Baron Geoffri of Wareine Interview
CALONTIR LIVING HISTORY SERIES
BARON GEOFFRI OF WAREINE
Baron Geoffri is, by any measure the Father of Calontir, as the following interview will make clear. The tale he tells has been independently corroborated by Master Brummbar, Mistress Arwen, Sir Ternon, Master Juan, and others who were there to see. He was soely missed when he left Calontir. He came back at my request to Lilies 6 to see his child and know his legacy endured and thrived. When His Majesty Rorik called Geoffri up and presented Geoffri to our people, was a teary eyed moment for all of us, that many to this day still recall.
BG: Shall I say, “Turn the recorder on,” again?
CD: This is Crag Dugan for the Calontir Living History Series, getting practice at introductions. I’m speaking today with Baron Geoffri of Wareine, Founder of Calontir. It’s been affectionately known as “his fault,” on many occasions when he wasn’t present.
BG: He’s not here, blame him!
CD: We’re interviewing at the war site of Lilies Number Six, June 12, 1992. Geoffri, give me your full, SCA name.
BG: The name I registered was Geoffri Llewhayarn o Ysted Wareine, yet another Welshman. The Llewhaearn referred to the lion and ax that I originally tried to register as my device, but there were just too many points of similarity, so it was never accepted. I usually go by Geoffri of Wareine or Geoffri, y’Wareine. Also, the initials of the registered name were G.L.Y.W. form the Welsh word meaning governor, leader, or chieftain… that pleased my sense of humor, making words out of other words. My mundane name is Jeffrey Warren Key and is the origin of my Society name.
CD: Tell me of your awards in the Society.
BG: Offices and Awards? I was the Seneschal of Forgotten Sea from its inception, Founding Baron of Forgotten Sea, and when I stepped down was made a Court Baron by Nathan, Rex of the Middle Realm. My awards include the Order of the Trident Tree, the Order of the Dragon’s Heart and Principal of the Order of the Cross of Calontir.
CD: Okay. Well, tell me how all this got started.
BG: Well… In the summer of 1976 a group of us in Kansas City were wargamers and bunch of us were into role-playing. I had seen an article about the SCA but knew next to nothing about the Society. A friend (William Coeur de Boeuf) and I were talking one day and decided that the Society sounded fun and that we should form a Society group. Although we eventually found out that there was already an incipient group in Kansas City, our application got in before theirs did and was approved. Lord Rory (O’Tomrair, MidRealm Kingdom Seneschal) advised me of the other group, so we got the various factions together and put together one SCA group out of the bunch. We lost a few people along the way, which was sad, but I think we came out with a pretty good group. That was the founding of Forgotten Sea.
CD: Whom do you remember from that period?
BG: Oh, gosh. There were so many. The early, early group… Marianne (Geoffri’s wife-originally Endora), Arixa, Elwyn, Morgan of York (who was originally Richard of Baton and then Imrael), Kasmar and Andrea, Gwydion (who was one of the first in Forgotten Sea to register a device – it was Gyronny Vert and Or, a Griffon Countercharged. It was beautiful! He got a griffon through. I always envied that.). Who else was in that group? Coeur de Boeuf and ( his wife) Rosamund, Tiernon, Ansar, there were so many great people. We used to meet in my living room and we had great plans. One of the early stories was the naming of the group. I liked to play with words and I’m very much a Welshman at heart. Because of the location of Kansas City, I had come up with the name Calontir, meaning “Heartland” in Welsh. I was lobbying for Calontir as the name of the shire. However, I believe that it was Gwydion who came up with Forgotten Sea. His reasoning was that the areas around Kansas City were once underwater and nobody remembers that. That was the name the group finally chose… leaving me with what I thought was a pretty good name for a group, Calontir, unused. I had to find something to do with it! Another story from that time concerned the frogs. One night at a meeting it was decided that we needed a totem beast. Forgotten Sea’s device was the Trident Tree (one of my favorite designs). The reasoning was that from the sea came the land, from the Trident came the Sea, and from the water to the land comes… the frog. It was decided that the frog would be the totem beast of Forgotten Sea! I think it would be fair to say, I was at least a little strongly against that decision. I don’t know if I felt my dignity was involved, or what. I’m not real sure at this point. But I lost that day as I did so often. I guess I fought the issue long and hard, because from that day forth, as long as I was in the group, rarely an event went by that I wasn’t presented one or more frogs at so point or another. I was expected to protest and so I did. One has to try to live up to their reputation. Those were good days, the early days. We literally met weekly in our living room or our yard. We didn’t really know what we were doing. None of us had any prior experience in the SCA. But we were writing letters, feeling our way and trying. I remember loading up a group of cars and convoying the five hours to Three Rivers, which was the closest group to us, to attend a Changelings Feast. That was my first SCA event. And it was, gee, you know, these people are a little crazy! My first SCA event was second Changelings, now that I think about that. It wasn’t a straight SCA event. But we kept getting little bits and pieces.
CD: Second Changelings?
BG: I believe it was the second Changelings. I won’t swear to that. My recollection is that it wasn’t the first… it seems like the talked about a previous one.
BG: It would have been in February of ’77. At that point we’d been in the Society since September. This was my first event outside Forgotten Sea. We had gotten some really good guidance from experienced people. In fact, Stephen Ironhand, Brummbar, Arwyn, Atackq’vix, William of Bellwood, and Robert Sartor all came over from Three Rivers to assist us. Those were wonderful days. They gave us a lot of good guidance, suggestions and help. In many ways the Curia of Three Rivers became the patrons of Forgotten Sea for shepherding us through the early days. I have always remembered that and tried to follow the tradition.
CD: Okay. I have a fair amount of insight about the early politics of the Barony. Since you saw both sides, I’ll let you comment on that only to the degree that you wish.
BG: I will comment to the degree that I felt that there were no hidden motives. I still think that all the people involved were basically good people trying to do what they felt was right, and that there were very often, as human beings are wont, varying perceptions of what was the right path or goal… and they were very often in conflict. I know that one of the misconceptions that have come down about me is that I am an egalitarian, a democrat. In fact, I am very much a Royalist. However, I believe in human fallibility, and my own eminently so. So I used to listen interminably to everybody, everyone would get their say, and then I would pronounce what we were going to do. I sometimes think that out of that, when they lost the stronger leadership that I had maybe provided, developed the feelings of democracy in Forgotten Sea that caused a lot of the problems. But we always had strong personalities. There was a conflict submitted to me between Gwydion and another member of the group. I made a decision that I felt was fair and equitable but it didn’t set well with Gwydion. I was never able to reconcile with him. He dropped out of the group, never came back and I felt that very strongly as a failure. But I still feel that my decision was right. I had listened to Gwydion and the other people involved, and made a decision that I felt was best for the group. But, it wasn’t one hundred percent his way and was, therefore, bad. It was kind of interesting the way I got to be Seneschal. There were three of us who wanted to be the Herald of the incipient group. Obviously, we couldn’t all be Herald and by the time we finished deciding who was going to be what, I ended up Seneschal. (I finally got to be Herald in Caer Antereth Mawr.) But Seneschal was never what I really wanted to do. When we were forming Calontir, my nominee for the original Bailiff was Stephen Ironhand. I felt I had my hands full with Forgotten Sea. Stephen was smart enough to avoid that snare. (Pause)
CD: Okay, we had to move shop and now we are sitting under the Purple Pavilion. Jeff, what does it feel like to see the Cross of Calatrava every where?
