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The Fifteenth Year

Baron's Championship Tournament -- Eskalya
September 13-14, 1980 (AS XV)

From The Page (September, 1980):

September the 13th Eskalya will seek its new Baronial Champion at Shady Lane Lodge (Anchorag, Alaska). The lists will be followed by a quest honoring the heros of ancient and far-off lands, and an evening of courtly feasting and entertainment. On the Sunday following the court will proceed out upon a hunt for the Autumn Stag.

A Royal Round will be shot during the two-day evening; a brewing pentathlon, a fencing demonstration, players guild presentations, and courtly dancing are a few of the event's entertainments.

Anyone interested in attending should immediately contact the Eskalyan Chatelaine, Lady Sharane de Kondrak (contact info omitted).

From The Page (November, 1980):

During the 13th and 14th days of September, Baron Hugh of Eskalya had the great honour of welcoming King Radnor and Queen Esmirelda of the West to the strife and festivities of his tournament which twice yearly determines his Champion. Came also to the celebration several of the Shire of Winter's Gate under bond of truce, and some members of the scattered Freehold of Selviergard.

The morning of the tourney dawned with a dismal drizzle but none of the company were daunted. The fighters and their ladies were presented to Their Majesties. Then to the field went all the armed heroes. Chief among them was one called only "The Unknown Knight from the West" who was victor in all his encounters. He won the heart of many an Eskalyan lady by his noble bearing, comely visage, and the graceful manner in which he saluted Her Majesty before each encounter.

The Lists began about noon. After much combat, Guy the Terrible faced Lord Kylson Skyfyre in the final round. Kylson came unscathed from the bout to claim the title of Queen of Love and Beauty of the Barony for his Lady Aryana, and the duties of Baron's Champion as his own right.

Soon after these events, when the company supped lightly in the hall, it became widely rumored that a magic amulet, guarded by an accursed power, could be had for the questing of it. Those who went seeking this amulet found their paths with all number of hazards - speaking (when they spoke) in verse. In spite of all trials, seven amulets were gained, bringng much good magic to the Barony, to Winter's Gate, and even to the West.

That night Baron Hugh ordered his tables spread and invited Their Majesties to preside over a repast of two fabulous removes, including Eskalyan-made sausages, fowl, salat, breads, cheeses, almonds, roast pork with fruit sauce, salmon, rainbow trout, bear, quiches and tarts, stuffed vegetables and sweet tarts.

Only after everyone was rolled from the table and somewhat comfortable, did Their Majesties hodl court. Awards of Arms went to Micheil Younger an Alltan, Hirsch von Henford, Alanbane the Ranger, Richard the Dutchman, Valija Onsdatter, Kafyre Fathersdaughter, Annora of Shadowood, Falchion, Kylson Skyfyre, and Aryana Silknfyre. Leaves of Merit were awarded to Baron Hugh McGlammoraga of the North, Baroness Selenia of Silverwood, Lord Dairun ap Gwynedd, Lady Victoria Selentre, Lord Ragnar Blackspruce, Lady Marya Nordama of Blackspruce, and Lady Morgana n'ha Keridwen. The excitement had barely subsided when Lady Sharane de Kondrak was called forward and created to the Order of the Pelican. Her Majesty Queen Esmirelda then awarded the Queen's Order of Grace to Lady Aryana Silknfire, and the Queen's Cypher to Mistress Sharane de Kondrack.

Lord Ragnar Blackspruce was called before the throne, where he was knighted at the hands of King Radnor. The cheers for the new knight were sustained and heartfelt and on this happy note court was ended.

To relax themselves after the trying day, Eskalyans and their Royal Guests threw themselves before the fireplace and spoke of love, honour, beauty, and great deeds done. Much eloquence passed before Lord Kylson was finally chosen by Her Majesty as having spoken most chivalrously and well to the question: "May a Lord be husband and lover both to his Lady?" His name is thus the first to be written upon the Baronial Scroll of Chivalry.

