Twenty years ago, Ansteorra learned of the passing of Sir Riccardo Di Pissa, who was described at the time as “a hero, from the kingdom of heroes.”
For many, no other quote has as accurately formed Ansteorran’s perception of the Kingdom than those few words. From Ansteorrans who helped shape the Kingdom to the newest member, every person has heroic qualities and each, in their own way, makes this society all the better for it.
When The Ansteorra Gazette set out to make a series highlighting the “Kingdom of Heroes,” a call to members was announced. The response has been astounding.
For the second instalment, from a Kingdom of Heroes comes Honorable Lady Magdalena Cortez.
Q: What is your full SCA name and full title? Also, what do you prefer to go by at events?
A: Honourable Lady Magdalena Cortez, but everyone pretty much calls me Dena. I ask in formal introductions to be addressed properly; otherwise Dena is sufficient.
Q: How long have you been playing in the SCA (also, how long have you been in Ansteorra)?
A: I started playing when I was 17, so roughly 1990/1991, but I didn’t take the SCA seriously until I moved to Ansteorra in 2005.
Q: How did you come into the SCA?
A: Some friends were fringe players in California and took me to an event one evening. I fell in love with the drumming and dancing.
Q: What is your (current) persona?
A: 16th Century Spanish
Q: What is your local SCA group? Have you played in any other groups previously?
A: Bryn Gwlad out of Austin, Texas. I played in the Barony of Carolingia in the East Kingdom briefly. Before that, I didn’t pay much attention to what groups were in the area.
Q: Are you an officer, deputy, or in another type of leadership role? (please feel free to elaborate on any of these you feel comfortable with, including time in, the job, and your favorite parts of the job)
A: At this time, I am a deputy Seneschal for Bryn Gwlad.
Skillsets within the SCA
Q: What activates do you most often participate in at events?
A: Working. All the working! Also rapier fighting. And of course socializing with friends and family.
Q: What activities do you most often participate in with your local group?
A: I live quite a distance from my local group so I primarily keep an eye on the FB group, post notifications for the business meetings and attend business meetings as time/finances allow.
Q: What awards do you have, and why/how did you receive them?
A: AOA, Sable Talon (for killing Countess Gwen at BAM), Queen Rapier from Countess Lisette, Golden Martlet, Drageiau Bryn (Service award for BG), Sable Crane, Star of Merit from Duke Lochlan and Countess Michelle
Q: Do any of your awards have a particular emotional significance to you?
A: My QR was awarded to me on the field and was the one Countess Lisette wore. Receiving my Star of Merit from Lochlan and Michelle as well as my Sable Talon all carry pretty deep emotions with them.
Q: If someone were to see you at an event during the day, what would you most likely be doing?
A: Working or fighting – that’s all I seem to have time to do at events!
Q: If someone were to see you at an event in the evening, what would you most likely be doing?
A: It really depends on how the day went. I have been known to be out and about with my friends, or fast asleep by 8 p.m.!
Q: Have you tried a new activity recently, and if so, what was it and what were the results?
A: I have recently taken up knitting. I’m still in the newbie stage which means lots of frustration and throwing of yarn.
Q: What is something in the SCA that you love to talk about?
A: Silk banner painting and brewing. I am certainly not the master in either but I love talking about them.
Q: Are there any SCA activities that you would like to learn more about?
A: Knitting, Bobbin lace making and Viking wire weaving. They have all peaked my interest and I would like to learn more about how to do them.
Q: What do you feel is one of your strongest skills in the SCA?
A: I am always willing to jump in to help accomplish a task. I am always willing to work.
Q: What do you feel is a skill that you want to grow more in the SCA?
A: I need to hone the skill of patience, especially when something doesn’t go according to plan, especially with projects I am working on or learning.
Q: If someone wanted to talk with you at an event, or at a meeting, but didn’t know you, how would you like them to approach you and address you?
A: Time and place are important. During a tournament may get them a short response or reception because I am trying to focus on the tournament. But afterwards, I am all ears and happy to sit and talk. I especially love to talk while working so roll up those sleeves and let’s get to work!
Q: Do you consider yourself approachable, or perhaps a little intimidating?
A: I like to think I am approachable but have been told on several occasions that I am incredibly intimidating. I am not sure how best to combat that. I do have a strong personality but I am always willing to talk and help.
Q: Could you talk about some of your SCA relationships? (students, teachers, friends, formal or informal)?
A: I have been a protégé to Mistress Myfanwy for seven years now (I think, may be eight now) and I am cadet to Don Pieter Raush for four years. I am married to Centurion Vasilii and have friends scattered across the Kingdom. .
Q: Do you usually go to court? (why or why not)
A: I initially didn’t. My very first court was an eight-hour court, so that left me with a sour taste but since coming to Ansteorra, I tend to enjoy them much better and love seeing friends getting recognized for their hard work and dedication.
Some big issues
Q: What do you feel is your biggest current contribution to the SCA?
A: I really am not sure, but my trustworthiness when tasked with a job I think is my biggest contribution. People know that if they ask for my help, I will see it done.