Event Review - Mooneschadowe Triumphe 2006 - 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.

(Odd Aside, before I get started: In my own sort of oblivious way, I hadn’t really figured out what it is that resonates with me when it comes to Mooneschadowe. It struck me this weekend: Mooneschadowe reminds me of one of my favorite places (San Francisco, CA) and my favorite books: “The Fifth Sacred Thing” by Starhawk. It makes me feel like I belong, because it has a strong sense of ‘community’ where ‘the needs of the one’ do not outweigh the needs of the many.)

===Let the Triumphe begin!!===

Prep for this event began *months* ago. Folks on the Mooneschadowe list were literally planning plotting, and actively working on ways to make this the Best Event Ever, months ago. Their excitement and anticipation of their first Provincial Event was positively infectious, and I caught the bug. J I was contacted by one of the folks bidding on the Event Steward job if I’d be her Waterbearer in Charge if her bid was chosen, and I jumped at the chance.

I knew it was going to be a wonderful project when budgets were discussed: I was given a very generous $100.00 budget for food and another $50.00 for permanent waterbearing supplies for the Province. This may sound weird, but knowing that they felt as passionately about hospitality and service from the waterbearing station as I do, was such a welcome relief. I wouldn’t be battling for what was needed; it was simply understood that waterbearing was important and would have a positive impact on the event. Wonderful. Simply.. Wonderful. ::beam::

I started planning and price comparing about a month out from the event. I’d bring my event shopping lists to various stores and compare quality of product, prices, etc. I finally got it narrowed down to the four stores I’d need to go to, to get everything needed. (Note: Sam’s Club’s fresh produce prices are often higher than the same product at WalMart…)

In some ways, research I had been doing for a proposed luncheon at the Castellan 2007 event was a big help: I purchased a number of very nice tiered serving trays for use at Castellan, and had been thinking about menu items for a gracious Ladies Tea. Little did I know, I’d need all this preparation for Triumphe.

The week of the event was a busy one. Sunday, the 10th, I mapped out my week with a full page list of everything that needed to be done, starting with that same day. There were amber necklaces to be made and pieces of largess suitable for women or men to be collected. There was garb to be laid out and equipment to be sorted. I also started the truffles which would be part of my gift basket items and part of my Thank You’s for my waterbearers.

Mondays are always a little hectic for me, as I am a payroll administrator and usually have to work late that day. (I transmit a weekly payroll for 200+ people.) Monday’s goal was to finish the amber thank-you necklaces for those who had signed up in advance. I sent out another note asking for volunteers, and got a number of responses far greater than I expected. (More is good.) I wasn’t able to finish all of the gifts, but I got a few more done.

I also managed to run by a sporting goods store during my lunch hour, and buy a small 2 gallon cooler. I had Decadent Plans for making happy people on Saturday morning… (More on that later). I also managed to convince my boss at work to let me put in extra hours during the week, so I could leave early on Friday. Each day I worked a little longer than normal, or took a shorter lunch. While this made the evenings more hectic, as I had to run errands after a later work day than usual, I knew it would be worth it to have the extra time on Friday.

Monday evening was designated Chocolate Day. I finished two double batches of truffles: One was Dark Chocolate with Amaretto (dipped in white chocolate and topped with shreds of almond), and the other was Milk Chocolate with Kahlua. Using up the leftovers, I made some almond bark, as well. (One can never have too much chocolate.) These were packaged up and put into the freezer. I also made a Very Large Batch of New England style corn chowder, intended for lunch for my waterbearers. It also went into the freezer. I finally got to bed around 12:45, but by that point, the kitchen was an utter disaster area!

Tuesday was Clean Everything Day, as my kitchen was coated in a layer of chocolate. I also pulled out my portable waterbearing kitchen-in-a-tote. I scrubbed out the dust and cleaned every object inside. I checked stock, and added a few things that had run low or wandered off. My personal water cooler was also scrubbed out and re-bleached. Tuesday was also Seek Out the Coffeemaker Day. Alas, I was not able to locate our second (older) coffeemaker. But I did get a set of slightly more organized kitchen cabinets out of the endeavor, as well as a well-scrubbed top of my refrigerator. (One problem with being short is that you just can’t tell when the Dust Bunnies have become Dust Walruses up there. Out of sight + out of mind, = oh dear.) Tuesday night, I also made 6 pounds (12 bags at ½ lb each) of spiced almonds and pecans, which I bagged up with pretty labels. Tuesday was a late night: I think I finally got to bed around 1:30 am.

Wednesday was particularly busy, as it was designated as Shopping Day. It took multiple trips around town, but eventually, I had purchased all but the very most perishable items for the weekend. Once home, I put 3 dozen eggs on to boil, and started sorting through various boxes and bags, getting things structured. Dry goods were staged in bags and boxes along the hallway heading to my door. The evening was complicated a smidge by the fact that my fridge was growing full of food my husband was forbidden to eat, so it was out to the grocery store again for some dinner ingredients. Wednesday, I also baked some cookies for the hubby to munch on, and some for my office.

The second adventure of Wednesday was contacting some of the event staff and Mooneschadin, and asking if there were any plans in the works for a “bruncheon” for the Laurel’s Circle, with a short list of what I thought I could provide out of waterbearing budget items, thinking to supplement someone else’s focused attentions. The response was, “Whatever you can come up with would be lovely!!” Oh boy. Eeep! Thank goodness for the planning sessions with my sister for next year’s Castellan! (Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed the challenge!!)

Thursday at lunchtime, I made another amber necklace while at my office. That evening, after more errands, was the beginning of the Great Cooking Challenge, and the continuation of packing and staging items. With my To Do list revised to include items for the luncheon, I made two quiches, one of which was sort of an experiment (cheddar and broccoli, which I hadn’t ever made before, and sort of guessed at) and an established old favorite (ham and Swiss). I also made a pan of mini cheesecakes using my sister Dominique’s recipe and instructions, and chopped up some of the melons. Another double batch of cookies was made: One bag intended for Troll and one bag intended for the luncheon.

I asked my husband’s help to disassemble the three tiered trays I’d been buying for Castellan, deciding that they’d be perfect for the Laurel’s luncheon. They got a good scrubbing and some polish, and I picked up some nice doilies for an extra graceful touch. I still wasn’t done with all the thank you gifts (as my list of volunteers had gotten longer), so I worked on those, as well.

