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The Continuing History of Vatavia:
The New Camelot: Tis a Silly Place

by Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno)
Orignally published in the October 2003, A.S. XXXVIII issue of the Dragonflyre, a publication of the Barony of Vatavia.

With high hopes and much trepidation the new baronage in the year of 22 Anno Societatis being 1987 in the Common Era began their reign over V'tavia. Though originally from Ansteorra they had long since become an integral part of V'tavian society1. Tedrick's sense of honor and chivalrous behavior earned him the name "Dick Dashing", while Aideen brightened any gathering with her personality.

As the new baronage was settling in, V'tavia traveled to nearby Bois d'Arc to see William and Mammara made the first Duke and Duchess of Calontir. William was also awarded the Sword of Calontir that day.

No sooner had the travelers return then preparations had to be made for Crown Tourney that V'tavia was once again hosting. The weather was strange that year. During Valor when was traditional hot, it was cold, while Crown being held on the verge of winter was warm. This left the Guzzling Gargoyle with a large supply of cooked beans. A supply that would last for nearly two years2.

But even as Crown was concluded there was no rest for the weary as fall Champions fell hard upon Crown while the barony had to evacuate the keep as the horde of the EPA descended upon it.

But even the darkness of winter could keep the light of V'tavia from shining as Countess Elizabeth became a Pelican and Baron Tedrick and Robert of the Woodland were knighted. There was a new seneschal: Aunty Ceithlenn, who was proclaimed to be mother to us all3.

Spring brought more changes as the Kansas Newman Renaissance Faire was stretched over two weekends, and as Champions was the week before, April was a long month. At court that month Tedrick paid for an ill-advised remark in court the previous month, admitting his loss of Earl Cire’s forces for the upcoming Lilies War. Penitence was imposed calling on him to double the seneschal’s salary and write an article on being a good leader.

Late that spring war came again to Calontir, this time between the royal peers and the barons. Yet as fate would have it, most of V'tavia fought on the royal side as Baron Tedrick was laid up, and the three royals residing within the barony claimed most of the fighters.

In June there was a short Baronial Court. Two things of note occurred then. The first was the introduction of the Baronial Treasure Chest. This was a chest filled with largess that the Baron would allow those whom could no longer be rewarded by usual awards to choose from. The second was the questing of Fr. Thomas Bacon to provide the V’tavain family tree and Tristan to provided several gallons of brew lest Tedrick exercise his right of droit de seigneur with Tristan’s bride Kerare4.

The July Birthday Bash brought to the attention of the populace two new groups in V’tavia. The first was an acting troupe named “Demetrius’s Demented Thespians” have its resident playwright. It presented its first production “Robin and Mariam or The Hoods of the Sherwoods”, and was warmly recieved5. But more ominously was the appearance of the mysterious Plotters Anonymous, called upon by Ceithlenn to deal with unmentioned insults6. Following Baronial Court there was established a Court of Love to settle the case Gawayne Vs Briallen on the charges of henpecking.

As summer passed into fall, Valor was upon us once again. An added feature this year was the knighting of Gabriel ap Morgan. Lawrence Taillefer the Leech was awarded the Star of V’tavia at that Valor.

Fall Champion featured the wedding of Aelfric and Tuia. For the final time Edward Cire won the championship. No other fighter held that office more, winning it six times. Janos Santa was given his Radiant Lioness for his costuming, dance and music. Another tourney held at the event was for the position of Best Man at the wedding. That was won by Raven. Among the wedding entertainment was the reading of an obscure play known as "Ladyfinch, or Tuia in Wonderland."7

At Yule Court that year, Tedrick missed out on his brew, but did get his family tree, sort of. He was presented with an intricate article of orbs, each representing a V’tavian. And Tedrick learned to be careful of what you ask a friar8. For his herbalism and drama Aelfric Frithariksson received a Radiant Lioness.

Time passes and the seasons turn, a new year begins. That spring Crown Tourney saw Baron Tedrick reached the finals, only to be defeated by Volkmar Katzbalger.
Champion's Tourney saw the introduction of a new champions position that for the Arts and Sciences won by Countess Elizabeth.

Over the summer a subtle change occurred over the barony. The name was transformed from V'tavia to Vatavia. Many years before, the heralds while registering the name had made the change and were now demanding that we conform to it. And so it came to be.

Fall, time for Valor, the tenth such tourney. There was a new tavern on site as the Guzzling Gargoyle gave way to the Bloody Axe Inn9. The highlight that year was Countess Elizabeth becoming a Laurel. Marie-Chantel Delaire was awarded the Radiant Lioness for her many talents. And a portent of things to come, the last day's events were rained out, the first time it had rain on Valor since Valor Two.

