P is Pennsic, and also for Peerage….

So I returned home Sunday morning in the wee early hours from my very first Pennsic War.  To say it was a mind blowing experience does not, I think, do it enough credit.

It had been 8 years since the last time I made it to a large, foreign war.  That was long before I moved to Calontir, so this was my first time getting the Purple Pavillion experience.  The feeling of inclusion was kind of indescribable.  From mustering out with the army pretty much every morning to helping pass around chicken soup with the fourth company, to sitting late into the night and singing, brought the Calontiri experience into focus in a way I hadn’t expected.

Other things that made for an amazing war:

I was invited by my friend, Finepopla, cup-wif of Jarl Gunnar Redboar, to visit Trotheim for their boasting ceremony as a gester on Sunday night of War Week.  Trotheim is a confederation of Viking households across two Kingdoms, who try to take the level of their persona as seriously as possible.  This ceremony, and the accompanying toasting at War’s end, were some of the most period experiences I have been given in the SCA.  I was also grateful to be allowed to bring some of my Calontiri friends with me to both nights, because it was a very special experience for them as well.

Wolgemut showing up to play the Calontir camp party on Thursday: this was such a book end to my experience at foreign wars.  Just as I danced like a mad thing to a Wolgemut camp show at my first Gulf Wars, so I did it at my first Pennsic (which given my bum knee, may not have been wise).

People- there are people whom I had met in passing in Calontir, but did not know well, who I left the war thinking of as my brothers and sisters.  There were those from other Kingdoms whom I have not seen in many years, who when met again, it was like no time had passed.  There were new friends made who were thrilled to see me later throughout the war.  The SCA may not be perfect, but it is tribe and family and a place I always feel like I have come home to.

And now, about that other P word…

Prior to the war,  my Laurel, Fionnuala, had been asked by his Majesty to make a court barony coronet for someone. She thought it was for me. During the course of the war, while I was doing retinue duty, they confided in my that she was actually making her own coronet. I then took the liberty of scheduling myself to be the behind the thrones retinue for the royal court where it would be given.

Fast forward to Thursday. We process into court, and their Majesties begin to present a number of very well deserved awards. They get to Fionnuala, and call her up. She presents to coronet for them to give, when His majesty announces it’s for her. Much crying and happiness ensues. I think we are about to process out when his majesty says, “Your Excellency Fionnuala, I understand you have further business with us.” At which point time kind of stopped, because this was unexpected and not on the docket and…wait, is this?

And my Laurel responds with “Yeah, because you owe me here, your majesty….” And then she says something that sounds a lot like loud wind noises and the world gets a little tilty…and apparently as she said my name and elevation to the order of the Laurel, I said “Holy Shit…”

Laurel Announcement

I assume someone pushed me out from behind the thrones, because the next thing I really remember, I was on my knees on the kneeling pillow before their Majesties who were charging me to take good counsel about when the accolade would be given, and then calling for the members of the order present to hug me out of court….

Laurel Hugs

Thank you to their Majesties Agamemnon and Gwen for the honor, the members of the Order for considering me a worthy addition, my laurel Fionnuala for her love and guidance, my husband Alarich  for his love and support and being my taste tester for the last 9 years, and to everyone who has expressed their good wishes. I feel humbled and blessed.

Vigil and Elevation will take place at Calontir’s Kris Kinder event December 13th.  More details to follow.

So yes, definitely the best foreign war event ever.


C is for Court Barony Scroll Text…

So, I have been doing a decent number of texts in the past few months, though they are being given in almost a reverse order to the chronology of me finishing them.  It’s kind of amusing.

Shortly after HRM Agamemnon won, HRM Gwen asked me to write a charter style text for a Court Barony for a lovely lady up in Cum on Iolair who had long served in the SCA in a variety of areas, and who had been very kind to Her Majesty when she first came into the Kingdom.  The result was as follows:

“Gwen, Calon Queen of Grace and Beauty, and consort to Agamemnon, King by Right of Arms, send greetings to all nobles, peers, burghers, and gentles to whom these letters come.  As we have travelled Our Realm and spoken with Our people, we have seen the good works of one who has done much to support Calontir and the Dream.  Our faithful subject, Marguerite des Baux, has shared her skill in the arts, making many beautiful weavings to gladden the eye.  She has given all the gift of music, playing upon her harp and recorder to gladden the heart.  She has nourished the body of our people with wondrous foods, and she has nourished the soul of our Kingdom in her service to all the people of Our Realm.

For these good works, and services, and in recognition of the love and esteem We hold for Marguerite, We do so grant her the rank and estate of Baroness of Our Court with all rights and privileges thereto appertaining.  And further, We charge her in her new estate to continue her work, to wit to ensure the growth and prosperity of her local Shire, and tithe of her arts and graces to all the peoples of our realm as she is so able to.

This is so done and given by our hands on the Feast of St. Bernard, being the 26th Day of August, Anno Societatis XLIX at our Shire of Cum An Iolair.

Agamemnon, Rex                               Gwen, Regina”


As an added bonus, the artisan who did the Calligraphy and Illumination, Mistress Suzanne de la Ferte, took a picture of the scroll when she finished it (it lacks TRMs signatures), and has agreed to let me share it.

