By THLaird Colyne Stewart
(Ursus Vol. 8. No. 10 October 2003)
Many halls have I walked down, in many rooms have I sat through court, in many arenas have I fought.
None can compare to those in which I found myself to celebrate the Feast of the Bear: the edifice known as Graf Hugo’s Keep.
A great black wrought-iron gate stood in a wall of stone. Standing smiling behind the gate was the newly elected mayor of
Worship Lord Hans Thorvaldsson. With a wink the portal is opened wide and
visitors entered a treed courtyard. Standing on the paving stones the entrance
to the tavern beckons from ahead, whilst to the right stone lions perch above
grand wooden doors leading into the main hall.
Stepping into the hall one is met by a bustle of activity as folk stream by in all directions engaged in a multitude of activities. There around a door leading to the armoury sits a group of Vest Yorvikers, some of whom are spinning wool. Coming out of the door to the hall of learning, wherein those gifted in the arts and sciences teach, comes Jacomo, his hat flapping as he pretends to trip and rolls across the floor.
To the left is the market, where artisans, hawkers and peddlers have set up shop in a multitude of stalls.
Straight ahead, drawing the eye is the courtroom. The walls are stone and draped with banners. The back wall is dominate
d by a scale model of a
castle, perhaps the plaything of a former royal prince. Before this castle fighters
and fencers meet to test their mettle. Several fencers proved their worth that
day, and advanced within the . The fighters
engaged in multiple tournaments, and fighters of the Academy
of Defense White
Bear Fian held the field.
The Fian is a group of fighters, autonomous and self-governing, who protect the Barony of Septentria. They were formed in the days of Aedan and Kaffa, but sadly have been inactive until late. This day three Fiana hold the field--Sir Evander MacLachlan, Sir
Edward the Read and Baron Konrad Matthias Jaeggar
von Dubrau. It was remarked upon that none of these worthies actually reside in
Septentria, and it was explained tot hem that the Fian accepts challengers from
within and without the barony, as long as they are noble and adept at the arts
of war and peace.
Finally the fighters were ushered out doors to continue their crafts, whilst the room was readied for court. Their Majesties had their loyal servants swear homage to them, whilst Their Excellencies Septentria did honour their fencers by awarding prizes crafte
d by Lord Gareth of Eoforwic,
himself a former Sheriff of the Royal Citie. This same Gareth was then
recognized as Septentria's new fencing champion--a position he also held for
Cynred thegn and Baroness Gaerwen.
The Fian then entered court, and talked of their past and plans for the future. They called for those who wished to challenge for admittance to their ranks. Myself and Hlaford Streonwald Wulfesbana stepped forward, bowing our heads and stating our wish to challenge the Fian. The challenges were accepted, with the passage of arms to occur at a future date, at a time of the Fian's choosing.
The Society Laurel of Arms, Master François La Flamme, held conclave with the heralds of Ealdormere.
After court a grand feast was held in a great hall, complete with dancing and song. The feast was long, and those who waited in the courtroom for it to be completed were likewise entertaine
d by Eoforwic's dancers.
Many were the people recognize
d by Their Majesties that night, to whit: Awards of
Arms were presented to Pelayo of Eoforwic,
Sara of Eoforwic, Eithne
Briansdottir, Medb Ingen Dun Gaile, William the Younger, Margret de Morchard,
Daffydd ap Piers and Brigid of Eoforwic.
Unnr Hringsdottir, Geoffrey Guiscard and Magnus Kjrr received the Award of the
Orion while Albrecht Stamfer was brought into the Order of Thorbjorn’s Hammer,
and Nicolaa de Bracton was elevated into the Order of the Pelican. Our hostess
of the evening, Lady Rosalia dei Querini, was given an Award of the Maiden’s
Heart, and a reconfirmation of her Award of arms, and to celebrate this she was
surrounde d by dancers who amazed the
Many then retired to the keep of Their Excellencies, who opened their doors to hold a revel, whilst other began the long horse-ride home. In the courtyard I looked up at the towers of the hall, and I truly felt as if I were home.