Mississippi Department of Health Advises Canceling Events Over 250 Participants

The Mississippi Department of Health held a news conference this morning at 11: 00am CDT regarding Covid-19 precautions. Mississippi has recorded its first case.

Among the recommendations:

  • Anyone over 65 with complicated medical conditions avoid gatherings
  • Organizations having gatherings of over 250 advised to cancel
  • Everyone should take precautions even with small number gatherings

The event stewards of Gulf War have made no announcement about cancelling yet. However, the Green Dragon will be closed for the duration of the War.

All waterbearing will be done from squeeze bottles, 3d printed non contact water bottles, and paper cups.

Their Royal Majesties have advised everyone to make the best decisions for they and theirs, and have released all Calontiri from all obligations to attend Them in service to that goal.

While the muster has been called and our people have answered, our primary task as King and Queen is to see to the safety and preservation of our people.

With that being the case, we hearby release any and all members of Calontir from any responsibility that would require your attendence at this year’s Gulf Wars. You may take this leave without excuse or explanation and you have our complete understanding and compassion.

For the Senate and People of Calontir
Lucian and Tamar Atia Albia Tamara

The Great Hobby Horse Roundup

Gleaned from Facebook:

Attached below are the instructions/template for the sock horses participants will be constructing for the Page School Equestrian Tourney at Gulf Wars in 2020.

The plan is to have the heads completed *Ahead Of Time* and *Off Site*. We are going for realistic looking heads so stuff the socks with polyfill accordingly. Colors of the socks utilized should be black, brown, grey, or white. We want to keep them similar to keep down the possible hurt feelings between kids.

Attached below are the instructions for the hobby horse heads. Final assembly will occur on site in the Equestrian area.

Also below is a finished horse head for reference.

I will provide the striped, dried saplings, foam padding, and sinew for final assembly on site.



Where the Falcon Soars Above the Heartland

Tacuina sanitatis 14th C. Public domain in the US

At Gulf Wars XXVIII Lady Elaisse de Garrigues won the A&S Champions Battle, with a project titled “Where the Falcon Soars Above the Heartland:  Musical Compositions Exploring the Development of Polyphonic Organum”

Here are the documentation and accompanying recordings for that winning entry:


Ninth Century Parallel Organum:


Eleventh Century Free Organum:


Twelfth Century Florid Organum:


Organum Triplum:








Court summaries from Gulf Wars 2019

This reporter did not go to GW. My thanks to Eynon Blue Hawk for his timely updates to the Calontir Order of Precedence, and to Rhodri White Hawk for making that possible. As always, updates and corrections are welcome.

On the field Wednesday (March 13):
Visvamitra Yavana – Iren Hirth
Charles Vaux – Iren Hirth
Ragnar of Grimfells – Iren Fyrd
Anton Rhaghelan – Stile Fyrd

In Royal court Thursday (March 14):
Nest Ffynnon – Calon Cross
Asa Lufa – Leather Mallet
Rhianwen ferch Bran ap Gruffydd – King’s Favor
Scarlet Rose of Oakheart – Queen’s Chalice
Lawrence Taillefer the Leech – Sword of Calontir

On the field Friday (March 15):
Brynjólfr Fálkason – Iren Fyrd
Germanicus – Iren Fyrd

Other court tidings:

A boon was begged for Master Alan Smyith of Darkdale to join the Order of Defense.

Detail of fol. 5r from Royal Armouries Ms. I.33, circa 1300. Public domain in the US

From Her Royal Majesty: Period Soup Kitchen Experiment

Küche mit Kachelofen, aus: Kuchenmaistrey, erstmals erschienen 1485 bei Peter Wagner. V

Greetings unto My Glorious Kingdom,

As many of you know well, it brings Me great joy when we take services we provide as a Kingdom and make them as close to historical practices as possible.

In this spirit I have tasked Our Cook’s Guild to take over one day of Soup Kitchen at the upcoming Gulf Wars.

On this single day, the Cook’s Guild will provide provisions that would have been taken on pilgrimage or campaign.

I have requested that the menu for that One day will consist of bone broth, bread, butter, pickled items, meat, and cheeses.