In the morning, Fyodor, Baron Hugh's Master of the Hunt, entered the hall with sign that stag could be found in the wood nearby. Baron Hugh ceded to King Radnor the position of seigneur of the hunt, and His Majesty ordered that the panoply of the chase be assembled. Soon the courtyard was filled with the baying of hounds and the testing of horns. All waited impatiently as the pack spread through the forest. In a short while the scent was picked up and there followed merry chase over hill and dale. One fine stag was at least brought to bay by the nipping hounds, and held at point by trusty spearmen until King Radnor arrived to deliver the death thrust. Then a second was flushed from cover, brought to bay. His Majesty, most impressed with the beauty and nobility of the beast, did say, "Let his death be at the hand of the gentlest of all," and upon his words our Queen Esmirelda slew the beast with a skillful thrust of her spear.

Flushed with their victories, the valient huntsmen and their hounds brought home their kill and lunched mightily in the hall. Then the ladies gathered about their Queen and a cozy tea table was set with confections and sweets, and the fighters spent the remainder of the afternoon in the company of King Radnor, learning further the intracacies of combat from the master.

It was with sadness that Eskalyans watched depart their King and Queen. During the five days that Their Majesties blessed us with Their presence, however, we beheld a vision of chivalry and sweet nobility which will hearten us in Their absence.

(The author is Marya Nordama of Blackspruce)


The following are some reminisces of this event, looking back on it 27 years later ...

