Event Review - Mooneschadowe Guardian 2005 - by Zubeydah
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.
Mooneschadowe Guardian… it’s the event I look forward to all year.
This year was wonderful – almost everything I could have hoped for. It also had the added benefit of two ‘focal’ points for me: The first, was Geoffrey Makepeace’s Deed of Arms, and the second was… *gulp* my plan to enter my very first Bardic competition. Additionally, I was really looking forward to the event as I was NOT the person in charge of anything! I could simply go, participate, and enjoy. Help out, yes, but not be in charge. No command authority, just joyful servitude. That may sound hokey, but it really is part of my personality. I am happiest when I am serving others.
The week of the event, I worked 9 to 10 hour days to make up my hours in advance, so I could leave early on Friday. I left the office slightly after noon, ran a few errands, did some last minute grocery shopping, and headed home. Unfortunately, in doing so, I totally forgot to stop by Ragnailt’s office to pick up some tablecloths for Halfiras.
At home, I put together a few things, did another wash and rinse on all my water bearing equipment, and got my new car packed up. [Yes, I totaled my old car, and Abe was happy for the excuse to get me a new one. He’d been suggesting it for some time, and was determined to get me a more reliable, useful car I could be proud of. His choice was a Malibu Maxx 2005 – what his research suggested would be the perfect SCA vehicle for me. I have to say I’ve been positively delighted… but I was nervous about taking it to events! What if my new pretty car got dinged up, or muddy, or… He told me it was to be USED and put to work and not to be such a scaredy cat. In loading up the car, I found he was absolutely right. The folding seats, huge cargo area, and convenient layout made it easy to pack a whole lot more than I used to be able to! Thank you, honey!!] I was on site just shy of 4PM. I was a little surprised that I had beaten Rayhanna to the site: She’d said they planned to be there around 2pm.
At the field, I met up with Aline Swynbrook, who was waterbearer in charge for the weekend. With the help of Pete, Vladislav and others, we got my supplies to the right spot and the tent set up. Aline and Isabella of Mooneschadowe and I got the pop-up looking all pretty, with pattered Celtic throws, gauzy drapes and multi-hued ropes of tassels. There was some debate as to the tent’s location; the event staff was unsure how many list fields they would need to set up. If a second was needed, the tent would have to move. I made it clear that if we had to move to expand the field, that was easily done, and no big deal – their judgment call. Its current spot was about 15 feet off Mooneschadowe’s brand new list field. It was a stunningly lovely achievement: All wood, very period looking, with good-sized banners hanging from the bars. It just looked awesome. I was joking that it was the sexiest list field I’d ever seen, and that somehow expanded to, “That list field is so sexy, Zubeydah’s going home tonight to jump her husband.” (Well, you know, it’s the SCA. Stories tend to grow and evolve within seconds.)
While we were decorating, I learned that someone had found bottled water on sale for $0.10 apiece, and 200 bottles had been purchased. These had been decorated with a Liondragon label and the event name and date – a touch I thought was really spiffy. One of the things I love about Mooneschadowe is that they never just stop at ‘sufficient.’ They always take the next step to raise the level of play, raise the bar of events, make things just that additional bit better… even with something as simple as a bottle of water. Speaking of labels – Aline asked if I could make a small sign for her A&S display. She gave me the text, and I promised to bring the sign the next morning.
Things were arranged and set up for the day following, and it was time to head off. I chatted for a few minutes with some of the Mooneschadin, as well as Syr Owen who was visiting for the day but couldn’t attend the event as a whole. I chatted with him about his plans for Crown Tournament, and also talked to Gilyan. I told her what I had told Owen ap Aeddan and Sir Balvin Thorfinnsson: That if we have a Northerner win crown, they can call on me for anything I can help with. I just want to help any Northern crown take that ‘next step’ above and beyond what’s sufficient, to make their reign wondrous. I know I’ve explained myself clearly to Sir Balvin Thorfinnsson and Syr Owen ap Aedden, but wasn’t sure if Gilyan understood what I was offering, or if she thought I was politically maneuvering somehow. I hope not.
Gilyan was preparing to go sit her shift at Gate, so I told her I’d meet her there. The ladies processed me through quickly, and I obtained a very cool site token – a multihued wooden shuttle for weaving, blazoned with the Mooneschadowe Eclipse / bullet-hole. Still no sign of Halfiras, yet… So I was a smidge worried.
I was home by 7pm. For the next several hours, I baked and packed my clothes and made dinner and spent some time with my husband, Abe. It was going to be a long weekend and an early morning, so I went to bed around 11 PM.
