So… where to begin? Shall I begin with last November which is when this great conspiracy began or shall I begin when I got an email from Master Harold saying the he and Mistress Aine were planning anther trip to Europe because they had so much fun in Italy and this time they might do Germany and was there a possibility we might get to meet up? Was there an event or something like tat we might come to so we could hangout??? Such are the ways to circumnavigate the truth.
I was of course thrilled to get to see them both again and blithely (idiot that I am) looked for venues and found one, Saturday Night Fever. Hell I even made reservations for them. Does she suspect….nope not at all.
It only occurred to me some time after this that IF anyone was going to pull that stunt this would be the event because well, Master Harold will be there….And I even mentioned these thoughts to the conspirators who took my words of and if this happens I’ll be so cross because I am coming down to see friends and family not get stuck in a tiny room all day contemplating my fate… the vigil was short for this reason and this reason alone. My friends actually listen when I gripe. (scary thought)
We arrived at the event, me a jumble of oh my god I get to see everyone again nerves and it was great, hugs all around, friends family and people I truly admire. I always look at events as family reunions with a touch of work added in because as Signet there is always work, scrolls to be delivered, questions to answer from scribes and scribe wannabes, gifts to be given and received, scribe tools to be handed out to those who need and ask and so on…it never occurred to me that there might be an alternate reason behind the smiles. UGH!
I am a bit naïve in a lot of ways. I saw the signs and even put two and two together but did not expect or even really consider the option that this WAS going to happen and had been planned for some times now and this was the reason Master Harold and Mistress Aine had come all the way here.
So when the King began to introduce my master to the populace I was just beaming proud. This man has done a lot for the East kingdom and is really truly one of the most if not the most beloved scribes there is. It was only after the reading of his achievements was done that my gut –oh oh- factor began to kick in and when my name was called that was it. Bees in my brain took over and all internal hell broke loose.
I remember taking Master H’s hand to go to the Vigil room but the only thought running through my brain was oh my god I have to pee! ( So I had to make a mad dash to the ladies before I was sequestered in a room so cold I thought I would turn into ice.)
The Vigil room was beautiful though, decorated and made austere and Comfortable all at the same time by Mistress Judith with help from others who provided wall hangings and coverings food and drink none of which I am sad to say was touched. (When I am nervous my stomach is the first thing to notice and I cannot eat.)
The first person allowed to see me was my husband, sneaky bugger who knew and there is a story behind how I knew he knew but I can tell that later. What does one say? What words are there? He is my constant companion, the other part of my heart and my conscience. He supports, comforts and guides. So it was good to have someone to hug hard before the whole thing really got going.
There were many people all of them important to me in some way. I won’t go into details because what is said to a person in this small space in the quiet of contemplation stays there, only they, the walls and me know. But all words were welcome and I remember each and every one of you clearly. (I won’t mention the discussions about whips and chains but they were funny) and the cup of tea was a godsend! My door guard was the best I could ever have had ( Lord Robin *hug*) and over all it was an extraordinary moment in my sca life which hung like a drop of ink off a quill, paused before all hell breaks loose.
After that I was set free, like a kid allowed to go early from school …wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
Then I got to be with family and friends and the rest of the after noon passed as a blur of faces, hugs and stunned acceptance that yes this was actually happening, yes we have been planning this for some time and now and yes we came here just for you!. Argh! My guess is the stealth Bridget thing didn’t really work quite as I had planned.
There were presents, and I am blown away by the generosity and thoughtfulness of people who simply know me far too well. What you didn’t see is me here at home caressing the books like a lover might, pouring through their pages and going…yep… I have a lot to learn still and boy I can’t wait to try this stuff out…
I will make my thank-yous in private though, on paper with a stamp.
I know I ate lunch. It was good, who ever made that soup I had lots. I know I babbled and seemed calm. I felt calm. But the afternoon is a blur. I remember setting up for feast (how I loath that mad land grab to get table space for everyone.) but we did it. I remember doing some scalpel work on some scrolls, I remember lots and lots of hugs and a few tears but they weren’t mine.
It is my nature to accept and be fairly pragmatic as far as stuff that happens to me goes. I have had much happen to me so I tend to take it as it comes… I crash later. I was nervous before court but I am always nervous before court because I am signet. I have scribes whose work is being showcased and I am nervous for them, I know who is being given what and I am excited and nervous for them too.
Then it was my turn.
Marcus, my dearest heart and almost more nervous than I, escorted me up, and into the lion’s den I knelt. Two minutes into things my left foot arch cramped like a son of a bitch and so for any one who wondered why I was fidgety this is why.
This is a ritual. A graduation ceremony.
Guided through my part I said the words I was supposed to and I even got to finally utter the words my liege ( hah!) I always wanted to say that out loud. Seems so wonderfully formal and I didn’t stumble.
My answer was yes, even though I had been asked a dozen times earlier what I would say I did not actually say that word until it was right to be asked. I am pretty sure that had I said no a thousand angry crowds would have swooped down and torn me to shreds.
After that it was that it was my turn to listen. First Mistress Honor- who spoke of lifetimes of friendship rolled into a few years, then Sir John – reminded me that while I was once an authorised fighter it’s been a while since I clocked someone on the head and I paid for that with a torn rotator cuff muscle, then Mistress Caitrin whose tears and lost words nearly undid me. Then Master Harold whose love and respect unravelled my soul and my Queen, whose smile was the sun.
What can I say? I remember each any everyone’s words, I remember each any everyone’s smile, the intensity of their eyes. I remember being and feeling loved. For someone who doesn’t really like that many people all looking in my direction at once it was unnerving and it was glorious.
Mistress Nerissa made me a stunningly beautiful cloak. The medallion was in Harold’s keeping and is very pretty! There were more words… and at some point the kneeling part was over and I managed to get up without falling over, my knees don’t do so well any more reminding me of the sports I keep saying I will get around to…
I was told to turn around and all I remember thinking was holy cow there are a lot of people here. Then there were hugs lots and lots of hugs.
At some point after this, before food but after court Master Harold pulled out his part of my indenture papers. He told the story of how Da paid him ( I had forgotten) and there was much laughter but when he said now I have to destroy this I had to go away. When he handed me the two halves of his part something broke.
I remember going to tuck them away safely with the stunning scroll he made, but I never made that far and in the corner where all of the Dragon’s Den stuff was, behind the tables and the line up for food, the damn broke and I wept.
Eleven years ago, a man I admired and looked up to took me under his wing in spite of myself. He saw something tucked away under the arrogance of youth, under the rough unpolished gypsy dirt, and through years of quiet patience (and how I tried his,) he managed to produce me as I am today. So how can I find the words to describe what holding the torn indenture did to me? Because that was not a symbol of freedom but rather a painful letting go of the hand of someone who has always been there to hold on to. A father, a friend, a true Master. That was when I understood, kneeling on the floor behind the tables and the boxes, hold the torn pieces of my heart and soul, silently crying that I was now on my own, in as much as one ever is. Loss and gain, sorrow and joy, a rite of passage.
So there you have it. The rest of the night was a blur and I am sad to say I don’t recall much afterwards.
There is so much more but there are no words to describe everything, just images and emotions, sensation which boil in my being like sand in a storm. I am my own person now. Freed from apprenticeship but only just beginning my journey.