Nesscia’s Missives: Missive from Gulf

Image from Huntington Library Ms HM 60, f°7, 15th C.

Written this 12th day of March, AS LIII
Being 2019 of the Common Era

My Dear Solveig,

Your note arrived yester noontide. Thank you kindly for thinking of me.

I did see your new husband, Ivar, in the morning, he is indeed well and free of pestilence. Fear not for his well being, for he remains a great fighter and his stalwart companions of the sword unite together when battle comes.

King Donngal and Queen Catalina arrived on site after the blackguards waylaid Them on the long road south. Yester morn the Calon Host followed Them onto the field, where They gathered the populace for brief tidings. They spoke of Their deep gratitude to Calontir for providing for Them since Their trials of the road. The host cheered! for our Royals are safe once again.

Then Master Gawin arose and spoke of one of august talent and service, begging the boon for Master Alan to be awarded the Master of Defense! Great tidings!

Upon completion of court, Brian MacDougall hosted a cut & thrust tournament for all the assembled warriors. Such prowess and skill with the blade!

With the armies gathering and the nobility palavering of peace or war, the soldiers grow restless. Tournaments help sharpen skills and keep combatants from mischief.

While the armies prepare, the non fighters who have gathered also make ready. As well, a transient hamlet of canvas pavilions has sprung up of chapmen and peddlers and blacksmiths and inns. The common folk teach their trade and ply their wares. Fabrics and bijoux and tarts and bumpers and armor and weapons and all manner of niceties and fandangles are available for a price.

During our fleeting moments of leisure, oft times I wander the encampments with one or another of our countryfolk. Forsooth, seeing the vast array of gathered folks and learning new skills and tasting foriegn foods continues as a great entertainment to us.

At the time of returning to my wagon yester eve my weary old bones sought the comfort of my bedding. Upon waking, I lit a lantern and remained inside as to pen this missive.

Ah! I see the dawn breaking on the horizon, and harken the birdsong of the morn. I have tarried overlong thinking of our visits. I must needs put aside pen and parchment and begin my day.

I pray this missive finds you well, I shall send it off with one of the supply trains returning north. I look forward to when again we meet and I can look upon your fair countenance.

Until that time, I remain your friend,

Nesscia’s Missives: Letter from Gulf War

Image from Huntington Library Ms HM 60, f°7, 15th C.

Written this ninth day of March, AS LIII
Being 2019 of the Common Era

Dearest Brialen,

By lantern light, I set pen to parchment from the southern reaches of the Kingdom of Gleann Abhann. As you may know, many good gentles from around the known world gather here to defend against injustices and tyranny.

When word reached me that you join not our kith and kin on this southern campaign, I felt my spirits dampen. When far from home, to see your lovely smile brings joy to my heart. Though needs must some of our countryfolk remain home to watch o’re our fair lands and keep it safe from marauders and ruffians. Still, you shall be missed.

Alas! On the long journey south our Royal Majesties stopped at an inn to rest Themselves. They traveled not with entourage, preferring to travel simply and swiftly to the southernmost lands to join the CalonHost. While They bridled Their hunger and slaked Their thirst, some reavers absconded with Their wagons! Such an egregious rankle!

When last I heard, the sheriff had not yet apprehended the brigands. Word and watchmen have been dispatched far and wide in search of the wagons and rich raiments and crown jewels. Tidings of the insult traveled quickly across the miles and reached the muster point ahead of our King and Queen.

Most were outraged to hear of such a blatant affront against the royal family. Their Majesty’s Chamberlain, Mistress Gabriella, worked tirelessly to coordinate efforts on Their behalf.

Immediately, word was sent for fresh supplies and clothing. Swift tailors gathered goods and set needles to work. So many willing hands from around the known world to assist our beloved Crowns.

And just this very day the throngs from the kingdoms started to arrive. Hour after hour, I saw many of our countryfolk reach journey’s end in wagons and carts and wains. After tending to my own encampment, I did what I might to give assistance in the unloading and setting up.

Still, the Calon host has not yet fully mustered. Even as I write this missive, the pitching of tents and the pounding of stakes and the gathering of armies can be heard throughout the encampments. Though the sun has set, the wagons continue to roll through the gates.

