‹From the event steward for Iris Festival and Kingdom Equestrian Champs, With Iron Comet Challenge, THL Hara Kikumatsu.
The Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands Iron Comet Challenge, Japanese Iris Festival, and Kingdom Equestrian Champs event is only a few days away, on June 4th. We hope for a beautiful, fun-filled day.
Last minute reminders:
1. SCA Covid protocols as of the event date will be enforced. Please be prepared to show your vaccination record or proof of a negative Covid test upon arrival at the event or at event setup Friday evening.
2. No food will be served, so bring food and drink. No glass bottles please.
3. Remember sunscreen, bug spray, a hat, a chair to sit on and, if you have one, a pop-up for shade.
4. There is handicap accessible parking, next to handicap restrooms, and an all gender changing tent. There are also separate Lords & Ladies changing tents.
5. Service animals only (other than the horses). They must be on a leash.
Iron Comet Challenge Rules:
1. For adults to be eligible for the iron comet challenge, you must enter the A&S competition, and have fought in at least 3 of the four non-equestrian martial tournaments.
2. Scoring will be done by tournament winner get 10 points, second 9 points, etc for each of the tournaments. The scores are added.
3. Youth iron comet winner will be determined by a combined archery, thrown weapons, and arts and sciences tournaments score.
4. Youth scores are tallied for only the youth, not as part of adult scores.
A Little More on the Event:
Here is the event page: http://debatablelands.org/events/2022-06-04%20Japanese%20Iris%20Festival.php. The event will have fencing, thrown weapons, heavy fighting, and archery tournaments. In addition there is kingdom equestrian champion tournament for horses and riders. There is also a arts and sciences competition with no theme. There is an equestrian arts and sciences competition. In addition to the arts and sciences competition, there is a arts and sciences display with an Asian theme.
The combined iron comet challenge is combination of the results from all the non-equestrian competitions.
The event will be held in the horse arena at Brady’s Run, 121 Brady’s Run Rd, Beaver Falls, PA 15010. Preregistration is closed, but you can pay at the door with cash or check.
Adult Event Registration: $12
Adult Member Discount Event Registration: $7
Youth 17 and under are free.
This Saturday, June 4th, The Debatable Lands welcomes Their Majesties and Highnesses to our Japanese Iris Festival as Their Majesties hold The Kingdom Equestrian Championship! This event has something for everyone – martial activities of all types, and A&S. And yes, even jousting! Check out the event announcement.
Cost for the event is super affordable and family-friendly: Adult registration (non-member) is $12. Adult member registration is $7. People age 17 and under are FREE.
This event also features the IRON COMET CHALLEGE (see below) and of course, Royal and Baronial Courts. Here’s the schedule for the day (tentative):
Site opens – 9 am
Part 1 Equestrian Champs – 10:30 am
Fencing tournament – 11 am
Thrown Weapons tournament – 12 noon
Arts and Sciences Competition – 1 pm
Part 2 Equestrian Champs – 1:30 pm
Heavy tournament – 2 pm
Archery tournament – 3 pm
Jousting (weather permitting) – 4 pm
Court – 5:30 pm
Tear-down after court
Have questions? Check out these FAQs:
Q. What’s the Iron Comet Challenge?
All are welcome to participate in the separate fighting, fencing, archery, and thrown weapons tournaments, as well as an A&S competition (no theme).
But for those elite few who want to test their skills as well-rounded medievalists, you can enter the Iron Comet Challenge – enter at least 3 out of the 4 martial competitions, and the A&S competition (required, all levels welcome), and be an Iron Comet Challenger competing for the highest composite score. Who will prove to be the best of the best?
You welcome to come and enjoy the competitions separately without competing in the Iron Comet Challenge, of course.
Q. Tell me more about the Arts and Sciences activities.
The competition has no theme, and all are welcome to enter it.
We are lucky enough to also have an A&S display – if you choose, there is a theme of Asian Arts and Sciences to celebrate the Japanese Iris Festival! Displays not adhering to the theme are also welcome.
There will also be a poetry competition for Japanese forms of poetry, including haiku, tanka, and if we feel brave, collaborative forms such as renga and renku.
Q. Will there be event-provided food?
Not this time, no, due to the pandemic. The event will not provide food. But please do bring your own and enjoy a picnic! (No glass bottles)
Q. What else should I know to prepare for the day?
The event is outside, but the weather forecast looks beautiful! There are a couple of shelters but you may want to bring chairs and maybe a pop-up for a place to relax.
