Lady Silence de Cherbourg, Sir Maghnus de Cnoc an Iora, Master Urho Waltterinen, Maistir Brandubh O Donnghaille, and other attendees provided this information on the happenings at Gulf Wars XXV.
Many people from Æthelmearc sent their armor and camping gear with Master Alastar Scott McCrummin in his bakery truck, as has been the case for several years. Master Alastar and Maistir Brandubh drove the truck to Mississippi, with Maistres Myfanwy ferch Rhiannon following along behind by car. The trip began with what might be seen as a bad omen when the truck broke down near Cincinnati, delaying their arrival on site by most of a day. Fortunately the rental company was able to get them a replacement truck, and after unpacking and repacking, they were able to continue on their way. There had been a great deal of rain at the site in the week before Gulf Wars, and there was some concern that people would be setting up in the rain, but the skies had cleared by the time people began arriving on Sunday.
Most non-merchants from Æthelmearc arrived on Sunday and began setting up camp, including the kitchen. Æthelmearc’s Kingdom camp at Gulf Wars is located in an area at the bottom of a hill that is sheltered from the wind. Later this proved a good thing… Many in the camp were looking forward to the week’s meals as Mistress Illadore had prepared period dinners for each evening, sourcing from a single lesser-used cookbook (when possible) and providing a theme every night. Approximately 40 people from Æthelmearc ultimately attended Gulf Wars, though not all camped with the kingdom – some were merchants who camped at their booths, and a few people camped with friends from other Kingdoms.
On Monday their Royal Highnesses, Byron and Ariella, arrived in camp to much rejoicing. Much shopping was done by Gulf War attendees trying to get a jump on “the good stuff.” The ballista was assembled by a crew including Bryheres Gwendolyn the Graceful, Lady Elaine Fairchilde, and Sir Magariki Katsuichi no Koredono. Monday’s dinner, led by Mistress Illadore and prepared by many hands, was a Roman feast, based on the Apicius cookbook. Kitchen helpers worked for 3 hours to produce grilled chicken, a nut and custard pie, made-on-site flatbread, sauced peaches, grilled asparagus, and various period dips and spreads. Their Majesties, Tindal and Etain, who stayed in royalty cabin, joined the camp for the impressive spread.
The heavy weapons Town Battle was held on Tuesday, and consisted of two 45 min resurrection battles. One side held the fort while the other attacked, and then they switched sides for the second battle. There was a “river” that only the Chivalry could walk through; the rest of the fighters had to go over one of the bridges. During the battle many of the Chivalry in the “river” were fencing with spear against people on shore. The weather was “ridiculously hot;” Sir Maghnus reports that after only 15 minutes of fighting, fighters had to take a break for water.
Opening ceremonies saw our full set of Royals looking magnificent on their horses. Æthelmearc declared its allegiance with Trimaris, against Ansteorra. Throughout the War, sides were mostly even, and when they looked likely to become unbalanced, some groups changed sides to make the fighting more fun.
At last year’s Gulf Wars, it was noted that Sir Maghnus loves his ballista so much, he would sleep with it if he could. In recognition of this, THLady Pippi Ulfsdottir decided to aid this desire by creating a (functional) plushie ballista for Sir Maghnus to sleep with. Mistress Illadore and Lady Beatrix Krieger fought as a team in the Diamond Tourney, which pairs a heavy and a rapier fighter. Lady Beatrix in particular fought well and with great courtesy. Tuesday evening’s feast was 14th c Dutch with grilled sausages, split pea soup, rice with almond milk, apples in port, and berry pie as the daily pie.
The Rapier Field Battle was held on Wednesday. The Trimarian side, which included Æthelmearc fought well, but was victorious in only one of the three battles. Prince Byron and Princess Ariella were part of the Æthelmearc rapier unit, in their first rapier battle since authorizing.
That day’s heavy War Point was the Ravine Battle, also known as the “Everyone gets shot by Archers” battle. It was a timed resurrection battle with three flags, ownership of the flags being checked at intervals. It included combat archery but not siege and is famed for its sea of arrows. The Trimarian side won this battle by a small margin. There was a total 90 minutes with points determined by flag control, and Trimaris won by only a minute and a half of possession time.
Mistress Illadore ran a Ladies’ rapier tournament and received many words of appreciation from the entrants for her work. Don Anias and THL Marek fought in the Meridian Rose Tourney for Countess Elena D’Artois and Countess Anna Leigh, respectively.
Master Urho, Master Tofi Kerthjalfadsson, and THLady Pippi Ulfsdottir all represented Æthelmearc on the archery range for the populace War Point shoot, with THL Pippi amusing some people by shooting with her 7-month-old son Anders in a pack on her back. Master Urho noted that there was more space than in past years, with a clout shoot that was almost 100 yards vs. 75-80 yards at previous Gulf Wars. The grand invitational archery competition was canceled due to the weather.
