A Really Gay Shield

One of my priorities as soon as I came back to the sport was to rebuild my equipment selection. To that end, after my first practice back, I ran out to the sporting goods store (more like 4 of them, actually) to find some blue camp foam to recreate my trusty old shield.

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Her name was Badbh (Irish, pronounced Bayv), and she was the happiest accident. She was a coreless spiral shield, and the first I ever made. Thanks to some weird tension issues during the gluing process (so many strips, so much DAP), she came out conical, and it was one of the greatest things that ever happened to a shield. Thanks to her convex shape and her weird X handle that I had to cobble together to keep her from imploding, she was stable as a rock. You know when people poke at the edge of your shield to open up your defense? She would have none of it. Shots bounced off at funny angles, throwing off peoples’ rhythms, and she was just sexy.

Yep, I was in love with her, and then I threw her in the trash, because I’m a fool. But, I don’t like to dwell on past mistakes, and so I set out to recreate that once proud beauty.

Having only been back in the sport for a week, I wasn’t sure where I might find the required supplies here in Missoula. As some might tell you, I am occasional too excited and impatient to stop and ask for assistance, so I trekked around town in search of blue foam and kitespar core. I had minimal success finding either. The kitespar rods I found at one of the big box stores was pretty thin, and the foam I found was…well, see for yourself.

Yeah, so…I bought it, and I promise it’s worse than it looks. It’s glorified bubble wrap. If you apply pressure to it, it pops like bubble wrap. I’m sorry for the poor sod unfortunate enough to try to sleep on it. Be that as it may, I went through with construction.

With spiraling strips of foam and a small can of DAP, I made a good go of that beautiful cone shape, but I couldn’t recreate the happy accident. The result was closer to a flat buckler with a hand cup in the middle. (I’m sure that has a proper name, and I’m sure one of you might educate me as to what it is. A cursory Google search isn’t doing the trick.) The handle, on the other hand (Ha!), was much easier to finagle with this shape. It’s finished off with a couple of flat layers of foam glued on the face of the spiral to hold it together and make it nice and foamy. I wouldn’t call it satisfactory, but it will suffice for the time being.

It did last for four months before I had to start re-gluing it in a couple of spots, which isn’t bad for what amounts to a $30 shield. The REAL joy lies in the cover I made, which is one of my favorite things I’ve made to date. BEHOLD RAINBOW!

I had this fabric in my scrap pile and decided it was exactly what I needed in my life. Throw on a wicked Celtic knot raven I traced off of DeviantArt, and you have one BAMF shield! Even when the corpse of this monstrosity is long gone, this shield cover will live on, because I’m in love with it and you will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands to make me part with it.

Anyways…The result of my first build back since my return was decidedly meh. It was far more work than is justified for the quality of what I wound up with, which is mostly due to my own lack of skills. For about $30, I got what I paid for in terms of supplies. Overall, I give this shield 2/5 stars, and that’s mostly because the cover is amazing.

If you want to know more about the specifics of the build or you have something you would like me to review, drop a comment down below, or send me a messenger raven.

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Frozen Warriors, 2018

A week ago, thanks to Sir Oroku, I had the privilege of attending my first event since I’ve returned to the society! We ventured to Idaho Falls for an indoor event hosted jointly by Ebonhold and Bethel (Idaho Falls and Rexburg). The frigid, icy weekend certainly lived up to the event’s name, but the elements are no match for Stygians!

The journey was filled with long chats and adventures, including petting lots of rescue greyhounds on the way to their forever homes, purchasing a new ritual dagger for my altar (did I mention I’m a witch?) at Shadow Domain, and petting lots of sea flap-flaps (manta rays) at the East Idaho Aquarium. As you might guess, there was also a lot of plotting and conversing along the way.

The event itself was a short four hours, held in a lovely gym outside of Idaho Falls. I donned my green belt for the first time and Sir Oroku and I volunteered to help with weapons checking (aided by our lovely new templates from Sir Glass, which I will review at a later date). It went very well, with few failed weapons, and I appreciated the opportunity to gain more weapons checking experience (minus missile weapons to avoid ugliness in the small space).

