The time is 1:14am, and I rolled in about an hour ago. I know that as soon as my head hits the pillow I'm gonna sleep for a week, so I thought I'd share a little bit about how my first An Tir Crown level event went.
First up, it looked like I was going to stay home that weekend. Couldn't find a ride to the event, even if I walked on the ferry and got scooped up on the other side. So I send a text to my Laurel, Mu'allama Æringunnr Yrsudóttir asking her if she can bring some of my things. She responds that yes, she can bring my things, including me! Seems she sharked a large van for the weekend from Owen (more on him at a later date) and could now transport me to the biggest event I've ever seen. After a ride on the Coho and a bit of driving, we showed up on site, pitched camp and enjoyed the ambiance.
I have a lot of mixed emotions, truth be told. I was excited to be going, and was super stoked to get there. It didn't really matter that the ground was very wet and swampy, it didn't even matter that the weather was pouring down rain the entire weekend. There were over 900 people there from all over the Kingdom, from Laurels to Pelicans and Knights as well as more Royal Peers than I've ever seen in my life. My Laurel even had us camped with the Crown Prince and Princess of An Tir, Thorin Njalsson and Dagmaer in Hvassa! This was both awesome and a little awkward, since I know next to nothing about them!
I was a real outsider this weekend, knowing five people out of the multitudes. I ran into a few lords and ladies who recognized me, but by and large I was spending the weekend with nearly a thousand strangers. This didn't really upset me though, since the previously mentioned Laurel introduced me around to some awesome people. I shook hands and bowed to more Peers than I had ever met on the first day, and relaxing around them wasn't a problem for long.
One thing I did find shocking was the merchanting. There were quite a few merchants set up in the market, but roaming around I couldn't find a single thing that I needed or wanted. Ok, that isn't true. I found a book on Islamic dress and costume from the time of the Prophet, through the Abassid dynasty and into modern times. Basicly, the perfect book for me. Trouble is it was $140 and clocking in at a meager 175 pages. Why so expensive you ask? Limited academic printing of 150 copies, to be sold off to libraries around the country. Balls.
But back to the problem at hand. I've grown a long way in the SCA and I no longer look at leatherworked pouches, pewter pendants with dragons on them, or knives and daggers that look like props from Legend. Which isn't to say there wasn't amazing stuff there. Handforged iron knives (I saw him forging them), lampwork beads, costume from all over the world. But I'm very narrow in what I need now. If it isn't Arabic, or would make a good gift, I don't really look twice.
I partied pretty hard on Friday night. Met some very cool people, drank some very cool rum (Pyrat strikes again!), and just generally had a good time. Saturday court lasted for over five hours. I'm sorry to report I was there for only a small part of it. I saw a knighting, I saw Barons and Baronesses swear fealty to the Crown, but that was it. I know, I know it's terrible. Go to a Coronation and don't even see the new King and Queen get crowned. But I was either busy exploring or napping (re: Friday night) and trying to keep warm and dry.
I stayed in my tent Saturday night (quitter, aint I?) because, frankly, I was peopled out. Talking to dozens of people whome you've never met before and trying to remember their names is not something I do easily. I needed a break from all the hub-bub. And I got about 100 pages into Dance of the Dragons, which we all bought at Target for $24.99.
Sunday I finally got in a little bit of archery when the rain let up, hung out and talked shop with other archers for a bit (so many gorgeous period longbows!), then packed up and hit up the duty free on our way across the border (picked a little something up for the lady).
Pros for the weekend: Amazingly huge event! Was so impressed with all the period pavilions (especialy Viscountess Safiye's turkish set-up), the banners with all the devices of An Tir, and the festival atmosphere of vigils and knightings.
Cons for the weekend: I could count on one hand the number of people I knew out of 950! It was immensly intimidating to walk around, literally lost in a sea of tents you've never seen before. Next time I go to an event of this scale, I have to convince more Seagirtians to come with me. They have to see just how big this game can get (sometimes right across the border), and with other friends around me I know I can get into far more trouble next time!
Plans for next Crown event: Bring something for the A&S display, bring more Seagirtians, sacrifice something to the sun gods to give us more summer weather!