I have returned triumphant from Gulf Wars XVII! I must say that I’m not entirely sure who won the war, but our side did win the Rapier Field battle (more on that later), so I call it a win for me, at least.
Having arrived on Saturday, and no one else being in camp Sunday morning, I was available to help His Lordship Tormod and a crew of volunteers inspect the main battle field, working from the Rapier Field down Hastings Field through the Fort. The primary concern here was live fire-ant nests, which we marked with surveying flags for a crew of poisoners following behind us. Many nasty stinging things of evil were slain that day.
His Lordship Stefan arrived in camp while I was away marking anthills for destruction, and I was able to put in some time helping him and others set up their tents and other accoutrements as they arrived on site.
On Monday morning I taught a class in 16th-century Italian dance. The dances were Ballo del Fiore, which is both simple and rather widely known, and Contrapasso, which I am endeavoring to make at least widely known (while not particularly difficult, it doesn’t qualify as simple).
Verona Street Brawl
His Lordship Tormod dubh Gunn hosts the Verona Street Brawls on Monday every year, weather permitting. This year we had two town squares (made by an arrangement of hay bales) with wells in the middle. The premise is that the Montagues and Capulets are out for blood, but the Governor (portrayed by Lord Dante de Piro) has forbidden dueling and fighting in the streets. The objective, then, is to dispose of members of the opposing family without being caught by the Watch or the Governor, who wanders the squares at unpredictable intervals. In addition to the usual stabbing and slashing, this event involves a good amount of roleplay, with fighters on both sides trying to explain to the authorities how they ended up standing in the square surrounded by dead bodies. The colored tokens of the families carried by the fighters are often moved about and the bodies arranged by the survivors of a clash in an effort to make the other side look more guilty before the Governor arrives. We were especially honored to receive a visit from Her Majesty Lethrenn of Meridies, who came to see what the Street Brawl was all about.
I can say that I had a stroke of genius toward the end of this event. I was a Montague, and after killing off the Capulets in our square, we began to try to orchestrate the crime scene. I decided that the best way to handle it would be to simply get rid of most of the bodies, so we “dragged” them out of the square, leaving just one dead Montague and one dead Capulet. We left the Capulet’s sword, but hid the Montague’s. When the Governor arrived, I confessed to slaying the Capulet in hope to save my cousin’s life, having come upon him attacking my kinsman. This turned out to be a rather original approach to the situation, and the Governor commended me for my honor and “honesty”.
For the Open Ball on Monday night, I ran a Caroso ball. A Caroso ball is basically an all request format in which the choice of dance passes from partner to partner through the evening. That is, the partner of whoever chose the current dance gets to choose the subsequent dance. This format actually worked quite smoothly, and I think I shall use it at other balls that I have the privilege of hosting.
More to come...