This event was fascinating for most of us from the various branches of the SCA in Alaska. King Radnor was the second royal visitor to our lands, and we had not had a Queen visit, so we got a double-whammy. Any who have seen Radnor as King know how the "aura" of royalty descends upon him. He was a bit scary. Now if you know His Grace, you know he's really a very personable guy, and easy to talk to. But when the Crown is on his head, he's a slightly different person.
      Anyway, this is all leading up to first impressions, and such. The first King to visit Oertha was Steven MacEanruig. He was a very nice guy, but was also rather laid back. So when King Radnor and Queen Esmirelda showed up being very regal, and very much the King and Queen of the West, I think people were really stunned.
      For this event I had come down to Eskalya (Anchorage, Alaska) with a friend from College in Winter's Gate (Fairbanks, Alaska), Altano of Annum Ridge. This is a long drive (350 or so miles, as I recall). We arrived on site Saturday morning, and got settled in, in time to go out and see King Radnor teaching the fighters some lessons. In "The North", we had little exposure to fighters from outside, and a lot of technique was self-taught. When a person was legged (until this time), they didn't move, and weren't allowed to move. Radnor had taken on all 10-15 fighters that were in armor ... someone legged him. However, unlike his Northern compatriots, Radnor had trained in the central part of the Kingdom -- and he moved! He was on his knees and chased fighters out of the eric! They were surprised! Cries of "Oh my god!" "Holy SH*T!" and ... various other exclamations as they backed up in terror (or what looked like it from the sidelines). It was very funny to this non-combattant, and I sure hope my friends in Oertha who were there remember it as being funny ...
      Later in the day, King Radnor and Queen Esmirelda did what the Royalty are supposed to do -- they sat in state in the Thrones. The problem is, no one in our groups had any clue what to do, or what that meant. People went about setting up for the feast, and doing all the things that were supposed to be done, some folk were playing games, and whatever you normally do at an event, but nothing was going on in the Throne Room except some kids playing. There were the King and Queen, sitting on the thrones, looking horribly bored. I turned to my friend Altanno, and asked if we should visit with the Royalty. He said it couldn't hurt to ask. So we very timidly (they were impressive, after all!) came a few feet into the throne room and asked something like "Your Majesties, would You like some company?" to which we got a very enthusiastic "PLEASE!" from both of them So, we came in and knelt before the King and Queen (my knees could take this, back then) for some time before anyone had the nerve to come into the room. This was really cool!, getting to talk to these two delightful people, and discuss all kinds of things from fighting to other things about the SCA. Without bragging (too much) I had made a bracer in a jewelry class that summer, and was wearing it. His Majesty kept looking at it, and finally at some point in the conversation threatened to steal it from me during the feast. It was, of course, a joke.
      However, His Majesty had really impressed me very much during the day (as he is wont to do ... I've said it before, he's an impressive man). This will come up again shortly. In the meantime, a few more people came in, and we had a lot of fun chatting. It was a pleasant afternoon. During the feast, Master Ulrich von Matanuska, who was always a bit of a rebel, decided to challenge the King and see how he would react. Ulrich and his friend Einrich Armpitsbane had created the Shire of Selveirgard, and they were the local "rebel" branch in the SCA (central Kingdom had The Westermark, we had Selveirgard), and they had come from Atenveldt (and at least Einrich may have been an Atenveldt Dwarf). Ulrich, a rather tall fellow (he made King Radnor look much shorter than he is) stepped over his table, and came marching up to the High Table, and proffered a toast, to Atenveldt! His Majesty, without breaking stride, picked up his goblet and toasted Atenveldt, to which everyone in the hall chimed in. Then, before Ulrich could respond or react, His Majesty toasted the West, to which Ulrich could only respond by repeating the toast and drinking. I heard from Ulrich several years later that this had greatly impressed him. It was amusing at the time.
      That evening, court happened, as noted in the Chronicle by Marya. During that court I presented His Majesty with a gift of the bracer, because, as I noted, He had impressed me greatly. This was just a spontaneous gift. Little did I know how much that meant to His Majesty. One difficulty -- my wrists are relatively small for someone my height -- and His Majesty is a larger man than I am. He had a hard time putting the bracer on. Her Majesty offered that if His Majesty couldn't wear it, she would be HAPPY to accept the gift. It was a funny bit. Eventually His Majesty was able to get it on His wrist. I was blown away with how pleased he was by this simple gift. And a few minutes later I got my Award of Arms from Their Majesties! Wow. (And as it turns out, at October Crown, less than a month later, I was admitted to the Order of the Rose Leaf, but didn't find out about it until my fiance Antadina went to 12th Night, was told to congratulate me on the Rose Leaf ... she startled me at the airport with that one, but I didn't get a token for the Rose Leaf until much later -- when King Steingrim visited Winter's Gate at a Yule event in AS XVI (1981). The tale of the token is even weirder, because Michael the Younger of An Alltan, one of the founders of Winter's Gate was at October Crown and had been my representative in court -- he had picked up the token for me. However, shortly after he returned, the military sent him on a mission, which shortly had him leaving the state of Alaska for good. It all happened quickly and we never saw him again, and I didn't know about the award or the token. He held onto it for some years, and eventually sent it in a letter to King Paul and Queen Rowena. It ended up in a stack of correspondence, and when the two of them split up she had it in her things. When going through old SCA stuff, she sent the letter with the rose leaf still taped to it to Paul, who found me at a Twelfth Night (at the Oakland Scottish Rite Temple) and handed me the letter ... what a world, eh? I now have two Rose Leaf tokens, both the old copper ones that have the nasty serrated edge and the veins in the leaves scratched into the surface ...)
      The weekend was fun, it was a great event, and one of my cherished memories of my early days of the the SCA. His Grace Radnor was a frequent visitor The North (eventually the Principality of Oertha) over the years, whether as King or not. I know that at least once he came back with Queen Esmirelda. She was also a very nice person and well liked in the North.
      A small side story -- His Grace still has the bracer. I was stunned to find this out at my Pelican ceremony many years later. When my ceremony started I was stunned to look up and see that His Majesty was wearing it! He then spoke to my generosity from all those years ago. It still brings tears to my eyes ... I found out later that His Grace has a box of special artifacts from over the years, and the bracer is in that box. -- Hirsch von Henford

Description of this event (if any), taken from The Page, or from memory of at least one person who attended the event.

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