Queen Eislinn’s Pennsic

Written by Mistress (Col.) Jenna of Southwind. Originally Published in the online Bird of Prey, Vol 9, 2003

[Halv]Editors Note: Some time ago in a private discussion the subject of Eislinn’s Pennsic was brought up, at the time I had no idea what the reference was to, so I ask Jenna and she filled me in on that part of our History. With Jenna’s permission I have put her words here so that all may know who Queen Eislinn was and how she inspired an Army!

When I asked “What is the significance of Queen Eislinn’s Pennsic?”, Jenna replied:

Lord, man! Listen close, to hear a piece of the mightiest magic most of us will ever see in this life. Because this is a truly true story, I must begin it as the most true of all stories begin:

Once upon a time…

…there was one of the finest monarchs known, Talymar, and his wife Eislinn the Patient. Married, three kids. Nice people. He’d been king twice, she once, when he won Crown again for her. And right afterwards the doctors said, “Jeanne …. the cancer’s come back…..”

By the time Pennsic came, Eislinn was dying. She wore a wig to hide the effects of the cancer treatments, and I never did find out why her right arm puffed up and didn’t move properly. She would leave site to go to the doctor.

That year, by a fluke, Calontir had not made up their minds who to fight with at the war. The Crown of the East was a particularly nice guy who’d gone to some trouble to court us. We literally got to an Althing two hours before Opening War Court, all gathered under the Royal Pavilion, and we didn’t know who to fight with. Various suggestions were made.

Then, Charles Stewart O’Connor stood up, and stepped into history. He said (roughly), “I’ve lived in both the East, and the Middle. I’ve gotten awards from both.” (Peerage in one, Founding Baron in another.) “Let us fight for neither.” Then, his next words, burned in my mind to this day:

“Let us take the high road of Chivalry. Let us fight for Eislinn.”

And we did.

We did not declare for MidRealm, nor MidRealm’s Queen. William V’tavia Rex Calontir stood up in Opening War Court in front of a couple of thousand people and announced that Calontir was fighting for Eislinn. She could have told us to stay in camp and drink beer, or to go home and skip the war. Most of us would have done it immediately. She sent favors to the Falcon Army. An Army some of whom still had emotional scars from our difficult split from our mother kingdom the MidRealm.

Ask Ternon to tell you what it was like to lead men and women on the field, in the name of Eislinn. Look up your WWI history to know the terror of his statement,   “I could have led them into the Somme.”

Eislinn stepped down as Queen six weeks later, and the doctors gave her all the morphine she wanted and sent her home to die. That winter, she did.

There are a few old-timers who use the phrase, Once and Future Queen, to refer to Eislinn. Somewhere in the Calontir Royal Regalia is a pennon of her device, with the words “Vivat Eislinn!”, which was made for Calontir to bear when she gave us permission to carry her battle onto Estrella’s dusty fields.

And back in Ohio, an old family friend and Costume Laurel is now the second wife to Talymar who keeps his clothes on the floor, and there are now four children to the family.

Jenna of SouthWind
author of “Fair Eislinn’s Saga”
sometime called Eislinn’s Bard

Postscript: Her Grace Eislinn, and Calontir’s own Countess Erzebet the second Queen of Calontir, both died in the 1980’s of breast cancer. Detection and treatment are both far advanced, but aren’t worth squat if you don’t use what’s available. Especially fighters — of both sexes — who could have lumps such as inclusion cysts caused by odd shots, need to do self-exams. Women and people who find lumps should have regular mammograms. This has been a public service announcement from Jenna, whose maternal grandmother died from breast cancer.

Curators Note [Vels]: I served with a male soldier in the 1990’s who was diagnosed with breast cancer. It can be just as fatal for men as for women.

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