I haven’t been posting much because I’ve been completely overwhelmed with Battlemoor prep, but now that it’s behind me, I can catch my breath and think a little bit and get some things written down. Battlemoor is magic, and I do not want to let it slip away.
I assisted on setup crew for BMII and ran III and IV setup, so this was the first time since the first time that we arrived on site late on Wednesday, everything already up, pavilions lit, a fantastical Brigadoon rose up out of nothingness. The nostalgia was incredibly intense.
Thursday morning I jumped right into the thick of it; I ran static A&S displays on Artisan’s Lane all week, and we had two tracks, a morning rank-based track and an afternoon theme-based track. The displays were small but mighty! A small number of fantastic entries in each one, and mission accomplished: a number of solid connections made between people interested in learning an art and someone masterful at it.
Thursday afternoon, I taught my first class – Baltic Persona Development – and discovered something about myself as a teacher: I really need warmup time. Despite knowing the material like the back of my hand, I was really flustered, inconsistent, and inarticulate for the first fifteen minutes before really hitting my stride. Thanks to Mistress Rozsa for asking really GOOD QUESTIONS to get the ball rolling!
I spent Friday alternating between A&S and trying to get back to camp to spend as much time as possible prepping for our in-camp party. Everything came together just in time and then we walked across the street to get our names on the vigil waiting lists for Kiara and Alamanda, and find out what Camp Wandering Dragon wanted to talk to us about. What they wanted to talk about, it turned out, was an offer of induction into the household. There was accepting, there were lots of tears and hugs, and then a large chunk of Wandering Dragon came back over to Villaleon to join on the party. Which – we think – carried on until about 2am. So much booze! So many stories! So much laughter! Solar powered fairy lights and multicolored hanging lanterns in the woods! It was wonderful, and Saturday morning was a little draggy; I got back up to the display tent a little late, still with breakfast and coffee in hand.
And ended up tearing out of there when summoned, to consort for a young man from Ansteorra. It was my first time walking as a consort, and such a perfectly SCA type of moment – be introduced in a rush and flurry to a total stranger, process before the Crown with him, watch him fight, and cheer for him. He died, but he did it with flair, and he made me laugh.
Then back to camp to bring lunch and hydration for Juan, who was running cards for the Sword and Shield of Battlemoor Tourney, and then various running small errands and pitching in, then being drafted to help listmistress the Newcomers’ Tourney, which was a delight. So many enthusiastic new fighters! So much valor! It was a thing of beauty and joy and I was honored to be part of it. Then back to the main list table to pitch in again during the spear tourney, and then suddenly all the fighting was over and it was a scramble to be ready for Court. But first –
SISTERS. Her Grace Berengaria took as her third current apprentice Morgan Cheyney, a friend for a long time, collaborator in artistic shenanigans, and all-around awesome woman. I couldn’t be happier to have her in the family and I was giddy that Merry was able to be there too. I have sisters! The seed of the dream that took root on the fringes of House Herava all those many years ago, watching the interactions of the women of that household, has come to blossom.
And then Grand Court, the peak of spectacle and drama. Six kingdoms represented. Hundreds of populace in the audience. Because we were scrambling to get Morgan’s belting done before Court, we ended up with seats well in the back, and there was no hope of seeing or hearing much of anything except the pronouncements of the herald, so I was distracted with fringe chatter when I felt the shift in the energy of the crowd that caused me to look up and see my Laurel standing halfway down the aisle, calling my name.
The next few minutes are both dreamlike and crystal-clear in my memory. I remember hearing the word “Laurel,” remember the Queen’s perfect read on my state of mind and sudden plunge into thoughts of planning and logistics and how-can-we-make-this-work, how-much-time-do-I-have – “at some future date of your choosing – I’m thinking Coronation? Yes?” Remember being half-carried back down the aisle to the crowd of people waiting for hugs. Other vivid snippets, the connective tissue between them a blur.