BG: I love it, I love it, I love it, I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT! I liked the shape of it, back years ago. To me it was a graceful, pretty cross and I suggested it for Calontir as much for those as the symbolism. Suggested it, no, I almost demanded it for Calontir. And we were lucky enough to get it passed. So… you know, it’s like seeing… How do I explain it? I get the same kind of feeling when I see my grandkids. Do you understand what I am saying? You don’t have grandchildren, but when you see your children, you see them growing up. And that’s kind of, and I know it is kind of presumptuous of me to feel this way, but it’s kind of what I feel. I’m proud of what Calontir has become. They really did realize the Dream that I had.
CD: This jumps ahead a little, but how much, you know, did you ever see the day when we would be a kingdom in your mind?
BG: Oh, you bet! The concept of Calontir as a kingdom sprang full-grown into my mind. My protests aside, I never had a concept of Calontir as a region, or as a Principality. I had a dream of Calontir as a kingdom and the other steps were simply necessary to get it there. That is just being pragmatic; you have to crawl before you can walk, you have to walk before you can run.
CD: When did you, okay, let’s go back to, you’re there in this group… By the way, does the name Riders of Westmarch mean anything to you?
BG: Yes that was Ansar and some of his friends. They were members of the Fountains group who didn’t like coming north of the river. I memory is that they formed a household and talked about splitting off, but never really did anything about it.
CD: Was Ternon a part of that?
BG: Ternon was part of the Fountains group but I don’t recall him being a member of the Riders of Westmarch.
CD: ‘Cause he didn’t remember it very well.
BG: Ansar and Ternon were both from Fountains along with Elwyn, Arixa, and so on. But there was a young man, whose name I do not recall, who was a good friend of Ansar’s that was behind the Riders of Westmarch.
CD: Okay. Okay, you’re now sitting in the proto-shire of Forgotten Sea, you are hashing out the name, and you lose, so….
BG: It becomes Forgotten Sea.
CD: It becomes Forgotten Sea.
BG: And we’re ankle-deep headfirst in frogs!
CD: Right. You’re ankle-deep headfirst in frogs. And you’ve got this name, Calontir, “Heartland”, what to do with it? When did you go from that to the Kingdom of Calontir springing out of the Midrealm’s forehead like Athena from the head of Zeus?
BG: You have heard me state that the Dukes, Finnvarr and Merowald, were the patron dukes of Calontir?
BG: And I will probably tell that story later on in this. But there is more to it than that. I purchased one of Merowald’s maps of the known world and he had marked, smack dab on top of this area, that it was the “Great Western Steppes.” If you look up steppes, it is kind of another word for desert. And, I said we’ve got to have a better name than the great western steppes because we are not a desert. At that point we had five groups sitting out here. “We can be a thing. We can do this, we can be the nucleus of Calontir”. So we dreamed up (we spelled I) and sold a bill of goods, I guess, to some friends. The first baby step was renaming the great western steppes Calontir.
CD: Who were the friends?
BG: Well, Coeur de Boeuf, Stephen Ironhand, who else was in on that? I think maybe Bear was in on that. Primarily the three or four of us.
BG: Arwyn was in on everything. I mean, Arwyn is, whatever your feelings about Arwyn, and I have both good and bad feelings about Arwyn, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Arwyn. She was a mover and a shaper in so much of what we became.
CD: long before she was queen?
BG: LONG before, I’m talking about, Queen heck, long before she was Baroness. Long before anything. She was the Pursuivant of Three Rivers, is what she was. You know. And, I guess kind of her own portion of the Horde. But she was a mover and a stomper. She often was in front moving, and when she wasn’t, she was usually behind guiding events. She always had input. We didn’t always do what she wanted, but she always had and intelligent opinion that I valued.
BG: I found out who was going to be there and prepared a scroll. We talked with the other groups because Omaha, Coeur d’Ennui and the ladies from Ystrad Straddele would be there. And… Comment?
CD: No, I was going to say the successors to Lars.
BG: Yes. We contacted them all and said this is what we want to do, would you go along with us? They all said yes and signed the scroll as we had. And we journeyed to Nordskogen. Finnvarr was on the throne and Merowald had just won Crown Tourney. At court that night, we present the scroll to them petitioning a change in the name of the Great Western Steppes to Calontir. The Kingdom Seneschal, Lord Rory O’Tomrair, had some hesitations about this due to potential political aspects. And, we told him, don’t worry, don’t worry, we have no political aspirations at all. All we want to do is have it made a region of the Midrealm.
CD: Were you telling a small lie at this point?
BG: (pause) Me?
CD: Now this ingenuousness…
BG: At that time, it was a true statement. Yes, I had aspirations, but WE had no aspirations.
CD: Aha. I see.
BG: Okay? I mean, none of the rest of the people was in on this gig. This is, this is, this… They recently made a movie entitled What About Bob, if you want to talk mundanely for a second. And in it there is a book that the psychiatrist has written entitled Baby Steps. Okay, my concept of how do you create the Kingdom of Calontir is that you take baby steps. Right? You set a goal that is attainable and you reach that goal. Then you set another attainable goal. That is one of the easiest ways to handle and major problem – a bite at a time. So we set out, no, I set out to create the Kingdom of Calontir a bite at a time. Okay? In manageable bites that we could…
CD: What you are saying fits with the impressions of the other people that were sort of sucked into this petition.
CD: They didn’t realize that it was that big a deal at the time.
BG: Well, we were, we were… Gawd, when was that Nordskogen event? I don’t remember exactly the date.
CD: It was a Crown Tourney in May.
BG: It was a Crown Tourney in May, so that would have been May of AS XII. I mean, at that point I had been in the Society not quite a year.
CD: And you jumped the King in court?
CD: With no warning to the Crown?
BG: Right. I mean, I didn’t know any better. We had to talk to Lord Damon DeFolo, the Dragon Herald, to get on the list, but…. You realize that this was my second SCA-sanctioned event. The first was Changelings, which we have already talked about. Who knows from anything about Changelings, right?
CD: That’s true.
CD: That would explain much of Calontir if the formative event for so many of its big people were Changelings.
BG: Makes a bit of twisted sense, right?
CD: It’s a pity Changelings doesn’t still exist.
BG: (Very surprised) It doesn’t?
BG: Oh, that is a shame. It was always one of the fun events. So, the line I will always remember Lord Rory’s deciding and saying, “Oh, lets do it, what can it matter.” Lord Rory was the one we had to convince.
CD: Okay, Rory was the one who was concerned about the political aspects.
BG: Yes. He was the one concerned about the political implications and I…
CD: Now that makes sense.
BG: Lord Rory was always very practical. I truly liked Rory. When we decided to become a region, and we had done all this stuff, Rory was saying that there was no such thing as a region, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum. But it was Rory who came up with the practical solution of creating a Deputy Middle Kingdom Seneschal for Calontir. I was never Calontir Seneschal.
BG: And that small point of legality made it all right with Rory. Because he could fit that into his perception of… My argument to Rory was always, “Rory, look up the requirements for principality. All the officers have to be in place to be a principality. Now, Rory, if you don’t have a region to get these officers in place, how do you ever become a principality?” He replies, “Who wants a principality?” You know….. (laughter).
BG: So, it was just the baby steps. We did the meetings that we had in my living room when we decided to go for Calontir.
CD: Actually that was after the petition.
BG: Oh, yes, much, much later. I became the Bailiff in November of AS XII. At that point I’ve been a Society member for a little over a year. And we’re sitting in my living room….
