Friday, October 24, 2014

Belts of the Eternal Flame Janna "Sir Iawen Penn" Oakfellow-Pushee

The KoEF as an order date back to the earliest days of our game, and is a way to recognize players who exhibit dedication and commitment to the betterment of the  game.  The white belt not only signifies membership of the order, but is also an outward symbol of each knight's personal  achievement within the game.  Decorating the belt is also highly personal, and each belt is as unique as the individual knight. Looking at all the various designs, I know I am not alone in wondering about the story behind each one. As such, I thought it would be nice to put together a Feature series to highlight the belt artwork in the View, along with mini-interviews to both explore the meaning behind each belt, and to share some fun information about each knight. This gives all players in the Realms the chance to learn about the knights, the belts, and the order.

1. What year were you awarded your white belt?

 I was Knighted at the Black & White 2007. While it was out of game held at the

Belchertown's Sports Club thing (where QoH is usually held), In-Game it was within the

lands of Eagle's Rook, who was a part of Chimeron at that time.

2. Who administered "the punch" and-- be honest!!--did it hurt?

 Kathy Fey(Horn)/Sir Mahkta McKrye punched me, and it hurt like a bitch! I had

an impressive bruise that spread over my clavicle; Kathy had been doing a lot more

fighting and hitting practices (SCA & Realms), so she made that punch count! :-D

3. Whose belt did you wear until you got your own, and how was this significant for you? 

 I wore Kathy Fey's(Horn)/Sir Mahkta McKrye's belt. This was significant for me

due to the fact that she was my mentor, and the group of close comrades she had

surrounded herself with were varied yet still always striving to improve and to serve, and

thus I was taught by all of them. :) It was also bad-ass to me personally, because I

hadn't heard (at the time) of anyone else wearing it.

4. Can you describe your own belt's heraldry?

The belt has multiple colors.

Dark Blue Stripe up top is Feng Shui for me. It's one of my favorite colors, and

means (in feng shui) a lot of stuff: Clarity, Inspiration, Wisdom, Healing, Insight, Noble.

Black Stripe is for the Western Flank. In feng shui, it also associated with

Introspection, Stillness, and even sometimes Hatred (Iawen, who was known as Sir A

then, hated the fae and it was the least offensive way I could think of putting that on the

belt, heh. There are other things Iawen hates now, so it stays. ;)).

Green Stripe, which is the most faded now, was for me being a "Southern

Realmsie", so Chimeron notes, Faerie notes, pretty much all good at the time to me I

could see in green. Green for Feng Shui also meant things like Renewal (which I was

attempting to do when I retired Bouquet/Nimbus and started figuring out who to play as

a main PC), Hopeful, and Growth. Since then, both Chimeron, Fae Staff, and the

people in the South in general have helped me to grow in many respects. There is

always room for improvement, however, which brings us to our last part, the bottom.

The heraldry was Nimbus/Bouquet's - a silver Dragonfly like symbol, with the

wings protecting like a shield and the 'tail' becoming the point of a sword. I fought sword

and board back then and I loved every minute of it. If I could go back in an instant I

would, hitting all the practices available so I could at least get above newbie status

again, heh. Anyway, I digress. Silver was Aging (which I was doing in the Realms in

real time and also with experiences), but it also has Playful connotations, plus when

paired with Blue it's pretty bitchin'. The heraldry was so faded, though, I took a marker

to re-outline the heraldry for you. In between each of the stripes was also a Silver

Stripe. Other meaning of Silver are traditionally a feminine color, going along with the

moon (Luna in our game), and lights the way forward, clearing out all sorts of

obstacles. That's what I had hoped to be as I went forward as a Knight in the Realms -

a trailblazer in many directions. ... Life happens. I still attempt to do things differently

that the usual PC, ST, MM, or EH, but I can't think of anyone now who'd call me a

trailblazer, heh. ;)

5. Why did you chose that heraldry to represent you?

Because they were the colors I felt both bonded me to characters and also to

nations at the time, and plus the silver in the design was to remind me that you don't

have to be 'the golden boy (or girl) of Realms' in order to still serve the community.

6. Who did the artwork on your belt?

I did. :)

7. What do you remember most about your knighting?

Randy speaking for me, and not recalling who else did, because Cheech flipped

it around and said, "It's not a he, it's a she!" and asked me forward. I was all O.O

8. What does being a KoEF mean to you?

A lot of things... falling asleep on the keyboard, but let me try... :)

When I chose to put down my belt (to the chagrin of some), it was because I take

very seriously the first vow we get asked when joining the KoEF, and that's along the

lines of "Do you swear (promise, etc) to do honor unto yourself..." <-- and when Cheech

asked me of it, "and to the Realms" had a pause behind it, meaning you had to take

care of yourself, honor yourself FIRST, and Realms second.

I think that's what screwed me up shortly after the Knighting, and then for a good

chunk afterward. Now that I've been allowed and joyfully accepted back the belt, I

understand better (I think) why so many players can get burned out with the game and

the community before any such accolades (if any) might pass their way: it's because

there are people out there, like me, that made the Realms first. This caused themselves

to suffer: with relationships, family ties, friendships, job histories, schooling, some even

medical; it was different for everyone of them (and myself), I'm sure. And yet the

burned-out feeling remains.

For some, this means taking a step back and re-evaluating. Some find the only

way to take care of themselves is to leave the Realms entirely. Others find new ways to

play and/or involve themselves a bit less, while still attempting visibility. Still others go

another (yet worse) route; staying connected in the game and community in the least

way possible, but willing and ready to spill bitterness and jadedness to any newbie that

would grant them voice and an ear.

May I not fall into that last category, if I can still help it. And since I've

been "helping myself" first over Realms, I feel that the relationships have gotten

stronger. There are those who have moved on from me in friendship, and others who no

longer seek my plot counsel on things, and so forth. Seven years ago that would have

bothered me to the point of serious stress and tears. Now, I have the experience, the

love, the confidence and courage to shake it off.

 Each KoEF that I've acted with before and since being Knighted, I think, has that

air about them, too. They're here because they had a moment of mental introspection,

or took a break, or what have you, and then came back to the game and rocked on.

And they've served, and they've loved the community. The community is much

improved because they are there.

This is why I'm proud to be KoEF, and this is also one of the things I think that

makes a KoEF...

You know, it's like that Nelson Mandela dude: "The greatest glory in living lies not

in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." Sometimes it takes a good fall to really

know where you stand.

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