by Friar Thomas Bacon> (David Moreno)
Orignally published in the December 2000, A.S. XXXV issue of the Dragonflyre, a publication of the Barony of Vatavia.
As fall made its slow arrival, it was time again for the Tournament of Valor. Returning again to Lake Afton, it was to be a huge success. The first day was occupied by melees, first in a grand melee, then in a tourney. Both were taken by the team of Lord Raedwald of Boarhunt, Lord Andrew of Wolvenwood and Stephan of Northfolk. But the evening was given to more peaceful pursuits, starting with the joint marriage of Lord Cire to Lady Elizabeth, and Lord Zevak to Lady Jayce, by Friar Thomas Bacon. (Though some complained of confusion as to who was married to whom.)1 In the court that followed, after presenting dowries to the brides, Lord Cire was given the Star of V'tavia for his numerous deeds in behalf of V'tavia. Afterwards was given to dancing and much reveling at the newly opened "Vulgar Unicorn."2
As dawn arrived, preparations for Valor Tourney began. The list the biggest yet, standing at 27. Victory was to go to Brom Blackhand this day. The distant threat of rain cut short the feast, and hurried the court. But the rain did not arrive till the morn, leaving the night free for merrymaking. One group sang most the night away, another danced till the break of dawn34.
A month later it was again time to choose a new champion of V'tavia. This time it was Lord Baylock who received the nod. And at court, a closely held secret was announced to all; the awarding to Lord Cire the Dragon's Heart.
V'tavian dominance of Coronet continued at Coronet IV. This time both Viscount Humpk and Lord Cire advanced to the finals, and tension was heavy in the air as the two fought it out, before Cire succumbed to Humpk.
The V'tavian Christmas Court was a time for high spirits. A childrenís version of a baronial court put interesting highlights of events of the recent past. And after a long incubation, the V'tavian actors group made their first appearance.5. For court, a Grand March was marshaled to great effect. Later, as a piece of "old" business, Vicar Cire presented Baron Humpk and Baroness Mammara with the Star of V'tavia.
To pass the tedium of winter, a Soiree d'Amour was arranged. As clergy were forbidden, this chronicler can not report what happened. But a relative relates that the night's activities were unseemly, intemperate, and immoral. A good time was had by all.
As a final farewell to winter, the Tourney of the Ice Queen was held. While winter attempted to dampen the tourney, a cavernous hall held off the rain. By right of Thorfinn's polearm, Christianna Beauchasteau reign as Ice Queen. At the feast, a previously unknown group calling themselves "The Brothers and Sisters of St. Humpk" presented the baronage the relic of "The Holy Hand Grenade of V'tavia". (The history of this relic is told elsewhere.)6
With the coming of spring, the King went on Progress, and so came to V'tavia. All of V'tavia turned out in their fines to meet his Majesty. He was greeted by a diversity of food and entertainment. The Brothers and Sisters of St. Humpk presented to the King, the Royal Holy Hand Green Egg to aid him at Pennsic. Many awards were granted that night.
A few weeks later, the V'tavian fighters gathered once again to chose a champion. And as the fighting ended, Cire emerge to resume, once more, the office. It was also announced the Lord Aelfric and Lady Tuia were departing V'tavia to found the colony of Westbury Downs7.
The new year, once again, found us at Kansas Newman. Sharing the list field was Amara's dancers, and a continuous stream of activity flowed around the V'tavian encampment. Drama was added this year, but the weather reduced that effort to a production of "Gone With the Wind".
Three weeks later, the encampment moved to the southern edges of V'tavia to join with the rest of Calontir to witness the investiture of Humpk and Mammara. At first the weather was uncooperative, threatening to turn the site into a grand lake8. But over the course of the night, the rain stopped, and the soggy event could go on. After Humpk was invested as Prince, the day was given to a tourney to find the Princess's Champion, the honors going to Stephen of Northfolk.
Two weeks passed, and in neighboring Bois d'Arc, Coronet V commenced, destined to be the last. Again V'tavia took the finals, this time Cire and Zevak contending for their ladies. After two hard fought bouts, Zevak finally fell to Cire's sword. At court, as Cire was formally declared Heir of Calontir, it was with the tune of "C'es Vous" in his ears, as sung by Morgan of York9.
At the end of the month was Sprites. There the displaced brigands of last year's war vowed revenge. Rumor had it that a large horde was forming to overwhelm the combine forces of V'tavia and Forgotten Sea. But as the forces assembled, it was the brigands who were outnumbered. On a bridge they face the baronial armies, only at the last minute to flee with the cry "Swim for it."10
August saw a new champion installed: Lord David the Silent. A new position was also formed: Luchistnik (archer in Bohemian), to head the V'tavian archer guard. Wylfrdd Taliesin became the first Luchistnik.
