Pennsic War XLV

By Magdalena vander Meere

20160809_103758The 45th Pennsic War was marked by hotter than usual temperatures, more uneven than usual sides, and the usual amount of fun, punctuated by shopping, learning, fighting, singing and some silliness.

Calontir, led  by Their Most Illustrious Majesties, King Logan and Queen Ylva, allied themselves and our kingdom with the Kingdom of Ealdormere, ruled fairly and firmly by Their Most Feran Majesties, King Nigel and Queen Adrielle. Nigel and Adrielle, in Their wisdom, allied themselves with the formidable Kingdom of The East. For one reason or another, many kingdoms allied with The East, and the sides seemed a bit lopsided. This unevenness resulted in a target-rich environment for the forces of The Middle, and resounding victories for The East.

But we are Calontir, and the victories and defeats of foreign rulers and their petty squabbles mean little to us.

As always, Calontir mustered under the Royal Pavilion. This year, it was brand new and vibrant, having recently been destroyed in the Gulf Wars storm, and remade by the talented, hard-working Mistress Rhianwen.

King Logan and Queen Ylva led the Calon host to the battlefield for battles pitting hundreds against hundreds on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday was a “day off” in which the battlefield was used for grand tournaments.  Sir Malachi von Uri was the general for the week. His strong leadership and knowledge of tactics was matched only by his good cheer.

On Monday, a battlefield court was held by Their Majesties, and Lady Emma Ness was inducted into the Order of the Iren Huscarl! Her Ladyship was presented with a fine axe and lovely hood by her knight and his lady, Duke Dongal and Qadiya Catalina. Cheers of “Hus! Hus! Hus!” filled the air!

20160809_093036The water bearers, led by Qadiya Catalina, kept the army hydrated with water, Gatorade, pickles, oranges and their usual conviviality. Among the water bearers, Lady Katherine d’Arles, Lady Kolfinna Halvgrimsdottir, Lady Cincinnata, and Lady Cecilia could always be counted on to help a combatant out with a drink and a smile.

Lady Cecilia, His Lordship Pepin and Lord Melchor all attended a textile block printing demo. Lady Cecilia, in particular, came away from the demo with an increased enthusiasm, inspired to block print all the things!

The temperatures were high for Pennsic, getting into the 90s during the day with a heat index of around 100 degrees at certain times. Anyone who has attended Pennsic in the past will recall that this is a bit hot, even for August in that part of the world. However, it did mean we were never shivering in our cots at night.

A20160808_134203nd, as the sun went down, the temperatures did drop to something more tolerable, and Calontiri sought out the fun to be had. Of course, there was singing under the Royal Pavilion every evening. Roving party amoebas wandered around site and into the bog on several occasions. The usual adult parties could be found in the tree-lined areas around the lake, but those stories are not mine to tell.

Thursday was an eventful day in the Calontir encampment. After the battles, as is custom, Sir Malachi chose a fighter to carry the War Banner the next day. He spoke of the valor of a certain Huscarl, and offered the banner to His Lordship Gavin O’Shannon.  As Gavin took the banner, Duke Dongal stood and  begged a boon of Their Majesties and asked that his squire, the very same Gavin, be elevated into the Order of Chivalry!

That evening, as is traditional, King Logan and Queen Ylva held court under the Royal Pavilion. Lady Furia Cincinnata was inducted into The Order of the Torse, and Lady Izza bint Zaqara was inducted into The Order of the Leather Mallet. Riddar Halvgrimr Aðálraðarson came forward to make several announcements, but they were interrupted by his friend, Baron Eikbrandr, who brought a letter to Their Majesties from Mistress Jorunn Eydisardottir. This letter spoke of the skill and knowledge of Riddar Halvgrimr with eloquence. At the end of the letter came the request for a boon! Their Majesties agreed, and Riddar Halvgrimr was inducted into the Order of the Laurel! Many spoke to him, but his own daughter, Lady Kolfinna, spoke with great love, and brought a tear to many eyes.

And, to top off court, Mistress Fionnuala inghean Fhearghuis was granted permission to approach Their Majesties. She came with a request. She knew of a person of high merit; a lady of great knowledge, certain grace and considerable skill. She begged a boon, and it was granted. And, Her Ladyship Sibilla Swain was invited into the Order of the Laurel.