CD: Cheeky thing, you are…
BG: Yes, I know. We’re sitting in my living room again and there are as many Three Rivers people as there are Forgotten Sea people, but there are also people from, well, I mean, Coeur de Boeuf was there. William and I were good buddies always. His loss was a great one. We’re sitting in my living room and I’m ready to take the next baby step, right? So I’m playing sheep dog and trying to move this flock of friends to where I want it to go. But, in my mind, and on my piece of scratch paper, I already have Stephen’s name down to be the Bailiff. But, Stephen was too canny to let me pull that one on him. I mean he always managed. I guess that one of Stephen’s strengths in Three Rivers, and in Calontir, was that he almost always manager to avoid traps. You know he could sidestep better than anyone could. I am always reminded of the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas movie, where the Governor does the side shuffle. Did you ever see that?
BG: Okay. Stephen could always avoid traps, so he avoided that trap and I “got stuck” with being the Bailiff.
CD: You didn’t really want the job?
BG: no, I never necessarily wanted the high office. I wanted to be the guiding hand behind the high office. Okay? It is much more effective that way.
CD: Stephen tells that story just like you do.
CD: With great satisfaction,
BG: Yes, well, I can understand that he would. I mean, he beat me on that one. But I am pragmatic enough that if I cannot be the person guiding the front man, I will be the front man. I mean, you don’t step up to play the game unless you are willing to pay the price. That is the difference between people who want to guide but not lead and the people who want to guide but are willing to lead.
CD: So the reason that this thing worked, I mean, you know, if you had this happen today in an established area…
BG: You can do the same thing anywhere. All they have to do today to make Northshield a principality is to decide they want to do it and then take it a baby step at a time. They can do it, they just have to be patient, you cannot go rushing straight ahead all the time. Sometimes you have to back up, step sideways… I mean, Lord Rory…
CD: Suppose, though, that this had been an area more populous, more schooled in being part of the Midrealm. Would you have been interested in doing it? Or was it the geographic isolation? What were the factors that made you…
BG: All of those things. Crag, the geographic isolation…. The first royalty that we saw in Forgotten Sea was Ton and Elizabeth from Meridies. We didn’t see the Midrealm Crown in Forgotten Sea until long later. Three Rivers had seen the Crown, but Forgotten Sea was another 250 miles west.
CD: But anyway….
BG: I think that it is important to note that my pro-Calontir feelings were not anti-Midrealm. Okay? The whole time I was functioning as an officer of the Midrealm. I mean, I was Deputy Middle Kingdom Seneschal for Calontir. I was later a deputy kingdom Pursuivant-at-large. I always signed my correspondence “Am y Canol a Calontir” which translates as “For the Middle and Calontir.” To this day, I wear my Dragon’s Heart on my bonnet, because I earned that award with my head. But, I wear my Cross of Calontir over my heart, because that is where my heart belongs. So, I don’t want to give the perception that I was anti-Midrealm in any way. I wasn’t.
CD: When did that begin to creep in?
CD: The anti-Midrealm feelings.
BG: It never did, to me. To me this was a normal progression. We grew up. When does a child leave the house? When it is old enough and ready. Okay? It was never anti-Midrealm. That is what I want to emphasize. And, I really heart-felt mean that. I felt that we were isolated from the Middle Realm, we rarely saw people from the middle of the Midrealm in those days. Later, especially as we began to get more rambunctious, they recognized that we were a viable part of the kingdom and that they better get their tailbones out here. But, there were Midrealm Kings: Finnvarr, Merowald, Nathan were all pro-Calontir. I could not possibly be anti-Midrealm knowing people like that. There were some kings who were pro-Calontir, but not during their reigns. In other words, they did not want to be perceived as reigning over the dissolution of the Middle Kingdom.
CD: Who’s that?
BG: Let’s don’t… lets don’t name names about that. I mean, that’s….
CD: You should take in context all the interviews and history I’ve got to write.
BG: Well, I know…. Well, I mean, if… if…
CD: Because, I need… I need, I’m wanting to understand people’s motivations for their opposition. And you later dwelt in the Midrealm and knew some of these folks.
BG: Well, and at the same time, my perception…
CD: I’ve also asked some of these people directly.
BG: Okay. At the same time, my perception could be wholly inaccurate. I hate to label them… You know? I never felt, at the time… All right, let me back up. The…
CD: I’ve interviewed Laurelen. I’ve interviewed a lot of his people…
CD: I haven’t gotten to Alen yet.
BG: Both Laurelen and Alen, I liked. I spent time with both of them. I felt that they were pro-Calontir, but Calontir as part of the Middle Kingdom. They didn’t seem real excited by being known as the king during whose reign the Middle Kingdom was split. I may be wrong in that perception.
CD: I’ve heard that from several other people.
BG: Okay. But that’s a normal progression, and I’ve said it before. You have a child, the child grows older, the child learns from you. You don’t want it to happen but there comes a time when the child has to go out on its own… gets old enough and wise enough to do it.
CD: You were a parent at that time and you were going through parenthood.
BG: Patrick was born in 1970 so he was growing up during this timeframe.
CD: So you had opportunities to think about these issues in terms of human experience. Laurelen didn’t have a child until later. To my knowledge, Alen never has. Do you think that your experiences in raising a family…
BG: Possibly. We are all the result of our experiences and I made many mistakes. I’m not going to pretend I didn’t. I tried to not make mistakes, you try your best, and I am sure that Laurelen, Alen and all the others were the same way. Because they did what they thought was right. I have no animosity of any kind; I have nothing but fond feelings in my heart for them. They were good acquaintances.
CD: Did you find Alen helpful to you when he crossed paths with you?
BG: Oh, yeah.
CD: Why is, why do so few people in Calontir have any fondness for Alen?
BG: I can’t answer that question. Not won’t, can’t.
CD: There are a lot of folks that have good things to say about Laurelen.
BG: Tell me something that… Do you have anecdotal things that… By the time Alen was King, I was outside of Calontir. I didn’t see what went on down here. Who was it that came to the Calontir event not as a King?
CD: He came, he was the Prince.
BG: He and the Princess came?
CD: No, he and Queen Ithriliel.
BG: Okay. But they didn’t introduce themselves as Alen and Ithriliel. They were there and they just mingled. I have heard that there may have been some ill feelings about that. But, I don’t know. That is one of the few episodes about Alen that I even know. He was from Cleftlands and was part of the Ohio dynasty that ran for a while. And, he was a real good friend with Nathan… that is a positive point in his favor.
CD: Did you, do you have any particular memories of things they did or Alen in particular, things that he did for the Midrealm, things that you saw that were real positive?
BG: No, but let me tell you why. During that period in my life, the two years that I was in Caer Antereth Mawr, I was working long, long hours and what little time I had to play I usually focused on Caer Antereth. I remember traveling to several events – two in Treegirtsea, one in Cleftlands and one Pennsic. But, I really wasn’t involved in the kingdom at all. Between my job and undertaking a cleanup of Caer Antereth’s Pursuivant mess, I had very, very little time to pay attention to what was going on elsewhere.
CD: So you went to Pennsic eight or nine?
BG: I don’t remember which one I went to, I’d have to think about it for a while. Nathan rode his motorcycle to that one. Nathan, Myfanwy, Ian, Dougal and I went together. That was a good Pennsic. It was the only Pennsic I have attended.
CD: Just about the size of this Lilies, wasn’t it?
BG: Ummm. No it was a little bigger than this; there were about four hundred fighters there. I remember being very impressed by that many fighters in one place. I served as a Marshal at that event and accompanied the Midrealm forces.
CD: Okay. So we have the concept of Calontir. At some point you did send out at least one issue of a newsletter.
CD: Because I have seen that.
BG: I don’t even remember, to be real honest, at all. There were so many things going on, we were doing so many things.
CD: (Unintelligible) the concept of Bailiff, where did that come from?
BG: That group sitting in my living room felt we needed officers.
