This weekend was Drachenwald Kingdom University. If you didn’t know it was happening then you have been living under a rock that shelters you from a large number of social media streams used by the SCA, since the team did an amazing job with publicity, including video trailers for the event and pre-recorded classes released one a day in the week leading up to the event (each of which had a corresponding Q & A session during the event).
You can see the Event End Credits here. Have a look if you enjoy seeing lists of the many, many people it took to create such an event, and if you enjoy post-credit in-jokes aimed at people who follow popular culture and movies.
As a result of their efforts we had around 500 people participating via eight different Zoom streams plus a Discord server for social chatter. The participants and teachers came from every continent save Antarctica. I was able to help out in a small way, being one of the co-hosts for the Leiden Zoom class room. This means that I spent much of the weekend in that room, ready to help out as needed. We had a total of four people on duty in our room, which meant that we were all able to step out now and then to catch other classes and still always have two people on duty to take care of muting and unmuting people at need, playing the trailer for the next class in between classes, giving directions (in the form of links) to people who wandered into the wrong room, making the teachers co-host so that they could share their screens, and recording those sessions that would be recorded. Our classroom was one of the large ones (up to 500 people could be present at once), so it was the one which included things like the opening ceremony, feast, and court, which I thought was great.
I started warming up for the event by getting up very early Friday morning and hopping in to the Thanksgiving Bardic being held in zoom by a bard in one of the US Kingdoms. They had started Thursday evening their time, which was 01:00 Friday morning my time. I thought about staying up for it, since I didn’t go to bed till 0:30, but I thought it would be smart to get some sleep before the event, so instead I joined them some 4 hours after they had started. However, I still got to sing with them for about three hours, during which I set up my event decorations so that they looked good on camera. It was a lovely start to the day. Then I took a nap, because I needed one, before spending some time in the afternoon actually getting some work done.
The guy Elnaz has been seeing came over a bit after 17:00, which gave us time for a quick lesson for them in Swedish folk dance, and then I put on my comfy maroon linen tunic and reported for duty in the Leiden zoom room at 18:39. The opening ceremonies were fun. First our beloved Queen addressed us in her native language (Icelandic), of which I caught a word here and there, and then our beloved King addressed us in his native language (Swedish), which I just understood, and then they both addressed us again in English. Then the University Chancellor bid everyone welcome in a huge long list of languages, before doing her intro speech in English, explaining how things would work and declaring the event open. I stayed in our room enjoying the conversation with the people who remained there till it was time to head to another room for the Society of the Golden Egg presentation, which was very nice. I was very impressed with Katharina’s presentation, and pleased that he is now a member of the society. Just as every other time I have heard about that society, the session made me long to participate. But then I think of how much is already on my plate, and I think “not yet”.
After that session I popped over to Sorbonne for the Friday night bardic, where I was one of the last to leave, at about 01:30. The bardic gave me so much energy (they always do) that I wasn’t able to settle down enough to sleep (it was necessary to use the hot shower trick to relax) until after 02:00.
Then I got up Saturday at 06:00 for my normal once-a-fortnight zoom session with my sisters. Since we are spread across three continents there are not so many times where it is possible to get us all together, but 21:00 Friday evening in Seattle, 06:00 Saturday morning in Sweden, and 16:00 Saturday afternoon in Melbourne works. We talked for an hour, and then I decided that I would rather take a three hour nap than catch the morning classes, interesting though they had sounded. However, I was up on time to attend the first half of the 11:00 class on Food planning for a large camp (under bridge know how), and then hurry over for the class on Oxford
Building a small warp weighted loom. After that I reported to Leiden for duty which means I got to see the class on The art of perfumery in ancient Rome, which turned out to be quite interesting (far more so than I would have expected, given that I don’t actually like perfume).
Then I switched rooms again to be a student in the Archaeology of the Roman Diet class, which was really, really well done and very interesting. So much information is available these days, if one is willing to devote enough hours to compiling it (and she has clearly put in 100’s of hours of research on this topic). Then I got some food and returned to duty in Leiden, which meant I got to enjoy hanging out with people who were there for the feast, and I attended court, where I was pleased to see all of the major players in the event staff get the Dragon’s Tear award. Then I stayed put for the Ball, and enjoyed two hours of dancing to the music of Gaita with Judith as the dance teacher. Having done the dances before I, personally, would have enjoyed more dancing and less instruction. However, given the number of new people attending the event, I think she did a fabulous job teaching how to do the dances.
The ball continued on for sometime thereafter, but since I had already missed an hour of the bardic, I then switched rooms again, and joined the singing, where I happily remained until around 02:00, when those of us who were left agreed that it would be wise to get some sleep, as there were interesting classes in the morning.
Before I went to sleep that night I saw that the 09:00 class in our room had been cancelled, so I knew I could sleep in on Sunday, which I did, until 09:30. Then I choose to spend some time processing registrations for Their Majesties’ upcoming two evenings of Sitting in State and granting private audiences to their people (since the event had been mentioned during court the night before and thus a variety of people signed up for it–at this writing there is only one time slot left open).
After being a good little event steward I showed up for duty in the Leiden zoom room at 11:30, where I got to watch the Q&A session for the Articulated Knees, the Beginner’s recorder, and the period hand cream (all of which had been featured as pre-event pre-recorded classes). Then I was made full host as our host had a class in another room, and I recorded the Noah’s Arc in Period lecture, and then listened to the Chess Q&A that followed it. Then I just stayed put in the room and chatted with people who were arriving for the Closing Ceremonies, after which the bardic was in our room, and I sang until 02:30. I would have stayed up even later, but I had an 08:30 meeting on Monday, so I reluctantly said goodnight, and passed over hosting duties to a bard in the US (who was still wide awake, due to the time differences), and they opened the doors to bards who hadn’t actually attended the event (the event being officially over, and thus no more risk of zoom-bombing in classes) and continued to sing till 08:00 my time. (Luckily, I didn’t know they were still there when I got up, or I might have been tempted to join them, and I really did need to prepare for my meeting.)
I spent all morning Monday in zoom to be available for answering questions as a couple of colleagues used the laser lab following the checklists I had prepared (and which I edited as we went whenever they asked questions). Then I spent a lazy afternoon, and in the evening met with the Nordmark Seneschal and Exchequer to finalise the budget for next summer’s Drachenwald Coronation, for which I am the event steward.
Tuesday evening I will attend the Drachenwald Law Council Meeting, Wednesday and Thursday I will host the zoom session as Their Majesties have private audiences with some of their subjects, and the following Sunday there is another online bardic. It is a good thing that I love video calls!