Please contact HL Ysabel de la Oya CooksGuild@calontir.org if you would like to help in the process, or the day of.

As soon as a date is determined for this experiment an announcement will be made.

Catalina, Malika

A Ladye’s Guide to Safety at War

With every new year, the War Season is also getting started in the SCA. The Society Calendar boasts of seven Wars and two three-day weekend events to enjoy between February and October. In other words, the party is just getting started!

As we prepare our clothing, armor, and provisions for War, we should also take time to prepare for our personal safety. Now, most of the time, absolutely nothing happens, but a little preparedness and forethought never hurt anyone.

Hopefully the following tips will be beneficial to the less experienced War-traveler and serve as a reminder for the veterans.

Environmental Safety


In this instance, I’m talking less about protecting the environment (which is important!) than I am about protecting yourself from the environment. If you’re like me, you may not be a seasoned camper. Of course, SCA camping is the half-sister of glamping once you get your period encampment down, so there’s that comfort! That said, it is sometimes difficult to transition from the comfort of air conditioning, flushing toilets, and running (hot) water. On top of that, it is important that you prepare yourself for the environment’s hazards as well as its discomforts.

Insect protection

Bugs live outside. Most of them are fine when left alone, but, for many of them, you represent a tasty food supply. (To paraphrase Merry: “What do they eat when they can’t get Huscarl?”) The bugs that don’t want a sampling of your blood for their sustenance still pose a nuisance, especially when you open your tent to find it filled with what my family calls “chiggers.” (Tiny flying bugs.)

The first thing I recommend doing when you set up your camp is to sprinkle the ground you intend for your tent with Borax. This will, mostly, keep insects out of your tent. (I think I saw exactly one bug crawling up the inside of my tent wall at Gulf Wars.) I normally pack extra boxes to sprinkle more along the outside of my tent in the event it rains and because friends will ask to use some for their camps.

To protect your person from insects as you go through the day, be sure to pack Deet and/or citronella candles. I personally find that all bugs (especially the bloodsucking ones) absolutely hate tea-tree and lavender oils, so I put several drops of each in a spray bottle of water and liberally spray my family with when we’re going to be walking in fields, etc. The spray bottle also doubles as a room and linen freshener due to the anti-bacterial properties of both oils so it’s well worth having on hand. Also, be sure to have extra tea towels to cover your food with during preparation and try to keep your campsite clean of things like food debris that will attract pests. (Probably not just the insect kind.)

Lavender/Tea Tree Oil formula: mix 30 drops lavender oil two about fifteen drops tea tree oil in a 12 oz spray bottle of water. You can adjust the oil proportions to be stronger depending on need, but most people often find the smell of tea tree repulsive, so I use more lavender to mask it.

 UV Protection

Yes, rays from the sun help the body to absorb vitamin D, but when you spend a week living outside, fighting or water-bearing in no shade, and attending court in shade that doesn’t stand a chance against the angle of the sun, you’ll discover that it’s very different from when you’re only spending a couple of hours on a walk. Sunscreen is your friend. Purchase a waterproof sunscreen and reapply it according to the directions, especially if you go swimming or perspire too much. If you have older children, try to explain sun-safety to them. (Younger children, you can just lather whenever you feel they need it.)

I personally recommend packing a good straw hat or a parasol, and wearing clothes that cover as much skin as is comfortable. (More on that in the next section.)

Also, just because the sun isn’t out doesn’t mean you should skip on sunscreen. On an overcast day, those clouds are acting like magnifying glasses for those UV rays and you are the ant on the sidewalk. That same rule applies to the sun’s reflection on a lake or pool and its magnification in the water when you or your children are swimming.


This is probably the greatest discomfort at a summer War and, lately, it’s seemed to get worse each year.

They may seem extravagant in cost, but canvas tents are worth every penny in regard to comfort. If cared for properly, they’ll last years, and add to your medieval experience profoundly. They function more as tiny hotel rooms and you’ll have the space for a comfortable air mattress and furniture to make your 7-14 day War experience more enjoyable. Plus: Heat defense!

