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,