Event Review - Mooneschadowe Guardian 2004 - by Zubeydah

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This page contains an event review by Zubeydah. This represents solely her opinion and views/thoughts at the time of writing, and do NOT reflect upon her Barony, her Region, her mentors and friends, or anyone else.

SCA events are always a roller coaster: Sometimes there are more highs than lows, sometimes it's just all fast and exhilarating. My heart was conflicted for this event: My husband could not attend, and my soul was still embittered from Queen's Champion, but my dear friend Owen was kneeling in vigil to be elevated to Knighthood. Quite the ups and downs.

Friday, September 17th, I was blessed by having the day off work, thanks to an understanding boss who didn't think I was a weirdo for emailing her on August 29th, the moment I got the news, with great big letters: "I have to have the day off - OWEN'S GETTING KNIGHTED!!!" I'd been working on various tasks all week, from chocolates to tabards, but things weren't quite as far along as I wanted. I had intended to be at the site around 4, but that was not to be. I was finally packed, ready, and everything done around 9PM.

Fortunately, Will Rogers Campgrounds is not far from my home: only a 45-minute dash up Hwy 51. I stopped and checked into the Skylark Hotel (If you are hotelling it - I recommend the Skylark over the Budget ZZZ), then hurried on site. There I found Rayhanna and Sir Burke, who told me that parts of Owen's vigil had been moved to the next day, but some was going to be held at night anyway. This took some additional explanation. The whole situation was a bit odd, and had been from the get-go, with communication that was not the best. But our focus was Owen: this was his time, and we would do all in our power to see him happy with the event.

Aethelred and Rayhanna had already decorated the outdoor chapel beautifully. Soft candlelight flickered all the way down the rows of wooden benches and along the graduated 'steps' rising towards the roof of the altar backdrop. Rayhanna had inset white tea candles into green apples, then ringed the candle with sweetly smelling cloves. Tapered candles in silver candelabra sparkled upon white linen cloths on each side table. On the altar proper, three swords were displayed along with Owen's helm, next to the huge wrought iron cross that is part of the chapel. (One was a gift from Sir Burke, another was the Namron Protectorate sword, and the third was Owen's family blade, upon which he and Dagmar had sworn their vows.) A beautiful Oriental rug covered the cement floor, creating a sacred, enclosed environment and some wooden chairs newly made by Master Oxlade provided a place to rest. Torches flickered and danced at the top of the chapel pathway, and Sir Burke set up a table that we covered with white and green cloths. Thereupon was laid a handsome book crafted by Her Excellency Rhiannon of Mooneschadowe. (Later it was learned the book had been opened backwards, and the names placed in the wrong spot!! Oh dear. I tried to take pictures of the book, the illuminated pages, and all the signatures, but the super-white sheets did not like the flash of my camera.)

There were several cylinders of Master Oxlade's fine beer, and a joyous mood filled the air. Rayhanna and I had the opportunity to speak to Owen twice, once while bringing him evergreen for the altar - which Sir Burke had explained the meaning of - and the second time on our 'official' visit. Rayhanna and I presented Owen with our gift: thirty belt-plaques of 1.75 inch square cast pewter, deeply blazoned with a griffin. Owen seemed very pleased and extraordinarily happy: He was nearly glowing to outshine the many candles.

Seeing that Rayhanna and Elodie had everything well in hand, I headed up to the main field to check on the waterbearing situation. Mooneschadowe had set up a tent for the waterbearer's use - I was glad of it, because the site was PACKED. I was struck by the sheer numbers of pavilions along the list field, and the beautiful pennants that flew in the breeze. The sky above was dotted with a few light clouds, and the stars and moon shone brightly. A cool wind flowed over the site, carrying upon it the tempting scent of bread baking in the kitchens (masterfully crafted by HL Marke le Mains), and a hint here and there of distant song.

