Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope reports on the doings at this year’s Archers to the Wald event.
As always, the Canton of Steltonwald’s signature annual archery event provided good fun, good food, and good company. The weather forecast looked unfriendly, with rain and high temperatures only in the mid-50s, but Nature took pity and the rain turned to drizzle, then stopped for good in the early afternoon.
A wide array of shoots were held throughout the day. Master Donnan Macdubhsidhe ran his usual combo archery and fencing woods walk in which fencers and archers teamed up to run the course, or gentles who wished could fill both roles solo. They saved a princess (in the form of THLord Jorundr hinn Rotinn, which caused much amusement) from bandits, fought off evil warriors, and competed with a merchant to complete the course. The team of Maestro Jacopo di Niccolo and Lord Magnus Bastiano di Vigo proved victorious, marking the third year in a row that Maestro Jacopo was on the winning team for this course.
Lord Alrekr Bergsson ran a woods walk in which archers had to defeat evil fairies from the world of Supernatural. The winner of this competition was THLord Juan Miguel Cezar (as some in the populace at court murmured, “There can be only Juan…”).
THLord Deryk Archer ran several competitions: one required archers to hit an apple hanging from a branch to receive various prizes ranging from chocolate to a toy crossbow to a vintage D&D miniature figure. Another had archers shooting at targets based on the Highlander shows, of people’s heads and a fearsome pig. The winner of this competition was Lord Cadan Buri.
Master Alaric MacConnal ran a competition which required archers to shoot at jewels of various colors, shapes, and sizes in cardboard on a large butt. After shooting their first jewel, they had to then shoot another jewel of either the same color or the same shape. They could continue until they hit the wrong jewel by mistake. Most of the day the shoot had a three-way tie of a score of 7, but at the end of the day Lord Takamatsu Gentarou Yoshitaka blew everyone out of the water with a score of 27.
While the wet weather forced the cancellation of both the Thrown Weapons Baronial Champion’s Tournament and the Seven Pearls Archery Tournament, THLady Anlaith ingen Trena was able to run some atlatl practice for interested gentles.
The day also saw contests to choose the new baronial adult and youth archery champions. Twelve archers competed in the adult shoot; in the end Master Urho Waltterinen won over Lady Annora O’Duelaghane by a single point. One of the rounds required archers to shoot images of two zombies and bottles of alcohol in the hands of Don Vigo da Napoli. Unfortunately, one of the archers failed in this task and instead struck the image of Don Vigo in an [ahem] unfortunate location, to much laughter from the other archers (and later, from the real Don Vigo).
The youth champion’s shoot was designed by the outgoing champion, Phineas, and featured characters from the Odyssey. The victor in that shoot was Phineas’ brother, Beren, who dragged the head of the defeated Cyclops into court in proof of his conquest.
While all of the martial mayhem was going on outside, Mistress Alessandra d’Avignon ran an A&S display of Viking-related entries in honor of the Canton’s beloved Countess Aidan ni Leir, who passed away unexpectedly at the beginning of September. There were wool clothes, a Canton banner, and beaded necklaces.
Throughout the day there was a hearty sideboard made by THLady Cionaodh Gunn with assistance from Lord Aidan Gunn, Mistress Ysabell Graver, Master Creature Twinedragon, and others.
At baronial court in the evening, His Excellency Baron Liam began with a moment of silence for the loss of Countess Aidan, then recognized the winners of the various competitions and invested the new baronial champions.
Baron Liam invited the baronial Archery Marshal, Maistir Brandubh o Donnghaile, to address the populace. Maistir Brandubh commended numerous archers who had improved their Royal Round scores over the course of the summer and achieved new ranks, including one new Archer, Arthes MacLeod, and four new Bowmen: Alistair MacLeod, Annora O’Duelaghane, Arianna of Wynthrope, and Ghaliya bint Jusef.
The Baron then called forth THLady Cionaodh Gunn and bestowed upon her a Gold Comet for her many years of service to the Canton and Barony. The scroll was created by Countess Aidan, and His Excellency remarked solemnly that it may well have been one of the last scrolls made by Her Excellency before her passing, to the populace’s sad sighs and not a few tears.
His Excellency ended the court with a moment of silence and a request for donations for the family of Kim Dietz, who was one of the victims of the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon only days before the event. Kim was a member of the Shire of Briaroak in the Principality of the Summits, Kingdom of An Tir. Kim is reported to have stood in front of a door to block the shooter, at the cost of her life. Donations can be made through the GoFundMe campaign set up by her family. Baron Liam further exhorted the populace to be exemplars of those qualities the SCA holds dear and to donate time and funds to those in need as proof of our enduring nobility, in honor of those like Kim who have gone before us.
All photos not otherwise credited are by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.