As you know, I find canvas cover o’re my head unpleasant. I much prefer the hard sides and covering of my wagon, so I remain slightly apart from our kingdom’s encampment. As well, this area allows for passing quieter nights.

The hour grows late, my friend, and the lantern oil runs low. Upon the morrow, I shall send this off with a runner.
I pray you are well, and that we meet again soonest, by the grace of the gods.

Until then, I remain you friend,

Nesscia’s Missives: Traveling to Gulf War

Image from Huntington Library Ms HM 60, f°7, 15th C.

Written this 8th day of March, AS LIII

Being 2019 of the Common Era
My Dear Tola,
My journey south continues. As you know, husband and I packed the wagon when King Donngal and Queen Catalina called Calontir to arms.
As we trekked south, though still cold, the green of the meadows and the early spring flowers made my heart glad. I know how the snows fly still in our homelands.
We saw many towns and villages along our route. With the air so chill, we took advantage of the inns along the way. We have stayed but one night in our wagon.
We tarried a few days in the new city of Orleans. I heard once the Count of Provence, Charles Anjou, mention the days before the eve of meat fast “the joyous days of carnival.” Indeed!
The last of the winter stores were heaped upon plates. The music and dancing spilled from the halls onto the streets. The good gentlefolk wore masks while men wore dresses and women wore trousers! Many exchanged trinkets and beads for a glimpse at what normally remains hidden! All in joyous celebration before our fourty day fast. Husband and I enjoyed the revelry knowing the toils of the battles ahead.
Then, alas, he departed for home. We knew at the onset of our journey he could not be gone over long from our estates. We left our landholding in capable hands, he had kibbled the grain for the livestock and fowl, he had laid in a stock of wood for the fires. Nonetheless, his mind is not easy when away from his own demesne.
So this very morn we said our farewells. He turned his way toward the north. Dare I say, he will fairly fly o’re the lands in his eagerness to see his home. And I, in my turn, will veer now towards the battles which lay ahead.
Your presence shall be missed, as I know well the responsibilities which keep you in your own shire. I shall lift a glass in your direction and drink to your continued good health.
Please do give Elspeth my warmest regards. And I pray that soon we shall bend the elbow together.
Ever I remain your friend,

Nesscia’s Missives: Traveling to Gulf War

Image from Huntington Library Ms HM 60, f°7, 15th C.

Dated this second day of March
Anno Societatus LIII
Being 2019 of the Common Era

Dearest Kezia,

As you know, Our Most Royal Majesties Calontir travel to aid Their Southern Cousins in a fearsome campaign. They have called the populace to Them to lend support in Their time of need.

Eager to do my duty to Crown and Kingdom, I gathered supplies and packed my wagon. My good husband and I knew our estates were secure in the capable charge of the lead herdsman and manor caretaker and we prepared for our leave taking.

Though snow covered the hills and our breath billowed, the sun shone on the day of our departure. The horses pulled the wagon through the drifts to the main road and we made our way towards the south and east. At eventide, we found ourselves in the Shire of Standing Stones, and stayed at a small inn there. Though the wagon is comfortable, the air held the chill and we preferred the warmth of the inn.

Upon rising, heavily laden clouds stretched horizon to horizon. As we drove through the lands of Three Rivers, falling ice soon coated all we could see. I dare say, it reminded me of the sugar glaze cook drizzels on the sweet breads.

My dereling husband asked me to drive, as he tends to drive the horses too hard and we wanted to stay the course without incident. I am ever grateful for the shelter the enclosed wagon affords us.

The weather improved as our homelands fell behind and we came at last into the Kingdom of Meridies.

We arrived eventually to the lands near the Ville of Nash. There we sought succor from longtime friends. Once safe upon their estates, the men assessed the repairs needed to the wagon and worked vigilantly to ensure all was well before we went further towards the conflicts in the south.

At last we bid farewell, and started on our way again. We made a brief stop to purchase needed supplies, when fortune’s goddess brought to us other friends, Annalies and Gavan. We broke our fast with them, and though time was short, seeing her lovely countenance warmed my heart.

