I drove up to Spokane a couple weekends ago for Crown Council, traveling with Dame Mira and her 5-month old daughter. Attended my first Kingdom-level Laurel meeting, and made a presentation. Saw some really nice stuff at the artisan's display in the hall, Wealdsmere and area has some talented folks doing great work. Contracted for my Laurel scroll with Viscountess Inga from Avacal after I saw some samples of her work.
Court in the evening - One of the best pieces of court shtick I've ever seen, and one of the best "suckerings", too. Mistresses Ann-Marie (both Laurel and Pelican) and Mistress Morgaina (Laurel) got up to supposedly talk about a Laurel candidate. Ann-Marie talked about this worthy candidate and how hard they've worked over the years to further the arts in their area. Then she asked the herald to call up the order. The herald, Duke Sven, then called up the Order of the Pelican. I heard both Kat and Ilaria behind me say, "You mean the Laurels". Morgaina hadn't had gotten her chance to speak yet and was really confused right up to the moment they called her in and put her on vigil for Pelican. It was one to remember...
A new Laurel, Jorg Siggeirrsen (already a Knight) was made. During the Laurel meeting while examining his totally stunning silver chalice in the style of the Ardagh Chalice, I was asked my opinion as a silversmith. "Oh my god!" was all I could say at first, while excitedly waving the piece about. It was beautifully done, one of the nicest pieces I've ever seen that wasn't done by somebody who does this for a living, and well beyond anything I have attempted yet. If he keeps up this kind of work, he may rival Master William Beornsson in a couple years.
One of the folks put on vigil for Laurel was Cystennin, the former Kingdom A&S Champ. I don't think I've seen anyone quite as speechless as he was when we called him up in court. He was poleaxed and literally wasn't capable of saying much more than "Yes, Your Majesty" when asked if he would accept the accolade. Cystennin has been a great inspiration to me personally, as he encouraged me at every turn to stretch my abilities and to enter into competitions that I wouldn't have dared to. Plus he paints a mean scroll, too.
After court I went back to the motel and we had a hot tub party with Sir Fiach, Mistresses Ann-Marie, Kateline, Karis, Baroness Khalja and myself. Man, it'd be nice if we could do that sometimes at a camping event!
I can talk about this, now that it's been announced. Tuesday night after Crown Council, Mira and I went over to Aefflaed's house to notify her that it was the wish of the Order and the will of Their Majesties that she be admitted to the Order of the Laurel. She was surprised and accepted, but after a bit she had to sit down, kind of overwhelmed. We presented this to her in a fairly formal fashion - after all, it's a big step and an even bigger honor. Just before we were about to leave, Mira and I decided to lighten the tone a bit. We looked at each other, grinned, wrung our hands and cackled "Our work here is done! Bwaaahahaha!"