CD: I think Judy just got punched! ( we were momentarily distracted by the nearby Punch and Judy performance)
BG: Because Calontir as a region was not an official entity recognized by the SCA or the Midrealm, we didn’t feel that we could use any of the accepted terminology for the offices. We felt very strongly that we needed someone to coordinate the activities of all of the groups, but we didn’t really feel that we should use Seneschal as it is an accepted term. And so on. So I sat down with my books, which I love so much to do, and researched equivalent titles…. Reeve, etc. The one that I found that had the most acceptance from the people there was Bailiff because of its connotations. So, that was the first officer of Calontir, the Bailiff. The post was nothing more than one of coordinator, to make sure that everything was coordinated between all of the groups within the region. Certainly, it wasn’t anything that was accepted by the Middle Kingdom. I became Bailiff in November of AS XII and it was not until May of AS XIII that we worked out a compromise with Lord Rory that made me the Deputy Kingdom Seneschal for Calontir. It was shortly thereafter that I was the autocrat for the Journey to the Center of the Known World, which was the direct predecessor to Lilies.
CD: In fact, it’s a good time to tell me about your concept of Journey to the center of the Known World.
BG: Well, Moonwulf was king. In the rotation of things I had helped to autocrat a couple of events but I had never been the autocrat. I wanted to autocrat an event.
BG: I don’t know, maybe my ideas are always grandiose, I have no idea. But, I wrote Moonwulf and any number of other heads of state and said, Forgotten Sea is at the center of the known world, lets have a tourney at the center of the known world. So we advertised an event. The Journey to the Center of the Known World became the Tourney at the Center of the Known World. But it never really caught on. We had a good turnout, but other than a few people from what would become Ansteorra, it was pretty much Calontir and Midrealm folk. Or, Midrealm folk from Calontir, as it were. It was a good event. And the seed was set, because Forgotten Sea has some good sites. That particular one was Park College, on the heights above the Missouri River. I guess Arwyn picked burrs out of her pants for years after that, but…
CD: That was the Holy Quail, wasn’t it?
BG: Yes, one of the events I dreamed up was the Quest for the Holy Quail. I….
BG: There are still people that accuse me of doing things less than ethical once in a while. That’s the first one that comes to mind.
BG: What I did was take a bunch of ladies apart and say to them, each of you is a Quail. But only one of you has a piece of the Holy Cross… that person is the Holy Quail. Your job is not to get caught. Some of the ladies disappeared into the woods around the site and some of them joined the two sides. The objective of the tourney was to locate the Holy Quail, get her to your home base, and defend her and your base from the other side. Whichever side had the Holy Quail at the end of a given timeframe won. It was a timed event. I think Brumbar headed one side, and he immediately questioned all of the ladies in his group asking if they were the Holy Quail. As they had been told that if caught, they couldn’t lie, he eliminated that group of people. Stephen Ironhand led the second side and never thought to ask. Arwyn was the Holy Quail and had joined Stephen’s side. She acted as a scout for his forces until she got into conflict at some point with the opposing side and had to take to the bushes to keep from being caught. Although the Known World site was mowed, as this Lilies site is mowed, there was a lot of brush around the central site that had not been mowed and it was full of burrs. Arwyn got a good case of burrs in her britches.
BG: But I don’t think I was unethical. (laughs) I just think that some people were unimaginative. I never told any of the Quails how to hide. Andrea was one of the Quail and she just took to the woods.
CD: Andrea of Owl’s Roost?
BG: Right. Someone found her and chased her about two miles down a dirt road… and never caught her. He ran all that way in armor, chasing her in skirts. Right?
BG: And she outran him, obviously. Skirts are easier to hike up and run than armor is. And…
CD: saved many a damsel.
BG: Yes! (laughs) But, no, I don’t consider it unethical at all. I think it was devious (laughs).
CD: Tell me about House Wareine.
BG: Our concept of House Wareine was based on friendship… it was NOT political. It started out as those people who came to our house and stayed. We reveled. We had fun, together. We were a compatible group. Different personalities, to be sure. Arwyn and Dev often fought like cats and dogs outside of House Wareine. But inside, it was like sanctuary… they could relax and be friends there… or at least, coexist peacefully there. We had a large home with a walkout basement on an acre of land. We could crash a lot of people quite easily and often did. After meetings and events, many people would spend the rest of the weekend there. When Three Rivers would come rolling in on a Friday night, Bellwood, Stephen, Dev, Arwyn, Robert, Erich, Brom and Bear (among others), would crash at our house. When the officers of Forgotten Sea would come north of the river – no small jaunt from downtown, South Kansas City or Johnson County, Kansas – many of them would crash at our house for the weekend. That’s the group that regularly reveled at our house. If there was an event, and the dinner and revel and post-revel were over, they would come back to our house and we would sing and revel some more. That was the foundation of Wareine. There were members of Wareine who were very low profile. How many Society people outside of Wareine remember Georgio of Sweetwater, or Dorothea. Very few! And, Wareine was always family oriented. Patrick was a member. One of the very first members was a young man by the name of Richard of Baton who was a minor at the time. He grew up to become Imrael and then Morgan.
CD: Baron Morgan ( of York)?
BG: Yes. Kasmar, Andrea and Dia came in. I don’t know if you know Dia or not but she just recently graduated from high school. Dia was just every bit as much a member of Wareine as Stephen Ironhand. In fact, the first member of Wareine from outside Forgotten Sea was Bear… ‘cause he and I were kindred souls. There were probably a dozen members from Forgotten Sea before there was a second member from outside the Shire.
CD: Now, when did you start going beyond the boundaries of Calontir?
BG: Oh, there were not a whole lot of members from outside… Merowald became a member at that Crown Tourney in Three Rivers. I’m trying to think who the next one… the next one was Ian. And that wasn’t until we had moved to Milwaukee, to Caer Antereth Mawr.
CD: So Merowald was the only non-Calontirian at that point?
BG: Well, as I think back through the membership of House Wareine, there were only three non-Calontir members. They…
CD: Home come Merowald?
BG: Merowald was a friend who stayed in our home several times. We corresponded regularly for years. He fit!
BG: One of the things that I did was to decline any other households. Once I became Bailiff and then Deputy Midrealm Seneschal for Calontir, I felt that I needed to avoid joining another household as they had begun to become more political. And the political households could not accept that Wareine was not political. I have said it before and I will say it to my dying day… House Wareine was not a political thing. First Merowald and then Ian... After we left Forgotten Sea, Ian became a member of Wareine and Marianne and I became members of Talon and Claw, which is his household…. It was an exchange base on friendships.
CD: Tell me about, go to a year later, and tell me about the balloting and the coming to the Crown Tourney in Three Rivers.
BG: Aha. We had been working with Lord Rory to resolve the Calontir issue… taking baby steps. Rory finally requested a referendum on the issue from all the members of the groups. Then, if they approved it, he wanted an election of officers. I put together a system of sealed ballots, had each group vote and bring those sealed ballots to me. I took those sealed ballots to Crown Tourney in Three Rivers. I wanted some way for Rory and the rest of the Middle Kingdom to understand that we were not stacking the deck. I really wanted to avoid any misconception that we might be doing that, My idea involved Merowald, because he was a friend and because his friend, Finnvarr, both Dukes, was there. They had been the King and Prince who created Calontir, even though they didn’t know what they were doing at the time, they had unwittingly created it. I felt that it would be very apropos if I went to the two of them and asked that they do us the favor of opening and certifying the vote.
CD: Now tell me at what point did, what did they say about this change from…
BG: Oh, they were in favor of it. There was never any doubt, there was never any hesitation by the two of them. Merowald did know more about it than Finnvarr did. Finnvarr, being from Canada, I had very little contact with. Had never, I mean… I had seen Finnvarr maybe once or twice prior to that day. I knew I’d seen him once when he was on the throne, right? But you don’t get a chance to talk with him there. I may have seen him at a tourney in between and talked to him, I don’t remember for sure. But, Merowald and I had been corresponding and talking. Merowald had come to Forgotten Sea.