Canvas breathes better than nylon, preventing build up of humidity inside the tent. Canvas does not transfer heat as quickly as nylon, keeping the tent from becoming unbearably hot as soon as the sun hits it. That also works in reverse in cold weather, keeping warmth in the tent when you want it there.

Next, bring a hand fan, perhaps make a swamp cooler, and bring extra buckets you can fill with ice water to rest your feet in and bring your core temperature down. (Extra points if the buckets don’t look glaringly modern!)

Linen fabric is your friend! It wicks moisture away from your body and when the breeze comes through, the damp-ish fabric acts as a personal air conditioner. Cotton does not do this. As ladies know, dresses are much cooler and provide much more “ventilation” than trousers. At Lilies, my husband wears a tunic that falls beneath his knees, his boxer briefs, and nothing else. (Our medieval counterparts weren’t idiots.) Many people find that Roman and Grecian garb is the most comfortable at foreign wars. As someone who is very photosensitive, I find I’m actually more comfortable in longer sleeves as long as I’m wearing linen. The fabric protects my skin from the sun and I’m no cooler when I wear a mundane t-shirt.

Be sure to drink plenty of water, make your kids drink lots of water, and take breaks as needed. If it gets too rough, go sit in the air conditioning of your car for a little bit or go into town for dinner. If you find you truly struggle with the heat, you can also stay at a local hotel. (There’s no law that you have to camp on site!) This year at Lilies, I will be about seven months pregnant. Fortunately, my Lady Mother lives in the Kansas City metro area, so my husband and I will be commuting to war from her house so that I can have a reprieve from the heat. Ultimately, we all must and should make the best decisions for our own health and our children’s.


Rain likely won’t harm you, but it can destroy your stuff. Keep everything except your bedding in water tight containers and a fresh change of clothes in your car so you have something dry to change into in the event of a storm.

Always set your tent up with the door facing down hill if you’re on an incline. As soon as your tent is set up, dig a small trench around your tent to divert any water flow. (If you do it when you set up, then you won’t have to remember it when it starts raining.)

If you have a canvas tent and it rains during the last couple days of war, set it up in your back yard at home to let the sun dry out the moisture. When you pack a canvas tent that’s damp, you’re creating a moldy environment that will destroy your canvas and turn your comfortable camp home into an allergy and disease trap.

Know Your Plants

Wooded areas can have poison oak and ivy. Be sure to refresh yourself so you can recognize and avoid both.

People Protection


In all honesty, this is the section that is the most difficult to write about because people tend to be very strong and vocal in their stances on social issues in the SCA, namely the idea that incidences of crime or personal harm are few and far between and they happen in someone else’s group, not theirs. My goal in this article is to be as neutral and yet as pragmatic as possible.

I’m sure many people can say with me that one thing they love about the SCA is that it can create a culture in which chivalry and honor are more than words we dissect in a college class on Tennyson. There’s a small town culture at war where we end up making stone soups and helping each other set up our camps. That type of community is as real as you and me and I’m very grateful for it. However, equally real is the reality that humans are flawed and at war (especially the larger ones like Gulf Wars and Pennsic) there is going to be a larger crowd of people you have never met, when you meet them, you will both be wearing clothes you would not normally wear, and you will give each other false names. (Some gentlemen will even give a false SCA name in certain sensitive situations. Especially if your father is a hard-hitting knight.) This situation in itself is not inherently, but can potentially be, problematic. Moreover, at War, especially Pennsic, you’re more likely to encounter non-SCAdians who are there to let their weird out and may have a very different moral compass or idea about what actually is an SCA event.

That said, SCA Wars are events where you will find yourself making new friendships and deepening current ones. To keep the bad incidences few and far between, and something that doesn’t happen to you, I’ve posited the following recommendations.

Follow the Site Rules

Fully follow them. The event stewards are aware of possible environmental hazards and make the rules accordingly. Their instructions should be your first go-to at any event.


I highly recommend leaving your non-SCA related valuables at home. It’s less likely that your belongings could be stolen at an event than it is that you could simply lose them in the zoo of activity that is an SCA war, not to mention all of Mother nature’s greenery surrounding your camp. Chains break, rings slip off, pockets and pouches get holes in them, and, in our haste to pack and beat the storm out of camp, we can knock things over and lose them.

