Thursday, August 25, 2016

Seven Pearls..."Hael" to the Champions!

On the sunny weekend of August 20th Her Excellency and I had the pleasure of attending the first (now annual) Seven Pearls Championships. This year the event was hosted by the Barony of St. Swithin's Bog. Normally the Seven Pearls competitions are held at separate events during the year, but it was decided recently to combine these into a single event. Running an event (let alone a new event) is no easy task. Adding to that was the challenge of running an event the week after Pennsic. It is easy to think such an event could end in disaster, but not so in this case! The Barony of St. Swithin's Bog stepped up to the task and ran a successful, well organized, and fun event.

The event was designed to showcase each competition individually and the Baronage and populace moved from spot to spot to watch each tournament in turn. Normally at events there is so much going on at once it is easy to miss things, but here each tourney was given its own time and spectators did not have to pick and choose what they watched. Not only was this nice for the spectators, but it gave all the champions the full attention they deserved. The pace was relaxed and allowed for a fair amount of pageantry as each champion was processed and heralded into their tournament.

In addition to the tournaments the day was filled with great food, served both list-side and in the hall during lunch. If you went home hungry it was your own fault. The Barony of St. Swithin's Bog also hand crafted banners (pictured upper right) for each of the Barony's that not only served to decorate the list fields but then was presented as gifts to the Barons and Baronesses. The meal was topped off with a wonderful cake that displayed the heraldry of each Barony done in sugar candy. Both elements created such a personal touch to the pageantry of the day and  a great keepsake.

Even with six competitions to complete all the fun was handily wrapped up (even stopping for a lunch break) in time for court. Court was certainly a treat as each of the Seven Baronies held a small court during which each Barony handed out a scroll for one of the tournaments. I think it is safe to say the tradition of this new event will continue on next year as the hosting duty moved to the Barony of Endless Hills. I am disappointed that I will not be on the throne when the event finally makes it way to the Rhydderich Hael (but honestly I am thinking of autocrating).

A personal note to each of our competing champions: 

Heavy Weapons: Duke Sir Maynard von dem Steine

Magnus: Your Grace it was truly a pleasure to have you represent the Barony in the heavy weapons tournament. As always you conducted yourself with honor and skill, and your words to us at the end I will always remember. Thanking you for taking time out of your busy weekend to do us proud and congratulations on your victory!

Miriel: What really moved me was seeing the joy on your face as you lined up with us as the champions were herald in for the heavy competition, with each victory on the list your heartfelt bow to his Excellency and I, and true passion and excitement in your eyes as you spoke to us when the tourney was complete. Emotion has always been a big part of my experiences in the society and your journey that day will always be a highlight for me.

Bardic: Lady Brigette de Sainte Mere-Église

Magnus: Lady Brigette your performance was powerful and moving as I knew it would be. You delivered your song with not only skill but with passion, and while I am not a bard I know that is not easy to do in front of a crowd. You did the Barony proud that day!

Miriel: Your song took my breath away! When we spoke about what you should chose to sing and you picked the one you did, I read the words and never realized how they would affect me when performed by you. Thank you for the thought and emotion you gave to us in your performance, you made my heart quake for just a few moments and I will never forget it.

Fencing: Minamoto Roku-i Sakurako

Magnus: Saku I know the day did not go the way you wanted it to but you conducted yourself with honor and grace. You may have not won the day, but you won the hearts of the people. This is the second time I have seen you compete and the second time you received recognition for your talent and dedication. We could not have asked for more in a Champion. Vivat!

Miriel: So much was said to you as the day progressed, so I know you have heard all about your strength and determination. I want to speak about how when your were at a low, all of the people who came to your aid. You shine so brightly and have affected so many, they flocked to see that you were cared for, never forget the reach your spirit has to the people around you, it is seen.

Thrown weapons: THL Eleanore Godwin 

Magnus: Eleanore your performance was truly one to behold. Not only did you throw with a high level of skill (tying for second in the tourney) but I could tell you had a great time doing it. Everything about you that day showed your confidence and pride.

Miriel: You joked that You and another thrower were the "oldest" competitors out there, but I think you missed; experience, skilled, dedicated.. etc. I loved watching as you got a good throw and you would swagger to the target knowing that you had thrown your best. You showed how you knew your skill and were never afraid to be proud of it, something I love to see in any female competitor in any martial skill.

