By Phyllis Johnson Staff Writer
KINGSTON - The Barony of Carraig Ban is preparing for “Ragnarok Rampage XII: The Geats Strike Back.” The group of medieval re-enactors is part of The Society for Creative Anachronism, a nationwide nonprofit organization with about 170,000 members. Lady Epona Brodin NicThistlethwayte, the barony's chronicler - also known as Rachel Scheffler - said that the name of the event has been chosen in fun. “Ragnarok in Norse mythology is the name for Armageddon,” she said. “It's basically the fight between mankind and giants.” She explained that the group has been planning events on a Beowulf theme lately, exploring the adventures of a Scandinavian warrior of the sixth century, and Geats were among the Celts found in northern Europe and Britain who battled with Vikings. Barony of Carraig Ban members hail from “the Midlands realm” - which, in 21st-century terms, means a large area that stretches across the Midwest. Carraig Ban members mainly come from DeKalb, Ogle, Kane and LaSalle counties. Sean Morgan Aldheorte na Cettle Well - Sean Kittrell in the real world - is baroness, or co-leader. She said this is an older barony in the SCA, as it goes back about 34 years. The national group started in 1963. While not restricted to students, the group sometimes has been an on-campus group at Northern Illinois University, and now has three full-time students as members. Scheffler said the group is always looking for new recruits. “The more people we have, the easier it is to put on events,” she said. During the group's May “moot,” or meeting, on Mother's Day in Hopkins Park in DeKalb, Kittrell said that all members are interested in presenting a well-researched documentation of themselves. “They don't take a name from history, but research every aspect of life that their characters might have lived, anywhere from 600 to 1600 throughout the ‘known world' at that time,” Kittrell said. Kittrell said the group has had Mongolians who might have met Marco Polo in the 1100s, cavaliers from the 1600s and even Aztecs. Scheffler explained that members don't choose their titles, but must earn them through research and service awards, and that the king and queen are chosen. Many guilds are studied. Brewers, bards, archers, calligraphers, woodworkers, seamstresses and armorers all can teach and learn skills from the group. At a recent meeting, the group learned about blacksmithing, and everyone made S-hooks on which to hang items at their re-enactments. At the May moot, the group showed the leather heraldic devices they were making to wear from a belt on their costumes during the June games. “Members' costuming can get quite elaborate,” Kittrell said. She added that the group has loaner garb and equipment for those who have not yet figured out who they want to be. Scheffler said members “do their own thing” exploring several cultures. She said when the group started, they tended to study mainly Britain, but now many peoples are represented. “It can take a while to settle,” said Kittrell, who added that even after people decide on their era, they may see something at national gatherings from another era that interests them. “With my costumes, I change century - depending on the weather!” Kittrell said. The group will host public medieval re-enactments Saturday at Walcamp Outreach Ministries, 32653 Five Points Road. Members will be camping Friday through Sunday morning. The public is invited and can reserve a seat at Saturday's evening banquet, which is limited to 64 people. Menu items can be read at the group's Web site, www.carraigban.org. Cost of the banquet will be $10; reservations must be made in advance. Cost to visit this weekend's “Ragnarok Rampage” is $5 for adults and $4 for children ages 6-12; there is a $3 surcharge for nonmembers. Admission is free for anyone 6 or younger. Anyone who is younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The event will include the Midlands Regional Archery Championship, beginning with weapons inspection at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Safety is important to the group, and members sign legal waivers to participate. Other activities will include archery, rapier sword fights and armored combat, as well as blacksmithing demonstrations, bardic competitions and “Rounders” - Elizabethan baseball - at 3 p.m. For a complete listing of events, visit the Web site above.