By Adam F. Levine
Mona, though I know that Scott requested that I speak here, thank you for allowing me to share some of my memories of your husband and my good friend for the past 25 years.
Every person here has the opportunity to improve the lives of those around them through small selfless acts . such as being courteous or anticipating someone's needs and stepping forward to help. It's a rare individual though who, through sheer passion and determination, can raise everyone around them to a better place, if only for a brief time. Even rarer is an individual who sets such a shining example by their actions that they permanently inspire those they come into contact with . inspiring profound change for the better. I have the honor of providing a glimpse into the life of such a rare individual: Scott Simoneaux, my friend.
The word "friend" has special meaning to me. I have hundreds of what I would call "acquaintances", but only a handful of people who I elevate to the status of "friend". These are the people that I would trust with my life and the lives of my family— the people that I would do everything possible to support and who I believe return that commitment.
Each of us has a different standard that defines what we are willing to do for people based on where they fall of the scale between "acquaintance" and "friend". One of the things that made Scott Simoneaux so special was that he constantly challenged himself to extend what he was willing to do for others . this was his personal ideal . an ideal of behavior that resulted in his recognition as a shining example of what we all should be . a leader to emulate. Perforce, it also opened him up to be hurt by those unprepared to extend themselves equally. This romanticized ideal was captured long ago in the concept of chivalry. In Scott's late teens, this ideal was what initially attracted him to the Society for Creative Anachronism or SCA, an organization dedicated to recreating the best aspects of times long gone. I believe he was around 16 at the time. I'll come back to that very important aspect of Scott's life.
We are each molded by the people who cause us joy and grief and, in particular, the goals that we set ourselves and adversity we must overcome. These sculpt us, affecting how we see others and how others see us.
Scott's formative years had their share of joy and adversity. Scott found a path to the man he would become in sports. A natural athlete gifted with great strength, he honed those abilities with weight training and football, In high school he actually was asked to teach weightlifting and led the defense of his high school football team to a number of undefeated seasons. It also resulted in crushed vertebrae in his lower back that were to pain him the rest of his life. From his coaches and peers, Scott learned a warrior ethic: work hard, never quit, and crush adversity. Scott attacked life.
Scott also had a passion for history that later in life led him to pursue his teaching credential.
All of these influences came together to create Sir Francois, a French knight who lived around the time of Agincourt. This was Scott's larger-than-life persona that was to affect the lives of so many. Though Scott was to later be recognized for various artistic and leadership skills, it was at combat that he excelled above all others. His martial prowess and character earned him recognition as a Knight, a shining example for others to emulate and one of the greatest honors conferred in the SCA. In many respects, Scott was the diminished version of Francois constrained by mundane reality.
For those in the SCA who never had the pleasure of crossing swords with Sir Francois at his peak, try to appreciate someone who worked out with over 500 pounds who could hit you repeatedly so fast that you couldn't see him move. At his peak, Sir Francois did not lose a single fight in practice or tournament for two years. But it was the white belt, spurs and chain of knighthood that meant the most to him. Not because of what he had earned, but because it was a constant reminder of the standard by which he lived. A standard dedicated to honor and an ideal.
While my experience fighting with Sir Francois was fun . if you can call getting your head handed to you repeatedly fun . it was off the field at his home that I truly got the measure of the man. Some of my best memories are of the many dinners and dances at Scott's home in medieval garb. Every month, he had an evening that he called Lantern's Eve where those who attended had to come prepared to share a story or poem. That night, a lantern was lit outside his home. Inside, a fire typically burned in the fireplace. We went back to a time before television where the best entertainment could be found in the wit and encouragement that really only comes from sharing with friends.
In the mid-80's, Scott married the love of his life, Mona. I believe that it was shortly after that that he first learned that he was fighting diabetes. Though immensely strong, his weight was taking a horrible toll on his body. Like everything else in his life, he bravely attacked the problem. For almost 20 years, my friend battled this disease. That was a measure of his strength as well. Though occasionally he despaired, his love of Mona and spirit allowed him to persevere. It wasn't diabetes though that hurt him most; it was the gradual distancing of those whom he considered close. His life was a stark reminder of our mortality and that was more than many people could bear. He understood this.
To the end, he was a warrior in everything he did, a man who was a personal hero to me, a man who loved, fought throughout his life, but never yielded. Scott, you were loved and will be missed by so many
"The true worth of a man is not to be found in man himself, but in the colours and textures that come alive in others."Francois was such a man, he was the most courteous and giving individual I've known and consider it a privilege to have been his friend.
He was a true gentleman.
Once at Diamond Wars in Small Gray Bear, the Shadow Legion was fighting on paths cut in the grass on the other side of the bridge (before the fort was built). I was separated from the group and managed to make my way to the starting point of the other side. There was a tent set up and refreshments for the other fighters attended by many of their ladies. I thought it would be good sport to capture their base and demand ransom. I entered the tent and declared my intentions. I then noted that Sir Francois was sitting in the tent attended to by several of those present. They had brought him there so he could be near the fighting and talk with the fighters when they returned after dying in the field. When I saw he was present, I declared that I could not capture this fortress held by this most Noble Knight and beseeched him to spare me that I might return to the fighting field. His comment that he was unarmored and not there to do battle did not dissuade me. I knew that I faced my better even if he was unarmed and unarmored and I so stated. Again I begged for my life and withdrew from the tent and returned to the battle field where I could stand without fear against the other fighters, Knights and Crowns of Meridies.
Baron Soni Kurai Chikara Hito
I only met Francois once on the tournament field, and not as a fighter. It was back in February 2002, in Wyrmgeist. He, the good knight and mentor, was marshalling a great tournament that day. I, a mere herald, had the pleasure of helping holler it. This particular tournament was a favor tourney. Each fighter was to go to a lady of the gallery, ask a favor, and fight for it. If he failed, he had to perform a duty to the lady. If he won, the lady had the option of graciously granting the wearing of her favor. The winner would be the one who collected the most favors at the end of the day. Ladies also had the chance to give their favor to any fighter they deemed was being chivalrous. Many of the ladies, and even myself, were honored by our fighters. But there was one in particularly who not only honored us, he shared his awe of each of us and took every care to delight us with his acts of chivalry, fairness, and love. At the end of the day, it was Francois who bore the most favors... and who had the humility to blush when he received each and every one.
He was a mentor to myself, my husband, and my household, and he will be sorely missed.
