[Darkwood-SCA] Fwd: From Master Juan and Dame Rose

katherineofskye purpleviking at sbcglobal.net
Thu Sep 18 14:54:53 PDT 2008

Answers to questions submitted by the populace of Darkwood: 

Below is our reply to the questions. While all of these are written 
in my voice I am speaking for both us and Rose has vetted all of 
these responses.

Thank you,


What is your vision of the future for the Barony?
What are your goals for the Barony?
I am going to answer these questions together as I see them as being 
very similar.

Rose and I have a number of goals, but they can't be specifically 
enumerated. The reason for this is simple -- they aren't 
individualized goals. It would be nice to give a bullet point list of 
goals but we recognize that this is not very practical. So instead I 
would speak to the general sense of what our goals are throughout 
these questions and trust to you to gather what our vision is.

We understand that there are people who would like to restore 
the "Glory Days of Darkwood" but Rose and I feel that this is not 
really a good idea. Not because there were no such days or that they 
weren't a good thing, but because it implies that we are looking 
backward rather than forward. It's hard to go forward if you spend 
your time looking back over your shoulder. The problem with trying to 
relive your glory days is that you can easily become stuck within 
them. It is all too easy to reminisce about the glory days and wish 
that things were like them once again rather than to take the lessons 
learned and apply them to what we are doing today and for the future.

For many years the focus of Darkwood was fighting, especially on the 
war field. In recent years, a large part of the focus of Darkwood has 
been to the service of both the Principality and to the Kingdom. 
There is an obvious correlation between who the sitting Baron and 
Baroness were and those drives. Wilhelm, leading the Huscarls, 
brought glory to Darkwood on the war field. Erich and Lisel, acting 
from their spirit of service, brought glory to Darkwood by making it 
a place of welcome and support for anyone and everyone.

Rose and I have an opportunity to inspire in a wide variety of ways 
and that is what we hope to do. As Laurels we hope to inspire the 
populace to stretch their skills and knowledge in the Arts and 
Sciences. As a Pelican, Rose wishes to continue to inspire the 
service Darkwood has come to be known for. As a rapier fighter who 
has spent so much effort on bringing rapier into the mainstream of 
SCA fighting culture, I hope to continue to inspire the fighters of 
Darkwood to integrate all of the fighting arts into a greater whole. 
I will speak more to those points in specific in a later question 

Rose and I also see the opportunity to take all of these aspects of 
Darkwood and bring them together in a way that may not have been 
possible before. It certainly would not have been possible without 
the hard work of those who have gone before us. We can create 
something amazing by making Darkwood greater than the sum of its 

Our vision for the future? To continue what has been done before us 
and to take Darkwood to another level, where everyone in this Kingdom 
and beyond knows that Darkwood is *the* place to come to learn, to 
get support no matter what the task is, and to play hard both on and 
off the field.

Rose and I frequently use the word "community." We believe in 
connecting different groups and sub-groups and bringing them together 
in common cause and common goal. This is what makes communities, and 
this is what makes communities strong.

Each of the Cantons within the Barony, and those who call themselves 
"The Great Unwashed" have a character all their own and they all 
bring something special to the table. It's not an easy thing to find 
a way to integrate those unique characteristics into a single 
thriving community, but this is indeed what we would like to attempt, 
and we believe it will make Darkwood a much stronger Barony.
What is your plan to encourage new members and encourage 
Recently a series of videos was produced, outlining how to do demos 
and to recruit and, more importantly, retain new members. Thanks to 
the efforts of Seaghdha, Rose and I viewed these videos and discussed 
them at some length and we have found several very good ideas which 
we believe would work extremely well in Darkwood.

In particular, we feel that what we need to do is identify the kinds 
of places where we could hold demos that will help us draw in the 
kind of membership we currently need, i.e., people in their mid-20s 
to mid-30s. While we do very well with demos at schools, this doesn't 
bring in the kind of membership that will stay with us for long, 
unless we happen to also attract the parents of those kids who see us.

Caer Darth has recently had good experiences with doing demos for one 
of the local Masonic Halls and is looking into other locations that 
have the kinds of people we would like to attract. By offering them 
the opportunity to get a demo from us, rather than passively waiting 
for someone to call us and ask us what we do, Rose and I believe we 
can inspire an influx of new members and to encourage the growth of 
the Barony and thus the Principality and Kingdom. The Caer Darth "Day 
On The Green" also attracted the attention of several potential new 

Capitalizing on these ideas and using the membership retention 
techniques discussed in the videos will give us a good tool set which 
we hope to use to encourage a developing membership and continued 
participation in the SCA.
Do you feel you truly have the energy and resources needed to meet 
the challenges of being Baron and Baroness?
Yes. Next question. *smile*

Okay, you probably want more of an answer than that, but truly that 
is a "yes or no" question. *smile*

Rose and I spent a significant amount of time thinking about this 
job. We both recognize that it is, indeed, a job first and foremost: 
to be servants of the Barony. We looked at it in light of the many 
other things that we do both in the SCA and in our own lives, and we 
considered what kind of a draw on our time this would be. We 
determined that we did indeed have the "bandwidth" to seriously take 
on this job and to not just be placeholders, but to actively guide 
the Barony.

