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It was 1993 that I went to my first event of the Society For Creative Anachronism: Pennsic. A friend dragged me south to this annual gathering to meet cool people and have fun.

To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement.

All around me was the Middle Ages in its full glory. Vikings, Celts and English Lords... 8000 of them... Oh my!

The basic rule of the SCA is that you have to make an attempt at Pre-17th-Century garb. The "game" is that we are of noble birth and living in an age of chivalrous behaviour. The SCA is all about recreating the pageantry and royalty of Middle Ages Western Europe. It is like the Ren Faire, only there is no show. You adopt a persona and live as if you lived in the Middle Ages... without the nasty stuff like poverty, The Black Death or malnutrition.

It wasn't until two years later that I went to my second SCA event: Also Pennsic. That year, I discovered the subset of the SCA that bellydanced and studied the medieval Middle East. I had found my niche and never looked back. The persona of "Valizan" was forged by fire in the SCA.

There began what has become a lifelong obsession with bellydance. I also started learning about certain aspects of Arabic culture from art to the clothing, to some of the social graces. It has very much influenced my view on the world.

I got heavily involved in my SCA kingdom of Ealdormere, doing entourage duty, fundraising, assisting the army, becoming a baronial officer and then a kingdom officer, producing the Kingdom Newsletter. For me it was always fun to have projects to work on with other people, whether singing while washing dishes after a feast, or pulling a group together to help out fighters.

One of the mottos that came to me during my time in the SCA was "When you join the SCA, the world becomes a smaller place." I travelled all across the USA for SCA events, from The Bay Area

to Mississippi, from Wisconsin to West Virginia and met a goodly measure of funny, intelligent, wise and kind people.

A few jerks too... ;-)

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Facts about Valizan's SCA...

SCA Name: Valizan Ibn Fredeh. Or Auguste Valizan

Full Arabic Name: Muallim al Karim, Rakkas Al Bassim, Ra'ee Al Saleh, Sheikh al Zubeyd al Sharif Valizan Ibn Fredeh, al Pennjii.

What full Arabic name means: "The Generous Master, The Smiling Dancer, The Gentle Shepherd, the excellent, honourable baron, Valizan, son of Freddie, who has undertaken the Pennsic Hajj.*"

*Hajj is a spiritual journey all Muslims are supposed to take in their lives. They humble themselves and journey to Mecca where they participate in a set of rituals. Valizan did an SCA equivalent by adapting the Muslim rituals to an SCA setting.

Persona: Valizan is a late period (14th century) Arab from Morocco who is travelling and visiting the artistic salons of a variety of noblemen in Persia and Arabia to inspect their Zillij. He has also spent a great deal of time in the lands of the Europeans.

Titles: Mu'allim: Master. Sheikh: Baron.

Home Group: Barony of Ben Dunfirth (Hamilton area group)

Elevated to peerage: Saturday March 6th, 2004 by King Cennedi and Queen Susanna.

Former protege of: Mistress Moria The Black.

Badges & Heraldry

Heraldry is a big part of the SCA.

Banners floating on the breeze add to the colour and the pageantry of the society.

Valizan's heraldry consists of my arms and my badges. Badges are like personal markers. One would put badges on their stuff to personalize it, or to announce they were present at that location.

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Valizan's Heraldry

Heraldic Blazon: Argent a peacock in its pride azure gorged of a pearled coronet argent between two barrulets between two spouted teapots reversed vert.

The peacock is a noisy, showy, beautiful bird, as Valizan is within the SCA. The teapots refer to the ever notorious Ealdormerean Tea.

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The Polite Badge

The Trillium is the symbol for the Province of Ontario. The Kingdom Of Ealdormere's (which basically consists of the province) symbol is a white Trillium and I loved it enough to get a red one to show my pride in being part of this kingdom.

Argent, a trillium gules, seeded and barbed vert within a bordure indented gules.

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The Cheeky Badge

Because I continue to have a rather warped sense of humour, I decided to get a rather rude badge.

Part of the fun of heraldry is putting puns in the art.

In this badge are three female greyhounds and two stockinged legs. Female dogs are "bitches." Another medieval word for stockinged legs is "Hose."

And there is an embattlement between them. So you put it together you get "Bitches and Hos" and embattled ones at that!

Per bend embattled sinister azure and argent, three female greyhounds courant contourny and two stockings addorsed, all counterchanged.

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