Who is Beverly?

Barony of Sun Dragon, Kingdom of Atenveldt, United States

21 February 2010

Estrella War XXVI


My first EW ever!  All the years I played in the SCA in the Outlands, and all the time I’ve lived in Atenveldt, I’ve never gone until now.  Now that I have returned, I ask myself, “WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?!?”

I couldn’t sleep the night before, and I was meeting my good friends, Lord Starri and Lady Valdis, at their house to caravan (two trucks and a car) down with them at 0230.   After a Benny-Hill-esque freeway exit and two missed turns, we arrived on site at about 0430.  Lord Starri’s experience was that there would be over 100 cars in line by then, at least, but there were only about 15 ahead of us.  I tried to snooze in the front seat of my truck, but it was damn cold and I was too excited.  So, I got up, figured out where to check in and at what time, relayed the info to Starri & Valdis, and stood by the Troll Booth fire until 7, when I checked in and got my first-ever EW site token.

Now, for those of you who have gone, the site token might seem “usual” to you; but I was quite surprised to find that it was cast pewter.  This made it feel like jewelry to me, something more precious than just a site token.   And I panicked once when I forget my token in my tent when I went to the showers, thinking I had lost it (I was still fuzzy from sleep) – not just because I’d have to get another one, but because it meant something to me.

Estrella War 26 site token
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

After being let in 30 minutes early because we were, after all, already ready already, we drove around until we found our spot.  I was a bit confused, having never been to the site before, and only had the land-allocation map for reference.  We found our spot, and began the task of laying out the individual plots for our encampment (I was camped with House Nunya).  Following that, it was time to unload our mountains of stuff and get set up.  I had a tent for sleeping and one for gear (thanks to my best friend Jody for letting me borrow it and some other camping essentials).

My two tents, in front
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

After we were done, TE Baron Robert and Baroness Theresa arrived.  I helped unload their truck and trailer, and dug a pathway in the berm so we would not kill ourselves tripping over it (read: so I wouldn’t trip on it and kill myself).  That evening, TE B&B were still setting up their camp, hadn’t even got their bed together, so I offered to get dinner made, since we were hosting the EMTs Paul & Bob from Wilderness Medics Inc.  The way I saw it, I already had my bed set up, it was getting dark and cold, they still needed theirs setup and I wasn’t doing anything else.  HE Baroness Theresa had made a stew that tasted almost exactly like my mother’s Mulligan stew.  Everyone enjoyed it, and several had more than one helping, including me. 

After dinner, I decided to go in search of Unser Hafen’s (UH) camp.  That was my barony (along with Caerthe) in the Outlands, and even though it’s been over 13 years since I played there, I thought perhaps someone I knew might be there.  Well…after tromping around the foot-high alfalfa, 2+ foot-high berms, and NO FLASHLIGHT (because I’m smart that way), in shoes which were now soaking wet, I found that no one knew where they were camping because no one from UH was there yet.  I warmed myself by a few fires, had a couple of nice chats with total strangers, and then finally came across a couple of gentleman who questioned why I was wandering around on my own unescorted.  I told them that I was just used to it – being a latchkey kid, and not having a car until I was 25, I went places by myself all the time – and it was fine.  Well they would have none of that, a lady walking around by herself in the dark.  So a nice young man named James escorted me to other camps where drummers were playing, and I enjoyed a nice evening.

When I finally made it back to my camp, and crawled into my many blankets, I discovered that my bedding was highly insufficient.  I had egg crate foam, a quilt, a down comforter and a sheet under me, but I felt like the Princess and the Pea.  Except that the “peas” were big rocks embedded in the concrete-hard furrow I managed to lay my bed upon.  Yeah, so that needs to be changed next year.

It also was very cold that night; it froze in areas of the site.  In the morning, I discovered that the condensation from the dew was so heavy that it created a low spot in the top of my tent where it had collected, and it was dripping inside -- about a foot from my head.  Alfalfa is a pretty moist leafy plant, so basically we had all camped upon water collectors/emitters.  In the morning, Starri and Yakob helped me put a tarp over that end of my tent, and I had no further problems.  With the dew, anyway.