After court, industrious Calontiri set to preparing for our traditional party. The OAFS planned a great game, and Her Ladyship Sibilla made ready a sumptuous buffet of party food.

The OAFS,  Mistress Rhianwen, Master Kirk and others, created Huscarl Hockey.20160811_120736 Played with rattan axes and a ball of dubious construct (was there really an apple in the middle of that duct tape?), the field included “the lower 48 states, but not including private encampments.” Three players on each side used the flat sides of the axes to whack the ball along the ground between goal posts. There was also a penalty box. His Lordship Pepin spent a good bit of time in the box, but he insists he was unfairly judged to be body checking. When she arrived Queen Adrielle eagerly took part in the sport, while King Nigel chose to remain an ardent fan.

Her Ladyship Sibilla, duly gobsmacked by the boon begged so recently, pulled herself together and led her team of cooks. Lady Cecilia, Mistress Fionuala, and Countess Gwen  formed the team. Lord Melchor and His Lordship Pepin provided needed assistance in moving tables. Meatballs, roasted chicken, many delicious cheeses, berries in cream, and many, many delights filled the table. Her Ladyship Emma arranged for adult beverages to be served as well as sekanjabin. No one went away hungry or thirsty.

The renowned music ensemble, Wolgemut, came into camp during our party and delighted the crowd with many songs! They stayed for a bit after playing to partake of the food and drink and catch up with old friends. Wolgemut has a long history of being a friend to Calontir, and was recently made an Iren Feran! The leader of Wolgemut, Misha, proudly showed off his medallion!

20160811_205827And the singing and game playing went on into the night.20160807_102454

Friday, our last full day at Pennsic, was warm and full of fighting, last-minute shopping and merriment. Not a kingdom for complacency, Calontir squeezed every last bit of fun out of Pennsic. Partying under the Royal Pavilion lasted into the wee hours, as one-by-one war-goers drifted off to their tents in exhaustion, knowing that the morning light meant packing and going home. But, oh, it was worth it.



A Medieval Moment at Pennsic

We all hear about having a “Medieval Moment” at SCA events, and many of us have had the opportunity to experience one. During the bridge battles at Pennsic this year (AS LI), the entire Calon host got to experience one together.

Part of the strategy of the East Kingdom command this year was to change which bridge units were fighting on between each battle. This meant that Calontir got to face many different opponents, rather than the same one over and over. That made things more interesting, and as it turned out it was a Good Thing(tm).
When we fought on the uppermost wide bridge (bridge #2 for those of you who were lucky enough to be there), we faced Atlantia, or at least a part of Atlantia that included the Atlantian Combat Archers. The rules of the day were that the archers could not come on to the bridges, nor could they station themselves outside of the outermost edge of the wide bridge we were on. (This was to prevent arrows from going in to the crowds on either side.) This meant they were less able to snipe on the outer, wide bridges (like this one). The Atlantian Combat Archers took this in stride, and made the medieval choice.
As Calontir advanced across the bridge, the typical call of “arrow” rang out, warning the army of incoming fire. But as we got closer to the Atlantian end of the bridge, we no longer faced the occasional arrow fired by a sniper, but rather volleys of dozens of arrows at once, causing almost all the shieldmen to raise their shields to protect themselves and those around them. This was something we don’t normally face, and was very cool. But then to add to it, the troops facing us took that opportunity to charge, just as they should have!
They surprised us, killed a number, and pushed us back. It was the right tactic at the right time, and was also quite effective, once. The next time a volley came in (which was still very cool), our artillery was ready, and stopped the charge before it could have the same affect as the previous one. The archers continued to fire in volleys, keeping us on our toes, and it added a lot to the medieval feel of that battle.
After the last battle on Friday, We made an effort to seek out the command staff of the archers We faced on that bridge. Luckily, Baroness Cellach Mor of Ponte Alto was on the field. While expressing her low status in the command structure, she let Us know that it was the Atlantian Combat Archers that We faced. She also promised to pass Our words along to the archers and the troops they trained with.
There are two morals to this story:
  1. Training together is more effective than training alone.
  2. Medieval moments can happen at any time. Just keep your eyes (and mind) open to them.

— HRM Logan —

Illustration of the Battle of Barnet (14 April 1471) on the Ghent manuscript. Public domain in the US

Illustration of the Battle of Barnet (14 April 1471) on the Ghent manuscript. Public domain in the US

Reminder From Their Royal Majesties: Crown Tournament Letters of Intent

A reminder for some important deadlines:

Crown Tournament letters of intent are due by September 24.