The fighting was clean, and we had a wonderful day filled with line fighting (so. much. line. fighting), realm battles (FOR STYGIA), and unit battles (another story for another time, but I’m pledged currently).

Unit battles: “Do you think that big shield will save him?” “Nope.”

I sparred with Sir Leaf and Squire Gaston, which was a delight. They taught me a fun new sparring game, first to 10 hits, which took the focus away from dying and more on throwing shots. It’s something I will definitely do more of in the future. Sir Leaf taught me some techniques for bowling over legged opponents that were very fun, as well as some tricks for being a short fighter.

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I’m very grateful to our Idaho comrades for putting this event together and helping me shake the cobwebs loose after being away from the society and from events for so long. This was a great time and it was so good to meet new people and be welcomed back by some old familiar faces. Looking forward to many more to come!

What’s you’re favorite event? What are you most looking forward to this season? Drop a comment below and let me know! While you’re at it, follow my blog so you can keep up with all my reviews and updates!

The 1st Tails Tunic

In a brash moment I knew I would eventually regret, I threw away all of my garb (and weapons), assuming I would never use them again. That is, all except for one. Just before my very long break, I made this tunic with the help of Sir Oroku and Master Anij (prior to reaching their full titles). I couldn’t stand to part with it, because of all the time and money I’d put into it.

I needed something warm for cool evening feasts, and I wasn’t satisfied with the selection of garb I could purchase. None of it really fit with my persona at the time (an Irish, landlubbing pirate half-fae). So, I decided to make something awesome. Thus, was born this black and green beauty.

It is constructed of an outer layer of canvas, an inner layer of stretchy cotton blend for warmth, and trimmed with double-fold bias tape. The materials rang up at about $100 from Walmart. It’s a pretty standard pattern seamed up the sides with tube sleeves. The fun comes in on the staggered, pointed tails, which are shorter in the front for unhindered legged fighting, and points in the tops of the sleeves.

The tails have since become my signature and I use them on all of my tunics. Since it was the only garb I had left, I had to fight in this for several outdoor practices this summer, and it was HOT. I’m glad that I have since made lighter garb and can relegate this tunic back to feast garb.

Nevertheless, I hope to get many more years of festive wear out of it. What do you think of the design? Do you have questions about it? What else do you think I should wear as an Irish raven fae? Have something you want me to review? Comment on this post, or send me a messenger raven! I would love to hear from you!

Guess Who’s Back?

That’s right! After 4 long years, I have emerged from the misty woods to rejoin the world of Belegarth.

A lot of people have asked me why I decided to come back after so many years. It was a suprise to me as well. Up until the week before I returned to practice in Stygia, I had no intent of returning. It took a summer visit to some yonger friends, a lot of wrestling, running around, and bumps and bruises to realize how much I missed getting my butt kicked. I’ve missed Belegarth may times over the years, but this time a switch flipped in my brain, and the second I decided to come back everything felt right with the world.

I’ve been through a lot in my absence: a couple of adult-y jobs, dancing, teaching, publishing my first novel, and all manner of life adventures. Of late, I’ve been dealing with chronic depression rather unsucessfully. I’d tried various activities, lifestyle changes, and therapy to no avail. Coming back to Bel has been better for my mental health than any of it.

I’m not saying quite your meds and your therapist and run out and beat people. For those of us with mental illnesses, our needs and coping mechanisms vary greatly. I am just grateful that I found a solution that keeps the depression monsters at bay and provides me with so much joy, exercise, and creative outlets all at once.

I hope to share my joy and  experiences on this blog, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride. There will be garb and equipment reviews as often as I can manage them, as well as updates on my adventures, training tips, and whatever else comes along. Comment below, or send me a messenger raven if there’s anything you would like to see on this blog. Be sure to hit the “follow” button so you don’t miss out any updates.

Thank you for reading and happy adventuring!