Monday, February 18, 2013

King's Order of Excellence

Saturday, I was given a King's Order of Excellence. I am stunned, honored, and humbled.

Every person I know has taught me something about how to do it better. I have watched people walk into court and yearned in my heart to be like them, grace and beauty in their persona. I cannot thank everyone I know enough for all the inspiration they have given to me, the push and desire to strive to be the best that I can. Without all of you, I would not be the person today. And each and every one of you continue to inspire me, and continue to make me drive forever forward.

Scroll by:
Illumination - Ro Honig von Sommerfeldt,
Calligraphy - Carolyne LaPointe,
Russian translation - Lord Michael Acrensis.

I have written to each of these artisans, thanking them profusely for the gift of their time and art in creating this masterpiece. I was, to put it simply, in complete awe and looking at it even now brings tears to my eyes and inspiration to my heart.

Translation: "To all who hear these words, I, King Edward of the East, and my Queen Thoora send greetings. We have heard the great acclaim of the people for our subject Katrusha Karpova, daughter of Gadiev the jester. By all of her many acts and studies she has shown herself to be a glorious example of a lady of Novgorod. She demonstrates great knowledge and skill as an Entertainer, craftsperson, and inn keeper along our spice road. We hold the acts high in regard and are moved to induct Katrusha the Skomorkh into our King's Order of Excellence. This is done by our will and power at the King's and Queen's Arts and Sciences Championship in our Barony of Dragonship Haven. On the eve of the Feast of Saint Theodore the Silent. A.C. 47."

My First Laureling

Saturday was a fantastic day. Stressful, but incredibly fantastic.

We loaded the car and headed up to King and Queen's Arts and Sciences Competition. It was Kathy, Lindy, Katherine, her son Chris, and myself. We took off and had an entire ride of conversation without a hitch. And not once even faltered in spoiling the surprise.

Once we arrived, Kathy began setting up her display and I began crazily running around, gathering people, making sure we knew which room we were heading into, cleaning it up, starting to decorate... and then stressing out because the food and rest of the decorations were running behind. No worries! The place already looked beautiful with everyone's help and we didn't need the food right away but I was still stressing. Anyone can attest to that.

I decided to enter my research into period French phonetics into the Master Alexander's challenge. I didn't really expect anything to come of it, but feedback was what I was looking for. I got to see the other artisans and scientists (there was totally some science entries there) with their displays and was simply blown away. The East Kingdom is so incredibly talented. And I ended up adding a few more 'want to try this' to my list. I doubt I will ever get through the whole list, but I really enjoy learning so I'm not complaining in the least.

I hung out around Kathy when I noticed the royals were there. They were going to send her to vigil any moment and I could hardly contain myself. As they approached and asked her to explain her pieces, she had this look of 'are you serious? Are you sending me to vigil?' but explained herself away in the exact way she would for anyone. Then a sudden court was announced and she was sent off. I merrily skipped along behind her with my hands clutched together, giggling. I whispered if she was surprised. She seemed to have gotten an inkling, but mostly she was surprised.

She got settled in her tent and I promised her plates of food as soon as they arrived. And they did, shortly after, with Chris and John and Johann. Everything was brought in and people actually didn't start coming to see the vigil until things were nearly finished setting up (another person was being sent to vigil and I think that had to do for a lot of it).

At that point, the room became crowded so we shooed most everyone out to stand in the hallway to make merry and nice and I sat inside at the entrance to her tent to let her know when someone was here, who, and to hurry up the people inside if it was dragging and she had a line. I also was there to be hospitable to everyone that entered the room to wait their turn: offered them food and drink (and we managed to finish decorating and the food went over FANTASTICALLY!). People enjoyed sitting next to me and we chatted about Kathy and about awards and about all kinds of things.

When their Majesties came in, I stood and offered them a deep bow before letting Kathy knew they were there (she was grateful as sometimes she really needed to try and get something to eat in her, and I kept her very well supplied). I allowed them to take as long as they needed.

I honestly had an absolute blast having people come in and being the greeter. They would ask about the decorations and the food. And I would explain how everything that was there had links to Siobhan. It was possibly one of the most fun things I have done in awhile. I encouraged quite a few people to either sign the book or talk to her (as they felt they weren't important enough to do one of the other). I told them how wonderful she was and how everyone has something to teach someone. Not to be nervous. She is one of the easiest people I know to approach.

Eventually the vigil petered out and people stopped arriving. Kathy was glad as it meant that she could take a break. I was having fun, but she informed me later how exhausting it is to sit in vigil. I suppose it is different than jut playing hospitality for everyone.

We started packing things away before court as much as possible. I grabbed my book as I was asked to also take care of music and decided we should all sing the song I wrote for Kathy as we marched into the hall with her. This was when I became super nervous. I was hoping I could fill the hall and annuciate okay. I was hoping people knew or understood why we sang what we did. And over all, I was just hoping it would go okay.

We all started gathering and talking about how we were going to process and do things. I had to sneak out into the hall where people were waiting as I was watching court to let them know Lady Ose Silverhair won Queen's Champion of A&S! We are all so proud of all her research and hard work! Then I was surprised with the King's Order of Excellence and luckily not stunned into total silence because I still had to sing Kathy into court.

Eventually it was time to head in and the second she was called I began singing her song. She told me, later, when she heard her song, it made her tear up. It was the only part of the ceremony that made her that way. In either case, she was sung in and then we all moved off to the wings in order to watch. Yoshi spoke as her knight. Hawk spoke as her Pelican. Alethea spoke as her Lady of the Rose. And Alistrina spoke as her laurel as well as having text that was sent by Thora Sharptooth.

When Mistress Brid asked for her apprentice belt back and spoke words about Siobhan, I teared up. It was hard to hold it back. She was then fitted with all (okay, ALMOST all) her new regalia. She was given her vivats and everything was absolutely amazing.

It was such a long day, but such an important day for me. I got to see someone I care greatly about receive the credit she so truly deserves and I got to be such a big help in the process today. To know someone well enough that you can create the look, the feel, and the taste that you know they are going to adore... Even Kathy said I work myself too hard, but she appreciated it all. And everything went so beautifully well, I couldn't be happier.

And this was my first ever experience in helping with a crazy lot of aspects of the laureling process.