Otherwise known as AN TIR-WEST WAR!
(psst- the title is a joke. I could have called it the 'War of Southern Aggression'!)
I got down there Thursday evening, after a six-hour drive, most of it in the Coast Range. The drive is lovely, but Zippy doesn't like it much, and ate a lot more fuel than she should have. In her defense, she was heavily loaded.
It was actually still light when I got there, but it took awhile to get Amalric to make a decision (bwahahahahahahaaa!!!), so it was pretty dark by the time the worst of the set-up was done. I did have help (thankyouthankyouthankyou Tristan!) getting set up, which was a very good thing, as my back was still very unhappy at that point.
James got in later Friday than I'd anticipated, but we managed to break all speed records and got the bath up and running quickly. It actually fell together beautifully. Tadhg served as Gabriel's herald/narrator, music was provided by Galeran and Rhi, and Karyn helped with the roses/rosewater and a bunch of the fetching and toting. I'm not sure who all carried water, but it got done.
I really wish I'd had the presence of mind to ask someone to take pictures, but I was busy, you know? So picture in your heads- the pavilion, lit with candles, the curtained bath enclosure inside, and in there, a small table with candles and a statue of the Virgin, a small chair, and the tub, which is draped inside with white cloths, and strewn with rose petals and herbs. Inhale deeply- rosemary, sage, lemon balm, mint, and rose water. Mmm... on the other side of the pavilion from the bath enclosure is a small altar, with a crucifix and candles, and a small pre-dieu (kneeling bench).
The site had been mowed, but not raked, and I don't know how many times I went through with the whisk broom, trying to keep things neat. (There's still hay all over inside my car!)
When Gabriel and his friends arrived, they stopped outside the pavilion, and I passed out the ceremony handouts. They had the ceremony itself, as well as the Latin parts written out for those who don't know them. Tadhg led us in the recitation of the Nicene Creed (in Latin), and then read:
"Before you is the Bath of Courtesy and Bounty. As you enter and dwell therein, reflect on your need to cleanse your body henceforth, from impurities of sin, and any dishonorable ways of life~ you shall leave any such impurities in the water, and as recalling the baptism of infants, you will come out of the water with clean conscience, emerging clean and pure as an infant from the font."
Then Gabriel came inside, knelt and recited/read the Pater Noster, then stepped inside the enclosure, knelt and recited/read the Ave Maria. Then he undressed and got into the bath, with the help of a friend who was his attendant.
While he bathed, Tadhg read:
"Think on these things as you ready yourself for the vigil before you.
As a Peer of the realm, you must be freed from wickedness, so to win a place in Paradise.
You must be willing to shed your blood in defense of God, and of the Crown you serve.
You must often contemplate your own death, and thereby avoid pride.
You must keep your body pure and avoid liscentiousness.
You must hasten to action with the love of God and the honor of the Crown in your heart.
You must preserve this inseperable pair of virtues~ Justice and loyalty.
And always be ready to return your soul to God, rendering fair account for your deeds."
(The mention of liscentiousness evoked giggles from the rabble waiting outside. And guys- I will GET YOU for that! :-P)
Then we read a Psalm- 61, to be exact. Then while Gabriel was dressing, Tadhg read:
"Hold close these virtues: hardinesse or courage, loyalty, and prowess. Be always courteous and generous; be of fair speech. Ferocious shall you be against evil, while frank and debonair to friends."
Closely followed by: "And now remember this: Every new peer should make a good beginning. Remember these words here tonight, and Godspeed you to your new life."
When Gabriel was dressed and ready to leave, he knelt for the last Pater Noster, and while I don't have a photograph, I remember it the rest of my life: a handsome young man, dressed in his layers of white tunics, with the black hose and brown shoes, and red mantle (as is specified in the texts), kneeling with his chaplet in his hands, reciting the Pater Noster. My knees went wobbly. Awesome in the fullest sense of the word.
(The ceremony is crafted from portions of Geoffery de Charnay, Le Livre de Chevalerie; the anonymous Ordene de Chevalerie; and portions of Ouevres de Froissart and Li Romans de Durmant le Galois. It was not easy to put together something that was meaningful but acceptable for SCA- albeit very unofficial- use. Every time I come away with something to tweak for the next...)
After he left to go to the rest of his vigil (all the way across the street!) and try to stay up all night, those of us left then emptied the bathtub and put the bed back up so James and I could get some sleep!
The next afternoon was the court that Gabriel was knighted in. Here's some photos of the proceedings:
Coming in to court-
Poor kid looked like death warmed over (he actually was ill, not just tired). There was a bit of sniffling when he said good-bye to his knight:
He received his chain, and then the white belt and spurs. And then swore his oath- and to his surprise, our King bade the other Kings present to witness by laying their swords on him also. It was an epic moment, very epic:
Gabriel said that made him shake all over, and not just because there was that much live steel at his neck!
Of course the last thing...
I of course had to high-tail it out of court as soon as that was done, because we had to do the prep for Mathilde's bath! Having just done one, the process went even quicker. Well, not the heating of the water- that depends on physics. But moving stuff around and the other prep went quickly. The script was the same, Mathilde's friend Rhi, who actually has some training in liturgical chant, did the readings, and chanted the Psalm instead of reading it. It was pretty spiffy!
Court the next day was pretty special. I was asked to speak for her during the ceremony, which is quite an honor. There's a picture of me talking:
The only picture I have of her (sorry Mathilde! Blame your friends who didn't take pictures!) is this one, which is lovely nonetheless:
After that was done I hopped out quickly (actually James was waiting to help me up the hill, because he's a sweetie that way) and went back to camp, because it was Sunday night and there was company coming for dinner! I was worried about how much time court was going to take, so I left Kelly with detailed notes and she cooked while I was gone. When I got back, it was nearly done! (Kelly is TEH AWESOME!!!) We ate dinner and I tormented Amalric some more (tip: he won't doze off at the table if he's worried that you'll stick something in his ear ;-).
Monday of course meant breaking camp (just when I was getting comfortable!) and packing it all up and hauling it back out. James and I went in to Gold Beach and got a late lunch (food that I didn't have to make or clean up after! Woo-hoo!) before we left. We seriously considered going down to play on the beach but it was already getting fairly late and we both had a long drive ahead of us.
On the way home I passed the Paul Bunyan statue at the Logging Museum in Myrtle Point, midway through the mountains:
And then it was pull in the coolers, throw the laundry downstairs, and fall over. Done.
Until Sport of Kings, of course. :-D