Wednesday 2 October 2013

Ravens with Ursine Hearts (Snowed Inn II, the Baronial Investiture Edition, Feb 15, 2003)

THLaird Colyne Stewart

The day actually began the night before. I’m sure our keep was not the only one where folk were busy getting last minute touches done for Snowed Inn. Lord Eirik Andersen, Lina Varville and Lance Gailanasson had come over to help Thorfinna and I put ribbons on the site tokens and finish the SCA direction signs that Brandt and Berend had cut out. We ended up going to bed around two in the morning and getting up at 6:30.

All our goods were piled buy the door so after a quick packing job we got to the site at 8. The hall’s people had put up a stage and set up chairs for court and tables for the populace so little moving of furniture had to be done. We placed a Septentrian wall, something our canton had been working on under the guidance of Lady Gailana Dunkel Pfere, on either side of the stage, and one behind the troll tables. Lord Wat of Sarum and Katerina du nord manned the troll table, while an actual troll, bearing Lord Wulfgang Donnerfaust’s ‘troll komplaint department’ site sat beside them. Wulfgang himself sat across from then, selling bar tickets. William the Younger and Lord Rhys of House Fenrir wandered the halls crying out for events and activities.

People began to arrive and Their Majesties, Their Highnesses and their Excellencies Septentria were set up on the stage. All the other Barons and Baroness of the kingdom were in attendance, and most set up presences to either side of the stage. Many banners adorned the walls and fighters in glorious kits armed for the pas d’armes.

Lady Mahault van der Eych, Berend van der Eych, Tarian verch Gadarn and Gailana toiled in the kitchen while Lady Iolanda de Albornoz set up tables draped in our new Ardchreag tablecloths to house the arts and sciences competitions. At another table were laid several Septentrian relics including: the first helm of Sir Hugo Graf, the first Ealdormerean born knight; the Cauldron of Ceredwyn, an ancestor of the Horn of Wessex, and a special award handed out by Aedan and Caffa, first Baron and second Baroness of Septentria; tunics incorporating pieces of Aedan’s old tunics; ancient Septentrian tabards featuring a golden rather than silver bear; and many more besides.

When all was in readiness, the royalty processed into the hall and Baron Cynred and Baroness Gaerwen presided over their last court. The first order of business was the presentation of Greenhithe’s taxes, being a war banner. Their Excellencies then called up all those who led and planned the Casa Loma demo and gave them tokens for their hard work and dedication. (There were unfortunately too many of them for this poor scribe to record all their names.) The Canton of vest Yorvik, who had many members in attendance that day, presented the barony with $400.

Personal baronial tokens were handed out to: Lady Christina MacNamara, Lord Percival de Laroque, Lady Seonag nic Thomais, Lord Streonwald Wulfesbana, Lady Gabriel de Champagne, Lord Normand Hauberkker, Lord Magnus Kjrr, Master Hector of the Black Height and Baroness Adrielle Kerrec. Lady Fursto de Robnye was recognized for her hard work in the casting of these tokens from the mold created by Lord Ulrich von der See, of beloved memory.

Lord Druss of Dun Aengus, Lord Andree mac Byrne, Lord William Stalker, Lady Tarra Jade of Monadh and Lord Kenric Manning were awarded Bear’s Claws and Lady Katerina of Monadh was awarded a Bear’s Heart.

Their Excellencies then called to them all their champions, martial and otherwise, and released us from their service. As we handed our regalia to the seneschal, Lord Raffe Scholemaystre, we were given tokens from Their Excellencies’ hands.

Finally, the Isengesitha were all called, past and present. Those who had served in the past were acknowledged and thanked. Those still in service were released from their vows by handing their arm rings to Their Excellencies, who put them into the trust of the King and Queen. Lord Tiberius Justus Britannicus, who was the sword reeve of the Isen, was so acknowledged and thanked.

