Cool geeks

March 2016

D’­Eyncourt Montgomery is a geek and proud of it. While there are many categories of geeks including Trekkies, die hard Star Wars fans, and comic book enthusiasts, Montgomery has chosen the road less travelled and is, ahem, a Scadian geek.

What, pray tell, is a Scadian geek you ask? Picture the middle ages and everything in it: kings and queens, serfs and peasants, blacksmiths, potters and crafters of all types including tailors and weavers; falconers, archers, and scribers. Now picture a group of people gathering together, reliving these times, exchanging knowledge and skills, holding court, speaking a little Saxon or Old Norse, telling stories, creating music, competing in archery, throwing knives and axes (at a target of course) and you have the Society for Creative Anachronism.

The Society for Creative Anachronism had its beginnings fifty some years ago when a theme party in Berkley, California was so well received it simply took off. Now the society is found all over the world: North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and yes, even the Holy Land. There are twenty kingdoms in the world, four in Canada, which are subdivided into Baronies (think big cities), Shires (think small towns), and Cantons (think suburbs). Thunder Bay’s Society proudly calls themselves "Shire of Mare Amethystinum" roughly meaning "Amethyst Sea", of which there are approximately 25 to 30 members.

Montgomery professes that there is much more to the group than just the arts. He states that there is a strong sense of community within the society and a common goal to keep the knowledge and skills from the medieval times alive. People often join the group because they have an interest in one of the arts and want to gain more skills. And the people in the society are more than happy to pass on their knowledge.

Brittany McNeice, whose persona, or name she uses when with the society, Ghrainne MacNaois, first came to the group because of her interest in steam punk and chain mail. As she spread some of her metal creations before me

I was in awe. The intricate patterns, the skill and patience it took to create each bracelet, necklace or ring, made each piece a true work of art. When Ghrainne pulled out her portable card and tablet loom and showed me her woven guest belts, I was again amazed. Any newcomer who was offered one of these long ties to wear at their first event would do the same. Bright vibrant colours, reversible designs, tight consistent weave; again a work of art.

Sean Murphy, also known as Caius Angelus, has taken on the unique craft of illumination. When a certificate is presented to a member during Royal Court in recognition of good deeds or mastery of skills, the illuminator has the task of making the award unique and personal. Any empty space along the edge of the paper is filled with designs and pictures indicative of the receiver’s personality and life. Sean informed me that these little spaces were more than just pretty pictures. They also suggested a person’s status. The more extravagant the drawings, the more colourful the designs, the wealthier the bearer of the script.

Montgomery, who takes on the name of D’Eyncourt duLeon as his persona, has had an interest in tailoring since his high school days and has taken on the role as a merchant/tailor with the Society. He possesses a natural skill when it comes to creating wardrobe pieces from the middle ages. Refusing to use a pattern, he is quite capable of taking a photo or picture and transforming it into the real thing, be it a robe, tunic, surcoat, cloak, habit or gown. During an event he often changes his outfit, whether it is Asian, Arab, or Tudor, simply because he can, and it gives him a chance to share his knowledge and skill as a tailor.

For those who like a more active role in the society there is heavy combat fighting. Members learn how to create their own armour and sword replicas, and hone their skills in fighting, archery, and axe and knife throwing. A strong sense of honour is always enforced. One must always “accept the blow” so to speak and bow out gracefully when defeated. People trained in other self defense or attack skills are often drawn to this area of the society adding a very realistic touch to their events. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, jousting is not allowed at the tournaments, simply because the safety of the horse and rider cannot be guaranteed. Go figure.

As I sat around the table chatting with D’Eyncourt, Caius and Ghrainne I couldn’t help but sense a strong camaraderie amongst the three. They shared something special, a common passion that bonded them together. Back in their high school days they would have been considered geeks and ignored by much of the school population. But not now. They are experts in their fields, their advice and skills are much needed and sought after. They are still geeks, but cool geeks. Yeah, that’s it: cool geeks.

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Donna White is an accomplished author and Jubilee Medal winner for her volunteer work with World Vision. Visit her website at

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