Arts & Science: Lord Wolfgang Starcke 

Magnus: I was very happy to see your skill as brewer represented in the Arts and Science competition. I know it is an uphill battle for brewers when it comes to finding venues to display your work. You did not disappoint. It was agreed on during the judging that the skill of each competitor made it hard to make a choice.You should be proud, we are.

Miriel: Wolfgang you listened to your crazed Baroness and submitted a beverage, that alone makes you awesome (and it tasted so good to, I need a bottle). I wanted the brewing arts to have a representative and knew you would be the best one to do it.  However there is more, the fact that you drove so far and were right there to set up our thrones before you even thought to set up your own display was not lost to me, you are always there serving before yourself. Thank you!

Archery: Lady Siobhan Readnait 

Magnus: Lady Siobhan I know you had a a nervous day but you performed wonderfully. I have a personal connection to the archery part of the Seven Pearls having stumbled into being champion not long ago. I was equally nervous but unlike me you displayed a great level of skill (I'm not sure I hit a single target when I did it). I am proud of you and the Barony should be as well.

Miriel: I knew from the moment you declared yourself as wanting to be our archery Champion you would excel. What I loved the most was you being our champion caused you to push yourself, learn more, and shot harder then you ever have. To see a champion grow because they wanted to do us proud, is something I love to see as a Baroness and hope to see more of in the future. The day of Seven Pearls you had nothing to fear because you had already shown how wonderful a Champion and archer you were. Vivat!

Great job everyone and Hael Yeah!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Magnus's Pennsic 2016 top ten!

1: Fighting and fencing in all the major battles. I set a goal to not only fight heavy but also to fence in all the major battles during Pennsic. A bit better planning might have saved me some back and forth trips to camp but in the end I was able to achieve that goal.

2: Hael Camp: I was really looking forward to camping this year. It was not only my first year camping with the Hael but it was also my first year as the Baron of the Hael. Camp was well run, casual, and a ton of fun. We had more than one setback that might have broken the morale of lesser camps, but the Hael stepped up and made it happen. I look forward to camping there again next year.

3: Vanessa made it! My girlfriend Vanessa is new to the SCA and this Pennsic was meant to be her first. Sadly her new job limited her time off and she almost didn't make it. Happily we managed to get her there for a weekend and we enjoyed some archery, some shopping, and some sights.

4: Baronial Pot-Luck: Okay most people who know me know how I feel about pot lucks…that being said the Hael Pot Luck dinner Thursday of war week was one my war favorites. Food was great, company was great, and we even had a wonderful musician perform during dinner.

5: New Guy Troy! In the months
leading up to Pennsic Troy and I excitedly planned to fight side by side wearing Hael colors. Troy had a hell of a Pennsic. His tent leaked, everything he owned got soaked, he threw his shoulder out, and I think his leg armor broke. I mean it was a dog pile of bad news. However it did not keep him down. He helped in camp, helped us in Kingdom court, carried our gear to the Seven Pearls dinner, and still managed to sneak in a last day of fighting.

6:  Fencing with the “Hael Cats”: So this year Her Excellency had the idea of forming a Hael fencing unit and Pennsic was the first time the unit took the field. This was certainly her brain child and was organized under the watchful eye of the unit’s Commander Wolfgang Starke. For my part it was great to see the unit line up and hit the field the first time. I had a blast running around with them, though I suspect I was the undisciplined wild child of the group. One Highlight of the fencing that week was fighting alongside Sean Lapham. It was his first time out in a melee and we had a blast chilling people. Quote of the fencing: “Magnus: Pick a fight that looks good and then we are going to walk in there like we own the joint”…and in we go!

7: That hot steamy weather! just kidding f*ck you weather.

8: Seeing so many friends: In my short time in the SCA I have made friends from all over the world and Pennsic is the one time I am guaranteed to see most of them. I know I didn’t get to everyone, which makes me sad. Oddly enough some of people who live closest to home I missed and a couple I didn’t even know made it Pennsic. Such a big and small world simultaneously.  Oh well next year!

9: Seven Pearls dinner: This was my second year attending the Seven Pearls Dinner and this year did not disappoint. This year the dinner was hosted by the Barony of Blackstone Mountain and they pulled off a heck of a shindig. Not sure I had a need to eat for two days. When I finally step down I will miss the Pearls diner and in a way I am sad the Hael will not host it while I reign.

10: That first shower when I got home: Hey why lie? There is nothing better than that first shower with no need for shower shoes and no worry about cold water.

Great Pennsic everyone! See you all next year.