Recently, the Gazette had the pleasure of chatting with Prince Ozurr and Princess Fortune about their SCA lives, their hopes for their reign, and the SCA in general. We are delighted to share their words with you, in order that Easterners who do not know them can get to know them better.
Gazette: How did you get involved in the SCA? How long have you been active, and in what group(s)? Is there an experience or story you can share about an event or SCA activity where you said to yourself “Yep, this is the place for me”?
Fortune: I worked with Simona bat Leon at Jo-Ann Fabrics while in college, and she knew this girl (Mistress Iulia Agricola Litavicci filia, then Elinor Strangewayes) whose step-brother was the “Baron” of this “Stonemarche” place and convinced me we needed to go to Great Northeastern War. Now, I’d been a Renaissance Faire person and I had been told the SCA people were going to be super judgmental and mean but I was going to try.
We showed up at 7am Friday and set up our bright green nylon tent, nearly gave ourselves heatstroke from not drinking any water, got sunburned, drank kumis (I do not recommend this), sang, danced, and partied well into the night and I’ve been in love with the SCA ever since. For many years I played mostly in Stonemarche but I’ve always lived in the Shire of Quintavia.
Ozurr: I got involved in the SCA through my sister, Nadia Hart, she had returned home from college one break and emphatically told me I was going to Pennsic with her. She suggested I might enjoy the fighting and the next Monday we went to a local practice.
That was a few months before Pennsic 40, so I’ve been in around 8 years, but I’d say I only became super active within the past 4 or 5 years. I am active in An Dubhaigeainn and Ostgardr mostly. My “yep” moment would probably be a few Pennsics after my first, I’m not even sure which one, I had been slightly ill-prepared for the first few days camping before the rest of my camp arrived. Some of the members of Ostgardr had invited me to join them in a wonderful dinner they had just cooked in camp.
It was such a wonderful time and a generous act from people I really didn’t know all that well at the time, that it just showed me the kindness possible in the Society, and why I knew it was the place for me
What are your personas? Have you decided yet if you’re going to theme your reign around a specific time or place?
Ozurr: My persona is early period Varangian mid 900s hailing from southern Sweden. I go with more of the Norse style, as I have just begun to venture south to being service in the guard.
Fortune: I am a cortigiana onesta, a courtesan from Venice in the mid-1500s, the daughter of a wealthy English fabric merchant and a Venetian noblewoman.
We are so far apart in time periods that we are not theming our reign. We have been wearing Norse for now, but I am going to get Ozurr out of his comfort zone “pajamas” and into some other periods. Coronation will be Venetian 1550-1560, and Pennsic will likely feature a lot of Roman clothing.
What is your passion in the SCA?
Fortune: First, my love is clothing. I love figuring out how to make something with period methods and manipulating flat fabric into these amazing outfits that can transport you to a different time and place just by slipping into them.
Second, I love running events. Really. I love creating spaces where members can enjoy fellowship with others, eat, drink, dance, and be merry. My goal is to be the ultimate hostess and make everyone feel welcome and have a great time.
Ozurr: My passion in the SCA would probably be fighting, not just the physical aspects of it but also the camaraderie it fosters.
What do you think the biggest challenges are for the East or for the SCA as a whole?
Ozurr: I would think the kingdom and the society share the same challenges, it is adapting to the newer generations and continuing to be a joy in the lives of its members.
Fortune: We’re in a time of change, we need to have the generations of leadership and experience work together to continue to grow and improve the Society. That means mentoring people into roles, embracing the enthusiasm of newcomers, and working to keep our traditions alive while recognizing our need to grow and embrace new things, like electronic payments for events and social media.
What are you goals and/or aspirations for your reign?
Both: Our goals center on Fun and Love.
We also want to be as inclusive as possible to the populace of the East. We want to ensure the East a place where everyone feels they have a home.
We also want you to rediscover what you love and what brings you joy in the Society, especially those who work hard both at events and between events to make the Dream real for everyone. Spend some time, think about what brought you to the SCA and share that with others. Teach the newcomers our songs. Teach them our stories. Share your successes and share your failures.
While, yes, there are some jobs that just aren’t ever going to be “fun” they are also less of a burden if shared. We are very sure most of us have an hour or two at an event, or perhaps even more importantly, before or after, an event to help make the Kingdom run. Please look around and see where you can volunteer and who you can help mentor.
Last, we know we must look forward to the season of war. We want to maximize the fun for all at Pennsic. We are all part of the Eastern Army whether we take to the battlefield, the archery and thrown weapons ranges, or the Arts and Sciences tables, or work to support everyone having a great time at War. Our populace are all tygers, and a ferocious force that we could not be prouder to lead this summer.