I am going to make an assumption that what lay behind this question 
has more to do with our people managing skills than anything else. 
After all, the Barony is really a collection of people and that means 
there will be the need for time and energy on our part to listen to 
the people and to address their concerns.

Yes, we are prepared for this. We know what our skills are when it 
comes to managing people. We are both very up front people ourselves. 
We understand discretion and we understand the need to handle things 
sensitively if needed. We also understand when it is time to drag a 
situation into the light and to look at it from many different 
directions. We are both goal oriented people. We want to see things 
get done and we recognize that the best way to do that is not to 
tackle every little problem ourselves but to give those who are 
closest to any situation the tools and power to act responsibly.

Yes, there will be times when it becomes necessary for those wearing 
the big hats to make a decision and to say "this is how this will be 
done/dealt with/handled, etc" but we both recognize that such a 
position is one that is best taken only after all other options have 
been checked into.

We are both big proponents of the "go ask directly" method of dealing 
with incomplete information. We know that people discuss things 
amongst themselves. They are going to. But we also recognize that 
unless people are careful about how they conduct such discussion they 
can inadvertently create misinformation or misunderstanding. This 
happens when people make assumptions about knowledge that they don't 
actually have. The easiest way to avoid that is to go ask directly 
the people who are actually involved. We know this and we adhere to 
this. We have found over our respective years in the SCA that this is 
indeed the best policy for getting things done.
How do you propose to manage the storage space requirements for the 
regalia, feast ware, the Darkwood tower and walls?
While we know that with a bit of juggling we would be able to store 
the regalia and feast ware ourselves, we would like to look at 
finding a storage locker facility to handle this task. The storage 
sheds that are currently in use have done their job, but the use of a 
storage locker, located either centrally to the Barony or more 
closely to ourselves or a new regalia officer seems to be an ideal 
way to go. We believe that the Barony can easily sustain a minimal 
cost for rent at such a facility.

We suggest this because more and more frequently we hear of trailers 
being stolen or looted and of expensive items being taken. A storage 
locker for the regalia and feast ware would help secure and protect 
those items, both from theft and simple physical weathering, in a 
fashion we feel protects the investment that Darkwood has in its 
regalia. Keeping all of these items belonging to the Barony in a 
secure storage locker also makes inventory control a much more 
feasible process. Given the amount of property Darkwood owns, we feel 
that good inventory control is a key issue in both protecting and 
maintaining Darkwood's assets.

As to the Darkwood Castle, it was recently discussed at a Baronial 
meeting that the current incarnation should be retired and a project 
was proposed to rebuild the castle. We would like to explore that as 
a priority order of business. The Darkwood Castle is a well known and 
well loved fixture and we would like to see it recreated. That means 
finding a team of people to lead the project and then determining the 
necessary space and resources to accomplish it. Knowing that will 
help us determine the best possible way to handle the Darkwood Castle 
and its storage options.
The Barony has a long history of support for the Principality and 
Kingdom in times of war. What is your vision for the Barony as a 
whole and the Huscarls in particular?
I spoke above about much of my vision for the Barony as a whole and 
some with regards to the fighting aspects of the Barony, but here I 
will speak about the things which I feel are important with regards 
to our fighter community.

First I would like to elaborate on my actual fighting experience.

Yes, many years ago I fought on the heavy field. It was in borrowed 
armor and I entered a couple of tourneys and fought a few melees. I 
enjoyed myself greatly but did not keep up with it for the simple 
reason of expense. I was much younger and did not have the financial 
ability to support heavy fighting at the time.

In the past five years I have been extremely involved in the rapier 
community working to restore its place in the SCA. Yes, I do know 
that there are people who do not like rapier, but as you may have 
noticed over recent years, many renowned individuals throughout the 
Kingdom have seriously reconsidered rapier and its place. Many have 
taken up the study of rapier, recognizing it as another way to learn, 
grow and challenge themselves. More and more people are seeing that 
the rapier community really does have a valid place in our wonderful 

Darkwood has had a lot to do with that. I'll even engage in a slight 
bit of bravado and say that I personally have had something to do 
with that. In my time fighting rapier I have served on Kingdom and 
Principality Guards. I have served as the Rapier Champion of 
Darkwood, and had the distinct honor of being the personal rapier 
champion to Viscount Sir Leon while he served as Prince of The Mists. 
I was involved directly in the institution of the Mists' Rapier 
Champion at his request. I rewrote the charter of The Royal Guild of 
Defense and arranged the signing of The Falcon's Treaty Rapier Event, 
a treaty to support an annual rapier event between the three Baronies 
of The Mists: Darkwood, Westermark and Vinhold.

