Friday evening was the usual; catch up with people I haven’t seen in a long time, and get to know a few new people, both of which was lovely. Of course I sat in the hall and made progress on my sewing as I did. This project is a Viking Age tunic in Byzantine style, inspired by one Keldor had seen at Drachenwald 30 Year Coronation, and said “I want one”. Since I had a super busy autumn I didn’t get a chance to really start working on it till 1 January, so there was a fair bit more to do by the start of the event. Even so, after the knight’s meeting ended, and the Royal meeting room was available (21:15), I set aside Keldor’s tunic in progress, and joined the Coronation clothes sewing party in that room, where I had lots of fun sewing meters worth of possament that her Royal Highness had made to the dress she would wear the next day. I didn’t manage to get all of it done, but when I finally put the project down at 04:45 Saturday morning I had both dragon heads and some of their upper body done (including beads for their eyes), which seemed to be good symbolism–the dragons are just starting to rise out of the ocean (blue dress) at the start of their reign, but will become more and more visible as it progresses. One of the fun bits of the evening was around 01:40, when their soon to be Majesties heard that I had gotten Keldor’s tunic *mostly* good enough to wear for morning court, but that it would be good to change out some safety pins for basting threads, and do a better job tacking down the edges of a couple of bits. Since they had plans for Keldor in court they happily helped me with that basting, as I kept going with her dress, and both outfits were wearable for court!
Most events it is Keldor who is up talking until 04:00 or 05:00, and I who goes to bed around midnight. Therefore I got a few comments from people who were on their way to bed and saw me still up and sewing, hours after Keldor had given up and went to sleep (the generosity of Erich Olavsson Haane with tasty things to drink certainly contributed to Keldor’s readiness to sleep). Strangely, even though I was getting tired by 04:00, it was more knowing that I *should* sleep for a while before morning court that got me to put the project down. That and how tired the others (who were working on Stigot’s Coronation tunic) looked. Therefore, when they finished that tunic and I was at a good pause point for Lofnheiðr’s dress, I put it down, did my yoga, and went to bed.
I woke on Saturday with energy and in a happy mood, despite the short hours of sleep. Keldor wasn’t quite so chipper. I told him how late I had been up sewing for Lo, and then suggested that he put on his new tunic for morning court. His first reply was “I don’t have a new tunic”, as he was convinced I couldn’t possibly have managed to finish enough to wear it whilst I was sewing someone else’s clothes. I smiled, took it out of the bag, handed it to him, and said “yes you do”. His surprise was so much fun! We got dressed and went up to the hall, where Lofnheiðr asked me “have you shown him the photo yet?”, he said “what photo?” to which I replied:
And he laughed and confessed that he now understands how I was able to pull off making it wearable while doing her sewing. Soon it was time for court, wherein Sven and Siobhan gave out some backlog scrolls, then some well-deserved awards, including a Queen’s order of Courtesy for Ellisif, and an Albion for Vilhelm.
The Coronation was wonderful. First Stigot came in to claim his due, and they asked who will reign by his side, so he answered as in the old sagas:
Then in came the answer to his riddle, the wise and beautiful Lofnheiðr, standing tall upon a shield, being carried by four strong warriors. I really loved the effect, even though I knew it was coming, having heard mention of the plan the night before.
They did the usual Coronation ceremony, with Sven and Siobhan Crowning their heirs in unison, followed by fealty from all the usual officers, peers, and anyone else who wanted to swear. Then they surprised Keldor with a writ, and their first court was over. After court there was a bit of time to congratulate people before lunch, and then Keldor and I went upstairs to get him into the armour he’d borrowed from Sir Jon so he could enter the Queen’s Champion tournament. That accomplished I got my own lunch, and looked in at the market. Someone was selling a pair of orange hose in a lovely twill fabric that I thought Keldor would like. Since he and I have no problem wearing one another’s trousers I tried them on, saw that they were a good enough fit, and took one leg with me to show Keldor, to see if he was interested. Yes, yes he was, so I did a quick quest for the seller, which turned out to be easy, as he was armouring up right next to us. He agreed to trade us that pair of orange hose, and a pair of dark grey/blue with thin red lines making a diamond pattern (much more my colour) for either one of Keldor’s knives, or, if Keldor is willing, a period-style awl. (He has since sent us a sketch and some documentation for the awls, and Keldor will try making a handful to see how they go–forging at that small of a scale has its challenges, but he thinks he will be able to do it, and it sounds like a fun challenge).
Because I was upstairs for the tournament I didn’t really get to participate in the Peer Garden–I did take one of the flowers, but while I spoke to many delightful people, some of whom were at their first event, no one asked me any questions that are at all related to Order of the Laurel. I would have liked to have actively participated, but I didn’t wish to miss the salutes from my champion during the tournament. Keldor had a lot of fun in the tourney. He did get a minor injury–the first loaner helmet didn’t fit him quite properly, so that one face shot brought something into contact with his forehead. He didn’t notice that it had done any actual damage till later, when he was out of the helmet for a break, and Jon noticed the darkness of the fabric on Keldor’s forehead, and wondered if that was blood or sweat. We lifted up the fabric, and saw that, yes, he was bleeding. So Jon suggested that Keldor use the other loaner helmet (which Keldor had repaired last summer so that Jon would have an extra loaner helm), so he did, and there were no further problems. After his shower we found a bandaid in the building first aid kit that was a brilliant shade of dayglow yellow/green that he wore for a couple of hours, before changing it out to a smaller round one in a bright shade of happy blue, just exactly big enough to cover the small hole in his head, which has since healed up nicely.
