From the Chronicler & Web-Minister
Birthdays for June & July:
Tamitsa - June 20
Colean Thomas McCullen - June 16
Let me know if you birthday is in August or September!
Don't forget to visit our Baronial Web-Scroll at:
Now with a full Oerthan Calendar!
Event and Officer Information and past Gatekeepers are available at this site, as well as links for research and personal pages. Please send any Corrections, Comments, Heraldry submission, SCA pictures in .jpg, or .gif formats, etc to the Chronicler/Web-Minister at:
Site is updated often, please visit regularly. Set as your "Start Page"!
August is the 20th anniversary of Winter's Gate. Maybe we should think about some way to celebrate after everyone gets back!
This is The Gatekeeper. It is a publication by and for the members of the Barony of Winter's Gate, June & July, A.S. XXXIII (1998). It is NOT a corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., and does not delineate SCA policies. The Gatekeeper is available for a standard donation to the Barony of $5.00 (for about 8 issues). Send checks or money orders payable to
"The Barony of Winter's Gate" to:
Sharron Albert, Box 80925, Fairbanks, AK 99708.
Spring Captaincy Report
(having occurred on May 23, A.S. XXXIII (1998))
Captaincy was originally going to be at Chena lakes, but due to a double booking error, the site was changed, and the event was held at the river pavillion at Alaskaland Park both days.
Their Highnesses Georg and Katarzina came up, accompanied by Sir Richenza, Sir Nicholaus, Kendrick (Nicholaus' squire) and Lord Alphonso (who also brought the White Stag challenge); Viscountess Margarita and Captain Fergus also came up. They reported snow in the passes! Also in attendance was our own Lord Khevron, traveling with his folks. In a closely fought round robin, and an extended 3-way finals, Lord Kendrick defeated Lord Fergus and was invested as Captain on Sunday. He was inspired by Lady Conandil, who was invested as Heart. Kendrick was charged by His Highness to prepare our forces for war, and he has promised to come up as often as possible (probably with his knight) to do just that.
Feasting board was set with many wonderful dishes, and His Highness invited all the fighters to speak about their opponents in the lyst during dinner. Sir Nicholaus entertained with several songs, and there were many other toasts and stories.
At Their Highnesses Court, Khevron was granted a Leaf of Merit for his work, especially as long-distance baronial chronicler and founding seneschal of Moroedd Oer. Hafoc Rhea of Moroedd Oer was granted an Award of Arms (Khevron delivered the news and his scroll via videotape of court 2 weeks later). Their Highnesses are looking forward to meeting Lord Hafoc at the upcoming war in Eskalya, as he is rumored to be planning to attend. At baronial court that same evening (Saturday), Baroness Morgana gave Khevron a Baroness' Recognition and a scroll needed for the Canton petition.
On Sunday, after investiture, Morgana gave Baroness' Recognitions to Lady Magda, Lady Conandil and Lord Conn (who was herald-in-charge for the event) for the work they have done in recent months, including autocratting events and opening their homes for meetings and gatherings. Lady Magda also received a Silver Swan, the baronial arts award, for her work in costuming, research and cooking.
Other notable happenings: Lord Conn laid claim to some land in the Indias in the name of the barony; the White Stag challenged all in chivalry; Lord Eoin McLaren attended and promised to continue;
a marshalling class was held by Sir Nicholaus and those who attended were passed and promised cards; and the weather, after a chilly Saturday morning, turned gorgeous.
- Edited by Khevron
August 22 will the big Kite-flying picnic in Delta Junction. More details to follow! Morgana yr Oerfa is the autocrat.
Viscountess Alicianne de Montfort of Sprucewood, who started out with the SCA in Winter's Gate, is now Vesper Herald, the chief herald for the Kingdom of the West!
Congratulations Alicianne! HAZAH!
The "nearly incipient" Canton of Moroedd Oer plans to submit their petition for branch status this month!
An event is in the works for August as well
The Office of Seneschale of the College of St. Boniface is passing to Ariana
St. Boniface SCA List-Server
For all interested, Lord Godric has set up a listserver to suppliment e-mail. The server should be a little quicker, as messages e-mailed to the server will automatically copy and forward the message to all the other listserve members. All who wish to subscribe, please send a message to "LISTSERV@galileo.admin.uaf.edu" with "SUBSCRIBE SCA-L" in the body of the message. If you have questions or comments, send them to email@example.com.
Thank you all
- Godric Logan
Who is Da'ud Bob ibn Briggs??
Da'ud Bob ibn Briggs was born of an idea in the winter of 1985-86, upon seeing a movie on WTBS that I thought that other members of the Society for Creative Anachronism in my local group in Dallas, Texas (the Barony of the Steppes) would interested in. So I thought I'd write a brief review for publication in the monthly newsletter for the local group.
