Your full name
Magistra Ysabella-Maria Vasquez de Granada y Cortes from Mynydd Gwyn/Insulae Draconis/Drachenwald
Way back in the mists of time, as an impressionable young thing, I saw a news item on the television about this strange organisation in the US whose members dressed up in mediaeval clothes, had feasts and tournaments, and generally did a bunch of cool things. It was the organisation’s tenth birthday, and I thought “it would be really great if there was something like that in the UK”. Roll on fifteen years or so and I was a postgraduate student in Scotland, where I found myself getting involved with the university’s mediaeval re-enactment society. This turned out to be the SCA College of Caer Caledon. My first event was a Beltane Faire held in the grounds of the 14th-century St. Andrews Castle, where I spent much of the day helping out in the tavern.
Back then I was Freyya, which soon became Freydis Thorfinnsdottir of the Shire of Harpelstane. For a few years I happily attended events, helping out where I could and spending quite a lot of time sitting sewing and watching the fencers. Thanks to a weak knee I thought that the best I could do was watch until Antonio di Rienzo Ruspoli introduced me to Destreza, the Spanish form of fencing that’s a lot easier on the knees. At this point I knew that a viking name didn’t really fit well with the Spanish fencing style and so I became Ysabella-Maria Vasquez de Granada y Cortes (formerly known as Alia al-Thuriyya al-Garnatiyya), a scholar of the stars from late 15th-century Granada.
I eventually left Harpelstane for the snowy north and the Shire of Klakavirki, where I had the joy of being able to support the rebirth of the Shire as it moved from being focused on the US base in Keflavik to Akureyri in the north. It was here that I realised that what all event sites need isn’t a sauna, but rather a hot tub big enough to dance in.
Now I’ve washed up in Mynydd Gwyn, from which it’s a lot easier to attend events although my wonky knees mean that I don’t attend as many as I’d like to. I’ve loved the move to online meetings as they’ve allowed me to be far more active, particularly with the Mynydd Gwyn Learned Discourses and other online A&S activities. Having said that, I’m really looking forward to returning to see people in person again.
Natural philosophy, astronomy, embroidery, fencing (although I don’t do much of it nowadays thanks to those wonky knees), music.
Being useful, dressing up in mediaeval clothes and doing silly things with my friends (old and new), cider, feasting.
People who think other people are inferior to them.
Stuff she wants to see at events
Dancing in hot tubs, people enjoying themselves, A&S classes.
I was elevated at Yule Ball in Flintheath in December AS LVI (2021) in a ceremony that was complicated by the addition of new Covid travel rules for flights to the UK which meant that a couple of days before the event Their Majesties Æiríkr and Jacquelyna realised that they couldn’t attend the event. Their Celestial Highnesses of Insulae Draconis, Siridean and Rogned stood in Their Majesties’ places for the ceremony.
Many wonderful people spoke to me during my vigil, which was held both in person and online, and I was honoured by the worlds spoken for me by
- Populace – Mareddud ap Gwylim
- Knight – Elfin of Mona
- M.O.D – Antonio di Rienzo Ruspoli
- Laurel – Etienne Fevre, spoken by Suzannah of York
- Pelican – Mary Verch Thomas
- Royal peer – Alessandra Melusine, spoken by Jahanara
and by Lyonet de Covenham as herald who, with the aid of her mirror, coped most skilfully with the marvellous scroll created by Richard of Salisburie.