Baroness of al-Barran will be The Honorable Lord Marc Antoine de la Rue and Baroness Bianca de Vittoria. Congratulations are due to them both. 

 We also wish to thank Their Excellencies of al-Barran for their incredible generosity and hospitality. They attended to Our every need and were amazing hosts. Her Majesty particularly enjoyed herself at the Baroness’s Tea that Her Excellency hosted. 

 We will cherish the memories that were made at Grand Outlandish and We greatly look forward to our next visit to al-Barran. 

In service to the Dream, 
King Kolgrimr and Queen Danielle

Unto the generous and good populace of the Outlands do Bela and Anna, King and Queen, send warmest greetings!

As We return with Our victorious army from the glorious fields of Estrella, We are mindful of all of the wonderful Outlanders who helped make Estrella the best event possible. To all of you who traveled with Us and shared Outlands hospitality with the known world, to every marshal, water bearer, artisan, musician, archer, fighter, list mistress, herald, and especially everyone who volunteered at gate or security - thank you so much! You have given Us the greatest gift we could ever receive. You have all made us so proud to be your Crown.

As the seasons change, We turn our sights towards finding Our Heirs. To all warriors and consorts, We charge you to conduct yourselves in all ways with courteous grace and chivalrous virtue. Remember always that your honor is worth more than any victory. Bring your best, fight hard, and bring glory to the Outlands. 

In service to the Outlands We remain,
Bela-King            Anna-Queen

Thank You, My Outlands

Beloved People of The Outlands,

As Our reign draws to a close, I often pause to reflect on Our journey. This experience has been one of the most brilliantly transformative of Our lives and has made Us both stronger, more confident people in all of the roles We play. The generosity and devotion of the good peoples of the Outlands have given Us an eight-month fairytale dream come true. I wish to thank you all for giving Us this reign.

I personally have grown so tremendously over these past eight months that I hardly recognize myself. In this space of time, I have gone from a wide-eyed newcomer who received her Award of Arms the day she became Crown Princess, to a Queen who stands up confidently among any crowd. Thanks to the good gentles of the Outlands who have believed in Me, I have become the woman I never dared to believe I could be.

This time on the Stag Throne has taught me that my heart is big enough to love and embrace the Kingdom as her people’s mother. I have learned that if I merely relax into the warm love of our people, my welfare and heart will want for nothing. Our people are kind, generous, and protective of those we hold dear, and I have been the fortunate recipient of that devotion.

By allowing me to love you, and loving me in return, you have helped me develop the best parts of myself. We all do that for each other in this society. In accepting and loving each other, we all are mutually encouraged to become the best versions of ourselves. It is my firm belief that by creating community and devoting ourselves to caring for friends and family within that community, we are accomplishing one of the most important things we can do in our lives.

As Queen, I have seen the large and varied community of the Outlands from a bird’s eye view. I am able to trace the latticework of relationships that overlay hundreds of mundane miles and bridge wide cultural divides. It is a joy to witness our diverse peoples come together for the common purposes of a shared dream.

In this society we are all working to develop ourselves in new positive directions. We strive to become more selfless and generous in our service; more patient and diligent in our artistic endeavors; and more brave, gracious, and equitable in every confrontation. We help and guide each other along this path, and we offer each other kind encouragement when we see a friend falter. As a community we evolve together, continually striving to better ourselves and all develop our “peer-like qualities.”

I have learned the true value of friendship, in having to rely so completely on so many people to coordinate, facilitate, and serve our every activity. I wish to first thank all of the members of Our household who went above and beyond their required duties to serve His Majesty, Me, and The Dream with their countless hours of service. Somewhere in the midst of these thousands of hours we have spent together, we have knitted ourselves together into a family who laugh and cry together and hold each other up in times of strain. You are all my family for life and I love you with my whole heart.

To all of those who organized and staffed the events of the Outlands the past six months, I thank you. We have been incredibly fortunate to attend and host the events that our Baronies and Shires have coordinated so conscientiously. We have enjoyed ourselves immensely and are proud to share our kingdom’s hospitality with visitors and friends.

I wish to thank the artisans of the Outlands, who donated so much of themselves through their time and talent. We have received many bountiful baskets of largess donated through Our Baronies and Shires – many full of anonymous gifts. We have also received special gifts for foreign royalty and beautiful donations for honored gentles. The library of scrolls alone that our Kingdom’s scribes have produced for this reign would put any medieval monk to shame.

