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The Continuing History of Vatavia:
The Royal Capital of Calontir

by Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno)
Orignally published in the April 2002, A.S. XXXVI issue of the Dragonflyre, a publication of the Barony of Vatavia.

So it came to pass that Calontir became a kingdom. In the spring of that year AS 18 or 1984 in the Common Era, V'tavia attended to its rituals of the season: Champion's Tourney and Renaissance Faire. (Along with a new phenomenon: a pending baby boon, five of them to be exact. Lady Larkin commemorated this with a sculpture entitled "Springtime in V'tavia".) But this year was to be different, for the Baron and Baroness were leaving for an extended holiday, leaving Aelfric Frithariksson in command as vicar1.

As spring rolled into summer, the pace of activity picked up. Second crown was fought and won. Mid-summer saw the advent of a new alliance between kingdoms. Ansteorra and Calontir, instead of staging war on their border, as per most kingdoms, forged a friendship. The key movers behind this alliance were Baron Humpk and then king Sir Charles Inman MacMoore of Ansteorra. Other V'tavians were prominent at InterKingdom: Erlich du Battenhelm prepared the feast, Tedrick von Wolfschatten set a quest to find a team to help him free his lady fair, while others help teach various arts. V'tavia was also prominent in the competitions. The newly formed household of Greymoor fielded a melee team that made it to the semi-finals of tourney. They also formed the core of the team that fulfilled the quest. There was magic in the air.

During the summer, the vicar sponsored a series of silver prize tourneys, the last which occurred at the Baronial Birthday Bash. One noted participant was a Viscount Hey-you, who had a remarkable resemblance to a local baron. The afternoon passed with much frivolity with Carmen Miranda helms, and "just desserts". But it ended on a dark note, as word came that Forgotten Sea was planning to march again to avenge its defeat of two years prior.

So less then a month later, the V'tavia army again marched north. Small were its numbers, but great was its determination. Fearlessly it marched into the hamlet of Moonstone, halfway to Forgotten Sea, expecting the vast horde that Forgotten Sea reportedly had assembled. There was but one knight and a marshal, and the knight, Sir Ternon, wanted to fight for V'tavia. Later that day word filtered in the carriage of the Baron of Forgotten Sea had broken down, and he was forced to return home. Unwilling to face the V'tavian army, the rest of Forgotten Sea's forces turned back. The V'tavian Knight Marshall, Edward Cire, was much congratulated for marshaling the only knight on the field2.

The next day, after returning from their victorious march on Moonstone, the V'tavian fighters turned to a quest. Many were the dangers of the quest, including the first sighting of the dreaded two-head friar, the foul-mouth ogre, and the deadly Minotaur. One chivalrous lord3, had many run-ins with the latter, and was much bedeviled by the two-head friar. When the quest was completed, court was called. As business was conducted, a couple strode into court and were challenged. It was the Baron and Baroness returning home. And there was much rejoicing.

A week later, in the chastised barony of Forgotten Sea, Edward Cire was knighted, V'tavia had its first peer.

As summer turned to fall, it was time once again for V'tavia to host Valor Tourney. As usual the weather provided its own diversions, baking one day, damp the next. That did not slow the fighters any as they engaged in the usual round of tourneys. An addition this year was the Guardian of Valor, fought by the previous winners of Valor Tourney. Notable among the fights was one between Sir Edward Cire and Kent the Barbarian4 in which Sir Edward was soundly beaten. And after completing the last of his many quests, Tedrick von Wolfschatten was allowed to marry Aideen the Audacious, which he quickly did before someone else could come up with another obstacle5.

A month later, in the neighboring shire of Bois d'Arc, Robert of the Woodlands gave new meaning to the phrase "using your head". The theme of the day was the Scottish Highlands, and William Blackfox was demonstrating a number of the games played there. One was the hammer toss, which Blackfox inadvertently threw towards a group of V'tavian children. Lord Robert, in a moment of unthinking selflessness, interposed his head between the hammer and the children. It was only a flesh wound, though that was not what Lord Robert told the ladies present6.

