Thursday 3 October 2013

A Summer Event by any other Name… (War of the Trillium, June 29 – July 3, 2005)

By THLaird Colyne Stewart

Every summer for the past twelve years, the Canton of Ardchreag has hosted an event on the Canada Day long weekend. Originally, it was called Septentrian War Practice, named after the barony Ardchreag resides in. Then, when Ealdormere was formed, the name was changed to Ealdormere War Practice (perhaps better known as EWP). This year the event evolved yet again. As Lady Þorfinna gráfeldr put it, the past twelve years were practice—this year, its war!

The theme for the first War of the Trillium (or Trillium War, as most people ended up calling it) was early Period versus Late Period. To captain the Early Period, the canton contracted Mistress Ælfwyn of Longwood. To captain the Late Period, the canton asked Sir Edward the Red. However, Edward had to bow out, since he went and won this tournament and became Crown Prince. To replace him stepped forward Baron Konrad Mattias Jaegger von Dubrau, a most worthy gentle indeed.

To win the War, each captain had to capture war points, which were to be awarded in a number of ways. Each captain was given six war points that they could hand out as they saw fit, in the hopes that the person they gave the point too would go to the gate and allocate the point to their side. Points were also awarded for archery, children’s activities, the mead competition, fencing and so forth. Of course, both Periods also faced off in many armoured combat battles, which were each worth between 7 and 10 war points.

Ælfwyn, who arrived on site early, began her campaign quickly, and soon promotional posters bearing legends such as “Vote Often! Vote Ælfwyn!” and “If there is 4 digits in the date, it’s Late!” began to appear all over the event site.

The summer event had moved back to Ardchreag’s traditional site, after being held on a farm for the past two years. For those who have never been there, you enter the site by driving for about five minutes down a winding tree shrouded road, emerging onto a laneway. To the right is a picnic shelter, which Lady Tarian verch Gadarn and I had transformed into the gate, complete with blowing banners and a fan for those suffering from the heat. Straight ahead there were outhouses, beside which THL Garwig der Waffenschmidt, had once again erected the Mad Saxon Showers. To the left was a line of trees. If you follow the laneway, it turns left and takes you past a large tree dotted field where the various encampments sprung up. At the end of the laneway are two more outhouses, the A&S tent and another picnic shelter, overlooking a second field. This field is split between archery, thrown weapons, fencing and armoured combat.

A game of soccer, originally organized as a children’s activity, erupted in the space between the De Taahe and Petrea Thule encampments, which resulted in several war points being allocated to Ælfwyn, who had captained on of the teams.

The Silver Wheel Inn, operated by House Teach Cairdeas, was again in operation this year. However, this year they did not just offer coffee and morning snacks, but prepared full fledged breakfasts consisting of bacon, eggs, ham, pancakes and so on. The McPercy’s were especially popular, and the hospitable staff of the Wheel had to make many runs into town for fresh supplies.

That night I relaxed in the De Taahe encampment in the Squires’ Lounge (a large canvas shade tent that in a previous life had been Baron Richard Larmer’s pavilion). Over the weekend many people from all over the event site would sit for a short spell, or many hours, under its red-trimmed roof. That night was especially memorable as it saw Lady Mahault van der Eych demonstrate control holds on Lord Tarquin Bjornnson. (Mahault is a correctional officer in the mundane world.)

The event swung into full swing on the Friday, and as I spent a lot of time working at the gate, I am unfortunately incomplete when it comes to full details. Still, I will report as I can.

The Late and Early Period armoured fighters met in the woods for a fierce battle that saw the Early Period victorious. They ten moved to the battle field, where the Late Period won the Bridge Battles.

Archery, fencing, thrown weapons, A&S, children’s activities and youth combat were in full swing. A children’s garb swap was organized by Lady Lassarfhina Inghean Uilleag.

At seven o’clock, the Iron(age) Chef challenge was met by many in the A&S tent (but I was not present and cannot report on the entrants or the winners).

That evening many things were happening, and as such the armoured combat Torchlight Tourney was cancelled. However, folks consoled themselves by partaking in the numerous other night time activities.

Baron Konrad had been taken by Their Majesties and the Order of Chivalry from his camp, and placed in a pavilion on the battle field to sit his vigil. For it was Their will that he become a knight. Many stood in line for long periods of time to be able to speak with Konrad on this special night. I am told that he did not seek his bed until 5:30 in the morning.

The archers got to enjoy one of Lord Tosh’s night time shoots, where glow sticks are affixed to arrows and targets. This gave those waiting to see Konrad something to watch as glowing arrows sped through the night towards illumined targets.

While her lord was away contemplating the virtues, Baroness Alyce de Sheppey held a Ladies’ Bacchanalia in her camp which was attended by many, including male attendants in togas, and at least one shaggy satyr.

Not quite being the cabana-boy type, I instead went to the De Taahe camp to relax under the Squires’ Lounge.

On Saturday morning, Lady Tarian organized a Flea Market and Pillage along Merchants’ Row. People were encouraged to bring items they wished to relocate to the homes of others and spread them out on blankets. At the end of the market, anything not sold, but that the owner did not want to take home, could be left behind. When “Pillage!” was called, it was a free-for-all, first come first served, grabbing of goodies.

At the same time, some hound coursing was being conducted on the battle field.

Around eleven o’clock, Their Majesties called for a court on the battle field. They took back Their writ from Sir Edward, naming him Their general, as he now had other duties as Their heir. As Their new general, they called on Baron Konrad. Sir Bealdgar Thorbeornsson, then reiterated his boon, asking that Konrad be knighted, and the good baron was again called before Their Majesties. He was adorned with his symbols of rank and estate in an emotional court. When the king struck the buffet—the last blow Konrad was to take unanswered—the blow was so mighty that it cracked one of Konrad’s ribs! When the ceremony was over there was much rejoicing, for Konrad is a man well loved by the people of the kingdom.