Letters of intent for Kingdom Earl Marshal must be in by September 5.

September 5 is also the deadline for letters of intent for Kingdom List Minister.

More information about what the letters must include and where to send them can be found on the Kingdom Website.

We highly encourage questions about any of these positions (yes, including Crowns of Calontir).  You may ask the current officers or Us through the email addresses below.

Logan konung, Ylva drottning


Bavarian engraving of a medieval tournament from the 1400s. Public domain in the US

Bavarian engraving of a medieval tournament from the 1400s. Public domain in the US

Pennsic Court summaries

Illustration of the Battle of Barnet (14 April 1471) on the Ghent manuscript. Public domain in the US

Illustration of the Battle of Barnet (14 April 1471) on the Ghent manuscript. Public domain in the US

On the field, August 08, A.S. 51
Emma Markothys – Iren-Hirth

In the Calontir Living Room
A boon was begged for Gavin O’Shannon to join the Order of Chivalry.

In Calontir court, August 11
Halvgrimr Aðálraðarson – Laurel
Furia Cincinnata – Torse
Izza al Zarqa – Leather Mallet
Fionnuala begged a boon for Sibylla Swaine to become a Laurel.


Demo Report: Kalmar Industries Company Picnic, Ottawa, KS 8-6-2016

Sir Cai arranged for his company to allow the SCA to hold a full-on demo at his annual company picnic. Kalmar Industries in Ottawa, KS hosted SCA folk from multiple nearby groups, including the Shire of Carlsby, the Shire of Cum an Iolair, the Shire of Crescent Moon, the Canton of Aston Tor and the Barony of Forgotten Sea. Visitors from distant groups, including the Barony of Vatavia and the Shire of Golden Seas even joined in the fun. This author is certain she has left out some groups, as well. Apologies for that. There were so many people, the demo was certainly the size of a decent event!

Look at all that Meanest Mother Melee fighting!

Look at all that Meanest Mother Melee fighting!

We had enough people for tourney fighting, cut-and-thrust and archery events side-by-side, multiple-fighter melees, several meanest-mother melees and even some old style Holmgang melees. This author heard laughing and great fun coming from the list field throughout the day. Epic deaths were seen. Even Ottawa residents came to the park, set up their lawn chairs and watched the sport throughout the day, enjoying the unusually mild August weather.

Ottawa's newest spectator sport

Ottawa’s newest spectator sport

The SCA personnel put on a fine showing of our best artisanry, too. We fully encircled the list fields with pavilions full of our best displays, from scribal arts through a fully functional forge thanks to Baron Lothar! Several people combined their talents to show how wool moves from sheep to fully woven fabric, including spindles, a spinning wheel, and two kinds of looms.  Mistress Dorcas provided an entire pavilion of heraldic goodies and information, too.

Amazing fiber arts demo - sheep to shawl!

Amazing fiber arts demo – sheep to shawl!

An all-day chainmail demo by HL Thomas the Black, armoring, sewing, displays of the Baronial coronets, finished garb hanging in the pavilions, and lots of people willing to talk about the SCA and our period of history provided a well-rounded, educational opportunity for the Kalmar employees, their families and others who visited. Many friends and family members of the SCA folks came by to see us, too!

H.L. Thomas the Black and his chain mail demo

H.L. Thomas the Black and his chain mail demo

Sir Cai graciously printed outstanding informational brochures and amazing laminated SCA bookmarks for us to give to visitors during our recruitment efforts. These proved very popular with the younger set, who also enjoyed the hands-on nature of most of the demo items. Being able to touch real, hand-woven fabric, chainmail, armored fighters and heraldic banners caused more than one young mouth to gape in amazement as they saw storybooks come alive before their eyes. Lady Maegwynn provided heraldic announcements before the fighting, including explanations of the SCA – who we are, what we do, and why the visitors should come around and check out the demos.

Baron Lothar explaining how he is forging his Holder Down Thing

Baron Lothar explaining how he is forging his Holder Down Thing

As a reward for our demo, the Kalmar folks provided the SCA demo-ers with a luscious BBQ lunch of pork, turkey, beef and all the sides. Bounce-houses and a bounce-obstacle course for the kids were available, although us adults were sadly not allowed. We debated the wisdom of obtaining ones rated for grownups for the next Tor Party at Lilies.

