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The Continuing History of Vatavia

by His Lordship Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno)
Orignally published in the January 2006, A.S. XL issue of the Dragonflyre, a publication of the Barony of Vatavia.

The wheel of fortune turns again and rises up a new baronage for Vatavia. Gawayne ap Tristam was a simple fighter from Wales renowned for his skill at fighting from his knees 1. His consort, Brialen Ferch Vikings, came from the far north whose nickname "she-wolf" 2 resulted in a chorus of howls whenever she was announced in court.

Their Excellencies had not yet settled on the thrones when they were faces with their first challenge. A canker appeared in central Calontir that called itself Triatia, and ruled by a mysterious Otto, was challenging the might of Vatavia. It seem inevitable that there will be war in the spring. 3

And it came to pass that Vatavia and the self-proclaimed kingdom of Triatia went to war. In a last bid to maintain the peace they met to resolve their differences in the neutral shire of Spinning Winds. 4

On the morning of the appointed day the two forces met in an attempt to peacefully settle the conflict. A ball game based on the game of rounders was proposed. However, as the players came totally armed, it was not totally peaceful. The game was dubbed "Broadsword Ball" by its originators. It was renamed "Calvin ball" for the numerous rule changes that occurred during play. These changes nullified two Vatavian runs: the only runs scored.

Baron Gawain added to his legend during his one at bat. Upon hitting the ball Baron Gawain forgot to pick up his sword before running to first base. Sir Valens, who was guarding the baseline, expected him to go back to pick it up. He was surprised when Baron Gawain kept coming and nearly got passed him. At the last minute Sir Valens swung and got Baron Gawayne’s legs. This did little to slow Baron Gawain as he continued to charge down the line on his knees. Just before Baron Gawain reached first base Count Tomeeki struck him across the shoulders resulting in Count Tomeeki being thrown out of the game for striking an unarmed man from behind. With the scored tied 0-0 the game ended with a bench clearing brawl in which Triatia drove Vatavia from the field. The war was on.

The afternoon was consumed in a battle in the woods. Outnumbered 34 to 64 the Vatavian forces fought valiantly, but were unable to muster a decisive force against the Triatian units. Vatavia lost not only her banner, but also the Triatian scepter that she had acquired last summer.

Even as the battle raged, the Triatian military commander, Sir Chyrstopher Kensor, sensed that all was not as it should be, even with the battle going his way. He approached Baron Gawain and proposed a draw, which Baron Gawain readily accepted. The two forces gradually disengaged.

Elsewhere that afternoon, the Vatavian archers were battling their Triatian counterparts. Their efforts that afternoon were declared to close to call. A re-match was called for the next morning, during which the Vatavian archers clearly demonstrated their superiority.

In the Art and Sciences, Vatavian had no competition (Triatia did not submit any entries). However, Triatia could brag after having dominated the Bardic circle. It was said that His Lordship Lawrence and Baron Gawayne’s rendition of the epic "Das Bus" had inadvertently driven away the Vatavian contingent.

With the war a stalemate, victory came down to the possession of the scepter. A last minute sighting sent a quickly assembled raiding party into Triatian territory, but they came up empty-handed. As the Shire of Spinning Winds called a meeting to determined who had possession, the Chirurgeons stepped forward with a startling claim, that the scepter belonged to them. 5

It was then disclosed that a large hairy troll-like creature had made off with the scepter into the woods. A muttering of "Quest!" rippled through the populace. The Seneschal of Spinning Winds then proclaimed that the Chirurgeons deserved the victory.

During that summer, His Majesty Roderick of Mandrake Hill graced the Luchistnik Shoot and Bardic Championship with his presence. Another session of BUSH was also held.

Then again it was time for Valor. The previous caretaker of the site, Camp Hiawatha, had moved on, so the rules on alcohol had to be more carefully enforced. This created cries for a wet site, but this did not have the intended effect. Instead the weather turned wet and there was a drizzle through the weekend, with rain washing out the last day’s activities. This in turn inspired a running joke about wet sites. Little was it known this was but a prelude.