CD: Uh-huh. That’s where he took Ternon as a squire, wasn’t it?
BG: Yes. And that was when he joined House Wareine. We had good, clean, fun parties, let me tell you. We loved to party. The people who weren’t present for those parties never understood that. But that’s what it was all about. The Society was good for me. I’ve never been a real sociable animal. I work real well in a structure. If there is a structure, we’re going to do this. Then, I can work, I can function pretty well in that. But it wasn’t until the Society that I functioned well in an unstructured environment. And having those people in my home provided the structure to get me into this thing and involved.
CD: I find the same is true for me. When I built the armory group in my garage…
BG: They come to you.
BG: If I’ve got twelve people coming to my house tonight, I’m going to be up and participating.
BG: If I have to get out and go, I don’t know if I’m going to do it.
CD: That’s true.
BG: You understand. And that was House Wareine. I mean, you know, but you sit there and try to explain that to someone who has never experienced it and they don’t understand it. What they see are all these active members, these movers and shakers… Well, yeah, power gravitates to power. Power always gravitates to power. I didn’t invent that or make it up, it just happens. I was a mover and shaker in Forgotten Sea; Arwyn , Stephen, etc. were the movers and shakers in Three Rivers. They came to us, we went to them. Everytime I went to Three Rivers, without exception, I think I stayed at Bear’s house. Brummbar was part of my family. Seriously. Not in a mundane sense, but in the Society he was part of my extended family. And we continued to take people into the household. Chepe came in because he fit and because he was with Arwyn.
BG: Even in later years as things happened, Ternon came in. Ternon had never come north to our revels, he would always go back down south and they would do their own thing. Finally, at one event, he came north and found out that it was pretty neat. “I want to do this,” he said. He did it a couple of more times, he liked it, and he joined. He and Gleanna became members of Wareine.
CD: OK. Lets talk about, you get the ballots certified…
CD: You present them to Moonwulf.
BG: Well, we presented them to Rory.
CD: To Rory. In court or privately?
CD: And what did Rory say?
BG: He seemed pleased, especially with the certification… I told him that I had brought in sealed ballots and that I had let the Dukes certify them to make sure that everything stayed aboveboard. That I wanted to avoid people feeling that we were trying to railroad something through. That this was what the people, the populace of Calontir feels and these are the people they have chosen to be their officers.
CD: Okay. Now I’m going to ask…
BG: You have that certified ballot, right?
CD: Yes, I do. All thirty-seven votes.
BG: Not a lot more than that.
CD: You had to be a member of ..
BG: You had to be a member of the Society to vote.
CD: So you had to be a paying member, the hangers-on couldn’t vote.
BG: That’s right.
BG: But they never have been able to…
CD: Oh, well, I don’t know. In local, a lot of local shire stuff, they can.
BG: Oh, Okay. Well, to me, you’re either a member of the Society and you are involved or you’re not. If you want to come see what this is all about, hang around for a couple of months and decide if you want to play or not, that’s fine. But if you want to participate…. Right now I can’t get a family membership that allows both Marianne and me to hold office. She has to have her own membership in the Society.
CD: That’s true.
BG: that’s right. So we get two copies of all these magazines…
CD: Let me kick in, then, to… So was there any official recognition by Moonwulf at this event or did you just go through Rory?
BG: This was pretty much through Rory. I don’t remember any official recognition but there could have been some. But I don’t think so….
CD: Well, I mean, they were busy making Three Rivers a Barony.
BG: I remember that!
CD: Okay. Now at this point in all this being put together, who made the decisions for orders? Didn’t (???) on the Lilies, the Silver Hammer and the Huscarls?
BG: Well, Huscarl and Fyrd… I don’t know who else participated in the decision making on those, but I think they sprang virtually full-grown from the brain of the Bear. I think they were ingenious as they give fighters a chance to baby step to knighthood. One of the gripes of the populace of Calontir was that there was no chivalry in Calontir. We could take Calontir fighters to an event and they could win the tourney. But they couldn’t get a belt. Bear’s concept was born partially out of necessity, to give us something we could use to recognize our fighters. And partially as a form of positive feedback. “You’ve been doing very well, we’d like you to be in the Fyrd.” “You’ve been doing even better! Would you like to step up to be a Huscarl?” “You’ve done really well, you are ready for your knighthood.” And I think that’s brilliant, I really do. And that came from Bear.
BG: Each of the officers was responsible for coming up with their own award. I did the Cross of Calontir. William of Bellwood was elected Master of Sciences and he came up with the Silver Hammer.
CD: And that’s different from the Midrealm, right?
BG: Yeah. Robert Sartor came up with the Lily.
CD: So Robert was one of those people?
BG: Oh, he was the Master of Arts of Calontir.
CD: Yeah, I know that, but was he one of the House Wareine members?
BG: oh, yes.
CD: That came in and…
CD: … was part of the road crew that came to your place often?
BG: In fact, yes, Robert was a member. I remember one time Robert rolled in about midnight. He is unpacking this garb… new Henry the Eighth style garb, right? And he says, “I forgot my shirt! Marianne, do you have a sheet I could have?” She said sure and brought him a white sheet. He sat down in a corner and proceeded to tear and stitch a pleated-collar and ruffled-cuff shirt for use the next morning… while we sang and reveled around him. Yes, Robert was a member, but he was a member before he was an officer. ( Later Sir Willaim of )Bellwood was a member as well, but he was also a member before he was an officer.
CD: Okay, let me jump forward then, so you get these orders. Was the timing of these orders, and the discussions and the decisions about them predate the balloting?
BG: No. They followed very closely, probably the next event.
CD: Okay. When was it that the Middle Kingdom cut the deal that you could be Deputy Seneschal if you would drop the Bailiff?
BG: It was at that event. Actually, Rory and I cut the deal, and as Bailiff, I held the election. The votes were for me to be Seneschal. Rory warranted me and the Bailiff was history. Another baby step accomplished.
CD: But you didn’t get your warrant and you didn’t become official until later.
BG: Whatever the date is on the warrant. Everything moves at a Society pace. But it was an done deal as far as Rory and I were concerned.
CD: So now you’ve done that. Then you get together and start putting together these orders.
BG: Yes. I mean, the whole idea…
CD: Who gave you permission to develop regional orders?
CD: Why did you think that you could get away with it?
BG: Why did I think I couldn’t? Why would I even begin to believe I couldn’t?
CD: well, because it was against Midrealm law, for one thing.
BG: Shhhh. Show me. It didn’t say anything in there about regional orders. There was no prohibition against regional orders.
CD: There is a prohibition against shire orders.
BG: That is true. But it doesn’t prohibit Baronial or up. True?
BG: All right.
CD: Talymar about had a cat when he got here and found the regional orders when he toured through, because they had thoroughly stomped some shires for doing it.
BG: The orders were old news by then. The whole idea…
CD: But the thing was already so well established that there was nothing he could do about it.
BG: We had written up all of the rules of the orders, published them and everything else. The whole thing was, we couldn’t hardly get the Midrealm royalty west of the Mississippi River.
BG: Okay. Evan Nathan, who was so pro-Calontir it is unbelievable, has to send Peregrine as his deputy because he can’t get here. And so he says, “You’re official. Go do it.”
CD: Did he use Peregrine for more deputy stuff than that?
