SCA: Feast of the Hare

Yay! SCA Photodump time! Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Feast of the Hare, an annual event hosted by the Barony of Skraeling Althing (Ottawa, Ontario, and surrounds). This was my first event held in Skrael (as it’s sometimes known), and my first chance to see a bunch of the Bunnies (Skraeling Althing’s mascot is the hare) on their home turf. Many of them have been to events in my area, so it was nice to turn the tables and to be a part of their home environment. Naturally, I had to take pics, purely for photodocumentation purposes and not because I was also taking video of Yoshi getting chased by several other rapier fighters…

Behold, the timorous beastie! Huge, pointy fangs!

The first event of the day was a Kingdom Moot. You’ll notice none of those on the thrones are wearing their crowns or coronets. At a Moot, everyone is equal, to speak freely regarding the topics on the agenda. I love that this a society where it’s acknowledged that even though some were metal hats signifying rank, even if just for a short period of time, even the huddled masses have an equal share in how things happen and are given the opportunity to speak.

Because why *wouldn’t* you engage in furniture assembly at a gathering? Everyone needs chairs!

Two swords, for extra stabby!!!

So, the Skraeling Althing is in Ottawa… so clearly, the thing to do is to take a selfie with the Baron of Rising Waters, which is the Niagara region…

An arts & sciences contest was held, with bonus points for Monty Python references. On entrant made a jewelry box out of a coconut, clearly designed to be carried by  Swallows, and decorated it with images of the dreaded killer bunny. Or, ya know, the Hare of Skraeling Althing. Whatever. Still neat!

From the needlework side, a small cape suitable to be worn by a small animal. The keen observer will note that it’s King Arthur’s surcoat.

Since learning how to make glass beads at FOOL earlier in the year, I appreciate the work that goes into these all the more.

Lover of games that I am, I was chuffed to see one on the table. Aside from being beautifully embroidered, historical legitimacy is a thing.

There were a number of other awesome entries, pics of which are uploaded to my personal Facebook acct for those interested, but the below item, on the adjacent table, made me smile…

I’m not sure why Queen Sarah was charging so little for chicken, but I’ll take it!

Making glass beads!

Careful when you park your butt in the chairs belonging to the Baron and Baroness of Rising Waters. You never know when you’ll end up with egg on your face. Or tunic. Whatever.

Outside, stabbery was due to occur.

Waiting for your turn to impale someone on a steel spike can be tedious.

Aside from a tournament to determine the new Baronial champion, two young fencers also trialed to become cadets in the Ealdormere Academy of Defense. Kersteken and Yoshi, who by now should be familiar faces for those reading my SCA photodumps, only bruised them a little…

In fact, here’s some footage of stabbery, and a little thwackery thrown in.

It’s a wonderful thing when you find someone as enamored of puns and wild-eyed selfies as you yourself are 🙂

Animal Husbandry is a legitimate skill. Many knights of the realm (and aspiring fighters) learn such historically significant practices so as to better embrace and embody the spirit of the SCA. Here, a squire demonstrates the technique for helping a birth a calf. Sadly, he forgot his arm-length rubber gloves, but then, farmers of the day probably didn’t wear latex.

Baron Shahid demonstrates his Morris Dancing skills for some of the assembled fighters. Morris Dancing is, of course, a valid form of martial art. Well, you’d think so based on the frequency of injuries, at least.

Inside, other forms of period dance were practiced.

I kumihimo’d!
No, that’s not a euphemism. I made a braided cord thingie.

“Okay, I’m Aramis, you’re Athos, and you’re Porthos.”
“Why do I have to be Porthos?”
“Have you seen your pants? Only Porthos would wear those.”
“I think you mean Athos and Aramis couldn’t pull this look off.” (*snaps fingers in a z formation*)

“So, before I hit you around the noggin with this stick, can I get that quiche recipe? I’m not confident you’ll be able to remember it after I’m through denting your helmet.”

Ah, the thrones… regal, proud, and… waitaminute…

WHO LET THAT CLOWN UP THERE???
(Awesome jestering in action)

Evening court saw all the hats back on, it was time to hand out awards and stuff! I didn’t get decent pics of everyone who was recognised, but I got some worth showing off 😉

One particularly neat thing Baroness Catherine had done was issue a bead challenge. When members of the Barony undertook efforts to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of various officers within the Barony they were awarded beads, and then used those beads to make things they presented during court. Shiny AND educational!