THL Katryne MacIntosh the Strange
Dear sad news indeed.no event shall ever be the same without the dear kind words and guiding of everyone's friend and hero, heaven is blessed to have him, though he will always be missed sorely here on Earth.
This is the verse for Count Francois DuVant, from "The Ballad of the Meridian Kings" written by Lady Katrine Witan Runa, a Bardic Teaching Song whose tune is based on "Binnorie"
Francois, the next, a model heLady Katrine Witan Runa
Sir Francois introduced my father to the SCA when I was a child. I recall him taking time out of everything he was doing to allow me to hit him on the helm with rattan on more than one occasion. Once I grew up, I rediscovered the SCA, and Sir Francois remembered me. After a 15 year absence from the society, he remembered me hitting him on the helm as a child. He went out of his way to make sure I enjoyed my first event. He even went so far as to drop out of the tournament so that my brother could use his helm since his failed armor inspection. He was one classy individual that "lived the dream" to its fullest, he will be greatly missed.
Lord Lachlin Hawkwood
Sir Francois du Vant is a hero, an inspiring Knight. He represents that which is noble and just, exemplary of chivalry. He is a man of vision and promise. When my beloved husband Simonn and I first met Francois, it was at the very first event we traveled to (beyond one serendipity revel in the Barony of Stargate-Houston... we live in Beaumont...) at The Barony of Grey Niche-Memphis in the Principality of Meridies/Atenveldt at the July 1976, A.S. XI Border Raids. At that time Francois was Prince Sir Francois du Vant *and* autocrat of that event. He was the first Prince of the Principality of Meridies.
We and our one year old son Aarion Kyrkwood Mountain-Gate traveled from Beaumont, TX, in the Region of Ansteorra/Atenveldt, with the company of some new acquaintances who already played SCA. We had a car; they had a tent; and we all wanted to get to Border Raids, so we collaborated from Southeast Texas to get to Tennessee. Simonn had never been to a fighter practice-- had never seen a fighter practice-- but we had been researching. We did not know about rattan weapons. Simonn had built a flexible gasket rubber axe head mounted on a hickory ax handle (then SCA legal). I had designed and sewn our clothes. His surcoat matched his painted shield: quarterly gules and argent, in 2nd and 3rd, a tower embattled of four sable, with a hawk's head overall. That was basically the same device which he eventually registered. At Grey Niche I heard many people address Prince Francois as "Your Grace," "Your Highness," or "My Liege."
Being a busy noble, not to mention busy autocrat, he took the personal time to inspect Simonn, Simonn's gear, and to qualify Simonn as a fighter. People in camp were referring to us as Lord and Lady Mountain-Gate, not perceiving that we were attending our first event. Simonn and Francois formed an undying camaraderie. I wanted to personally thank Prince Francois for approving my lord to sword fight, so I obtained permission to approach the Throne. When I bowed, I confused the terms Liege and Grace and said, out of either context, "My Grace" ! Someone taught me better as the whole court smiled, and I wanted to sink into the grass... I became determined that when our son was old enough, that he would pronounce everything correctly to joyfully set my faux pax upright.
Soon, within a couple of years, our cherubic blue-eyed platinum-haired little boy was striking at the taller men in armor with his little plastic swords. Aarion was an attraction at demos and RenFaire in those days. When next we were in the same place as Sir Francois, I felt it was time for Aarion to be "presented" to my hero. I escorted my little son forward and told him to pause and bow his little head and say, "Your Grace." Obediently, Aarion boldly stood his ground with his innocent head bowed and started reciting, "Thank You, Lord, for our food. Amen." We have all guffawed about that until our sides ache and tears of laughter stream our cheeks.
Meanwhile, we founded the Shire Bordermarch (on the Sabine River where Texas and Louisiana are divided); on a trip to Albuquerque in 1977, Simonn was knighted as Sir Simonn of Amber Isle and was appointed Knights Marshal of Ansteora. I was awarded a Grant of Arms with the Queen's Grace of Atenveldt; then the BoD decreed our populace to become Barony Bordermarch in the same Board Meeting that Meridies was decreed to be a Kingdom and Ansteorra was declared to be a Principality. We became the Founding Baron and Baroness Bordermarch by equal right, decreed by the BoD, and I was appointed the Seneschal of the Region of Ansteora. (Spelled with one "r" then.) For many years when we would attend the same events as Francois in Meridies or Ansteorra, he would greet us as if we were lofty blue bloods, as if he were scraping the ground to us as we did the same unto him. To get lower than the other, we try to get beneath the grass, toss grass above our heads, and greet in hilarity. Sometimes we exchange a token ring by trying it on each finger until one of his or one of mine will fit each other. Sometimes not. This is always to the amusement of ourselves and to onlookers. When we attend events missing each other, we send little bunches of grass or a ring with fond greetings via a courier. I still have from Francois an ancient locket filled with dry blades, tucked away safely in the cedar chest, and another small capsule of dried grass from a distant event.
Among the highlights of Simonn's fighting career is a day in January, 1977, at the Blessing of the Shires which we two autocratted to indicate that Bordermarch and The Isles (Galveston, since then, folded) were up and running. On the battlefield that day Simonn had a double kill with Francois! Simonn was so inspired by Francois that he added "ears" to his heater to block the rapid shots that Francois throws, and he named his shield "Francois."
My journey could not have been as meaningful nor as inspired without his influence or the joy and fun that is shared. Both our boys have been highly molded by the concepts of chivalry with great examples set before us by Sir Francois. Our second son, Zain Amber-Gate has grown to manhood now. Aarion's life was cut short. He has been gone now to the King of Kings since 1991. We went inactive for three or four years and did not stay in as close touch with Francois or others as we might have; and more recently, Francois scarcely travels.
Francois long, long ago gave us three garnets with encouragement to pass on two of them to others who held the Dream. When Simonn and I were 9th Crown of Ansteorra, I made small ornamental teardrop-shaped gold bags with a few garnets inside (and another folded up bag for pass alongs) and gave them to individuals who maintained the spark of Chivalry, encouraging those individuals by naming them as DreamKeepers. This I learned from Francois, my hero. He still inspires me.