BG: I only know of that one time, but Peregrine and Nathan…
CD: When did Peregrine promise the sun and the moon…
BG: That was at an event. What I am wondering now is can you banish someone who has an AoA? I don’t know, someone made a comment about a king having banished the sun, or some such. I was going to say, “Well, doesn’t the sun have an AoA? Isn’t he official?”
CD: Well, kings can banish people…
BG: Oh, I know, but it takes a lot more work than just a pronouncement to do it if they have reached the point where they have some recognition. But…. The orders were a necessity, born out of the whole thing of “if we cannot get a knight, if we cannot get a Laurel, if we cannot even get a Dragon’s Heart or a Willow because nobody from the center of the Middle Kingdom travels west of the Mississippi to see the work we do, then at least, recognized or unrecognized, we can…”
CD: But you are doing this after only two years in the Society.
BG: I mean, am I supposed to wait until I die of old age before I start working? Or am I supposed to strike while the necessity is there?
BG: The necessity was there.
BG: Well, because there was an established system in the old Midrealm, the heart of the Midrealm. There was no working system out here at all. Robert would carry his stuff all the way to Pennsic and wasn’t getting any recognition. I don’t know anyone better in the costuming arts than Robert was at that time. I cannot speak for today.
CD: He’s probably better today than he was, he’s essentially spent the last…
BG: Ten more years, twelve more years.
CD: Ten to twelve more years.
BG: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. I went to Pennsic, I visited Cleftlands, Treegirtsea and, what is the group in Illinois that Moonwulf’s from?
BG: Yeah. And I’ve lived in Caer Antereth, I’ve visited in Nordskogen and I’ve traveled all over the Middle Kingdom, Ansteorra, Meridies, in the East Kingdom and the Far Isles. And I never saw anybody that held a candle to his costuming. But he couldn’t even get a Willow back then. Okay? All I’m saying is that not enough people outside Calontir saw his work. I’m not knocking the Middle Kingdom.
CD: Oh, I’m not attacking, I’m being the Devil’s Advocate.
BG: I know that, I understand. But, what I’m trying to clarify…
CD: This is what there beef with us was, “Well, what’s the hurry?”
BG: I only have one life to live. I’m going to live it to the fullest. I had a limited window. If I had waited until the time was right for the Midrealm, I wouldn’t have been in Calontir.
CD: Right. And Calontir wouldn’t be here.
BG: And Calontir wouldn’t be here. Well, it might be; it might not be called Calontir, but it might be. I didn’t create the Society… I didn’t even create Forgotten Sea… the Society in Kansas City was growing simultaneously with other people. It just so happened that the people in the Fountains started their group and decided to get around to the paperwork someday. We decided to do this, wrote off for the paperwork, filled it out and sent it in. So we beat them in. We just didn’t procrastinate about it or wait until the time was “right.”
CD: Okay, so now we have the officers, the orders, …
BG: and those groups are still sitting in my living room.
CD: They are still sitting in your living room…
BG: and we are still plotting things out.
CD: How many people are in Calontir now?
BG: How about thirty-seven voting members?
CD: As I look back, even as much of a seditious revolutionary as I was very shortly thereafter, the concept of doing this with thirty-seven people is massive chutzpah.
CD: Only in Calontir would we ever…. Did I ever tell you that one of the Midrealm counts ( Earl Sir Berenger) said in reference to Juan’s Pelican, that…” treason is a protected activity in Calontir.”
BG: (laughing) A recognized and protected activity.
CD: Berenger took great delight in making that pronouncement, which is probably true.
BG: Well there were really more than thirty-seven. In the SCA there are three levels of activity. There are the people who show up occasionally but never join. There are the people who might join and talk a lot but don’t do anything. They’ll show up for meetings and they’ve got plans, grandiose ideas and everything else. But if you ever put them in charge, it usually doesn’t happen. Finally, there is a small hardcore of movers and shakers. Well, those thirty-seven people were the movers and shakers of Calontir along with some of those from the middle ground. There was a bunch more middle grounders, who didn’t vote because they couldn’t, didn’t have the time to fill out the ballot, or whatever. Or maybe they didn’t come to the two or three meetings in their group where ballots were available.
CD: I’m just surprised they didn’t object to that small a number, honestly.
BG: Well, that thirty-seven is a lot of people when you start talking about hardcore. I don’t know what Grimfells is like today, but how many total people do you have in Grimfells?
CD: Well, it’s up and down. We’ve had as high as thirty; we’re down to probably fifteen on the mailing list, twelve to ten active. That’s just local.
BG: So out of your ten active, how many are movers and shakers?
CD: Um, ten.
BG: Okay. And it’s probably because you’re there, keeping them involved, too. At least in some cases.
CD: But most of them are people like Pavel and…
CD: they’re folks who’ve been around for a long time.
BG: Okay. So there are fifty percent more people members of the Society in Grimfells than there are active hardcore?
BG: So if we had thirty-seven people sign this thing, then maybe we’ve got another eighteen to twenty. So there’s really more like fifty to sixty people out there. I can’t tell you how many there were exactly. I don’t remember. I’d have to go back and look at the mailing list in the Clarion and other places to see exactly how many.
CD: By the way, please make a discussion of the Clarion as being the proto-kingdom newsletter. Because that’s what it was, perhaps.
CD: Whose decision was that?
BG: There was no regional magazine so I sent out a couple of newsletters but I’ve never been real good at doing newsletters.
CD: The Clarion was circulated widely.
BG: Yes, and I used The Clarion to publicize regional information but the Mews came along PDQ thereafter. Juan and Arwyn got the idea of publishing The Mews (or Calon Chronicles or one of 47 other names) and we suddenly had a regional magazine. But the fact was that I initially used the Clarion as a voice, because I didn’t want to publish a newsletter. I’ve done that in the past, I know how terribly pragmatic I can be.
CD: Okay. Tell me about what happened next.
CD: You began to think about having some sort of regional theme or focus…
BG: Not began… I mean we were taking the steps at this point. We were into AS XIII and the ball was literally rolling down hill, picking up speed and knocking loose other… well, let’s refer to it as a rock, that’s a better simile, rolling downhill and knocking loose other rocks that were beginning to roll downhill. Bellwood’s going off and he is doing his thing as Master of Sciences for the region of Calontir. Robert’s doing the same thing as Master of Arts, Bear as Master at Arms and Knight Marshall of the region. I was doing the same thing as Seneschal… just kind of reaching out every once in a while and give a little “attaboy” to speed it up a little bit. At this point, I didn’t have to do a whole lot, comparatively. My hard work was pretty much done when I got the balloting certified and Rory accepted it. At that point, the seneschal’s job became fairly easy, I was just sort of house-sitting while all this stuff rolled downhill. By the time we got to the point where we were beginning to think “principality application”, I was no longer in Calontir.
CD: Tell me when you all had the first tournament.
BG: For the Champion of Calontir?
CD: Yes, The Sibling of the Summer Solstice.
BG: Yeah. That tournament in AS XII had multiple names. This was Bear putting forth his plan, and he’s saying, if we want, if our goal is to be a principality, then we have to have all of the functioning institutions. Which is true.
BG: To have all the functioning institutions, we felt that the way to do that was to start getting people used to the idea that this is the way it works. Bear came up with the idea of a Champion. I thought it was a good idea and rubber stamped it real quick. So we did it and Bear won the first tourney, which wasn’t a surprise to anyone but a couple of the other fighters.
CD: What would have happened if Bear hadn’t won the tourney?
BG: It would have been someone else. But the same thing would have happened.
CD: But the other finalist was not from Calontir.
BG: I know, I know. We never thought about an outsider winning. There really wasn’t any provision for a Calontir fighter not winning. The other fighter, and I can’t remember his name right now, was from…
CD: Lord Eric Ragnarsson.