Later that month, Calontir again returned to V'tavia, this time for the third Crown Tourney. The day belonged to Baron William. Fighting in his new armor, Baron William plowed through the list, slowing down only in the semi-finals. Not even the towering Roger the Dwarf gave him pause in the finals to win the coronet. Then later that night, at court, Baron William was given the accolade of knighthood. The jubilation threatened to bring down the roof of the hall.

It was cold gray day in winter when it was time to choose the next Champion of V'tavia. In a closely fought Swiss tourney, Gabriel ap Morgan emerged as the victor. But the populace was much cheered by the food and drink provided by the Barony, as the baronial coffers overflowed from the proceeds of Valor and Crown.

The winter passed quietly, though some traveled to far off Constantinople, while others stayed home and learn new skill such as match making7. Spring was heralded, in an off-center manner, in the proceedings orchestrated by the brothers Einzelganger. There were pillow fights, marathon galliards, and green food. The sometime captive of the Brothers and Sisters of St. Humpk, Moto, made an appearance. While the Order gathered him up, it presented to the Baroness a new found holy relic; the Anna bell. It was decided that Moto had the qualifications to act as bell-ringer; the bell was entrusted to his keeping. As he shuffled off, he was heard to mumbled, "I always wanted my own Anna bell."8

As spring began to thaw the land, Sir William was crowned King of Calontir in the neighboring shire of Bois d’Arc. There was no Renaissance Faire this year as Kansas Newman was bedeviled by weather and administration problems. So Champion's Tourney was moved to an ordinary city greensward where Tedrick assumed the torse.

Later that month, it was time again to choose a new heir to the King. But first there was the Arts and Sciences Decathlon, where several V'tavians acquitted themselves quite well. The next day was the tourney. While wandering the ground Lady Tuia discovered, much to her discomfort, that the were-hole, first discovered in V’tavia at the last Crown, had removed itself to Lonely Tower. This vicious depression would bedevil many V'tavians over the next few years9, having already victimized the Baroness. Meanwhile back at the main action, the V'tavian dynasty continued as Sir Edward Cire took the tourney in a flurry of swords.

A week later, after a month long buildup, V'tavia staged an all out demonstration of the medieval arts. Put on, in part to make up for the lack of a Renaissance Faire that year10, to hopefully add to numbers and improve our image among stuck in a different time. While the results were disappointing, a fun time was had by the populace.

Summer passed with the usual round of tourneys and feasts where little of note occurred. (Though watering Lizzy almost became a new sport at Interkingdom.)11

And it came to pass that it was time for Valor. This year was marked by the Coronation of Sir Edward Cire as king. In an ironic twist of fate, the King's Champion Tourney was won by Ld Conn McNeill, the man Sir Edward beat to win the crown. The next day Duke Sir Charles Inman MacMoore swept the field, not only at Valor, but also the Guardian tourney as well.

Champion's Tourney came and went; Conn Dryhtguma got the nod this time. As the breath of winter started to blow from the north, a Performing Arts Festival was held in V'tavia. The turnout was less then expected, but a lady came from Forgotten Sea, thus allowing the powers to be to declare it a kingdom function. Later that night, from the Royal Manor, where the participants had retired to, Wylfrdd Taliesin, was literally called, via farspeaker, into court to receive a Calon Lily.

The winter passed uneventfully as the previous one. But the spring was brimming activity. It started with the Twenty Year Celebration of the founding of the Society. Held outside the Barony of Stargate in the neighboring kingdom of Ansteorra, it was week long fest of fighting, dancing, and revelry. It was also remarkably wet, though it didn't dampen the spirits of anyone. Of local note, at the Grand Count, Baron William was re-knighted as an example of Calontirian ceremony.

Meanwhile, back home, V'tavia was once again involved with the Kansas Newman Renaissance Faire. Two weeks later, the effort was repeated in Winfield, after the soggy skies did their thing. At the end of the month, it was repeated yet again in the western lands of Liberal. The last was the most peculiar, as it was dance that attracted the crowds and the fighting dispersed them, the opposite of our previous experiences12.

