Event Review - Mooneshadow Triumphe 2008 - 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.

Triumphe of the Eclipse (The Event Previously Known as Guardian) is one of the gatherings that I look forward to all year. This is, in no small part, due to the sense of community and camaraderie that flows like warm sunshine down upon everyone attending a Mooneschadowe event. This year was no different.

Prep this year was minimal, given that I was not in charge of anything. I had the fun of making up some yummies for the waterbearers, some items for the gift baskets, and some food items as payment for some weavers who were working on commissions for me. So there was very little stress involved in getting ready. I was in bed by 11:30 on Friday (practically unheard of for an event!)

I did want to get on site early, because I had pledged to bring a coffeemaker for the use of the Royalty Liason. I’d tried to find someone who might be able to bring it up to the site on Friday evening, but this didn’t work out. So I woke at 5:45 and was on the road by 6:20, with a brief stop for gas and ice and cream for the coffee service.

The drive up to Cleveland was uneventful but lovely – the sun had not yet risen, and all was shrouded in lovely fog. When I arrived in Cleveland, I stopped by McDonalds and bought a dozen breakfast sandwiches for those who weren’t quite awake/fed yet. Daylight crept up as I drove, and by the time I arrived on site, the heavens were a delicate shade of blue.

Not many were up and about, so I grabbed the bag containing the coffeemaker and the bag containing the breakfast items and headed to the feast hall where I found Danielle de Marsellies slumped at a table, exhausted but painting. She was working on a beautiful scroll that she explained was for one of the championships being awarded that day. Having received a promotion at work had cut into the time she’d had to work on them, and a couple of them were still unfinished. Poor Dani had actually fallen asleep while painting the night before, and gotten only a few brief hours of rest on the hard cement floor of the hall. I offered to help, but there really wasn’t anything she could have me do. :(

I went over to where gate was set up, and paid for the site and for feast (fortunately, there were still some left). I then scampered back out to the car, and brought in one of the bags of goodies (dark chocolate almond toffee bark) and gave it to the folks at Gate. I also chatted briefly with Mark von Mainz, who was busily making bread for the evening’s feast.

About that time, Aline Swynbrook appeared; I chatted with her about the coffee service, and gave her the supplies. It was nice to relax and socialize for a few minutes. I started handing out goodies to those who were in the hall and wanted something to munch on, and they were well received.

A new young lady and I decided to stroll about and see if we could find other takers for the breakfast sandwitches, and we were able to give away the whole bag full. She and I had a lovely chat about our favorite perfume company as we wandered (Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab).

Returning to the hall, I enlisted the help of one of the gentlemen from Mooneschadowe to drag over a table to the pavilion the waterbearers would be using. He offered to help me unload my car, but given that few were about, and the gate was unlocked, I decided to just drive over the car. He and Ludo helped me unload once I had the vehicle in place, and were rewarded with Irish Cream truffles for their help.

Things were still pretty quiet, though people were starting to stir here and there. I spotted Adena and wandered over to chat about the waterbearing plans for the day. I also got to chat with Her Royal Highness of the Midrealm, Anneliese, who got started in Mooneschadowe. In chatting with Adena, it was realized that she’d forgotten the Gatorade and pickles at her home. She dispatched her sister into town to get supplies. Fortunately, we had at least an hour before amour inspection.

It was a slow and lazy day, with little sense of hurry. Their Royal Highnesses of Ansteorra emerged, and it was announced that at some point within the hour morning court would be held. Before that, though, I got to chat with Dutchess Vanessa and her daughter, Megan, and to run back and forth providing cups of hot coffee to various folks in dire need, earning me some huge smiles and hugs. I was also honored to have Vanessa ask me to make a piece of art of some sort for donation to a fundraising effort she was organizing at Coronation. I told her I’d be honored. Megan also showed off some beautiful jewelry that she’d made from amethyst and hematite for Abby MacKnochard.