H E Tessa of the Gardens, Founding Baroness Bordermarch,
H E Simonn of Amber Isle, The Founding Baron Bordermarch,
When I was a newbie, my first event was Gatalop 3. Of the very few Peers who deemed to treat me with any form of respect that first time, Sir Francois was my favorite. His dark chain mail and heavy cape that cold day, inspired me to continue in the SCA. He was kind and friendly, always wore a smile and was always supportive to new members. A large man, he shined with a chivalrous light that to this day leaves me with fond memories. As for myself I will miss him greatly. Truly, a knight to emulate if any wish to have an example, I know I did. I am deeply saddened at the lose of a true friend and, in my opinion, the highest level of chivalry.
Fondly will I remember him,
Syr Darian Goldenhair
My family & I are very sadden by the passing of this great man. It was a very special friendship and bond that we shared. Sir Francois, made everybody feel like an old friend. My daughter THL. Jessimond of Emerikskeep had a special place for him in her heart. She always kept saying, no event is complete without Francois walking in. He taught her all about the SCA. My Lord husband THL Ladislaus deBrody, Seneschal of the Barony of Selone, said he would have left the SCA shortly after he joined, but it was the long heart to heart talk he had with Francois that made him stay. Many of you know him from his skills on the fighting field. But he also had a humorous side and could pull pranks with the best of them. In his presence you sometimes felt you where transported back to the time of our personas. I have to make a few spelling errors, so he can look down and smile. He called me his funny German friend. Our dear friend, people like you only pass this way once.
Mona our prayers are with you.
I did not know Francois nearly so well as I would have liked. It was always a privilege and an honor to cross swords with him over the years. He always made me feel that I had fought well even as he defeated me. I first watched him fight some twenty years ago. I can still remember NOT being able to follow his blows, just feeling the impact. He was a man of honor and the epitome of chivalry. With his generosity and his wonderful sense of humor, he was truly a rare individual. His presence will be sorely missed in Meridies, Gleann Abhann, and indeed throughout the known world. His like will not soon walk this way again.
Mona, our prayers are with you,
Over the years I got to know Sir Francois, the thing I will carry the most is his spirit of generosity to all. He did not look at title, belt, or coronet, but welcomed, enjoyed, and gave joy to all around him. Sitting on a picnic table at Camp Wilkes, we talked of how so many held him as an example. He seemed embarrassed, his humility further showing his chivalry. Both on the field and off, he leaves us an example we will all strive for.
Mona, I wish you God's peace.
Baroness Caemel nic Entaggart
Francois is an inspiration to me and he will be greatly missed. He will always be alive in our hearts. Every time he walked into the room you could feel his presence. He always treated and made everyone feel special.
Mona, You are in my thoughts and my prayers. May God Bless you and keep you.
THL Adrienne de Montjoye.
I have never known anyone as kind or as giving of himself as Francois. Here are two of my favorite memories of him:
Unlike so many of us who attend events and look like we are "in garb" (if even THAT, sometimes), Francois always looked as if he truly belonged in the garments he wore. So inspired was I by his constant kindness to a young new-comer such as myself, that I decided to thank him by sewing one of my very first pieces of garb for him. I had noticed that he often wore a hood with its long liripipe draped across his shoulders. It looked simple enough to make, so I proceeded to created one for him out of Francois-blue velvet. As a special touch, I placed several gold fleur-de-lis around the hem for adornment. Now, I am not a seamstress, nor ever shall be, and this fact certainly must have shown itself to any who looked upon the so-called hood I made. However, to Francois it was perfect because I do not believe he ever saw flaws... not in my sewing and not in anyone he ever met.
The last time I saw Francois was at Gulf Wars a couple of years ago. His encampment was amazing! My lord husband and I spent hours just sitting there with him and his lady wife talking about the creative little things they had done to hide mundane necessities and such. As night fell, mutual friends of ours from Axemoore, Master Thorvald and his wife, Solveig quietly snuck into camp. At first their presence was unknown to Francois, for this is how they had planned it. With them they had a bit of burning peat which had been imported from Ireland. Slowly, as we continued our conversation, Francois started to notice the aroma of the peat. Glancing at each other and smiling, we all knew what was happening, but did not say anything. We were waiting for him to identify the wafting scent that had piqued his curiosity. Suddenly he shouted, "That's peat!" Thorvald and Solveig announced themselves and she explained that she and Francois and recently spoken of how one never forgets the unique smell of Irish peat.
By now the sun was well set and torches had been lit. As the peat slowly burned like some mysterious incense, the whole encampment was transformed into "enchanted land". It was one of those brief moments where we suddenly were no longer at an SCA event, but were somehow actually sitting around a Medieval camp sharing stories, singing songs and laughing with old friends. It was simply magical! But really, that's how Francois made every event feel and how I shall always remember him... He brought laughter and magic to every event he attended and he shall always be greatly missed by all who had the honor and privilege to have known him.
The Honorable Lady Jessimond of Emerickeskepe
My husband and I met, courted, and married in the SCA. We first met at 'blessings of the Shire', and Sir Francois was in attendance. I traveled to Meridies from Ansteorra for Sir Francois coronation, and Starhelm was knighted at that event. His Majesty Francois came to the Texas Ren Faire, with Sir Starhelm in his company, and I fell in love that sunlit afternoon. Starhelm and I courted through the autumn and into the winter of that year, almost always at SCA events, I would go to Meridies (3 hours drive) and he would come to Ansteorra. At one fighter practice in Meridies, I picked up Starhelm's shield to carry it to the car and His Majesty Francois attempted to take it from me. I pulled, he pulled...and only relented, but with a puzzled look, when I insisted that "there are times when it is proper for a Lady to carry a Lord's shield." Starhelm wandered up with the rest of the armor and they fell to discussing fighting. In the midst of this conversation, Sir Starhelm dropped to one knee and begged his Liege's permission to take a wife from outside of the kingdom. Francois patiently waited for the 'punch-line' from his old friend, a notorious practical joker. Then, completely puzzled, glanced at me. I smiled and nodded. In his impeccable "Southern Pulpit" voice, His Majesty declared that he had no problem with his knights winning the fairest flowers from neighboring kingdoms, thus enriching 'his lands'. Scott attended our mundane wedding and Francois stood for Starhelm at our SCA wedding, and Sir Simonn of Amber and his dear Lady Mistress Tessa of the Gardens stood for me. The King of Meridies and his long time friend the Prince of Ansteorra sealed our SCA wedding.
PS. that night François pulled out our tent stakes...