Crown Tourney, also that month, was notable for three things. The once and future V'tavian, Gabriel ap Morgan, won the tourney. Dance was proclaimed by Sir Edward Cire as "the knightly thing to do." And House Greymoor discovered what happens when a bored friar is left alone13.

Interkingdom that year was held in V'tavia. As special guest was the MegaDuke himself, Sir Paul of Bellatrix. The Guzzling Gargoyle was kept very busy that serving food for the hundreds gathered, and even staged an informal feast. At court, Baron William was made a Laurel, the court then, in a surprise move, also made Baroness Mammara a Laurel. The partying lasted far into the night, though in the morning, not a few discovered the side effects of Muldoon's Killer Mead.

All too soon, Valor came upon us. As it did last year Coronation shared the spotlight. This time it was the coronation of Gabriel and Hywela. Among the many awards given out was the first diploma from the Royal University of Scir Hafoc to our own Conrad. After a mighty struggle, Lawrence the Leech emerged as the King's Champion. Conn MacNeil won Valor Tourney, while Duke Sir Charles Inmen MacMoore retook Guardian. In a magnanimous gesture, Sir Charles gave possession of the Sword of Valor to Ld Conn with the one proviso that he bring to Ansteorra for an impending knighting there.

Early that winter, on a cold drizzly gray day, Baron William, for the last time, won Crown Tourney. A week later Kondei Ichimusai Niten won Champion's Tourney. And things quieted for the winter. In December, the barony acquired a keep, sharing it with the Smithy. Christmas Court had the usual merrymaking with the added attraction of a baklava eating contest. The contestants were Baron William, Countess Elisabeth, Ld Aelfric, Ld Lawrence, and Fr. Thomas. Countess Elisabeth won, with Ld Lawrence and Fr. Thomas close behind.

Late that spring, war and insurrection broke out in Calontir. First was the Canton of Crescent Moon rebelling against its overlord the Baron of Forgotten Sea. V'tavia was drawn into this conflict as the rebel leader, Chrystofer Kensor, was Sir Edward Cire's squire. As Baron William sided with Forgotten Sea saying that baronies should stand together least their power be disputed. Though the rebels fought valiantly, they lost badly. But they inflected enough damage, and remained defiant, that Baron Davro of Forgotten Sea gave them their independence to rid himself of this trouble spot.

A month and a half later the war erupted. It started in a scholar's cap and split the nobles into royalist and loyal opposition camps14. Again V'tavia was split as Baron William was the king, and Earl Edward Cire was with the opposition. On the shores of Lake Perry the two sides battled it out. For hours it wavered back and forth before the royalist forces were able to overwhelm the defending forces at the opposition's fortress. In royal benevolence all was forgiven.

There was no Renaissance Faire that year15, and Champions was held in a simple park setting, to be won by Robert of the Woodlands. The turmoil of the spring lulled into the quiet of summer. But beneath the surface waited an upheaval; the baronage was resigning.

The world turned in its course, and fall and Valor arrived. Roderick won both Valor and Guardian that year, but V'tavian interest centered on the impending investiture. William and Mammara had there last court as Baron and Baroness, then presiding as King and Queen, invested Tedrick von Wolfschatten as Baron and Aideen the Audacious as Baroness. So an old era ended and a new one began in V'tavian history. May the new be as glorious as the old.