At 6:30 am, I struggled out of bed, got showered and ready to go. Inspirations often come in the shower, and while there, I realized I’d forgotten a piece of beadwork I wanted to work on during ‘down time’ between tasks (An eclipse pendant for Guardian Nasir) – it was at my office, which was a 20 mile round trip out of the way - and seriously debated whether or not to go and get it. I finally decided to grab something else to work on (a beaded necklace for the Kingdom Middle Eastern Dance competition), headed to McDonalds for breakfast, then got on the road. Since I had initially planned to go to the store, I wore mundanes to start off with. But I was anxious to get on the road, and decided to skip the grocery store, stopped by a gas station to grab ice, and hopped onto 51 heading for Cleveland.
The drive was smooth and easy, and the view was stunning. At one turn in the road, one can look out over a deep valley. The entire valley was filled with fog and vapor. In a few places, clouds had settled over the road, swathing it in a silky mist. The sun was rising behind me, gilding everything with edges of gold. The air was clean and crisp and cool. I drove with the windows down the whole way, to enjoy the bird song and the scent in the air. Getting to drive my new car out on the highway was fun – I’ve not had much chance to do that since we got it, and it’s just really a pleasure to drive. It loves to run.
I made it to the site right at 8 am, and drove up to the pool house where Halfiras traditionally camps. I wasn’t sure if they’d be there, as the day prior, it had been mentioned that there was some construction in the area. But their little spot tucked back into the trees was unharmed, and I immediately spotted the willow banner dangling high from a tree.
I spotted Shannon (aka “Cookie”) making coffee under the kitchen pavilion, and soon, Rayhanna called out greetings from her tent. I wandered over. The morning air was chilly, and she commented that the prior evening had been a cold one as well. We chatted for a bit, and I greeted the other members of the household as they struggled out of bed. I borrowed Rayhanna’s tent to change out of my not-very-warm mundane garb, and into something a smidge more period and warm. Then it was off to the list field.
There, I found the waterbearer’s station had, indeed, been moved. It was still close to the field, and everything had been carefully set back in its place – a courtesy I really appreciated. Halfiras’ tent remained next to the spot I’d been in prior. Sieur Jean Paul de Sens approached me almost immediately, and asked if Halfiras might be around soon, because they needed to move that tent as well. I assured him that Rayhanna and I had discussed that very possibility, and they were fine with the tent being moved with or without them present. Two more people were recruited, tent stakes were pulled, and the Halfiras shade pavilion was moved to a new location, once more resting beside the waterbearers’ station, at an angle so they could still see the list field. Within moments, another section of list field was up. The work ethic of the Moonschadin and their attitude of ‘many cheerful hands make light work” is amazing to see in action
I checked with Aline as to what she wanted done. We worked together on getting things a bit more organized and various things moved out of the way. Gilyan offered us a portable trash can, which was gratefully accepted. Those things are so entirely spiffy, I really need to get myself one. Soon, fruits and vegetables were being chopped up, and Pete and Vladislav Strelec were once more asked for help in getting the buckets of rinse-water and the cooler chests filled. (Those two were an enormously huge help the entire weekend, and were also very sweet. Mooneschadowe is well blessed with the presence of these two gentlemen.)
Anne was there; apparently her flight had finally arrived and she’d made it safe and sound. She explained she had to fly in, because she has moved to the Midrealm to continue her education, but there was “no way” she was missing Guardian. She asked if I could take a lot of photos for her, and I was very happy to oblige. I took that moment to suggest that "Everyone grab Anne!" And so they did.
Aline saw the gift basket items I had brought, and asked if perhaps there was one extra of the sage salt soak bottles. I said that I had made a random number, and didn’t know how many were needed. Why did she ask? She responded that there was a newcomer who had been in the kitchens when HL Maggie collapsed the prior evening. He’d offered to help, and then stayed in the kitchen and washed dishes for four solid hours. She said everyone there had been very impressed with his service at his very first event. I made a quick decision, and snagged one of the three necklaces I’d brought; a piece of dark cherry and light butterscotch amber. I gave it to Aline, and asked if I could be present when she gave it to the young man. She said she would bring him by later.
Waterbearers began to trickle in bit by bit including Mehpare bint Ejer and Adena Terricsdottir, and as armor inspection began, so did our service to the field. I had to pause for a few moments to chat with Geoffrey Makepeace and Honorable Lady Elisabeth de Calais, to see the preparation for the Deed of Arms, which was to be held at some point that day. A new pavilion decorated in Geoffrey’s colors of blue and crimson waited on the corner of the list field. Inside, tables were draped in velvet cloths in preparation for a noontime feast, and four brand-new, period, throne-like chairs of a dark stained and carved wood were made comfortable with colored pillows of blue and red. (The chairs were surprisingly comfy. I had to try them out – for journalistic purposes, of course! I believe that they were made by Winifryth of Northkeep.) Small flags in the same colors draped from the corners of the pavilion, and a large banner bearing Geoffrey’s arms hung prominently.
