Thursday 3 October 2013

A Day in the Country (Sep 9, 2006)

By THLaird Colyne Stewart

A summons had arrived at our manor, carried by a messenger sent by my lord knight, Sir Evander MacLachlan. He demanded my presence in the Canton of Greenhithe, upon the celebration of a Day in the Country. And so, though the sky was overcast and rain fell from the heavens, my lady Þorfinna, my brother Snæbjörn and I set off on a loaded wagon into the wetness of the east.

We were among the first to arrive, though archers and throwers were already setting up their ranges in the rain. We found a spot to park our wagon, and erected four shades we had brought to protect us and our friends from the weather. We were soon joined by many friends from Bastille du Lac, Petrea Thule and Ramshaven who had braved the weather. We soon had a long stretch of shades and a change tent set up across from the list field. A sea of chairs, chests, armour bags, tables and benches spread out under the shades, and a pleasant morning was passed in conversation and camaraderie.

Around the noon hour the sun broke the clouds, and the majority of the afternoon was sunny and warm. The day’s activities then began in earnest. As the rain had made my wrists too sore for me to don my armour I instead helped marshal, inspecting fighters and assisting in the authorization of Bastille’s newest fighter. To one side a youth combat list had been erected, and under the watchful eye of Sir Siegfried Brandbeorn Ealdormere’s youth did battle with courtesy and honour. A young lad named Cameron authorized that day.

When the pick ups and the authorizations were complete, Sir Evander called on all those present to bear witness as his house was to grow again. My squire-brother Tiberius of Warwickshire, his lady Anne Tinker, my lady, and myself were called to stand with Evander and THL Melusine de la Rose as Lord Cameron MacGregor took a knee before them. (Two of my squire-brothers could not attend: Varenko, as he was in the East, and Brandt, as he was on a quest and unreachable.) With emotion clearly writ on his face, Cameron clasped Evander’s sword and swore fealty to him as his knight. Cameron was then presented with a belt, a chain and spurs. Tiberius gifted a pair of pouches for Cameron and his lady, as a welcome to the House MacLachlan.

When this was done Evander asked his three squires to stand before him, and told the crowd how he had been asked to choose a badge by his dependants so we could show our allegiance on the battlefield. And so he presented us with red houppelandes with black sleeves, bearing on their front the white castle from his device, and on the one shoulder the trillium of Ealdormere. When asked if we approved of this livery we remarked that we did, and that we were happy he had chosen the castle from his device as his badge, instead of the unicorn.

Evander then asked the crowd’s indulgence as he had one more piece of business to attend to. He called before him Ellie of Bastille du Lac, youth combat fighter, and youngest daughter of Kel and Helena of Bastille du Lac. Ellie had long wanted to serve Evander as his page, and today he asked her if this was still her wish. She said it was and he welcomed her into his house, presenting her with a houppelande to match ours. Tiberius also gave her a pouch.

Tiberius, Cameron, Evander, Ellie and I changed into our new livery as the fighting began in earnest. It was an interesting sight to behold my family wearing matching colours, and it brought great pride to me as I saw Evander win all the fighting tournaments (with Tiberius coming in second in most, if not all, of them).

However, the most pride I felt was in watching my brother Snæbjörn, who fought like a demon that day. In a burning house scenario he defended the centre against three opponents before being felled, managing to one shot my squire-brother Tiberius as well as Sir Konrad Mattias Jaegger. In another scenario, where all the fighters were placed in a centre square he was the last fighter to hold said square, until he had to leave it to face Evander in the outer square. Later, when challenges were being fought over a barrier, Snæbjörn was part of a team of four facing another team of four. Very quickly he found himself standing alone as his comrades were defeated, still facing four foes. Fighting well, and managing some impressive blocks, he managed to survive long enough to kill one of his foes.

I am, most assuredly, proud of his progress as a fighter.

While I was marshalling and watching the fighting, Þorfinna and Lady Mahault van der Eych went down to the gate where they and several others were able to paint some ceramic pieces under the watchful eye of THL Aurelia Gabriana.

During a lull in the fighting, Sir Konrad led Lord Ludwig von Eisengrim from the kitchen (where he was preparing feast) to the lists, and before all assembled took him as his man-at-arms, presenting him with a gorgeous belt.

As per usual at Day in the Country, an all around tournament was held, where teams had to have a fighter, a youth fighter, a thrower, an archer and an artisan. (Usually there are also fencers on the team, but no fencers showed up this year.) There were three teams total who partook, and Þorfinna won the thrown weapons division for her team (though her team ended up coming in third over all).

It was around the dinner hour when we departed. My back (which I had thrown out a few days before) was seizing up, and a chill wind was blowing in, so there was no way I could stay for an outdoor feast. Unfortunately, a lot of other folk were also not staying for feast for one reason or another, and so, to support our sister-canton, many of us went to the gate and paid for feast spots even though we could not stay. A benefit to this for us was that we now got to take home feast tokens, which were drinking cups painted in period designs, in either late or early period models.

It was, all told, a glorious day, and I truly feel sorry for those who were frightened away by the weather.

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