It was a beautiful day of temperate weather, gentle breezes, great fun fighting and some of the best fun many of us had in a long time. We wish the rest of you had been able to join us! Enjoy the photos – I’ve linked them to my Flickr page, because I took so many. These are just a few teasers.

Link to Photos:

In joyous fealty to the Crown and People of Calontir, I remain your loyal servant and Scribe-

Takashoka Spaekona Aidan Cocrinn, OL

Calontir Customs: Vigils

As practiced in A.S. 51, by HL Vǫlu-Ingibiǫrg

A vigil is a time set aside for a peerage candidate to listen and reflect.  (A peerage candidate is someone who has been announced in court as deserving a peerage, but not yet been through the elevation ceremony which usually takes place during a later court.)  

Royalty and all peers who wish to do so will gather to “put someone on vigil,” which involves taking the candidate to a tent or room and having some private, secret ceremony.  (Rumor has it that this involves shaved flaming baby ducks.  I do not know, and no one who does is allowed to talk about it.)  In reality, I’ve been told the secrecy is so that the ceremony feels special and thought-provoking to the candidate.  A laurel-candidate told me he felt this part brought “a connection to peers you didn’t know you were part of.”

After this initial mini-ceremony ends, the peers will disperse, and the second phase begins.  (This phase is sometimes jokingly called “trial by conversation.”)  The candidate will sit in the tent, usually for at least six hours (more if it’s an overnight vigil), and receive visitors.  (This has some root in the medieval idea of instruction during preparation for a knighting ceremony.)  The royals will generally be the first to visit; in the meantime other folks will begin arriving.  

You do not need to be high-ranking, or even friends with the candidate, to speak with him or her.  The only thing you need is to have something to say to the individual sitting vigil.  Some people will go to express appreciation for the candidate’s skill or hard work; some to offer congratulations, warning, or advice.  I was told by a candidate that for him, these visits further deepened the feeling of inclusiveness, of Calontir as an “us.”

If you wish to speak to the candidate, either by yourself or with someone who agrees to go in with you, head to the area near the vigil tent or room, find the person with the waiting list, and ask to be added.  Depending on how early you arrive, and how talkative the people ahead of you are, it may be quite some time before you are called.  If you’re a ways down the list or need to go do something, you can leave; traditionally, if your name comes up before you get back, you will go next after your return.  

If you can see into the vigil tent and no one else is there, someone is probably fetching the candidate water or food.  Do not go in without being called; there is always a waiting list, and it’s usually long.

While you’re waiting, try the tidbits at the nearby vigil table.  Hospitality was an important concept in the middle ages, so vigil foods (snacks) are prepared or obtained by the candidate’s friends, intended to honor the candidate by refreshing visitors.  Food that is tasty, period, and matches the candidate’s interests will impress visitors.  Also in this area, someone will likely have a book where you can write a message for the candidate, whether or not you plan to speak to her or him.  The great number of visitors can blur things together in a candidate’s mind, so leaving a note in the vigil book may be a good idea.

Once you are called in, there is no special ceremony or format to observe—nothing you’re particularly supposed to say or do.  A visit may take five to ten minutes, or less if you’d like.  Speech with someone sitting vigil is a short snippet, or distillation.  Follow the candidate’s lead, but keep in mind that you can always catch the individual later for an extended conversation.  Take more than fifteen minutes, and you’ll likely seem greedy.  (Remember: there is always a waiting list, and it’s usually long.)  When you leave, the candidate will thank you for the visit, and sometimes will give a personalized token.  (e.g. Francis, a metalworker, gave fire-starting flints.)

Afterward, go enjoy the rest of the event.  The candidate will usually be elevated at court at the end of the day he or she sat vigil.  Some participants in the elevation ceremony will speak softly, so you’ll want to sit close in order to be able to hear.  Get there early!

Ms. Rhiannydd’s Photos from Feast of Eagles

All nine albums are available here:

2016-07-30 Feast of Eagles

Flickr is almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world. Show off your favorite photos and videos to the world, securely and privately show content to your friends and family, or blog the photos and videos you take with a cameraphone.

Men harvesting wheat, Queen Mary's Psalter, circa 1310. Public domain in the US

Men harvesting wheat, Queen Mary’s Psalter, circa 1310. Public domain in the US