The Fortieth Festival of the Ice Dragon, once again held on April 2nd at the Connecticut Street Armory in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael, was packed with its usual heavy fighting, youth fighting, fencing, Arts and Sciences Pentathlon, meetings, and courts. Lord Wolfgang Starcke, on his fourth stint as Ice Dragon autocrat, reports that about 650 gentles were in attendance.

Morning Courts and Curia

Morning court saw three gentles sent to contemplate elevation to the peerage: Baroness Laurencia of Carlisle was sent to vigil to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Laurel for her skill in costuming; Don Anias Fenne was sent to vigil and to play the prize in preparation for being admitted to the Order of Defense, and THLord Marek Viacheldrago was sent to vigil for elevation to the Chivalry.

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Anais, Marek, and Laurencia are sent to vigil. Photos by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Athos morning court

Baron Athos is sent to vigil for the Chivalry. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

After court, the Imperator held a Curia where the Award of the Golden Escarbuncle was officially entered into Kingdom Law. This award is to be given to gentles who impress the Crown on a specific occasion, whether for martial, artistic, or service activities.

Later, before the start of the Heavy Weapons Tournament, Augustus Tindal summoned the Order of Chivalry to him and then called forth Baron Aquila d’Athos, sending him to vigil to contemplate elevation to that Order.

Heavy Weapons Tournament

The Heavy Weapons bear pit tournament, run by Sir Sextus Plinius Callidus, commenced with 86 fighters lining up to test themselves against other combatants. Points were given for wins only, and any fighter who held a list for 5 rounds without being defeated was required to leave the list and join the line to return. The tournament ran for two hours, with the wait time in line averaging 2 minutes. Once again, Duke Maynard von dem Steine dominated the field, emerging from the tournament with 127 points. The next closest competitor, Sir Evander MacLachlan of the Kingdom of Ealdormere, accumulated 54 points. Duke Sven Gunarrsson was third. Duke Maynard has won the Ice Dragon Bear pit at least 8 times over the years.

Maynard vs Finn

Duke Maynard vs. Sir Dephinus. Photo by Michael Davis.

Rapier Tournaments

The Rapier list, run by Don Berhend von Elmendorf, held two tournaments. The first was a Pool Round Robin, where the fencers were divided into four lists of 10-11 fighters who fought round robin, and then the top two fencers in each list went on to a double-elimination final. The victor was Don Lodovic of Gray’s End, with Mistress Eyrny Ormarsdottir of the Kingdom of Ealdormere coming in second.

Fencing Eyrny

Photo by Michael Davis.

The second rapier tournament was a Bear Pit in which fencers were limited to a dagger and parry object. It was won by Master Will Parris with a total of 92 points. Don Clewin Kupferhelbelinc and Doña Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen were tied for second with 65 points each.

Fencing Will vs Jan

Master Will vs. Lord Jan ten Walde. Photo by Michael Davis.

The fencers also voted for who had made the “prettiest” kill. Don Po Silvertop nominated Duchess Dorinda Courtenay for slaying him in a particularly artistic manner, and the other fencers apparently agreed as she was named the winner of that honor.

Youth Combat and Youth Rapier

The Youth Combat list, run by Baron Edward Harbinger with MIT Baroness Anastasie Lamour, was busy with about 10 youth fighters. Many were new to youth combat so there was no tournament, but first-time fighters armored up with loaner gear and got to spar with more experienced youth fighters. All had fun and learned a lot.

Youth fighting 4

Youth fighters marshaled by Baroness Anastasie. Photo by Michael Davis.

There was also youth rapier combat, with one young gentle, Simon Fjarfell, authorizing as a Division 1 youth fencer and then winning the three-person youth rapier tournament.

Youth fencer auth

Wentliana authorizing as a youth fencer against Lady Gytha. Photo by Michael Davis.

Arts and Sciences Pentathlon

The Arts and Sciences Pentathlon, run by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin and Mistress Juliana Delamere with assistance from Mistress Filipia Cupbreaker, attracted a goodly number entries ranging from ceramics to fiber arts, scribal entries and woodworking, as well as soap-making and music. Many of the entries can be viewed in the slide show below.

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Judging the culinary entries. Photo by Tiercelin

Judging the culinary entries. Photo by Tiercelin

Although entries have always been divided into levels (from novice to Laurel), this year the levels were only judged against each other since there were places at each individual category level as well as for the Pent itself (in past years all entries had been judged together with scores only counting for the Pentathlon at the different levels, and the judges unaware of whether they were judging a beginner or more advanced artisan). The levels were novice (Sycamore or no arts award), artisan (Fleur or other grant level award) and Laurel. There was also a category for youth entries. To create more time for judges to give in-depth comments, the Pent eliminated the complicated scoring sheets and went back to the original ribbon system of awarding first, second and third places.

There were over 115 individual entries, more than double that of the previous year.

The Pent winners were:

  • Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen for the Laurel category

Mistress Fredeburg, Laurel winner. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

  • Mistress Irene von Schmetterling for the Artisan category

Mistress Irene, Artisan winner. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

  • Lady Elska Fjarfall for the Novice category.

Lady Elska, Novice winner. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

  • Simon Fjarfall for the Youth category, who impressed everyone with a wicker pack basket that he made, including woven straps.

Simon, Youth winner. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

Various nobles also chose their favorites to single out for recognition:

  • King’s Choice: Kalishka
  • Prince’s Choice: Lord Ruslan Igotavich Voronov
  • Princess’ Choice: Lady Arianna dal Vallone
  • Baron and Baroness’ Choice: Simon Fjarfall
  • A&S Officers’ Choice: THLady Rachel Dalicieux

In addition, the Imperator gave Golden Escarbuncles to Lady Edana the Red and Lord Ruslan Igotavich Voronov in recognition of the outstanding quality of their entries.