 

Footnotes

1. While they did not explicitly say so, they were exhausted from the political battles that occurred over the formation of the kingdom. The society had become a job and lost being a source of fun. During the summer they did occasionally went to events or local doings but were explicitly not making any decisions. ^

2. The main activity of the event was a Calligraphy & Illumination seminar in a building on the campus. The fighting was to take place in a commons area. The Vatavian force was about dozen or so fighters. The only Forgotten Sea fighter to actually show up was Sir Ternon de Caerleon, who came for the express purpose of fighting with Vatavia. When word finally came that the Forgotten Sea army was not coming, they had a Vatavian fighter practice there in Moonstone. Then had to wait for the C&I types, who gone with them, to finish before leaving for home. ^

3. Otherwise known as Baron Humpk. It was not his day. The fighter who was the Minotaur (Baylock of the East if my memory serves me correctly) kept beating him, requiring him to go back to the beginning. To get back to the Minotaur, he had to get past the two headed friar (Eoin Scott na Daigniche & Thomas Bacon) who required him to answer a riddle. He was not having much luck with the riddles either. The two headed friar bit was unplanned. Eoin had just started with the group. He did not get on with any of the quest teams and asked if he could help run the quest. As he was dressed in some religious robes he was naturally attached to me. The rest is history. ^

4. Kent was the four (?) year old son of Lawrence the Leech. Sir Edward was marshaling the tourney and during one of the pauses between bouts, Kent ran out into the list field with his boffer sword. Someone tossed Edward a boffer sword and the fight was on. ^

5. Tedrick had been quested by his old household, by his new household, by the barony and I believe one other authority. ^

6. Once it was assured that no major damage had been done, Robert in his usual way hammed it up and spent the rest of the afternoon being administered to by the sweet young things present at the event. ^

7. The pushy broads as the group was then known were at this time rather activity and openly trying to play match among the singles. Suspecting that I was rising near the top of the victim list decided on a preemptive strike. Calliging an abbreviated formula for a safety match, I presented each a scroll stating it was instructions for match making. ^

8. The joke here is that Mammara’s mundane first name is Annabel. ^

9. The V’tavian “were-hole” was a running joke for some years. It started at the previous Crown Tourney which was at Camp Hiawatha. Saturday evening while leaving one of the buildings, Mammara stumbled. Thinking it was a possible safety hazard she went back to look for the hole so it could be filled, except there was none to be seen. When several other people stumbled at the event, the joke started that there was a hole that moved around so it could trip people. So it became a convenient excuse for clumsiness. ^

10. A series of storms had gone through the week before so the front lawn, where the faire was held, was completely flooded and there were no planned backup provisions. ^

11. Elisabeth du Rossignol (Lizzy) spent the hot muggy afternoon judging A&S in a closed tent. When done, she headed back to camp when she passed some Vatavians, who noticing her wilted state, offered her water. She promptly downed about one liter of water. ^

12. Most who went used the Greymoor bus. Among them was David the Silent and his daughter Dana Latona. The Silent had the unofficial job of weather witch, charged with making sure that the weather was clear for V’tavian events and demos. On the way back from the Liberal demo, Dana was complaining how boring the trip was and wished for some interesting weather. Shortly thereafter, the bus stopped at a small town for gas. As everyone filed out of the bus, under clear skies, the tornado sirens went off. Dana ran back screaming, “I didn’t mean it Daddy!” ^

13. I had ridden to the event on the Greymoor bus. The others decided to go to a motel for the night while I decided to crash on site. Sunday morning the bus did not hurry back to the site. To occupy myself while waiting struck the pavilions and gathered everyone’s equipment. By the time bus arrived, all remained to do was to load bus. There was a moment of panic for though the site could be seen from the highway, there was no direct access. When they drove by they could see the large pavilion was still up, but by the time they drove in it was not to be seen. One further item. The site was for the Arkansas state fair, so consequently there were lots of flies, and of course a number of them hitched a ride on the bust. So on the way back, Zevek and Doc played “Great white hunters” as they stalked the flies. ^

14. At the previous crown, the rules for first Lilies War were set out. With the scenario set, they needed something to draw names to choose sides. So Lizzy was sent looking for a container. I had chosen that day to wear my scholar’s robes complete with cap instead of my friar’s habit. Spotting me, she asked for my cap which I lent. ^

15. My recollection is that the college did not get organized in time. ^

 

Copyright © 2002 - present His Lordship Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno). All rights reserved.

 

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