His Majesty, Our children, and I have also received amazing personal gifts as well, thoughtful works of art and craftsmanship that bring tears to my eyes. For all of you who donated to Kingdom largess this reign, I extend my most heartfelt thanks. You have made me a generous Queen who showers Our people and those from foreign lands with the handmade treasures of Our artisans. Thank you so much for making so many delighted recipients happy with your handmade gifts.

I wish to thank all of the fighters who fight strong on the fields of tourney and battle, for the glory of the Outlands. When you salute me, I am humbled by your sincerity, and honored by the chivalry with which you face your opponents. All of you fine men and women make Us proud when you fiercely represent Our stag in battle and defend Our beloved Kingdom with all of your hearts. Thank you for your devotion.

I would like to specifically thank all of the tailors, cobblers, and jewelers who have donated countless hours, cramped fingers, and stiff backs to the cause of making the Crown of the Outlands strikingly well-attired. In this society, we transport mundane spaces into far-away lands with our garb. Without these talented and generous gentles, I would be an average adult woman in jeans. These artisans are to thank for creating the beautiful aesthetic of Our reign and making Our Dream shine.

I would also like to thank all of the children and those young at heart in our Kingdom, who have kept My dream alive in their sparkling eyes. To see awe and wonderment in the eyes of a child is perhaps the best gift a queen can receive. I have been shamelessly greedy with hugs from your children this reign and don’t plan to stop. I only hope that Countess Kathryn gets to continue these relationships with your children and be the recipient of this joyful energy. Our children have likewise been accepted by the Outlands’ good gentles and have enjoyed this reign tremendously. Thank you to all of the children who make this game magical for the rest of us.

And lastly I would personally like to thank my King for giving me this opportunity to experience this fairy-tale journey with him. I have learned how Our strengths are different and absolutely complementary and that together We are two halves of a whole. To grow alongside my strong and handsome husband in this endeavor has been an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Your Devoted Queen,

Kathryn

If I had to choose a single value upon which the backbone of our society is built, I would most certainly say that value is chivalry. And though this ideal is often difficult to describe, it is a quality that we can all identify when we see it. For me, chivalry is an inner sense of honor directing us to identify the right and honorable action to take, and the strength of will to take that action when it is difficult to do so.

Often we identify chivalrous acts in those who give up an advantage to an opponent, those who endure personal discomfort or hardship for the protection and care of ladies or people in need of help, or those who take-on arduous tasks for Crown and Kingdom. At the root of these acts is that intangible personal quality of chivalry that engenders a strong and true sense of trust in those who hold themselves to this high standard.

Although I have witnessed chivalrous acts by many of our good gentles, and I look to all of the peerages for examples of chivalry, as Queen of The Outlands, one of the most powerful experiences I have had is to sit among The King’s Knights in the Chivalry Circle. Surrounded by men and women who have been elevated as Knights for their excellent martial prowess, exemplary chivalric behavior, and intense fealty to The Crown, I feel safer and more treasured than I could have ever imagined possible. And this experience extends beyond the circle to any time I need help from a Knight of The Outlands. I trust that the right thing will be done because uncompromising chivalry is the standard they hold themselves and each other to, and because any unchivalrous behavior in their ranks will be quickly checked and corrected. When I am dealing with a Knight of The Outlands, I know that I will be treated with honor and respect.

It also gives me solace knowing that the leadership of our Kingdom is decided by right of arms, among those who either belong to The Order of The Chivalry, or aspire to do so. If The Outlands is headed by a King who truly holds himself to chivalrous standards, I feel safe, honored, and respected as I serve the Crown and walk the lands of this fine Kingdom. If our King is guided by his chivalrous ideals to do the right thing when it is difficult or unpopular, I know that our Kingdom is in good hands.

And yet it is not only Knights and Kings who can be chivalrous. It is my belief that we each possess a moral compass that directs us toward right and away from wrong. What is more difficult, though, is the strength of constitution we need to take the often difficult or humbling steps and do what we know is right. The chivalrous deed might be to volunteer for a difficult Baronial job knowing that nobody else has the emotional resources to do it. It could also mean compromising with an adversary in order to maintain peace. Chivalry is seen in the servers who eat last at feast and in the autocrats who equip privies with night lights.