Geoffrey and Elizabeth both looked resplendent in brand new garb, and Geoffrey appeared both exhausted and nervous. He told me he had been up until 3am working on preparations – predominantly the repainting of his shield. It looked awesome. He said it was his day to get his butt kicked. I responded that his Deed of Honor, to raise money for a charitable cause, which was held only a short time after he’d started fighting, was an inspiration. He’d been thoroughly trounced that day – but he had taken the beating with honor and dignity and integrity. I told him if he could do the same in a fight with Baron Aloycious, then he would have maintained his honor, and had NOTHING to be ashamed of. He responded that he hoped he’d do well.
I asked Elizabeth if Baron Aloysius had been spotted yet: She responded no, and looked a bit nervous. It was obvious a lot of work and resources had gone into this Deed – for my own small part of the challenge scroll, I really hoped it would go off as they hoped. I wished them both well, and got back to waterbearing, only to pause once more a few steps away at the tent of Hersir Thorgrim. He was there with his retainer, Lord Katsutoshi. I greeted them both as they set up their tent for the day’s events.
I was well armed with both a digital and still camera, and wasted no time chronicling the events of the day. The battles went hard and fierce, with the voices of the heralds calling out the pairs. Hearing Baroness Rhiannon herald is always a pleasure; she is, in many ways, one of the examples I look to for devoted service, and in my bold opinion, she is more than worthy of acknowledgement as a Peer of this Realm.
Halfiras arrived, and several of the ladies immediately dug in at the waterbearer station, chopping and sorting and cleaning and prepping. Bullvine was in the process of armoring up, and others appeared to still be waking up. Rayhanna assured me that the spot we’d moved them to was just fine.
It was a very busy day, and while the weather was cool, there was much need for our services. The Calontir were present en-masse, and we had to spend extra time sanitizing and bleaching our equipment. Their style of waterbearing is different then ours and many of them did not realize that in Ansteorra, waterbearing is Non-Contact. There were more straws being slurped on than at an old-time soda shoppe. (No offense is intended: They just have different customs than we do. That’s OK. We’ll convert them soon. And no, there IS NO waterbearing mafia, and my name is NOT Don Zubeydah. *wink* )
During a pause in the action, I grabbed my gift basket items, and went to find Charles, the autocrat, to see who was in charge of baskets. He told me that Phoebe was handling them. We brought the items to the cabin where the baskets were being organized, and where he thought she might be. Alas, she was not, so we left them there. He liked that the salt soak jars were decorated, and grinned at the Mooneschadowe Eclipse / bullet hole drawn in silver at the top of each jar. There were also several chunks of beautiful amber that I recently purchased from HE Sigen Northkeep, and two necklaces. (I don’t know who wound up with them in the gift baskets, but I hope they are enjoyed.)
Shortly thereafter, Aline brought the young newcomer gentleman by the Waterbearers’ station. He looked to be in his very early twenties, and was dressed in half mundanes, half period clothes. Aline said something to the effect of, “I told Zubeydah about your service, and she, being the provider of Many Cool Things, asked me to present you with this.” She then gave him the necklace, saying, “Old time folks will recognize what that is, and will be jealous!” I told him it was cherry and butterscotch amber, and totally period. He grinned and put it on, seeming a little overwhelmed and surprised. I assured him it was my pleasure, to acknowledge and appreciate his hard service, and said I hoped he’d stick around!
At around 10:30, it was time for folks to set up their A&S displays. Around 11, I wandered into the hall to see what efforts were put forth to win the coveted Artisan title. The themes were to include a Liondragon, a shadow, a moon, or a guardian. I was surprised at the number and quality of the entries. I spotted the sign I’d made by Aline’s entry: A member of the Liondragon guard made of marzipan, with three heraldic shields as part of the display as well. It was a bit the worse for wear, due to the heat, and the figure had sprawled over. Wooden skewers used to hold it upright pierced its body – now I saw why she’d jokingly referred to it earlier in the day as “Honorable Death of a Liondragon”.