Mistress Nerak la Tisserande, OL
I had the occasion of meeting this noble man several times. I am truly blessed that my life crossed his path. I only wished that I had known him better. He is the shining star that we follow. I say "He is" because even though he has passed from this realm of mortality, his spirit lives on. A truly remarkable individual, but ever so humble. Every time I spoke with him, he was always smiling. I'll never let a day in this world go by without thinking of him. Those of us that were even in his presence can count themselves lucky. I, for one, certainly do. May his soul rest in peace.
Lord Iain MacArthur
"Remember, for it is the doom of men that they forget."
My first remembrances of Francois are the stories I heard as a newbie in the SCA. 1982. Stories of Sir Francois, his lightning fast sword and his humility. The man was a living Legend. That was then.
Later, after a 8 year absence, I began building armor and training at Fighter practice. I remember asking if anyone knew Sir Francois. All knew him by name, most had met him at least once, a few knew him well. I marveled at the fact that his legend and reputation persisted over time.
I was also told that he had been having some health issues and he had not been seen for a while. Saddened some, by the fact that he wasn't playing right then, I continued with my learning of the SCA. I had really wanted to meet this legend of a man who inspired all to consider him the very essence of Chivalry. For I wanted one day be a Knight too, and I wanted to have and idea of what the ultimate Knight was. This was 1991. Some years later, I heard he was playing again. I knew that I would probably be attending some event sometime and HE would be there. When that did occur, I was again amazed that not only was he everything anyone had ever told me, but he was even more. Kind and soft spoken, with conviction that ran as deep as possible. A true Knight, his beliefs were not confined to our "Game" , they were his soul. I was also fortunate enough to have been able to fight with him a few times. That too was all I had ever thought it would be and more. For as gentle as his spirit was in conversation, when he donned his bascinet, he as equally as ferocious and lethal. Most common reaction... same as others, never saw it coming. But what amazed me most, and what has been a treasure to me, is that HE considered ME a friend. It became more special for me after I was Knighted, when he told me he thought I was a Knight.
There is no story I can tell that can convey my memory of Francois. But this small tribute I lay humbly at the effigy of Count Sir Francois Du Vant.
I live my life as a Knight in the SCA with the hope that the small, near burned out flame on my candle somehow reflects just a small portion of that light, like the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria, that is Francois.
Although my head hangs with sorrow, his memory makes me smile,
H. Michael Farrell,
I know the earth fair shook when this mighty warrior was felled, such caring and giving and loving and respect did Sir Francois command. Shock and pained disbelief were quickly followed by sorrow and grief and concern for Mona. Yet in the midst of it all, those who knew him can't help but smile as memories remind us of this one-of-a-kind person who was larger than life.
Francois tried to teach me the finer points of flowery speech and chivalry, but I must confess I was a poor student compared to Sir Francois, as was most anyone. An event will not be the same without him there, a kind word for everyone, and a quick joke and a laugh. I often stood amazed at his quick wit and ready words of flattery for any situation.
I was thinking of my knight today and trying to come up with the words to do him and his memory justice (and knowing I wouldn't be able to) when I was struck by a memory and almost laughed out loud. Several years ago we were traveling together along with several other gentles to Coronation. As we traveled through Arkansas, Sir Francois suddenly slammed on the brakes and threw the van into reverse. Of course, we all feared for our lives and wondered aloud, and loudly, what the problem was. His answer- "A chicken."
It seemed a plain, white and dirty chicken had somehow fallen off a truck. When I asked him what he was going to do with a chicken, he started coming up with plans to teach the chicken- who he had named Aerun, after the Queen, who was a bird lover of renown- to sit on his wrist like a hawk. He started wondering if I could come up with jesses and a hood for the bird! He said since everyone in the SCA could be whoever they wanted, his chicken could have a hawk persona. The Queen, by the way, was flattered by being the name-sake of Sir Francois' bird.
Sir Francois once told me he had dreamed as Francois since a boy. I believe one lifetime was not enough for such a man and he had to come back to teach us what honor and chivalry really meant. This was something he didn't just put on with his garb for events. He lived and believed in it every day of his life. The world will be a darker and colder place without his warm shining example. I know if I ever get elevated and as long as I live, I will still be Sir Francois' squire and try to live up to his standard of what a knight is.
I have many, many wonderful memories of Sir Francois and will miss our all night talks on Saturday nights at events and watching the sun come up.
This embodiment of chivalry our world will not soon forget... the noble Sir Francois.
Lord Conall MacRoigh,
If I recall the Lore My Laurel Passed Down to Me, Vicount Sir Francois was among the first four Knights made in this region, back when this was the ancient and honorable soil of the Kingdom of Atendvelt.
There were NO Knights in this end of the Kingdom, and his Aten Magesty showed up and knighted four or five in one stroke. One telling of the tale has him showing up at fighter practice and knighting everyone there in armor. Another is more dramatic. "And then his Magesty did grasp five white belts, and HURL them over the horizon, where they fell to land upon five men . . . "
Regardless, Master Saher was, close after those days, a Squire to Sir Cedric, and a member of Francois' Entourage. From him I had a story, and back when I was telling tales around the fire, it became my signature piece. One year I told this tale at the Mead Hall at Chateau Du Vant. It was truly an honor, and also very validating to have his Excellency sitting right there, nodding, and going, "Yep, that's pretty much the way it happened."
For the interested, I present my interpretation of the tale Master Saher told me, of Francois.
Master William McNaughton, CL
Sir Francois, You Answered the Call
My friend...I will miss you only in body but never in spirit. You are now free from the pain that this stupid "Mundane World" ever placed on you. I will see you soon when my time here is over...we will enjoy the wine, cigars, fried chicken, "Captain Jack" and Paul Williams. Not only were you the Best Man for my wedding, you were the Best Gentleman of the SCA.
God Bless You and bring Peace to Mona. I Love You,
Your Personal Jester,
And the heavens opened up . . .
Rest in Peace my Brother
Syr john de Drakal
I attended my first and only Border Raids in the summer of 1978. John Bearkiller was king of Meridies; Moonwulf reigned in the Midrealm. At opening court, His Majesty of the Middle was attended by a beautiful blue Great Dane, a most regal animal that added immensely to the King's royal presence. The Crown of Meridies, noting his lesser status at having no hounds of his own, did command one of his sworn and loyal knights to take a similar position at his own feet. The Dane, assuming that the man now sitting at his level was a new playmate, rose from his post at Moonwulf's right hand, crossed over to the recumbent knight, and proceeded to sit on him - much to the pleasure and amusement of the Court there assembled.