I think this was the night I saw the first shooting star of the week.  I made a wish – I don’t remember what, now – and was pleased to be out away from the city lights, where I could actually see a meteor falling and the billions of stars in the sky.

Ok so here’s where things start getting fuzzy.  Running on exhaustion but unable to sleep, sore and bruised and freezing my ass off, my brain sort of stopped recording things very well the rest of the week. 
I do remember the following things happening on specific days, but the rest I can’t swear to!

One of my campmates, Yakob, and I wandered around Merchants Row one of the days.  I saw the effect the recent economy has had on everyone in the prices the merchants had set.  I was on a very limited budget, and I knew what I was going to get at EW already, so that helped me resist temptation on several occasions.  But I hope to have at least a little bit of money to spend for next year!

One evening, I went to a camp where a professional band of musicians was playing.  They’re called Wine and Alchemy, and they are wonderful!  The lead singer, Roxanne, is a well-trained belly dancer, too.  They play all sorts of world instruments, including a harmonium!  A harmonium, if you don’t know, is like a horizontal accordion without all the buttons.  When they played an excellent version of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, I resolved to buy their CD when I got home.  Which I did – it should be here soon!

One morning, my friend Anabel and I went to Herald's Point to have our submissions reviewed.  She turned hers in there; I forgot a piece of documentation for my name, so had to wait.  
On Tuesday, I took the class “Silk Banner Making” with Lady Isabelle de Charpentier.  Sadly, she left all her silk fans (which we were going to use to learn the technique) at home, so the class ended up being lecture-only.  However, I do now have good information and a few resources, and of course I can take her class another time, as we are in the same Barony (Go Sun Dragon!).

After class, I checked in at Volunteer Point (VP) to see where I could help out.  She sent me to the Troll Booth, where I worked the Pre-Registration table for 2 hours.  It was interesting, to see the different people coming in – some in garb, some not – and I was pleased to learn that all the manila envelopes that held each person’s sheet, and the little plastic bags the tokens were in, were being recycled for future use!  I also helped alphabetize a stack of registration forms.  It wasn’t rocket science, and it was only 2 hours, but it felt good to help the event be successful; especially since it was my first time there!  I took my volunteer time slip to VP to enter into the day’s raffle, which would be held the next day.  This year, all the volunteers received small “silk” banners to wear or display to show the Knowne World that s/he had given time to the event.  I had met more new people, had some hot chocolate, and felt good about helping make the process go smoothly for everyone.  I’ve always enjoyed volunteering, and while it is about giving your time to others, no one can say they don’t enjoy the feeling they get when doing something for someone else.

Estrella War 26 Volunteer Banner
picture by Delphia Janiszeski 

On Wednesday, it was gloomy and rained but I survived The rain wasn’t torrential, in fact it wasn’t terrible, but that kind of weather affects me both physically and mentally, so it wasn’t my best day.  Luckily, it was the only day it rained.  I was so thankful for the hot showers that day. 

That night, my Barony hosted the Barons’ & Baroness’ dinner.  Lady Valdis, my dear friend, worked her fingers to the bone that day.  It took several people and a lot of work to decorate the Baronial pavilion in the Luau theme (I know, not period, but so what? It was fun!).  I washed probably 25 or more plastic pineapple cups to get them nice and clean for them all to use.  The hot water felt good on my hands, stiff and sore from the day’s weather. 

I was going to volunteer for server duty, but a call went out that the Troll Booth was without staff, and would people please go help until 7 pm.  When I got there, and said that I was there to help in response to the urgent call, they kind of chuckled.  I guess there had been a miscommunication; there were probably ten people working the tables already.  I said, well here I am put me to work, so they did; I worked the Non-Registered table with a lovely girl whose name I can’t recall (Elizabeth?).  Sorry, I just don’t remember things like I used to.  At one point, a mother came in with her children in tow, and she paid the site fee for her son, who apparently had lost his site token.  She told him, “If you lose it again, I’m going to beat you with a rubber chicken!”  I just knew that I had found a perfect Quotable Quote to post on my household’s forum (House Iron Bear)!  I collected my volunteer slip, and turned it in the next day. 

