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 Coronation April 10, 2010

Gleann Abhann Coronation ~ The Tenth Reign.

The way was edged with crimson clover, fields strewn with large patches of yellow, blue and purple wildflowers, dotted with brilliant white dogwood, and then completed with every imaginable shade of green.  Following a colder than normal period of winter in Gleann Abhann, the pollen was very heavy.  It was April, the last month of AS XLIV being 2010. Easter and Passover had already taken place and a seasonal cold front moved through the evening of the seventh.  Mistress Morgana, our highly held Weather Maven concurred with the following delightful expectations for the hills of the fine Barony of Small Gray Bear.

Thursday  April 8  Clear and chilly L Lo  38°

Friday  April 9  Plenty of sun 72° Lo 44° 

Saturday  April 10  Pleasant with sunshine 74° Lo 50°   

The stars that sparkled in the sky above revealed the sign of Aries, the Ram.

And it was so as 242 gentles made their way to Gleann Abhann Coronation.  Guests arrived as preparations were busily underway to bring the current Middle Ages to National Forest Camp Clear Fork in a dell of the Ouachita Forest. Located on Hwy 270, six miles west of Crystal Springs, west of Hot Springs, Arkansas, the GPS Coordinates are 34.507992,-93.392129.  Autocrat Lady Elaina the Merchant had called for all to bring personal and group banners, decorated shields, wall hangings and such to show off the splendor and pageantry of both Gleann Abhann and our Society as a whole.  (And there would be prizes.)  Lady Cairistiona Symon was listed as feastocrat but numerous cooks prepared food -- soups for travelers fare, populace breakfast, Greater Officer’s breakfast, a Queen’s tea with items exquisite to the eyes and the pallet, a wonderful free lunch with Asian influence, numerous dishes of bread, meat, vegetables and fruit served at feast.  At the close of the day there was a heavily laden table at the Rose Ball   Reservations were made thru THLady Katryne MacIntosh the Strange.  Those reserved for the event found an envelope waiting.  It held the ever popular and versatile plastic trash bag, a peppermint, event token, two Gleann Abhann trading cards: Saint Bogdacious and Brother Guido.  The token was strung on a single wonderfully primitive strand of cord, half red, half black ending in a sliver fob with decorative beads.  Members of the Barony wore identical bead necklaces, which helped identify our hosts. Written on the envelope were accommodations and if you were fortunate enough to have feast.  Then there was the event flyer - a gate fold, slick and very professional, containing information, schedule and menu with color photos and images.

The rustic screened cabins with exterior shutter doors to control the temperature provided excellent shelter and comfort.  Bayou dwellers of the southern reaches of the kingdom were enthralled by the rocks and quartz outcroppings of the area.  The water of Camp Clear Fork Reservoir glistened in the sun and its sound was most pleasant gently cascading over a portion of the dam and down the valley as a bubbling stream.  There at the water’s edge stood the new kingdom pavilion with the group devices as daggs. It would shelter our Royals for each court of the day.  A tea pavilion nearby was open to the lake view while its walls concealed preparations for the Queens’s Tea.  From the hall the lawn swept down as an amphitheater, allowing a fine vantage of courts and tournaments.  To hear, closer was preferred.   

When it came time for the morning’s first court, populace awaited the arrival of our King and Queen, the second of the name William Fitzhugh de Cambria and Onora inghean mhic Cathain.  Obviously in the peak of health, They were heralded by Lady Melisande of Loch Bais and followed by many retainers.  At the same time a half dozen Bavarian maidens frolicked down the hill to the back of court.  They giggled and had a much similar appearance to those at the Gulf War XIX Known World Party where they had raised funds to support the Susan Coleman Breast Cancer Fund.  And yet, there was something different about them, but only time would tell.  After taking their places on the thrones, Their Majesties acknowledged the wonderful weather and their pleasant feelings this day and called for those wishing to swear fealty.   Maistir Rory would do so.  As had been done at Gulf War court the herald called for Katrinka White Hair and Aine ni Shuilleabhain.  These two constructed 300 special tokens that Her Majesty gifted those on the battlefield.  Each was of red fabric, silkscreened and stitched.  For this one time act of service they received the Conditas.  His majesty spoke of Talon ap Arawan, not present this day, a long way from his home but acknowledged for things he had taught this King, both to fight and other things as well.  And this should now be read into court, “for diverse efforts, an award of arms”. Next Skallagrim Bararson was called and William noted, ”What ? empty handed ?” the kneeling Ardanroe resident whispered, “it is in the tent.”  For having kept the Crown well lubricated, with reference not to oil but liquid refreshment, a Letter of Endorsement was presented as a thank you for Skilligrum’s good deeds in the area of brewing.  Squire Cathair Oduhin responded to the herald’s call and was rewarded by Their Majesties with the War Horn, given to those who have demonstrated great prowess in the field of combat.  From behind the thrones were called entourage members Lasair inghean mhic Soein, Bridget McGrannis, and Olrin Eliddasdottir, each of whom received a Jeweled Ring from the Queen’s own hand.