I took a break for about 20 minutes to chat with Mehpare bint Ejer of House Halfiras, who had been due to birth a baby earlier that week. Little Avalon had decided she Just Wasn’t Ready, so they were going to induce labor on the 19th. Mehpare, 9 months pregnant, was calling to APOLOGIZE for not being able to help me with waterbearing. I reassured this dear, sweet lady that it was entirely 1,000% okay that she had more important things to worry about. But her call touched me deeply and I appreciated her concern more than she knows.

That night, I completely forgot to feed either myself or my poor husband, who, as I staggered off to bed at midnight, was rummaging through the freezer for something to nuke. He was enormously patient and understanding of my wild schedule and focus on matters other than my household responsibilities, and I love and appreciate him for it. (*smooch* to the honey!)

Friday, I decided I didn’t have enough to do, so… I added to the list! ::grin:: I was able to leave work right at 1pm, and finished the last of the Very Perishable item shopping, as well as grabbing food for my hubby, running some personal errands, and generally zooming around Tulsa at rates of speed that were a smidge naughty. I discovered that September is a challenging time to try and find flip flops (for use in the shower facilities), and that Friday afternoon is a horrible time to go to the bank. : ( WalMart didn’t have the right kind of necklace clasps, so I had to add another trip – Michaels Arts & Crafts. I steeled myself against the temptation to wander the store looking at Neat Stuff, and simply grabbed the clasps and got out.

I got home around 4:30 ‘ish, and my darling Abe helped me unload the remaining groceries from the car. There was quickly more chopping, sorting, cleaning, packing, and general Get-More-Stuff-Done’ing, including a very necessary load of laundry and an equally necessary load of dishes.

I paused in my pell-mell dashing around the house to go fill up my car with gas, purchase ice for the coolers, and get more stuff for fighter biscuits. Something told me the double batch I planned to make just wasn’t going to be enough. (I’d asked Abe to go, but then we realized that with the things I’d already started to pack into my car, he couldn’t put the seat back enough to fit behind the steering wheel!) I also taste tested one of the cheesecakes. While it wasn’t up to the level of exquisite lusciousness of my sister’s cheesecakes, I thought it might possibly do, with some fresh strawberries sliced on top.

Around 6:15, I asked Abe’s advice: at some point, I needed to go up to the site to get set up. Should I wait and go up when everything was complete, so I could go to bed as soon as I got home? Or should I go up during daylight, and come back and work more when I got back? His advice was to do setup during daylight. Well, what time was sundown? After a moment or two on the internet, we realized that sundown was at 7:30. Erk.

We dropped everything and loaded up the car. I’d been staging things in a row over by the door all week, and he helped carry everything downstairs and onto a rolling cart to drag out to the car. As I kept adding more things to the list of things that Had to Go, he looked at me and said, “You realize, this is not going to all fit…” I grimly smiled and said I’d MAKE it fit. It took about 30 minutes to wedge everything into the vehicle – and I used every available space except the glove box. (even under the seats and in the utility cubbies)

I zoomed up to the site, checked in at Gate (yes, ACCEPS is a good thing!), and there found Lord Charles the Gray. Charles immediately asked how he could help, bless his kind heart, and I asked him to round up two or three more able bodies to help me unload. I explained that I needed to get set up and off site as fast as possible. He told me he’d meet me back over by the list field, and would bring friends. While at the Gate, I grabbed an opportunity to flip through the Men of Scutums calendar that Mooneschadowe’s Liondragon Guard recently put together as a fundraiser. It was nicely done. ::cough:: ::grin::

Off to my car I dashed, and zoomed around to the feast hall. There, I got the okay from various folks to drive around the hall and onto the grassy lawn where I was to set up next to the list field. (As an aside, if you have never seen Mooneschadowe’s list field, it is drop dead sexy. There’s no other way to describe it. Positively gorgeous – awesome job and kudos to them!) Charles immediately appeared with Kugari and another gentleman, and I asked them if they would fetch two tables from the hall, so that I could unload items onto tables rather than storing them on the ground. They did so, and I began unloading the car. While they were in the hall, Sieur Jean Paul came up, and protested, “But I know I sent three guys this way!” I assured him that they had, in fact, arrived, and I’d sent them off on an errand. When they returned with the tables, he teased them a bit.

In very short order, I had four tables neatly arranged, my tent up, and everything unloaded from my car. I thanked the gentlemen, and tyrannically forced them to eat chocolate chip cookies. They protested initially, but could not withstand my brutality and succumbed. : - P

As I paused a moment, trying to decide what else needed doing on site, a lady approached me. She looked darned familiar, but after a week of much less sleep than ideal, I had no clue whom she was. She greeted me by name, and asked if I remembered her. I blushed and admitted that given my sleep schedule, I wasn’t sure I could recall my husband’s name. She smiled, and reminded me: “Dyan. From King’s College and the stone wrapping class.” If you have perused that event review, Dear Readers, you will know that this meant she was the gracious Honorable Lady (now Mistress of the Laurel, and recently the Kingdom Artisan) Dyan du Lac de Calendre, who had been so very kind to me at my first real event in Ansteorra. Her graciousness that day and her sweet charity have stood as examples to me since. We exchanged a huge hug, and we caught up a bit on news. I was delighted she had made the long journey to the event. We promised to catch one another the next day, and she headed off to finish her own setup.

I knew I could easily lose a lot of time if I stayed and visited, as I wanted very much to do, but had ‘miles to go before I sleep’ so I headed off site. I got back home around 8:30pm, which was pretty darned good time, especially considering the stop at Wendy’s on the way. As soon as I got in the door, I washed up and started making fighter biscuits. I was planning on three batches of 70 biscuits each. Between batches, I packed up a few more items I realized I’d forgotten, laid out stuff to use for my shower on site the next day, and completed the last of the 9 waterbearer largess items. I also realized I’d forgotten to pack the cheesecakes and carrots, so I set them with the finished fighter biscuits in the fridge, for easy grabbing in the morning. My last task before going to bed was to prep the coffeemaker.