I think this was the night I saw the second meteor of the week.  I felt truly amazed that I got to see not one, but two, shooting stars in one week!

Thursday morning, all of the hard suit and rapier fighters, along with many of the rest of us, assembled for a Grand Parade, with King Eduoard leading us on a march to the battlefield.  Sun Dragon’s banners were carried proudly – banners hand-painted by members of our populace – along with the banners for other baronies in the Kingdom of Atenveldt, and of course the Kingdom’s own banners.  There were many of us, and I had a difficult time getting good pictures.  I was a bit distracted, too; all of this was new to me, and I was really just enjoying taking it all in.  I was thinking about how the people must have felt back in the Middle Ages when they saw their monarch marching through town, all the pageantry and banners and flags.  After milling around, trying to get a picture of the King’s face (he always seems to be on his way somewhere when I’m trying to get his picture), I went back to camp.

Some of the Sun Dragon fighters, with TE Baron Robert & Baroness Theresa
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

One of the new Sun Dragon banners
 picture by Delphia Janiszeski

That afternoon, I watched the Hound Coursing.  It was so much fun, the dogs REALLY enjoyed it and my good doggie friend, Shiner, got to run the course.  After running the course, she decided not to go back to her mom, my friend Lady Christmas Albanach, and instead go running off into the battlefield filled with hard suit fighters.  It was kind of funny, watching the fighters all just suddenly stop moving and watch this Boston terrier tromping around among them.  One of the fighters managed to catch Shiner and she was reunited with a winded but relieved parent.

Shiner, a Boston terrier, runs the lure course
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

After the lure coursing, I stopped by VP to see if I had won anything in the raffle.  I had!  I was so excited!  I won a clay bell, made and donated by Denecker Pottery.  I was quite pleased!  On Friday, I went to her booth in Merchant’s Row and thanked her. When I got home, I sent her an email, thanking her for donating the bell to the Volunteer Raffle and sent her this picture of the bell hanging on my back porch:

Volunteer raffle bell, donated by Denecker Pottery
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

Thursday evening, I attended the Rehearsal for Grand Ball, where we practiced the dance set list for the next evening’s event.  I really enjoy the country dances, so lively and everyone laughs and is happy, even when they have no idea what to do.  Like me!  It doesn’t matter if you’ve got two left feet or are Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers reincarnated; EVERYONE can do these dances!  If I see you standing around watching, beware: I just might drag you into the dance! Trust me, you’ll have fun  J

On Friday, I had a pretty slow start to the day.  The night before I had too much mead and was feeling sluggish.  Now, “too much” for me is about 2 glasses – small ones, at that.  I have a very low tolerance, and it affects my chronic pain condition, so I rarely drink.  It’s not like I was face down in the alfalfa, totally plastered!  So I missed that morning’s parade with the King – which, this time, included the horses.  I was on my way to the showers, camera-less, when they were all assembling.  Luckily, Jenifer Yoxall took a picture: the horses looked just magnificent!

Horses mustering for the parade
picture by Jenifer Yoxall

In the afternoon, my friend Epaul Fischer arrived to setup his booth.  He owns Gryphon Song Gems, and crafts etched-copper buttons, belt buckles and medallions, carved-gemstone signet rings and other items.  I babysat his Corgi, Buster, while he unloaded his stuff and, with several other friends, setup the pavilion. We then all helped him set up his displays.  Later on, I fetched something for him to eat because he forgets to do that for himself.  It’s true! :)

Epaul and Buster
picture by Melissa McCollum

That evening, after the usual group dinner with my campmates, I went to Grand Ball.  Sadly, my feet and back were hurting, so I only went for the last hour or so, and only participated in one dance.  But I still had fun!