It was around this time that court was held, and it was kept brief. Their Highnesses noted that due to the hurricanes pounding the lower part of the Kingdom, that no awards would be given at court, but that the day looked to be grand and beautiful, and they looked forward to Mooneschadowe’s hospitality. The event staff didn’t have a whole lot to say, but Master Robert Fitzmorgan had one announcement: Everyone was invited to witness him taking Ivo as his Protégé after court. I and many others attended, and I made sure to snap some photos.

Waterbearers were starting to congregate around the station at this point, and we began prepping. It was discovered that no waterbottles were available, and that one of the two jars of pickles purchased that morning had gone bad. Adena’s sister, Kylie, headed back to the store, and we began to improvise…

The day proceeded, with our small staff of waterbearers doing our best to meet the needs of those out on the field. Midway through, I broke out the Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispies Treats that I’d made, and also delivered a pan of Triple Chocolate Kahlua brownies to Ayla in exchange for some trim I commissioned from her.

On the way back to the station from a jaunt in to see the A&S competition (wow, there were some exquisite things on display!!), I paused to find out what Vanessa was up to – she’d been asking folks if they had an extension cord, and we found out why: She had a popcorn maker going and was selling bags for a fundraiser. I decided to give her the other pan of Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispies Treats to help out. (They sold out!)

The organized chivalric fighting was pretty intense and moved very quickly. It was all over by around 2:30, and pick up fights ensued. I took a bit of a break from 2:00 – 3:00 ish, as I’d gotten a whopping headache, and rested in my car with the windows rolled down.

When I emerged, Adena had pretty much cleaned up the whole station already. From that point, a couple of us circulated the pick up fights and provided water and Gatorade, but the organized waterbearing was done for the day. Syr Owen ap Aeddan had arrived on site, and was working with several fighters, and HRH Gunthar was also sparring with several of the Centurions.

Given my lingering headache, I decided to take it pretty easy for the remainder of the day. I wandered around and snapped some photos until such time that my camera decided to misbehave, watering folks as they had need. I paused and chatted for a bit with Lady Kale and Lady Kat, and discussed tattoos. When they learned I’d gotten a new one, I got chased about with both of them grabbing my gahwazi coat and lifting it, demanding to see my new ink. I finally succumbed to their demands and showed them, and got some surprised responses.

It was getting on towards 5pm, when I decided to go change for feast. They weren’t setting up yet, but a lot of folks were winding down and getting cleaned up from their exertions of the day. I put on my gryphon garb (made for my hand fasting four years ago to Abe), and wandered back to where the pick up fights had been. There, I found Syr Owen teasing Dona Theresa about being his ‘future squire.’ He regaled us with stories of his children’s recent adventures (including jumping off the roof of their home, and putting a hole big enough to crawl through in one of the walls, and putting concrete premix in their eyes), and performed “Happy Birthday” for us in Italian, which he learned for his new job. Syr Owen is an excellent storyteller, and it is always a pleasure to sit and chat with him.

Soon it was time to get ready for feast. I found a table towards the end of the row, away from the kitchen doors and the head table that seemed relatively quiet. I asked if anyone was sitting on one side, and was told that table had been taken, but the adjoining one was available. I set up my feast gear, and then went to put away my basket so it wouldn’t be in the way.

After only a few moments, I had company at the table: The autocrat and several of her friends from Mooneschadowe, as well as some gentles from Northkeep. It was a fun, young group, and we spent time chatting about the event. As it turned out, Owen was the server for our table, and he took excellent care of us. A variety of folks wandered by, including Aethelred and his daughter, Chelsea, who is nearly 15 now, and quite the stunning young lady. Athelred looked better than I’ve seen him in a while, with focus and happiness in his face and a really positive attitude. Many folks came up to clap him on the shoulder and give greetings and welcome.