The alarm went off at a vile and early hour, but I bounced out of bed.. okay, more honestly, I stumbled out of bed and shuffled about in a haze. I flipped on the coffeemaker, and grabbed a shower. Like many folks often experience, the water whacking me in my head jarred a few important thoughts loose of things I still needed to do. Between each task, I made batches of coffee, dumping them into my new 2 gallon cooler, learning, in the process, that 2 gallons of coffee is about four pots of 12 cups each. Because I knew folks might be a smidge more hazy than normal, I made the coffee at one and a half times strength. I gathered the last remaining items, got myself put together, and asked my honey’s help bringing them down to the car; all my puttering and bustling about had awoken him at the aforementioned vile and early hour. : ( He sent me off with a kiss and bid me drive safely and have a good time. His love and support mean the world to me, especially as he has completely dropped out of the SCA.

I made good time to the event site, arriving before very many people were stirring. I started puttering about, getting things organized to my liking, and also made an Oyez Announcement that there was Hot Coffee at the waterbearer’s station. The response was quite immediate, much to my amusement. Reis appeared, and was positively gleeful at the prospect of coffee. One enterprising individual sent a member of his household to hesitantly ask if she might take some away for her chieftain. Suuuurre!! While it lasts, that is… It made me beam like a Jewish mother, taking care of folks. The Autocrats and Feast Steward wandered by, and I fed them cheesecake and chocolate truffles and coffee for breakfast. They expressed that cheesecake for breakfast was Downright Okay. : - )

Shortly after my arrival (possibly lured by the mention of coffee), Contessa Vanessa and her daughter came by, and asked if they could help. I asked if they could “foof” up my tent, which task they set to cheerfully, despite having no clear instructions from me as to what I wanted. (“All the stuff in that bin? Just sorta layer it in drapey bits over the tent.”) They did a lovely job. A number of volunteers appeared and offered to help, as did hordes of little ones. It took me a few moments, but I remembered my checklist… (Which checklist? Oh. The one I made at work on Thursday, so I wouldn’t forget anything!! ) Emmalina was dispatched with Elizabeth to the hall, to get the corn chowder going. Renault headed that way, too, fetching the coolers from the fridge and tracking down additional water coolers.

Soon my volunteers poured in, and as the preparation to begin the list got rolling, so did our station. I asked everyone to please sign in, and one of the ladies commented that she liked that I had already listed those who pre-registered to help. (Adena was particularly amused that I listed her group as “Everywhere.”) We had people chopping, children serving (and being liberally slathered with hand sanitizer), additional foofing, and some gift giving – as folks showed up who had ‘pre-volunteered,’ I gave them their choice of the amber necklaces and an item from my Thank You box (filled with candles, Indian style embroidered mirrors, necklaces, and small beaded pouches).

Baron Ainar was kind enough to bring down a pair of coolers to the Archery station, which Renault arranged to fill from the kitchen. So far, so good! Things were sort of actually going on schedule… I missed the camaraderie of my Halfiras Girls, but the Mooneschadin made me feel welcome and appreciated. Devora, the chirurgeon, camped out with us, setting up her chair in the shade of the pavilion. She was training Rafe Slater, and the two of them were (unfortunately) kept busy with heat issues.

I had several wonderful little helpers: Nick, Anandi Rose, Kate, Terrick ap Owen, and Luna. These youth did a great job, and were very careful about reporting when people put their mouths on the bottle spouts, and putting on a fresh batch of hand sanitizer when they returned to the station. Vivat to these youngsters! Everyone was really good about reminding one another to sanitize, and to stop and drink and grab a nibble for themselves. I was happy that everyone was taking care of one another.

Because I didn’t have as many Journeymen on my staff as usual, I spent more time in the station, directing my troops, than out and about. Though I did demand the right to go around a few times! I also delivered small trays to the visiting nobility: the Baroness of Eldern Hills, the Baron & Baroness of Northkeep, and the new Baron & Baroness of Weisenfeuer. HE Dominique did not have a table, so I fetched one, draped with one of my dancing veils. She seemed surprised but pleased at that extra touch. I grinned and responded, “Welcome to the hospitality of Mooneschadowe.” The Crown wasn’t quite ready for munchables just yet, so I kept their tray readied back at the station.

We had a huge variety of items, and some of my waterbearers had brought additional food items of their own (Thank you to Sasona and to Phoebe!). There were three different kinds of grapes, three different kinds of melons, cheeses, fighter biscuits galore, olives, pickles, peanuts, pretzels, celery, carrots, and oranges. It was an impressive spread, if I do say so myself. ::big grin:: Now THAT’s what I call hospitality! ::beam::

Emmalina was an enormous help, assisting me in staging out the items available, and doing some portioning. She was also Chief Cook In Charge of Stirring the Chowder. She and Adena both were huge helps, keeping water going around to the crowds, chopping fruits, and reminding me to sit and drink. I’m fairly sure both of them cloned themselves. Nick of Northkeep and his mom were kind enough to bring down a large plate of food items to the archery area. Sasona and Abby were enormous helps as well, ever patiently asking what needed to be done next, and then doing it with welcome efficiency. Megan from Eldern Hills was also a blessed help. Also around this time, Phoebe of Mooneschadowe appeared, fresh and raring to go!

It was during one of my ‘zubeydah, go sit down and rest!’ breaks that Ollj of Mooneschadowe made me cry. Well, in a nice way! He wandered over, and said, “I don’t know if you consider yourself Mooneschadin…” to which I interrupted to say an emphatic YES!! “But.. if you do…” He then gave me a cast pewter ‘bullet hole’ / eclipse!!! I jumped up and gave him a big hug and thanked him. It brought tears to my eyes and made me very happy. I slid it onto the cord that holds the Gryphon that Hersir Thorgrim gave me, and walked on air for hours after that!

There were a number of things that were happening all at once, or transitioning from one to another – archery, A&S, chivalric, and of course the lunch hour and the Laurel’s circle. Honestly, I was a smidge of a basket case, worrying about the Laurel’s luncheon. I wasn’t sure when it was being held, or where. The event site was enjoying lovely weather, but a strong gusting breeze was coating the entire site with fine, gritty dust that I knew would positively ruin the meal I was going to prepare. I finally learned that the Circle would be held after the end of the Chivalric combat, and it was to be located at a fire pit circle out past gate. Outdoors. Oh dear. Sieur Jean-Paul de Sens was kind enough to let me steal his flat-bed wagon, so that it was standing by waiting for the word to load up.