For those of you know don't know me, my persona name in the SCA is Da'ud ibn Auda. At the time, I regularly read the movie reviews of "Drive-In Movie" critic Joe Bob Briggs, at that time appearing weekly in the Dallas Times Herald newspaper. For those of you who have read any of his reviews, or seen his shows on Showtime or the TNT cable networks, you will understand when I note that Joe Bob's style is somewhat "off-beat". However, I found (and still find) his format to be both educational and entertaining. So I thought I would borrow it for writing the review of that old movie on WTBS. And, combining my SCA name with that of Joe Bob Briggs, as I was combining the SCA's area of interest with his style of movie reviewing, was born "Da'ud Bob ibn Briggs, Historical Drive-In Movie critic for the Barony of the Steppes".
"But what about Joe Bob Briggs?" I hear you ask. "What about copyright?" After it started becoming apparent that the Da'ud Bob column was going to continue to be a popular part of The Steppesletter every month, I copied the reviews I had written to that point and sent them to Joe Bob along with a letter briefly explaining the SCA, the popularity of the reviews that I was writing in his style, and asking permission to continue to infringe on his name and style to the extent that I was. I shortly thereafter received a handwritten reply (on dark red paper which had slasher movie posters for an order) informing me that someday he would ask me for my first-born child but that other than that it was "no problema". I still have that letter as a treasured keepsake.
Since that first review, Da'ud Bob has developed (or, more often, had developed for him) an incomplete biography, a place to live (Steppeford Springs), a trailer in the Tornado Flats Mobile Land Community out next to the Starlight Express Drive-In Cinema, a whole passle of friends and co-conspirators who occasionally show up in reviews (Anna Sue, Marti Jo, Sandi Lynn, Sparky, and others), some of whom live down the road at Possum Acres Trailer Park, and a bunch of interesting places to visit and shop (El Pollo del Mar Motel, The Truck Stop Cafe and Fill 'Em Up, Joe Don's Bar and Grill, the Greater World of Fabric, The Frosty Queen Ice Cream Emporium and Hamburger Grill, and, of course, the various videotape and movie stores: Videos R Us, The Greater World of Videos, Chock Full O' Videos, the Mega-Hyper-Giga Video Store, and others). Why, I've even got my own pickup truck now - it's called Saddam "because it usually makes a lot of noise and produces a lot of smoke but never goes anywhere after that". Or so am told. (I am not making this up!)
Or, even more briefly:
Da'ud Bob ibn Briggs is the self-styled "Historical Drive-In Movie Critic for the Barony of the Steppes". He has been writing reviews of movies set in and about the SCA's period of study for more than twelve years. Da'ud ibn Auda (OL, OP, quondam Laurel King of Arms) is a late 12th-early 13th Century Arab whose goal in life is to help rid his homeland of its Frankish invaders, and who doesn't know what "movies" are. David B. Appleton is familiar with both of the just-mentioned gentlemen, since they live in different parts of his head. He likes both of them equally, but think they take up too much of his time and spare change. ("Ooh, look, a biography of Saladin!" "Ooh, look, a used copy of "Deathstalker III"!")
June Movie Review
by Da'ud Bob ibn Briggs
Well, the hype had been tremendous. I thought they had gone a bit overboard when, a year ago, they had hyped the (then) upcoming TV mini-series The Odyssey. Well, this year, if there was anyone who watched TV at all for a good six to eight weeks, they knew that NBC was going to show a brand new, blow out your mind entertainment, chock full o' special effects, check out all of these well-known names as actors, this has cost us a bundle and we need you to watch so we can attempt to at least break even on it, two-part mini-series. Given the topic, I had no choice but to watch it, and to review it for you. And so it is that this month, Da'ud Bob reviews Merlin.
This one stars Sam Neill in the title role as Merlin, assisted by Isabella Rossellini as Merlin's love Nimue, Miranda Richardson in a dual role as Mab and as Mab's sister, the Lady of the Lake, Martin Short as Frik, Rutger Hauer as Vortigern, Helena Bonham Carter as the adult Morgan Le Fey, Sir John Gielgud (in a very brief role) as King Constant, James Earl Jones as the Mountain King, Paul Curran as Arthur, Jeremy Sheffield as Lancelot, Lena Heady as Guinevere, Mark Jax as Uther, John McEnery as Lord Ardent, Thomas Lockyer as the Duke of Cornwall, Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Sir Boris, Rachel Colover as Igraine, Jason Done as Mordred, Billie Whitelaw as Ambrosia, Timothy Bateson as the Abbott of Avalon, and a bunch of others. (Really, if it weren't for the special effects, I would have thought that they blew the entire budget just on actors.) The story is pretty much in outline the best-known Arthurian legend, though the core of this version is the conflict between Mab, who wants Britain to return to the "old ways", and Merlin, who dislikes (to put it very mildly) her methods.