BG: Yeah. He almost died of heat prostration, trying to beat Bear. Brummbar conserved his energy, fought well and won. But there wasn’t a fallback plan. We did a lot of things on the wing. I mean, we thought this’ll work, so lets do it. This was one of them. At this point we didn’t even have figured out a lot of the office stuff. We were simply going for a Champion of Calontir. If an outsider had won, well he would have been the Champion of Calontir for that year. Until we could run another tourney. (laughter) We could find out a weekend that he was planning to be somewhere else and hold another tourney. “Come defend your title!” (laughter)
BG: We could have a single elimination tourney, and give everyone else a bye until they get to him? Line up every fighter in Calontir. (Laughter) I’m spouting off now but this is the kind of thing we used to do in my living room… brainstorm ideas. And out of insanity like that, we’d come up with some concept that would work. I’m sure you’ve done that kind of thing. Out of some absolutely absurd… Sometimes, out of the absurdities and inanities you find something that should really work out and that’s what you go with. My strength… I’ve never considered myself very creative, okay? However, I do consider myself very good at, very synergistic. Taking bits and pieces of your ideas, and her ideas, and his ideas, and saying, “This piece of your idea will work with that piece of his idea, with that piece of her idea,” and putting it all together and maybe even filling in something of my own to glue it all together.
CD: Okay, now…
BG: And that’s why earlier I said that those people sitting in that living room, all of them, every one of them, Coeur de Beouf, Imrael, Robert, Bellwood, Dev, Arwyn, Stephen, Bear, Erich, Elwyn, Davro, Marianne, Arixa, Kasmar, Andrea, Arrianna and more… Every one of them had a hand in this because every one of them helped bounce ideas around that room.
CD: Now, y’all began over the, when, over the next year you had worked at getting Forgotten Sea up to Barony?
CD: Did that just sort of naturally happen, or…?
BG: Well, it was due. We had gotten bigger and bigger. We were certainly one of the richest groups in the kingdom because of the Renaissance Festival… because of felt Robin Hood hats sold to mundanes.
BG: Oh, yeah! I was the person that the Kansas City Art Institute contacted. I cannot remember who referred them to me. We sat down with them and we agreed to do, in effect, a multiple weekend demo in October of AS XII.
BG: We were to set up some pavilions down there, run an archery booth, demonstrate fighting and generally add a little color. Give the fair some medieval atmosphere. And, what we negotiated out of it was that we could have the Robin Hood hat concession. That first October, the first weekend was really great. That was the weekend that Ton and Elizabeth came to Forgotten Sea. And, gawd, my memories of that weekend are wonderful. If you want to talk about those sometimes, there are some good stories there, especially about Ton.
CD: Ton the Traveler?
BG: Ton the Traveler. He was King of Atenveldt. Elizabeth was his lady and the Queen. They just showed up. They had been on a tour of Meridies and just showed up at the bus station. We went down and got them and brought them home to Ysted Wareine. They stayed for the weekend and went to the Renfest with us. Among the best memories that I have from that weekend concern them. Here is someone who has better armor than any of our fighters. It’s steel, right. I remember him defending the list against our fighters, successfully, one after another. And, as he would dispatch one, he would growl in a tone calculated to frizzle the fur on a hobbit’s toes, “NEXT!” That’s one of my memories of Ton. Another concerned a merchant’s booth across the creek from where we stood. To get there, you would have to go about forty or fifty feet down the creek, cross a bridge and come back. Not Ton, he just backed up about three or four steps and jumped that creek in full armor. I couldn’t jump it in my garb, much less in armor. You know, this was my idea of a fighting king. I formulated a lot of my feelings about what a king should be and be like from that exposure to Ton. He was every bit the gentleman, every bit the gentle soul, a wonderful fighter. And we had the good fortune to move to Bjornsburg in my later years and Ton and Elizabeth were there. We got to come to the Chigger War with them. Patrick, Marianne, Ton, Elizabeth, their baby and I came up in a van. And that was a lot of fun.
CD: Okay, so…
BG: We were talking about something else before I got off on… Oh, the Renfest.
CD: We were talking about Forgotten Sea. So y’all, besides the Renfest, y’all were…
BG: Well, that first year was an absolute disaster. It rained every other weekend after the first one. The Kansas City Art Institute lost something like $20,000.00 that they had spent. (whistles from the audience) It was a total wipeout because of the rain, not because of anything else. That first weekend was very successful. It just rained every other weekend. Fortunately, one of the Art Institute’s patrons wrote a check for $20,000.00 and covered the loss. So, they decided to do it again the next year. And, the rest, of course, is history. There’s been ups and downs and everything in between, but I guess that Forgotten Sea has been involved in that Renfest every since. I was only involved in those first two.
CD: Okay. Now we’re getting close. Tell me about when you found out that y’all would be a Barony, that you would be a Baron, and…
BG: You know, I think that the Barony was one of the things that I knew would just be a matter of time. We just kept baby stepping our way there. There was some discussion over who would be Baron and I stayed out of it. I felt that it was something the group had to decide for themselves. They chose Marianne and me as Baroness and Baron and I don’t argue their choice. I think there were other people that could have been chosen… Ternon for one. But I literally didn’t volunteer for the job and didn’t lobby for the job. But, we were chosen, and by the time we were chosen, we knew that we were leaving Forgotten Sea. So I was a little surprised that they chose us, knowing we were leaving. And, I was very, I think it was even more gratifying that they chose us even though they knew we were leaving. By the time we got our baronial coronets, I was already living and working in Milwaukee, in Caer Antereth Mawr and coming home maybe one or two weekends a month. Marianne was still living and working in Kansas City for several more months.
CD: Tell me about your choice of a successor.
BG: Well, that was…. I chose… During the time that I was not here and Marianne was, I asked a very good friend to act for me at events when I wasn’t there. That was Imrael, who became Morgan. Kenneth was virtually a member of our family. I don’t know if you knew it or not, but Marianne operated a daycare. That’s what she did mundanely. Originally Kenneth had stayed with us; his brother Mathew was our son’s age, almost exactly. And, in fact, it was the two of them when they were about age eight, who were collecting tolls from the mundanes on a bridge at Renfest. These two kids come up to us with money. I mean, big money. They had collected forty, fifty, sixty dollars… I don’t know how much… at fifty cents a person to get across one of those bridges. These two kids were collecting and the mundanes were just giving it to them. But Kenneth had literally probably spent as much of his waking time in our house as he had his own. He was almost a protégé to me, a very good friend of Marianne’s, so I chose him to act for me when I was not there. It just…
CD: Even though he was just sixteen?
BG: Yeah. It was just a ceremonial thing. At the time, I remember, he did such an excellent job and we discussed… I remember discussions at the time… I can’t remember a lot of the contents of those discussions, but there was a lot of discussion about succession. The consensus was that he would become Baron. I rarely did anything without discussing it with the members of the group. I usually had my own opinion, but I would always try for consensus. I would give any one of them who wanted a chance to voice their opinion, and that was one of my weaknesses. People got after me all the time, “You let them talk too much.” But, I would give them a chance to tell me how they felt, what they wanted me to do before I told them what I had decided to do.
CD: Talk to me about Coeur de Beouf. Him leaving, starting Coeur d’Ennui, and relations there.
BG: Bill, William Coeur de Beouf, probably more than anyone else, was responsible for getting me into the Society. I had seen, back in 1968, a magazine article about the Society but had been unable to make contact. That summer of 1976, Bill came and talked with me about us getting involved in the Society. To be fair, it didn’t take a lot of convincing. Bill had been a regular in our home a long time before that. He was a friend… we were role-playing together, as a matter of fact. That was how I knew Coeur de Beouf. Then he got a job in Des Moines. He and Rosamund moved there. Bill’s comment was that it was probably the most boring place in which he had ever lived. So, when he decided to try to form a group there…. Well, in fact, he and his wife constituted a group of two. I think that as soon as they found a third person they registered the name Coeur d’Ennui, are Heart of Boredom. That was Bill’s sense of humor.