When we got word that the bouts were down to the last round, I began seriously prepping the Laurel’s Luncheon items. Earlier in the day, Emmalina had been kind enough to assemble the three silvery 3 tiered trays and line them with crisp, white doilies. I gathered every other nice looking plate I could, doilied them, and started piling them high. One large tiered tray was filled with fruits of various sorts and kinds, with strawberries on top cascading down through melons and grapes. Another tray bore every vegetable in the station, and a third contained pickles and two types of olives. When it came time to slice up the quiches, I learned to my dismay that the liquid in the steamed broccoli had kept the quiche from cooking properly. It was a disaster, and completely inedible. Into the trash it went. Fortunately, the ham and Swiss quiche looked and smelled very nice, with a light, custard-like appearance. I sliced it thinly, to try and stretch it as far as possible. As each tray was prepped and readied, it was wrapped in Press-N-Seal and carried off by Emmalina to the refrigerator. I think she was trying to hustle the process along as quickly as possible, so I’d stop stressing, sit down, and drink something! Another tray was filled with dessert items: two types of chocolate truffles and the cheesecakes with thin slices of strawberries on top. Another tray contained over a dozen devilled eggs. There were also cookies, nuts, dried fruits, and pita pockets stuffed with a wonderful mixture of fruits, nuts, and curried couscous. I hoped there was a wide enough variety of items, and was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Thank goodness for Emmalina, Adena, and Renault for all their help, encouragement, and steadying words! Huge thank you’s to them, and to Elizabeth, as well, who was totally new, and did a great job.

The final bout was about to be fought, and I was still scrambling to finish everything. Renault asked what else he could do to help, and I thrust my camera at him – ‘Get pictures, please!’ Obligingly, he headed off. (I was delighted to hear that Syr Owen ap Aeddan won the day!) Someone was kind enough (I don’t remember whom I asked) to bring out the hot crock pot of Corn Chowder, and I asked my staff to please eat!! My waterbearers worked almost entirely on their own for the duration of my focus on the luncheon, and did their tasks cheerful and well. I appreciate their kindness in letting me focus on the luncheon. I found out I had an extra little bit of time after the final bout, as there was some discrepancy as to where the meeting was going to be held, and His Majesty wanted to grab a quick shower and clean up.

It was somewhere around here, as the final fight ended, and prep was starting up for Laurels Luncheon, that there was a brief ceremony during which Her Excellency, Mistress Michelle de Chantal, asked Adena to become her Protégé. (Mistress Michelle is a Pelican that lived in the OKC metro area, until she and her husband, Sir Aesoph, moved to Texas.) If you know Adena, your life is for the better. If you don’t know Adena: Find her at an event, and you will be positively blown away at this joyful spirit. She is a hard worker, a bright smile, a cheerful outlook, all wrapped up in a package that will knock your socks off. ‘Dini is one of a kind! Huge congratulations to her on this new relationship with Mistress Michelle.

It was finally decided for various health reasons that the Circle would be held in the small amphitheater near the feast hall. My staff and I loaded up Sieur Jean-Paul’s wagon, and carefully trundled it down the wooded path. There was a picnic table conveniently nearby, so I raced back up to the station and grabbed a tablecloth and drape to pretty things up. We laid things out, arranging them as nicely as possible, with a full pitcher of lemonade and unsweetened iced tea ready as well.

The Laurels began assembling, and Master Oxlade arrived with two canisters of beer. There was something of a stir going on, and I peeked around to see what the commotion was. Mistress Talana and Master Diarmuit had brought an actual 14th century (If I heard correctly) book of hours!!! Mistress Sara Penrose got to look through it, holding it with a pad of linen so her fingers wouldn’t actually touch the book, and turning the pages with a card. The workmanship on the book was lovely, and the colors were still bold and brilliant. I didn’t get to see as much of it as I might have liked – just a glimpse or two – but what little I saw was really stunning. All the Laurels, regardless of discipline, were as eager as schoolchildren to see this piece of history. I longed to gawk right along with them, but felt it was best to finish preparing the luncheon and get out of the way. After getting the green light from Master Oxlade to do so, we pulled off the covers from the food and Renault and I headed out of the glade.

Back at the station, we sent another cooler of water and Gatorade down to the archery field, and another tray of food. Then it was time to start taking stock. Staff at the station had waned a bit, as folks headed off to do their gate shifts or kitchen duty, and soon it was just Renault and I. I think everyone was hot, sweaty, and longing for a shower; I knew I was. In appreciation for all of Renault’s help, I gave him one of the amber pieces I’d made. He surprised me by saying it was his first piece of amber, and my brain immediately began to plot. If you do not know him, Renault has a true spirit of service. He will work as hard and unceasingly as a mule, simply because it needs to be done, and out of enjoyment of the camaraderie. He is a good man.

At this point, it was around 2:30. The Laurel’s Circle was going on, Bardic was underway, Archery was wrapped up, there was some Rapier going on down at the Archery field, and the A&S competition was being judged. I decided I’d better grab a few photos of the A&S before it was time for it to be removed, so I made a quick pass through the hall and took careful pictures of each entry and the identifying card going with it.

After photographing the A&S, it was time to start working on cleaning up the devastation of the waterbearing station. It was long and tiring work, but Renault’s cheerfulness and other waterbearers stopping by to help, made it go more quickly. For a time, he and I paused in our labors while I soaked my aching feet in a pot of ice water, and we both sipped Gatorade to refresh ourselves. Then it was back to the task at hand – for there was a lot to do. While we were cleaning up, Geoffrey Makepeace stopped by. Geoffrey looked like he was fully in the grip of heat exhaustion. His hands were shaking, his color was a dark crimson, and he looked a bit wobbly. Yep: Heat Exhaustion. We sat him down, and I got a cool cloth for the back of his neck. I tucked it under his gorget, but then decided to simply get rid of the armor altogether. We started getting liquids into him, and I removed the armor from his lower forearms. Grabbing another cloth, I worked on getting his temperature down by putting the cold towels on his pulse points. It took about 20 minutes, but after a while, he looked far more comfortable, lucid, and his temperature was in a much better range. Eventually he decided to head off and grab a shower, and get into clean, dry clothing.

