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The Continuing History of Vatavia:
The Founding and Earlist Days of Vatavia1

by Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno)
Orignally published in the July 1997, A.S. XXXII issue of the Dragonflyre, a publication of the Barony of Vatavia.

In the days when rocks were soft and Charles Steward O'Conner had only an AOA, out of the Land of the Sun, there came a man to the southern plains, to a region newly created known as Calontir2. His teachers predicted great things for him, and at the junction of two rivers he planted his standard, gained his fame, and met his destiny. His name was Humpk D'Bohuk from Bohemia3.

Humpk first appeared in the Known World at the fall Crown Tourney in Atenveldt, AS114. He sojourned in the Barony of Atenveldt, learning the craft of fighter under the tutelage of Master Ivan du Grae, Count Dennis of the Titans and Duke Deaton Claymore. He became the Lord of the household of Stormhaven, under the aegis of House Locksley. For his perseverance in waiting out the heat of the day for a small Night War, he was made Companion to the Atenveldt Principality Order of the Wart, making him a Wart of the Court.

Around March of AS12, Humpk traveled to the land that was to become V'tavia. With the encouragement of Bellphoebe, in the beginning of the new year of AS13 Humpk founded the shire of V'tavia5. Named after the Bohemian river Voltava, its original settlers were Humpk, Bellphoebe, Maynard, and Nitram6. They were soon joined by Mammara Leona, and Samurai Rick.

Humpk first showed his fighting prowess at Crown Tourney, held in the distant Barony of Three Rivers. Within two months, at the Tourney at the Center of the Known World, his fighting was so impressive that he was made a member of the fyrd.

In the fall of that year, the word was sent out for others to join the hardy band7. Among the newcomers were Keith, John Martin8, a canis captaror, Kent Love and his lady Kathe, Royboy, and Cire Greymoor9. The winter was quietly spent in training, and in the first flush of April, V'tavia ventured out to the first Ansteorra-Middle Kingdom Border War. And it was there that Humpk received his Award of Arms.

Returning to V'tavia, they proceeded with the first V'tavian Championship Tourney, to decide who was to represent V'tavia in the upcoming Calon Tourney which decided who was to be Champion, and thus lead, Calontir. It was held as part of V'tavia's first demo, in a strange place called the Kansas Coliseum, for an even stranger group called the CBand Truckers Association. Assistance came from Forgotten Sea in the form of Ld Ternon. Due to a recent accident, Ld Humpk was not fighting, and so fate appointed Royboy to become V'tavia's first champion.

Royboy was unable to fight at Calon Tourney II, and soon passed from V'tavia. While a healing back kept Ld Humpk out of the list, he nevertheless scored a string of victories in leather working before retiring from competition.

Fall brought the second V'tavian championship tourney, won by Cire. Summer had precipitated a decline in the population. All who remained were Ld Humpk, Mammara, Bellphoebe, Cire and the summer's only newcomer, Aelfric. Despite such small numbers, V'tavia was to be the host of Calon Tourney III. And there on the shores of Lake Afton, God smiled on V'tavia. For while it rained all around the encampment of 200, the site remained dry, and was privileged to view a double rainbow.

And while Brummbar regained the Championship of Calontir, 130 authorizations were issued. A contest was held to find a song to praise Ld Humpk's beard10. Entertainment that night included seventeen belly dancers, including Mammara's first performance at an event. Reveling lasted to the early morn dawn, aided in part by the magic torches of steel chariots. And the population did double as House Battenhelm joined the hardy band. And thus the greatness of V'tavia began to show.

During the still that is winter, Ld Humpk's back finished healing. And at Calon Tourney IV in Lonely Tower, he did renew his fighting fame, as he fought his way into the finals, only to be defeated by Chepe.

Spring is a time of growth and renewal, and this it so proved to be true for V'tavia. By the end of spring, the population had grown to over twenty. By mid-summer it had passed thirty. By the end of fall, it had gone over fifty11. Like a sign of divine approval, help in accommodate this influx came in the form of Mistress Hillary Stromrider from out of the southwest. And when the influx was settled, she left as quickly as she came12.

AS15 began with V'tavia becoming a part of the Kansas Newman College Renaissance Faire13. The following week was V'tavia's own ode to spring, the Tourney of Grace and Beauty, on the shores of Lake Afton. There marked the beginning of the short history of the Battenhelm Mobile Kitchen, and a very successful tavern14.

In July, V'tavia traveled to Lake Perry for their first glimpse of royalty. It was the Tournament of the Lily, but the blazing sun wilted the lily, and it became the Great Sweat. The unmitigating sun halted the tourney, all movement ceased, and Rannock's marzipan castle melted. As the evening cooled things down, court was held. Ld Humpk was made a huscarl, and Mammara and Cire were awarded Awards of Arms. V'tavia was presented a rose for their courtesy, honor, grace, and mobile kitchen.

Fall was ushered in with the first V'tavian Tournament of Valor, returning yet again to Lake Afton. There Ld Brummbar defeated Ld Humpk to take home the Sword of Valor. While victory was not in the cards that day, bigger things were in store for Ld Humpk.