(Truly, I have, personally, left my basket unattended more times than I can count and my items were all left undisturbed. Usually when a possession walks off, it’s because someone mistook your item for theirs due to similarity and it’s often promptly returned.)

In regards to jewelry, some women invest in a “medieval” wedding ring, not only to avoid being blatantly modern, but so that they don’t risk losing their nicer, more expensive jewelry at an event. Not many modern jewelry items look medieval, so leaving them at home kills two birds with one stone.

Thanks to modern technology, it is no longer necessary to bring copious amounts of cash for spending money to war since most vendors are equipped to accept debit and credit card payments. Even if they can’t, you can always ask them to put the item on hold while you go into town and use the ATM. I recommend bringing only enough cash to pay gate, pre-pay the Broken Harp at Lilies, and have maybe $50 for petty cash. Keep your wallet with you at all times like you normally do and you
should be fine.

I keep most of my belongings, aside from furniture, in my tent at all times to prevent them blowing away, etc. This includes coolers because I currently don’t have a period box covering and cover it with a blanket. Again, I truly feel that the most common culprit of property loss at a War are the elements, but having your belongings in your fabric house will make it more difficult for someone to simply walk off with them, especially in a crowded camp.

Coolers Et Al

If you’re concerned about opening up your cooler and finding that your supply has been depleted, simply keep your cooler into your tent. Now, I have never encountered a problem with this happening, but, if you’re camped in close quarters and it’s dark, coolers all start to look alike, especially if one is a little tipsy and there’s late night revelry going on. It’s not uncommon to for a gentle to say to their friend, “Just grab a beer from my cooler, it’s the blue one around the corne,” and it’s possible that the friend may get something from the wrong person’s cooler by mistake. Also, teenagers sometimes do stupid things like purloin beer when no one is looking. If you install a lock on any of your gear and have it in plain site, less upright people might assume you have something more valuable in there than Woodchuck, so I don’t personally recommend it unless truly necessary.

Personal Safety

This issue probably pertains to women more than any other group, simply due to a dark, internal force that has afflicted humanity since its beginning. This is especially true for single women (including single mothers) and lesbian women because the male figure of a boyfriend or husband acts as a built-in protector and deterrent for predators.

Yes, there is an honor system in the SCA, but, statistically speaking, not everyone at an SCA event is likely to ascribe to that. For better or worse, it is very easy, in an environment of knights touting honor, to become too comfortable and let our guard down too much in a group that is equally mixed with strangers as well as friends. High morals are preached in churches and yet scandal still occurs because it’s impossible for a group to be immune to the plights of humanity when it is populated by humans; therefore, we must simply continue to do unto others and utilize our best judgement

First of all, always have a buddy system and avoid traveling away from the crowd alone at night. Single persons, especially women, present an easier target for predators. If you’re camping alone, you should be able to find a social group to tag along with and it wouldn’t hurt to have pepper spray on your person like you do (or should do) at home.

Secondly, get your own drinks and keep them in your hand at all times. Yes, the handsome fighter or flirty lady is being very kind to offer and I’m sure they won’t do anything, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Many a woman (and the occasional man) has lost track of her (or his) drink at a party and found herself in unfortunate circumstances.

On that same vein, have a care of whom you accept drinks from. If the person offering has been going around with a bottle filling everyone’s cups with samples of their wares, enjoy! However, if someone hands you a cup and says, “Hey, you should try this,” and you haven’t seen them drink from it themselves, reply, “Thanks, but I think I might be getting a cold and I wouldn’t want you to catch it,” or “Thank you, but my head won’t forgive me in the morning if I switch drinks.” Again, the person offering probably has no malicious intent, we share drinks a lot in the SCA, but it’s better to exercise a little caution than not. If anything, it may help you avoid catching the [Insert Event Name] Plague.

Thirdly, male escorts are galant and should be applauded, but try to stick to your girlfriends unless you know the gentleman very well. However, please accept an escort you know you can trust at night. As mentioned earlier, a male presence can deter predators, but always try to travel in groups. It will not set feminism back one inch and we’re all trying to make our way in a world that is sometimes perilous and we should be there to help each other.