I had previously discussed with the Event WBIC, Lady Lilias, about us using my larger personal tent. I got the okay from Lady Sabine, the event Autocrat, and with some help from some Mooneschadin and two kind gentlemen from Calontir, managed to get the other tent down, and the larger tent up. Then I began decorating it so its modernity would not offend. I also double-checked with HL Gilyan, who was in charge of List Mistressing for the event to ensure that the presence of the waterbearers near their setup would not be an irritation or distraction. It took a bit, but I finally got the car unloaded and everything set up for the morning, and covered with a tarp. This took until around midnight.

I wandered back to the vigil site where the libations had been flowing for some time, and the mood was quite merry. Some apparently partook a bit too freely of Ox's fine ale, and there was much ribbing and teasing the next morning of certain folks for various misdeeds, none of which shall I name here. Let it just be said that it is for these reasons (among others) that I do not drink at events. Ever. (Despite being invited to do so repeatedly! I was a good girl!) No one visiting Owen was able to keep to the ten-minute timeline, so the talking and the drinking stretched nearly to the dawn while people waited their turn or socialized afterwards.

Around one o'clock, I had to head back to the hotel before I became too tired to drive safely. The ride back was lovely: The swooping road rising and falling among the trees, the clear, brilliantly star-lit sky above, the sounds of the countryside... Returning to the Skylark, it was hard to fall asleep in the hotel room without my beloved at my side, but after a quick call to him to let him know I was heading off to bed, I was able to get some rest.

Early the next morning, I emerged from my hotel room to find HE Armand Dragonetti and Centurian Tomas in the parking lot. His Excellency grinned at me in my garb, and said, "I bet I know where you are going!" He then inquired about directions to the site. I provided them, then headed out to the grocery store to purchase some more items for the waterbearer station. That proved to be an exercise in futility, as the main road was blocked off, and each side street I attempted to take only wound up on another blocked street. After a while, I gave up and backtracked to the event.

I wandered down to the vigil chapel, only to find it completely empty. I spent a few moments cleaning up the trash that was scattered here and there, then snapped a few photos. Back at the top of the hill, I found Owen emerging from his tent with his son, Henry, and inquired of him what he wanted done with his many gifts and other items that remained at the vigil site. He gave me some instructions, and I grabbed an armful and rounded up some volunteers who helped get everything taken care of to his specifications. It was all housed in a black and yellow Panther Pavilion that Mooneschadowe had all chipped in to purchase for him. (Owen did NOT know he got to keep the pavilion at that point!) Shortly thereafter, Her Excellency, Mistress 'Stacia arrived, and completed the decorations we had started. She put together the altar for the day vigil, each item having its own very important meaning to Owen. (Her description of the altar can be found on this page.)

I was really delighted to see HL Elizabeth and her household, and Hersir Thorgrim and his retainers. Soon, though, I didn't have time to socialize, as morning court ended and the Mooneschadowe Guardian tournament began. During the first gathering of the warriors while the rules of the tournament were explained, William Lindsey of Mooneschadowe asked me if anyone was fighting for me. I responded that no, my Lord had to work and couldn't attend. He asked if he could fight for me (it is a requirement for all fighters in the list to have a Lady for whom they are fighting - their Queen of Grace and Wisdom). I gave my consent, of course, but didn't have a token to give him, which made me feel badly.

Waterbearer volunteers began pouring in, including a gracious lady of Vatavia who was among the most dedicated waterbearers I've ever seen. Unfortunately, I do not recall her name. I asked Lady Lilias' permission to send a volunteer off site to get more supplies, and gave AnnaLiese what cash I had with the promise of more, if she would please buy "every single melon you can" as well as some carrots and celery. Before, during and after her return, we frantically chopped, stirred, served, watered, refilled, bleached.... We were also assisted by some waterbearers of Calontir, who were using "contact-equipment" that is generally forbidden in Ansteorra. But the goal was keeping people of both kingdoms watered, and with the temperatures were soaring towards 100 degrees, we let folks decide for themselves what they were comfortable with. The Calontiri ladies worked hard, I'll give them that! The Calontiri fighters were used to a 'straw' rather than 'squirt' bottle - We did a lot of bleaching that day.