Even though the displays were not identified by artisan, in some cases it was easy to tell whom had done which item. Cearl of Halfiras had submitted a feast bench, carved with a wolf howling at the moon. Lady Gilyan had a silk banner entry. Asric had some liquor on display. Master Cassius Leapus (Sir Rabbit) submitted the two peerage scrolls he made for Sir Aesoph and Mistress Michelle. Bianca della Vittoria had done a striking painting in bold colors. There were many very beautiful displays: I particularly liked Rabbit’s work, as well as an embroidered scroll that was displayed right next to it. I snapped photos of each display as best I could in the odd light of the hall, and then headed back to the field.
During a pause between rounds of the heavy weapons list, Sieur Jean-Paul and Honorable Lady Gilyan took the field. Anne-Liese made a very excited noise, and immediately asked if I had film left. I responded that I did, and she asked me to take photos. They were about to accept Vladislav and Pete as squires! I slipped under the ropes of the first field, and scooted up to the barrier of the second field, in time to snap a few shots. Sieur Jean-Paul said that he wasn’t a man of many words, but stated that he had previously put a question to them, and would ask it again: Was it their wish to squire to him and his Lady? Both answered in unison, YES! The two lads were presented with belts appropriate to their persona; Vladislav received a lovely long crimson sash with tasseled ends, and Pete received a slender leather belt, perhaps ½ an inch wide. They were told that belts could not be put on them – it was a responsibility they had to accept for themselves. Hugs were exchanged, and it was time for the next round!
Then it was back to the Guardian Tournament! I didn’t see many injuries, but many people did fall to the ground. I personally like it when combatants take that extra effort to ‘take the death’ in a gracious way. It adds to the ‘feel’ of the event than folks just stumping off the field.
I paused once more at the pavilion of Geoffrey and Elizabeth. There was still no word of Geoffrey’s opponent, and the mid-day hour approached. Many had stopped by to offer their good wishes, yet some, it was mentioned, could not help themselves but speak words of malice. Sadly, it doesn’t matter how hard some folks strive for The Dream – there will always be small souls wanting to tear them down. Geoffrey was obviously looking a bit run down; lack of sleep was catching up, and he was only on his feet due to the adrenaline of combats. I was a little worried what would happen when the adrenaline surge faded – that was going to be one very tired man! But he was doing well in his combats – thus far, undefeated in the bouts!
At one point during a stop at the waterbearer’s station, Aline took me aside. She let me know that she had lost a filling in her tooth. She clarified that it wasn’t a problem just yet, but if it became bad, she might have to go into town for emergency dental work. Was I available to be WBIC the next day? I assured her that if need be, I would make sure everything was taken care of.
Needing a restroom break, I wandered through the hall on my way to the restrooms. There, I noted that there were more A&S displays, and snapped a few more pictures. Outside the hall, I took a moment to call my husband and let him know I was thinking of him and missing him. I invited him to come out after work, but he didn’t sound very convinced.
Soon it was lunchtime. Halfiras had laid a lovely feast. I’d brought hard boiled eggs and some wonderful “Kitchen Sink” bread, as well as some flatbread pita. There were many yummy things to nibble on. After grabbing a bite, I continued on waterbearing, but had gotten no further than Elizabeth & Geoffrey’s pavilion, when I was invited to pause and eat some of the feast they had prepared for their guest. There were freshly made croissants, meat balls, gyros meat and cucumber sauce, seafood salad, ECLAIRS!, various cheeses and sliced meats, vegetables… dates and other fruits.. It was delightful. I took Elizabeth at her urging, and had a croissant stuffed with gyros meat with some of the cucumber sauce. It was incredible. My belly was made happy by all the yummy food, but my heart was sad: All of this preparation, and Aloysius was nowhere to be seen. After departing the tent, I found Sir Siridean and asked him if he knew whether or not the Baron was going to attend. Count Siridean responded that to the best of his knowledge, Aloysius was….
Continuing on in my rounds, I happened to be in a good spot when the current round of fighting ended, and Master Oxlade called for the attention of the populace. I hurried to get into an even better position, and was perfectly situated to snap photos of him calling over Asric. Honorable Lady Magdelena stood by Oxlade’s side in her “Kitchenwitch” apron – she’d stolen a moment away from the feast preparations. Master Oxlade spoke about Asric’s dedication, and again put to him the question: Was Asric willing to become their apprentice? Asric confirmed his desire. Oxlade opened a hamper he had slung over one shoulder, and said with laughter in his voice, ‘As is appropriate for an apprentice of mine, I present to you…. A green boot!’ Everyone from Mooneschadowe in earshot laughed, as they recalled last year’s adventures taken from the pages of the Manual of the Green Boot. As it turned out, there wasn’t just one green boot, but two, and yes, they fit. (There was also a green belt, as well.) I had to tease Asric a little, that hopefully this meant that the veils of the women of the North were safe once more! [See last year’s Mooneschadowe Guardian review for the full story.]