 I know not the reason why, but when Mistress Genevote, a previous Baroness of Small Gray Bear, was called into court, she bolted.  Pursued by three, one who was outrun, she was by Baron Dagan ibn Yushuf ibn Hilal “escorted” her into court to be honored.  And what did Sir Ashi, Mistress Jane, Mistress Crystyna, Master Charles THLady Gwyneth, His Highness William, THLord Frederic Alton and THLord James en les Breres have in common ?   Members of the Silver Lamp, individuals who have exhibited exceptional talent in the Arts and Sciences were there to witness Genevote added to their number.   

Four of His Majesty’s men were called:  Ingvarr, Griffin Fitzwyse, Olaf Bristlebeard and Uric Blackoak.   With Sir Uric absent, his place before the thrones was taken by Sir Caillin who did his best impersonation of the absent “monkey”.  The award was The Sovereign's Letter of Endorsement.     Melisande of Loch Bais, Mistress Jane Beaumont, THLady Elizabeth Thielman and Lord Alerkr inn Svarti were acknowledged for their service as scribes with the King’s Order of Condatis.    THLord James en les Breres was called.  No, it was not time to speak of cookbooks.  On a pillow here, take a knee.  The attributes of James in taking care of His Majesty were worthy of a Letter of Endorsement.  But on the other pillow, the position was again taken as Her Majesty spoke of something a member of the populace had just called out, care given to the Royall Hounds, Breadeaux and Briscoe.  The award, The Pooch’s Pleasure was calligraphed on a scroll illuminated by Lord Broddi of Blackmoor Keep.

 The Gleann Abhann Rapier Champion Tomas mhic Thighnean and The Gleann Abhann Queen’s Champion Baron Grimbaldus Bacon were called and for service to the Crown, to Her Majesty.  A Jeweled Ring was gifted to both with Onora’s thanks.  When Duke Kane was called he arrived in the company of those Oktoberfest girls.  For safety, spearmen were called to the fore to protect Their Majesties.  (Uncertain if there is any correlation but there was the time in court when Kane had been jokingly attired with strips of soft white paper by a previous Crown of the same name.)   No use of spears was needed as it was Kane’s mission to present monies from the Known World Party.  And much appreciated it was.   

Now came time for Cookbook discussion.  James reported that the first Cookbook that will not be re-published is nearly sold out and the music scholarship is now set up in memory of Lady Ceara O'Bardain.  Then one hundred dollars was passed to Mistress Morgana as a member of the Diamond Chalice, for the upcoming 5th Year Celebration.  Collection of recipes for a second cookbook will begin Monday.  Participation is encouraged.  Baroness Ashikaga Kimiko and Viscountess Danielle della Roche were now acknowledged by Their Majesties and each was gifted a Jeweled Ring from the hand of Onora. 

Then a very curious thing happened, but this is Coronation after all.  It was Valkeries in the guise of beer maids who called for our King to run away with them.  Entreated by Odin to leave, saying, in best German accents, that he had served Gleann Abhann well but His time on the Ram throne was done.  No more suffering the long hours of scroll preparation, court business, exchequers and BOD meetings.   There were many big smiles, flirty eyes and  “Yah, sure ! You bet cha !”  but William was not sure.  Finally he was told he must come to the great hall where He would feast and fight with the great warriors of Gleann Abhann until His heart was content.  Come, the mead hall awaits!  “Ookey Dookey !” being his response, His crown placed on an empty throne,  William gleefully departed court with them, perchance skipping.  You bet cha. 

Our Queen Onora now stood alone.  Yes, she might demand to rule by Herself, but in truth the days had been long and the demands were many.  And there were heirs.   The populace was told there were not enough scrolls to adequately say thank you for allowing She and Camric to do their job.  She removed the big “bear trap” crown from her head.  It was held close and kissed, then placed upon the throne on which She sat as Queen.  As Gleann Abhann knights approached to guard the thrones, Onora and her entourage departed.   And so ended the ninth reign of Gleann Abhann.