After the tournament I was feeling super tired, and seriously contemplated heading back to the cabin to take a nap, even though I knew that if I did I would likely sleep through next court. However, then I saw Aethstan, who was arranging the shuttles to the train station the next day, and realized that I really shouldn’t put off making those plans any longer, so waved at him, and he started to come over, and just then a couple of new people came up to him with a question. That totally takes precedence, so I sat and waited. Their conversation took long enough that after he came and helped me figure out what time we needed to get the train in order to be at the airport in good time, and thus what time we needed a shuttle in the morning, it was time to rearrange furniture for afternoon court, so I didn’t go back to the room, but instead helped a little with set up, and then settled down into a seat up front, and resumed work on the embroidery stitch around the trim on Keldor’s new tunic (after fighting he’d put on an older silk tunic, which is also lovely, just not as blingy).
I was very glad to have attended court–I was tired enough I can’t recall every award, but I recall the joyful surprise shown by Aelric of Battle when he was chosen as Queen’s champion (for extreme chivalry and joy displayed under the tournament), and his surprise when the Knights pulled him from behind the throne and presented him to their Majesties to be presented with a Writ to contemplate joining the order of Chivalry. I was very pleased, as when they called for the Knights, and it was clear that “their number is not complete”, my mind went through the list of unbelted fighters who had participated in the tournament that day, and came to the conclusion that Aelric was a good choice before the choice was revealed. There was also much joy for the Writ to contemplate joining the Order of the Pelican for Alienor de Salignac, but I wasn’t close enough to see her reaction, and I don’t recall any sort of humorous set up for that one. I will blame my then-sleepy state for my inability to remember the other awards from that court, but I do know that they were all well deserved.
For the feast they had tried a new thing–making it possible to sign up to sit in a specific place by filling in your name on a seating chart in advance, which I gather worked very well for some people, and not at all for those who were late to find out about it and thus the parts of the hall where they would have chose to sit (if they had known about it on time) were no longer available. It didn’t really matter for me–all of the feast servers were sitting together at one table, which was longer than we needed, and our head server wrote our names randomly on that table long before I knew the sign up was a thing, but told us all that it didn’t matter where at the table we sit, so long as we kept the space at the end closest to High Table for the mother of the two children who had been invited to sit at High Table with their Majesties. On the chart the spot reserved for the mother was the right hand corner of the table, so when it came time to put out feast gear I put stuff for Keldor on the left corner, and a little extra stuff next to him to mark a spot for me. Then we reported for duties as servers, got our (plastic) holly wreath crowns so that people could easily see who is serving (and the two servers for high table also got wings, because wings).
When we went to sit down after serving the first course, there was a lady sitting alone at our end of the table eating from the feast gear we had put out for Keldor. It turned out that she was the mother of the children sitting at high table. She had been told she would sit at that end of the table, and that feast gear would be provided, so she made the logical guess that the place I had set up was for her. I assured her she was very welcome to continue using that feast gear, and went and got a second set from Maggie’s box so that Keldor could eat (we hadn’t brought any ourselves, as we flew carry on, so Maggie brought her extra sets for us), and we had a wonderful time chatting with her during the feast. (The next day I found out that when Aethstan went to that table with the feast gear she was meant to borrow, he saw what looked like a single serving already set up for her, assumed that someone else had already taken care of it, and put his set away.)
During the feast there was pleasant conversation, randomly interspersed entertainment, a small bit of court business (mostly thanking the kitchen crew) and the traditional toasts. The three act play was very silly, which feels like a terrible thing to say about a tragedy in which everyone save the Little White Kitten with the Pink Paddy Paws (the title character) dies, but it kept us laughing, even through the multiple deaths. The other entertainment was a live action explanation of why the event tokens contained both a carp and a goat, and when Aethstan called for volunteers to be the Fine, Upstanding Citizens of the town I was one of them that came forward, and we had fun being Fine and Upstanding, and all the other things that Aethstan’s narration called for. This was in marked contrast with the people chosen to play the Terrible Folk besieging our town. Luckily, our town had the goat (Duchess Siobhan), who did a beautiful goat-dance on the town ramparts to convince the invaders that we still had plenty of food, despite weeks of siege, and they departed, leaving us in peace. (I think you had to be there…)
Aethstan had made some announcements during the course of the feast, and for the last one said “this is the last announcement”, and everyone applauded.
After the last course of the feast was served I was feeling super tired and ready to go to bed, and said as much. Then I saw Aethstan providing bunny ears, tails, bow ties, and glasses with fake noses and mustaches to a few topless men who were getting ready to clean the kitchen, and I hurried over to join them, took of my tunic, added the accessories, and we all (a rabbit-eared Laurel, a rabbit-eared Pelican, a rabbit-eared Knight, and a cat-eared Little White Kitten with Pink Piddy Paws) marched/danced one lap around the hall singing about how the party is starting in the kitchen. This was a creative way to call attention to the fact that we needed help in the kitchen, without doing one more announcement. Then we went to the kitchen and started cleaning, and singing, and having lots of fun. Some people laughed at us, but others joined us for the kitchen cleaning party. I stayed in that party till I had put all of the leftover food I could find into bags or bowls in the fridge, and started cleaning work surfaces. Then I stepped in a puddle deep enough to soak right through my nålbinded socks, and decided I had had enough. So I went back to the hall, returned the bunny accessories, and put my tunic on. Then Keldor mentioned that they were dancing upstairs, so I hurried upstairs and danced. So much fun!
I eventually went to bed at 01:00, which meant I had enough sleep to be able to pack up early enough to be able to help with a bit of cleaning in the hall before we needed to leave for the train station. All in all it was a wonderful event, and I enjoyed every minute of it!
The flight home involved two trains and four flights, but we made every connection, and managed to get home not long after midnight, and spent a good ten minutes after going to bed telling one another what a wonderful event it had been, and sharing reminances.
Thanks to Tova, and Estrid for the use of their photos.