That fall also saw the first B.U.S.H (Baronial University of Societal Humanities), though at the time it was called the Vatavia Colleguim.

And fall Champions was won by Hrafnhildr o Landyssul, better know as Raven, the first and still only lady to do so.

As the summer saw the Arts and Sciences get their own champion, so the winter saw the bards get theirs. And the first so proclaimed was Earl Sir Gabriel ap Morgan.

And at the great Kris Kinder market Countess Hywela Frech ferch Wyddel was recognized as a Pelican.

At the Yule event of this year, Marie Chantal was awarded the Star of Vatavia.

In the depths of winter the King called out the Calon army to war at a place called Estrella. In support of the effort the Smithy caravan went west out of Vatavia. Alas, it was ambushed within sight of the gathering army. While the survivors were able to reach the army, Earl Edward Cire and His Lordship Lawrence the Leech remained behind to salvage what they could. After a grueling epic the caravan wagon was coaxed back to Vatavia10.

That spring, in addition to the Kansas Newman Renaissance Faire, which had been scaled back to one weekend, the Shakespeare Birthday Bash was added to the schedule, featuring our dancing11. Also displayed for the first time was the initial Roll of Arms.

Later that spring Vatavia hosted another Crown Tourney. And in a last echo of Vatavian tradition, it was won by Earl Sir Gabriel ap Morgan. One lord, Ivar the Neckless by name, had his lack remedied in court when numerous ladies gifted him with necklaces. Yet a cloud hung over Vatavia, for the barony was challenged by a hither unknown force by the name of Tratia. Baron Tedrick gather what forces he could, but the Vatavian army of old was no more, was driven from the field.

Revenge came quickly as a few weeks later at the Lilies War as the newly finished scepter of the self styled King of Tritia was discovered and made off by Vatavian fighters.

There was more sad news that summer as one of newer members, Ulric Hossfeldman died. In his memory, his family donated his equipment to the barony. His bow was given to the Archer Champion as a symbol of office.

But the saddest news of all was that the baronage had broken apart, and that Baron Tedrick and Baroness Aideen were stepping down12. In their place stepped up Gawayne ap Tristam and Briallen ferch Vikingr. The transition will again take place at Valor.

And so the cycle came around once more, and it was time for Valor. The Tratian scepter made an appearance at court as Harald Isenross presented it to fulfill his quest saying “What no mortal, not even a King, could carry, Otto’s scepter”. It was given unto the keeping of House Hammerstorm to be used as a dishing hammer. At the end of the day, the barony was given to new hands to hold. May they be equal to the burden.

 

Footnotes

1. Tedrick's first major event was fighting against Calontir in the famous Chigger War. He was among a unit of new fighters that was slaughtered by the shield wall. ^

2. Dean and Mary Day took home the excess and froze it. Whenever time or inclination kept them from cooking a regular they would chip off a chunk of the mass and heat it up. From the final remnant, a year later, they saved a bean and encased it in acrylic topped by a golden splash type crown. They presented this to Fr. Thomas Bacon, who ran the tavern, as the “Last Crowned Bean.” ^

3. Tedrick had off-handily described her as such in a letter in the Dragonflyre to deflect some of the calls he was getting to her. She never took kindly to the appellation, though that did not stop anyone from putting on an event known as the “Mortification of Auntie Ceithlenn.” ^

4. This became a running joke at Baronial Court. At each court Tedrick would attempt to call up Tristan to collect his bride price. Sometimes Tristan was able to escape out the back, other times he would come up with some outlandish excuse as to why he did not have it. Tedrick finally collected on January 22, 1992, but not till after having to endure a “trial” about his purity and so his right to the bride price. Tossed in was a quest in light of his pending marriage to Raven. ^

5. Aelfric Frithariksson named the troupe to Demetrius’s embarrassment. The group has two more productions: “Julio and Romiet” and “Oh! Pheelmie, Friend of the Danes”. All were filled with puns and sexual innuendo. The last had V’tavia saying the catch phrase “I’m adequate” for a number of months. A piece of innuendo, Gabriel ap Morgan made it memorable with a piece of stage business. He says the line several times in the course of the play, each time using his hand the length of a certain appendage on his leg, and each time making it longer. ^

6. Plotters Anonymous did not start out as SCA shtick. Over a year prior at the Village Inn after dance practice Eoin Scot and I were sitting at one end of the table quietly talking while Lady Christianna Beauchasteau at the other end. The three of us, alone with others, were regularly playing D&D. And Eoin and I had been talking about putting together a dudgeon run, though not that night. Somehow Christianna got into her head the idea that we were conspiring against in some future session and got very paranoid. When this was brought to our attention, we began to purposely try to make her paranoid.

