Wednesday 2 October 2013

Singing in the Rain, I Mean Snow, I Mean… (Snowed Inn, Feb 16, 2002)

By THLaird Colyne Stewart

On a drizzly Saturn Day morning, the Canton of Ardchreag gathered at our Inn. For later that day the populace of the Kingdom of Ealdormere were to arrive for a day of tourneys, games and merriment. The Inn was to have renowned guests that day, for not only were Their Royal Majesties to attend, but Their Excellencies Septentria, Ben Dunfirth, Skraeling Althing and Rising Waters were expected, as were knights and other champions traveling from foreign kingdoms. A Pas d’armes was planned for that day, a glorious tournament full of pomp and pageantry.

So the Chreaggers fell to work, preparing the Inn. Ivanna set up a corner for children’s activities, while Vlad and I set up the Lists. Elisabetta and Crispinus set to work preparing lunch while Iolanda and Michaela began supper. The Gatekeeper Mahault and her half-Giant assistant Wulfgang took up their positions by the door, Wulfgang wearing a sign about his neck that read ‘Troll Komplaynt Dept’. (Wulfgang’s true heritage is a mater of much speculation amongst the scholars on the Cliffs.)

The Games Guild spread its wares about the hall, and as the people arrived, they quickly took to these seats. Many engaged in a game of Glic that lasted for eight hours. Jean-Margaret set up an Arts and Sciences competition table in the rear of the hall, where many skilled artisans displayed their wares. Beside her, Gailana sold tickets for a penny raffle and a silent auction that raised much gold for the kingdom.

Though plagued by a cold, I sat at my post at the List table, signing in fighters and recording their challenges. When Baron Cynred signed in, he insisted that I bite his membership and fighting cards to insure that they were genuine. Thorfinna was approached by the Pas team led by Sir Evander MacLachlan, and asked to act as their Herald. She willingly consented, though she had never heralded in public before. I had an excellent seat as both teams marched in. The Company of the White Heart was led by Richard Larimer, who held the Septentrian reliquary to his chest. Many brave and noble fighters took the field that day, including Baron Brand of Ben Dunfirth, Baron Sir Menken Brecken of Skraeling Althing and our Canton’s own Brandt das Lederwerker (who had authorized in Great Weapon earlier that morning). The two Pas teams sent out their captains, who fought one on one, Larimer emerging as the victor. Both teams then set upon each other in force until their differences were resolved. Upon that happy note the teams held the field against all comers, including Baron Cynred, His Royal Majesty Aaron and Chreagger Elspeth.

When the fighting was completed, Wulfgang was dragged from his position at the door, had a shield strapped to his arm and was sent out to continue his habit of battling Peers by getting a lesson in sword and shield by the King. (Later that day, he would face Cynred with boffer weapons.)

Wulfgang had a very full day indeed. Master Hector, who bought a complaint from him, began to heckle the poor giant as Wulfgang found his tongue-tied. When finally he blurted, “Well, how can you expect me to think with all that plaid in front of me!” Hector was no longer listening. Tut, tut. He also found himself under attack by three nefarious Chreaggers who assaulted him with baguettes during supper. Sadly, he succumbed to his wounds. Happily, he miraculously revived enough to run about with a boffer and bash many good gentles that night.

When the fighting was done, and the List polls safely put away, it was time for the Septentrian Performing Arts Troupe to go on. Sickness had stopped the performance at Septentrian 12th Night, and my sickness almost cancelled it again. We pressed on, and the play went off well, with the hall stopping all activity to watch, and to interact, as it went on. Much frivolity was created by our bumbling acting, and that is all we could have asked for.

Supper began with a laugh as Colyne got Wulfgang to walk the length of the head table, both ways, while bowing to each set of five Peers that sat there. After poor Wulfgang had retaken his seat, Thorfinna and I stood up to sing for the hall. It was the first time I had performed in public, and I think it nicely showed why I’m not a signing bard. Still, folks laughed, and that was the intent.

When our most excellent supper was over court was held. During kingdom court many Chreaggers were awarded Arts and Sciences prizes, and Mahault and Berend were both granted their Award of Arms. This was greeted by thunderous applause.

Also during court our Canton and its populace were praised by King, Queen, Baron and Baroness. I have never heard such an outpouring of public praise before. It made me very proud to hail from the Cliffs.

After court there were many activities. There was the boffer fighting I already mentioned, as well as a chess tournament. There was even some Eastern dancing and drumming which all enjoyed (except for one spode who was rude enough to actually complain to them of the noise they were making). The chess players battled long into the night until finally Stroenwald Wulfesbana won the day.

At midnight the Inn closed its doors, and the populace of Ardchreag returned to their homes, worn and weary but happy in a job well done. Many thanks must go out to all those who helped that day, including our autocrats Eirik and Thorfinna, Berend (who ran many errands), Lachlan (who served as servocrat) and many, many others.

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