That knight was Francois.
With fond memories,
Sir Alfred of Carlyle, viscount
I had the great pleasure of meeting Sir François at a couple of Pennsics, but it was during my Tour of the Known World in AS XII that I discovered the measure of his chivalry and courtesy. When I came into what is now Wyrmgeist (Baton Rouge), but I think it had a different name then, I had the great privilege to be his guest. So gracious his hospitality! He told me that his custom was to give his bed to a guest, and sleep on the couch himself. Despite my protestation that I was quite well accustomed to couches and carpets (I had an air mattress with me, in fact) he insisted, and I accepted.
I also recall an evening of good fellowship with Sir François and several other folk of the area. Everywhere I went on that tour I was received most graciously, but there was without a doubt the most gracious of all.
May all who knew him bless his life and honor his memory.
Your servant aye,
I met Sir Francois back in 1977 at the Siege of Memphis State University. Sir John the Bearkiller was the finest knight I knew in those days and he spoke of his knight in terms of respect that left me wondering what to expect. Sir Francois lived up to my expectations in every way.
One of my fondest memories of him had to do with a very cold Tournament we were at together that demonstrated his amazing sense of humor. One of the ladies of Grey Niche was Barbara of Sterling (AKA David Huey). (S)he was always a blast to be around and it was not until late in the day that Sir Francois found out the Lady was not really a lady.
Later that night after the feast, we were visited by a new persona of Sir Francois'; the Lady Francine Fish-face of Finland. Imagine if you will, Sir Francois dressed in a long gown, heavily made up, wearing a piece of silver shag carpet as a wig, and using a pair of nerf balls to fill out her (his) bodice. Everybody in the hall almost died of laughter. The high point of the evening was a Bells & Pillows match in which Lady Francine took an inadvertent shot to her (his) vital statistics. After (s)he took off her blindfold, (s)he bounced one of the nerf balls off the offending opponent's head. It was absolutely amazing.
The last time I spoke with Count Sir Francois was in Small Grey Bear where I was officiating at a wedding. Even though he was suffering badly from the diabetes, he was still just as pleasant and polite as he had always been. He had always been something of an inspiration to me since we had first met.
Many SCAdians have interesting personas, but Sir Francois lived his life as if there was no difference between the mundane world and the SCA. I believe that for many of the first generation of Old Meridies who fought, we all wanted to imagine that we might grow up to be like him. Meridies has always been a close knit kingdom since the earliest days and we have always felt the loss of one of our citizens very keenly. I am going to miss Count Sir Francois Viscount du Vant more than anyone else who has traveled to the undiscovered country. Fly well to heaven, Scott, you will be remembered to the generations to come.
THL Padruig Aoghann called the Uncle
Francois du Vent was holder of many titles in the span of This Known Worlde. Many he owed to his strong arm and stronger character; some he owed to the good will of Kings. It is then altogether fitting that he is also heir to the truth of that which has been often times attributed to another King Francois, the first of that name to rule the French in the 16th century: "I may make any number of Dukes, but only God may make a Gentleman."
He was of Meridies, but now belongs to the ages.
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Cathal mac Edan na faeled
Na sir 's na seachain an cath.
Brigit and I met Francois at our first South Downs events some 32 years ago. He is among those whose personal presence and chivalry bonded us so strongly to the SCA. Back then there were only 3 or 4 SCA groups in the entire South East. South Downs, Draconia, Wyvernwood so traveling was mandatory for any who wished to make a difference in that area. Francois always had time to talk, teach, welcome and learn from all who crossed his path. He was a true Knight long before Atenveldt bestowed that honor on him. But the story that sticks most in my mind, that portrays his humor and ability to allow people to relax and not take things too seriously took place at the investiture of Gabrielle and Conor. At the end of court Count Francois started down the center isle with a knight's belt clutched in his hand. He started with a statement that there comes a time in a knight's life that he must face the fact that he can no longer fulfill his responsibilities as a true knight. You could have heard a pin drop. His health issues were known by most of us by then and several of us desperately tried to formulate a plan to stop him from giving up this honor that he not only deserved but personified. When he finally reached the thrones Their Stellar Highnesses stated that they would not allow him to give up his belt and chain. His response came with a bright twinkle of victory shining in his eyes. "My belt...oh no, this is not MY belt...this is Duke Stephen's belt." His prank was complete and he was awarded by the laughter, and relief, of all present.
Such was the humor of Count Francois.
Mona we know none will miss him more than his well loved wife, but all will miss his humor, grace, chivalry and friendship. Our thoughts and prayers go with you as you continue on your path. We owe you so much for allowing us to share a part of him with you. Please call on us if ever you need our assistance. You already have our love and friendship.
With honor, respect and love,
I only met Count Francois once. I will never forget that day. I had been in the SCA about two years. It was at the Coronation of Radu and Brionnfinn held at the WoW camp in Hattiesburg. Lady Giliana Spencer de Windemere, who'd introduced me to the SCA but who lives in Atenveldt, and I were walking among the pavilions admiring the heraldic display set out. We admired his pavilion as he was exiting it. He invited us to sit and spent the next hour regaling us with tales and asking after people he knew who were still in Atenveldt. As we walked away from the area, both of us remarked that that must be one of the nicest people we'd ever met but he'd never introduced himself to us. Baroness Cae came up and asked us if we knew who he was and when we said no, told us.
About a year later, my son was awarded the Order of the Du Vant Cross. I think in some ways it meant more to me than it did to him because of that hour spent conversing with an unknown person who taught me so much of what the SCA is about.
Lady Elspeth Forsythe
Seneschal, Barony of the Osprey
My first memories of Francois were of him as a Prince of Meridies. I was new to the SCA and had the honor of being in Draconia, his home barony. At my first fighter practice my brother introduced me to him and he was so kind to me. He was what I thought the SCA should be about. That year was 1979. I consider myself lucky to have known not only the man Sir Francois but the man Scott. He was there when I met my husband and there when I married him. He has been a part of my life for the last 27 years and I thank the stars for that. He will be missed by all and a new generation will not have the honor of knowing him.