Who has been most influential in your view of the SCA? Who do you personally hold up as role models? Since Crown, has there been any unexpected advice that you’re really taken to heart?
Fortune: Countess Marguerite Ingen Lachlainn has long been my hero. I knew about her before I started in the SCA and when she and Edward won Crown it was a chance to really see the East on a new level and to fully see this amazing kingdom we have. I’d never ventured outside of the Northern and Central regions but for her first event as Princess we drove down to 100 Minutes War to retain. She introduced herself and asked about my interests and was so gracious and charming that I couldn’t help but want to work on her reign.
At Crown Tourney when we were about to go into the final fights I found her and asked if she would be there for me. I wasn’t really sure what I was asking her, I think I was really asking for approval, if she thought I was ready. She took my hands, looked into my eyes and said “Of course.”
After Ozurr won she came up and announced she was going to be my first retainer, much like I had been one of her first retainers and she stayed with me.
As for advice: Countess Matilde warned me about how you would not be able to even pee alone. And I laughed off this warning. But just after we won the power went out in the Royal Cabin and in fact, I very nearly had to pee with someone holding a flashlight just after we won.
Ozurr: I could probably answer all of these with one man, His grace Duke Brennan mac Fergus. From the first time I met him when he was an unbelt that took the time to travel all the way out to An Dub (eastern long island) and explain to me why polearm was “the hammer of the gods!” I knew I’d really like to be this guy’s friend. I am glad to say that over the next few years I was lucky enough to get to know him and his family better. He was there for me leading up to crown, in my corner for every single pass, and has not let me feel alone or lost (try as hard as I might) for a single second since winning crown. I have the absolute privilege to call one of my role models my friend.
What advice would you give to folks who are new to the Society?
Ozurr: My advice would be not to be afraid of to try multiple things. It is hard going out and meeting new people but extending outside of just the fighting community has been wonderful for my SCA experience.
It took me years to venture into the Arts the society has to offer and doing so has given me a chance to meet new and brilliant people, has reinforced old new friendships with new vigor, and I’ve also had a lot of fun “arting”. There are wonderful people in every aspect in the Society, so get out there and try and make some new friends and get some awesome new skills
Fortune: You think this would be easier having been a Chatelaine up until Crown Tourney. My advice is if you are feeling shy to volunteer to do something like help run gate or wash dishes. There are no strangers in a feast kitchen and those friendships you make while doing a communal task are strong.
Also it’s ok to ask questions. We speak our own dialect: Autocrat, Seneschal, Chatelaine, Oyey, etc. We sometimes forget what it is like to be new and not know all the social norms of the SCA and the verbiage. Our job is to be a good host and make newcomers feel as comfortable and welcomed as possible. Ask why that crown has pearls, and what that means. Ask about what someone is wearing to learn more.
I also, while I’m on my Chatelaine soapbox, want us to reach out to those who have stopped playing because life happened. Reach out to those friends you still see on social media but haven’t seen at an event because maybe they didn’t have the disposable income, or they had a baby, or they burned out, or moved and haven’t been able to find their niche in their current area. Retention is just as important as recruitment. I’d like you to invite those folks back, maybe offer to carpool to a day event, or borrow garb, and remind them they were a valuable part of your SCA experience and are missed.
What SCA-related interests or hobbies do you have that people might find surprising?
Fortune: I really enjoy writing scroll texts and poetry when I’m able to. My free time suddenly got really short for some reason.
Ozurr: I enjoy making lampwork glass beads. I work with glass in my mundane life (construction) so it is nice to get to also explore the artistic possibilities is has in my spare time.
What are you looking forward to learning during your reign?
Fortune: To write my own name well! It’s super intimidating.
Ozurr: I would love to learn some more period dance. Thankfully, our chief of staff, Her Grace Duchess Thyra, I’m sure will be a great aide to me on that front.
Is there anything else you would like the Kingdom to know?
Ozurr: I would like the kingdom to know just how excited I am to get to meet so many new people, and make new friends throughout the course of our reign. Already I have been blown away with the kindness and hospitality shown by the East, I hope I can adequately show you all my appreciation.
Fortune: Our Kingdom is vast and full of amazing people, and I look forward to the opportunity to further travel and get to know you all. The love I’ve received from all of you has been overwhelming (in a good way). I am so excited for this opportunity to lead what I know is the greatest Kingdom in the Known World at Ozurr’s side, and we’re determined to have a lot of fun doing it!
More information about Prince Ozurr and Princess Fortune can be found at their reign website.