Calon Tourney V, Three Rivers. Anticipating the day's outcome, V'tavia was the first on the site. Anxiously they watched as Ld Humpk in his new leather scaled armor, slew foe after foe. And with the fall of William of Bellwood, Ld Humpk became the new Champion of Calontir.

A week later, Ld Cire fought for and retained the Championship of V'tavia. Ld Humpk, anticipating a future change in status, resigned the seneschalate, appointing Christian MacBruce as his successor15 16.

While winter howled, a feast was planned. It was announced as just a Twelve Night feast, but in secret, it was to honor Ld Humpk for his victory at Calon Tourney. While not all the invited guests showed, a storm moved though the area that weekend, that was their misfortune.

In the brisk month of February, V'tavia held the Festival of the Snow Queen. While the prize tourney was held outside, the icy wind was too much for most spectators, who chose instead, to watch the proceedings from the other side of a glass wall17. In the bridge melee that followed, some new equipment made its first appearance: waterwings. Designed to keep a fighter from drowning, its effectiveness was questionable.

Two weeks later, the message arrived that V'tavia has become a barony18. While the formal investiture was to be several months away, royal permission was given for Ld Humpk and Ly Mammara to assume the titles of Baron and Baroness. And on April 5, the first baronial court was held19. And so V’tavia’s rose even higher and shone that much brighter.

 

Footnotes

1. This has been adapted from Volume One of the Vatavian History. I have kept the original names and spellings of the time. It was around the time of Calontir becoming a kingdom that the heralds ruled that the use of the apostrophe was not period practice and was replaced by the ‘a’. The reason for the apostrophe is one of those mysteries of history. ^

2. For the details of the founding of Calontir see the histories written by Master Baron Crag Duggan. ^

3. This account tends to concentrate on Humpk’s activities because for much of this period, Humpk was Vatavia. It was not until after Vatavia became a barony that other personalities became noticeable and began to influence events. Humpk’s name also evolved because of the heralds. Starting with Humpk D’Bohunk, it went to Humpk D’Bohun, and then to William Vatavia when he decided it was no longer worth the fight. ^

4. The date of Humpk's first SCA event was 10/2/76. ^

5. The exact dates of the meetings which sketched the beginnings of Vatavia were not remembered by the participants more caught up in the moment of creation, and ironically not thinking history. The branch application is dated 5/15/78. So I arbitrarily set the founding date as May 1 to coincide with the Society New Year. Humpk, the only founder still active when I did this, never objected. ^

6. Bellphoepe was a local lady who had met Humpk when he had previously lived in Wichita. She was also involved in the SF community. Maynard was another person who first got involved in the SCA in Atenveldt. Nitram was Humpk’s brother. ^

7. This was the first of the Free University Classes that were regularly held for the next several years and were a major source of newcomers. They stopped with the collapse of the Free University. ^

8. Though he soon dropped out, many years later he rejoined the barony. He took the society name John Bromire. ^

9. Another person who had a run-in with the heralds, he added Edward as a first name to satisfy them. ^

10. Imagine the classical picture of an Old Testament Patriarch and you will have a good idea of Humpk’s appearance. At least two songs were written, though I only have the words for one. ^

11. With the increase of population, Vatavia now had the population base to be a barony. The application for the change of status is dated 7/14/80. ^

12. The actual circumstances of Mistress Hillary’s appearance is a subject I did not delve in. She was Humpk’s previous wife, and though he was already living with Mammara, they did not marry till that fall. She had already left by the time I began attended local functions, so I know nothing of the dynamics of the situation and did not feel it was my place to inquire. All I know of her is that was described as having a formidable personality. ^

13. The Ren Faire at this time was still nothing more then an extension of several classes. Thus it was mostly a collection of dramatic and musical performances and some local vendors. Very laid-back. ^

14. The presence of a tavern at most Vatavian events can be traced back to the Mobile Kitchen. While the Mobile Kitchen itself did not last the summer, it reappeared a number of years later informally as the Vulgar Unicorn which became the Guzzling Gargoyle which became the Bloody Axe Inn, The Running Horse Inn, and various other inform names. ^

15. While Humpk gave up the office in anticipation of becoming baron. But while it was easy to give up the title, it was not so easy to give up the power. There were a number of reasons for this, and was a continuous source of tension though out the Humpk and Mammara tenure on the Baronial thrones. ^

16. Also that fall the structure of the Vatavian award system was formed. It was patterned after the regional awards and replaced a set of ad hoc awards that were poorly documented. The Act of Dedication award subsumed a number of these awards. This has caused some confusion in the OP around these early awards. ^

17. This event took place at Kiwanis Recreation Center. At the time the south facing wall was plate glass. Since then, the glass has been replaced by sheet metal because of vandalism. ^

18. The decision to allow Vatavia to become a barony was made on 3/8/81 by the BOD. ^

19. The investiture of Humpk and Mammara as Baron and Baroness occurred at the Second Ansteorra-Middle Kingdom War held outside of Tulsa on 6/13/81. Vatavia dominated the court by not only the investiture, but by also receiving thirteen AOAs. On a side note: also at the war, on the other side, was the future Seneschal and Baron of Vatavia, Tedrick von Wolfschatten, attending one of his first events. ^

 

Copyright © 1997 - present His Lordship Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno). All rights reserved.

 

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