The lady from Vatavia was commenting on how we organized the waterbearing and the variety of items that we had available. I whipped out one of my "Waterbearing 101" class handouts, and gave it to her, showing her very quickly the different items in the packet. I gave her my email address, and offered to send her my class notes and as much information as I could for her to take back to Vatavia. She seemed pretty excited about that idea. I'm glad I've taken to putting a handout in my waterbearer kitchen - every event I've brought one to, I've had someone ask for one.

The day's activities were soon in full swing, and the combats ran fast and furious. The heat was an equal foe on the field as the folks in armor and bearing weapons. It was relentless, and we ran out of water a couple of times. Several warriors were feeling the pain of the long sleepless night, the drinking beforehand, and the heat of the day. Aethelred and William both retired from the field, among others. William was very courtly, and asked my consent to withdraw. I, of course, gave it and insisted he sit down, get some water, and take care of himself.

I later heard there had been several hundred combats in the span of just a few short hours. I did not have the opportunity to stop and focus on any of the bouts- just a few quick photos here and there - until the last fight. Everyone crowded around the field to watch. There had been some creative pairings to make the last bout between His Grace Joe Angus of Calontir and His Excellency, Daffyd of Ansteorra. The two seemed polar opposites in style. Joe Angus fought with massive strength and an unusual speed for one his size. In comparison, Daffyd appeared like a stinging wasp, flitting and zooming about the field, moving in quickly to strike. Joe Angus took the bout, winning two of the three points. The shouts of "CALONTIR!" shook the heavens.

Shortly after the fighting was over, I packed up a few of my things and staggered back to the hotel. Aethelred and Rayhanna met me there and took me up on my offer of a flat space to crash on for a while. They took the king-sized bed and I took the single, and we all gained a blissful single hour of sleep. All too soon, the wake up call came and we set about making ourselves lovely for feast and court. Rayhanna and Aethelred both had brand new court garb in crimson velvet with gold accents. I wore my handfasting garb with the copper griffins on midnight blue.

About the time we were dressed and mostly ready, a large group consisting of Renault, Mehpari, Bolvine, and a new gentleman showed up, begging to use the showers (apparently there were problems with the showers back at the site). It took some wrangling, but everyone got clean, dressed, and ready to go in a reasonable frame of time. In and among all the bathroom juggling, I was able to reach my beloved, Abe, and let him know that I was on my way from the hotel and would meet him by the feast hall soon.

Back on site, I gave Abe his garb, and started breaking down and doing final cleanup on the waterbearers tent while I waited for him to change. I also flitted over to chat with Their Excellencies Northkeep - Thorgrim & Sigen, Lady Brigid McCana & Lord Ikijima Katsutoshi, and snapped some photos of some cloaks that HE Sigen had made for their Royal Majesties. When Abe returned, he felt it would be wise to go ahead and break everything down and pack it up, so we didn't have to do so at night. Once everything was put in the truck, we discussed dinner: our friend Wiggen offered us his place at feast so we could attend together (I hadn't thought Abe could make it, so I had not purchased two feast reservations). We declined with thanks to this kind gentleman, and wandered off site to Sonic. (Side Note: Wiggen's garb was a really cool parti-colored tunic of blue and gray, which flatters him well and just plain looks neato. I hadn't seen it before.)

Upon our return, we set up our chairs next to our friends. Folks were already awaiting Court, even though feast was not yet over. I scurried to the hall and took care of a few last minute errands for Owen and Dagmar, then settled back to relax with my honey and friends.

[Addendum: One of the errands I was running for Owen was to deliver some Green Chocolates for him to give as largess however he liked. I don't know if they actually got given out; The fellow was a bit busy and distracted by his impending Knighting. Though the look on his face when he saw them was worth it in and of itself. The more mundanely colored chocolates went to the gift baskets.]

Court was, for the most part, well lit and easily heard. Only in a few cases could we not hear the goings on. I was glad to see so many Mooneschadin recognized, and when HRM Drake discussed their petition for Province, everyone cheered. As threatened, the Calontiri swept the majority of the contests. HRM Drake was very gracious, and led the Vivats in praise of our neighboring Kingdom. I hope that His Grace, Sir JoeAngus likes the Guardian pendant I made that was part of his gifts for winning.