On Saturday, my friend and SCA protégé, Megan, and her parents, June and Jim, came to the war for the day.  They got to see a piece of our Modern Medieval Life in action.  We had some lunch (thanks, June!) and then I took Megan to Sage’s Emporium to get a dress.  I had bought a dress from her a couple of days before, a nice chemise and light surcoat, and she gave me a good deal, so I thought it would be a good place to start.  And it was!  Megan got a chemise and surcoat, a nice light aqua color with metallic trim, for $15 less than her budget!  The surcoat needs to be hemmed, but June can do that.  Right, June? Heehee!  Megan bought me ice cream as a thank you, which was awesome!

Beverly and Megan
picture by June Weimer

After this success, and introducing Megan to honey sticks (mmm….honey sticks…), we all went up and watched the battles from the hill for a while.  I was getting pretty tired, though, so I said my goodbyes and went back to camp to rest for a bit.   After a nap, it was time for our Baronial court.

I arrived late to court because I slept longer than I intended, and I still had to put the laces in my court dress.  The holes are small and tight, and I had brought leather lacing which fit in the holes but I had to work at it; I discovered that there were flaws in the leather lace which caused it to break apart at varying intervals, so I had to use three pieces – and I arrived at court without them tightened or even tied, but luckily a young lady did that for me while I was standing in the back.  You can see in the picture that I’m looking into the sun, and had gotten a bit sunburned that day – my sunblock didn’t work as well as I had hoped it would.  That’s Yakob standing next to me. I don't look very happy, but I was still kind of waking up from my nap is all.

Yakob and Beverly at Baronial Court
picture by Christi Martin

Court was, well, court.  Several people got awards of some kind, and there was much laughing, applauding, and “huzzahs”.  After Baronial court, my encampment and I gathered for dinner – spaghetti, courtesy of Lady Valdis who stayed behind to make it for us – when HE Baroness Theresa said that someone needed to go save seats for everyone at Grand Court.  I suffer from a condition known in the SCA as “helium hand” – I just kind of automatically say “I’ll do it.”  So, I ate my dinner quickly and ran over to the Grand Court Pavilion and staked out our seats. 

Each kingdom present at EW had its monarch(s) seated at the head of the hall, all the elaborately carved thrones lined up in a row – such beautiful craftsmanship!  I had been in such a hurry to save our seats that I forgot to bring my camera, so I didn’t get any pictures.  When it was time to begin, each kingdom made a spectacular entrance, preceded by its herald, standard-bearers and the monarchs’ retinue.  Three hours – and one very cold and sore rear end later – Grand Court closed.  So many awards were given, to the winners of the battles and so forth, and there was much mirth and merriment.  But everyone was glad when it was over.  It had gotten quite chilly, and the breeze blowing through the pavilion (which is actually a hay barn) was nearly Arctic-cold – or at least if felt like it was to me.
After Grand Court, the Kingdom of Atenveldt hosted The Party on the Hill.  I made an appearance, but for some reason, I didn’t feel like I belonged there.  I can’t explain it, really, I just wasn’t comfortable.  So, one final night of camp-crawling, instead; this time I settled into a pirate camp and warmed myself by their fire for a few hours and enjoyed a lot of great conversation.

Finally, I made my way back “home” to my horrible bed, and was glad that I was going home the next day: home to my memory foam mattress; home to my non-water-saving showerhead; home to my “kids” and my husband.

I didn’t sleep well at all, and woke after only a few hours.  I went leisurely about having some hot cocoa to warm me up and started packing.  After getting my gear tent taken care of, I went off to give Epaul a break so he could take Buster for a walk and get something to eat.  Then, back to camp to finish my packing, did a quick round of trash pickup in our encampment, and loaded my truck.  HE Baron Robert and Ivarr both helped me finish packing, and Ivarr and Emm helped me load my truck.  At last, it was time to say my goodbyes, and head home.  It was a quick and uneventful drive home, with a gorgeous sunset, and while I was already missing my friends, the camaraderie, and the wonder of Estrella War, I knew it was time to be home.

Sunset, returning home
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

Oh, but I am definitely hooked – I got a nice round of chuckles and big grins when I asked my campmates, “So, how many days until Estrella War 27?” 


  1. Ah, reminds me of my first War! Thanks for your account, I'm sad I missed it this year...

  2. Thank you for reading my post, maybe you'll get to go next year?