Absolutely beautiful woodwork. Oh, and a cute little Scadian child too.

With the Barony’s new champions determined by tournament, they were awarded regalia and symbols of their office. His Majesty was quite taken with the axe being presented to Edward of Flaming Sky.

“I’ma totes keep this, alright? I can chop things!”

Ozme van Helist was recognized for her efforts in the arts and sciences. She was awarded a chalice, which, it being an event that had a subtle Monty Python and the Holy Grail subtext…

… actually glowed and had that musical, heavenly chorus when the box was opened. As a bonus, Baroness Catherine had no clue the box was rigged to do that 😉

And there was much rejoicing.

Stephen of Cornwall was awarded entry into the Order of the Hare Valiant, a baronial award, for his work and prowess. I personally love seeing the calligraphy and illumination on these things, so you get to see it too.

See? A valiant hare if I ever saw one.

Pal James, who led the Kingdom’s unbelt team at Pennsic to victory, was also made a Hare Valiant. Super proud of this dude.

Humbly awesome. That’s him.

In another example of, well, just being damn fine people, Baron Shahid and Baroness Catherine descended from the stage to present an award to a gent who wasn’t able to mount the stairs because, well, you can see the crutches. Super sweet.

One tradition that I’m loving is the presentation of a gift, by the King and Queen, to people who have come out to these events for the first time. New players are the lifeblood of a community such as the SCA, and it does my heart proud to see efforts being made to help other new players feel welcomed. Lord knows I was blown away at my first event, I’m chuffed that these other new players can get a taste of that, and hopefully will stick around to become active and valued members of the community.

Having taken his leave of the 15th century X-Men, Cyclops received a beautiful plate from Their Majesties. No word on whether he called up Wolverine afterwards to rub it in  his hairy little face.

Swearing fealty to the crown is a thing. It occurs that I myself haven’t done so for this reign… Oh my, I can run amok!

Several more awards were given, but given that I had carpooled to the event with pal Augusta, I knew something special was coming up next… (they’re all special, but this one was just a little spiffier because I knew who had made it in advance…)

King Quilliam knew what was coming… his anticipation was high…

He hadn’t been allowed to keep the Baronial Champion’s axe, but maybe … just maybe…

“So, you’re like, totes awesome, and we’re awarding you the Scarlet Banner because you’re like, the bomb, and here’s this freaking awesome leather scroll with your award carved into the leather in runes and all personalized and stuff, but you’d rather *I* kept it, right?”

“I mean, look at this thing, your Excellency, surely Gwendolyn would like me to hang this in my castle rather than having it clutter up her place, right?”

“… right?”

“… no?:

“… fine. But you gotta bake me some cookies or something.”

“We shook on it! You all saw it! She owes me cookies!!!”

Gwendolyn: (*Whispers*) “Hail Hydra”

Each scroll awarded is individually worded for the recipient, and the kingdom’s scribes and illuminators get to work to make each piece something special. Yes, that’s gold leaf; Ealdormere does it right.

Thankfully, the scrolls tend to come with a translation…

As a man who appreciates a chapeau… damn, that’s a hat and a half.

The chalice, without the glowy plate and musical accompaniment. Gratz!

Gwendolyn’s Scarlet Banner award. Yes, it’s all runes, cut into the leather, by awesome pal Mjoll. Wassail for Mjoll for her work, and to Gwendolyn for her achievement!

Kersteken WITHOUT stabby swords! And an awesomely fuzzy hat.

After court was done, folks started setting up for the feast. In mere minutes tables and chairs were arranged, everyone pitched in, and before we knew it…

Awesome community mealtime was underway.

Augusta and I didn’t stay for the feast, but we did meet up with some of our Scadian friends later that night, and, well…

… this happened.

I had a wonderful time at Feast of the Hare, laughing with Scadians I’ve known since my first event and meeting new ones I had no idea existed. There were many hugs, my fez was only stolen once or twice, and I even got to make some kumihimo. A huge thanks to the autocrat(s) and site staff, to Their Majesties, Their Highnesses, and Their Excellencies Skraeling Althing. I look forward to my next event, where I promise to tell at least one dad joke to someone unsuspecting.

Wassail.