Not long after Geoffrey departed, I was checking on the level of water and Gatorade when Reis ap Tudor of Mooneschadowe appeared. He was looking drained and not entirely in his full faculties. He looked at me somewhat blankly, blinked, and said, “Zubeydah. Help.” He sort of pointed at the water coolers, and I grabbed one of my squirt top bottles and pressed it into his hand. “Water.” He nodded, and then drank in long gulps, his hands shaking. It was pretty clear that his blood sugars had dropped. So I also got some Gatorade in him, if I am remembering right. After a few moments, he, too, was feeling better and went on his way.

Reis and Geoffrey weren’t the only ones to feel the heat. The Chirurgeons were kept busy. While I’m no longer an official Chirurgeon, I have taken the first aid classes, and I keep a well stocked med kit both on my belt, and another in a box in the station. This was good, because I got a very odd request late in the day. Adena came by, and asked if I knew where Devora was. I responded that I did not, but that I had some small Chirurgeon training, and could I help? Renault chimed in that he was also trained. She replied that it was a bit of a delicate matter, requiring a female Chirurgeon. I blinked, grabbed my med kit, and went with her. While we headed towards the parking lots, she explained that there had been reports of a lady in some form of distress, who was sitting in her parked vehicle, not entirely lucid. The woman had been found by Countess Octavia, who had requested the Chirurgeon.

Realizing our task was about to take us off the grass and onto the hard (hot) gravel parking lot, I paused and said I’d best go back for my boots. Adena slipped off her own green dancing shoes, and said I could give them back to her later. I started walking up and down each row of vehicles, looking for the one that had been described, or any vehicle with someone inside.

On the second row, I heard the sound of someone being violently ill. I approached with some degree of caution, and saw that it was one of the fighters from Northkeep – a gentle who had requested some pickle juice earlier, for cramping muscles. He was heaving very harshly, but his lady was with him, waiting in their SUV. I checked with her to make sure he was ok, and she assured me he had liquids available to him, and would rest in the air conditioned vehicle shortly. I continued on my way, traversing each row of vehicles, but did not find either the woman or the vehicle that had been described.

I headed back to the field, and gave Adena both the news and her shoes. She agreed there wasn’t much more I could do, so I headed back to the station. Renault had continued to tidy up while I was gone, and things were in pretty good shape, though there was a pile of dirty dishes. We grabbed up an armful, and trudged into the kitchen. There, the kitchen staff was kind enough to let us use the sink facilities, and we washed up a bunch of trays and other serving items. Back at the station, Renault suggested storing the clean dishes in a trash bag, so they wouldn’t get all dusty. Little did I know how wise his suggestion was.

At this point, it was around 4:00, and I was hot, sticky, dirty, and getting pretty tired. We were still waiting for the Laurel’s Circle to end, so we could do the clean up. Renault wandered off on some sort of errand, and I decided that I Had To Get Clean. I was hot, sticky and feeling positively disgusting. I headed for the car, grabbed my showering supplies and a change of clothes, and made my way to the new and vastly improved shower facilities. There was a line as I approached; Aethelred was there along with some other gentlemen, and they eventually noted that this was the men’s area. Oops! I toddled off to the ladies side. The wait wasn’t very long, and I was able to shower and dress in relatively reasonable time. It was hard to get out from under that wonderful water, but there were things to do!

Dressed for feast and court, I headed back to the waterbearer station. There, I started doing my make-up. Captain Dylan of the Blackhearts was wandering by, and very gallantly called out, “Oh stop it! You’re pretty already!” (or something along those lines) I smiled and waved my mascara brush in greeting, but continued with my prettification. Right about the time I finished, Renault came back, laden with many of the plates from the Laurel’s Luncheon. We both headed down to finish clearing things away. I was a smidge sad to see that so much food had not been consumed, but was glad to see the cheesecakes, cookies, and all the quiche was gone, as well as the couscous pita pockets. That made me feel really good.

The truffles had mentioned completely, and were a lumpy pile of chocolate goo on the plate. As I wandered past Aethelred, I asked him if he wanted some chocolate. He enthusiastically agreed that he did – even if they would require a spoon! He grabbed up the tray, spooned up a bite, and swooned, then quickly began sharing it with those around him. I returned to the glade, recovered the almost untouched 3-teired tray covered in fruit, and brought it back to the station. Most everything else got tossed in the trash.

Not long thereafter, it was announced that set up for feast would be starting soon. Renault and I discussed our feasting plans. I had bought feast, but had no feast gear, and he had feast gear, but hadn’t bought feast. He said he was in the mood for some food from town, and loaned me his feast gear so I could actually sit and eat (something I’ve not done in some time). I was looking forward to the Middle Eastern style feast that had been prepared in honor of Mooneschadowe’s last Shire Guardian, Mahdi.

I ran into Mistress Dyan, and she very kindly welcomed me to her table for feast. I grabbed my loaner feast gear and put together a place setting, which she supplemented. As we were puttering around getting ready for feast, the wind was still gusting. It kept tossing my veil around, and my hair into my face. I finally decided to give up on the period look, and grabbed a hair doodle from the car to tame my locks. I wanted to contribute in some way to the graciousness of Dyan’s table arrangement – she had matching feast gear, table cloths, napkins, and a table runner. So on the way back to the feast area, I made a side trip to the waterbearing station and grabbed the three-tiered tray of fruits. With Dyan’s okay, I set it in the middle of the table, where it was nibbled on by all.

Feast began once the Crown made their appearance. I was pleased to see Captain Dylan and his lady honored at the head table, as well as HE Valeria. We were joined at our table by Mistress Dyan’s husband as well as Lord Blackdragon and two members of their Majesty’s entourage. Before the meal began, the feast staff had yet another surprise: A hand washing station, with rosewater for people to cleanse their hands with. That was a very nice extra touch, and I was not surprised to see Elizabeth helping at the station: That young woman was everywhere that day!