Christopher Kensor won Valor that year, while Lorell of Shrewsbury began his run of dominance as Guardian. Dominating archery was Big Bear of Hammerstorm taking all but two of the competitions. In the A&S competitions it was the Ansteorians who dominated. Duchess Hywella was also honored at court that year. First was having her device placed on the pouch that was the price of the Avatar of Valor competition by the winner, Reynald il Bianco, for inspiring him to live the Dream. Next she was gifted with pelican earrings by Mistress Jessamine. In other business, our own Andries ap Daffyd was installed as chief Bard of Calontir.

In the court that followed Valor, Their Excellencies created a new award to commend those who have worked long and hard for the barony: the Treasure of the Barony. The premier for this new order is Sean Angus MacDuinnchinn.

The that busy September ended with Harvest Faire, a interkingdom event that was hosted by Vatavia. Held in the area informally known as "Well of the Moon", it was co-autocrated by Calontir and Outlands. Yet locate, weather and timing doomed the gathering.67

In late October, as part of his wedding celebration, Aubrey Kendal of Rosewood hosted a small event known as "The Battle of Brides Keep". It was notable for its use of large hay bales as fortification material and the pig on a spit.

At the Yule Feast, Master William Blackfox, from Ansteorra, was presented with an Act of Dedication cord, the first non-Vatavian to receive one. Later a special green cord was instituted to recognize non-Vatavians who worked baronial events. 8

In mid-winter court a hint a scandal arose. The purity of the previous Baron, Tedrick von Wolfschatten, was called into question. A number of the ladies of barony turned up pregnant including the Children of Annys and Baroness Brialen, all implicating Sir Tedrick. Additional evidence was the need of Tristan to pay compensation to Baron Tedrick for marring. After some legal wrangling, it was decided that Sir Tedrick would go on a quest for the hand of Lady Raven, while Tristian’s compensation was divvied up by the guardsman.

That spring, at the Renaissance Faire, one of the features was the wedding of Sir Tedrick and Lady Raven, though it did not take place on the grounds of the dell.

The Champion Tournament took place the following week. It was held on the manor lands of His Lordship Lawrence Taffefer the Leach. There, Sir Tedrick von Wolfschatten became the first double champion winning both the Arts and Sciences and the Bardic championships. 9 Philipa Lloyd de Tarifa was awarded the Star of Vatavia for clothing the Barony. The retiring Borec, Reynaldo il Bianco, started a new tradition that the retiring Borec would award an award called the Dreamfeather, after elements in his device, to those he though symbolized the Dream of the SCA.

However there was an unfortunate incident that day. While hunting in the woods, the archers came upon an image of King Rorik of Galbraith and filled it full of arrows. The King heard of this and was not amused. Restraining his wrath, he demanded penance from the offending archers and would pronounce judgment at Valor that fall.

At the Birthday Bash that year, the archery competition was so close that even after the competition was done a second time it was still tied. The following shoot off was decided by a single point. Even so, seemed that Leif of Crescent Moon walked away with all the archery prizes. 10

Then came Valor 13, few suspected how unlucky that number would be. It started out well enough. In the month prior, a "pole barn" was erected on the land of Tailefer Farm that so happen to contain showers and bathroom fixtures. Under new management, the tavern opened under the name of Running Horse. Tents and pavilions sprouted among the hallows of the land. The first day’s events went off well and everyone was looking forward to the Claddagh Ring11 concert that evening.

The skies were clear when they started. As the second set started clouds had appeared overhead with occasional sprinkles, so they moved under a shade fly and continued. By the third set, the wind was howling and it was pouring rain. People hurriedly batten down to ride out the storm. But the storm only intensified till word came that a tornado was sighted heading toward the site and everyone was to leave for the nearby educational facility for protection.12 It will be longed remembered when Claddagh Ring sang up a storm.

The skies were clear again the next morning, and after a short period of putting thing in order, Valor continued. The King won the tournament that year. At court that evening, The Dead Bard Society, consisting of the miscreant archers of the spring, presented a ballad to appease the King. As an additional act of contrition, Big Bear of Haven broke his bow in court. The King forgave them.

