By THLaird Colyne Stewart
The day began wet and cold. This was not a good thing. Though the wise women and soothsayers had indee
calling for rain we ha d been hoping
they woul d be wrong (as the not
infrequently are). For the canton of Caer Draeth was holding a revel that day,
and much of the planned activities were for outdoors. Rain would ruin their
plans. I consulted with one last prognosticator who promised thunderstorms and
chose to ignore him. Thorfinna and I loaded our wagon in the rain and lumbered
off to pick Eirik up from his keep.
The going was slow as the wagons laboured to move through the mud, and at times the mist and fog was so thick it was like moving through foam. We arrived at the hall two hours after it opened and were dismayed at how few wagons were already there. The threat of bad weather had apparently frightened many people off.
After signing in at the gate we went upstairs and sat for a time talking with Baron Auguste Valizan, Baroness Adrielle Kerrec and Baron Halfdan Blackanvil. Some of it was business, but most of it was fun. We watched Mistress Alyce de Sheppey and Lady Paitlin prepare for the Iron Chef cooking challenge while discussing matters serious and frivolous. To Halfdan I delivered an illuminated thank you note for shiel
he had donated to fighters training at our canton.
A gaggle of Septentrians then went downstairs and watched as Baron Corwyn, His Excellency Septentria, donned his armour. Today he was to attempt his sword and shield authorization.
How can I describe the sight of my baron in armour? He is a mountain of metal, a bear in scarlet, an oak-thewed giant who will strike fear into the hearts of Septentria's enemies.
Lady Catharine of Ben Dunfiorth did him the honours of being his opponent, and we watched as their swords flashed and their shields leaped to their defense. When Master Worgan MacGregor announced that Corwyn had passed the hall erupted in cheers and thunderous applause. That however was not the end of Septentria's gains that day, for Petra Hall of
did likewise authorize in sword and shield! Wassail to Corwyn! Wassail to Petra! Wassail to the
fighters of Septentria!
His authorization over, Baron Corwyn quickly changed and rushed upstairs to sit as a judge for the Iron Chef competition. A group of Septentrians, known as Baron Corwyn's Cadre, and le
by countess Marion FitzWilliam
and myself, raised $170 to secure him a seat as a judge. Even though we only
needed to use $80 to pay for our seat, such is the generosity of Septentrians
that the full $170 was donated to the Teachers' Travel Fund. In a like vein,
Noergate donated all the money they had raised, though their seat ha d been secured for less. The mystery ingredient for
the challenge was turkey and the competition was fierce. When it was over
Mistress Alyce was judged the winner, but only by a narrow margin of 4 points!
(I am tol d by reliable sources that
all the dishes were excellent!)
The fighting continued an
the end of the day three fighters emerged victorious. Baron Siegfriend
Brandbeorn won the Atlantean Speed Tourney, while Master Worgan and Duke Sir
Roak tied in the bear pit tourney.
By this time the sun had appeared an
burned off the ever-present mist. The archers were first to
embrace the sun, followed not long after by Drottin Gunnarr skald Thorvaldsson
who set up a thrown weapons range. As his newest marshals, Thorfinna and I
assisted him and spent most of our day at the range. The first Thrown Weapons
Royal Rounds were thrown, Cera began her MIT training and much fun was ha d by all. A certain Lord Tim and Count Aaron Preslee Worgansson astounded all present with
their skill. Lance Gailanasson, of Ardchreag, was also very adept at knives.
The range was so popular that Ulvar
scrounged up as third stump so more people could throw at once.
I managed to get to the archery range between their Royal Rounds and shot six arrows from a bow lent me by Lady
de Albornoz. I managed to hit the butte with five of the
arrows, three of them actually hitting the target! It ha d
been at least fifteen years since I had last shot a bow, and
I so enjoyed it that arrangements were made for me to buy two bows in August.
Eventually the equestrian activities began as well and every activity that ha
d been planned was
therefore held. Ealdormerean spirits cannot be dampened, even by weather that
does dampen our clothes.
At Thorfinna and I went inside as I was to teach a class on period dice games. It started small, with just one participant, but by the end there were at least eight of us rolling the bones.