BG: As far as I know, there was never a problem there.
CD: Well, later on, he and Morgan got into each other over some money from Renfest.
BG: Oh, there might have been something, but I don’t know about that. I remember you’ve said something that there was a discussion about that. I thought it was fairly quickly settled. I think there was an accounting given and that resolved the issue. But, I don’t know that was the case, that would have been third Renfest, or some such, and by then I was…
CD: You had moved on.
BG: I moved on, yeah.
CD: What did you do in Caer Antereth?
BG: Caer Antereth! I had a lot of fun. Initially, I was just another member of the Society, not a mover and shaker. Of course I was a landed Baron when I went up there and a Court Baron, later. My personality is not one that allows me to be a member of a group and not actively participate. Ian I knew well, Dughall I knew well, Rissa I knew well, Myfanwy…
CD: Was she from there?
BG: She was from there. There were a number of other people, Peter and his lady; I can’t remember all their Society names. But I got involved with them. And, we sang. We made joyous medieval music. And I had more fun than I can say… Then, Nathan moved up there and it all got better. We feasted; we had the Boar’s Head Feast. At some point there was a problem with their Pursuivant and Dughall asked me if I would take on the job temporarily and get it straightened out. So I did.
(End of first tape)
CD: Calontir Living History Series, Baron Geoffri of Wareine… We were talking about his move to Caer Antereth.
BG: I got to play a lot with some really neat people that I enjoyed being with, we had a lot of fun. I was Pursuivant through the period as they became a Barony and got to have fights with Dughall over the groups’ name because he wanted to change it to Caer Antereth Mor when it became a Barony. Caer Antereth is Welsh… Mor in Gaelic is “greater” but in Welsh can mean ocean, sea or swamp. I finally got him to use the Welsh word for greater, Mawr. So, we had a lot of fun. We traveled to Pennsic. We traveled Cleftlands. We traveled to Fourth Changelings where I became Baron Forgotten Sea. That was the Changelings where I went as GrimTor Hawgsbane and carried the Viking maiden (Brom Blackhand) out of the hall and then carried Yang (portrayed by Moonwulf) back into the hall. Dumped him on the head table, if I remember correctly. Those were fun times; there were not a whole lot of political responsibilities; there wasn’t a whole lot of politics going on that involved me. I don’t think that these days were any more fun than the ones here, but they were fun times.
CD: so then you were transferred to…
BG: To Bacail, Philadelphia, in the East Kingdom. I was there for 100 glorious days. Although I was active in the Society there for those three months I don’t think I attended any events. I went to a lot of baronial meetings and such. Made a few new friends. Among them Sidric and Fiona, who ended up moving to Stargate. And then I went trundling off to Bjornsborg. Mundanely, these were tough times. Job wise, I kept getting transferred.
CD: Leaving houses behind.
BG: Leaving houses behind. And getting deeper and deeper in debt. We played a little bit in Bjornsborg: Ton and Elizabeth, Galen and some others. Some of us came up for the Chigger War.
CD: Chigger War in… ( the last of the early Calontir border wars, held at Nord as Strom, with Atenveldt/Ansteorra. Here King King Hugo and Queen Caitlin came, making V’Tavia a barony, These were important wars in the formation of Calontir, and the Army, and were held each spring for three years, CD)
BG: It was held north of Tulsa on a lake site.
CD: That’s where I got that picture of you.
BG: Okay. Now, the one before that was the Battle of Sodden Fields. That’s where we got rained out over in Grimfells.
CD: That was the second one. Grimfells was the second one. The one at Tulsa was the first.
BG: I thought there were two outside Tulsa. ( Geoffri is correct here, CD)
CD: There may have been, but the first one was over by Tulsa.
BG: Maybe so.
CD: ‘Cause I went to that one.
BG: Did you go to Sodden Fields, in your own home shire?
CD: Well, I wasn’t down there yet. I was still working at…
BG: Oh, okay.
CD: I was still working at Columbia.
BG: It seems to me Sodden Fields was in about AS XIV while the Chigger War was in about AS XVI. You know how the memory is after this many years. They say that something is the first to go, but I can’t remember what it is…
CD: What was your impression of the Chigger War? In retrospect?
BG: Most of my memories of the Chigger War revolve around the VAST number of really severe chigger bites that Patrick received. It turned out he had an allergic reaction… he had large, really large blisters from those bites. From the Society standpoint, I remember Ton and Elizabeth but not much else of significance. You may want to jog my memory….
CD: Do you remember Calontir fighting as a unit?
BG: Beginning to do some, yeah.
CD: Because that was where it all began. At that war…
BG: That’s… was that the first time we brought the great shields? Yeah, that was the first time I had seen the shield wall.
CD: That was the very first time that this was tried. It worked well enough that people went away and said, “You know, there is something more fun than tourney fighting. We need to think about this.”
BG: Yeah, I’ve always felt that wars are more fun than tourneys.
CD: Then you moved to Wisenfeuer for a year.
BG: That was Oklahoma City, That was…
CD: ‘Cause Alarba visited you there once.
BG: Right. And, I came up from there, in fact, one of my last SCA events was the tourney at V’tavia when Shadan and Erzebet were on the throne… I came up for that. I went to one event in Wisenfeuer but I didn’t play much there, at all. Now I live in Elfsea, Fort Worth, and play very seldom. I would love to play more.
CD: If you go back, let’s step back now, and take a longer view of it. Did things work out pretty much like you figured it would? What’s the same as you dreamed of it, and what’s different?
BG: The difference is that I wasn’t here to see it. I wasn’t here to participate. It’s grown up without me. And I regret that. I regret that my mundane life pulled me away and I didn’t get to see it all happen. So I come back today and I find a teenager, literally, and I didn’t get to see many of the formative… I missed most of the formative years. Now I get to hear about it, and I get letters about it and I get farspeaker conversations but I didn’t get to see it. And, yeah, I probably do kind of feel toward Calontir like I feel about my son, because was something that I felt very deeply in my heart. And, I regret not having the opportunities to observe, just observe those formative years. What is the same? There are a few of the old timers still around. They haven’t changed that much. They grow a little older, the change a little, but they’re pretty much the same. It’s, would I have expected an event in Forgotten Sea as big as the Pennsic I attended. Not on your life!
(Unintelligible remark from the gallery)
CD: We could come close to 300 fighters by tonight.
BG: Hey, its still Friday afternoon.
CD: Its still Friday Afternoon. I can remember when Pennsic was a quiet event.
BG: On a weekend.
CD: Yeah. Didn’t get busy until Saturday. Well, Geoffri, thank you so much. Anything else?
BG: No. Having the two histories that I’ve read that you’ve done, I really do think you’re doing an excellent job of preserving a fair and amiable history of what was sometimes a very turbulent time. A lot happened quickly, and I know it astounds some people that we did so much so quickly. But, we had a lot of very talented people. I take credit for helping, for being the front man. But, we did it, those of us who were there at the time. That is the truth of the matter.
CD: What’s your sign-off?
BG: In those days it was, “Am y Canol a Calontir,” which is “For the Middle and Calontir.” Today its just “For Calontir!”
CD: I think that’s a good place to leave it. Thank you very much.
BG: My pleasure.
Revised 12/1/97 by Geoffri, and 12/1/97 by Crag
For use on the Web.