- Jan 3, 2001Ok, Hugh, you've got a taker.
I was Duke Talymar's banner bearer in Eislin's Guard the second year.
(Car accident on the way to Pennsic: rear ended with 70+MPH closure.
Car destroyed. Made it to Pennsic that day, but *not* in any shape to
Thus, I wound up carrying a "hit me" flag over my head. Just for the
record, I was the only combatant banner bearer in that unit (the only
one with full armor, who was able to fight/be hit.) Ergo I was the only
one who *didn't* get hit.)
I can tell you what I remember, but I can hardly claim any sort of objectivity.
The short story is that Eislin had been diagnosed with brain cancer and
had beaten it back into remission at some point before Talymar won crown
for her second reign.
My memories of them on the throne the first time are a little fuzzy
since I was only 15 or 16 at the time, but the consensus seems to be
that they were both *very* good at doing the regal and dignified royalty
bit, and their reigns are considered to have been good ones.
I don't recall what the exact chronology was, but the short version is
that everybody thought she was cured, and it was considered a profoundly
good thing that she be Queen again. Then suddenly, not too long after
crown, they discovered that the brain cancer had come out of remission.
Rather than step down, or try to do the reign one handed, she/they
decided to see it through, and do as much as she could, as long as she could.
I remember some of the courts from the second reign, and they were
something to behold. (Somewhere, I even have pictures.) I don't really
know how to describe the atmosphere of that second reign. The SCA was
smaller then, and had more of a...?family? atmosphere. (Not family
oriented, but rather being a family.)
So it was really as though everyone's favorite aunt had gotten sick.
For 8 months or so, the entire kingdom set aside its petty politics and
united behind her. (If you know anything about the middle, that's
I remember that the feeling among the people I knew was something akin
to "Ok, if she wants to go out as a Queen, then by god we'll move heaven
and earth to make it happen." The impression that came out into the
populace was of a Queen doing her best for the kingdom, regardless of
personal problems. She was famous for not complaining about it, and
being sweet, kind and generous through it all. As far as the populace
was concerned, she could have walked on water.
Theirs was a war reign, so they were on the throne for Pennsic 16.
I was still only 17, so I wasn't there. Apparently they were camping in
a motor home somewhere on the top of brass-hat-hill (Top of Runestone hill)
According to legend, a nighttime quiet zone was spontaneously enforced
on that entire hill, to enable her to sleep better. (That was about a
quarter of Pennsic at the time.) This wasn't a royal edict: people
thought it'd help, so it just happened.
So far as I know, the East only had the Tuchux as allies that year.
*Every* other kingdom allied with either the Middle, or with Queen
Eislin herself, personally. (Many ?most? of them allied with her
personally, rather than the midrealm itself.)(I think I remember
Drachenwald, which was an Eastern principality at the time, somehow
managed to ally with her too.)
Needless to say, the East lost. I got the sense from listening to my
friends when they got back, that the only real regret many Easterners
had was that they couldn't fight for her too. That year was also the
first that the middle had anything approaching a "royal" or "queen's"
guard, although, again, rather than being the "queen's guard", it was
"Eislin's guard". It was strictly a unit of people who wanted to fight
for *her* rather than the crown she wore. They earned a great
reputation in her name.
She made it through the reign with a grace and dignity that will live on
as long as there is a Middle kingdom. She died in the spring of the
I don't know how to explain how her example, and her courage effected
those of us who were there, except to say that 12 years later, I'm still
a little bleary eyed thinking about it.
To wrap up the story, at Pennsic 17, Duke Sir Talymar once again led
Eislin's guard into battle, and this time, I managed to make it, if only barely.
Once again, most (but not all this time) of the kingdoms allied with the
Middle, many of them in her memory. Again, the East lost.
Many feats of arms were performed in her name. In the bridge battle,
Eislin's Guard captured every Eastern and allied banner on the field,
including the royal banners of the East, Drachenwald and Trimaris. (And
The feeling, even a year on, was still running so high that the idea was
floated of naming the hill beyond the battlefield "Mt. Eislin" in her memory.
(Which beats "Mount St.Hell-N-Back", which is what the people who had to
camp out there called it.) I don't remember hearing Mt. Eislin until
Pennsic 18, so it may not have happened until then, but the idea was
That was also the year when the Middle renamed its "Queen's order of
<something>" the "Doe's Grace" in memory of her courage, and grace under pressure.
(I've been gone from the Middle long enough to have forgotten what the
award was called originally, and what they're now giving it for. Sorry.
Her device was a doe standing on a ?moon?, and heraldically, the
position was called a "doe in her grace" or something like that, thus,
I'm going to limit myself to one "no shit" story about Eislin's Guard,
and what the atmosphere was like, even that second year.
Since I'd gotten into a car wreck on the way to Pennsic that year, I was
in no shape for line combat in a super-heavy unit, so I wound up
carrying Duke Sir Talymar's banner in the field battle. (Eislin's Guard
was essentially the same crew who later became the Midrealm heavy guard.
House Vex & Co.. *Big* boys.)
In an obvious oversight, nobody told me to change into my track shoes
when attempting to keep up with Talymar on the field. At one point, my
shieldman and I got split off from Talymar just as a hold was called.
Imagine my surprise to catch my breath, look around, and discover that
we were 20 feet deep into a pocket in the Eastern lines. Completely
surrounded by Von Halstern shieldmen. (They don't call 'em "Von
Holsteins" for nothing!) Lots of big, hungry, salivating Von Halsterns,
just itching to grab that banner I was holding. I'd had just about
enough time to decide that life after the hold would be short and
painful, when Sir Manfred von Halstern walked out of his lines. He
looked at the two of us, looked at the banner, nodded his head to the
banner, and he let us go.
*That's* what the atmosphere was like. He let us go, rather than take
The Middle hasn't seen her like since.
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