Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Event Report: Bonfield Battle IX (2001)

By Iolanda de Albornoz

I spring from the board of inspiration set down by Colyne in his report of EWP to say that, in my case, the fact that every event's enjoyment is improved upon by the next also comes true with Bonfield Battle IX.
            My car was piled high with doubts and fears as part of my camping gear: Will the weather be pleasant, am I carrying too much stuff, will there be enough food, outhouses, etc?  But none of these doubts could beat the fact that Ardchreag was setting out almost altogether as a group, and that there could be no better company.
            This is the fourth SCA event I have participated in, but the first in the sense that our Canton worked and felt like a true entity.  Our tents formed a microcosm of laughter, song, companionship and collaboration within the Macrocosm of Bonfield; and what a macrocosm it was!
            Bonfield Battle IX took place in the property of our esteemed Finnvarr de Taahe, memberof the De Taahe household, in a very beautiful rural setting, one hour away from North Bay.
            In spite of a few afternoon showers, all days were sunny and pleasant, and well suited for the fighting, archery and equestrian activities.  However, my southern nature certainly rebelled against 5 degree Celsius nights! There are two phrases that will stick to memory for quite a while: "As cold as a Latin American in Bonfield" and the immediate reply, "Ye crazy Canadians, sons of penguins!"
            The event itself had a varied and pleasant range of activities, and some of these had new and interesting variations.  The fighters enjoyed a fight in the forest, fights with spears and a challenge in the Mordain’s Rings, amongst others. We also witnessed a fighting combat where the messenger rode on horseback to deliver the posts to both bands between the lines.  This added more colour and historic flavor to a well loved activity.  The equestrian challenges were a source of interest for all of us, amazed by the dexterity of our Duchess Eanor in the contest of lancing the rings and beheading moors. There was also a riding hunt in which both the riders and "prey" of our Canton figured prominently.  I am proud to say that our Kingdom can boast of several excellent riders.
            As for the archery, William presented us with a very interesting challenge whereby two groups aimed at figures representing archers, squires and knights, each from the opposing group.  Once an archer wounded a figure, the opponent from the other group represented by that figure "died".  This round was followed by practices and by a foretaste of the "Ludicrous archery event" where archers have to aim at targets and walk back farther distances after each shot.  The weekend also included shooting a Royal Round and the difficult Inter-Kingdom Archery Contest.
            Social and court activities were also present at Bonfield.  We had a short court session, which treated us to a mounted royal procession and some well deserved awards.  The younger and newer citizens of the Kingdom participated in a boffer tourney marshaled by Brandt der Leaderwerker.  There was good knight material in some youngsters!  This is a
new type of activity that I'd love to see repeated in future events.  We need new waves of brave fighters to defend the King!
            An added bonus to the fun was the initiation ceremonies of House Red Herring, which proceeded -as these things go- among much fun and pelting of marshmallows.  It seems our Canton has some "Herrings-to-be" that keep escaping the net.  Keep tuned to see if these slippery fishes are caught!
            One of our Canton’s own informal and subversive households was challenged by the good people from the Stronghold of Tor Brant to a "horticultural challenge" in hopes of luring us to their coming event in the Isle of Man.
            Even die-hard merchant-holics (ejem, ejem) had the chance to browse around some nice wares, jewelry and garb.
            The more recent reports say that late night revelers were treated to some northern lights on Sunday.  In my humble opinion I think that the cause for these lights was not too far away from our campsite and that certain home-brewed meads and a Green Bison had something to do with them...
            All in all, we spent a wonderful long weekend in happy fellowship, engaged in interesting activities in a beautiful setting.  What more could we ask for?
            Our thanks then go, well deservedly, to the hosting shires and the event's autocrat and helpers.  We look forward to more cold nights in Bonfield!

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