As winter approached so did the competitions for the next champions, though the A&S competition was not held.13 There was some controversy over the feast as one of the dishes contained lamb and it was suspect that it was one the lambs Sir Tedrick had reluctantly received earlier that year. While the feastocrat claimed that he got it from a humpback peddler,14 it was only after much groveling that Sir Tedrick was freed from the suspicion. In other business, the baronage indentured His Lordship Demetrius il Condottierro to Mag Mor in appreciation in helping of the shortfall in last year’s harvest at Harvest Faire.

Winter snows canceled the scheduled Boar Hunt, but that did not prevent Their Majesties and Their Highness from coming done for a hastily relocated Yule Court. At court, His Excellency Baron Sir Tedrick von Wolfschatten was made a Star of Vatavia. Also, Lady Kasamira Verena d’Arcy was entered into the Order of the Radiant Lioness for her costuming and construction. (Later that court she was also given a Leather Mallet for that "little thing in your backyard", as the Queen put it.)15

At the first court of spring redesigned medallions for the Straz were revealed and handed out to the members of those orders. However, the Children of Annys thought the heraldry was too obscure, and so presented them with small bendable paper tubes as a clearer sign of membership. Much word play ensued.

There was a big effort that year to upgrade our presence at the Newman Renaissance Faire. A new section was added featuring period camping16, cooking, blacksmithing and woodworking. A cloth stone wall appeared behind which the populace could relax. New made banners flew from poles on the edge of the dell, and a new sign announced our presence. This was the year that Sir Tedrick and his lady Raven began their long reign as King and Queen of the Renaissance Faire.

For Valor that year a permanent mobile shed was added for the tavern. Vatavia continued to be dangerous for Calontir kings. While entering court, their Majesties tossed out candies among the populace as largess. One young lady17 returned the gesture and neatly whacked the King on the forehead. The King chose to ignore it. In the tourney Alcyoneus de Battenhelm became the first Vatavian in nine years to reach the finals, but met defeat at the hands of Herzog Thoman Shadan Secarius in the final fight. This would also be the last Valor in which the Guardian of Valor tourney will be fought.18 And the last Valor that Baron William of Vatavia and Baroness Mammara Leona would attend for nine years.

At the Fall Championship there was again but one contestant for the A&S championship, though this time that entrant, Eleanor ferch Rhiwallon, was persuaded to take the position. Stranger still, the bards chose to be quiet so there was no Zevack.

Yule somehow found Vatavia on the high plains of the New World as Coronado's conquistadors battled Indians, namely the Wolf Clan. The conquistadors had a tough time of it. The forthright Wenches made an appearance seeking to add to their depleted numbers. And for her heraldic work Annys de Vernun of Kettering was given the Star of Vatavia.

With spring came the Renaissance Faire which passed without much to note.

Two weeks later the championship competitions produced a full slate of champions, though the Leonhard von Lowenturm had his doubts about the honor of winning the bardic championship.19 In addition, Eckerich Rothvalken von Stromburg was awarded the Radiant Lioness with many comments about the quality of his armoring so soon after starting.

The following month saw Demetrius il Condottierro being made a Laurel in Mag Mor.20

Later that month on the fields of the Lilies War, fifteen Vatavian fighters, while fighting for Cour d’Ennui, sweep field in the Lonely Tower-Cour d’Ennui battle with but a single loss.

Vatavia was called to war one last time that summer in the Triatian Civil War. Vatavians formed the bulk of the Vatavian/Forgotten Sea army. They held command of the field for a moment, they could not hold, though the Vatavian banner was never lost. A hastily negotiated alliance with the forces of Baroness Adelith of Horon cum Studely of Carlsby allowed the Vatavian People’s Liberation Army (VPLA) to succeed in freeing Vatavia from the rule of the Triation Emperor. On a more narrow battlefield, His Grace Gabriel ap Morgan defeated eighteen opponents in Hunkerhausen.21

At the Birthday Day Bash the winner of the Bushkazee game turned out to be the sheep Bo Beep.

