Friday, 21 August 2020

War of the Trillium, 2018

By Fáelán Ruadh ua Aodha [See the original post on her blog, complete with pictures.]

Trillium War, one of the largest SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) events held in the kingdom of Ealdormere (check out last year’s article here, and the year before here)

This year had a record breaking heat wave moving between highs of 31°C on Friday June 29th, 35°C on Saturday June 30th, 34°C on Sunday July 1st, and 32°C on Monday July 2nd. Humidex feeling more like the mid 40s°C throughout.

We arrived earlier this year, the evening of the Thursday and set up camp at the Ramshaven site at the very back of the field. A couple of fellow members were there to greet and host us that day.

That night was relaxed and we chatted for some hours in the dark, and a few of us stayed up into the wee hours before dawn. Going to bed, I was cold, and chilled my early to bed spouse. Wool blankets were actually useful that night.


The next day had a lot more scheduled activities than I expected, as this was also the time when the majority of campers were arriving. Not to mention being the first year I did not read, let alone register for, any of the activities before getting there. This ended up feeling a lot less jam packed for me with pressure to run around to do all the things. Instead I mostly mosied around and partook in things that interested me as I went by.

I first walked by The Lads With Lathes, just starting to set up (photos of them later on of the following day).

Then I ended up stumbling upon and getting involved with Rope Making that was organized and run by Duncan McLeod for his White Wolf Fion project. The purpose was to “first, make a machine that could have been built in the Middle ages to make rope and then, second, to use this machine to make a rope 100 ft long to be presented to Their Majesties.”

This is how that went down, [pictures follow]

After this was when most of our camp arrived, so I was mostly helping with camp organizing and setting up so everyone fit into our Ramshaven site. Unfortunately, most people were arriving peak heat of the day, so not only was it hot, but for safety’s sake, there were a lot of breaks taken to prevent Heat Exhaustion. But we got it done! Thank you Beathan for sharing your amazing Sekanjabin drink supplement to enjoy during set up!

It took so much out of everyone that most went to bed a few hours after dusk. Fortunately that night was cool enough to warrant blankets.


This day I remembered to take a photo of the Lads with Lathes,

This day was so hot, but that did not stop the children from playing. Fortunately there was a cedar tree line to take advantage of for their imaginations!

But then, to their delight, some creative adults organizing children’s activities developed a wet sponge version of a traditional Norse Game!

I am told that after this photo took place, his Majesty personally investigated this game, to which some children expressed wolfish grins and ambushed his Majesty with wet sponges! In response, some of the kingdom’s wolf cubs decided to protect their king from these Feral Beasts! Needless to say, shenanigans ensued to the delight of everyone involved.

All this unbeknownst to me, I had continued to Arts & Science tents, and saw that even the Fighters decided that they should FIGHT IN THE SHADE…

Well suited for the day, I had attended a class on Historical Refreshing Drinks – where I learned more about the Sekanjabin (10th Century Persian “honeyed vinegar” – honey mint being the most common version) I enjoyed the previous day, as well as more on Hippocras (5th Century BC Greek drink) – including a non-alcoholic version! This handout will be much used, Thank You!

On my way to the axe throwing tourney I had the pleasure of being misted down by the lovely folks at the Piehole food stand – they had a full on pressure tank and everything. It was glorious.

Unfortunately, there was no shade beyond the entry for the Ranged Martial Arts, but fortune favors the bold! I had placed 3rd at the Masked Murder Axe Throwing Tourney hosted by Hexenhaus, which resulted in some lovely beads, and this wonderfully in theme brew! Thank you Hexenhaus and Marshals for braving the heat for this tourney!

Annual Memorial Brewing Competition

Now, one thing I do not ever intend on missing at Trillium War, is the Annual Memorial Brewing Competition! Why? Because the brews you experience here may be the first and last time you will ever get to taste these lovelies, and each year I learn a little more on how I can make my own! I was a bad herald and even skipped the Herald Moot just to go to the brewing competition.

This year, with the heat, there were, understandably, far fewer entrants. I believe that this was because either A) It is very difficult to get motivation to leave camp – especially if your camp has shade, and/or B) The consumption of Alcohol is not ideal if you want to keep hydrated and avoid Heat Exhaustion. We had yet to crack into the beer we brought just for that reason.

With that in mind, I took a drink of water with every sip of brew. No regrets on my end! Though my spouse ended up a little worse for wear and headed to camp to rest.

This year’s brews had some really good meads that I wish I could share outside of this event – but alas, you had to have been there (though, I am told that Brouhaha will have some of brews they had here to share there!).

