Wednesday 2 October 2013

The Tailor's Tale (Spring Tune-up, May 1, 2004)

By THLaird Colyne Stewart

Pull up a chair, stranger. Sit down and have a drink. The ale's not too bad here, but I'd avoid the wine if I was you. The Jaunty Troll is not known for its wine, but by St. Crispinus they serve a good ale!
By your looks I'd wager you're a merchant, my friend. Come up to sell us northerners some of your southron wares, are ya? Hah! You may find it hard to sell some of your thin cloth this month, as the ghost of winter is lingering in these parts, I fear.

It's Spring, or so they tell us, but you'd never know it to look out those windows, would you? Cold and damp, its more like November than May. What's more, in some parts round 'bout here, there's been snow!
In fact, on New Year's Day it was awful damp! I'm a tailor by trade, and I thought I'd go to the annual Spring Tune-up, held in the Canton of Caer Draeth, to get some business. See, it was being held on New Year's Day this year, and there was to be a masked ball to celebrate, so I thought I might be able to get a few gentles to part with some coin for a costume or two to go with their masks.

Well, when I set out in the dark dawn it was so foggy that the light from my lantern could barely penetrate it. I was worried I'd loose my way, perhaps fall prey to bandits, but luckily the barony's army kept the roads cleared of brigands, and the fog eventually lifted. However, what I saw when I could see again was not good! For the king's engineers had decided to shut down large stretches of the King's Highway. Now mind you, I ain't criticizing the king, heaven forbid, or his engineers either, it was just an inconvenience as the lines of wagons and wains was awful long.

I decided to go off into the woods, as I do know some short cuts through there from my younger days, of which I will not bore you. It took a while, but eventually I made my way to another great road and soon I was approaching the hall. I could see some brave archers out in the wet, for it was raining again, and the yard about the hall was more water than dirt.

I heard there was supposed to be some horse riding, and some atl atl throwing outside (atl atl being some kind of spear sized arrow, or so my friend Timothy tells me), but all that was shut down by the rain.
Gaining admittance, I set up my booth and did indeed manage to sell a few items of clothing. From time to time I'd pay a young lad to watch the booth so I could wander a bit and stretch my legs. Due to the inclement weather outside, the hall inside had a tendency to be damp, and my poor joints swelled up something fierce.

To pass the time, I enlisted my services with the marshal and helped watch over the knights and squires and lords and ladies at tournament upon the list field. I don't know if the weather had made them surly, but there were a few occasions of raised voices. Now stranger, I'm no gossip, and names wouldn't mean anything to you if I said them, so I'll leave that part there.

I got so caught up in the tourneys, that I forgot about my booth altogether, and by the time I got back to it I found the lad fast asleep. Luckily nothing was missing, and I sent the lad off with a penny and a finger wagging. After locking up my gear in my wagon, I wandered into the feast hall where I volunteered my services. With several other good gentles I served up brimming bowls and laden plates, all over loaded with humus, sausages, chicken, fried tomatoes, beef in a coffin and many other dishes. My compatriots and I were given our own food to eat, and we fell to it at the back of the hall with gusto! A few brave souls stood up to entertain the crowd during the meal, singing jolly songs.

After the meal there was to be a court. Their Majesties Ealdormere processed to the front of the hall, and they asked Their Excellencies Septentria to join them, praising them for the work they had done maintaining the lands they held for the Crown. Their Excellencies Ramshaven were also invited to sit by Their royal side.

Perhaps the most memorable moment during the court, stranger, was when Baroness Ursula na Clan na Rath was called for. Her Excellency was actually in a room overlooking the court. A page went forth to tell Her Excellency that she had been summoned, and all present witnessed the resulting reaction. Namely, her jumping up and throwing her arms around the hall's bar! Deciding that more force than the page was required, Her Majesty Marion II, followed by spear bearers, went to persuade Ursula to come to court. His Majesty Berus II, seeing that even this persuasion was failing, decided that if the baroness would not come to court, court would come to the baroness. Therefore Baroness Ursula was inducted into the Order of the Wain in the bar. His Majesty, announcing that there was no further business, and that the bar was open for business, then closed court.

A masked ball was then held under the guidance of Lord Darius the Dancer and Lady Catharine of Eoforwic, both clad in green man masks gifted to them by Their Majesties. Many good gentles danced the better part of the night away, clad in masks they had purchased or created that very day.

It was a good day stranger, and many tales of it could be told. Such as what was behind the Septentrian herald's remark, when he led Baron Corwyn into court as "he who brings sunshine." Tell you what, friend; buy me an ale, and I'll tell you all about it!

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