There are three public changing tents – lords, ladies, and all gender. The all gender changing tent is next to accessible parking and accessible restrooms.
All COVID protocols will be enforced, so please remember your vaccination card (or picture of it) and ID (membership card is fine) or else your proof of negative COVID test.
Other than horses, only service animals allowed.
Q. Tell me a little about the Equestrian stuff.
The event is only open on Saturday, but those with horses are welcome to arrive Friday night. Contact THL Gesa for details.
For the Equestrian Champs, there are games and riding before prince activities hosted by Aethelmearc current Kingdom Equestrian Champion Gozen. There is also an A&S element. Contact Mistress Gozen for details, or check out the Aethelmearc Equestrian Facebook page. Activities are part of the kingdom equestrian championship, but it is open to all riders. There is also a jousting tournament!!
With a heavy heart I must announce that, in consultation with Duke Christopher, Deputy Kingdom Seneschal for Pandemics, and Their Majesties, we are canceling Debatable Lands 12th Night.
As I am sure you know and can see in the news, the Omicron variant is nearly everywhere in AEthelmearc. We have become too uncomfortable with the risk that a large, mostly inside event could become a super spreader event. I am sorry, this must be disappointing for many of you.
We have not yet canceled other events happening this month – His Grace is hoping that we see our numbers coming down soon. We will let you know if we have to cancel those as well. We are hoping to make those decisions at least a week in advance.
We also do think that the risk of smaller practices and gatherings are less risky (not no risk, but less risk) and are going to continue to let those continue to happen. Please continue to follow the COVIDSafe rules and AEthelmearc’s masking requirements (which can be summarized as everyone wears masks inside at all times, no exceptions for those over the age of 2, outdoors – vaccinated folks can go without masks).
The Kingdom Authorization Clerk has introduced a new online option for filing your Authorization paperwork. The paper form will not be going away, this is an enhancement of the current process. There will still be physical Authorization Cards sent to each fighter.
Here is the new process:
You will fill out either the paper authorization form OR go online to fill out the online form.*
You will either tear off the top portion of the paper form to show at the MOL table OR you will need to have your email confirmation available on your phone to show to the MOL.
You will either send in the bottom portion of the paper form to the Authorization Clerk (remembering to include a SASE) OR the Authorization Clerk will pull the online information.
The Authorization Clerk will then issue you an Authorization Card and send it to you via USPS.
At the MOL table you will need to have your authorization card, a picture of your authorization card on your phone, the top portion of the paper form, or the email confirmation you received when filling out the online form.
With electronic delivery of the confirmation, you *must* have the email pulled up on your phone to show at the table. The MOLs will not be able to provide you with a device to log into your email to produce that information. You may want to consider taking screen shots of the email so you have a backup in the event that there is minimal or no bandwidth available at the event site.
Greetings from THL Deirdre Scot of Clann Scot, Kingdom Authorization Clerk.
With practices and events in full swing once again, I will take this opportunity to remind everyone of a few things when filling out authorization forms.
Please write legibly. If we get a form we can not read, we are guessing on names, addresses, emails, etc. On more than one occasion forms have come back as undeliverable. Which means your waiting longer for your card, and we have duplicate work.
Fill out the form in its entirety. If we have to call, email or send back the form due to missing information it will only take longer for your card to arrive.
If you are authorizing or re-authorizing in different disciplines (EX: Rapier & Heavy) you must have a marshal who is authorized in that form sign your authorization. For Example: If you are authorizing for one handed weapon and combat archery for heavy, and the marshal you are with is only authorized in one handed weapon. That marshal CAN NOT authorize you for combat archery. You will need to seek out a marshal who can authorize you for Combat Archery and ask for that signature.
Marshals – Do not sign forms that are not filled out in its entirety. If you notice an individual who is authorizing or re-authorizing for a form you are not authorized in make sure inform them. If your marshallate has expired do not sign the form. We will send it back for a current marshal to sign. We do check the marshal roster.
Marshals In Training (MIT) – A marshal in training should not be signing a form. If they are doing an authorization under the supervision of a Marshal then the supervising marshal should be signing the form.
In addition, self addressed envelopes are always welcome and encouraged. If you’re able, a box of envelopes or stamps with your form or when you see one of us at an event, practice or meeting is also welcomed.
We are here to help. If you have any questions or concerns please reach out.
By doing the above, you help save time, expedite the process and most importantly keep your Authorization Clerks sane!