(Someone named Joe, who is not a member of the society, had a better vantage point and memory than I. He chronicled the events on his Blog, which can be found by following this link. (Then scroll down to the blog titled, ' Knight Court;. He did a really great job reviewing the court.)

There were three high points for me in court. The first, was when they called in the Centurions. HRM Drake glared about at those assembled, saying a Centurian had failed to report. He had the herald repeat the call for the Centurions. This happened twice. The third time, His Majesty shouted, "CENTURIAN WIGGEN! REPORT!" Wiggen walked forward with his Lady, Cat, shaking his head in disbelief. Court broke down for a few minutes at that point, because everyone was so excited for Wiggen. I heard later that the cloak he was given was one of the original ones made for the order - I'll try and learn of its history.

[Addendum: Sieur Jean-Paul de Sens gave me the history on Wiggen's cloak: "Regarding Wiggen's Cloak, it came first to Master Robin of Gilwell, then to His Grace Miguel, to His Majesty Alaric Drake, to Earl Duncan Arthur Ross the Black, then to me (Jean-Paul), and now to Wiggen."]

The second was when Nazir al-Tawil al-Circassi abu Salah abu Yusef abu Bahkira abu Malik el jawash discussed the Guardian Defender tournament. There had not been enough previous Guardians present to make it a very big tournament - however, he had battled Thorgrim Northkeep. Nazir stated that though he had won, he had only won because of a point of honor given by Thorgrim. Nazir went on to say that it is not simply skill at arms that makes a Guardian, but also honor and integrity. And for that reason, he gifted Thogrim with a mug that he had commissioned. It was a two-handled mug, blazoned with the Mooneschadowe eclipse and the words "Mooneschadowe Guardian Defender." It was nice to see honor given recognition; I don't give a damn what others think or say - His Excellency Thorgrim and his House have been nothing but kind and generous to me, and they have integrity to rival most. I am proud to call them friends.

Owen's knighting ceremony eclipsed everything else, though. I'm not sure I can properly describe it or do it justice.... What struck me more than anything was the love and respect and sincerity in people's voices as they spoke for Owen. Master Oxlade and Master Beorthlic, Master Tarl, HE Mistress 'Stacia... all spoke of their long years of knowing him, and how he had grown, each ending with, "He is my peer." Owen's own voice was clear and ringing, easily heard from one end of court to the other. You could hear the depth of emotion in it as he answered his King and swore Fealty to the Crown.

One thing I liked a lot was the history surrounding the items Owen was given. His belt, given by his Knight, Sir Burke, was originally that of the third knight of the Society. Sir Balvin Thorfinnsson gifted him with spurs that 'had come full circle' - they were originally those of Sir Hildebrand von Tiel, who was Sir Burke's Knight. Sir Hildebrand gave them to Sir Conrad of Castleton, Balvin's own Squire-brother. From Sir Conrad, they came to Balvin, and then to Owen - who was, in essence, Sir Hildebrand's "squire-grandson" in a way. It reminded me of how precious my own 'passed-down' regalia is to me - that someone would think well enough of me to give me what had been gifted to them.

[Addendum: Upon presenting Owen with his chain of knighthood, HRM Draconis removed it from around his own neck, held it aloft and explained that this chain had been one of two purchased by the Queen, Sibri, at Pennsic War. Its twin would be presented to Centurian Anton, who was also to be knighted later this year.]

Once Owen was belted, spurred and chained, His Royal Majesty drew on some heavy leather gloves, which he had used in a past reign to give the 'last unanswered blow' - the ritual buffet given to new knights. He explained their history as he did so, and then laid a whack on Owen, full on his face, that knocked Owen to the flat ground, 'tail over teakettle,' feet flying in the air. For those of you (who?!?) who do not know Owen... he is not a small man. He is a very, very large man. For anyone to strike him to the ground in a single blow is mightily impressive.