Congrats to Kaolin and Penda for winning this year! And a worthy mention to Sibylla who came in at a very close second in the meads! Both meads definitely came out as this year’s favorites!

That evening there was a brief court, in which Duke Edward was elevated as a Master of Defense (the equivalent of Knight for Rapier Martial Arts within the SCA). The induction ceremony concluded with all Masters of Defense present raising their swords together and exclaiming “Terminus acutus in illum!” (Pointy end in the other guy!).

Rose Tourney

Every year at Trillium War there is a Rose Tourney. This is a Tourney where teams of unbelted fighters (non-Knights) are sponsored by a member of the Order of the Rose as their Champions.

The Order of the Rose is an order of current and former Royal consorts – the person in the royal couple who did NOT win the crown by right of arms.

Here is a selection of photos I took of that event.

Following the image above, the fighters quickly shifted in my direction, which left me no choice but to back up into the tree line. Which resulted in the following image.

As you saw in the images of the Rose Tourney, there was no barrier between the combatants and spectators. Now, even though I ended up a little too close to the action. There was no serious threat to me the entire time, and the fighters simply moved over and continued in the center of their fighting area. Such things are expected when you attempt to get a great photo shot of the action.

I sincerely felt that this arrangement was far better than roped barriers of the past, since they are encumbersome as they were liable to cause tangles and falls for the fighters, and were a lot of work to set up and take down for the organizers. Given enough space, along with a couple of marshals with poles to direct any encroachment into the crowd or obstacles, both spectators and fighters are able to enjoy the event to the fullest extent.

At the end of this tourney, their majesties awarded Kungen Steinnarson and Wylie with the Scarlet Banner. Congratulations!

Mardi Gras Ball – Bal du Roi

Now, this is where the theme of this year’s Trillium War was to reach it’s climax. The theme being Mardi Gras, the gate tokens were Mardi Gras bead necklaces, and were able to be awarded / gifted, traded, nicked, bribed for etc. the person / krew (you can register teams) who had the most wins a grand prize at the Grand Ball Saturday Night.

This theme was not my kind of thing – especially for my persona, and had honestly refused the gate token as I personally did not want anything to do with modern plastic beads – mundanely, to say I am not a fan of plastic is an understatement.

Yet, I had somehow accumulated a fair number throughout that day via tokens of appreciation of assisting and for participating and placing in the axe tourney. I could not tell you how many that amounted to because as I was counting them in camp, people decided I was the horse to bet on for the Ball Prize and gave me theirs, and each time I went to count, more beads were presented.

In the end I ended up with 34 and was bestowed the representative of the Ramshaven Krew. I then went to the rose tourney with so many beads I did not know what to do with them, then figured out that I could just put them all on my ‘frog’ (mug strap on belt) which was handy in preventing nicking of said bead necklaces. When the ball itself started, I was given more beads in opposition to the other krew present during the ball. I think I had 45 beads by that point.

The ball had a lot of wonderful food to nibble on, a lot of really tasty cupcakes that had crowns hidden in two of them to determine the King and Queen of the Ball; live music, lively dancing, and a cheerful ambiance.

Sadly, the heat had meant that it was a small turnout, leaving a lot of food in want of a hungry mouth, and those that did show, were slowly beginning to show their weariness of the day. I myself had little energy and motivation to do much at that point, and simply wanted to finish with these beads so I could get back to camp where they were having a “Trillies Pairing and Sharing”, and we had brought some food and drink just for that.

The organizers decided that the bead swapping was pretty well completed and called for the entries. To which I promptly lost to Kaolin and her Krew of Septentria who had a whooping 78 bead necklaces!

I ain’t even mad. Their krew had fantastic Papier-mâché full head covering masks, danced about, and had a rousing song about how they loved hairy men (I wish my nice camera’s battery had not died so I could of had a recording of it all!). So I am glad there was a worthy winner of this event, well deserved and a far better representation of the ball than I could be. Cheers!

As I left I was encouraged to take some food with me, and I gratefully did – they were really tasty! And gave them out to my camp mates when I got there. I asked for where my spouse was and discovered that they were fast asleep in the tent. When they roused they were feeling much better and we then presented our Rhubarb Pie for the pairing and sharing. There was so much booze around that we did not even need to open what we brought. Especially since Sibylla had more of her wonderful “Ridiculously Sweet” Mead that filled many a cup. Thank you Beathan and Isabelle for hosting this event – the cheesecake defeated us.

I went to bed full and blanketless that night.