As soon as this ceremony was complete, it was on to additional rounds of combat. I was able to snap several nice pictures. I was particularly amused by one of the weapons combinations: Spear – At the barrier!
As the fights were about an hour away from ending, I decided to work on a piece I’d been dabbling with for a while: A variant of the Ode to Mooneschadowe, talking about the invading Calons. The song, however, refused to flow whatsoever, and even though I’d sketched out some initial verses, they were now eluding me. This was pretty frustrating, as usually, I have no difficulty penning songs or poems or stories.
As last year’s Minstrel, Sir Marcus de la Forest, was competing in the combats, the bardic competition was going to be held as soon as he was done. The moment I could, I dashed away from Waterbearing, and changed my ensemble slightly – tossing off my apron and donning a ghawhazi in a complimentary color to the entari I’d been wearing all day. A quick brush through my hair, and a touch of make up, and I felt more confident. Then, one by one, we gathered at the chapel on site. I took advantage of a kind gentle’s offer, and slathered myself with bug spray as I waited nervously. There were many familiar faces in the audience and my heart fell as the participant list grew longer. But I was gladdened when some of the members of Halfiras came down the forest path, and sat in the audience to bolster my courage. It was very sweet of them, and I appreciated it more than I can express.
All told, there were about sixteen people in the competition, including Master Andrixos of Calontir, HL Etienne the Star Principal Herald of Ansteorra, Nyx – who has won several bardic championships, and several Calontiri who were unknown factors. Sir Marcus started us off, with a rousing song to get everyone warmed up. Baroness Rhiannon asked for the opportunity, as a prior Mistral of Mooneschadowe, to perform a piece. She sang “The Ship Song” (which you can hear on her website by following This Link Right Here!.)
One young lady of Calontir stated that this was not only her first competition, but also her second event ever. She was young and enthusiastic, dressed in Japanese garb. She flubbed a few of her lines, and was very embarrassed, but kept going bravely. Her second effort was an Irish dance, during which one of her shoes went flying. She deliberately kicked off the second shoe, but it very regrettably flew through the air and struck a child in the audience. After she finished the dance, she went over to the child and apologized profusely.
Master Andrixos’ performance discussed the origins of the “Fishbat,” but he left before he could do his second performance. Etienne asked the audience for two names – a male and female. He was provided with them, then left to tend to his child, saying he’d have a story when he returned. It was a wonderful epic about a young man who was named after Beowulf who eventually found happiness despite a very bitter mother.
Another Calontiri, who was obviously very experienced, sang a lovely song about the lover of Robert the Bruce who was captured by the English and displayed in a cage. Ivo of Mooneschadowe did two historical pieces – one of them seemed to have taken my poem, “Brothers” as its inspiration – Ivo kept looking over at me as he did the telling.
For my first offering, I sang a song my sister, Dominique, wrote: “If I should Meet a Saxon” which is a filk of “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof. I opened my intro by giving my name and letting the judge know it was my first bardic competition. I then apologized in advance to any Saxons in the audience, and gave it my enthusiastic but regrettably off key best.. but at least I didn’t forget any lines! After I took my seat, Serena was kind enough to say that if it had been my first Bardic ever, that I really needed to keep doing Bardic! Just then, my cell phone rang. I scampered a short distance from the performances to try and take the call, but the signal wasn’t strong enough. It was my husband, Abe. I tried in vain to call him back, but couldn’t get through, so I returned to the chapel.
A third Calon who had previously lived in Ansteorra, one Lord Dylan MacMathanban, took the stage after me. Taking a cue from my apology, he opened with, “I apologize to any NORMANS in the crowd…” He then told the tale of a Saxon charging a hill, unstoppable and epic in his actions. His second piece was a rousing version of “Agincourt.”
Serena Dominici of Northkeep performed a sad dirge about lost love for her first piece, and a rollicking fun humor piece that was an adaptation of “One Fish Two Fish” from Dr. Seuss. Nyx then did a ‘response’, by doing another Dr. Seuss piece, which Serena’s had been written in answer to: “(I Do Not Like) Lutefish and Yams.”
Aderya Gunnarsdattir sang two very mournful pieces, her face contorted with emotion and she strode back and forth, the long sleeves of her gown waving emphatically. In contrast, Bianca della Vittoria did an upbeat amusing piece about a man praying to Aphrodite to help him get laid, and an original epic piece about women’s revenge.