Again, Court degenerated, and TRM quickly closed court to let the celebrations begin. Abe and I packed up our chairs and headed for the camp of House Halfiras, expecting that Owen and family would wind up there at some point. The menfolk built a fire, and I changed out of my griffin garb so as not to get it dirty. The evening was quiet - everyone was very tired, and few had gotten much sleep in the days prior. Folks came and went from the fire, and at one point we grabbed our chairs and headed for the main field where there was drumming. Abe sat and patiently watched while I danced; I don't get to dance terribly often, and I really miss it.

We visited with friends, I danced, we visited some more, and the evening went by gently and enjoyably, until it was time to head back to the hotel. What happened there is no one's business but our own. :-P

[Addendum: Saturday night, I did a smidge of dancing. At the 9/27/04 populace meeting, Karl of Northkeep came up and said he'd learned something new at Mooneschadowe Guardian - that I was a dancer. I quipped back, "Naw. I don't dance. You were imaging things." While I was fortunate enough to take two semesters of dance classes in Middle Eastern Dance (aka Raqs Sharqi, from one of the premier teachers in Southern California, Angelika Nemeth) in college (Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, is the only college to offer a degree in ethnic dance.) I don't consider myself a dancer any more. I don't dance regularly or well enough. So I think I sort of confused Karl with my comment. I have a deep love for the dance, but am horribly, terribly out of practice. So a dancer I'm not. A Wiggler, yes. But not a Dancer.]

The next morning, Abe picked up his truck from the site and headed off to visit his daughter, and I wandered to the main field to watch the Ensignate and newcomers tournament. The waterbearing staff was surprised to see me - I'd told them I didn't think I'd be making it back to site. They had things well in hand and didn't seem to need any help. Rayhanna was visiting at the tent of a lady I had seen throughout the day before, but not had a chance to say hi. She was introduced as Her Excellency Morgan, from Trimeris. We got to talking about charters and painting and scrolls, and Wiggen was kind enough to show us his Centurion's charter. I got out my scroll bag, and shared some duplicate charters with HE Morgan, who was very excited to have something to paint, which she could contribute. I was able to see her portfolio, and frankly, the woman does stunning work. I gave her my contact info; hopefully we'll be able to stay in touch.

At one point, the conversation turned to politics as we discussed different elements of her scrolls she had created. She made a comment that caught my attention - "I don't care who is on the throne. I can stay drunk for six months." That is one of the deep sorrows of our organization; sometimes those who are completely unworthy receive positions of great responsibility. Sometimes those with the metal on their head forget, in the words of Lady Lynn in the Inquisitive, that it is they who serve their populace, and not the other way around. It reminded me of recent sorrows, and my mood became much more quiet after that point. ( Please let me make it clear, that my thoughts were ***NOT*** of Ansteorra's current crown, whom I think are just the bomb-diggity, but rather of a private matter with other nobility. )

Susan and Kitty were there as well, along with Cat and Wiggen. Poor Wiggen was much abused and teased about the events of Friday night/Saturday morning. I've never seen the man turn so many shades of red.

Rayhanna and I were able to watch and applaud our friend, Renault du Mont St. Michel as he fought in the rapier tournament, and other friends in the newcomers tourney. It was really nice, if kind of strange, to just sit and relax for a while. I kept saying I needed to head home, but kept finding other things to do, or folks to say hi to, etc. Watching Asric and Master Oxlade fight while both were loudly and emphatically singing was downright hilarious. Not to mention the fellow running about with a flamingo duct taped to his head.... and of course, one of the new fighters had to be taped into his jock strap, which he wore outside his blue jeans.... and did I fail to mention that it was International Talk Like A Pirate day?

[Addendum: On Sunday, I had a moment to chat with HE Siridian of Calontir about the beaded emblem I'd started to make for him last year, but only recently finished the beadwork on. I asked Sir Siridian if he wanted it to be finished such that he could wear it as a medallion on on cloak, or what was his preference? He told me he'd like it as a necklace/pendant. When I replied that it was fairly large, he grinned and said, "Big is good. I like big shiny stuff." One of the other Calons chimed in, with "Siridian knows it's all about the Bling!" or words to that effect. I got quite a giggle out of my beadwork being described as 'bling.']