Finally fall came, and with it the fifteenth Valor. It was damp that year. Most would have said wet, but given previous experience it was merely damp. The tavern was run by a Welsh woman and named Ibn Donalds. Besides the Valor tourney itself a Pas d’Arms and a torchlight tourney were also fought. The following night the torchlight dance was preceded by a presentation by a sword dance and a torch dance by the Vatavian dancers.

The following month, it was decided that the baronial newsletter would be freely distributed.

At the Winter’s Championship, Vladimer Zinonovich was given a letter of marque so he would go bother somebody else. To Eirick Asvaldsson was given a Radiant Lioness, and to Duke Sir Gabriel ap Morgan the Star of Vatavia.

As winter approached, Crown Tourney was held in Vatavia, and again Duke Sir Valens of Flatrock emerged victorious. Court that night was interrupted that Jerusalem had fallen to the Crusaders. But the price paid for the victory was Baron Gawayne’s death. It was his dying wish that his heart be returned to Vatavia and that the Baroness Brialen retire to the convent of the Sisters of Saint Deborah. And with but a slight hesitation, left court with the sisters.

To fill the void so suddenly created, their Majesties installed Duke Sir Gabriel ap Morgan and Her Ladyship Rhianwen ferch Bran ap Gruffydd as the newest Baron and Baroness of Vatavia. And so Vatavia renews itself once again.

 

Footnotes

1. A tall lanky figure, he had trouble getting his shield down to cover his legs, so would frequently lose them in the initial flurry of blows. In a number of melees, he could be seen shambling across the field on his knees trying to keep up with the battle.

2. This was because the Ulfsdottir part of her name could be translated as Wolf’s daughter.

3. Triatia was started by Chrystofer Kensor as a means for the shires of Carlsby, Crescent Moon and the Barony of Forgotten Sea to create new possibilities for events. It was partly an outgrowth of the brigands in the wars between Vatavia and Forgotten See. It was not meant to be serious. Vatavia was the one challenged because she was the winner of the Thieves and Brigands War a few years earlier and because Chyrstofer had more connections with Vatavia. Otto was a totally fictional personage, but his specter was not. It was an engine crankshaft with a bowling ball sized sphere of steel welded at one end. In the run up to the war, certain adventurous Vatavians made off with it.

4. The Seneschal at the time was Harold Isenross, a former Vatavian. As his lady was from Forgotten Sea, Baron Gawayne declared him Vatavia’s first conscientious objector.

5. In the battle the day before, the scepter had been carried into Chirurgeon Point and, because said point is a dead zone, dead men cannot carry items from the point. Thus, the scepter could not have been carried away from Chirurgeon Point and was, therefore, the property of the Chirurgeons.

6. That the event was a failure is an understatement. The event was proposed by the King Roderick of Mandrake Hill with hopes that it would mirror the success of the InterKingdom events with Ansterroa, this time with Outlands. Legal considerations required that a local group play host and handle the finances, and as Vatavia was the closest Barony to the site, the Crown asked Vatavia to handle that duty. The difficulty was that the Baronage nor the Baronial Officers had any control over those running the event, we just paid the bills. Thus when expenses began running out of control, particularly for the feast, little could be done. That the site, near Greensburg, was equally remote from everyone coupled with a cool cloudy weekend weather severely reduced the attendance from what was expected and planned for. The result was that the Barony took a major financial hit, and left a bitter taste for many in the Barony. Though at the time of the event a sequel was talked about, the idea was later quietly dropped.

7. One of the more positive things connected to Harvest Faire was the First Vatavian Corps of Engineers (Mechanized). The site was little more than a hilly pasture with a dirt road that led into it. This road had a number of deep ruts in it, and it was decided that this needed to be filled, least people’s cars become stuck. So a work party was formed a week before the event to fill them in. Ala talked her dad to bring out his front loader which did most of the heavy work of moving the dirt around, hence the mechanized. Two months later the following people were given special pins for their effort: Aidries ap Daffyd, Ala of Featherstone, Sean Angus MacDuinnchinn, Eleanor ap Rhiwallon, Galen MacDonald, Lawrence Tailefer the Leech, Phillipa Lloyd de Tarifa, Marie Chantal Delaire, Leonardo il Calimaro, Deitrich Eisenhart, Fynn MacGuire. (I was also on that crew but was never acknowledged.)

