“So, the sisters smiled to themselves,
And they whispered as they shone,
And it was from that very instant,
I knew I would never be alone.
While on the hills
The fires burned at midnight,
Superstition plagued the air,
Sparks fly as the fires burn at midnight,
Stars are out and magic is here,
the stars are out and magic is here…”

What a weekend. What an incredible weekend….. The fires did burn at midnight, the stars were out, and magic was definitely there…

This past weekend was Samhain 2006, The Rumble on the River; a war between the Barony of Three Rivers in Calontir and The Barony of Grey Niche. This was my third year to either autocrat or co-autocrat the event, and I think it may be the best one yet.
Yes, there were some initial problems Friday night. No autocrat ever wants to arrive on site and find out that the baronial equipment that was supposed to be on site no later than 2:00 PM still wasn’t there at 4:30 PM. Nor should any autocrat ever have to receive a call from the person transporting the baronial equipment and be told that the transport driver’s vehicle had thrown it’s timing belt and the Baronial equipment was sitting in a Lowe’s parking lot roughly an hour and a half away. Thank all gods great and small for the generosity and willingness to help of most SCA folks. One of my household members, William of Glenn Lyon lives in Southaven, and he was able to get to the stranded vehicle, load the equipment up and get it to site. So what if it didn’t get there until almost 9:00 PM? The fact is most of it wasn’t needed until Saturday anyway.
The other problem with Friday night was the wind. Yes, it was cold, but the cold itself wouldn’t have been to bad if it hadn’t been so bloody windy. Several people had their tents collapse due to snapped tent poles. Of course none of the people in period pavilions had any problems. The poor folks sitting troll had it the worst. We had rigged up a series of tarps to act as a kind of a wind break. This worked to cut down the worst of the wind, but Turlaugh and crew had to listen to the wind rattling the tarps all night. Not fun, I assure you.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny. There was quite literally not a cloud in the sky. More importantly the temperture climbed to somewhere in the mid sixties and stayed there throughout the day. It was pleasantly warm, but not hot. The Baronial pavilion and the Gleann Abhann Royal pavilion was quickly set up. and before I really new what was happening everything was in full swing. The fighters were having a great time on the field, the archers were having a great time at the range (and a big thanks to Vicountess Miriel for running the range all day. You ROCK), and there were 29 A&S entries in the main hall. All of the problems of the day before had somehow evaporated. Everybody seemed to be having a great time.
All to soon it was late afternoon and it was time to set up for the Bardic Competition. The Three Rivers Players were going to be performing right before court and they had set up a black curtain to use as a back drop and the Bardic competition took place in front of that curtain . There were several participants in the bardic competition: everything from story tellers and poets to singers of period pieces and SCA Filks. All of the performers were very, very talented, and it was truly hard for the audience to determine a winner. I really thought Stu’s performance of the Squire’s Song had stolen the show, but then Ravas and his companions did the skit featuring Lord Pantalone and there was no doubt. Once again the Grey Lady of Grey Niche, the harp that serves as the trophy for the Kathleen O’Cannon Memorial Bardic Competition is going to spend a year being cared for by a member of the Barony of Three Rivers. That’s ok, those are good folks, and they will take good care of her.
After the Bardic Competition the Three Rivers Players performed for the audience. Good lord those are some talented folks. Their show featured singing, and comedy skits. Unfortunately the event schedule only gave them a half hour to perform. I’m told that at Lilies War they perform three shows during the week, and each show is an hour long. I look forward to seeing them again someday.
Then it was time for court, and it was an impressive court. Present were Baron Dulinn of Grey Niche, Baron Duncan of Three Rivers, The Prince and Princess of Gleann Abhann, the King of Calontir and the King of Gleann Abhann. That was the most thrones I’ve ever seen in one place at one time. Court was held outside, under the stars and by torch light, which I thought was kind of cool. Yes, it was literally kind of cool (some people might have said it was in fact bloody cold, but they are mistaken). Several good people got some very well deserved awards. I was particularly happy to see Caitriona get an Onyx Chalice, Ceriddwyn get her GOA and of course seeing Mad Alex get her Court Barony was just to bloody cool for words. I think the best part of court happened while James and I were giving our thanks to everybody that attended and everybody that had worked so hard to make the event a success; just as we were getting ready to announce the war point totals – to announce which side actually won, in other words – both the King of Gleann Abhann and The King of Calontir stood up and said together, ” We won. All of us that were here this weekend won”. Damn, that was a good feeling.
After court I told James the Unholy, the co-autocrat, that I was joining several household members in going into Corinth to get some dinner. All of the Dragons that were present went to Russel’s Steakhouse and I had a steak that was quite literally large enough to feed a small army. I hadn’t eaten all day, and I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I walked into that restaurant and got a whiff of grilling steak. Much fun was had, many stories were told, and a good time was had by all that were there. I can and do recommend that restaurant to any and all SCA folks that find themselves traveling through Corinth.
On returning to site I visited some of the camp fires that were still going, and spent some time at the party hosted by the Three Rivers Folks. Let me tell you , they put on one hell of a party. Singing, conversation, story telling, all under the stars and around a campfire. What a wonderful time. If I had not been so bloody tired I’d have stayed up later, As it was I ended up crashing sometime between midnight and 1:00 AM. Slept like the dead for about seven hours.
Sunday was just packing up, cleaning up, and going home. The packing up went surprisingly quickly, and I have to be honest and say I really didn’t do much of it. Lots of people helped, and it all got done quickly. We were off site by just a very little after noon. About 15 people that had attended the event and worked it in one way or another had lunch at Ryans in Corinth before heading back to Memphis. I was home, showered, and comfortable by about 4:30. Now, all during the drive home I was day dreaming about going to bed and sleeping for 12 hours or so as soon as I had gotten unloaded, and showered. Of course, that didn’t happen.
When I did get a chance to sit down and think back, I realized that I’d had another great SCA weekend. Some people love to fight, some love the involvement in the Arts and Sciences, and that’s fine. Me, I love to organize the events. Sure, at times during the process I will cheerfully admit that I want to hurt some folks, but it always comes together. There is truly nothing I’ve exerienced that is a better feeling than when some one shakes my hand as they are leaving on Sunday morning and tells me they’ve had a good time. Nope, there is nothing in the world that beats that feeling
Of course, no successful event is possible without the hard work of a great number of people:
James the Holy: thank you for doing most of the real work. You were a great co-autocrat, and I hope you enjoyed it.
Luther and Ali and your crew: Thank you for the great food you made for the tavern at lunch and dinner. The food was great, and I know the King of Calontir particularly enjoyed the potato soup at Lunch.
Turlaugh , Elvis, Caitriona, Luca and Falada, thank you for working Troll. An additional thank you to Luca and her token making crew. They were beautiful.
Kathleen thank you for all you did in so many different ways. Thanks for setting up the Baron’s tent, and the tents of several other people.
Miriel: the work you did at the archery range was incredible. Thanks to you and to your marshals.
Marisa: great job as merchancrat, and thanks for helping marshal the battles on Saturday.
Kenna and Crew: thanks for taking care of the Royal Dinnner.
Ulfrun thank you for organizing and running the A&S competitions.
To all 258 people that came to the event: Thank you for coming. I hope you all had as good a time as I did.