Upon our farewells, we again turned our wagon south.

The rumors of war reach us on our travels, and we are anxious to do what we can to lend aid. The conflict is yet some distance, and this night we found a red roofed inn within the boundaries of a small village in the Kingdom of Gleann Abhann.

I know how your heart longs to travel south with our countrymen and women. There are those who needs must assist those who stay behind and prepare the fibers and stitch the cloth. I, for my part, appreciate all you do in the staying. And I set pen to parchment to ease your mind from worry as to my wellbeing.

When morning comes, I will find a carrier to bring you this missive soonest. I pray this finds you and your good husband well and warm and secure in your estates.

Ever your friend,

Nesscia’s Missives: Of Queen’s Prize Tournament

Image from Huntington Library Ms HM 60, f°7, 15th C.

Letter from Home
February 10, AS LIII
Being 2019 of the Common Era

My Dear Cristina,

I pray your journey is at an end and this missive finds you again at your estates. I oft desire you to take wing as a bird and fly swiftly home so we may bend the elbow and tell tales of our adventures.

Indeed, I am tardy in setting pen to parchment. Ever do intentions go awry, as my fondest wish would have been to write this missive upon alighting from my wagon and the end of my day’s journey last evening.

With Her Populace readying for war, our Ever Gracious Queen Catalina looked around and understood, seeing tempers flare and worry upon the faces. She called a tournament of Artisans and Bards and Craftsfolk as a necessary diversion to calm hearts!

There gathered in the Shire of Lost Moor some 300 of the folk from around Calontir. Some to enter the Queen’s Tournament, some to judge Her entries, and some to learn and teach.

So many innovations and so much skill and such incredible beauty were on display!

Some from our own Barony of the Lonely Tower brought their crafts as well. Mine own brother William Radulfus, who paints so skillfully, brought his game boards. I made the hand signs for him throughout the day so he could understand the spoken word. Also Wulfþryð Maynes displayed a lovely hand sewn tunic she made for another. And Zafara Baabur learned wonderful needle work from the lands of Armenian and Croatia and showed her talent.

Their Most Royal Majesties went through the rooms seeing every craft put on view. Her Majesty spoke with every entrant, listening intently, and providing a gift for each from Her Own Hand.

At the end of the day, Their Majesties held Court so each participant could be recognized and given a token of appreciation.

Special recognition was given to Finán Mac Crimthainn by the judges. He made a wondrous blue pigment for the scribes to use. He made it from rock!

The populace at large gave special recognition to Tessie of Cum on Iolair for a wee babys cradle she wove from wooden strips. Her babes are truly fortunate to have such a talented mother.
And the Queen herself recognized Andromir Vukovic for learning the ancient way of making a Byzantine lamp to bring light to the darkness of night.

You know well the simplicity of the clothing I make. Yet, ever am I pleased with the results, and brought the garb I recently completed for our good friend Astrid Esbjornsdotter. I shall have to see the priest and confess my sin of pride, for many of our countryfolk mentioned the quality of my workmanship.

The day was long and cold. I departed my estates ere the sun rose with my breath cloudy in the air. When I returned t’was after the sun had set and my breath still clouded the air.

I know not if it was from the evil passed hand to hand when the populace gathers or if it is from the broth from the inn or all the delicacies I tasted throughout the day or mayhaps a misalignment of the stars. During my drive home, I could feel my humors were off. By the time I arrived back to my home, I took to my bed straight away. Upon arising this morn I am little better, though I pray my humors are balanced again soonest.

Nonetheless, glad I am knowing of our visit this coming week, and I trust you are settling well back at your estates.

Until the appointed time, I remain ever your friend,


Nesscia’s Missives: Of Clothier’s Seminar

Image from Huntington Library Ms HM 60, f°7, 15th C.

This 2nd day of February AS LIII
Being 2019 of the Common Era

My Dearest Cristina,

Dawn was still a distant thought when I loaded my wagon and drove to our dear friend’s estate this very morn. Baroness Kezia stood ready as I approached, and knowing our long drive ahead, dawdled not while climbing into the wagon.

The excursion south was chill and the mists lay thick upon the lands. I was ever so glad to see the sun as it burned off the haze near the end of our three hour trek.

