Long Live the King

April Porter

April Porter

April Porter, Scene Reporter

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April Porter
Hailing from the Kingdom of An Tir, Knight Deagar Fairhair suits up for fighter practice. He places thick pads on his knees, shoulders and elbows followed, by a red cloak and armor made of leather and copper. The finishing touch is his dented metal helmet of 26 years. With the feather flapping in the breeze, Fairhair grabs his hide-wrapped wooden sword and metal framed shield.

Doug Mathies, the aforementioned knight, eyes his opponent Isaac Kindervag, a senior physical education major from CWU. This is Kindervag’s first time at a fighter practice for the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA). Mathies, is not only a seasoned knight, but also a court baron and a captain of a war band.

“I’m looking at all those meaty bits I’m going to hit,” said Mathies  as he looked over at Kindervag. Kindervag has a wooden ax with a foam top in his hand with no shield to block the blows coming his way. Mathies taught Kindervag multiple moves and techniques that he learned over the years.

The fighters are preparing for the weekend tournaments where they can earn their knighthood through medieval battles. Mathies just returned from May Crown, a tournament in Moses Lake.

“It was my first time with new armor,” Mathies said. Believing he wouldn’t last long in the war, his 26 years of experience shone through as he ended up being in the top 8 out of almost 100 fighters in the battle before he “died.”

During these weekend events, there are many activities for people to take part in. Everything from medieval cooking, sewing, leather making, blacksmithing, horseback riding and many other medieval practices are open for anyone to learn.

Participants stay the whole weekend. Everyone brings a tent from their era and sets up camp on Friday. Mathies has a Viking A-frame tent that he uses for such events. Saturday is when most of the activities and competitions take place and Sunday is for packing up and going home.

During the summer, if a person is willing to drive, they could attend an event almost every weekend. “It’s a way of life,” Mathies said. About 95 percent of his friends are in SCA. He also has two sons, one of whom was crowned king twice.

“It’s a home away from home,” said Pierce Williams, a junior musical theatre major. Williams got involved with SCA four years ago through his girlfriend, Firen Hodges—also a senior biology major—whose father is a baron of his region and was a former king. “It’s a family you get to choose,” Williams said. It’s a welcoming environment where, “you can always find something to do.”

Like many SCA members, Williams has his own persona and medieval name. From the 600s Anglo-Saxon/Viking era, Williams goes by the name Ragnar at the SCA events. “I get to be myself, but I also get to be someone else,” Williams said. Being in college brings stresses, but he said that the “[SCA]’s an escape for [him].”

Williams describes the people in SCA as welcoming. He has brought friends to multiple events and no one needs to be a member to enjoy the festivities. “We want people to feel safe and have fun,” Williams said. “The atmosphere is casual and there is no pressure to talk in a medieval way.”

Frank Rodriguez, or Jetainokur FI Mongul, describes why he is a fighter in the SCA. “The rush, the adrenaline, the chivalry, the honor,” Rodriguez said. “I love the people.”

After being out of the fight for two years from having surgery on his neck, if he gets to fight again his goal is to get the white belt, which is a higher position as knight.

There are many things to achieve in SCA at the weekend events. The Baron of Yakima and Kittitas county—The Barony of Vulkanfeldt—Ron Mansfield or Baron Rurik GJafvaldsson, says the biggest event Yakima puts on is in April. About 300 people from all over showed up last year.

Another big event is the archery fest in September. Not just bows and arrows are used in the tournament, also included are throwing axes, knives and pumpkins. The pumpkins are shot into the air with a trebuchet, a huge catapult big enough to throw 1000s of pounds.

Anyone can go to these events. Scott Harper is also a part of the SCA, he works in the Wildcat Shop at CWU collecting books for the shop to sell. For those who really want to get involved, there are memberships that can be purchased to join into even more events and activities.

The baron and baroness are happy to answer any questions. Information can be found on the website at antir.sca.org. There is also more information on their Facebook page at Kingdom of An Tir – SCA.

Fighter practice takes place every Thursday night at 6:30 p.m at Fulbright Park in Union Gap, Washington.

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Long Live the King