 Time until the day’s second court was noted with anticipation in the air.  Once again a procession led by Mistress Sarah McGreaggor made its way down from the great hall.   All were called to make way and show reverence.   Jon and Beatrix, rightful heirs, bareheaded and somber, were followed by those who would stand with them for this court to include Mistress Gabrielle, Chancellor, THLady Nonnie, Travel Coordinator, ladies in waiting and guards.  Awaiting them at the thrones were Duke Tar Radu, First King of Gleann Abhann, THLord Ravenswar, Seneschal and THLady Katil.  Jon the Tall stood as Prince, bearer of the Argent Shield of Meridies, the Combattant Ram, Sable Banner, the Order of Aries and, as of Gulf War XVIII, wore the white belt of a Knight.   Jon had been squired to Sir Radu following the departure of Sir Vebrand to a distant kingdom.  On the Great Sword of State, Jon and Beatrix swore their pledges.  The crown of the nineteenth kingdom was held by Jon for all to see and claiming it as rightfully His, He placed it upon His brow.  Beatrix was then crowned by Jon.  Katil held a drinking horn, a part of many an ancient ritual.  From that carved vessel both Jon and Beatrix drank.  Then upon the Ram Thrones They took Their places.

 After revealing how pleased They were with the weather the members of the entourage who stood to either side of court were called to swear fealty.  As the retainers took their places behind the thrones, Kingdom Officers, Royal Peers, Pelicans, Laurels, and Knights then took a knee, placed a hand on the sword or a person touching the sword and stated their allegiance.  The kingdom’s populace then did the same.  A call was made for the Territorial Barons and Baronesses of Gleann Abhann.  Acknowledged as direct representatives of the Crown, and with coronets in hand they pledged fealty.  From Small Gray Bear were Baron CuCullin and Baroness Eithne, from Seleone Baron Morgan and Baroness Eugenia.  Axemoor was represented by Baron Charles and Baron Dagan represented Grey Niche.  The Herald then called William and Onora.  Wholehearted thanks were given them, then the fine “hats” of a Duke and Duchess.  Thus was closed the first court of King Jon the Tall and Queen Beatrix the Beautiful.  Banners in the great hall proclaimed the reign as such. 

 Following lunch and Queen’s tea, armor inspection took place as two fields would showcase both rapier and heavy combat.  Padruig and Tomas were marshals in charge.  Baroness Isabella was listmistress.  From a list of twenty-one heavy fighters the finals were between Tar Radu and Lannon McGilvery with Radu the winner.  Binn MacBrannon won the rapier tourney from a list of nine fighters.  In the finals he defeated Frederic von Alton.  After the last thrust was called it was said, “To underestimate Binn would be a fatal mistake indeed.”    Afternoon meetings (with an estimate as to number of attendees) were called by the Gleann Abhann Brewers-Vintners-Cordial Maker's Guild (8), Embroidery Guild, Pelicans (18), Silver Lamp (8), Sable Banner (11) and Aries (5).  Most Kingdom Officers were present.  The lesser officers of Chancellor, Minister of Children, Chatelaine and Historian, the greater officers of Seneschal, and his Deputy, Exchequer, Chirurgeon and Diamond Herald attended.  That only leaves Knight Marshall, Chronicler, MoA&S, Webminister and Sheriff not able to attend.   Beginning Friday evening and throughout the day Saturday, Baroness Barbara Sterling told the story of the guessing game to all who wished to play.  This event’s game had to do with a surprise with Barbara the one surprised.  It was to be a gift, one of silk, soft to the skin, fine of weave.  Perhaps there was a problem with the translation.  Instead of an item of silk, it looked to some like “silk worms” – which were in fact uncooked potato pasta called gnocchi and the count was 80. 

For the final court of this day of Coronation the Kingdom Pavilion now stood alone at the water’s edge.  With the steep hillsides as a backdrop a gentle breeze was felt as the procession approached. Lord Wolf and Mistress Sarah, heralds led the way and the populace stood.   Their Majesties smiled and offered thanks for the day.  The pledging of fealty was offered and accepted.  Then the children of the kingdom were called to receive a small treat.  THLord Motan the Mongol answered the call to attend Her Majesty.  He accepted Her request to be Her Champion.  The scroll called Motan the recipient of the Wreath of Chivalry but no such wreath was presented.    Duke Radu attended His Majesty and accepted the request to be King’s Champion.   He then stood with the sword of state behind the thrones.  Binn MacBrannon was called next and asked to take a place behind the thrones as the Gleann Abhann Rapier Champion.  Mistress Sarah noted a problem with this scenario.      Yes, his rapier skills were most worthy of the honor but he would stand behind the throne with weapons although he held no award to allow this.    The problem was easily solved when Binn received an Award of Arms.  Next he received a large portion of the regalia (rapier sword and sheath, medallion, cloak) which Tomas had held as Champion.  I cannot tell you the exact number but several times during the day’s courts the call  “Gleann Abhann.  All --- Hail” was made.  Each time it echoed through the small valley, reverberating and growing louder with each call and the people of the Kingdom smiled.  Baroness Barbara announced the winners of the guessing game.  Those 12 and under were asked to circle their number to signify a youth as well as an adult winner.  Regan Parks was the youth winner.  The exact number of 80 was chosen by Amber Wright, one dear to Her Majesty.  M&Ms went to both.   

