Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Here We Sit A Carolin’ (Wassail, Dec 2002)

By THLaird Colyne Stewart

When Thorfinna, Eirik and I set out for Bryniau Tywynogg on Saturday morning I was concerned. I had not been sleeping well of late, and had been to a party the night before where Brandt had plied me with demon spirits. My concern was, namely, that I would sleep through the entire event. Normally, I nod off on wagon rides and was surprised when we arrived at the hall and I was still awake.

The change rooms turned out to be a single room, with partitions set up along the length of it. As we Lords changed on one side, we could hear the Ladies on the other say that there was a gap between two of the partitions. Looking over I saw who appeared to be THL Aelfwyn og Longwood peeking through the gap and waving.

We entered the main hall to find that Normand and new canton-mate Emma Shaw had created an Ardchreag presence near the Thrones, between the Baron and Baroness of Skraeling Althing and visiting dignitaries from the Middle Kingdom. Normand had his table spread, well stocked with candies made by Emma. We sat and talked and waited for the innkeeper’s stock of liquid refreshments to arrive. Normand sampled Icelandic chicken for lunch, which he liked so well he went back for seconds.

Fellow Chreaggers Eanor, Gunter and Kenric took part in the tourney, and Marian of Heatherdale arrived to display her wares, sporting a stylish new ‘do.

Colyne, in his capacity as a member of the Games Guild, was to run three tournaments along with local Ragnarr Kennari: beginner’s tafl, advanced tafl, and tabula (backgammon). Unfortunately, there were not enough advanced tafl players in evidence (at least none that wanted to show off their skill). However, the beginner’s tourney ran smoothly (once Colyne gave up on waiting for the promised tables and Normand let him set up the boards on his). Emma squared off against Eirik in the first round, then moved into the finals against a fellow named Thorfinn. She likewise defeated this noble lord to win her own tafl game. In tabula, Master Rufus walked away victorious, with a mancala board as prize. (Ragnarr donated both prizes.)

While Colyne ran about the hall (for the tabula was being played across the room from the tafl), Thorfinna sat and talked pewter casting with the Baroness of Skaeling Althing, her Excellency Dame Eleanor.

When the tourney was completed, and the fencers began to suit up, the Baron and Baroness of Ramshaven called an impromptu court, and summoned their cousins the Baron and Baroness of Septentria to appear before them. It turns out that the B&B of Ramshaven have been in negotiations with Cynred to secure him between two to three new wives! (In exchange for, I believe, a sheep and a sword.) Needless to say, Gaerwen was shocked, and to chastise her Baron, she publicly encouraged all the bards to sing decidedly unglamorous songs of Cynred.

Later, a carol circle sprang up around our beloved Baron and Baroness, led by Master Hector. When a herald came out and said that Her Royal Highness, Joleicia of Lichefield was feeling lonely (she had been put on vigil for a Laurel that day), it was decided that the Barony of Septentria would entertain her. Leaping to our feet, we Processed to the vigil room, Hector leading and announcing us (“Make way for the Barony of Septentria!”). Cramming into the tiny room, and sending other Nobles fleeing, we closed the door to hinder Her Highness’ own escape, and proceeded to serenade her as only Septentrians can. That is to say, Hector sang while we all bobbed our heads and slapped our thighs, only raising our own voices during the choruses, for that’s all we know. Poor Joleiica did not know what to so, and sat patiently until, springing to our feet again, the Barony Processed back into the Hall proper. The entire incident left many other folks bewildered.


When it came time to feast, we had to depart, though with much grief. For the smells coming from the kitchen were sumptuous, and there were still seats available. But alas, we had prior commitments for that night. Still, it was with a merry heart that our wagon lumbered on its way under the stars as we departed from a truly wonderful event.

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