The first course was pita chips with four different dips. My personal favorite was the feta and parsley, which had a wonderful savory flavor. Dyan’s husband (whose name I never caught, to my embarrassment) brought over a very large, heavy wooden chest. A small cooler chest and bottles of soda were cleverly concealed inside, their modernity beautifully hidden. He offered up its delicious contents: a bottle of DiSarono, a variety of sodas, and several other fine liquors. Mistress Dyan joked (in a lovely southern drawl) about how the DiSarono was “Southern Ansteorran Ladies Sipping Cordial,” which made me giggle. Master Oxlade was also circling the feast area, offering up his succulent brews – I don’t recall the specific flavors, but they did sound yummy. Someone had put some tape on the back of Ox’s tunic, which read “Drunk Man” – he seemed to know about it, and was amused. I was very good, and turned down the many offers of sinful libation I was offered. (I do not drink outside the presence of my husband. My husband doesn’t attend SCA any more. Therefore, I don’t ever drink at events.)

Mistress Dyan commented on how sore her feet were, and I knew just the trick to take care of that! I excused myself and went back to the waterbearing station. There, I grabbed one of the clean, empty metal tubs that we had used for washing and rinsing. I filled it with all the water I could find that was left – it filled the tub perhaps a few 3 scant inches. Next, I tossed in a small handful of ice. I brought it back to the feasting area, and slipped it under the table, where it was completely hidden by the table cloth and Dyan’s skirts. The expression of relief on her face was worth it – almost comically joyful. Within just a few moments, her overall color looked much better, too. She happily wiggled her toes in the water for all of feast.

The second course was a pair of soups. I did not try the first one, as garlic doesn’t agree with my digestion if I’m overly warm, but really enjoyed the second: a cucumber soup served cold, with an exquisite flavor. It really reminded me of a thin version of raita, which is one of my favorite Middle Eastern side dishes. It was about this time that Syr Owen ap Aeddan took a moment in the presence of Their Majesties and those assembled to introduce and acknowledge as his third heir, his newest baby. Those around me that I could hear comment on it seemed to enjoy that he had taken that moment to do so, and in a very persona-appropriate manner. As I had not yet met this newest addition to his family, I excused myself from the table and headed over. (Syr Owen’s third son was born prematurely, and had experienced some health issues for the first several weeks of his life. I was glad to see that not only was he healthy enough to come home from the hospital, but to an event.)

At Owen’s table, I found him holding the new baby, with Terrick and Henry climbing all over him. The baby was starting to fuss a bit, and Owen and his wife Dagmar discussed who had the bottle – drat. It was in the car. I offered to hold the baby while Owen fetched the bottle. Compared to Terick and Henry as babies, Aiden was so small! There was some small misadventure when Terrick and Henry wanted to follow Dad after he was already halfway to the car, which I pointed out to their mom. They weren’t exactly following Dad, as they’d been given the ok to do… The boys finally trooped back to the table, and once they returned, I started strolling around the feast area, rocking the baby and singing softly to him. By the time I’d gotten around the entire feast area once, Owen was back with the bottle, and the baby was asleep. I circled again, to give Owen a chance to relax and eat some of the fine meal – they’d brought out the next course, which was a saffron flavored chicken dish.

After my second circuit, I reluctantly handed Owen back his son, and bid the family farewell for now. I headed back to my table, and sampled some more of the amazing feast. The Feast Stewards really did a lovely job. I loved the fact that the entire feast was documented, and there were neat little snippets about Middle Eastern culture in the information packet. I wish I had thought to keep one as a memento of the event.

Something must be said about our servers and the young gentles who were providing beverage service. Kugari was our primary server and he did an excellent job. He was very attentive and courteous in all of his efforts. I hope he enjoyed the bag of truffles I gave him as a small thank you for his service. We had a multitude of beverage servers, all youths under the age of 12 or so. They were enormously persistent, and I found myself trying to drink faster, so I didn’t have to keep refusing them. The children got down right disappointed to hear that another youth had beat them to our table by just a few seconds.

Soon, the lovely feast was over, after some much awaited walnut baklava (which was wonderful). We cleared the table, and Dyan’s husband was very kind and offered to wash my dishes along with his and his lady’s. I decided to leave the fruit tray on the table, so passers by could help themselves.

Knowing that court was coming soon, I dashed into the kitchen and grabbed the truffles I had held in reserve. Master Oxlade had already put the ½ lb bags of spiced nuts into the baskets, and I added truffles to each one. The baskets were really nicely put together, and many had bright colors and interesting contents.

Sabine was there, and I offered to help her bring the baskets outside to where court would be held. She accepted, and led the way. It only took a few trips to get everything organized and out at the podiums. It looked like most other things were well in hand, so I figured the best thing for me to do would be get out of the way of the folks who were already so capably doing what remained to be done. Sabine did tell me that we had one less basket to present: One of the champions was overseas, and his basket wouldn’t be given out. She offered me back the spiced nuts that would have gone into the basket.

As I wandered about, I spotted Hersir Thorgrim Northkeep, looking positively resplendent. Geoffrey was nearby, and I greeted them both. These two gentlemen are truly worthy of the respect of those around them. Thorgrim mentioned that he probably wasn’t staying for all of court, as he had two dogs at home that had been patiently waiting all day for someone to come and let them out. I asked if they were going to be seated in the audience, or would hang out at the back. I got a smirking grin, and a “we’ll just hang in the back” in response, as I knew I would.

I fetched my happy new chair (It’s a director’s chair, with my heraldic device on a drape across the back), and sat next to Olivia and Elizabeth de Calais. Oddly, several Mooneschadin started handing out things, whispering, “Use this when they call people’s names.” I got a bottle of bubbles, as did Elizabeth. Olivia received a bag of beautifully scented dried lavender. I started passing out spiced nuts to anyone who wanted to try some, until such time as court began.

There seemed to be some small confusion about the format of court, as it started in one thematic direction, zigzagged to another, and then seemed to get back on track. Two heralds, on opposite sides of the court, called in the last year’s champion, and the new champion. Each was given a gift. This allowed court to progress very quickly, rather than having things drag on. In some instances some of the past champions weren’t present, so a member of Mooneschadowe walked in their stead. As each champion strode into court, they were showered with flower petals, bubbles and cheers.