Those who had looked at the schedule I provided in this article may have noticed that I have no images of Court this day – That is because court was to be moved to the following morning due to the heat of when it was originally scheduled.


Court began with their Royal Majesties (TRM) announcing that they were to begin a custom of presenting medallions to the members of the Wolf’s Cub (Children recognized for their feats and service in the Kingdom of Ealdormere). To which all members of the Wolf’s Cub that were present were called forward and each presented a medallion.

TRM then invited all of the children present to come forward. Sir Gann had then taken the role of carrying a treasure chest, with which he made great haste his escape from court, only to be pursued by the young wolf pack who would catch him to earn the treasures within.

Lady Iolanda, Award of the Maiden’s Heart

Katla the Fiery, Award of Arms

THL Bjarn Aaronsson, aka “Emma’s dad” – Orion (for painting).

TRM called forward the Order of the Crucible, and inducted Lady Emelote of Calais, and John Moran.

TRM then called forward the Order of the Wain, and inducted Alais de Poitiers.

Their Majesties then sought out several who had been missed at earlier events,

Greite von Groenigen was thus given an Award of Orion.

Their Majesties called forward Baron Shahid and Baroness Catherine of Skraeling Althing, whom announced three couples as possible successors.

Their Majesties called forward Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton, who asked that her apprentice Sciath ingen Chaennaig be confirmed as an ollamh and incept within the University as a Companion of the Order of the Laurel.

Their Majesties concluded court with the announcement that all scheduled activities that day were to be cancelled due to the extreme heat, but all were welcome to stay for the rest of the event time period.

Martin, bard and wrangler of children, did Marshal for his planned activity of archery for the children – of which a very unfortunate Dragon Piniata was their target. Not even the royals could save it’s hide.

Back at the camping field, the majority of attendants were packing up and heading home. Many, who had a longer journey ahead, were packing up, but spending the night off site where the future held magic called air conditioning. Some decided to not wait to go to the wonders of the future, and instead brought it to camp, and enjoyed the air conditioning of their modern steel steeds. This was definitely a saving grace for a lot of people, so much so that those who did not have a vehicle with functioning air conditioning, were offered a seat in those that did. This, I am sure, prevented heat exhaustion from a number of our fellow camp mates.

In my case, I was grateful that I packed a large sea sponge that I liberally soaked and squeezed onto myself and others. Linen kerchiefs soaked and snapped a few times now and then and worn around the neck were highly effective for keeping cool. Others enjoyed foot baths in the shade.

Throughout the packing we took breaks in the shade. During these breaks we were able to find delightful treats of the wilderness along the tree line of plumb red Raspberries and Strawberries. Being in fruit at the same time was certainly peculiar to me. But most definitely did not stop me and others from enjoying these refreshments!

At peak heat, we were still helping pack camp. This was when our Baron decided to manifest his true form in this weather, and melted… (do not worry, he was fine – but is best picture depicting how we all felt that weekend)

After everyone who was leaving left, the camp was quite empty. Ramshaven had two tents, Skrael camp had a few personal sleeping tents, the Barbarians where mostly intact, those tenting in the far North Western edge of the field were mostly present, and the most thriving of us all was camp Rubber Boot.

Before dusk and sleeps, I took the time to hang out with Skrael and learned of these redesigned Bog Chairs by… Basketman at Pennsic? (this is liable to be updated later)

Then I learned of John’s Anachronistic Lanterns that used the faux fire LEDs that are becoming popular. He is pictured below holding this Lantern, which is solar powered and activated!

Post Dusk I wandered to where my spouse was, in the company of his Laurel, Lucrece de Montsoreau, and fellow apprentices at Camp Rubber Boot. (whom of which hosted us earlier that day as well, and where they shared bread, cheese, chicken wings (smoked on site!) and this wonderful food called AntiPesto – where have you been all my life?)

That night there was more food, including shenanigan causing sausages, and a whole slew of high end brew that I would not encounter anywhere else but here. Wowzers.

At camp they had this nifty fire box that was a “wood gas” design that burned off extra gas from the wood burning. Periodically there would be swirls of fire from the holes along the edge of the box. A very efficient design that requires a lot less wood for heat and light.

Bagpipes happened, and our hosts sang a number beautiful songs that lulled me to my bed.


We got up, packed camp quick and scurried home.

We survived. And I would do it again.

When finally settled at home it was still hot (30°C, Humidex 35°C), but compared to that weekend, a lot more bearable. So as I was working on this article I wore a T-shirt, soaked in cold water, trying to catch up on things, and wanting coffee while I work. So I made a Coffee Float.

It is still good to be home.

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