The writer is aware that, statistically, the majority of sexual assault victims are attacked by people they know and in familiar environments; however, that fact does not change the pertinence of the given advice, even if the premise of the hypotheticals presented here assumes that assailants will be strangers.

None of us want to be or want to see our friends in a position, to put it delicately, of being in the wrong section of a statistic. While there are instances that simply cannot be helped despite our best efforts, our best efforts are still worthwhile.

Child Safety

The Ministry of Youth is here to make the SCA fun, accessible, and appealing to your children so they won’t fight you every time you go to an event. It is not a baby-sitting service and you should not leave your children there unattended for extended periods as a courtesy to the volunteers.

We often see children wandering independently through site at war and the rule of thumb is to be sensible: give your children the liberty they’ve proven they can responsibly handle, no more, and be sure to dog tag your kids in case they get separated from you for some reason. There are lots of parents and kind-hearted people at events who will stop and help a distressed child separated from their family should that happen; however, having been a helping adult in that situation, it’s difficult when children are too young to explain to whom they belong, so identification helps.

Be sure to read the site rules regarding minors carefully as each event can differ greatly depending on the group, the site, and even the event steward.

When it comes to toddlers, I find that a good, long belt makes a nice leash to keep them out of places you don’t want, them like list fields and pottery shops.

Be Your Brother and Sister’s Keeper


The small-town community works when the people within it look out for one another. If you see a child that seems lost, take a moment to stop and ask, rather than assume everything is alright. If your girlfriend is clearly enjoying Bacchus’ gift surrounded by people not in your group, check in to make sure she’s in control of her faculties and maybe watch her out of the corner of her eye to see how the situation develops. Offer something to drink to visitors in your camp: it’s part of chivalry and courtesy and vital in the heat. Close your neighbors tent doors and tighten their ropes if it starts raining while they’re wandering site… Simply put, follow the Golden Rule. That’s what makes our community safe and strong.

SCA Wars are wonderful events: rarely are such compendiums of classes available or so many activities at other venues. They’re the places where the Middle Ages can truly come to life and where friendships, even marriages, are forged. Some of the best friends you may ever have, you’ll meet at War and the warmth of human kindness will touch and inspire you. This missive is not intended to undermine the “magic”, but to protect it and preserve it from being spoiled for even one person by a negative experience.

Have a great War!

Stile Field Battle at Gulf

Detail of fol. 5r from Royal Armouries Ms. I.33, circa 1300. Public domain in the US

by Baroness Ayisha bint Asad

Many of you have heard this already. The lucky ones have lived it. I beg your indulgence for repeating once more the glories of the Calon Host.

At Gulf Wars this year, there were three battles planned: the Town, the Field, and the Ravine. The Town was fought, and lost. The Ravine was flooded. It is of the Field I will now speak.

We gathered upon a Wednesday, fair and sunny. At the appointed hour of 1pm we mustered. With many still weary from the armored battle, our small group started out towards the field, a few stragglers trailing behind. No songs had we this time, but still our banner in front, and a wagon full of water and shields.

We were directed here, then there, as the generals organized their troops and counted the tally. Fourty-some per side, if memory serves. Anthills were active, and we were cautioned accordingly. Our Commander, Master Donald, was given our assignment: to harry and delay the enemy, as the cavalry to our side ran ahead and picked them off.

And delay we did! The first round, we advanced as one; then came the command to fall back. Twice, thrice, we retreated in good order, stringing along our adversary as their flank was picked apart. Then came the call to press, step and step again. Across the field we swept them, across the world’s edge, as our line held and theirs crumbled.

Few fighters we lost that round, and our side’s generals sang the praises of the Calon Host! Our enemies, too, saw our worth, and sent over their Masters to better deal with us in the second round.

We were hard pressed then, and many perished. What little I saw: Uji beset our foe, until he was legged. One reached forth to end him, and in that moment exposed himself to me. I took the shot, before I too was slain. My comrades fought bravely, but as the tide advances, so too the wave of the enemy overtook our lines.

