Crown. Yeah. How 'bout that? I can give you the analysis right before i do Egils :)
It was full. It was busy. It was fun. It was frustrating. It was beautiful. It was heart-breaking. It was a hoot.
Oh yeah -- it was bloody freaking hot.
How about we just do this in Chronological order?
After the last-minute flurry of packing ("did I remember to pack...it's on my list....ah yes! yes it's here...what about? hey, did you guys get the ...?"), Cat and Raffe went off to site. I finished up at the house, tossed in my last few items, kept the cat (aka "Satan") in the house, despite her attempts to go outdoors, locked up and headed off to Lake Selmac myself. Trip without incidence.
So, set up my campsite and helped other people set up various sites. Helped Ekat and Fig with the field a bit before exhaustion set in. People were helping out and working together and it was going well. Raffe and Cat had a little mini-meeting with everyone onsite and we ended up with a plan for Friday.... I went to bed early to enjoy my solitude, as I had two Muggle Guests staying with me the whole weekend and I knew I'd be craving some solitude again before the end of the weekend. Now, I like spending time alone. If I don't get my alone-time, I get cranky. (This is different than spending my time lonely.) Alone-time is time to think and ponder and daydream and write and talk things through with myself. It's... processing time. My half-hour morning drive is an important part of my alone-time quotient. My Wednesday drives to Adiantum are, too.
Went to bed and slept the sleep of the tired and indulgent.
So...anyway. Friday morning. I woke around 6.30am? 7.00am? Ekat and Fig were already out and about working on setting up the Erics and camping field. .
I was irritated and took a leaf of advice from irismoonlight: "I love my friends. I want to keep my friends. So I'm going avoid my friends." I put my headset on and went to Ekat to get a job to do by myself, where I didn't have to talk to anybody and bite their heads off. I set up the camping in the field -- a great job to do with headphones and a hammer and some wooden stakes (Hi, I'm Buffy! See all my wooden stakes?)
I had suspected that, if the field was NOT laid out in time, the Biffie Delivery would be early. If the field WAS laid out, it would be late.
I was right.
Heh. I had all the areas marked off for Biffies by the time the truck arrived.
*I haz smartz*
People started arriving, to be welcomed and hugged -- although it was getting d*mned HOT. Almost too hot to hug people. Do you know what it takes to make me feel that way? Bleargh. So I did MUCH hugging. And people I hadn't seen in forever (like Phoebe! How's that for surpiiiiiiiisssseeeee! Wow. And she looks smokin' too...). And I was glad to see Tai (Tjorkill's squire) again. I wish I'd had the chance to fight her, as she'd offered. (I was just too exhausted and ill from heat. I couldn't do it.)
Finally, my Two Guests arrived. One (Crash) got the other half of my tent. The second (Edward) brought a Muggle tent and joined my encampment. I had a great little nucleus going on....We hung out for a while, did the loop for introductions, went to get food up at Gate, and Crash went off to see the Horsies with Yet Another Coworker, Earl Sir Daffyd. Edward and I chatted for a while about various things, I got Birthday Presents (yay chocolate!!) and then it was time for bed.
OMFG WTF the Hot HOT HOT!!!
104 Farenheit. And yes, I armored up and fought in Crown.
I like the new system the Heralds had, giving us our OP numbers and letting us arrange ourselves by it. Very sensible. And it avoids that insular self-referential "Fighting Titles Only" ... thang. (I still don't see how the consort's title is a fighting title. I know folks have tried to explain it to me. Just doesn't make sense to me. Sorry! I think if a Laurel's title doesn't count, I don't see how a Consort's does. It's just one of those things I've learned to go "Well, that's the SCA!"...)
The presentation to the Crown, the standing around in the lists, the Calling over the Squires to even the sides. Go Rodrigo! Go Cain! (Did any of you folks see Rodrigo's fight with Tiernan? Awesome. They went at it hammer and tongs and it was f*cking brilliant. You could see the energy just sparking off the two of them. And when Rodrigo got Tiernan? The sheer delighted laugh that Tiernan let loose? I was explaining the fight to a civilian/non-fighter and trying to explain the deep-in-the-gut "YES! hell YES!!" that a fight like that gives, not only to the participants, but to the observers, too.) I got to fight Cain, too. Gracious guy, great fight. He was fun.
The Challenge Round.
I like to pick people I have never faced before. I don't get this in Coronet, where I'm on the Challengee side, so at Crown I'm always hot to find someone new. I usually end up picking Avacalians, for some reason, but this time I got a Kingdom Centralite: Sir Daniel d’Antioche, the Kingdom Earl Marshal. Woot.
He knew my knight. And he knew my name, from the An Tir Fighters and Marshals lists. We ended up in the Chequey field, front and center, right before the Royal Pavilion.