Strolling around the field, I noticed something oddly familiar on the foot of one of the fighters. Fearing that I recognized it, I headed for the tent where Owen's feast was held. There, I found Honorable Lady Elizabeth de Calais and her lovely daughter, Lady Olivia. I asked them of the whereabouts of one of my green dancing veils that I had brought for additional decoration of the hall. Elizabeth pointed at the field, and said, "They came and got it, along with some other things."

I strolled back to the field and approached Asric, and gently asked, "Excuse me, my lord, but it appears you have my veil tied around your foot. May I please have it back?" The poor fellow turned red, then white, then red again, and stammered his sincere apologies, saying they had thought it was a tablecloth. I inquired where the other half might be, and he told me Master Ox had it. I walked around the field looking for Oxlade, and by the time I found him, Asric was already there and Ox was untying the veil from his boot. Several Mooneschadin were yelling, "GROVEL, ASRIC! GROVEL!" which the poor fellow did. I explained it wasn't a huge loss - only a polyester veil, and it wasn't a big deal - but that they might want to be careful what they chopped in half next time. William Lindsey very genteelly offered to replace it, but I told him it truly wasn't that big a deal.

More wandering, more chattering... the morning passed quickly. I caught the tail end of final court, which was being run under the auspices of the "MOG Triumvirate" - Sieur Jean Paul de Sens, Mistress Gunnhilda, and Master Oxlade. They announced the winners of the youth tournament and Ensignante, and the newcomers tournament. The tone was light and merry, with many thanks given to all, and lots of VIVATS shouted. After court closed, everyone scattered, taking a different task to clean up the site.

I helped Mistress Guni for a bit, breaking down the list field, but found that the ropes I was coiling were making me break out in a slight itch. I decided that finding something else helpful to do would be a Very Good Idea, having a healthy fear of getting another case of hives. I tracked down Elizabeth and Olivia, who were getting ready to pack up their vehicle with the leftovers from Owen's feast. Elizabeth gave me some amazing fruit bread, which I had for breakfast, lunch and dinner that day. (It was full of fruit - I think they were cranberries, strawberries, and something else..?)

Finally, I could procrastinate no more, and headed home for a much-needed nap. Mooneschadowe helped to raise my spirits a bit, but it will still be some time yet before I can look at the SCA with the true joy I once had. My participation will be much less than before, with Abe's decision to no longer attend until certain situations change. I can only hope change comes soon.

To all those who labored and worked so that others could enjoy, to my fellow waterbearers and to those who won competitions or acclaim or well-deserved awards, Vivat! Huge congratulations to Marchog Owen and Centurian Wiggen!

And thanks to all who stop by my little chronicle and enjoy it - especially those who leave word of their visit. *poke poke* (If you leave word in the guestbook and you don't see it show up... please email me!)

Court Report (Blatantly stolen from the Mooneschadowe Email list)
Sabine Lefevre - Thistle (Cooking)
Aelfwyn Webbestre - Comet (Mooneschadowe)
Marke von Mainz - Star of Merit
Vladislav of Mooneschadowe - AoA
Peter of Mooneschadowe - AoA
Mylisant de Impinton - Comet (Mooneschadowe)
Vigge Jonsson - Centurian
Phoebe Hotham - Comet (Mooneschadowe)
Emma de Fetherstan - Thistle (Costuming)
Magdalena da Cadamosto - Comet (Mooneschadowe)
Oxlade Lachlann MacKinnon - Star of Merit
Owen ap Aeddan ap Trehearn - KSCA

Guardian - His Grace, Joseph Angus Wilson of Clan Gunn (aka Joe Angus)
and his Queen of Grace and Wisdom - Phaedra
Insegnante - Sheach mac Phadraig
and his Queen of Love and Beauty - Olivia de Calais
Guardian Defender - Nazir Al-Tawil, but he gave the prize to Hersir Thorgrim
Yeoman - William Ironwyrm
Marksman - Daniel Arrownock
Artisan - Miriam of Westfael(?)
Chess - Anlon Greywolf
Minstrel - Marcus ?
Children's Bardic - Arthur Sparhawk
New Chivalric - Vladislav of Mooneschadowe
Youth Rapier - Andrew