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A Tale of Two Fairs

by Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Well, maybe not. But it was early in the morning as I rolled out of bed. After a light repast, I hitched up the team and drove over to the house where my two fellow travelers were staying. This day we were traveling to the great Medieval Faire that was occurring in the Barony of Namron.

The trip down went smoothly except for the breakage of a piece of equipment on the wagon. Stopping, it was quickly determined that the broken part was not critical and we continued.

Upon reaching the fair, we learned that we were among the first Vatavians there, though many had begun the trip the day before. I was greeted by an old friend whom I had not seen for many a year: Lady Margarite Isabeau. After speaking for a few minutes, she had to leave to carry out her duties for the day, and I to explore the encampment.

The Vatavian were ensconced in a tent next to the baronial pavilion on the east side of the list field sitting on top of a long ridge overlooking the faire. To the northwest under some trees were various displays and a forge. Among the displays was chess board of the Byzantine style decorated by some of the thinness mosaic tiles I had ever seen. There was also jar lid decorated in the same manner with the image of Our Lord.

As the rest of the troop slowly arrived, it was learned that our first performance will be at the baronial meal shortly before none. As this was several hours away, I went out to examine the faire.

The faire filled a small valley, the floor of which was occupied by a large pond, which was crossed in the center by a high arching stone bridge. There were merchants of weaponry, jewelry, pottery, glassware, and food from all lands. There were minstrels, mimes, actors, jugglers, acrobats, and dancers to entertain the crowds. On the far ridge was a jousting field, though I did not see a single pass. And in a quiet glen there was an outdoor chapel for weddings.

The noon meal was for the baronage of Namron, Wiesenfeuer, and the Baroness of Eldern Hills. We did several dances for them including Rhianwen's dance. We did two more sets over the course of the faire, all of which were well received with a number of people joining in. The only annoyance of the faire was with the operators of the caravan adorned with proclamations of the Holy Faith, which ran on a pair of metal rods just behind the encampment. I admire their faith, they could be a little less noisy about it.

I stayed the night in the home of Lady Margaret and her husband. Who can refuse a meal by one of the finest cooks of Ansteorra, even if it was only beef stew? Among the guests at the table was Sir Jonathan the premier duke of Ansteorra. Far into the night Lady Margarite and I chatted about old times, old friends, and the passage of events since she had left Vatavia.

Shortly after our final performance on the last day, I gathered my fellow travelers and left for home. I borne with me a message for Duke Sir Gabriel: "Mom says she is happy that you had remarried, but wishes she had been invited to the wedding." As we travel north the weather turned cold and cloudy. Little did we realize that it was an omen of things to come.

Three weeks later, I again woke up early to travel to a faire, though this one was not so far away. This one was located at the local college of Kansas Newman. As I gathered by accouterments the sky was overcast, but the reports had promised sun for the afternoon. But as I left it began to rain.

Arriving at the faire, I met with one of the minstrels, who questioned the sanity of the upcoming endeavor. I pressed on to join the rest of the barony, which was rearranging pavilions in response to the various pools of water that were forming.

For the first time in eleven years we were not in our accustom place. While construction did not touch the old dell, much of rest of the faire grounds had been altered. The new dell was hard by the library with the rest of the faire nestled among the woods to the west. I seemed to recall the last time the faire was on these grounds, the weather sprang a few surprises.

The rain soon ended and we began our final preparations as a few hardy souls began perusing the faire's offerings. And despite the clouds, the crowds came.

So we fought, danced, and were beaten upon by smalls. The list field became a large wallow that was repeatedly filled with straw. The baronage even settled a few disputes over domestic chores.

Again this year the faire royalty had vaguely familiar faces from the past, and the court fool had more then a passing resemblance to the bardic champion. Makes you wonder about bards. Towards the end of the faire, their Majesties presented to their Excellencies a stain glass dragonfly in appreciation of the baronial efforts at the faire.

As the final blows rang from the list, we began to pack up our goods and take down our pavilions. And as the wagons were being loaded it began to rain again. And so the faire ended as it began, and another faire season came to a close. And after helping their Majesties with their packing, I too went home to a far, far better rest than I have ever known.

 

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

 

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