For two years Mistress Brigit had held the office of Kingdom Chirurgeon.  On this date 4/10/2010 the office is now in the hands of THLady Emma del Tree.  Thank you to both these ladies.  The mantra remains.  “Don’t make me do paperwork!”  The Seneschal of the Barony of Small Gray Bear Lady Meredith McRegan reported an attendance of 242 of which 50 were non-members.  But before Meredith exited, she was bid to attend Her Majesty.   Beatrix told of Meredith’s abilities which included smoothing rough waters and ruffled feathers and it was a privilege of the King and Queen of Gleann Abhann to call her worthy of a Grant of Arms.  It was noted that Meredith had been escorted into court by one who was not her husband and His Majesty called for Lord Brendan MacDudeman to escort his wife back.  Now one must understand that Brendan was recuperating from ankle surgery.  He had been using crutches earlier and now entered court using a cane.  I do not think however that was what caused his hair to stand on end as it did.  But wait.  It was not just as an escort that he was called.  A Grant was awarded him as well.  So now The Honorable Lord and Lady exited court.  Then Ravenswear had business.  Since February 10, 2007 Sarah MacGregor had held the Office of Emergency Coordinator for the Kingdom.  The Office was now turned over to Giacomo Falcone (Grey Niche).  Thank you Sarah. 

This was a day of Coronation when two took their place on the Ram Thrones, but the populace was already talking of heirs.  This will be accomplished the weekend of May 15, 2010.  We were invited by the Shire of Lagerdamm to witness that history come about on Petit Jean Mountain.  So, court was about to close…. But wait !  a grievous offence had occurred and restitution was demanded.  It was Her Excellency Mistress Lailiane, Deputy Seneschal of the Kingdom who stood to make her objections to such injustice known.   Who on earth could have made this fine lady act so ?  Surely not Her Excellency, Mistress Meghan !!  But that seemed to be the accusation between these two Pelicans.  It had something to do with a mistress of the list post which Meghan would not be able to accomplish.  The populace listened intently.  “Something was up” but most were uncertain what.   Then Meghan suggested as a substitute, to elevate her protégé Magdalena de Sergovia for the task.   Magdalena sat on a blanket almost surrounded by those she was being invited to join, some of whom helped her to her feet to be escorted into court.   I believe there were nineteen Pelicans present to acknowledge Magdalena.    Robert, Rory, Stephen, Brionnfinn, Alysia, Morgana, Mary Grace, Jane, Crystyna, Linnet, Gabrielle, Sarah, Morgan, Erik, Brigit, Genevote, the previously mentioned Meghan and Lailiane and our Greek Calontir cousin.     Obviously flustered and surprised Magdalena accepted hugs and good wishes but was speedy to exit court.  The final decision on elevation would be in her home shire of Dragoun’s Weal at Fifth Year in August.  Congratulations Magdalena.

 Court was closed and we prepared for feast inside the hall while the grills outside were pressed into service for the evening meal of others.  Three banners and hangings received special recognition.  Their Majesties were joined at high table by King’s Champion Radu, Broinnfinn and Harry, Rapier Champion Binn and the newcomer Amanda.  Amanda and her mother Rachael had each been gifted a small decorative bee.  They are in fact “new bees”.    After feast these newbies enjoyed the ball, and who would not ?  We honored our Roses and Diamonds who honored our new Queen, then with their partners began the dancing with the traditional Hole in the Wall.   It is custom that the populace does not consume food or beverage at the ball until the King and Queen have served themselves.   With the wonderful treats awaiting us, it was difficult to wait. The fare was beautiful, delicious and great in variety.   There were such treats as spanakopita, punch, brownies both low in fat and sugar as well as the much acclaimed Aztec recipe, treats to drizzle with chocolate, seafood quiche, and a grand chocolate cake decorated with the heraldic devices of Gleann Abhann. Each dish received much praise.  There was much laughter when the Tangle Bransle was danced.  And on our way to slumber we looked to the dark skies above to see the sign of Aries, the Ram and returned to our homes secure in the knowledge that Gleann Abhann was in good hands 

So noted as the memories of Baroness Barbara Sterling, Gleann Abhann Historian.

Posted May 27, 2010

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