From there Thorfinna and I went behind the celtic trillium bedecked curtains to join the other servers for feast. As we had the most head table serving experience (having done it once at Snowed Inn II), we were asked to serve Her Majesty, Their Excellencies and Baron
and Lady Isotta Gianfgliazzi, who
were Her Majesty's guests. The chef, Lady Seonag
nic Thomais, heaped much food on the servers for their assistance and I can say
from first hand experience that it truly was a feast fit for a Queen!
Orange pork roast, mint peas, roast chicken, mushroom soup, pound cake
with berries...the food just kept coming!
While we were serving Thorfinna was called on by Their Excellencies to sing a song. Since she ha
planning to ask them if they wanted to hear one she was well prepared. She sung
"Septentrian Battle March", her first totally original piece where
she wrote not just the words but the tune as well. Lord Normand Hauberkker,
sitting by her where she stood, began to pound his table and soon many around
the hall were doing so. When she was done there was much clapping of hands, and
she was given tokens by Baron Corwyn and Master Garraed Galbriath. Master Hector
of the Black Height also sang many songs to the enjoyment of all.
A certain plaid wearing bard who wished to stay anonymous then asked Thorfinna to find out what drink Their Majesties would most wish to partake in. When he got his answer he came to me, pointed and said, "You'll do." I was given a platter with two Septentrian shot glasses full of gin, which I then presented to Their Excellencies. When asked who had generously sent them drinks I kept my silence and did not betray the completely anonymous plaid wearing bard.
As you give, so shall you receive.
then came over to me and filled the Horn of Wessex which Thorfinna and I have
the privilege to bear for a year and a day. We were honoured for Ulvar, the autocrat of the event, to take time out to
see to our needs.
Feast completed we all found our seats for court. Her Majesty has only a few items to announce, and then turned court over to Their Excellencies Septentria. It was announced that a tournament to select a new baronial archery champion ha
held in the afternoon, but that the winner would not be announced until
Pikeman's Pleasure. The Iron Companions were then called into court and Lord Hamish Gunn pledged his sword, Gunnarr pledged his
axe, and Normand and Aodhan Longshafts pledged their bows. Domhnail then called
Corwyn into court to much hooting and hollering. She praised him for his
authorization that day and presented him with a beautiful favour. Hans
Thorvaldsen of Eoforwic was then
presented with a Bear's Claw for his martial efforts. Domhnail told him she had
heard of the long ship being built in his garage and was planning to sail it to
War this summer!
Court completed Master Worgan and Viscount Sir
Edward the Red rounded up people to act as pieces
for human chess. In the variant they were playing pieces must win at
paper-rocks-scissors to capture. Thorfinna held the distinction of being the
first piece captured. As for myself, well, a grinning Domhnail glided towards
me where I stoo d before my king an d brutally slew me to win the game.
Folk pulled up the tape used to mark the board and rolled it into balls. This led to about an hour's worth of impromptu baseball and dodge ball where Peer and untitled populace stood side-by-side laughing an
It was then that we learned of brigands who had entered the hall while we were so occupied and stole the bag of one of the guests. Those of us still on site searched the grounds to see if we could find any discarded items but to no avail (other than finding his empty wallet). The authorities were called an
d before the last
people left the site they returned with the culprits in tow and much of the
stolen property. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ulvar for his cool head in such a stressful time as
he made arrangements with the authorities and helped see to the comfort of the
victim of this crime. Ulvar did not
find his bed until well into Sunday morning as he coordinate d between witnesses, the victim and the authorities.
Wassail Ulvar for your kindness and
sense of duty and responsibilities!
Though this was a dark moment, it too had a positive side. People who had never met each other before were working together to search the site, going so far as to go to pubs and restaurants in town and walk the streets looking for the culprits (whose appearance was known to at least one witness). From the amount of help he received the victim knows how much he is respected and just how many friends he has.
I should stress that this unhappy happenstance does not reflect on any way to the event, the event staff nor the hosting canton. The culprits walked right past many of us who either didn't see them or didn't challenge them, and it was the event staff who went out of their way to try to resolve this as quickly and as painlessly as they could. Wassail for Caer Draeth!
Except for this one moment it was a grand day, and Caer Draeth proved that they are excellent and generous hosts. Spring tune-Up has just ended, and already I am looking forward to the next!