Then, Cynred and Gaerwen knealt before Roak and Arlette and were released from their vows of fealty. After clasping Gwaylor, the Sword of Ealdormere, their coronets were taken into trust by Their Majesties. The tension of the moment, for it was an emotional event, was broken when, from out of a storage room, loomed an eight-foot high white bear wearing a trillium and Septentrian cape. The Great Bear of Septentria itself had come to bless Cynred and Gaerwen for the work they had done. The bear, being old and venerable, had a slight limp and was helped to court by Baron Halfdan Blackanvil and Master Konrad Mattias Jaeger. Upon seeing the limp Hector remarked that “he has a bad Foote.”

Cynred and Gaerwen’s families then came to claim them. Hector, Gaerwen’s Pelican, said there was much laundry and washing of dishes awaiting her, though he admonished her not to fade his plaids. Master Sylard came for Cynred and placed in his hands a giant hammer and a lump of ore. He tasked Cynred to turn that ore into a blade, to which Cynred remarked that the work would not be completely true as he was not allowed to mine the ore himself! Roak, upon seeing Sylard, asked him just how he had been faring in his forge without his dwarf. Sir Edward the Red, speaking of behalf of Earl Syr David Martin Failsworth, claimed Cynred’s sword arm. Then, to much fanfare and applause, Cynred and Gaerwen departed, followed by the giant bear.

Roak and Arlette then called for the Heirs, and Corwyn and Domhnail were processed into court, led by House Galbraith and House Hrogn, both of whom were wearing Septentrian tabards. In a short, dignified ceremony, Corwyn and Domhnail swore their fealty upon Gwaylor and were given their coronets from the hands of Their Lupine Majesties. When they were presented to the populace there was much cheering, clapping and stomping of feet.

Girding themselves with new swords that had mysteriously appeared on their thrones, Corwyn and Domhnail opend a short court as Martya, Baroness of Ramshaven, wished to present them with gifts and words of encouragement.

Their Majesties then called forward Wulfwyn of Greenhithe, and presented her with an Award of Arms for all the hard work she has done for her canton.

With their new Excellencies of Septentria now invested the hall was cleared and the list poles erected so the pas d’armes could begin. One side, led by Lord Richard Larmer, fought to defend love, while the other, led by Lord Nigel McFarlane, fought for the death of love. Nigel, though on the side of death, still always fought for the love of his lady, Baroness Adrielle Kerric, announcing that they were soon to wed, and he was to come and live in Ealdormere. Duke Sir Finnvarr acted as King of Arms and Lina Carville acted as pas herald (it being her first heralding experience). The entire pas d’armes had been spearheaded by Volodymyr Blahuciak. Both sides fought long and hard with many victories for both sides. A large scale had been erected and with each win and loss the scales were adjusted as love would move towards death, and then away. Finally, the King of Arms declared the pas over, and that love and the death of love were tied. Tiberius was given the pas’ grand prize—a sword that he will return with next year for the coming pas d’armes.

The lists were then opened to all and many challenged the pas fighters to combat. Most notably, Her Excellency Domhnail Galbraith battled with His Excellency of Skraeling Althing, Sir Menken Brechen.

Combat of a different sort went on throughout the hall as the Games Guild, under the guidance of Raffe, and with the assistance of Lance, spread their wares for the enjoyment of all. The populace were given coins with which to gamble and at the end of the day, the person with the largest purse would win a plate painted with the Guild’s badge. The plate had been decorated by Lina, and was finally won by a good gentle from Eoforwic.

A lunch counter was provided by the Canton of Greenhithe, under the guidance of Lady Nadja Kesali (formerly known as Ivanna the Oblivious). The food proved to be so popular it quickly ran out of wares.

When the pas was over the populace met for a moot in a room at the end of a long and winding corridor in which many lost their way. Many turns needed to be negotiated, and many barbarians had to be passed before the moot room could be found. One such young barbarian commented that “Those are nice clothes you got there,” to which I replied, “You as well.” What topics exactly were discussed are unknown to me as I was busy with work in the main hall. I’m sure minutes of the moot will soon be made available.

