Well, I’m home from a great weekend. In some ways it was very frustrating. There was an academic conference in Kansas City that I wanted to go to because it was loaded this year with great speakers. Also in Kansas City on Saturday was Benjamin Bagby performing his version of Beowulf. Sigh.
Because while those were good and important things to do, this weekend was also the 25th Anniversary Jubilee of the Kingdom of Calontir. This is something that only happens once, and there were going to be a variety of history projects on display. I hate when there are multiple things on the same weekend 🙁
But the event itself made it all worthwhile. I had written a poem about an event in Calontir’s past to enter into the Bardic Competition in Crown Tournament, but circumstances prevented that competition from happening, and I have sort of just sat on this poem, because I wanted to enter it into something, and there was conveniently enough a Legends of Calontir Competition at Jubilee. I was one of three winners, and I got a really spiffy Viking Age glass bead necklace made by HE Sorcha. Sigh, more bling 🙂
I had decided not to fight because of wanting to be fresh to perform that poem, but also because I had two other big things in my plans for the day. Mathurin set up his “recording studio” in the Sanctuary and had people tell stories of Calontir’s history throughout the day. I sat and listened to this, catching some things that I did not know. I contributed two stories myself, the Pennsic Peasant Rabble and the Gulf Wars Tag and Release stories. The only problem was a lack of time for so many of the early participants in the kingdom to come down and speak. I think I’m going to suggest to Mathurin to do that again at Lilies where a bunch more might be able to tell their memories of the past.
My big project, however, started in December or so. Derdriu and I were talking and she mentioned something about doing 10-20 or so of her wooden cups that she makes by turning them on a lathe. I love these cups. They’re small, but they are beautiful.
She said she wanted to do these cups so Her Majesty Maerwynn could give them out at Gulf Wars. So my reaction was, heck, why only do 10-20. Why not do 120 or so that she can give them out to all who go to Gulf.
Derdriu looked at me like I was crazy. I get that look a lot from people so I know what it looks like.
She suggested that I talk to her Laurel, Master Edward, with I think the expectation that he would tell me that this was not feasible. Ooops. He liked the idea too. So we started figuring out the nuts and bolts.
The main thing was to get more hands on the project, so I went to other artisans for help. I basically said, hey, do you want to help me make the queen cry in a good way?
Everyone I asked was excited about the project. Maerwynn is well-loved. Vasilia, Olga, and Sisuile made something like 60 ceramic cups of a similar design. Lief made 10 or so leather cups. Tatiana made 10 of her own lathed cups. And Derdriu “only” had to do 49 plus 2 special ones for Their Majesties. I think we ended up at slightly more than 120, and if there are more than that at Gulf Wars, Derdriu will make some more to cover the extras.
From December to the present, I had talked to Maerwynn a number of times, and while I can keep a secret, I wanted to just hint that she had something special coming up. I dropped hints that something cool was going to happen. Derdriu and I had teased her at one point with “we know something that you do not.” When Maerwynn and I went to Flogging Molly last Tuesday, she specifically asked me if what I’d been hinting about would happen at Jubilee. I lied. I totally lied. I said, yes, I was on the court docket to talk about Gulf Wars, but not the special thing. Lie lie lie.
Before Jubilee I had asked TRMs Chamberlain Winnifred if I could present these in court after explaining the project. Knowing that this would be a huuuge court, I was good with her saying no, or maybe putting me in the morning court on Saturday. But Winnifred insisted on the evening court because more people would be there and she knew people would like this.
So I spent a goodly amount of Saturday organizing the details. I’m sure Edward and Derdriu think I did too much organizing, and they’d be right. Nevertheless, the time came, and we all got up there with some cups to show off, and I addressed the crowd.
I got up and explained about the role of cup-giving to Anglo-Saxon queens. Maerwynn had served the cup to Luther and others at all of the feasts of this reign, and this had been a magical thing to me because of its rightness, and this had been part of my inspiration of this project.
So, I followed the explanation of cup-giving with something about how we had thought she was a true and proper Anglo-Saxon queen, and that we wanted her to be remembered as such. That we had made 120 or cups for her to give to her army at Gulf Wars. That we wanted all who receive one of these cups to remember, every time they use them at a feast or whatever, Maerwynn as the cup-giving queen of Calontir.
I couldn’t look at her while I was saying this. I glanced back once, and I about lost it. I barely managed to say my spiel before crying. I looked back and she was crying. Derdriu said she was crying too.
There were other great moments at court, especially Conna getting a standing ovation while receiving her Baronetcy and Conna and I giggling in happy fashion while we and the other Lilies were watching Lucia get her Lily. Nevertheless, the court moment for me was looking at Maerwynn’s face as I handed to her the two cups that were for her and Luther.
I was getting ready to leave for dinner, when Maerwynn sent for me to speak at the start of feast. To explain, while she was giving the cup for the last time, the process. I dredged up some lines from Beowulf about Wealhtheow and then as she was presenting the cup explained more about the diplomacy aspects of the process. I had kind of thought about doing this earlier in the reign, but never got the appropriate lines from Beowulf, but I think people liked it nonetheless.
After dinner, Lyriel was very kind to drop some of us off at the post-revel and drive my car back to their house. I knew Fernando would be at the post-revel and I knew he’d be driving a “late bus.”
And I’m really glad too, it was a great post-revel. There were something like 550 people at the event, and the post-revel was packed. The singing hadn’t started when I got there at 11ish, but we started soon enough. The singing lasted until 5am.
At various points, there were so many people it was difficult to sing, but around 3ish or so there was a bit of an exodus. I had not thought I would be able to do any of my poetry, because there’s a certain noise threshold that the singing circle has to be under for it to work, but with that exodus there was a chance. I performed my Rose Poem to Maerwynn for the last time for her as a queen. I don’t know as I’ll ever match the performance I gave at Charlemagne’s Oktoberfest, but I did pretty well and we both cried a bit again. Later I got to do the Battle of Arrowsburh, the Siridean’s Breach poem. I think it went pretty well. A bunch of drunk people liked it enough to generally pay attention, so that’s a good thing.
Anyway, as I said, we left the post-revel at like 4:55, which Fernando noticed. He started driving us home a different route, because, well, his favorite donut place opened up at 5am. I have a good knight.
So that’s the event, and despite the options, I made the right choice. I will never forget the look on Maerwynn’s face when I handed her the cups.