I am proud to say that chivalry lives strong among ALL the people of The Outlands. If a tent needs set-up in the rain, there are always Outlanders willing to risk a cold and help until the job is done. A lost child is immediately helped by a dozen adults; diverse factions regularly come together for Kingdom projects; and personal egos are set aside for the good of the larger cause. Our children, our aged, and those in-between are safe and respected within our Kingdom as long as we hold ourselves and each other to this high standard.

I encourage all of Our good people to take-up the challenge of The Chivalry. Like the Knights of The Outlands, we can all look inside ourselves for honor and strength, and draw upon this to step forward and do what is right and good. Our Kingdom will be strengthened by your virtue.

Your Devoted Queen,

Kathryn

Serving the Outlands

I have recently been reflecting on what it means to serve our mighty Kingdom of The Outlands and the beautiful benefits we receive back from Her in return.

When I ask myself what draws us together to combine our diverse efforts and pursue our common purpose, I think of the virtues that our beloved Kingdom represents. When we swear fealty to the Crown, we give ourselves over to our ideal Kingdom of The Outlands whose values shine true, and whose leaders protect and reward Her good people for their talents. When we devote our efforts to serving the Crown, we receive in return a sense of belonging and a precise position within Her folds. She brings meaning to the hours of labor and creativity that we devote to making Her stronger, more esteemed, and more beautiful. We all want our Outlands to shine brightly and light Her lands all the way from the Citadel of the Southern Pass to the Shire of Plattefordham and all places in between.

When I first arrived in these current middle ages, I struggled to find my place. Then my handsome King made me Queen and I was gifted with one of the most esteemed and public roles in our kingdom. I now serve The Outlands as Her Queen, and as such it is my duty and pleasure to be the loving mother to Our people.

I have found that every outward gesture I offer in service to the Outlands and Our people is returned tenfold. As I have embraced the people of The Outlands, I have been rewarded with an ever-expanding web of love and acceptance. I have also developed greater personal strength in tandem with the weight of the responsibilities that have come to rest on my shoulders. And I have gained a deeper trust and pride in my beloved partner and husband who has now also become my King. The more I serve My Kingdom, the more I am able to live my dream.

I encourage each of you to embrace your own service to these mighty Outlands. What do you contribute, and what do you receive back in return for your devoted efforts? A sense of belonging? Deep and enriching friendships? Greater artistic talent? Increased leadership or organization skills? I challenge you to develop your service in ways that not only enhance the beauty and strength of our mighty Outlands and Her people, but also contribute to your own personal growth.

We shall have need of such good people as you.

Creating Ourselves in the SCA

Greetings unto the Populace of these Mighty Outlands,

As I write this I am still your Crown Princess, and am eagerly preparing for Coronation in a few days – yet by the time this is published, I will be your Queen. This is intended to be the first of five monthly diary entries that I wish to share with you throughout My reign in order to let you into My thoughts and share some of My experiences with you. I hope these publications find each of you healthy and fully enjoying these Current Middle Ages. I also hope that these diary entries cause you to pause and re-examine your own experience and understanding of the SCA.

In mundane times of yore I earned my full academic regalia via a Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology by studying the American belly dance phenomenon. What interests me most about the belly dance community is the way each woman is encouraged to create an ideal version of herself – a persona – and a stage name. She then costumes herself as that exotic person, performs to an audience, and is celebrated as a beautiful dancer by her fellow belly dancers. I have found that the sense of community created through this process does amazing things to the self-confidence and wellbeing of the women who belly dance. The community created by these women with and for each other is strong and allows each dancer to develop into her own ideal version of herself.

To me the SCA seems to empower us all in a similar way. As soon as each of us began playing this game, we were encouraged to imagine ourselves from any place and time before 1600 A.D.. We were helped to name ourselves and develop a personal device proclaiming ourselves to the world; and we have all spent countless hours clothing ourselves in our best approximation of the person we wish to become.

This Society is based on earned equality – where we are all given the opportunity to achieve recognition and advancement based on the skills and character traits we develop to better ourselves. We are rewarded for pursuing our own talents and interests, and for helping our neighbors do the same.

Many of us came to the SCA from the awkward margins of society. Growing up we were the bookish introverts, the nonconformists, the square pegs in amongst the “normal” kids. As adults we have yearned to escape a society in which so many of our coworkers cannot even imagine who they want to become – much less take the steps to become them. We each made our way here to find each other, and we have agreed to construct a haven in which to explore and improve ourselves amongst likeminded friends.