The biggest news that month came out of the East from the battlefields of Pennsic. Gathering his forces as he moved through Calontir, Prince Humpk set off for the distant war. The first day saw the Midrelm slightly ahead, the Calontir archers providing the margin. That afternoon, after sitting with his counselors, the King let it be known the Calontir would be given its independence.
The following morning, the small Calontir army was sent to defend one of three causeways. Using tactics first devised by V'tavia, Calontir held as three Eastern armies dashed them against the shield wall. A forth was in the process of being disassembled when the rest of the Midrelm army collapsed, and the weight of the Eastern armies fell upon Calontir11. The final battle the day occurred in a great field. Outnumbered, the Midrelm forces were stretched to the limit to meet the Eastern armies. As the Midrelm line was broken, Calontir closed ranks and formed a square, now known as Fort Humpk. Calontir was again the last organized unit on the field before sheer numbers took their toll.
It was fall and time again for Valor Tourney. Returning to the site of Investiture, the weather was a bit more cooperative, exchanging wind for rain. Various melees were fought the first day, with Lorell of Shrewsbery taking the prize at Valor tourney itself the next day. At court, it was Wylfrdd Taliesin's turn to receive the Star of V'tavia for his efforts. As a demonstration of the tangle weave of bonds within V'tavia, when Leofric de Thornburgh went before the Baron to ask for permission to marry Jonquil, and her father was called forward; Erlich du Battenhelmn was joined by Yves Beauchasteau and Thomas Bacon12. Aelfric won the drama competition with a hereto unknown Shakespearean work, "Henry III". Pavel Isovich won bardic recitation with his account of the Pennsic War, forever enshrining the phase "No shit, there we were" in Calontir vocabulary.
Meanwhile the colony of Westbury Downs collapsed, and Aelfric and Tuia moved a short distance to try to form the new colony of Glen Killdora13.
November was the Investiture of Cire as the last Prince of Calontir. The competition for Princess's champion was unique in two ways. First, it featured a non-fighter amount of candidates, and secondly, only one candidate made it to the semi-finals in the fighting, only to loose the competition to Pavel Isovich. That night, at court, the Princess Elizabeth displayed a rare form of courage. After installing Pavel as champion, she then called him out to be the principal of the newly formed Order of the Ancient Fewmet (OAF) for his many dubious acts and achievements. She then allowed him to stand behind her with a very sharp ax in his hands14.
Winter came, and with it, Christmas Court. Among the things presented at the children's court was a set of training wheels to Frederick, and recognition to the burgeoning baby brigade. The evening was finished by the Drama guild's first full-length(?) play, a reproduction of "Twelfth Night."15
In February came the day long waited for the day Calontir became a kingdom. In the first Crown List was Robert of the Woodlands, and Vicount William V'tavia. Humpk came in third; the ultimate winner that day was Chepe líOragere16. The crowns were made by our own Tymm the Mysterious17.
1. The ceremony was reconstructed from period sources. It assumed however, that there was only one couple and I did not reword it to reflect that there were two in front of me. The key passage was "Do you take this man/woman for your lawfully wedded husband/wife" which was address to all four. Hence the "confusion". The wedding ended in an unplanned flourish. It had been arranged that a couple of friends would form a sword arch for the couples to walk under. I announced that any who wished to join could do so. I thought the resulting tunnel would never end. ^
2. This occurred rather spontaneously. What happened was that several couples got together, renting Air Force tents, and camped together around a common area. Erlich du Battenhelm was cooking, and as people came by to visit, he would give them samples of what it was he was cooking at the time. And as usual, free food brings a crowd, which did not displease the people involved at all as it meant the party came to them. Someone, looking at the crowd that gathered, remarked that it resembled the crowd at the "Vulgar Unicorn", a notorious inn in a set of books edited by Robert Asprin that were popular at the time. And the campsite was so referred to for the rest of the event. Two of the couples had so much fun with this, that they decided to do it more formally in following events based on the experiences of the "Battenhelm Mobile Kitchen". And so evolved the "Guzzling Gargoyle", a name, to the best of my recollection, was coined by Gabriel ap Morgan, who otherwise had nothing to do with the tavern. ^
3. I had been known as a dancing fool, but I found this a bit much. The dance started fairly well, with a fair number of couples. As midnight passed, couples gradually drifted off. The dancemaster decided to retire, but as there were people still wanting to dance, left with me the boombox and tapes. Eventually it came down to two couples and me. And they still didn't want to stop and kept me at it, even though the only dance that could be still be performed was "Scotland the Brave". Finally as the sky started to lighten, someone came over and wanted to show the remaining couple something and so they left. After a minute or two I realized that I was alone. I took this opportunity to dive into the tent I was staying in and catch some sleep. Several hours later when it became too bright to sleep I got up only to find that remaining couple sitting across the way from my tent waiting for me to get up so they could resume dancing. I flatly refused. ^