Lady Kata Raudbok called Katinka aka MamaDee
Being fourteen years older than Scott Simoneaux (Sir Francois) my memories are more of the mundane world. The energetic teenager, excellent athlete and student, history buff, war gamer and target for every pretty girl in the Parish. As a young man he gave every promise of accomplishing great things. In his chosen field of endeavor he did accomplish great things. My memories of this youth will ever be young to me.
I've had Sir Francois pointed out to me at numerous events, always as an excited murmur of "Look! HE is here! See? over there...the magnificent tent....see it? ok now the regal person in front of it....that's HIM! That's Francois!" So it was a bit overwhelming when, in the midst of the merchant area at Gulf Wars a few years ago, Sir John the Pursuwer decided to actually introduce me. Francois was mostly blind by then and I remember being so tongue tied and trying so desperately to think of SOMETHING that would give me a connection to this great man that I blurted out a pathetic description of my heraldic device and how proud I was to wear green on the fighting field since it was "his color". Francois was wearing a green doublet that day with white fleur des lis and I mistakenly assumed that green was his color. He never once corrected me, but instead told me how glad he was to have another girl fighter "in the family" and seemed genuinely interested in how my day had gone on the field. I regained the ability to think and converse like a normal human being and we had about a three minute chat. I walked away from that meeting on a cloud. I walk *under* a different cloud today, knowing that I will never have a chance to better my acquaintance with this man who embodied the simple virtue of kindness in its purest form. I am convinced that it was not an art form for him, but truly something that he was. He was genuinely kind to everyone.
Lady Emma of Woodborough
I was only given the honor of meeting Sir Francois one time, at Gulf Wars a few years ago. We were sitting and eating at the Gyro place at Gulf Wars when one of the squires in our household noticed who it was that was sitting a few seats away from us.Sir Francois! He went to the Count, and bowed and introduced himself to Sir Francois as his "great grandson"! (We are members of Sir Robert Hightower's household. He was squired to Duke Sir John the Bearkiller, who was squired to Count Sir Francois-which I'm sure most people know). Sir Francois laughed, and proceeded to come and sit with us, and talk with us for a long time. He was kind and caring, and in all ways a model of chivalry and grace. I was impressed that such an august figure not only took the time to speak with us, but to make us feel like family. I only wish I could have known him better.
Lady Cairistiona inghean mhic Carthaigh
Sometime around 1975, Tanya of the Oak and Pellinor auf dur Sturm (rip - February 2001), my parents, guided our small shire, Trollsfen, into the consciousness of the other shires, principalities, and baronies around the south. Tanya helped create a children's group (I believe we were known as the Gosling Guild) so we could participate in tournaments and feel a part of the adult world. We served as pages to our assigned knights during the day and served at the feast in the evening. Francois was always kind to us, guiding us through our duties during the fights and telling us grand stories after the food had been cleared. My sister, Diana of the Hunt and I, loved going to the weekend events, seeing our friends and playing with our "big brothers." Francois stands out in my memory as the kindest, gentlest, cutest, fiercest fighter ever to swing rattan.
I do not remember much, as those days were blurs of sights and sounds played at supersonic childhood speed, days melting into one another forming a hazy beautiful memory of what once was. I do however remember the weekend when Francois, our King, was defeated in battle and laid to rest at the front of the hall. His face wore a peaceful smile. His body proud and strong laid out for all to honor and mourn. This is how I see Sir Francois at this time. Proud, strong, and ready to go on to his greatest reward. He was a unique man who touched so many lives and who, seemingly, loved us all. A gentleman who loved to dance, sing and play with the children who would someday grow up to use his lessons of chivalry, compassion, and understanding in their everyday lives. He will be missed.
Mona, your loss is our loss. We thank you for loving Francois and guiding him through his illness with grace, love and dignity. Although we lost touch some 20 years ago Sir Francois has never been far from our hearts. May you find the strength to mourn your lover and cherish the memory of the time you were given with him. You are in our prayers.
Blessings and love,
I actually had the chance to meet and talk to Francois. It was May 1998 at the Beltain event for Grey Niche. I was a deputy herald at the time. Our baronial herald never showed up for the event, so 'POOF' I was the Baronial herald for the day. I was a bit nervous. I had done some field heraldry, but never court. And the King and Queen (Robert and Aelfgafu or however that's spelled) were in attendance. I was heralding the field at the tournament that Francois was marshalling on. He started talking to me between bouts. I didn't find out who he was until after the tournament. I was just enjoying this amazing conversation with an older gentleman who happened to be a Knight. He was very complimentary, very chivalrous, giving me hints about how to make the announcements more interesting, how to make sure the combatants and marshals were ready, etc.
Also, I found out later that the reason he was not fighting was because he was going blind. When I asked out he was able to marshal, I was told that he had limited vision, but could still see pretty well in the sunlight. He also made his main concern making sure the combatants didn't get too close to the crowd rather than the actual blows during the fight.
That evening during court, I was given my AoA and my Estoile (baronial service award). Francois made a point of coming up to me during the feast to tell me congratulations. The fact that he remembered who I was and went out of his way to tell me that made me feel 10 feet tall. The next time I saw Francois was when he received his Pelican at Gulf Wars. He always said he regretted not having been on the student end of the associate relationship. One of the Pelicans offered to be his peer, and he accepted.
The ceremony where he received his Pelican was one of the most moving ceremonies I had ever seen. The number of people who stepped forward to recommend him for the award and the wonderful things they said were just astounding. Francois was absolutely overwhelmed. The applause when the ceremony was over went on and on and on. At first, he wanted to turn the award down, saying he wasn't ready. He really believed that. Fortunately, the crown would not let him.
Whenever anyone asks what I might like my laureling ceremony to be like, that's the first one that comes to mind. I know I'll never be as universally known or loved the way he was, but it is still my ideal.
Francois is the ultimate of what I would consider chivalrous. He was a great piece of Meridian history and culture. The world is a little dimmer today.
Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of your sight.
- Rassiter W. Raymond
In May, 2005, as Her Excellency THL Barbara Sterling asked me at Gleann Ahbann's first Crown Tourney to pen some personal memories of Francois, ancient history in SCA Atenveldt while Meridies was yet a Principality, and about his connection with foundations in Ansetorra, I could not have known that those words were to become part of his eulogy. ... ...Too soon. ...Simonn and I are humbled that our memories recorded before his death are posted (elsewhere) on this Memorial webpage. Lord rest his soul. We pray for Mona to be Comforted.