So with this all in perspective, I am incredibly excited as We approach Our coronation this week. I look forward to helping create an ideal day for The Outlands to experience together, and I am very excited to look out and see the people who are living in that moment with me. But most of all I look forward to My beloved husband – the King of The Outlands – putting the crown on My head and kissing Me. And that’s because in My ideal world, there is most certainly a handsome king... and lots of kissing!

Greetings Good People of The Outlands,

His Royal Majesty and I have just returned from Pennsic, and We had a wonderful time. Being able to see the breadth of the Known World—brought together to fight, to share, to shop, and to revel—was absolutely unbelievable. There are high points I would like to share with you, but underlying all of these experiences I developed a much deeper-felt pride in our beloved Outlands. I found that it is only in comparison to other Kingdoms that we are able to more clearly understand and take pride in who we are. By seeing ourselves beside these sister Kingdoms, we come to love what unites us all as well as what sets us apart from them. The Outlands raises her people to be strong-willed, incredibly generous, a bit irreverent, and fiercely brave. Our heavy fighters are small-unit spear gods who can wrap the end of any enemy line, and our rapier fighters inflict fierce casualties as they work in tight, cohesive units. We have beautifully-skilled artisans, first-rate archers, and courageous fighters. But as Outlanders I believe that we’re all of these things... and we’re cool too.

Apart from briefly attending Estrella War several years ago, I have never been to a foreign war, so to be given the opportunity to represent our Kingdom in the largest war in the Known World was incredibly exciting... and intimidating. When I arrived at Pennsic, I was given a schedule of high-importance events that I was expected to attend, and my stomach dropped. Among other things on the list were a State Dinner, The Queens Tea, a Known World Queens Happy Hour, and the famous Hoity-Toity party. I am, at the core, a very shy person who dreads small talk and unstructured activities where I don’t know what to do with myself. And on top of this, I was well aware that the people of all the other kingdoms would be forming and disseminating their opinions about our fine Outlands based on how We comported ourselves, how finely made Our garb was, and how generous Our gifts were.

And then I remembered that I am The Queen of The Outlands. The green and gold blood in My veins makes me fiercely brave, and no form of social anxiety will take me down.

Each time HRM and I went out to one of these official events, members of our camp (about 30 Outlanders in all) would come by our tent to talk while We were getting ready to see Us off. On one occasion, I was trepidatiously preparing to go to the extremely regal Queen of The East’s Tea. As I donned the hand-stamped silk Persian outfit in Kingdom colors made for me by Our Baroness of al-Barran, Sabiha, and headed out of camp for the Queen’s Tea, I completely felt the part of The Outlands’s desert Queen. As my guards and the Baroness of Fontaine Alamanda gathered to escort Me to the tea, I felt their love and strength surround me. On and off the battlefield, Outlanders present an impenetrable front that strengthens whoever is leading the charge. I knew that I could be as strong as I needed to be, if I was representing Our people to the world. I rolled my shoulders back and walked boldly into the tea.

As it turned out, Queen Etheldreda Ivelchyld of The East put on the most decadent tea parties one could imagine – with delicious foods, gifts for us all, and gambling on races. The other Queens were delightful and we all enjoyed getting to know each other. All of them were beautiful in their own ways, wearing the finest garments from their kingdoms’ artisans, and I could see the pride in their own cultures in the smiles on their faces. I personally took pride in the fact that my Persian dress – alone in a room of European fashions – was beautiful proof that we are in many ways distinct from the rest of The Known World.

We have well earned the reputation of being a rebel culture that is not afraid to strike-out on its own, so in this setting I sought-out conversations with each of the Queens and was proud to give them each an emerald donated by Countess Claudia. My ease in the situation grew to the point when, after placing a bet on our Kingdom colors, I turned around to my dear cousin Queen Elizabeth of Atenveldt and yelled a very inappropriate, “OUTLAAAAANDS!!!” At this, Her Majesty laughed, rolled her eyes, and said, “We can’t take you Outlanders anywhere.”

This month we get the opportunity to host 19 visiting Royals, and hundreds of travelers from other kingdoms at Battlemoor. As we welcome them into our land, we all become ambassadors of The Outlands. I encourage all of you to share the best of what we have with our guests. Be generous with hospitality and chivalrous on the battlefield as you portray the best Outlands traits that shine through you. And yes, being cool is a Kingdom-wide condition.

Your Devoted Queen,
Kathryn