Stardust, Interrupted

Stardust. In astrophysics it means one thing; in the SCA, it means something else entirely.

In the SCA, stardust is the magic of the Dream. It’s that feeling deep inside when you’re with your chosen family enjoying the modern middle ages. It’s the fuel that sustains us through times both joyous and sorrowful.

Yesterday, I witnessed a grievous crime: stardust snatched from the hands of someone who needed it, someone who was losing their faith in the Dream, who had lost their hope and regained it only to have it ripped from their grasp.

The whys of the matter don’t actually matter. I don’t care why the thief did what she did. I don’t care why she decided that indirect and underhanded was the way to go. I don’t care what reason she has squirreled away in her tiny, callous little brain to justify what she did. What I do care about is how it affected someone I care for.

This victim of stardust theft was just climbing out of a deep hole of apathy and creative atrophy when the incident occurred. They had pulled themselves up and worked hard to do something for their Peer, something they’d only ever get this one chance to do. One. Chance. The opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to make their Peer happy at a special time in that Peer’s life.

One chance, stolen. Pulled out from underneath them like a proverbial rug from under their feet.

I don’t know the why of it. Once again, I don’t care. What I care about is the victim.

There’s something special about this victim, though. They were hurt, yes. They were crushed, their heart broken by the betrayal. They left for a while, and they thought about it. They contemplated their part in the Dream.

And then they came back.

They could have succumbed to the sorrow. They could have hidden themselves away. They could have given up…. but no, they came back. They kept their chin up, reentered the festivities, and soldiered on.

Could I have done that if I had been in the same situation? I don’t honestly know. I’d like to think I could be that strong, sure, but odds are I would have put my head in the sand and hidden from the Society until the shame subsided–if it ever did.

My biggest regret about last night? I didn’t act. I didn’t stand up for this person while I still could, while the thief was still around. I should have wrenched that stardust from her hands and returned it to its rightful owner. I should have given her a piece of my mind, out in the open and in front of witnesses.

The worst thing is, the thief is a Peer herself. A supposedly respectable member of the community. I call bullshit on that one. No one who pulls something like that is deserving of that level of respect, at least not in my opinion.

There. I’ve said my piece. Did it change anything? No. Did it give back the stolen stardust? No.

But that’s the amazing thing: though stolen, the stardust is not gone for good. The victim turned victor by getting right back out there and mining fresh stardust. Rebuilding their part of the Dream.

It’s pretty damn inspiring. How did James Bond put it? “Shaken, not stirred.” Yeah, they were shaken up by the whole thing, but their stardust isn’t empty.

It was simply interrupted.