At some point I realized that we all still needed to eat, so back to camp, planned side dishes completely disregarded, sausages on buns and lifted straight off the grill on forks. Much protein, good. Back to the giant Saturday night Atenveldt party, where I was passed around, plied with booze, hugged, spoken to, for hours. The party really is completely a blur. There was sleep eventually, and then the light of day, and (it was a surreal, recursive interlude, and returning to the business of the event was not unlike the feeling of returning from the event home to the day-to-day world) back to the business of the event and the work that needed done.
Because Saturday had gone so completely differently than planned, I never had time to get back and finish pre-warping the looms for my cardweaving class, so I hauled them all up to A&S early in the morning and got help from the young woman I’d been chatting with all weekend getting them (mostly, imperfectly) warped before the class. Early arrivals pitched in, and we got everything set up in time to start the actual weft instruction on time. The class was a blast! It’s a hard, hard technique, one that I spent many months reverse-engineering from extant pieces and bad Internet instructions, and I would have been delighted if anyone at all left with the beginnings of a grasp on it, but several people did.
I finally made it out to the merchants at noon on Sunday, bought some jewelrymaking pieces, bought a beautiful black engraved pottery cup, bought some lunch, finally caught up with Bronwen, my very best local friend who I kept missing the night before, had a few quiet minutes in camp with Berengaria to pin down some elevation questions. Then back to A&S, again, and the last display of the event. At the end, I caught a couple of hours in the glass tent, finally getting the taste of lampworking that I’ve been promising myself for fifteen years. A dozen or so beads, a basic core set of skills to be expanded on… sometime later. A quick trip up to Cygnet House Camp to finally deliver a birthday gift that kept missing its intended recipient, and an invitation to come back later. Back to camp, dinner, a bit of quiet downtime with shire members, which stretched on into the dark, and we abandoned our plans to get some packing done and instead gathered up a couple of bottles and headed back up the hill to Cygnet – not more than an hour! which turned into a couple of hours, but still a reasonable return to camp and bed and early up and SO MUCH PACKING and then, all rather suddenly, the last bits were up and done and we were in the truck, waving goodbye, and down the road.
Not enough pictures. I meant to take pictures, and I meant to spend some time sketching, and it never happened. All the pictures are in my head.
Not enough time in camp. Not enough time with certain people (Merry! Bronwen!) but oh, so much wonderful time with other people I see not nearly as often enough. Not enough time in the merchants. Never got to Kiva Han at all. Never got to archery at all. Never saw a melee.
Some projects left undone and camp improvements we would have liked to have had. Getting hit by the wave and arriving somewhat disorganized, and just going downhill from there. (See: unwarped looms!)
Best investments: Another kitchen table, those frivolous and wonderful fairy lights, Juan’s Viking day garb, my Lipkowie Tatar coat (which turned out – upon looking through some persona research pictures that I hadn’t looked at in a while – to also be the perfect shape for later-period Curonian. And fabulously flattering and comfortable.)
Awesome in hindsight: many conversations that did not draw my attention at the time, but looked very different after Saturday night!
Unexpected awesome: Well, Laurel. Besides that, probably the absolute highlight of the event was the glory that was the Newcomers’ Tournament.
Every bit as awesome as expected: Morgan’s belting. I’m so full of happy.
If I do nothing else different next year: Try to avoid commitments before 10-11am. 9am sounds like a reasonable time to start the day, but that means a 6:30 rise to garb, wash, coffee, breakfast, do camp chores, spend a little time with my people, re-check the schedule and make a plan for the day. And 6:30 sounds reasonable – it’s my usual rise time at home – but at home, I usually don’t drink and carouse with my friends until 2am several nights in a row. Usually.
Two tracks of displays is really too much for one person to run; there just wasn’t enough time for all of the rest of the event. One person could do all the displays in three tracks on two days (Friday and Sunday?) or fewer displays altogether, or it’s a two-person job.
And now straight on to what’s next, which is Academy of Grace and Valor, and from there to Coronation.