During one of the presentations, the herald, Master Modius, pointed out to His Majesty, Aaron, that Adena, who was sitting in the front row, cheered particularly well. He had her stand, and cheer for the crowd, which she did enthusiastically in typical ‘Dini fashion. This led to a conversation asking her about how long she’d been perfecting her cheering technique – all her life. (For those who do not know, Adena was conceived at a Pennsic war, and has spent her entire life in the society. Yep. All of it.) She was granted a Star of Merit for her many years of hard work.

Also granted awards, were: Lady Liliana –AoA, Lady Isabella – AoA, Lord Kugara – AoA, Lady Elsa- Sable Comet, Lady Zorya - Sable Comet, Lord Charles- Sable Comet, Asric - Sable Thistle in Brewing, Ayla - Sable Thistle in Weaving, Ollj – Sable Talon in Chivalric Combat, Lady Sabine - Sable Crane, Rabbit (Sir Cassius Leapus) - Sable Crane

Liliana, Isabella and Kugara received their awards as a group, as did Zorya, Charles and Elsa. I liked the way that court was organized and structured, but at the same time, calling multiple people up at the same time seemed to maybe take a bit away from the individuals. HL Maggie was called up, and there was a bit of bantering back and forth about how she had three of (something I couldn’t hear – I assume Thistles?)… and then the Laurels present were called into the Court and it was stated she would be invited to join the Laurels at Namron Protectorate. Woot!!!

As soon as court was over, it was time for me to head home. I didn’t want to push my endurance, and drive when I was exhausted. Strangely, just sitting and eating feast, and maybe the foot soaking, had helped me recover a lot. I didn’t feel as completely wiped out as I usually am at the end of court – though, I also hadn’t served feast, which I often do – maybe that made the difference. All in all, I was feeling pleasantly tired from the fruits of my labors, but very self-satisfied and happy.

I don’t recall what time it was that I arrived home, but I made a point of staying up for at least 30 minutes to spend some time with my husband, whom I had hardly seen all day. I chatted with him about the day’s events, and then staggered off to bed.

It was my goal to be on site no later than 7:30, but that just didn’t happen. I clambered out of bed around 6:00, and put myself together while making more coffee, with sufficient speed that I was ready to head off to site around 7:15… but oh, it did NOT look very nice out. On my way out the door, I snagged a large container of hot chocolate mix, thinking it might just be useful… Unlike the day before, I had no desire to enjoy the lovely morning with my window rolled down, as the sky was gray and the winds racing, with a cold rain drizzling down. I decided that the hot coffee I’d prepared was going to be a Very Good Thing, and as I headed for the highway, I stopped at Daylight Donuts and grabbed every sausage roll they had ready to go, and a dozen donuts.

When I arrived on site, there was a great deal of evidence that the storm had struck Cleveland as well as Tulsa. The waterbearing station was in complete disrepair, with many items blown about by the strong winds. Water weight had collapsed half the tent. With the assistance of several others, I got the heavy pools of water off the tent and the pavilion back into its correct structural shape. It was pretty obvious that no one was going to be fighting outside in this muck. I went through both of the cooler chests at the station, and checked to see what could be recovered. Much of it was ruined, but some of it was still viable. As well, due to our portioning efforts, I knew I had a large amount of supplies in the hall’s refrigerator. I cleaned out all the trashed items, put all the good stuff into my cart with wheels, and slogged towards the hall. Both Aethelred and Ollj were of great help in the recovery process.

What few folks I saw were shivery and miserable looking; I knew just the solution for that!! IN the kitchen, the ever-delightful Miss Maggie was cooking eggs and bacon. I asked her if I could use the convection oven and a burner – she not only said I could, but helped me get the oven started. I grabbed a tray, and dumped all the remaining fighter biscuits onto it. Into the oven it went! A large pot got filled with water and put on the stove.

I snagged one of my few clean trays, and arranged the donuts and sausage rolls on it, cutting each in half in an effort to portion things out. I gratefully accepted some offers of help, but sadly do not recall who those gentles were. Once those were set out, I bustled about getting some things cleaned up, prepped and ready to go, using what few serving items I had (napkins, cups, etc). I also dumped a bunch of melon onto a tray, as well as all the remaining grapes.

The water in the kitchen was hot enough, though not boiling, that I went ahead and dumped in my hot chocolate mix. So… almost ready for business! I walked outside, put my hands on my hips, and in my best heraldically loud voice, called out, “GOOOOOOD MORNING, ANSTEORRA!! There is strong hot coffee and weak hot chocolate, sausage rolls, fighter biscuits, and donuts in the hall! WHILE THEY LAST!! First come, first served!!”

Almost immediately, people started shuffling in my direction, tent flaps started opening, and I heard voices raised in hubbub. (I later learned that not all of the yelled responses were entirely polite, but that’s okay, I forgive them :P )

I hurried back into the hall, and got my fighter biscuits out of the convection oven. A large ladle went into the pot of hot chocolate, and I put the two types of creamer and the sugar over by the coffee. Soon, I had ‘customers’ aplenty. The sausage rolls went first, then the donuts. Kate was quite adorable as she came over and asked if she might have some hot chocolate, pointing emphatically at the cooler of coffee. I explained which one was which, and we got her something warm to drink. Food started disappearing quickly. With Aethelred’s help, I got more items from the waterbearer’s station, deciding that the big table I was using in the feast hall was going to be the station for the day. (He was a big help, repeatedly toting things, filling water jugs, stirring, and generally being useful hired muscle.)

I pulled out all the stops, and filled every tray to its limit with food items. The hall began to fill, as it was decided to hold the rapier combat in the far end of the building. Children’s activities were going on at the other end.

Since it was a relatively simple setup, it was easy to handle on my own, with occasional assistance from the Brute Squad. Aethelred lugged in my water cooler, filled it, and with some direction, made some Gatorade. By this point, it was mid-morning, 9 or 10ish, and the rapier fights of the Insegnante tournament were beginning.

Things went pretty briskly for a while. I scooted back to the waterbearer station and grabbed two of my water bottles. I filled one with water and one with Gatorade, and got them up to the front of the crowd where the rapier fighters could get to them. I paused for a bit, and watched a couple of fights. Asha, the petite daughter of Emma and Reis, was there, as well as Lillias & Ivo’s new baby boy. They both seemed fascinated with the beads and coins on my hip belt, so I stood there for about 15 minutes, shimmying back and forth to make them giggle.