I felt comfortable, easy, loose. My inspiration/dad, Raffe was there, with his usual serenity. One of the marshals was Duke James. The Herald was Master Fingall -- the man who is the reason I think Heralds are cool and not *expletive* like so many other people I talk to (have you HEARD some of the things people say about Heralds?!?!?!!) -- and replaced my "be nice to the heralds" version of Ambrose' name (Viscount Sir Ambrose Blackrose) with the proper one (Viscount Ambrosius Mavrorothakis Cabellerios). Which, strangely, affected the way I felt. It felt Right. and Proper. and Centering, that my Knight got His Due, too.
So, salute, salute, salute, lay on.
Dan reached in and got my leg and I snapped my offside head right at him. Got him, too. He just stood there. Because I was shaking my head at him, yelling, "No, Flat. FLAT!"
And it was.
I rolled the bloody shot over and smacked him with the flat of my blade, not the edge.
He asked Duke James, who said, "Yes. Flat. She called it right."
After that, we went at it again, I was down and in a bit, I was out.
On the way to reporting, Dan was shaking his head and said (something like): "You surprised me. I mean, I was expecting you to be fast, but not That Fast. Good fight."
That felt good.
I heard, on Sunday morning, after the Squires' Tourney, from someone else that Sir Dan had been talking at the party they were both at on Saturday night how "she surprised me, she was fast, and next I know, that sword's on my head and whooo! talk about a wake-up call"
Hot d*mn, yeah. I'll take that. :)
My second fight in Crown was on the same dang field, front and center, and I faced the ONLY other Roman in the lists. (yeah, go figure, eh?) Fun, though. I got legged (again! I swear people are going to start calling me "Durin"), but after that, it was the long slog it takes for people to kill me when I'm down.
After that, I was out of Crown, so I watched. Tjorkill was crashing under the same pavilion and fighting in the Argent Field right in front of it, so I got to see his fights (good to see him "on fire" again). He was fighting for Ffiona, a lovely lady from my shire, so I was excited to see him go pretty far.
After Round Four, Sir Brand started his Buy A Life Tourney, so Raffe bought me in and Brand and I started. We stood out in the sun and baked, then fought, then baked, then fought and managed to lure more people in. I got to fight probably about 6? 7? different people, over and over, including Knight-to-Be Cain. My fight with him was my best one all day, I think. I was on Automatic for shieldwork, with my little strapon round and -- you know what? legged, I apparently am hinged in four places at the waist, 'cause I was jinking all over the place. My defense with him was dodging and weaving and bouncing and flexing. I don't think he's seen that technique before :)
Vesta's Wierd Defense.
Probably end up as a Case Study some day. *g*
After he (eventually) offed me, he was panting, I was panting, and we both were grinning like maniacs. He had this gleeful grin in his voice when he said, "Good fight!"
I fought some more in the tourney, then, after a fight with... Ivarr Kean, I think, I suddenly felt like I was going to puke right through my grill. Stories of Skeggi flashed through my head and I swallowed and told the marshall (my Baron-to-Be Tadgh) that I was getting off the field Right Now. It was a race to get my helm off before I threw up in it. I had a moment of panic when I realized my hands would not open the buckle. I finally forced them to, got my helm off, and started dumping water over my head. The top of my skull was throbbing and hurting. My helm was hot enough to grill an egg on.
People poured water, ice water, over my head. They called a break in the tourney. I let them know I wasn't coming back out for a while. There are pictures of me from this and I am red faced. I look like I have scarlet fever or fell, facedown, in a pot of magenta dye. The skin on my neck is pallid and yellowed by comparision.
I never stopped sweating or needing to use the bathroom. I just couldn't function. My hands were shaking and I was on my hands and knees under the shade, trying to make sure I didn't heave anything up. If I breathed high and narrow, I was able to swallow the bile back down.
So I was done for a while. Which was a shame, because on my way back to my encampment, Tai asked if I was going to armor up and play more later, when it got cooler. I thought I could, so I said, "sure." Unfortunately, that wasn't going to happen. I had to go back later and apologize :( because I was actually done for the day.
And old friends.
That's the big stuff from that day.
I fought in the Squires' Tourney, as I always do, when at a Crown Event. I act the same way at every Squires' Tourney which, except for the chance to fight other women, is pretty much the same as at any other MeatGrinder. (Well, there's the reporting thing, but still...).
Squires' Tourney was fun. They were really careful of the fighters and the sun and the heat, which was nice. Lots of water, lots of breaks, even ICE! (Ice was blessed, Ice was good....) One of the fighters, Rhys (squire to Durin Oldenmoor), got bags of ice to the fighters and we were all flopped in the shade with ice chunks on our faces/throats/wrists or sucking them down to cool off. It seems so hard to believe that it was so hot!
