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  • Alberic
    Jan 3, 2001
      Ok, 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
      really fight.
      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
      saying something.)
      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
      next year.
      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
      maybe Atlantia?)
      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
      certainly around.
      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,
      "doe's grace".)

      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
      Talymar's banner.

      The Middle hasn't seen her like since.

      In Memoriam
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