The third and final round then came. Again we advanced, again fell back, and once again, we pressed the line. One by one our fighters fell, until four still stood – Ujimori, shield in hand, and no hand left to hold a sword. Baron Donald, Master of Defense, now defenseless, but still standing. Master Gawin, and a recruit from the West, Ibrahim, still stood with arms. Stepped forward they then with what they had in hand (or with what they did not). Other kingdoms fell in line, and together forced out the foe. A few scattered fighters then remained to be picked off, and the third round was ours!

The Calon Host fought as one, and both sides alike acknowledged our role in the fray.

(Apologies to anyone whose part I remembered incorrectly. Fog of war, and all that.)

Vignettes from the Frozen Gulf

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

by Lady Ayisha bint Asad

There being little going on in camp as yet, and it being my first Gulf, Lord Ujimori volunteered to take me on a tour of the grounds (him being so much more experienced, with this being his second Gulf).

We were waylaid by conversation in the Early Period Life camp. A number of small, permanent structures were set out in two rows, a miniature craftsman’s village. Not far from the entrance was the woodcraft building. The entire building had been constructed over the past six years, using period techniques. Many of the boards were held in place with wood pegs, rather than nails. The building had survived the Gulfnado, though it had lost a shutter in it. Two beams had been partially replaced, and for safety’s sake secured with metal brackets. Termites, I think, was said to be the reason. Up in the loft, there was lumber drying for later use. On the ladder, a knotwork creature was carved. And on one of the cornerstones, a Calatrava.

There were no battles scheduled yet — it was a day for classes and shopping. The morning chill had yet to fully lift, but in several layers and moving about I was finally starting to warm up. I was in one of the merchant’s tents, fingering several bolts of fabric, trying to settle on a wool to buy for a coatmaking class later that day. From a street corner, several tents down, the music of a hammered dulcimer floated by.

Sunday night:
After passing through several camps and not finding anyone I was looking for, I headed to the Purple Pavilion, center of so many stories I had heard from wars past. I was the first one there, but it was not long before I was joined by another, and soon a third. The crowd continued to grow, as I watched an orange moon creep up over the trees. There was talk of plans for the battles ahead, and tales of SCA past. And, yes, there were some modern concerns and shared interests sprinkled in amongst the conversations. Eventually, people started peeling off, and the discourse merged down to a single group.

Finally, one person left, giving a reminder to the rest of us to turn out the new battery-operated pavilion lights, and we all realized that it was midnight and we were ready for sleep. I turned out the lights, and it was just as bright outside the pavilion under the full moon. A slight cloud cover caught the light, brightening the whole sky. I made my way back to my tent at the far end of camp, the canvas tents around me glowing in the moonlight, and as I looked up the branches overhead framed the moon.

The day that began clear had become cloudy, a flat grey. I was still in camp, preparing for the town battle to come. The armored fighters had mustered some time ago; I figured their battle had begun by that point. From the skies I heard crow calls, putting me in the moment told of in so many stories where the crows gather in anticipation of feasting on the battle’s slain.

Later Monday:
Time crept by as we waited for the appointed hour to muster. I crossed and re-crossed the space beside the Purple Pavilion, going back to my tent for tape or extra tips to stash in my pouch as I imagined potential scenarios that might occur. People came for inspections, then most disappeared again as they went to make their own final preparations. The wind picked up, and it started misting. Slowly our numbers began to grow as the hour approached. The mist turned into a drizzle, setting people bustling once more to get gear under cover. A few of the crossover fighters arrived back in camp. They rushed to switch out gear, as those of us who were waiting hastily dug through gear bags to find a few final pieces of loaner armor for them. And then the hour arrived.

We gathered, in the rain, on the road. I imagined the rust already starting to form on my blades. Someone grabbed the banner, His Majesty took his place behind it, and we were off. Master Dolan attempted to lead us in song, but we were fewer than we had hoped, and some of us did not know the words all that well, and it fell mostly to him to carry the song. I marched carefully, attempting to avoid the puddles without falling out of line, but my shoes were still soaked through before we reached Five Points.