A full list of Pent category winners, with photos of all the first prize category entries, will be forthcoming this week.

Princess Ariella’s Favor Design Competition

Also in the Pentathlon room was Princess Ariella’s contest to choose the favor design for her reign. The design submitted by Lady Maggie Rue of the Shire of Hunter’s Home was chosen by both Her Highness and the populace as the favorite. Information on how to assist in making favors for Her Highness is available here.

Favor Design

Other Activities

While the rest of the site buzzed with activity, dancers made use of the court hall for dancing, and Lady Cordelia Colton ran children’s activities.

Of course no Ice Dragon is complete without the salons and merchants. Many of the usual merchants were there, including Mistress Gabrielle d’Auvergne with her fiber arts, Master John Michael Thorpe with an assortment of weapons and related goods, and other vendors selling items like jewelry and feast gear. Many of the salons offered displays and food themed to their group, including Clan Yama Kaminari’s Japanese salon. As always, the Scribes of Æthelmearc had a table where gentles could pick up completed backlog scrolls.

The Tavern was ably run by Lord Ursus Epicurius, and featured both meat- and vegetarian-based dishes.

As if all this activity was not enough, there were also numerous meetings, including one for autocrats and exchequers to explain the new terminology around what was previously referred to as the non-member surcharge, the first meeting of the new Æthelmearc Cooks’ Guild being formed by Lady Arianna dal Vallone of the Shire of Sylvan Glen, and meetings of various Orders and Marshals’ groups.

Afternoon Court

Afternoon court was long but many gentles stayed to the end to see their friends and family recognized for their accomplishments and skills. In addition to the tournament and pentathlon prizes listed above, numerous awards were bestowed on worthy gentles, notably a Fleur on Lady Katerina das Vögelein in absentia, Gage on Lord Garreth Whytbull, a Millrind on Baron Magnus de Lyons, and a Scarlet Guard on Baron Edward Harbinger.

Court ended with the elevation of the four new peers.

Baron Aquila d’Athos was first, with Barak Sir Carthalo (formerly of the Rhydderich Hael and now of Atlantia), speaking on behalf of his former squire for the Chivalry; Duke Timothy of  Arindale as a Royal Peer, Master Fergus for the Order of Defense, Mistress Alison of the Many Isles on behalf of the Order of the Laurel, and Countess Caryl Olesdottir for the Pelican. Sir Michael of Northwood and Duke Khalek Shurrag Od buckled the spurs of a knight on his feet, and his lady, Baroness Bronwyn nic Gregor, placed the white belt of a Knight around his waist. The Imperator delivered the traditional buffet and then hugged Sir Aquila in congratulations.

Athos dubbing

Sir Aquila d’Athos is dubbed a knight. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Next, Don Anais Fenne processed in, preceded by the cutest sword-bearer in the Kingdom, his three-year-old son Elijah. For Don Anais, Count Isenwulf Thorolfeson spoke on behalf of the Royal Peers, Sir Tristen Sexwulf for the Chivalry, Master Quinn Kerr for the Laurels, Mistress Aleea Baga for the Pelicans, and Master Iago Benitez for the Order of Defense. Augustus Tindal placed the white livery collar around Don Anias’ neck and proclaimed him a Master of Defense.

Then the Silver Buccle Herald called forth Baroness Laurencia of Carlisle to be elevated to the Order of the Laurel. Master Llewelyn ap Goddodin of the East Kingdom spoke on behalf of the Chivalry, Duchess Dorinda Courtenay spoke on behalf of the Masters of Defense, Duchess Liadain ní Dheirdre Chaomhánaigh spoke as a Pelican, and Mistress Cori Ghora spoke on behalf of the Laurels. Her Excellency was invested with an ornate hood made by Mistress Elisabeth Johanna von Flossenburg and received a Laurel wreath crafted by Mistress Geirny Thorgrimsdottir. His Majesty pinned a Laurel brooch to her hood and named her Mistress Laurencia.

Laurencia Laurel

Baroness Laurencia is made a Laurel. Photo by Arianna.

Last came the elevation of THL Marek Viacheldrago. Having already surrendered his squire’s belt to his liege, Sir Tristen, at morning court, he pronounced himself ready. Dukes Maynard von dem Steine and Khalek Shurrag Od spoke as Royal Peers, Mistress Dorinda once again as a Master of Defense, Duchess Liadain once more represented the Pelicans, Mistress Chrestienne de Waterden spoke on behalf of the Laurels, and Sir Alric of the Mists spoke emotionally on behalf of the Chivalry. Sir Tristen bestowed upon His Lordship the Knight’s Chain of the West, which he proclaimed had been worn by 40 Knights, who had among them sat a throne 80 times. Sir Tristen and Sir Alric affixed the spurs to his boots, and his lady, Sybilla Julianna Detwyller, tied the white belt around his waist. Augustus Tindal delivered the buffet, and the populace cheered the new Knight, Sir Marek.

Marek spurs

Sir Marek receives his spurs from Sir Alric and Sir Tristen. Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

The Augusta being absent, it fell to the Imperator to choose His inspiration of the day. He called forth THLady Zofia Kowalewska and thanked her and the scribes of Æthelmearc for their work completing backlog scrolls, many of which had been on display in the scribal booth.


THLady Zofia is recognized as the Augustus’s inspiration. Photo by Arianna.

With that, court was closed and another Festival of the Ice Dragon came to an end. Alas, the Ice Dragon itself was not through, and many gentles had long slogs home that night through a raging snowstorm. We can only hope that the Ice Dragon retreats soon to leave us to our long-awaited spring!