The previous event featured a boxed lunch auction. Eoin and I ended up in a bidding duel for Christianna’s lunch because it contained a pineapple which we were both very fond of, to the surprise of Christianna cause she figured the Hagen-Daiz ice cream it also contained would be the selling point. We ended up sharing the lunch with the ironic ending that Eoin had a cold sore which made it too painful to eat the pineapple.

Ceithlenn act conflated the two, and established pineapples as the currency of bribery. Plotters Anonymous became an ongoing piece of shtick though out Tedrick’s reign. While others were casually occasionally associated with PA, Eoin and I were the primary agents. So anytime he and I were seen off in a corner talking there would be a shiver of paranoia through the group. The truth of the matter was that PA never did anything though it darkly hinted a lot. A case study of how people’s imaginations outran reality.

The strongest example of this occurred at the Yule event that occurred just after Tedrick stepped down. It was a potluck feast and Eoin had brought a pineapple as his contribution. For some reason the kitchen staff did not cut it up and set it out, so halfway through the feast Eoin retrieved it and started serving it to those around him. Many of whom had past associations with PA. Tedrick was sitting at the head when he spotted this and suddenly became very paranoid. When we became aware of this, we encouraged the paranoia with various gestures. Even Raven, his bride to be, came over to join the fun. Tedrick was sure he was had. The moment was totally unplanned and solely the result of PA’s reputation. ^

7. Their actual wedding took place on May 7, 1983. ^

8. See note 12 of “The Continuing History of Vatavia: As Calontir Becomes a Kingdom” published in the January AS35 Dragonflyre for initial information.

The story picks up at the Twelfth Night event at Northkeep. For several years the V’tavian dancers went there to perform at the feast. That year at the revel Ceithlenn found herself having to deal with a somewhat obnoxious drunk and looked to Christianna for rescue. She did so by sweeping her, Gabriella la Fiorentina, and some Ansteronnian lady whose name was never known, up to the King of Misrule, and with his permission had Eoin marry them to me over my various objections. As can be expected, the humor got very bawdy after that.

At the June mini-event, Tedrick decided to take notice of this event. Now the Ansterronian lady had disappeared into the crowd after the “wedding”, and Gabriella had moved to California. But a romance between Ceithlenn and myself had sprung up this, and this was what Tedrick seized upon. Though no actual wedding was impending, he used the Twelfth Night “wedding” as sufficient reason to impose a wedding quest upon me. To wit, to draw up the V’tavian family tree. At the Yule event I delivered, with a twist.

The interrelationships between people were sufficiently complex that no two dimensional representation could show them all, so instead I construction a Styrofoam ball and color coded stick model of the family tree, and this was what was presented and quickly dubbed the V’tavian molecule. The twist was that rather then trying to label the balls with the names, I used numbers, a person’s number being their relative order in the baronial OP, meaning Tedrick was number one. And I had the list, in order, announced as part of the presentation, which Tedrick suddenly decided to cut short.

There were 112 names on that list and included the non-V’tavians Duke Sir Charles Inman MacMoore, Master Trobere Oakseed, and Baron Beorn Magnuson of Namron. Tedrick took the molecule home, where it quietly disappeared. ^

9. It was decided not to do a feast that year. To make up that lost revenue the barony requested to takeover the tavern concession which had been the Guzzling Gargoyle’s niche. While intended to be a temporary suspension, by default it became permanent. Given much of the original crew of the GG had left, and the GG was becoming shorthanded, this probably saved the Valor tavern for another ten years. ^

10. The Smithy Bus was an old style school bus that was adapted to haul House Greymoor and anyone else when there was room. And had done so for a number of years. It threw a rod five mile from the Estrella site, and so for the entire war Gawayne and Doc attempted to change out the engine. They were aided by Ida Lundy who provided local transportation. Not once but twice as the first engine was incompatible with the transmission. Even when this was done it did not run right. So all the other passengers were shoehorned into other vehicles while the bus took the back roads back to Vatavia, nearly dying several times. The complete tale has only been told once. While it was originally intended to finish fixing the bus, no further work was ever done on it. It was last seen resting in the weeds next to one of the barns on Tallifer farm. ^

11. For many years the Birthday Bash was unique among the major reoccurring demos in that it did not include fighting. In the first few years only the dancers were involved. Gradually other arts were displayed. Only recently has fighting been a part of this demo. Also unique is that when the dancers began using live musicians to dance most of the musicians had no other connection to the SCA. ^

12. Ted and Jane’s marriage had been troubled for some time and finally collapsed that spring. It was decided in fairness to both that they both step down as Aideen was planning to leave the area. Fortunately the divorce was rather amicable so the summer passed with only occasional moments of awkwardness. ^

 

Copyright © 2003 - present His Lordship Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno). All rights reserved.

 

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