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Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina reports on the recent regional martial practice. All photos by Katja.

Strike, stab, shoot, simmer, and stitch!  Gentles attending the regional fight practice in the Shire of Sterlynge Vayle on Sunday, March 6 enjoyed rattan fighting and rapier, some combat archery, and a cozy A&S display.

The Imperator participates in the melees.

Fifty-one gentles from the shire, Myrkfaelinn, Endless Hills, Thescorre, Heronter, and elsewhere in the kingdom enjoyed the practice at the Greater Binghamton Health Center, according to Barwnes Nest ferch Rys, the shire’s chatelaine and thrown weapons marshal, who served as tollner for the practice. (“Barwnes”  is Welsh for “Baroness.”)

Of the attendees, she said, 28 gentles signed up for the heavy fighting and 10 for the fencing, although a few combatants switched from rapier to rattan later in the day. There were also about a dozen gentles who served as marshals or spectators, plus two artisans.

Fighting and Combat Archery

Heavy pickups.

Baroness Mariana Maria Pietrosanti, the shire’s knight marshal and archery marshal, acted as autocrat of the practice and also taught a combat archery class in the gymnasium where the heavy fighters began with some personal pickups, then enjoyed several hours of multiple field and bridge melees.

Two combat archers joined in some of the melees, plus Her Excellency began instructing two new marshals-in-training in combat archery, deemed another CA MIT to have completed training, and welcomed five new CA fighters. There were also several heavy and fencing authorizations as well.

“The turnout for this was equal or greater than our traditional schola, actually!” Baroness Nest said with a smile, speaking for her and Baroness Mariana. “ I think I can safely say we were both pleasantly surprised at the high turnout. We really look forward to doing this again — and having even more people come out to play!”

She added that she was thrilled at the number of gentles who came to the practice so soon after they authorized, including one from Heronter.

Although it was a practice and, therefore, free from any site fee charge, Baroness Nest checked membership cards (plus authorization cards) and kept careful tollner/MOL records because the day was listed as an official event on the Æthelmearc webpage.

Why? The Imperatori had scheduled a second Curia to be held at that practice to allow for further discussion, if needed, after Their reign’s first Curia. Since They did not end up having any business that required a second Curia, Imperator Tindal later explained, They canceled the one planned for the regional practice.

I was very happy with the practice overall,” The Imperator noted. “I think everyone displayed a dedication to the continued growth and improvement of the Æthelmearc army and are determined to put a fierce and effect host on the field this summer.

The purpose of the practice was to promote fighting and fencing in the shire, Baroness Mariana  said, “it was good of the fighters and fencers to gear up for Pennsic and work together.” She added that the group hoped to continue holding large regional practices at the Center four times a year.

The shire was inspired by Imperator Tindal’s request for such practices in each region quarterly, she said. The Imperator later replied that he didn’t remember specifically encouraging each region to hold regional practices each quarter, but he definitely liked the idea. “More opportunities to train, travel and improve would be a benefit to the Kingdom martial forces,” he agreed.


Lord Hrolfr Fjarfell spars with Don Po before the bearpit.

Baron Eric faces Tiffany.

Baroness Mariana also thanked Baron Gunnar of the Endless Hills, not only for serving as fencing marshal in charge for the day but also for traveling to the shire weekly from his home group to run its fencing practice; the shire, she explained, doesn’t have its own fencing marshal.

The fencers warmed up with a bearpit tourney in the auditorium, in which Baron Eric Grenier de Labarre narrowly beat Don Po Silvertop to win, then they went outside to play Capture the Flag on the back lawn.  Although the day was remarkably sunny and nonwindy for a late-winter day, it was a little too chilly for extended outside combat, so the fencers soon returned indoors to spend the rest of the afternoon chatting and enjoying pickups.

“We wanted to knock off the winter rust and prepare for spring melee season leading into War,” His Excellency Gunnar shared.

Arts & Sciences Display

THL Christine

Her Ladyship Christine inghean Grioghair and Lady Elska Fjarfell, both from Myrkfaelinn, displayed some of their recent projects in the hallway near a table of snacks and drinks offered by the Shire.

THL Christine displayed a lovely beaded blackwork embroidered square with gold work, and chatted about embroidery while leafing through a book of stitch designs for ideas for a new sweet bag she wants to make.

Lady Elska holds a salt-hardened piece of her homemade soap. She used her own drip lye rather than purchased lye.


The soap in the ladies bathroom.


Lady Elska showed gentles some hardened tallow/drip lye/salt soap she’d recently made while sporadically stirring the contents of a slow cooker, where soft olive oil/drip lye soap bubbled away.

Visitors to the ladies bathroom found a delightful surprise: a bowl of Lady Elska’s soft tallow soap on a shelf above the sinks, with a note encouraging them to try the silky, pleasant-smelling creation. (It made one’s hands very clean and soft!)