Just before feast I called together the twelve good gentles who had volunteered to slave under my as servers for feast. These included: Lina, Mistress Marian of Heatherdale, Lord Piero di Paxiti da Vincenza, Lady Wencendl of Rokesburg, Lord Gunnar skald Thorvaldsson, Nadja, Lord Rhys of House Fenrir, another member of House Fenrir whose name is unknown to me at this time, William the Younger, Lady Lassarfhina, Thorfinna and myself. We quickly discussed how feast was to be served, then entered the hall and had the populace clear the tables so they could be reoriented for feast. Etienne’s booming voice and bulging muscles were of great aid in this endeavour. A large space was left in the middle of the hall, for much entertainment was planned. Each table was draped with a green Ardchreag tablecloth. And the head table was set with plates displaying the Bear of Septentria, painted by Tarian, Mahault and Berend, which were gifts for those who used them. Likewise, the bowl from the first remove were decorated, this time with trilliums, for those at head table to keep.

The menu was as follows: First Remove—Chilled Juice, Bear Borsht, Light Rye Bread and Tarragon Butter, Crustade, Capons in Salome with Potatoes, Blueberry Ice;
Second Remove—Chilled Juice, Mixed Greens with Raspberry Vinagrette, Dark Rye and Honey Butter, Smoked Salmon with Vidalia Onion Sauce, Orange Balsam Beans, Blueberry Honey'd Ham with Carrots, Calissons d'Aixm, Chocolate Hot Pot. The over all theme of the feast was food fit for a bear.

As the servers placed each course on their respective table they were congratulated on the scope, artistic display and taste of the feast—a testimonial to the talents of the chefs.

As the first course was being served, Her Grace, Duchess Eanor, presented to Their Majesties living Septentrian relics, in the form of Duke Sir Finnvarr de Tahhe, Master Sylvard of Eagleshaven, Mistress Mordreth Llanelli Colwyn and many others.

Thorfinna and I opened the hall bardicly for the last time as new Ursine Bards will be named by Corwyn and Domhnail. We read to the populace a poem for Cynred and Gaerwen the showed how they embodied the Heart and the Claw, two of our baronial awards. Drottin Gunnar de Blacwode performed a true Saxon piece in honour of Cynred, told from memory and containing many kennings. Gunnar showed that day that a true scope dwells within him. A band of dancers performed many dancers for the hall while Dante accompanied them musically. They even managed to drag Cynred Broccan and a kilted Sir Evander MacLachlin onto the dance floor. Many maidens in attendance were quite charmed with the plaid hip movements of the good knight.

Iolanda de Albornoz, with the assistance of Streonwald Wulfesbana, announced the winners of the Arts and Sciences competitions. Lady Eve of Eoforwic won the advanced category for her Persian coat; Mahault and Gailana won the intermediate for their Elizabethan underclothes; and Thorfinna won in the beginner category for her illumination and nallbinding.

Some of the relics of Septentria were then brought forth for judging by Baron Siegfried Brandbeorn. Master Hector displayed a tattered Septentrian tabard complete with tokens from various gentles dating back many years, Hamish Gunn showed the reliquary of House Galbraith, Eanor had what was arguably the first mailed teddy gear and a portrait of herself and her mother, Mistress Ragni Dzintari, by THL Robert of Two Cliffs, and THL Aeneas Oakhammer displayed Cynred’s spear, a relic still fresh and new. Siegfried judged the contest by the cheers of the populace and in the end Hector’s rather odiferous entry won the day, earning him two goblets.

To close feast a large bardic circle gathered in the center of the hall and many great songs were sung by all.