With Love and Prayers,
I met Sir Francois in 1979, as a guest at an event in the Shire of Trollfen, arranged by Tanya of the Oak. I was not yet a member of the SCA, but was dressed appropriately, as I had made a medieval outfit for a college drama class and got to wear it, too. As I wandered to mingle with the spectators, dust flew in the hot Spring Louisiana air and I could make out 2 men brandishing "swords" and one was definitely "kicking butt". When all was ended, this gorgeous man, dressed in azure and gold strode up, hair flying, grabbing a drink of water, smiling, while all maidens were blushed. "Who is that?" I asked. "Oh, that's Francois. Sir Francois." He was the kind of man men like and the kind of gentlemen women love. He was the chivalric knight in a time when I didn't think such a thing could exist. I joined the SCA and remained inside it for the next 4-5 years. I would see Francois here and there and he would shyly approach and bid hello and ask to sit with me at the table, etc. I had a devilish crush on him but I upheld him so high that all was bumbled up. Each time I saw him at an event for that period, he would show up, we'd flirt a bit (very politely) and we never "dated". He was always busy and was called away a lot. In any case, his graciousness and politeness and occasional naughty laugh and jests with the "boys" made him superb in my mind. He was real and unreal. He was a good person in the philosophical sense of a good man. And damn smart with that sword! Geesh, fighters of all sorts would travel in to fight him!
Many years later, I always inquired of those who still remained in the SCA if they had heard how he was doing. I knew he had some mishaps, but I always thought of him as gallant, fun, strong (oh so!) and an example for all the great fighters, knights, achievers in the SCA, that he would overcome any misfortune. I tear up as I write this, for I am so happy to have experienced him in my life--not like his close friends, not like his wife (bless her with strength) but as a symbol of idyllic beauty that becomes forever cast in my mind, that goes beyond life and is retrievable whenever you need it.
Wasn't he just grand!
Lady Lucrezia di Giovanni
Sir Francois was a legend when I joined the SCA, back when Atenveldt stretched from the Sun east to the sea, shortly before Ansteorra became a Principality. I was told of (but never shown) a strip of movie film recording his speed: three consecutive frames, the first of which showed his sword above his shoulder, ready; in the second, his sword had begun the return after having struck the target; the third was identical to the first.
This speed was visible every time Sir Francois fought. For example, when Sir Francois visited the Kingdom of Ansteorra for Texas Renaissance Festival in 1979 or '80, he participated in several practice bouts. One new Ansteorran, who was quite excited at the opportunity, was warned by several not to try his newest trick, the attack spin (invented by Sir Simonn), even though Sir Francois had not seen or heard of the move. Of course the young man didn't listen to us! But he learned: halfway through his spin, there was an almighty clang atop his helmet! Sir Francois's comment later: "He turned his back!"
That same weekend, Sir Francois tried some swashbuckling; he exchanged his helmet for a fencing mask to engage in a light weapons bout with Don Tivar Moondragon. During the bout, someone on the sidelines cried encouragement to Don Tivar, and in the process referred to him as French. Tivar disengaged, called a halt, and, pulling a glove off, strode across the ring to fling the glove at the caller's feet, declaring, "I'm English." Sir Francois started visibly -- and followed Tivar, pulling off a gauntlet. _Clatter, clash_. "I'm French!"
Melusine Whitcroft, the Petite, OLA, CAS, OMS
The first time I met HE Count Francois I was a brand new fighter having just been authorized the previous Fall at the TX Renfair. This event was the following spring at the Bordermarch Melees in 83 or 84 my memory is slipping of exact dates. I had arrived early at the site and saw that there were quite a few people already present. One of those was Sir Francois with his pavilion and camp all ready. I walked up and introduced my self and was invited in to visit. he said his name was Francois and I knew him to be a knight by his white belt but no other clue to who he was. We talked about how long I had been in and how did I like being in the SCA? I replied that I was having a great time learning about not only history but living it as well. We talked for a while and then he said he had to meet others and he begged my leave and went on, his Nobility and Chivalry at that point impressed me a fairly "newbie" (I'm an old graybeard and not pc :0) ) greatly.
The next day on the Field I was in my first melee outside RenFair I was the only survivor of a 4 man team when up the road came this fighter in Blue Surcoat He asked If I wished to yield, I chose not too since my adrenaline was at full tilt I did not see the White Belt or Gold cornet on the helm. We engaged I was able to hold my own for a flurry at speed (we all know about Sir Francois' speed) I took a step back then closed in close, somehow got inside the shield and thru my 2 quickest shots and lo and behold my second hit him right in the faceplate. The next instant I swore I saw him smile and say "that's good" and he fell to the ground. The Marshall observing asked me if i was satisfied and I of course said yes I was still in shock I just made my first melee kill. I went over to help my opponent up and the Marshall asked "Your Excellency are you satisfied w/that bout?? The reply was Yep, I'm one dead Count. I then realized who it was and said to myself WOW my first kill is not only a knight but a Count. We walked back together to the front of the castle and talked briefly while taking a break. I will always remember that event because I got to meet and talk to one of finest men I had ever met and to me he was my ideal of a knight.
After that meeting I was able to talk w Sir Francois a few more times over the years and we also fought a few times and I always came away with even more respect for his skill, chivalry and honor I will miss him he was A Knight and Royal Peer in everything. All of us in the SCA Meridies and Gleann Abhann are better for having learned from him and talked to him.
Respectfully, Lord Alexander "Kegan" MacAngus
In January A.S. XI, the Shires of Bordermarch (long a barony) and of Southern Isles (long defunct) co-hosted a small tournament in the outheast corner of what was to become Ansteorra -- a fun event, except for the weather. The temperature was 40 Fahrenheit; the humidity was 100% -- the kind of cold Lord Darcy categorized as getting inside one's cloak with one. Early in the morning, as everyone was trading sleeping bags for layers of garb and armor, a long and wordless scream was heard; it began baritone and rose to soprano. As heads and sword tips emerged through tent doors, Sir Francois, chilled in the embrace of his hauberk, declared for all to hear, "Now I know what they mean by 'cold steel!'"
Melusine Whitcroft, the Petite
Please pass on the love and prayers of this former member of the Shire of Blackmoor Keep, in the Kingdom of Meridies. Count Francois was an exceptional man and greatly loved by not just those that knew him but also by the many that had the pleasure of crossing his path. He was the first person I ever met that was of the higher ranking nobility, and he made such a wonderful impression on myself and my eldest son of what honor and chivalry should mean. The heavens have been blessed with a beautiful soul and we were blessed to have ever known him.