I was one of the last two to perform my second item. Dylan MacMathanban had just finished “Agincourt.” I griped a bit about having to follow such an amazing piece. They did a head count to see who was left: It was Etienne and I. Etienne said if I wasn’t ready, he could go, or I could go, my decision. So, I had a choice of following Dylan, or following Seigneur Etienne. I responded, “No offense, but I’d far rather him (Dylan), than Etienne!” (If you are unfamiliar with the Star Principal Herald of Ansteorra, Seigneur Etienne, he has an amazing richness to his voice, and a surety in speaking that is inspirational. He tells a good tale, and he tells it well. I.e. a terrifyingly strong act to follow.) Since Ivo had effectively stolen my theme of Brotherhood in battle that left me with one other strong option. I asked the children in the audience to come down to the front, as this performance was dedicated to them. I then recited “Bad Sir Brian Botony” by E.B. White. They seemed to like it, and I’m happy to say I didn’t flub any of the lines.
Moments after I finished, just as Seigneur Etienne was taking the stage, Aline appeared saying the were calling for servers NOW! I scampered up to the hall where I was given a tabard to wear. Mooneschadowe had moved the cool new list field to create a fenced area around the hall, to create an outdoor seating area. Cookie was there, preparing House Halfiras’ table, and I got permission to be assigned to them. There was about 20 minutes between when we were called and when feast began. I snapped some more photos of the gathering folks, between getting a count of folks at my table, and serving the first round of beverages. These included what smelled like a wonderful batch of root beer made by Master Oxlade.
Soon feast began. Halfiras assembled one by one. Feast began, and was a delicious repast. One thing that was particularly amazing was the huge cloud of dragonflies that flew over the area. It gave a very magical air to the event, until it became a swarm that was a little bit more towards the eerie side of magical.
The menu included:
First Course: A Compound Sallat, Manchet Bread, Most Dainty Butters.
Second Course: Chine of Beef, served forth on a bed of rice and groats, Peascods,
Third Course: Tourtes Parmeriennes, White Pudding,
Banquett: Tartes, Custards, Suckets ans Conserves, Oranges preserved after the Portugall fashion, Wafers
I felt very bad, because some Halfirans arrived after I had turned in the official table count, and I was short a portion on one of the courses. Rayhanna assured me that it was okay. I tried to get more of the side item on that course – some sausage – but was told there wasn’t any available, in a less than gracious fashion by one of the staff. This kind of upset me, as I felt that if folks had paid for food, then there should be a serving for them – why cut the portions so incredibly tight? When I went to the kitchen to see if perhaps there was any more of the sausage that I could serve Rayhanna, I was firmly but not impolitely shooed out and told by a different staffer that servers weren’t allowed in the kitchen. (The servers did not receive any of that course, either.)
This truly brought my spirits down, and I went out to the table and apologized to her on my knees. I felt very bad, because I take servitude and hospitality very seriously: It was my job to serve them the meal, and enhance their experience, to care for their every need. Rayhanna graciously assured me it was okay, but that did nothing to improve my lowered mood.
I was glumly sitting off by myself to one side in the hall, when I sensed the presence of someone approaching from behind. I turned around, and found it was my husband, Abe!!! My sadness turned immediately to delight, and we smooched and hugged a bunch until I was told the next course was being served. Abe told me to go ahead on back to my job, and that he’d meet me down at the Glade, where we both assumed Hersir Thorgrim might be.
Feast continued on for several more courses. Several looked very delicious, and the servers were allowed to partake of a couple of them. At one point, there was some beef that was positively delicious when combined with some candied oranges from the dessert course. It tasted almost like marmalade, and went with the rich, savory meat very well. Several dishes were presented very beautifully, with black star patterns cut into the breads, displayed in the contrast of rice and barley, and in small flags stuck into a meat pie. There were more desserts than you could shake a stick at. Once again, Maggie and her staff out-did themselves. (Though perhaps too much: I heard earlier in the day that she had passed out cold in the kitchen the night prior! Ack!)
Once feast was done, I headed for the Glade. Abe wasn’t there, so I wandered to Halfiras. There, I was told he was “Down at the YMCA” – at another campsite down the hill and a bit further into the woods. When I arrived, everyone was having a grand time, and it was obvious that folks had been enjoying a variety of spirits. After some table leveling, and discussion of the use of the wheel in ancient cultures, it was decided to attend Court. Unfortunately, my digital camera did NOT like the low light conditions, and photos didn't turn out very well.
