Sunday, April 26, 2009

Beltane at Grey Niche

The Younger Son tied for 2nd place in the rapier tournament at Beltane, a week-end event hosted by the Barony of Grey Niche. The competition was fierce, and I am proud of his success. I think the winner went undefeated, and The Younger Son's only loss was to him. I was impressed that our Baron and Baroness remained for the rapier competition and didn't leave the field after the heavy fighting was completed. That attention was noticed and the honor appreciated. If only we could get decent attendance at the weekly fighter practices, but, alas, often The Younger Son is the only rapier fighter present. Work schedule plays havoc with the ability of the other most regular fencer's ability to come.

I was unable to locate the Herbal Guild class scheduled for yesterday afternoon. I stayed at the field to watch Savelli defeat a challenger for the Iron Ring, and it was after the time stated for the class to begin before I went in search of it. I didn't see any signs. The class was listed on the schedule as being in one of the classrooms in the main building, but I couldn't find classrooms. I asked several people, but most seemed unaware the class was being held at all, much less where I might find it. Herbs is an area where I could see myself taking a real interest, but the only connection I can find is a small yahoo group with little traffic, and I've moved away from yahoo groups as a method of communicating. If it looked like there was much discussion there I guess I might try it, but as it is... I see no mention of an Herbal Guild at the Grey Niche site, and no listings for programs for the Arts and Sciences meetings, so I can't tell if that guild does anything regularly around here or only for events. The information at the web site doesn't appear to have been updated in some time (for example: the times listed for Sunday afternoon fighter practice are at least 2 years out of date; the newcomers handbook still lists us as being in the Kingdom of Meridies), so the lack of information on Herbal Guild activities doesn't mean they don't have them. I'm sure someday I'll figure out how to connect with them.

This event was our first experience of a royal court. We weren't sure where we should situate ourselves, as I didn't want to presume on space meant for others, so we sat behind the area that had been roped off for the fighters. That put us way in the back. We were unable to hear much, both because the voices of the folks making the announcements didn't carry well that far back and because the people grouped behind us and to our right were talking and laughing throughout the ceremony. What we could see was impressive, but we're still not sure what we were seeing.

The feast was late, not starting until 7:30-ish. The feast hall was beautifully decorated, and lots of people had wonderful table settings with cloths and candles and tableware fit for a, well, fit for a feast! The entertainment was fun. The barony has some talented singers. The food was good and plentiful. Too plentiful, actually, and I felt bad about how much of it must have gone to waste. I heard someone say the feast had sold out, but there were several empty seats scattered through the hall. We, again, sat in the back away from the head table. 3 others joined us there, one of whom had never been to an event before. He was with a couple who have apparently not been active recently as I heard someone ask the man where he had been and say he had been missed. Our new feast gear seemed appropriate and served us well. It would have been nice to have had a candle, but I didn't think of that before-hand.

Another thing I didn't think of before-hand was a flashlight. After the feast was over we went outside into the darkness. As we got further from the lights of the building we realized we were leaving behind the only lights. It got darker as we went in the direction of the car, but we remembered that the drive where the other cars were parked led into the parking lot at Troll where our car was. We walked along, keeping the parked cars to our right and we reached our car without trouble. There was, of course, a small flashlight in my glove compartment. Brilliant. I think I'll put a flashlight in the basket with the feast gear. Seeing it will remind me to put batteries in it, and we can walk in greater comfort next time.

I'm glad we went, but, honestly the SCA reminds me a lot of church. If you already know what's going on you don't think about how foreign everything seems to newcomers. And, though people are happy to answer questions if you ask, it's hard to know what to ask. That said, though, it was a fun event and enjoyable even for an outsider like me.

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