For this day, a Clothiers gathering occurred just to the south of our own barony, in the Shire of Cum an Iolar. In preparation of the coming war, the populace met to discuss the clothing needs of the soldiers and troop followers and those who hold our lands safe in the King’s absence.

How to stitch clothing to protect against storm and safeguard against chill and defend against weapon were all topics of discussion.

Oft I heard our country folk speak of camping arrangements and supply needs and dividing the burden of war.

Our King Donngal and Queen Catalina walked ever among Their Populace encouraging and planning.

Around mid day the community came together to see the dress of the different peoples whom we may encounter in our travels. The Angles and Ottomans and Franks and Norse and so many other nations will be seen. And not only in our own kingdom along the trade routes, but mainly at the war, great groups will be seen on and off the field of battle. The costuming is a wonder to behold!

As well, displayed for all to learn, were the arms and banner symbols the ever alert heralds know so well. The arms and symbols are oft seen round abouts the fields of battle and at tournaments so all can see who is present or abroad.

Her Excellency Kezia and I, with much regret, departed late afternoon. For the time spent learning and teaching and sharing knowledge was too short. Ever wishing to linger with our country folk, yet knowing we faced the the long drive homeward to our own lands urged us to withdraw. Finding space at the inn when needed at home seemed self-regarding. So we again loaded our few belongings back in the wagon and turned north ere the sun set.

Yet, afore we could arrive to our estates the murk once again enveloped the world. We only knew of the other wagons by the dim outline of the lamps they carried.

After seeing Kezia safe in her abode, the short trip to mine own estate was over long and fraught with danger.

The fogs had swallowed even the road so as to not see beyond the nose of my face. The lamps did no good. And when I finally found my way, I sent my thanks to the gods.

I am now warm and safe and dry. I have consumed a flagon of ale and eaten a hearty supper… all of which has allowed my humors to settle. My good husband, having expected me, had all prepared and ready.

I have now taken pen and parchment and written this missive and am glad to have done so. For I miss you, my friend, when you are absent, and my heart is eager to bring you news of happenings around the kingdom.

I pray that you are well, and look forward to your return and the tales of your adventures in other realms.

With warmest regards,


Nesscia’s Missives: Spring War Maneuvers 2019

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

Dated this January the 26th 

Anno Societatis LIII, Being 2019 of the Common Era

My Dearest Cristina,

When last I wrote, as well you may remember, my missive brought words of war to our south.

Our Great King Donngal and Brave Queen Catalina summoned Their Warriors for council and training in the western lands, where our good neighbors, Mag Mor dwells.

My dear brother, William, stood resolute. He indeed wanted to train with the troops. The good marshals knew some of the hand signs needed to direct him. However, I swore to him an oath that where he traveled in service to our King, there also I would go to make the hand signs when needed for him to understand the spoken word.

To that end, I loaded my wagon and turned my thoughts and activities southwest.

In my absence, my poor husband must needs care for our estates and beasts in the frigid cold with only the old and infirm, who can no longer lift a sword and shield, to aid him.

In fair Mag Mor the warehouses were emptied. This unfriendly winter with its piercing winds cause numb fingers and injury enough. Space was found indoors so the soldiers could train and drill and practice without frostbite to multiply wounds.

The generals and masters and knights spoke of battle tactics and working together to form cohesive companies.

The veterans instructed and enlightened the recruits in the ways of battle. The ringing of sword on shield and cries of war filled the air.

Sadly, urgent responsibilities kept our King to the eastern boundaries of Calontir. Our Courageous Queen traveled hither with only Her Entourage to rouse the country to war.

She stood shoulder to shoulder with Her generals, Uldin and Giacomo, sword in hand. She encouraged and learned and strategized throughout, planning for the days ahead.

In the end, soldiers all, went singing off to the taverns and inns to talk of war and battles old and battles upcoming. They know their valiant deeds and prowess on the field shall indeed win them renown.

I know, dear friend, your heart lies with your people. Yet needs must take you across the seas to far shores. I will send this missive by swift wings to bring you these tidings. May my words find you well with the wind ever at your back.

Your friend with abiding fondness,