9:30am – Site Opens
10am through 4pm – Martial Fields and Ranges are open
11am – Heavy Tournament Begins
11am & 2pm – Newcomers’ Tours by Baroness Hilda
12 noon through 3pm – Baroness’ Bower with Baroness Constance
1pm – Melee and Tavern Brawl (Heavy)
2pm – Kingdom Thrown Weapons Champions
3pm – Kingdom Archery Champions
5pm – Kingdom and Baronial Courts
6pm – Feast!
8pm – Site Cleanup
9pm – Site Closes
Eventgoers are asked to provide their own lunches and snacks, as the event will not be providing lunch. BUT… the Debatable Lands is proud to provide the Kingdom’s first FEASTin more than a year!
Our experienced and talented feast cook, Signora Benedicta di Venetia (formerly Lady Alethea Cowle) is cooking her final event in the Debatable Lands before sojourning to University. This feast is 2 years in the making, and promises to be spectacular!
We will be feasting outside under canopies (due to Covid protocols), so dress warmly. But you will not want to miss this! Pre-register today! We will likely sell out!
The Kingdom Activities!
Their Majesties Gareth and Juliana have honored us by holding these at Agincourt:
– Kingdom Thrown Weapons Championship
– Kingdom Archery Championship
– Kingdom Court
Volunteers to retain for Their Majesties are welcome (contact Baroness Aine ny Allane by Facebook Messenger (Lori McKinney) or by email (email@example.com).
Heavy Fighters, in addition to the Agincourt melees you’ve come to enjoy, there will also be our traditional tavern brawl and a tournament! Sir Oliver and THL Guillaume invite all fighters present to participate in a Pas de Arms at the barrier in a warlord style tournament. See the event announcement for more details.
Fencers! While there are no scheduled tourneys, we hear that the rapier community is coming out in style, from all corners of the Kingdom, for some epic bouts and other fun.
Event Tour for Newcomers with Baroness Hilda – Join our local Baroness at 11am and 2pm as she shows you the find things to do at the event, and what we do in the Barony, Kingdom and the SCA! Meet at the gate (troll).
Baroness’ Bower – Baroness Constance Glyn Dwr will be hosting her Bower in the hall. Bring your songs and stories to share, or prepare to listen and enjoy.
Moneyers’ Guild Games – the Kingdom Moneyers’ Guild has volunteered to provide some levity with a pop-up full of games, coins and betting (not real money, entertainment only).
For those interested, check out the FB event for reminders!
Don’t forget that we will be following all COVID protocols set by the Kingdom. Remember to bring your proof of vaccination or negative COVID test (taken no more than 72 hours before the event) AND your ID! Additionally, all event goers over the age of 2 must wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated folks must wear masks both indoors and outdoors. No eating indoors.
Although the SCA complies with all applicable laws to try to ensure the health and safety of our event participants, we cannot eliminate the risk of exposure to infectious diseases during in-person events. By participating in the in-person events of the SCA, you acknowledge and accept the potential risks. You agree to take any additional steps to protect your own health and safety and those under your control as you believe to be necessary.
Master Morien McBain, hopes to foster a Forestry Guild here in our Kingdom, and is off to a great start, with online classes and lively discussions, plus and outdoor activities already in planning and even scheduled! He sat down with Gazette to answer our inquiries.
Tell us about yourself (name, title, etc.)
Hello! I’m Morien MacBain, and I really like to lurk about in the shrubbery, tie knots, and set things on fire. In addition, I’m a big fan of chopping things with axes, rowing about in boats, backpacking about, and eating plants and animals. I also ride – but do not eat – horses.
Tell us about the new group (name, goals, etc.)
At the moment, our group is called the Æthelmearc Wilderness Skills Study Group (find us on Facebook!), but we hope to soon be the Æthelmearc Royal Foresters when we become a chartered branch of the Known World Forester’s Guild!
How does one get involved?
Ideally, I’d say join our FB group, as well as the Known World Forester’s Guild and East Kingdom Royal Foresters groups. Then check out any and all documents in the “Files” sections that strike your fancy, but especially the New Member’s Guide . As well as Foresters 101.
He’s a lovely fellow, and the Warden of the Guild of Foresters for the East Kingdom. You will be applying for an “affiliate” (out-of-kingdom) membership. Æthelmearc’s program is just getting started, so we’re operating under the aegis of the East’s program until we have our own set up, and getting as many affiliate members as possible operating in Aethelmearc is an important early step.
What are your hopes for how the Forestry community grows and functions here in our Kingdom?