I got to fight some great folks:
Aewodian(sp? Grendal's squire, who used to have all that FaceFur...) who has a fast and wicked greatsword. One of these days, I'll get him :)
Thegn Ulfgar (took the shortstick class from him at SoK -- dang, he's fun)
Lyotr (sp?) a squire with this fabulously decorated Celtoid armor
Sir Rustam, who pasted me, as always. I really, really need to fight him more, so I can get an idea of the arcs of his circles. They throw me off every time. I just don't have an understanding of his system...
Prinz Berek, and I blocked that back-of-the-head shot from him once, even! WOOT!
A couple of other squires -- some I won, some I lost. I didn't really report all my fights...
Sir Savaric, who has the COOLEST helm, I swear. That golden faceplate is awesome. Actually, I fought him twice. Once, on my request and the second time, after the break, he sought me out, saying "You! I want to fight YOU again!" (I admit, I actually looked around to see who he was pointing at *g* I didn't think it was me!) Both of our fights were long, drawn out to-the-teeth bouts. I don't think he'd seen the Vesta Defense before :) because he had a heck of a time getting through it. But Savaric was grinning -- I could hear it in his voice -- and said, "Great fight!" when he finally offed me.
After Squires' Tourney, I trundled back to my tent, got out of my gear and hopped into the shower. I'd gotten out of the shower and was putting my garb on when Fig bellowed for me to go to court. I'm all "Crap! What'd I do?"
I found out I'd one the chiv prize at the Tourney, which totally boggled me. Crown Prince Owain had some lovely things to say about that particular prize (I remember his words when HIS squire won, how he spoke to the populace and said that he thought his squire could attain no other award which would honor him so much as this one.)
I was flabbergasted and probably looked like a fish: ob ob ob
This is the third time I've received the Chivalry Prize at Squires' Tourney. I admit I didn't think that was very big of a deal until my conversation with His Majesty Cedric at Egils, this last weekend. He was talking about how he'd WON Squires' Tourney multiple times (six? I think he said? I was a bit tipsy at the time, so things are blurred), but he'd never gotten the Chiv Prize and how he wanted to and here I was, getting it three times.... Made me think about it a lot more. Like... why? Why some times, why not others? Why these times? And why myself?
The only thing I can think of, in common of the three times, is taking the time to notice how the civilians around the erics are doing. It's very easy, for us as fighters, I think, to take care of and with the other fighters in the field with us. And we are courteous to each other, and we are courteous to those watching, but I wonder how often and how much we actually pay attention to those watching. The past few years have really made me realize how so much of the SCA is fighter-centric (especially heavy fighter-centric) and that we even tend to define people in relation to what we are: there are fighters and non-fighters. We describe them by what they are not, in how they are not like us. Which shows a fascinating set of assumptions about the SCA default(s).
There are others, of course: Lady Fighter, Male Laurel, Rapier Fighter, ListMistress, Earl Marshal... what they say is that Women fighters are not the norm, Men are usually not Laurels, Heavy Fighters are the default, List Ministers are almost always women, Kingdom Marshals are usually male...
that's just one of those oddities of the SCA which fascinate me...I read ozarque
's journal and she, a linguist, talks about the pre-suppositions of a language and its culture. I guess I'm starting to see ours.
Over the past few years, I've started to really pay attention to the Populace -- to see them as something besides that pale blur on the outside of the field. (Of course, over the past few years, I've finally had contacts so I can do something besides Fight By Blur...maybe THAT has something to do with it, eh?) But you know? If I'M hot and sweaty on the field and need water, I'll bet the Waterbearers and the Heralds and the Marshals need some too. Maybe what we need is a little more observation? Or a little more empathy?
Maybe I need to stop blowing stuff outta my ear :)
Sunday night was my birthday party -- the Come As You Aren't Party. It's a tradition (now) to celebrate Vesta's Birthday That Way. I was prodded to cough up my new alternate persona (Ilsa is retired, you see) and I categorially refused.
Anybody remember the Summits Masque? Anybody remember MY role?
Yes, I brought out Sir Rod. Rod of the Horn. And his Enormous Codpiece.
It was fabulous.
People were stunned. One shire member was so helpless with laughter, she actually left the party.
Ekat made this beautiful cake and I got lovely prezzies (and CHOCOLATE!!!). One of the coolest ones was a Grendal knife! I know! I can't AFFORD a Grendal knife!! and now I CAN HAZ GRENDAL KNIFE!!!!
So the party went on for quite some time. Samurai Gardens brought over the remnants of their food (free sushi!!) and there was pizza and sandwiches and lots and lots of Yum! And Raffe got pickled on Aelfric's mead, and I had a great convo with one of the guys from the Western Marches, and I laughed so hard that I hurt my stomach muscles.
And Monday was pack up and go home.
So, a bunch of us closed out site and went to DQ :) Was much Yum!
Got home about 4pm, unpacked around 7pm, and went to bed. It was time to prepare for Egils....