The food was excellent, from the bread and cheese appetizers to the almond pastries for dessert. I had two servings of an excellent salad, to which I added some of the fresh berries to make raspberry vinaigrette. I decided to add to the festivities by loading up a serving tray with the remaining truffles, toffee bark and brownies that I had with me. At one point, the young lady I had been wandering around with first thing in the morning (when we were offering to ‘assault folks with breakfast’) sang out, “Ma na ma not!” (the beginning of a ‘song’ from the Muppets) I replied with the next line (“mee mee meneme!”) and we continued on for several moments, making folks giggle. I snatched up the tray of desserts and wandered over, saying she had earned a treat by her Muppet song. As I traipsed back, an intriguing young man suggested that he deserved one because he was quite irresistible (or cute or .. something along those lines). I replied that he was rather adorable, and gave him his choice from the tray.

About midway through the meal, one of the folks at our table - Xavier, from Northkeep - noticed that there was a woman wandering around by herself, who had just headed into the woods nearby. He asked if anyone knew her – none at the table did. When he mentioned that he’d seen her alone most of the day, I asked everyone if they would mind if I invited her to sit with us for company. Everyone said that would be fine, so I headed that way. I found her in the woods, and introduced myself and invited her to join us. She replied that she appreciated the gesture. She continued on saying that she had friends she was visiting with, but was a little overwhelmed by the crowds. I invited her to stop by and hang out if she wished, but respected her wish for solitude. With that, I headed back to Feast.

The meal continued on, and my companions were truly delightful. At one point, Feydora asked Syr Owen to help her recognize the Feast Stewards for their service and hard labors. Moments later, we heard his booming voice stating that Their Royal Majesties required the presence of the Feast Stewards. We were too far away to hear what was said, but I think the feast staff felt appreciated.

Soon it was over, and I picked up my tray of remaining goodies and sought out some friends in the crowd. The tray emptied quickly, with the last piece going to Lady Kat, who made happy noises as she smooshed the brownie against the roof of her mouth.

I headed back to the waterbearer station and began packing my things, so I would be ready to go after court was done. It didn’t take long to do so, and as I headed to my car with the first load, one of the Centurions nearby took notice and hurried over to help me. He introduced himself, but I’m afraid I didn’t retain his name when he said it. I did ask if he was squired, and he said that he wore a belt from Sir William the Bear. He helped me get my cooler chest and big tote to my car, and loaded them in for me. The rest of the items were easily handled, and I got everything packed away except my chair, which I’d need.

It was also time to turn in the items for the gift baskets, so I handed over the spiced nuts and amaretto truffles I’d made, then helped bring the baskets over to the area where the baskets were being set up.

I was carrying my chair over to the court area, when Syr Owen stood and invited me to sit with him and some friends. I gladly joined him, and we sat and chatted about the day. He’s a popular fellow and many folk came over to talk with him, including His Excellency Brom, who asked if Owen could serve as his herald for some business in court. Of course, Owen gladly agreed.

Part of Mooneschadowe’s event is the ‘Triumphe’ itself – the procession of its departing and newly made champions into court. The audience shouted and huzzah’ed each pair, with individuals in the audience running around waving streamers and tossing birdseed. IT makes for a rather fun time. Baron Brom was heralded in by Owen, and presented the King’s Battle Ribbon to Mooneschadowe, and that was cause for more celebration. Because the awards weren’t available, court was over in record time, and folks headed off into the night to celebrate in their own way.

Soon the call went out: “GUARDSMEN! IT’S TIME TO WASH DISHES!” It is a tradition in Mooneschadowe that the Liondragon Guard and any who wish to join them strip off their shirts and do the dishes from feast, and sing. Tonight was no different. After packing my chair in my car, I wandered into the hall to say good bye to friends, but had to stop and listen to a few songs before heading home.

It’s always a merry time in Mooneschadowe, but as one person said on the email list today, the absence many friends who were not able to make it this year was keenly felt. If you have a chance to come up to Triumphe next year – don’t miss it! A better time is hard to find.