Our application to the Guild for a “Letter Temporary” is in draft, and is making the rounds collecting signatures. We’ll have several members advancing to the rank of Forester by the end of the summer, I’d say. I anticipate we’ll be in a position to apply for Æthelmearc’s own Regional Charter by this time next year. Hopefully whoever is on the thrones at that point will sign our Charter! We will be patrolling and protecting all their Sylvan wilds, after all!
How does the East come into play?
We turned to the East Kingdom Royal Foresters since they have the best-established and most accomplished body of people doing this in the SCA. They’ve been instrumental in helping Atlantia, Meridies, and An Tir get their kingdom programs running, so working with them while we get our ducks in a row was the obvious choice. They have been incredibly supportive, and we look forward to working with them going forward, although of course I hope our progression to a full-fledged chartered kingdom program of our own will come quickly!
What specific kinds of things can people learn about, research, and do?
Good night, it’s astonishing the wealth of skills we can get up to!
-Period fire making
-Travel by boat, horse, and on foot
-Stealth and leave-no-trace camping
-Orienteering and celestial navigation
-Wilderness survival (including cold and wet environments)
-Foraging wild edibles
-Hunting, fishing, and trapping
-Skills challenge courses
-Weapons and gear of outdoor life
-Sign cutting and evasion
-Recreation of pilgrimages
-Preparation of period trail rations
-Identification of trees and herbs, and their many uses.
The list goes on, and people can go insanely hardcore, or just try a few things that interest them. Glorious stuff!
What got you interested in this?
I’ve been running around in the woods since I was six. I was in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, The Order of the Arrow (the Scouting national honor society), and I was in the Army, where I got to mess around in the woods in various places, so I’m a big fan! I’m also into the modern bushcraft movement, which involves watching lots of old-time wilderness skills being brought to modern people to keep them alive (both the skills and the people, I suppose).
What are your favorite pieces of forestry/wilderness advice for the re-enactor?
“Two is one; one is none,” meaning you should always have a backup for each crucial piece of gear you need in the woods (multiple blades, ways of starting a fire, methods to purify water, ways to signal for help, etc.). Also, hydrate like a crazy person when you’re thirsty, hungry, hot, cold, tired, irritable, being chased by wolves, whatever! DRINK WATER! Also, purify your water, even if the stream looks fresh. Waterborne illnesses like giardia are no joke! Essentially, read everything you kind find by Dave Canterbury and especially Mors Kochanski, that guy was a beast!
What’s the essential gear? Or how can I get started?
Essentially, you need some green garb, good boots, and a decent knife (preferably single-edged), and a desire to learn about the natural world and all the adventures, lessons, treasures, and mysteries it has for us!
Get online and find other Foresters near you, and start getting out in the woods and waters together (I love getting out there solo, but even I admit that a partner makes stuff safer and usually more fun.)
Here’s a clip on the topic by Llywd Forester, the founder of the Guild on the topic of gear and getting started. Good stuff!
Any parting thoughts?
I’d like to add that forestry has opened up a sweet new dimension in my Scadian life, and that wealth of skills that one can study and practice can be a real ornament to a life and balm and oil to a weary heart! There’s been a rich air of mystery and romance around people with the skills to live and thrive in the wilderness for centuries, and recapturing, practicing, and transmitting those skills to new generations connects us with a profoundly human part of ourselves which many of us have almost forgotten was there!
We’re not the Sylvan Kingdom for nothing. Æthelmearc is covered by woods, and we have deep wells of wilderness skills in our area. We have some amazing people coming together to train and share skills. Come and join us!
Author Honorable Lady Beatrice de Winter talks to the Gazette about her Compleat Anachronist #191: Transforming the Living and the Dead: Evolving Thoughts of the Afterlife:
Tell us about you. Name, title, persona, etc.
THL Beatrice de Winter – my persona is a medieval coroner (which, as well as determining cause of death, was a tax collector). I have a passion for educating the populace about death and the dead to provide context for many of the artifacts of the period being recreated by artisans of the Known World.
Death is such a unique subject to study, especially in the SCA. What got you interested?
I have been interested in the topics of death and death culture since childhood. My bus stop was next to a cemetery, which I think may have kickstarted my thoughts about it. I’ve always thought it was odd that people didn’t think of death as a part of life. Looking back, there have been a number of death-related topics I’ve gravitated towards: the Titanic, the Civil War, Harry Houdini and his fight against spiritualism, just to name a few. My first masters thesis is on fatal fire investigation. It’s not too surprising, then, that I’d gravitate towards the topic in the SCA as well.