You will be missed Count Francois.......But your memory and example will live on!!!!!!
Deepest sympathies for his family,
In High Summer in the Year of the Society XI, I found myself with friends in the several lands of the South Downs, there to witness the elevation as first Prince of Meridies a man named Francois. The populace was excited, many folk in the presence of their Aten King for the first time. Deaton Claymore had come from his High Seat in the westernmost reaches of Atenveldt to place upon the Meridian throne the first landed Prince of that Realm, Francois Duvant. Attendant upon the day were bouts in celebration, and being newly arrived in the Kingdom, all were strangers to me. One particularly skilled Knight had traveled many miles to be witness to the day's events, Sir Polidor of the Dented Helm, from the northern reaches of MidRealm. Saavogg of the Flaming Hair was there, as was John, called the Mad Celt, and John, the Killer of Bears; likewise John of infrequent presence (the three Johns remembered in Latter Days as Hair John, Bear John, and Hardly-Ever-There John). There was also the First Princess, Anne, and her Prince, Francois. How to describe this man? Suffice it to say that he was one of my first two exemplars, a living embodiment of chivalry and honor. His fighting skill was astonishing, and his presence commanding. His humility was a model for emulation, and his generosity of spirit helped define Meridian hospitality, which would become legendary throughout the Knowne World.
That day, Meridies had her first Prince, and I discovered a place where I could try to become a better person. The part which Francois had in that awakening is a debt I will never be able to repay, save by celebrating his life as often as I might so that he will yet live forever in the hearts of all who prize the nobility of the human heart at its best. And more tales will follow......(from A Chronicle of Meridies).
Ever in Service,
I was fortunate enough to live in Baton Rouge (Wyrmgeist) when I was first introduced to the SCA. I was only 19 at the time and very excited and full of my potential martial prowess and knowledge. Unfortunately, my introduction to the SCA also coincided with my first bout of clinical depression, the first struggle with which I would fight for the next several years.
In that period Sir Francois not only taught me to fight, he helped me find joy in life again. He and Mona had me over to their house so much I often worried that they would tire of me. My family had mostly written me off, my old friends didn't understand me, and I had ceased to find any value in myself. Scott always seemed to believe in me and encouraged me even when I failed. Scott and I shared a set of ideals of courtesy, chivalry, and gentlemanly behavior.
I was always humbled by the fact that he was able to live out those ideals in the SCA and out so well, while I constantly failed. Much of what is best in me is due to him. I owe him my life and much more.
One time I told him that I had gone to the Baton Rouge Gun show that weekend and at one of the tables there was a guy selling martial arts equipment. He had only one bokken left, and at the time spending 16 dollars on something like that was a big investment for me. I had always wanted one, mostly for sentimental reasons (I had never had a proper real or practice sword in my life until I joined the SCA). After wandering around for a bit trying to decide if I could really afford to spend that much money, I decided to go ahead and buy it. I went back to the table to find a little boy maybe ten years old staring at it forlornly. He looked up as I approached and asked me if I was going to buy it. I said I meant to, and a look of anguish came across him. I knew it would mean more to him than to me (he was waiting on his father to bring him the money to buy it) so I of course let him have it.
Several weeks later at a state-wide fighter practice during the feast, he presented me with a bokken that someone had made for him personally years before. He understood that it represented my childhood dreams made real in a way that no one else ever has. Over the years since I have given away and lost almost everything else I ever owned, but I still have that bokken.
Another time we rode to an event together, i believe in Seleone. Most of the way there, for two hours at least, he told me that no one was going to want to talk to him there and he was going be all alone because he was old and washed up, and nobody talks to old washed up fighters. Needless to say I didn't talk to him the whole event, because I never saw him, he was way to busy with people catching up on old times, courting his favor, and just generally happy to get to meet such a legend in the flesh.
Later I told him I was thinking of quitting the SCA because of the difficulties of the political maneuvering, to which i am poorly suited, and because I had come to the realization that neither the fighting nor the pagentry really spoke to my dream of what kind of organization I wanted to be a part of. He understood, but encouraged me to stay and try and do what I could to make the SCA better. He never lost faith that the SCA could be better, could be a dream realized in this world. Maybe if people hold to his example, it can be.
I actually had the chance to meet and talk to Francois. It was May 1998 at the Beltain event for Grey Niche. I was a deputy herald at the time. Our baronial herald never showed up for the event, so 'POOF' I was the Baronial herald for the day. I was a bit nervous. I had done some field heraldry, but never court. And the King and Queen (Robert and Aelfgafu or however that's spelled) were in attendance. I was heralding the field at the tournament that Francois was marshalling on. He started talking to me between bouts. I didn't find out who he was until after the tournament. I was just enjoying this amazing conversation with an older gentleman who happened to be a Knight. He was very complimentary, very chivalrous, giving me hints about how to make the announcements more interesting, how to make sure the combatants and marshals were ready, etc. Also, I found out later that the reason he was not fighting was because he was going blind. When I asked out he was able to marshal, I was told that he had limited vision, but could still see pretty well in the sunlight. He also made his main concern making sure the combatants didn't get too close to the crowd rather than the actual blows during the fight.
That evening during court, I was given my AoA and my Estoile (baronial service award). Francois made a point of coming up to me during the feast to tell me congratulations. The fact that he remembered who I was and went out of his way to tell me that made me feel 10 feet tall.
The next time I saw Francois was when he received his Pelican at Gulf Wars. He always said he regretted not having been on the student end of the associate relationship. One of the Pelicans offered to be his peer, and he accepted. The ceremony where he received his Pelican was one of the most moving ceremonies I had ever seen. The number of people who stepped forward to recommend him for the award and the wonderful things they said were just astounding. Francois was absolutely overwhelmed. The applause when the ceremony was over went on and on and on. At first, he wanted to turn the award down, saying he wasn't ready. He really believed that. Fortunately, the crown would not let him. Whenever anyone asks what I might like my laureling ceremony to be like, that's the first one that comes to mind. I know I'll never be as universally known or loved the way he was, but it is still my ideal.
Francois is the ultimate of what I would consider chivalrous. He was a great piece of Meridian history and culture. The world is a little dimmer today.
Lady Eorann inghean Bhroin
Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a
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