As of this past Cynagua/Mists War I can tell you that I have also 
created and fielded the first Rapier War Unit in The Mists, The 
Falcon's Company, which is made up in large part of fighters from 

So I have come to appreciate many things about the SCA fighting 

One of the things that has often been said is that where Darkwood 
points, others follow. Darkwood activities have a huge impact on how 
the Principality and the Kingdom grow. The example of rapier in The 
Mists can be seen stemming from much of what Darkwood has done. 
Darkwood contains within its borders and its populace excellent sites 
for tourneys and wars, and excellent leaders in heavy fighting, 
rapier fighting, and archery, and now we are developing both Cut & 
Thrust fighting and equestrian activities. If your imagination is not 
sparked by that, then I am going to have to work very hard indeed! 

The Darkwood presence on the field of war has been missed in recent 
years. The work that Eric Bjornson and Michael of Hawks Haven have 
done recently to correct this is wonderful and we fully encourage 
them to continue that work. It should be noted that this work has 
been focused on the reformation of The Huscarls and we applaud that 
work. Eric and I have already begun discussing the creation of a 
rapier contingent to the Huscarls, and while that conversation hasn't 
proceeded very far as yet, we have discussed setting ground rules for 
anyone who wishes to take up the rapier as a Huscarl.

One of the things that I have noticed throughout the Kingdom at large 
is the steady development of war units. They have existed for some 
time, of course, but in recent years there has been an amazing push 
and focus on them. At 12th Night this past year Havoc and Ginevra, 
instituted The Chartered War Unit program. If Rose and I were to step 
up as Baron and Baroness we would both strongly encourage The 
Huscarls to use this as a guide to their reformation. We would also 
strongly encourage them to follow the examples set by such groups as 
The Argent Angels and The Spartans by creating a written charter 
which will help to clearly define them as a group and define their 

The Chartered War Unit program is a challenge worthy of the quality 
of Darkwood fighters in war. Bringing together a group of fighters 
who commit a preset minimum of their forces to a set number of wars 
each year, provide support services and demonstrate a consistent 
level of prowess is exactly the kind of thing that could be used to 
guide the focus of the Huscarls. Certainly I have found it of value 
in the creation and guidance of Falcon's Company.

In addition I would like to spend a good deal of time and effort on 
The Ranger Program in Darkwood. I am a Ranger myself, but learning 
about the Rangers is somewhat difficult as all the information about 
them is not easily available. I would like to take what they 
currently are and what they were intended to be and bring all of that 
together into a whole that is easier for the populace to learn about 
and understand. Right now the Ranger Program is a bit disjointed and 
disconnected, but it appeals to me because of how much it 
represents the establishment and support of the well rounded citizen 
of the SCA. While Rangers are required to be fighters of some kind, 
it also requires them to engage in and foster so many other aspects 
of what we are about as an organization that it appeals in large part 
to many of the things that Rose and I wish to see expand in the 
future of Darkwood.

In addition to all of the above there are several developing programs 
for combat arts in the Kingdom right now and I would like to 
encourage the populace of the Barony to find something they are 
interested in and embrace it with the kind of energy and service that 
Darkwood has come to be known for. I have discussed working with the 
Baronial Archer about missile weapons on the rapier field. I have 
also been approached by the equestrian community to help develop a 
combined Equestrian/Archery/Rapier event.

Supporting the development of these additional combat arts and arenas 
supports fighting throughout the Barony, throughout the Principality 
and throughout the Kingdom. If Darkwood takes a leadership role in 
such activities then once again where Darkwood points others will 
What are your plans for the Children of Darkwood?
Last summer, Their Majesties Jade and Kaaren suggested a "Page for a 
Day" program, which Rose and I would like to encourage in Darkwood. 
We have a significant population of kids ranging from babies to young 
adults. I have been working with many kids on a weekly basis at the 
Caer Darth fighter practice, and I know that they are active and 
energetic and eager to participate. Many of these kids are too old 
for the usual Page School activities, but still too young or too 
inexperienced to fight in tourneys or wars, or to hold offices. We 
lose a lot of these kids to boredom (or Gameboys!) at this stage.

Rose and I propose to adopt the "Page for A Day" program and ask all 
the adults of the Barony to consider joining us to take on a "Page 
For A Day" at any event they can. We suggest adults and kids who are 
interested contact the Page School Minister, who will hook up pairs 
based on the interests and activities planned for that day. The 
adults get to teach and get an extra pair of hand to help them, the 
kids get to learn and Darkwood gets a growing population interested 
in an ever widening range of activities.

In other words everyone wins.

We'd also like to challenge the Children of Darkwood to come to us 
with their ideas. Let us know if there's something you'd like to do, 
or if there's something that we're not seeing.

As you can see, Rose and I have spent a good deal of time considering 
our options, what we bring to the Barony and what direction we would 
like to go in. As has been pointed out by Eric and Lisel, each Baron 
and Baroness sets their stamp upon Darkwood. Each gives to Darkwood 
their own specific character. You, the populace of Darkwood, have had 
many years now to see us, get to know us and to come to understand 
who we are. We hope that you see in us people who care about all of 
Darkwood, what it stands for, it's people and it's place in the 
Principality and the Kingdom.

--- End forwarded message ---

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