Marie CB Scroll

Mistress Suzanne does truly lovely work, and it’s a pleasure to see words I wrote put into such a gorgeous piece of art.

Kingdom A&S

Overall, it went very well.  I didn’t score as highly as I expected to on one entry, but I feel like all the judges points were fair.  I did get a perfect score from a notoriously strict set of food judges on my course of Lenten dishes, and since that is my primary art, I was very pleased.

Copies of all my documentation is now up on the Documentation Tab on the Stillroom Book Homepage.

On a related note, I apologize to my fellow artisans.  I received awful news about dear friends right before things got started on Saturday morning, and while I held it together while being judged and judging, I couldn’t really get around to see a lot and talk to people during my free time like I had planned.  I am sorry, and I hope to do better at Queen’s Prize this coming year.

So….That Was Exciting…

So, we are coming into the home stretch for Kingdom A&S Tri-Levels and Championships 2014 here in Calontir.  The deadline to declare intent to enter is tomorrow, March 1st, and the event is March 22.

In the past, the deadline for intent to enter has also been the deadline for Research Paper Entries to be submitted, since they tend to be long and require a lot of forethought for someone to read in an hour. 

Apparently, this year, there was an announcement I missed that they were extending this requirement to the Poetry and Writing in Period Style Prose entries.  I caught on to this on Wednesday of this week.  One of my entries was the retelling of a great Calontiri event in the poetry style of Dante.  For those playing along, my remaining 3 weeks just shrank to 3 DAYS.  Yikes!

While I had started my documentation (about 40% done) I had barely rough sketched the poem. I panicked for just a minute, and spoke with the Kingdom Arts and Sciences Minister, who said I could get a small extension if I really needed to (since we weren’t talking about 40+ pages).

Then decided that since I have always thrived under pressure, I needed to, in the words of Tim Gunn, “Make it work”.  Two nights and two lunch hours work later, it’s done.  And I am actually pretty darn proud of it.  It does not suck.

If you would like to read it, the documentation and poem can be found here.

KAS Project 2: 14th Century Lenten Meal Boogaloo

Sorry, I really couldn’t help myself.

So, for project number two in our 14th century Italian odyssey, I will be doing a food entry, since cooking is my primary emphasis area.  Since it appear Kingdom A&S is going to stay on it’s current calendar date, and it falls in the middle of Lent, I am going to tackle a course for a lenten meal from 14th century Italian cooking texts.

There are currently two English language translations of works, here and here.  I am comparing both, and will be poking at the original Italian as well.


So far, I am looking at the following dishes:

A dish of chickpeas for lent.

Lasagne with Walnuts

Cisame, a sweet and sour fish dish

Leeks in Lent

Lenten Apple Fritters

I will be working on redactions in the next month or so, moving forward. 


Clothes fit for a Hound…

So project the first that I am working on for this coming 2014 Calontir Kingdom A&S competition is the burial garments of Cangrande I della Scala, the lord Imperial Vicar of Verona and much of the surrounding countryside.  Cangrande is an interesting figure for a number of reasons.

  • His birth name was Francesco, but he became as Cangrande, or Big Dog, both in homage to his uncle who was known as Mastino, and due to his being a pretty serious badass.

    By WikiCommons user Eggbread.

    By WikiCommons user Eggbread.

  • He is one of the few people in the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance whose legends tell of their tragic deaths by poison to have actually, honest to Jesus been poisoned.  At the time, Cangrande had just finally captured the city of Treviso, long the hold out in his conquest of northern Italy.  It is reported that he had drunk from a polluted spring, and sickened on entering the city.  He died a few days later in July of 1328.  At the time, his successor, and nephew, Mastino II, had the physician who attended him hung, though out of actual suspicion of the physician’s guilt or from his own duplicity, no one knows.  What we do know is that upon an autopsy done in 2004 by Italian scientists, they found he suffered from mild psoriasis of the liver (common due to a high fat and wine based diet of that age), miner’s lung (common in a time before chimneys were common and charcoal was burned in braziers for heat and light) and a ridiculously large dose of belladonna, also known as digitalis, which would be indicative of nothing other than poisoning.

    Gino Fornaciari from WikiCommons.

    Gino Fornaciari from WikiCommons.

  • When he died, he was buried in a magnificent tomb, which in addition to being an architectural and artistic marvel, kept his body preserved in such a way that most of his grave garments survived.
Photo by Lo Scaligero from WikiCommons, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tomba_Cangrande_VR.jpg

Photo by Lo Scaligero from WikiCommons, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tomba_Cangrande_VR.jpg

So what I will be doing is his over tunic (and possibly an under tunic) and definitely his hat.  He also had an awesome mantle, but we are on a budget, so that will have to be a wait and see.

If you want to know more about Cangrande, wikipedia has a nice article on him here.

I also recommend the fiction series starting with The Master of Verona, by David Blixt.  Its well research, and well written, and weaves history and fiction gloriously.

Stay tuned for our next installment, when we will talk about patterns, and look at some period art that gives a visual to garments that appear to be similar in style to the patterns developed based on the existent pieces.

143 Days until Kingdom A&S

Ciao, Bellas!