8. Ida Lundy and her dog were the first recipients of a green cord, done on May 3,1992 at the end of the Champion’s Event at Taffefer farm.

9. Tedrick had another reason to remember that event. The primary purpose of Taffefer Farm is to raise Frisian horses. Unexpectedly, the day before the event, their first mare, Tally, gave birth. Tedrick discovered where by inadvertently stepping into the afterbirth.

10. This popularized the phrase "Lief of course."

11. Claddagh Ring is a Celtic music form by various Vatavians. The original line up was Moriagh Teige O’Flaithbheartiagh, Searlaith nic Uillium O’Caellaigh, and Shannon of Eire. By the time of the storm, Moriagh had left Tedrick von Wolfschatten, Hrafnhildr o Llandyssul, and Elwyn of Vatavia had joined. They would give other concerts at events with less drastic results.

12. Though no tornado came close to the site, the storm did produce a small tornado that worked its way down east Kellogg. The storm did produce heavy flooding, cutting off much of the camping ground and floating many tents. One unfortunate couple, though being warned, set their tent in a field of water hyacinths. After the storm they found it was now in the middle of a pond. At the end of the event, special portage teams were arranged to help people get their stuff to their cars. One result of the experience was the formation of the Downed Rat Society with their own ballad done to the tune of Gilligan’s Island. As Eleanor ferch Rhiwallon was the autocrat for this and the previous Valor, which both had rain, began to be referred to as the rain goddess, much to her annoyance.

13. Only Catriona de Brynton had an entry and declined to take the championship by default.

14. Tedrick had an alternate persona Moto who was a somewhat dimwitted hunchback.

15. That little thing was Stargate Keep Tower. This two story stone "garden shed" took several years to finish. For zoning reasons it was listed as a garden shed on the building permit. It was twice featured in the Wichita Eagle, and an episode of Larry Hattenburg’s People as well as one of the entries in his books. And it was a prominent landmark on east Kellogg until the rebuilding of that road hid it behind the sound buffer wall. It has been the side of a number or revels, get togethers, weddings and concerts. A "storage shed" annex is currently being built.

16. One of the featured items in the camping display was a large rope bed. The autocrat of our portion of the faire decided to use it as he kept guard at the dell at night. On Saturday, he induced a young lady to join him, and they were soon engaged in what men and women usually do in such circumstances. Those holding a small quiet revel outside the pavilion were soon entertained by the squeaking of the ropes that this activity engendered. This was suddenly interrupted by a loud crack, followed by silence. After a few moments, the squeaking resumed. The following morning, it was discovered that the headboard had broken where the ropes passed though it. While the active participants of this incident have never tried to hide their identity, discretion and decorum lead me to omit them here.

17. Gwenhevare Dominique Nazaire d’Avignon.

18. Guardian was discontinued to break the hold that Lorell of Shrewsbury had on the Valor Sword. Of the ten Guardian tourneys he had won five including the final four.

19. Thomas Foxliche had started a tradition that the incoming bardic champion had to drink this rather syrupy concoction he created. It was basically dissolved Jell-O mix. But in this case the by the time court occurred, the Jell-O had begun to set. Leonard did manage the feat, though it was rather messy.

20. Demetrius got his Laureate in cooking. This was an art not widely practiced in Vatavia, but much practiced in Mag Mor. Thus he made a number of trips to Mag Mor helping out up there. Thus he felt it was most appropriate for the ceremony to take place there.

21. Hunkerhausen is a Norse game which is a tug-of-war between two opponents, each standing on a stump. It more a game of strategy and balance then strength.

 

Copyright © 2006 - present His Lordship Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno). All rights reserved.

 

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