Around noon the armoured combat began again, with two Royal Tournaments. This was followed by an Unbelts Practice were we poor unbelts faced a team made almost completely of knights and masters-of-arms. It was challenging fighting, to say the least!

After a brief rest two picnic tables were pulled onto the field to form a gate. The Early Period was then given a banner to protect, and the Late Period had to steal it. You could not fight over the tables, only between them. The Early Period won this first encounter very convincingly (though I must point out that they also had a significantly larger force than we poor belaboured Late Period fighters). The Late Period then successfully protected their banner, winning the second bout. The banner was then removed from play, and we went down to a last man standing scenario for the third bout. For the life of me I don’t know who won that one, as I was busy chasing THL Hereward the Far-dweller down the field. Hereward, armed with a spear, was unaware that I had been armed and couldn’t actually hit him with my sword. When he realized what had happened we just bonked heads and both fell down dead. So I’m not sure which side got the war points for that one.

During a lull in the fighting I went and asked Bjarn Styrmirson to spar, as I had never fought the large, jovial Norseman before. He fought two-stick and fairly well owned me. I then sought out Cynred thegn, who I had not fought since I authorized against him back in March 2002. He fought me with axe and centre-boss round, and I did much better against him than I had the last time. We both walked off the field laughing.

A series of field battles between the Late and Early Periods were then fought, but I am unsure whether they were for war points, or just for fun.

Sir Nigel MacFarlane’s planned Anvil of Virtue 3-man melee 3-hour resurrection tournament was cancelled due to lack of time. Those of us that were thinking of entering hope it will be run at another event soon.

Archery, fencing, thrown weapons, A&S, children’s activities and youth combat were again going strong, but as I was on the field I cannot comment on anything that transpired at those activities.

After everyone who had engaged in martial activities had a chance to cool down and change, Their Majesties Edouard and Genevieve held court in the battle field shelter. I was late for court—which I almost never am—and was therefore unaware I was needed there until I wandered into my encampment for a chair. The Galbraiths told me to get myself to court, and I turned and found Sir Evander MacLachlan who had been sent to find me. We hastened to the shelter where Their Excellencies Septentria called on me to introduce me as their new seneschal. I then went back to sit with Þorfinna and Sir Cennedi, when Þorfinna was called into court and given an Award of the Golden Bear for her A&S endeavours. Others were also honoured with baronial awards, but I only had eyes and ears for my lady.

When Their Excellencies Septentria were done, Their Majesties resumed Their court. Again, many good gentles were honoured, but I only remember a few. My brother, Snæbjörn sverðsbrjótr received his Award of Arms, and Þorfinna her Award of the Maiden’s Heart. Lady Lassarfhina’s illumination skills were recognized with an Award of the Orion, and Her Grace, Duchess Marion FitzWilliamwas placed on vigil for the Order of the Pelican.

Following court there was held the Fourth annual Lord Ulrich von der See Memorial Ealdormerean Brewing Competition, which saw many sitting under the A&S tent getting (as Uncle J would say) “pleasantly blind.” I am unsure as to the winners of each of the categories, as I was on duty, helping to prepare for that evening’s Galbraith party. However, little birdies have told me that Lady Matian Golightly won the grand prize for her cordials and that TLH Corrig McKail won the mead category.

This year the party was held on the battle field and was a great success. As in years past, mead flowed like water, as did beer left over from the Osis Memorial Fighting Day event. A bardic circle sprung up around the fire and Eric and I ran the traditional body toss game. This year the entrants had to throw an effigy of Her grace Marion, holding a black cat in her hands (dubbed the Cat-a-pult). The winner of the men’s throw was Lord Augustyn of Ely (with a throw of 48’10”) and the winner of the women’s throw was a Lady Rhiannon (with a throw somewhere around 25’). Baroness Alyce got a special prize for throwing exactly 13’ (as it was House Galbraith’s 13th birthday).

Thirteen prize bags had been made up, and were handed out to those who were the first to bring certain items to the Galbraiths. Bjarn won a bag for bringing Lady Ceridwyn y Anghofidig a Buddha, which entailed him ripping off his shirt and taking a contemplative pose at her feet. He later came stomping over wearing a snood from his gift bag asking what the hell he was supposed to do with it and the comb it had come with! (Bjarn is almost, if not completely, bald.)

The winner of the War was announced at the party, and it was no surprise to me (who had been helping tally the war points) that the Early Period carried the day. If only the Late Period Captain hadn’t got to site so, well, late…

The party went on for several hours, and I will spare some details that may embarrass certain people. Let’s just saw chocolate can be a boon or a detriment!

After the party I went straight to bed as I was freezing and needed to crawl under the covers to warm up. Þorfinna went back tot the Squires’ Lounge where she stayed for many hours.

Sunday began the long slow process of clean up. The last of our War of the Trillium t-shirts (designed by Tarian) sold out. The Silver Wheel pumped coffee into tired drivers before they left site. Ardchreaggers and friends scoured the site for garbage and to check on fire pits (and I am pleased to say that very little garbage was left on the ground, and I think all the fire pits had been filled in correctly). Still, it takes time to clean up after an event this big (we had something like 384 people sign in at the gate), and Þorfinna and I got home around 8 pm.

It was, all in all, an extremely problem free event. There were a few problems, but they were mostly minor and easily resolved. I am glad that everyone who came seemed to have a good time, and I look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

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