A fun thing about rapier that I have noticed is that they tend to be much more romantic in their salutes to their inspiring partners, and lots of hugs to salute one another. Captain Dylan of Vatavia, Calontir, was particularly sweet in his salutes to his lady – so much so that I commented on it to them, letting them know that in doing so, they improved the overall environment for others around them. It was touching and romantic, the way he would stride over to her, catch up her hand, touch it to where his lips would be through the mask, and then press her hand to his forehead for a moment. She, in turn, bowed her head over his hand, and blew him a kiss.

The bouts went very quickly. One particularly enthusiastic fighter was literally leaving skid marks all over the cement floor. For a while, I cheered loudly for those in the rapier community I was familiar with, though I seemed to be the only one naming someone individually. I wondered after I did so if it was some sort of faux pas. :(

One rather amusing moment came when Kate and Nikki got their hands on one of the “Men of Scutums” calendars. They turned to the page that featured Asric (his hair blowing in the wind, and a sultry expression on his face – and all the men posed without a shirt on) and held it up to the screen of the window, jumping up and down and calling Asric’s name. I’ve never actually seen Asric blush before that moment… When they saw his reaction, they kept it up for some time, of course.

The bouts continued on, and I kept up a brisk pace hustling back and forth between checking the status of the food supply items and watching the matches. I was really impressed with the level of integrity and grace of the fighters. One fellow was wearing a mask that made him look like some sort of alien or insect. It was a little bizarre.

When it was nearly time for the final match, there was a bit of break. Folks had been wandering about for the last half hour, scattered to the wind. The two final combatants – Captain Dylan and Facon duPray - took the floor, and I called out, “WAIT! Their ladies aren’t back yet!!” It was agreed to be a good thing to wait for their ladies to arrive, so we set off in all directions trying to find them. I found Anandi (Facon’s daughter), and others fetched Captain Dylan’s lady. The bout was splendid, as the two fighters have very different styles. At long last, Facon prevailed.

I made sure the two gentlemen got their fill to drink after the match, and then everyone sort of puttered around for a very short time while the rapier community voted on the Insegnante competition. It was mentioned that final court would be held in the area that the rapier fighting had been, so I started moving the benches into place. Immediately, several others joined me, and in very short order, we had everything ready to go.

Folks started wandering into the hall for final court. Elizabeth de Calais and her daughter Olivia had been hard at work, packing their things up. They’d changed out of garb, and mentioned they weren’t entirely comfortable sitting in court ‘naked’. I ran back to the waterbearer station (though, by this point, the rain had completely stopped) and grabbed my two cloaks, bringing them back for the ladies to wear. Honorable Lady Elizabeth complimented me on my cloak – it was a gift from my friends in California one year for my birthday, and is hand woven in many shades of beautiful blue.

Baron Ian of Northkeep sat as the officiator for the court, as Mooneschadowe does not have a single leader, but rather works in consensus. There wasn’t much business to be done: The autocrats thanked everyone who had helped throughout the weekend, and announced that Ranger Roger had made it clear that if folks wanted to leave their tents up to dry, they could do so, and pick them up later in the week. This news was met with great rejoicing.

Then it was time to announce the first Insegnante of the Eclipse! By popular vote, it was won by Facon DuPray. He named as his Queen of Love and Beauty his daughter, Anandi Rose duPray, which was very sweet. Captain Dylan, who had been the final Insegnante of the Shire, along with his Lady, presented Facon and Anandi with gifts. I believe Anandi’s gift was a lovely cloak of blue velvet lined in satin. I did not see Facon’s gift closely enough to make mental note of it.

Court was over very quickly, and folks began to scatter. I’d been able to keep up with the waterbearing table well enough that the trash was under control, and clean up didn’t take long. I left the remaining food items out, and got everything else cleaned up.

My brain has jumbled time frames, but at some point before court, Renault showed up. He had enjoyed the revelry of the night before and had been overcome with exhaustion in the early hours of the morning. I don’t recall if we started on cleanup before or after court, but I do remember this: Renault busted his butt to help me. He helped me clean the mud and filth off of all the supplies, helped me take down the pavilion, wash things, load things, pack my vehicle, you name it. I couldn’t have made it through on my own. As a thank you, I gave him a full strand of amber… and really, it didn’t begin to repay him for all his efforts.

As Ranger Roger had given the ok to leave things up, a lot of folks just hightailed it off site, taking only their big valuables, and leaving much behind. Renault stayed loyal until the last mud spattered object was loaded into my car, and only after I was 100% packed and taken care of, did he head off.

I think this was somewhere around 2:00 pm? I found the autocrat and asked what else needed to get done, so that the site would be cleared. She said the bathrooms needed scrubbing, and so we headed off! (Needless to say, people drink at SCA events, and drunk people don’t have very good aim when it comes to the rest room. The job wasn’t pleasant, but it needed to be done. You probably don’t want any more details than that!)

After cleaning the restrooms and the showers, I grabbed some garbage bags and helped clean up trash that had been left in the various campsites. One campsite was particularly rough, as the bag they used for trash broke from the weight, and caused quite a mess. I helped Gilyan clean it up as best we could, but it was another job that was really not a lot of fun. We also cleaned out the walk-in freezer. One of the dessert items planned was a watermelon ice that never quite solidified. There were bowls and bowls of the stuff which had to be dumped. As well, many trash bags of ice had to be removed and dumped. But with a lot of teamwork, everything went quickly. My last task for the day was cleaning up some broken glass – this was 100% my fault, though. (I had thrown a pickle jar into the trash dumpster, and was too short to see that someone had thrown their tent in that dumpster. The pickle jar hit the nylon tent, and bounced, smashing against the top of the dumpster and spraying the area with broken glass. Ollj was very kind and jumped on cleaning it up before I had a chance to start the cleanup.

By the time I finally drove off site, I was feeling pretty tired, but with a great sense of accomplishment. I had seen great deeds. I had seen beautiful artistry. I had borne witness to selfless acts of service. I had celebrated the achievements of friends. I had worked alongside those I respect and love and admire, to pull off many needed things. IT was the best damned event I’d had the joy of attending in Ansteorra, and I can’t wait for next year!

HAIL MOG!