Unseen by most, three good gentles were slaving in the kitchen with the chefs. For the chefs needed the plates of each course returned and washed so they could be reused for coming course. To be so employed did Sheikh Valizan, Lady Roselinde FitzWilson and Ymir donate their time. Each server, and these three washers, were all given shot glasses graced with the arrows of Ardchreag, also painted by Lina. Lance, who had wandered the hall serving juice, was presented with a small cup featuring a bear’s paw.

When feast was finally done the populace wandered and chatted while the royalty were again closeted in meetings, just one more in a long list of them that day. Lina’s cleavage did entertain several former Excellencies of Septentria, and Cynred earned the byname ‘Nimblefingers’ for the treasure he pulled from them. Hector and Master Garraed Galbraith entertained the crowd, sometimes together, sometimes tagging each other in and out in the middle of a song. Then the hearld’s cries were heard and all took to their feet and bowed.

Their Majesties opened their court by hearing the fealty of Baroness Martya, who had not yet sworn for religious reasons. A compromise oath had been reached and all were content. The Laurels likewise swore fealty, and then Their Majesties handed the arm rings of the Isen to Corwyn and Domhnail.

Their Excellencies then began court by asking Master Rufus of Stamford to reassume his role as the baronial harpist, a role which is a long standing tradition within Septentria. House Fenrir, squatters upon Septentrian soil, entered into a contract with Corwyn and Domhnail, and Cynred passed a blade to Corwyn which Ieuan, baron before him, had entrusted to him. As Cynred said, “From grandfather, to father, to son.”

More gifts followed as Ardchreag donated seventeen bear tabards and five bear baldrics, and Baron Siegfried gave them a shield which had once graced the arm of Baron Aedan. Sir Berus Wolfsonn led the Hrogn fra Osis before the coronets and told them that the Hrogn had bled for the Tygre of the East, for the Dragon of the Middle and for the Trillium of Ealdormere but never for the Bear of Septentria. Now that would change. He handed them a sword and told Their Excellencies to command them for a year and a day.

The arm rings were then brought forth and those who wished to swear to the new Septentrian army, now called the Iron Companions, were called forward. The Iron Companions was to be an army that encompassed all martial activities and was to include fighters, scouts, archers, fencers, thrown weapons and equestrian. Thorfinna and I both swore to the barony’s service by pledging our throwing axes.

The matter of taxes was then discussed. Their Excellencies asked that each canton should submit a new wardoor, bearing the arms of said canton, upon the arm of a new fighter who would bear it at Pennsic.

Cynred Broccan was then called into court and given a Bear’s Heart, for truly none has an ursine heart as he.

Their Majesties resumed their court, and gave gifts unto Corwyn and Domhnail, including a new basket to house award tokens.

Heloise, the daughter of Duchess Eanor of Amberhall, was called into court and given and Award of the Wolf’s Cub. Yvonne of Eoforwic and Erik the Mad Mongel were give their Awards of arms and Fursto de Robnye and Percival de Laroque were honoured with Maidens’ Hearts.

Baron Brand and Baroness Brianna of Ben Dunfirth, and Their Highnesses Edouard and Genvieve bestowed more gifts upon Corwyn and Domhnail, including tokens that had once belonged to Aedan.

To much applause, Cynred and Gaerwen were called back into court and given silver coronets bearing six pearls and made a baron and baroness of Their Majesties’ court.

Finally, those who had helped construct the mead hall upon the lands of Duke Sir Finnvarr were placed upon the scroll of honour and the canton of Ardchreag was thanked for hosting the event and all the baronial and kingdom activities asked of them.

At the conclusion of court Thorfinna and I loaded our wagon with any alcohol that had not been sold but could not be returned to the vinter’s and headed home to open the doors of our keep to the post-rev. Gentles came from Ardchreag, Vest Yorvik, Flaming Sky and points beyond. The revelry went until the wee hours of the morning as we toasted Gaerwen, who was in attendance. Finally, at some point, sleep claimed us all.

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