We snagged chairs on the way, and found Hersir Thorgrim, who was looking positively resplendent as usual. Then Geoffrey Makepeace showed up in his new garb, and showed off his tights, tunic and flashed us with his codpiece. There was a large amount of teasing Abe that he needed to get an ensemble just like Geoffrey’s, since he was wearing mundanes. (My husband Does NOT Do Tights.)
Mehpare and Rayhanna showed up looking incredibly sexy and delicious. Comparatively, I felt a bit frumpy, so I asked Abe for permission to change into some ‘pretty dance clothes’. His eyebrows rose at my word choice, but he grinned and told me to go change however I wanted. I scurried to the car, grabbed some garb, and quickly changed my ensemble. I swapped out my trousers for a black silk skirt, got rid of my sweaty cotton entari and instead donned a black chiffon top and a coin bra (the one on my Mundanities page), then put my ghawhazi back on. I freshened up my makeup, and dashed back. The look on Abe’s face was worth the price of admission.
Court was fun. We stood or sat in the back, and chatted back and forth. I wandered between Abe and our chivalric friends, and Mehpare and Rayhanna. Both the ladies were gunning for trouble between the two of them, in a good sort of way, and neither one of them could comprehend the sheer amount of cleavage I was displaying :-P . (I have extremely fair skin. Against the dark clothes I was wearing, and in the firelight, my skin was nearly day-glow white.) I was having too much fun socializing and teasing my poor husband to notice much of what was going on in court, other than to hear who won for Bardic.
The outgoing champion, Marcus, said very nice things about the entries by some of the participants: That Dylan MacMathanban’s version of “Agincourt” had been inspiring, and that the piece by Aderyn of Gunnarstead had brought tears to his eyes. He added that Serena’s piece had brought tears to his eyes – but for a different reason. The winner was Aderyn of Gunnarstead.
Eventually Court ended, and Abe let me drag him over to where the drums were playing. My poor feet were blistered from waterbearing all day and then serving feast, and as much as I yearned to dance, I simply didn’t have the strength in my legs or the ability to do so. Mehpare was disappointed that I couldn’t dance with her. I tried dancing on pointe (tiptoe) to stay off the sore spots, but my weary feet wouldn’t let me dance for more than a few moments at a time. The drummers weren’t quite in sync yet, either, so the music was sporadic.
After a time, we headed back to the hotel.
The next morning I awoke at 7am. Abe was sound asleep, so I puttered a bit in the hotel room, setting out clothes and such. It was my assumption, based on our prior conversations, that I would drive us back to the site, Abe would get his pickup truck, and he would head back to Tulsa to spend the day with his daughter, as he does every Sunday. I realized, as I puttered, that I’d forgotten a bag of toiletries at the apartment, and had nothing with which to wash my hair. I was also out of film. So I changed into mundanes and woke Abe enough to let him know I was going to the store. The trip was quick, and I was back within 30 minutes. Abe was rather bemused when I presented him with the Sunny Delight he requested, along with a “gallon of donuts.” I kid you not – the Homeland store sold them in a huge gallon sized plastic tote – yellow cake slathered in pseudo-chocolate-flavored waxy goo. Horrible for you, but tasty none the less.
I grabbed my shower, changed into gypsyish garb of black and red, and got us all packed and ready to go. We headed back to site, where I presented the gallon of donuts and juice to the few Halfirans awake and staggering about. Some of them looked to still be under the influence of various spirits. Rayhanna had a ‘cat that ate the canary’ smile, and looked happier than I’ve seen her in a while.
We were unable to convince Bullvine to get ready for the newcomer’s tournament. Apparently he had been ‘bit by the dog’ pretty hard. He staggered out of his tent shirtless, feebly holding his striped pants up with one hand, and clutching a glass of Sunny Delight in the other, like it was the Holy Grail. He admitted that it was entirely possible he was still drunk. Others had different confessions to make that morning; some delightful, some not-so-nice. I got the tour of what spots within the camp to avoid. Eeep!
We visited for a bit, and then I regretfully said I needed to go find out if I was in charge for the day. Abe said he was planning to stay and chat for a bit, then head into town. He decided to walk me to the station.
As it turned out, Aline’s tooth was bearable and she was there. Abe figured that meant I didn’t have to waterbear, but I had to tell him that wasn’t the case - I promised to waterbear the whole day. I left him with several kisses, and he headed back to camp to socialize for a few before leaving for town.
At the station, we got things going again, and tended to the folks getting ready for the newcomers tournament and the Insegnante tournament. Due to a lot of ‘celebrating’ the night prior, many folks needed reviving food and water, and things moved somewhat slow. [This is yet another reason I do not consume alcohol at SCA events. I don’t wanna be one of the hung-over folks that the sober people make fun of!]