All in all, the whole thing was extremely well done. The characters appear like real people, and most of the Arthurian legends were told in such a way that they not only followed the legends closely but in ways that made the people seem believable as people rather than as legends. The good points were legion. Most of the costuming looked like they had done real research for it. Most of the armor was appropriate to the Romano-British period in which the historical Arthur would have lived.
Real mail. Nice scale armor. Excalibur's hilt. The dragon banners. (Based, I believe, on the white dragon banner of Wessex. Nicely done!). The chitons. Lancelot's cloak. The tournament was done as a melee, not a one on one over a barrier - just like all of the early tournaments were done. Using spear-type lances instead of the late big tournament lances that we're all so used to seeing in the movies. The special effects (for the most part). Anna Sue likes the fairies.
The bad points were far fewer. Lancelot's plate armor was many years too late for Arthur's period. The horned helm. Guinevere's dresses. (I'm not going to put Mab's dresses down as a bad point, since she wasn't human, but of "faerie", so her stuff was not historical in any case.) Bound books. Mordred's bat-winged helm.
Zero breasts. 101/2 Gallons of blood. 169 dead bodies. Heads roll. Crowns roll. Rocks roll. Waters roll. Catapult fu. Spilt milk fu. Dragon fu. Griffin fu. Bee fu. (No, really!) Sword fu. Dagger fu. Axe fu. Lance fu. Fireball fu. Gratuitous "swimming fish" necklace. Gratuitous quicksand. Gratuitous William Tell scene. Frik pipes himself aboard. Talk about "strong" breath! Academy Award nominations to Billie Whitelaw as Ambrosia for ""Of course I defy you. I've always defied you."; to Sam Neill as Merlin, in a scene reminiscent of Luke Skywalker in a different movie, for "I'll never help you."; to Helena Bonham Carter as Morgan Le Fey for "Beauty is always an illusion."; to Miranda Richardson as Mab for, in speaking of Frik, "He's left my employment. Without a reference."; to Peter Eyre as the Chief Physician for "Trust us. If we treat a knight for a broken arm, that is what he will die of."; and finally, to Ann Hollowood for the costuming. A 73 on the Vomit Meter. 31/2 Stars. Da'ud Bb says, "Like Frik, 'I like a happy ending.' Check it out!"
This month's Gatekeeper Cover
This months Cover shows the basic Heraldic Ordinaries. Ordinaries are defined in the SCA as simple geometric charges that pass through the center of the field and terminate at the edge of the field (the pale, fess, bend, bend sinister, chevron, cross, saltire, pall and pile) their diminutives, and the simple geometric additions to the edges of the field (chief, bordure). In August, 1996, I made a cover featuring the Field Divisions (see web-site).
Most of the ordinaries have many versions or Sub-ordinaries. Lines can be indented as on our Baronial Arms, wavy, embattled, raguly, dovetailed, engrailed, invected, or dancette. The ordinary may be altered itself as in inverted, or lines bent as in enarched or ploye'. Some ordinaries can be combined together or counterchanged, commonly one ordinary with a bordure. As in all things, not all the rules apply to all the ordinaries, and many combinations or variations are either poor heraldry, or heraldry out of period.
The History of the English Language
by Owen Alun and Brendan O'Corraidhe
In the beginning there was an island off the coast of Europe. It had no name, for the natives had no language, only a collection of grunts and gestures that roughly translated to "Hey!", "Gimme!", and "Pardon me, but would you happen to have any woad?"
Then the Romans invaded it and called it Britain, because the natives were "blue, nasty, br(u->i)tish and short." This was the start of the importance of u (and its mispronounciation) to the language. After building some roads, killing off some of the nasty little blue people and walling up the rest, the Romans left, taking the language instruction manual with them.
The British were bored so they invited the barbarians to come over (under Hengist) and "Horsa" 'round a bit. The Angles, saxons, and Jutes brought slightly more refined vocal noises.
All of the vocal sounds of this primitive language were onomatapoedic, being derived from the sounds of battle. Consonants were were derived from the sounds of weapons striking a foe. ("Sss" and "th" for example are the sounds of a draw cut, "k" is the sound of a solidly landed axe blow, "b", "d", are the sounds of a head dropping onto rock and sod respectively, and "gl" is the sound of a body splashing into a bog. Vowels (which were either gargles in the back of the throat or sharp exhalations) were derived from the sounds the foe himself made when struck.