At my first Pennsic (2005), I took a class on death practices that I just loved and never forgot. That was “Death Becomes Us,” taught by Elianora Mathewes. Another early influence was Baron Hamish MacLeod, who shared my love for the unusual. He was well known for his classes on hangmen and headsmen, which naturally also lead to my first class on capital punishment: “Hangmen, Headsmen, and Other Fun Ways to Die”. I’ll add that my Laurel, Master Cerian Cantwr of the Mid, was extremely supportive of my change in focus from bardic to death. 🙂
What’s your favorite tidbit that you learned in your research?
That’s hard! I think my favorite tidbit has to do with the idea that during the Middle Ages, bodily resurrection was reassured even if one’s body was eaten by a fish or cannibals, because apparently human beings are “non-natural” food. Thus, they cannot be absorbed by another human being.
It’s complicated, but essentially for resurrection, both the body and the soul had to be available. The guy who wrote the initial work on bodily resurrection was very concerned with making sure there were no inconsistencies in his theory. So, that’s how he explains it.
It makes me chuckle.
What’s the most surprising thing you learned?
I think the most surprising thing I learned is that while indulgences really are all about the money in some ways, it wasn’t the church who typically reaped the core of those benefits, but a third party such as a hospital or other charity.
Is there anything in your research that we can apply in the SCA (persona, rituals, etc.?)
I think basically most things we do in the SCA can benefit from the context in which it would have happened and there’s no exception here. So, if you’re a scribe, you should know what something like a Book of Hours was actually used for and why it was so important – beyond the (often) stunning visuals. It wasn’t just used for prayers like how we’d think of in a contemporary Church. It was used specifically to mimic the monastic lifestyle at home, to a certain degree, in an attempt to limit the soul’s time in Purgatory. It was a BIG deal.
No matter what your persona is, prior to the reformation, what I discuss would have impacted both how they lived and how they died. (Caveat: assuming your persona is during the typical SCA time period in Western Europe. There are some exceptions, but generally speaking it’s pretty far reaching.)
Death is one of the esoteric areas of research, which can be hard to display/talk about in traditional SCA A&S formats. Do you have any advice for those interested in researching esoterica?
I would encourage people to research esoterica, frankly. We need more of it out there to help provide additional context and details about what it was like to live during that time. We know a ton about clothing, armor, and art works, which is fantastic! But what about, you know, everything else?
I think the key is just to find something that intrigues you, regardless of what that might be, and start digging. Let other folks know what you’re researching so that if they come across something related, they can pass it along.
You have to think outside the box in terms of displays or other presentations of materials. I created science fair type boards to show off how death culture was connected to many things in the SCA. Mistress Luceta created these amazing little models out of skeletons and clay representing apotropaic (deviant) burials.
It seems like the way we do A&S competitions in the SCA doesn’t lend itself well to the type of research/art you and others do. Any thoughts or suggestions on that front?
There’s no way to easily “compete” with non-traditional ideas. Research papers are of course a possibility, given the right circumstances, although often they’re not a good option. However, I encourage displays! That’s what I did several times: non-competitive opportunities to display my stuff.
I think it would be wonderful if we could find a way to focus on the context for “things” rather than just on the “things” themselves. One suggestion for more of a context competition (that I haven’t seen in practice) would be perhaps giving a presentation on an esoteric non/physical object topic as a way to “compete” rather than offering up a “thing” and it could be judged on how well you impart your knowledge to the audience, how deeply you understand the material, handle questions, etc. We always say that a huge part of A&S is teaching and giving back, so it seems like that might be a more fair way to judge that kind of thing.
I’m actually taking this idea to this summer’s Queen Prize Tourney, one of our Kingdom’s premiere A&S showcases. I’ll be entering by presenting a topic essentially as a proposal for how we might be able to incorporate this sort of thing into our competitive structures.
The Compleat Anachronist is such a fantastic resource for people across the known world. How did you become interested in writing one?
I became interested in writing a CA when I wrote an article about Richard III and his two interments for Tournaments Illuminated, though I’d had several people suggest it to me over time. The TI editor encouraged me to take my ideas further.
What would someone have to do to submit to the Compleat Anachronist?
If you don’t have a subscription to the Compleat Anachronist, you can buy THL Beatrice’s issue, “Transforming the Living and the Dead: Evolving Thoughts of the Afterlife,” from the SCA Marketplace for $7.50 here (search the title or 191).