Wednesday 23 October 2013

My First Pent (Kingdom A&S 2002)

Lady Naja Kesali

For two years I had been intrigued and tempted by the challenge offered by the Pentathalon at Kingdom A&S.For two years I had chickened out, claiming inadequacies in the quality and quantity of my possible entries.This year I realised that I really did want to do this so I gathered my entries together, hauled myself into Sof'ia's wagon and went to take part in A Guild's Day.

I was both excited and nervous as I unpacked my entries. They included a reproduction of a 15th century Russian illumination, an earring (having lost one) I made in a style known in Moscow of the same time, and a "tarte of strawberries" from 16th century England.I also entered two entries in the Bardic categories; in bardic recitation, I retold a period Russian folk tale and in music: intrumental, I played a simplified version of Hole in the Wall on an Irish tin whistle.

Once I was set up, I decided to look around a bit. I saw some wonderful displays by the guilds! The textiles and weavers guild put on some wonderful demonstrations, as did the scribes guild, and musicians guild (both of which I am a member). I visited the games guild and a few of the merchants, spent time meeting with friends and watched some of the pas. Then it was time for judging.

Performance was called first. I appoached the stage with much trepidation and found myself alone on the back of the stage with an audience of five judges, Her Excellency Ramshaven, Master Hector, Master Garraed, Lord Martin and Lady Gwerydd. They were wonderful. They allowed me time to catch my breath and try to calm my nervousness and, once my story was told, took turns giving me feedback. They all offered much encouragment and support and the feedback was largely positive with some suggestions on what direction I should consider next as a storyteller.

After catching my breath once again, I played my tune. I squeaked horribly but they were quite forgiving and I was advised to continue practicing and complimented on what I had achieved so far. Now the hardest part of my day was over. I could go sit by my entries and discuss what ever questions come up from passers by.

I spent some time over lunch with friends and later waited nervously as my pie was tasted by Mistress Aibhilin. She said it was good and then offered advice for improvement and corrected my misconceptions about medieval flour. Next time I enter food I'll know what to do to enter at the intermediate level. Lord Martin came to judge my illumination and had some very helpful suggestions and some very encouraging comments.

I also enjoyed speaking with my neighbours at the pent entries table. I was much impressed by all of the entrants and largely found myself feeling lucky to be amongst such talent. Lady Eve the Just, beside me was celebrating her first Pent by entering her first attempt at each category. And impressive firsts they were, including a gorgeous brocade tablet weaving that left me envious. Lady Gwendion was my other neighbour and she was kind enough to share some of her Honey'd Dates and Almonds and Asa Gormsdottir, the good lady who would later be awarded the post of Kingdom A&S Champion, had an impressive collection of entries and was friendly and willing to answer all questions. I was not surprised to hear she had won. What it did surprise me to hear later was that one gentle woman, Lady Bronwyn, had actually entered Pent twice! She had brought ten entries to show that day! I also noticed that the A&S entries submitted by those not taking part in Pent were no less impressive. The horn carved by Her Excellency, Domnhail Galbraith of Septentria was a thing of beauty. The silver pin made by Lady Mahault's lost wax casting was lovely. There were so many who deserve to be mentioned but I cannot recall them all. For that I am sorry. I have to say that I was rightly proud to be a member of such a group as those who enjoy A&S within Ealdormere! We do ourselves and our kingdom proudly!

The Pent judges then began to circulate. I listened to Lady Eve's turn at explaining her entries and then took my own turn. Now I was free to pack away my entries and go enjoy the company of my friends. Soon it was time to prepare for feast. Sof'ia and I had been fortunate enough to secure seats for "above the salt" and it was a work of art. Lamb, trout, barley, vegetables a wonderful celerat soup, rolls and ported cheese (mmm!) were all topped with a delicacy, I'd never before tried, creme brulee. What a treat! It was truly heavenly. At dinner we were accompanied by Auguste Valizan, his daughter Nadrah, a charming young herald and his lady fair. The company was entertaining anmd pleasant and the meal a very fine one.

Court took place afterwards and many awards were given out but, I missed most of it. While I usually enjoy court I had gone into the kitchen to help clean up and was still sweeping when court began. Joining in late I saw a few awards but could not say to whom. I am certain there are others who will do so.

After my first entry into Pent I have come away with much. I have learned new things about the subjects I study, and learned about new subjects to study. I enjoyed myself immensely!
If I have learned anything from Pent this year though, what I have learned is this: I shall be entering Pent again, and I'm already planning how I can outdo myself next year!

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