The noise of the assembled armies was a roar which rose up to greet us as we neared the battlefield. Masses of people, gathered under the tents of many kingdoms, formed a wall along the road. We wound around the right flank of the crowd — and on the other side of the tents were our armored fighters, waiting for us. They stood in two lines, spears up, forming an arch for us to pass through, singing Steel-shod Dance. Their song welled up around us as we marched, and our voices joined theirs. In that moment, I felt we were finally accepted as part of the army. Many thanks to the armored fighters who delayed doffing their armor and partaking of the peanut butter and jelly to make that gesture.

Later still:
It was cold, and the temperature was still dropping. The near-constant wind made it worse. There had been people at the pavilion all afternoon, taking shelter from the off-and-on rain. I sat, at last moderately warm in four layers – two tunics given to me at my first full Lillies, another that had been leant to me for Gulf, and a coat that had been handed to me by a chivalrous knight who saw me cold, trapped at the Purple Pavilion by a heavy rain, under-dressed for the sudden drop in temperature.

As night fell, people gathered for a planned discussion. A foreign Count had heard of a household’s traveling game, and it had piqued his interest, so there was going to be an audience-participation demonstration of it that evening. The rules were simple: they had accumulated a book of questions, regarding the nature of the Society and life in it. Someone picks a question from the book, and debate about that question ensues. Lists of questions were passed around, and someone was called on to pick the first. It was read, and in response, opinions started flying.

Even as opinions became heated, the temperature outside continued to drop. We discussed whether service can be taught, while in the background several people quietly located the pavilion walls and put them up to help block the incessant wind. Bottles were passed around, and people passed in and out of the tent as the topic meandered. Occasionally the erstwhile moderator stepped in to call for a new question. Topics ranged from how much prowess should be weighed (a particular historic list of chivalric virtues having left it out), to the method of determining new Crowns, to whether a person is really virtuous, even if they act so 100 percent of the time, if they only do so because our awards require it. Unsurprisingly, there was no clear consensus reached — although there was much agreement on certain points, albeit phrased differently and repeatedly, while other points were more contentious, and at least several of the less forceful attendees did not successfully make themselves heard.

Hours later, the visiting count left, along with around half of the attendees. Those who remained broke into smaller discussions around some of the points raised; how long I can not report, as I then sought the warmth of my bed.

I have heard it said by more experienced campers that “cotton is death.” That certainly seemed accurate as I stood tip-toed atop a tree root, peering over the crowd to try to see some of the opening ceremonies, with wet, numb, cotton-stockinged feet exposed to a chill, chill wind. Between the wind and the muttering of other attendees, I could hear little of what the Royals were saying as they entered, but as one kingdom’s crown took the stage in a Viking ship, I could clearly hear the crowd to my right start singing “row, row, row your boat”. Some of the crowd to the left joined in, in a round.

Not having been able to hear much of what was going on, I have little to say of the opening court. Once it was over, I hovered around the planted banners for a few minutes to determine whether we were also going to process back to camp together. After the fourth group of purple falcon tabards I saw peel off in disparate directions, I made a beeline for the merchant selling wool socks.

Later Tuesday:
After the field battle, it was suggested that some of us attend the commanders’ meeting about Thursday’s ravine battle, to get a little more experience about the tactical side of things. The flags had not yet been planted, and there was some uncertainty regarding which way they would be oriented and where the res points would be, which meant that we had to discuss two sets of potential tactics. The meeting was also interrupted by a belting (or, rather, scarving) taking place nearby, so it felt like at least an hour later than expected that the remainder of our force straggled back to camp.

And despite the lateness of the hour, there was still soup and PB&Js waiting for us, some of the most delicious PB&Js I have tasted. Many thanks for the Soup Kitchen members who made them, and for those that saved them for us.

As the sky darkened, preparations for the Calontir party began. I finally had the opportunity to see numerous OAFs in action as they worked out the best method of lantern hanging. Their efforts were successful, but there were, of course, hijinks along the way. There were several arguments about knot-tying. And, one of the necessary steps in the process was raising a rope high enough that some of the taller populace members would not clothesline themselves on it. After some trial and error, the solution determined was to tie a raising rope to the lantern rope, hanging the raising rope from a handy branch, and using it to pull the lantern rope to height after the lanterns were lit. An effective solution, but there was some trouble getting the raising rope over the second tree, and a series of people took turns attempted throwing a weighted rope through a split in a tree. Several shots fell humorously low, or off-target. A few shots bounced off the tree. Finally, someone made it, and the lanterns were raised.

