Recharged, refueled, refilled

In the SCA, there’s this thing called “stardust.” It’s the fabric of the Dream that keeps the SCA alive, and it’s something I’ve been sorely lacking lately….until yesterday, that is.

It all started coming back to me when I finished the embroidery for my good friend’s Pelican mantle for her elevation. I’d go into details of what a Peerage is in the SCA and what an honor it is to be asked to do that embroidery, but suffice it to say that being given that honor was something that inspired me and pushed me to do the best I possibly could. Here’s the culmination of the better part of a week’s worth of work (minus day job time and sleeping):

Yes, that was all done by my own two hands. It was such a rewarding thing to do, and I was so happy to see my friend get elevated in the mantle that she trusted me to make beautiful for her.

That was a good start, but it didn’t quite refill my stardust all the way.

Yesterday, during morning Court, my husband and I were given our first Kingdom arts awards (in Arizona, a.k.a. the Kingdom of Atenveldt, the “Flower of the Desert” is the beginning-level arts award). The “scrolls”–which are burned into wood panels–are amazing, and it felt good to be recognized for the work that I do in the arts community in the SCA.

I also got a cool medallion.

But wait, there’s more!

As you can see, I’m in a bookstore in the above picture. I had a signing at a local bookstore for Independent Bookstore Day scheduled smack dab in the middle of the SCA event, so I ended up driving 45 minute to and fro to get to the bookstore and back.

When I returned, my husband handed me a small metal cup with a bunch of trinkets in it. Tchookies (pronounced CHOO-kees but probably not spelled the way I spelled it) are gifts that SCAdians give to artisans to show their appreciation of the artisan’s work. Most are little bits and baubles, like strung beads, cool stones (one was a nifty black arrowhead!), and small pieces of jewelry. I had put a hood that I made and embroidered for my husband in the arts showcase for the event, and several people left tchookies for me while I was gone. One tchookie in particular was not so small, and it blew me away.

Now, you may be thinking, “Wait, AJ, why is that ring–cool though it may be–the thing that filled your stardust to overflowing?” Well, I’ll tell you why: I was not the only person to wear that ring yesterday.

It’s the King’s ring. His personal ring, one that I’ve seen Him wear on many occasions.

I was blown away. I was shocked. I was a little verklempt. I took a picture and messaged the Queen, who was active on Facebook at the time, because seriously, there was no way the King had given me his actual own ring.

Except he had.

It was like the stresses and tribulations of the past several weeks were washed away with that one gift. Not to downplay the other tchookies–I’ll keep each and every one of them–but man.

Of course I showed off to everyone I thought might give a shit, plus a few extra. Some were happy for me, some were kind of annoyed by me (sorry, folks–I was just excited!), and even though I know I have shoved the ring in more than one too many faces, I still feel the need to share it here.

I feel so much better about…well, everything. It’s like the ring is a stardust-powered talisman or something. Bills? Angry patients? Deadlines? I can stand tall through it all.

Speaking of deadlines, I have at least two more projects to get finished before next weekend’s Coronation, where the current King and Queen will step down and the Prince and Princess will step up to rule for the next six months. Better get cracking! Who knows? Maybe one of those projects will help refuel someone else’s stardust.