4. One other incident occurred at this Valor, which though has nothing to do with Vítavia, I am often asked about. This is about the Friar Mug. That Friday night, three gentlemen were taking the late night shift at troll. They were David the Silent, Thorfinn Mjollnor, and Torin MacQuillon. As it was late at night with no traffic, they got to drinking. And they got very drunk. So drunk that one tried to lean against another for support, he lean against the third, who attempted to lean against the tree, under which the troll booth had been set, and missed. During this debauchery, a box appeared from behind them and set upon the table. A female announced: "This is for Friar Thomas". By the time the three had wits enough to turn around, the lady was gone. The next morning as I was walking by the troll booth, their replacement handed the box to me. Inside the Friar Mug, and a short note signed by "Annabel". Though the lady never revealed herself to me, I have by suspicions. ^
8. I do not know how many inches fell that night, but Cire had pitched his tent at the edge of one of the fields Friday afternoon. Saturday morning, he woke to find water literally lapping at the front of his tent. This proves that Vítavia was afflicted by wet events before Eleanor settled here. ^
9. Though he had a fine voice, Cire rarely sang. On one occasion he had sung "C'es Vous". Though he had not the ego of Lancelot, this song otherwise so matched his bearing that he got branded by it, and was plagued by people asking him to sing it, much to his dismay. ^
10. When the bandit leadership saw how few were going to fight with them, they attempted to call the whole thing off. The marshals in charge then pointed over to the large Vítavian contingent, told the brigands that they were hungry and would not take kindly to that suggestion. (The Vítavian forces alone outnumbered the brigands.) To give the brigands a hint of a chance, it was decided to collapse things down to a single bridge battle with the brigands holding the bridge. When the marshals cried ďLay onĒ, the brigands immediately leaped over the boundaries of the bridge. ^
12. It all starts with Barbarosa Jebez. That is my standard opening when discussing the Vítavian family tree. Barbarosa was a teenager who had a charming way with young women. They tended to adopt him as a younger brother. He eventually formed the Sisterhood of Jebez which comprised of these women. When the count reached 22, his parents called a halt to the process. The other element that made the family tree so complicated was it had become a Vítavian tradition to consider the heads of the households as the father of the members of that household. With 22 members, the Sisterhood of Jebez was represented in all the existing households, hence tying just about everyone together. A few years later this would get Baron Tedrick in trouble. In the case at hand, Jonquil was one of the sisters of Jebez. Erlich went up as her stepfather, Yves went up as the father of the sisterhood, and I went up representing the collective fatherhood of the households. This was unplanned and was hatched as the three of us sat in the back of court. Humpk was heard to mumble, as we came up, that ďthis barony gets weirder all the timeĒ. ^
13. This time Anthony Kansas. Both of these moves were the result of Aelfric trying to hold onto a job. They would later move to California in this search and stayed there for over a year before moving back. At neither place did the SCA presence extend beyond them. ^
14. This champion was unique in that it was not a strictly fighting competition. The candidates engaged in several competitions (fighting, archery, dancing, A&S, etc.) and were awarded points on how well they scored in each. The system was set such that it was possible for a non-fighter to win. As it turned out, the points were so evenly spread out that Elizabeth just choose who she wanted. ^
15. As we reduced this play to less then a half hour, you can tell how badly we chopped the play. We mostly used the comic pieces with just enough other scenes to keep the plot somewhat intact. The acting troupe was never very serious and was formed mostly to satisfy an itch by Yves Beauchasteau, who while he lived in Omaha was heavily involved in the amateur theater there. ^
16. There are many stories dealing with first crown, many of which put certain individuals in a bad light, hence Iím reluctant to relate them here. The grudging way in which the Midrelm let go of Calontir resulted in an underlying sense of tension at the event. Of the few Midrelm people there, only Duke Talymar left
behind a favorable remembrance. The events there also put, perhaps unfairly, a dark cloud over Chepeís reign. Mag Mor, where the event was held, also came out poorly. The area was hit that weekend by a snowstorm. The feastocrat was inexperienced and had planned to bar-b-que the meat outside. Needless to say this did not work well. Backup plans were nonexistent. Mammara asked Erlich to step to try to salvage the situation, but it was beyond even his ability. ^
17. Tymm was late in finishing the crowns, and did not leave for Mag Mor till Saturday morning. The snowstorm nearly prevented him from getting through. As it was, he barely arrived in time for the Coronation ceremony. While he faithfully produced the design requested, the design proved too fragile for regular use. So not long afterward a new set of crown were made and the originals were retired to be used only for Coronation. ^
Copyright © 1997 - present His Lordship Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno). All rights reserved.