Dinner that night was described as Portuguese sloppy joes, from MS I.E. 33 – Livro de Cozinha da Infant’a D. Maria, a 16th century Portuguese cookbook likely written for the Portuguese Infanta Maria of Guimarães (granddaughter of King Manuel I of Portugal) who traveled to Italy when she married the Duke of Parma in November 1565. The nightly pie was pear with whipped cream. Midnight Madness was not as crowded as expected, despite the weather holding up.
Thursday morning the Allied Champions tournaments were held. Don Anias and Lady Ciara Eilis were Æthelmearc’s champions for rapier, while THLady Beatrix Krieger was our champion for heavy weapons. There was also a champion’s tournament called the “Pokemon” Tourney. Each Kingdom designated a set of champions, and then each side send out one or more champions, to which the other side responded with their own champions. This tournament ended up running over into the time frame for the field battles, of which five were planned. The ballista came out for the first field battle and did pretty well. At one point it was almost overrun by the other side but Sir Maghnus grabbed his spear and helped fight the attackers off.
The second field battle did not include siege engines. By the third field battle, the marshals were concerned about the weather so it started quickly. Trimaris won and then it began to rain heavily, resulting in cancellation of the remaining field battles. The rapier woods battle was also cancelled at that point.
That evening’s dinner was going to be steak, potatoes, and of course another pie, but the weather had other plans. As Don Anias grilled steaks and THL Marek stirred potatoes, the storm hit with its full force. Marek soldiered on with his cooking duty while holding the kitchen fly poles. The entire camp banded together to hold onto tent poles to successfully keep the main pavilion and personal tents upright as the rain quickly doused the grill fire, leaving only a few of the steaks cooked properly. All of the flies went down in the wind, many of them suffering damage. Fortunately, every personal tent weathered the storm, though several had water inside. Several people, including Baron Robert O’Connor, trenched around the camp to keep as much water out as possible. The Kingdom camp’s location downhill from the main areas of the site worked both for it (by reducing the wind) and against it (by increasing the flow of water through the camp). Some folks evacuated site for safety, with the 7-month-old infant and his mother being the first out, while others stayed behind to keep an eye on the camp.
Pies by Mistress Illadore. Photos by Lady Silence.
Those who stayed were rewarded with the pieces of steak that had been prepared prior to the downpour, along with apple pies that were dubbed “Tornado Pie” and declared legendary. The pie had finished cooking and had been kept safe in the oven, even after the kitchen tent was brought down by the winds. Other Kingdoms were not so fortunate; in particular, Meridies and Trimaris’ camps, which were in the most open sections of the site, were flattened by the wind and driving rain. Many gentles took shelter in the main hall or the Green Dragon Tavern. There are differing accounts as to whether there was an actual tornado on site, but either way, much devastation ensued. As we always do, Scadians banded together to provide assistance to those in need. There were few serious injuries; one possible concussion and a broken collarbone, but no worse has been reported. Master Alastar’s bakery operated throughout the event, though their four-ft deep sump filled up in only 20 minutes. Maistir Brandubh says the bakery tent held up well despite having some of its 3′ stakes pulled up during the wind, and ended up giving shelter to other merchants whose tents went down.
The rain and wind died down late Thursday night.
Although Friday dawned bright and sunny, all official activities were canceled as many camps were in ruins after the Thursday night’s storm. Even those whose tents came through the storm ok still had a lot of wet gear.
Many in the Æthelmearc camp had started packing up to go when Their Majesties came down to conduct their final court of the war. THL Marek was first given a Writ to contemplate elevation to the Order of Chivalry, to give his reply at Ice Dragon. Next, Don Anias was summoned and given a Writ to join the Masters of Defense. He shall also play the prize and be elevated at Ice Dragon. In addition, Baron Robert O’Connor (aka Bob the Herald) was given one of the new awards intended to recognize specific acts of service, a Golden Escarbuncle, for his service during Gulf Wars, transporting people and equipment and providing assistance to all during a very trying event.
Gulf War ended too early and left many with a feeling of loss, being denied those last couple of days of the event, particularly after the amount of travel our Kingdom denizens must undertake to get there. Alas, Mother Nature offers no do-overs, but we hope that next year’s Gulf Wars will be better. In the mean time, here are more photos from the “Gulfnado,” which will no doubt be the source of stories for many years to come.
Thank you to Lady Silence de Cherbourg, Master Urho Waltterinen, Lady Elaine Fairchild, Mistress Elashava bas Riva, and Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin for their wonderful photos.