Several rounds in, I spotted one of the gentlemen of Chemin Noir, Lord Ottokar, sporting a lovely angry raw bruise/scrape, and snapped a photo of it. Another gentle had an armor bite that was bleeding. But other than that, the injuries were fairly minor. It was, however, a good reminder to go back to the car and get my Super-Ninja-Waterbearer Belt, which contains a first aid kit.
When I returned to the Halfiras camp for my belt, I found that Abe was still there! I abandoned my quest, and stayed with him for about 45 minutes, sitting in camp and chatting. I learned all sorts of things about the Raven Hall / Halfiras folks I hadn’t known – their families, their past, their wild drinking stories and adventures, who wakes up happy, and who to avoid until proper sacrifices of coffee have been made.
Enventually, guilt forced me out of my chair (that and the increasing guy-ness of all the stories), and back to the waterbearing station. Things were going in full swing and we continued our service for several hours.
At one point, Mistress Gunhilda Amberstar stopped me, and offered me a choice of largess. One of the items was a gold gilt ring with bells on top. Since it jingled, that had to be my choice. It was very sweet of her to say thank you in such a thoughtful way. She’s another one of my role models in the Society. When I grow up, I want to be a combination of Rhiannon and Guni, with some Tessa of the Gardens, Sigen Northkeep, and Octavia thrown in.
Eventually, both the Newcomers and Insegnante tournaments were drawing to a close. I was able to get some photos of each. It seemed the Vatavians were doing quite well, most especially the Blackheart Fencing Club, which was captained by Lord Dylan MacMathanban, one of the gentlemen from the bardic competition the prior day. I paused to let him know I had really enjoyed his performance. He very kindly encouraged me to continue doing bardic, and said I’d done well. Woot!
As things were wrapping up, I started cleaning up the station and breaking it down. Fortunately, once more, I received a lot of very kind help. Abe arrived with Bullvine, and between the Mooneschadin, Abe and Halfiras, we got everything torn down, packed up, loaded up, and brought to my car.
There, Halfiras marveled as I managed to fit everything in my spiffy new car! Though I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw DIRT ON MY CAR! ACK! (Abe is firm in his opinion that I need to get over the whole New Car Thing and just take care of it and use it. But it’s my first new car ever, and it makes me very happy.)
Once things were loaded up, we tromped back to the list field to say our good byes. Abe’s truck was in the parking lot, so I told him I’d meet him there. From the site, there were plans made to head to Talequah, to drop off some of Halfiras’ camping gear and just hang out for a bit. As I was wrapping up good byes and heading for the car, Olivia de Calais was just getting called into court to hand over her regalia, and I snapped a few photos for her mom. Lord Dylan had won the tournament, and I caught a lovely pic of him presenting his lady and kissing her hand.
Everyone piled into various vehicles, and it was decided to meet in Tulsa at a restaurant for some food and air conditioning. I got there first, and changed into cleaner mundanes: The blouse I was wearing had been utterly destroyed by some splashed bleach at the waterbearer station. [Note to Self: Investigate means of sanitizing equipment that doesn’t involve bleach ruining yet another piece of garb…]
Food was a good and happy thing, but it reiterated to me just how exhausted I was. I bowed out of the trip to Talequah, and bid Abe have a good time. It was time to crash!
Guardian is always a wonderful event. Each year, I store up more memories, and yearn that 12 months will pass quickly and it’s time for this magical time once more.
Here’s as complete a list of winners and awards as I’ve been able to glean from the Mooneschadowe email list:
Guardian: Count ‘Abd al-Mahdi Jamal ibn Hakim
Queen of Grace and Wisdom: Countess Valaria Richila Navarro
Insegnante: Captain Dylan MacMathanban of Vatavia, Calontir
Queen of Love and Beauty: Catriona of Vatavia, Calontir
Minstrel: Aderyn Gunnarsdottir, Gunnarstead
Chess Champion: Count Siridean MacLachlan, Calontir (? There are rumors he’s in California now)
Artisan: David Stoneman, Northern Ansteorra
Yeoman: Ulrich von Buedigen, Northkeep.
Marksman: HL William Blackdragon, called “Ironwyrm”
Children’s Bardic, 7 and Under: 1st Place: Caer, 2nd Place: Nikhita
Children’s Bardic, 8 and over: 1st Place: Merlin, 2nd Place: Caylie
Newcomer’s Chivalric Tourney: Rib of Grimfells
Sable Talon: Charles the Grey
Sable Comet: Ollj Perala
(There are rumors of other awards, but I don’t know what they are. If you have additional information, please feel free to contact me!!)