The barbarians had so much fun that decided to stay for post-revel. The British, finding that they had lost future use of the site, moved into the hills to the west and called themselves Welsh. The Irish, having heard about language from Patrick, came over to investigate. When they saw the shiny vowels, they pried them loose and took them home. They then raided Wales and stole both their cattle and their vowels, so the poor Welch had to make do with sheep and consonants. ("Old Ap Ivor hadde a farm, L Y L Y W! And on that farm he hadde somme gees. With a dd dd here and a dd dd there...")
To prevent future raids, the Welsh started calling themselves "Cymry" and gave even longer names to their villages. They figured if no one could pronounce the name of their people or the names of their towns, then no one would visit them. (The success of the tactic is demonstrated still today. How many travel agents have YOU heard suggest a visit to scenic Llyddumlmunnyddthllywddu?)
Meantime, the Irish brought all the shiny new vowels home to Erin. But of course they didn't know that there was once an instruction manual for them, so they scattered the vowels throughout the language purely as ornaments. Most of the new vowels were not pronounced, and those that were were pronounced differently depending on which kind of consonant they were either preceding or following.
The Danes came over and saw the pretty vowels bedecking all the Irish words. "Ooooh!" they said. They raided Ireland and brought the vowels back home withthem. But the Vikings couldn't keep track of all the Irish rules so they simply pronounced all the vowels "oouuoo." In the meantime, the French had invaded Britain, which was populated by descendants of the Germanic Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. After a generation or two, the people were speaking German with a French accent and calling it English. Then the Danes invaded again, crying "Oouuoo! Oouuoo!," burning abbeys, and trading with the townspeople.
The Britons that the Romans hadn't killed intermarried with visiting Irish and became Scots. Against the advice of their travel agents, they descided to visit Wales. (The Scots couldn't read the signposts that said, "This way to LLyddyllwwyddymmllwylldd," but they could smell sheep a league away.) The Scots took the sheep home with them and made some of them into haggis. What they made with the others we won't say, but Scots are known to this day for having hairy legs.
The former Welsh, being totally bereft, moved down out of the hills and into London. Because they were the only people in the Islands who played flutes instead of bagpipes, they were called Tooters. This made them very popular. In short order, Henry Tooter got elected King and begin popularizing ornate, unflattering clothing.
Soon, everybody was wearing ornate, unflattering clothing, playing the flute, speaking German with a French accent, pronouncing all their vowels "oouuoo" (which was fairly easy given the French accent), and making lots of money in the wool trade. Because they were rich, people smiled more (remember, at this time, "Beowulf" and "Canterbury Tales" were the only tabloids, and gave generally favorable reviews even to Danes). And since it is next to impossible to keep your vowels in the back of your throat (even if you do speak German with a French accent) while smiling and saying "oouuoo" (try it, you'll see what I mean), the Great Vowel Shift came about and transformed the English language. The very richest had their vowels shifted right out in front of their teeth. They settled in Manchester and later in Boston.
There were a few poor souls who, cut off from the economic prosperity of the wool trade, continued to swallow their vowels. They wandered the countryside in misery and despair until they came to the docks of London, where their dialect devolved into the incomprehensible language known as Cockney. Later, it was taken overseas and further brutalized by merging it with Dutch and Italian to create Brooklynese.
That's what happened, you can check for yourself. But I advise you to just take our word for it.
Copyright (c) 1994 Corrie Bergeron and Ben Tucker all rights reserved Permissions: This may be reproduced in SCA newsletters for non- commercial purposes only. (i.e., If you make any money off of it, send us a cut.)
Owen Alun is a wandering Cornish poet and harper. Ben Tucker is a hardware tech support specialist.
Brendan O Corraidhe is a wandering Irish singer and storyteller. Corrie Bergeron is a project manager and designer for the company that makes PLATO educational software.
From the Baroness
As many members of the barony are off doing summer activities, unlike other groups, we slow down and enjoy the light. Solars are once a month. If you're interested in fighter practice, contact Ronan or Patrick, to find out current status. Don't forget coronet. It looks like we'll be having a picnic with kite-flying in mid-August in Delta. Stay tuned for details. Conandil and Conn are off to get married, and will celebrate with us when they return. Grimr and Briana will be moving to Selviergard. Although we will miss them, they'll be back to visit.
So enjoy the summer and come on home in time for Harvest Captaincy!
Tanana Middle School Demo Report
Having ocurred May 22
Barony of Winter's Gate (Fairbanks, AK)
Even though no fighter's could be mustered for the demo, the youngsters of the 7th grade medieval history section were well entertained. Briana, Rutger, Magda and Khevron, after a brief explanation of the SCA, asked for some vlunteers to try a simple medieval dance, and got more than they asked for. Of approximately 150 students in attendance, about 100 of them came down to learn the Calithean Bransle, and then Branle l'Officiale. The assigned hour was easily filled.
The students were afterwards having a renaissance feast.