Fall AS XLV (2010)
Volume XVI, Issue 1 (#59)

Photo by Maria Kotok

Greetings from Pennsic!

From the Nachalnik

The issue is a bit thin this quarter, but I wanted to make sure to get out the post-Pennsic issue. Consider this to be the proverbial gauntlet thrown down as a call for submissions. And my thanks to Master Mordak for his verses and to Marija for her narrative of the Pennsic gathering and photographs.

Each time we gather, there is talk about planning another SIG gathering. So far, there have been three Slavic Universities and each of them have been successful, as well as a lot of fun. The only real barrier seems to be getting the support from a local group to pull it off. We are spread out across the Known World and there isn't any notable concentration of members in any one branch to run this event without local support. And getting local support means convincing folks that a specialty event like this would succeed. But I think the track record of the previous Universities speaks for itself. And, if it doesn't, I'm sure the autocrats would be happy to speak for it. So, what are you waiting for?

Pennsic SIG Meeting 2010

By Marija Kotok

Another year has gone by and with it another SIG meeting at Pennsic. Baroness Sfandra took the helm on this one.  Many people brought snacks and drinks to share.

Although folk wandered in and out, I would guess we roughly numbered about twenty. Books and information were shared and some new folk introduced to some longtime SIG members. There was some talk about this past Slavic U, as well as a bit of discussion about where it should be held next. Most agreed it would be nice to have one in the west (we would need someone willing to host it). Barring that, there are a few ladies in East Kingdom talking about taking it on so we will see what happens.

The hour went by far too quickly and soon we had to disperse.

Tales of Old Rus

By Mordok Timofeivich Rostovskogo

The Woodworkers Song

My hand axe sings to me by ringing, in notch and log and woodchip,
Its song changes by stroking a whetstone, shining edge its sharpened tip.
The song it sounds like chopping, biting wood to create shapes,
My skill is its employment, vast forests like silver there to take,
Many houses for the shaping and roofpoles for the laying, many silver coins my axe will make.

In wood yard and in city, in village and in town, many crafts to make your life,
Yet all need house and roofing, a wood shelter protects craft and wife.
And resin for the scenting, new wood shines next to grey, well faded with age,
Old, seasoned and slowly cracking, a bonfire for the careless,
A spark, a flame or forgotten taper, grey wood waits for fire's loving caress.

Their passion all consuming, all smoke and flame and heat,
A love like any other, a pairing no one wants to meet.
When roaring flame and burning wood,
Dance madly in the night, consuming village and town and city palisade,
Their laughter ever louder, their child a pile of ashes made.

In charred wood and smoking embers, much work for men with my renown,
Much chopping and many woodchips, wood shavings deep as down.
Many houses will reach for the sun there, where others recently stood,
Many axes sing in chopping, many logs shaped to edge and groove,
Many marks made with chalk and soapstone, much skill left for us to prove.

For my fellows and work with axes, shaping wood to what we please,
For some we shape their shelter, others want utensils, from branch and limb of small trees.
Silver coins are mine for payment, for the things I value most,
My passion is my sharp axe, whetstone scratching on its edge,
And the sound of chop, chop, chopping, for shelf and bench and ledge.

The Merchant Daily Prayer

The day is just breaking, as I dream of silver coins shiny and bright,
My booth opens like a flower, its treasures safe from the night.
Its treasures lay in waiting, new pleasures for the wanting,
My wares arranged and tempting, gleaming to catch the eye,
For enough coins of silver, to haggle and then to buy?

Many customers pass by gawking, dressed in fine plumage they stroll by,
Their eyes softly caressing, like a lover, with a sigh.
Some are softly tempted, they stop and gaze away,
With haggling and some hand waving, a deal yet to make,
For somebody's loved one, a new bauble or treasure to take.

A nobleman slowly passes, in glittering caftan of costly stuff,
His women trail behind him, eyes kohled , raven browed, powdered faces framed in pearls and fluff.
Their eyes drink in my treasures, some for cloth, some for stones,
The youngest looks for toys, her older sisters try on their desires,
While their father cringes behind them, counting, worried he perspires.

A merchant knows a sale though, a nudge or discount with a smile,
The nobleman's purse won't escape me, the frequent victim of his women's guile.
Each will pry out a trinket, a treasure or a bauble, the fight already done,
In his eyes I see him curse me, my treasures and his lot,
For today his house will be happy but tomorrow less mead can be bought.

For my booth it is a prison, for merchant and customer alike,
Our dungeons may be different, but each pinned by a silver spike.
Silver coins travel both ways freely, no loyalty to make them stay,
For we all have bills and families and our pleasures to feed,
With a stream of silver, a booth of treasures and many a customer's greed.


•  A note from Sfandra: “For those who attended/were interested in my Gerdany classes from either Slavic U or Pennsic, I have completed a large and image-heavy paper on making a medallion-style (a.k.a. men's) gerdan and published it to my website at http://sfandra.webs.com/articles.htm . A great deal of experimentation, cursing, un-doing, stabbing of fingers, more cursing, and fussing went into this, so I hope those that are interested enjoy it. It's 4+ MB so it might take a few minutes to download. Cheers!”


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