Before the party got going, a surprise court was called – HL Bronwen of Westhold, who was responsible for the food on the party tables, among other things, received a Silver Hammer.
Most of the night I spent up the hill, near the vigil for Aiden O’Seaghdha. The vigil table was, as requested, “meat and cheese, cheese and meat,” and had numerous delicious homemade cheeses by the Honorable Lady Alianora and Mistress Jorunn.

The night was again cold, but the wind was not as persistent as it had been previous nights, or the ravine blocked it. Up the hill, I could not see the Mongolian Wrestling competition that was to take place, but earlier in the evening I saw the champion for another kingdom come and ask about entering. Someone relayed a conversation they overheard before one of Count Xerxis‘ matches, against a much larger opponent. “I’m worried about that little guy, he’ll get crushed.” It sounded like he did very well despite the size difference.

The crowd persisted well past the end of the wrestling. Across the hill, there was light and noise from the Ansteorran camp, where our allies were hosting a chili night. Some of our populace wandered over there before our party; no doubt some did afterwards as well.

The court times for Thursday were announced, so there was no surprise that the field court was taking place. It was sandwiched between the armored and rapier ravine battles. Several Fyrds were awarded, then the Chivalry was called forward, ostensibly for HL Aiden O’Seaghdha’s elevation. One of the knights began speaking – but instead of starting the ceremony, begged the boon for HE Duncan Fearmac MacLeod to be elevated to Pelican. Everyone then had to shuffle around for a second peerage order to find room at the front of the gathering.

Later Thursday:
Once again, night had fallen, and there was a crowd of people in the Purple Pavilion – the regular rhythm of life at Gulf for many, it seemed. This time, Master Dolan and Baroness Kezia had brought the “bardic bus” with them, and the population of the pavilion increased by a third.

Two young ladies premiered an amusing filk they were working on, “SCA Injuries” (to the tune of “My Favorite Things”). Others took their turns at singing, and we came to the perennial favorite, “At the Battle of Maldon.” After it ended, Master Rhodri stood and said something to the effect that the author of the song, Mistress Rosalind Jehanne, was with us that evening. She then stood, and sang a new song she was working on, about a warrior queen. People took turns, in many cases the content of one song leading to the next. One man sang “Road to Rome” with a clear, emotion-filled voice. The bardic circle showed no signs of stopping when I finally left.

A hasty vigil was assembled for Sir Alric, post-knighting. Someone had been dispatched to town for food, but encountered brake trouble, so the organizers had to make do with donations.

That was not as much a problem as one might imagine.

An initial spread was constructed of cheese, meat, fruit, bread, crackers, and a few dips – standard, respectable fare. But by halfway through the evening, a grill had been drug up to the area by the pavilion. Count Agamemnon took charge of the grill, and of the parade of meats that appeared as people cleaned out their pantries. First hot dogs, then bacon, which was eagerly devoured. Then all the bacon grease was sopped up with bread, and ham and cheese sandwiches were grilled. Chocolate chip chocolate chunk chocolate pancakes were attempted, but the griddle was still too hot. Around this point, two racks of ribs were donated, and started their slow cook. Another wave of bacon was brought out, and quickly consumed. Then, several gigantic pork steaks appeared. Once the griddle cooled, the pancakes were re-attempted, more successfully, and banana bread was toasted, well after Sir Alric had been sneakily removed from vigil without the notice of much of the crowd.

Several tents had disappeared during the night, and many more camps were already in a state of partial disassembly by the time I awoke. Most people had changed into modern clothes for the re-packing, and some were hardly recognizable, so vast was the difference in their appearance. The modest trash pile, which had held one or two bags at a time throughout the week, had grown to have a footprint the size of a tent, though it had not quite reached the height of one by the time we rolled out of camp. On the ride home, my thoughts were a tug-of-war between processing all that had happened that week, and the remembrance of tasks awaiting me, successfully put out of my head during the war. One foot in the past, one foot in the future.