We packed light and took my car (small but better gas mileage), and drive up Highway 95 and over Lolo Pass, with a convenient stop at my mom's for lunch along the way. The drive was, unfortunately, far longer than planned, due to a lot of construction along the way. However, we arrived on site just at sunset to discover it was a mosquito paradise and The Brotherhood of the Black Unicorn (whose kitchen we were buying into) hadn't made dinner yet, so we didn't miss it! While I made a run back into Missoula for bug spray, my hubby set up camp, and we had an awesome midnight stir fry dinner around the campfire.
This event is a battle between good and evil as the gates of hell threaten to open. My husband and I joined the dark side (come with us, we have cookies!), and entrants were able to compete for points by doing the archery competition and A&S display, as well as heavy and rapier fighting, a great game of SCA Clue, and which beer keg (light or dark) was tapped first. I shot pretty well on both Friday (practice) and Saturday (competition), and was really happy to be able to have something to do while my other half slept off the previous night's festivities. On Friday after archery I mostly sat and watched the fighting while finishing the hand sewing on now Master Gomez's Pelican vigil shirt. See pics below for evidence of my diligent sewing. We had lots of fun helping out in the camp kitchen and making fish and chips on Friday night too.
On Saturday after the archery, which took most of the morning, we had lunch, watched more fighting, enjoyed the A&S display, and then I got suited up in some borrowed fencing gear for a fantastic (but very hot and sweaty) fencing lesson with an extremely talented friend from the Barony of Wealdsmere in An Tir. Many of our Wealdsmere friends were at the site, since it was only about a three hour drive for them (as opposed to our eight hours). In any case, I continue to enjoy the rapier fighting and look forward to more of it when time and money allows.
In the evening there was a magnificent Indian feast put on by the Brotherhood, which was truly incredible, and we all ate until we were stuffed. Much yak-related shenanigans ensued. This was a follow-up to the yak themed competition at Celtic Revolt, and it appears the shenanigans will continue until Border Wars in September, which we may try to attend. After cleanup finished and the sun set, the stage was set for a lovely SCA wedding of our friend Duke Ibrahim and his new bride, Lady Caitlin. Not a dry eye in the house, with plenty of the laughing and silliness we have come to expect from the Brotherhood.
It was interesting for my husband and I to be the only people from our local group traveling to the event. Though another Arn Hold member did show up (he was in the area for work), we are used to traveling with a group of friends or our household cohort. It was nice to camp with other folks and make new friends, who I look forward to seeing again.
We drive home a different way, down Highway 93 through the Bitterroot mountains, on a cloudy rainy day. While my hubby slept I enjoyed the truly spectacular scenery in a part of the Rockies I haven't seen since I was young. I hope we can come back to the event next year. It was just the right mix of activity and relaxation, excitement and laughter, solemnity and levity. Some pics are below, but stay tuned for an entry on the shirt itself.
Photos: Heather Parchen