So after doing chores and whatnot in the morning, and picking up a friend at the airport in the early afternoon, I hit the road for Highland River Melees. Wee wrinkle of an accident on I-70 that tied things up but it was not bad; I hit worse 2x a week coming home from work. Troll was closed when I got there but because I was pre-regged, I still got in. Yay!
Tent set up, last bit of court attended. Lady Swannoc got a much-deserved Coral Branch, hurrah! Sat in the back at feast, chatted a good bit with Lady Yseult, was closest to the buffet line. Score! Got food fast, ate it up, then played harp for the hungry folks on line. Good food!
Lady Swannoc had organized two bardic challenges, one for the king and one for the queen. The queen's theme was hounds and the hunt, and I didn't have anything ready to go. But the king's theme was "inspiring warriors to battle," so I pulled out "To War." I explained to the audience that they could and should participate.
"To War" is a marching song. "To war, to war, [name here] goes to war. Then you put some words here, [name here] goes to war!" Repeat. I started with an assortment of improvised verses, moving from the more stock "Our shields defend the kingdom" and the like to the humorous "My armor's really sweaty."
Holy cow! They participated! Not only did they sing the repeating bits, we had several people (including his Majesty, with a sheep reference) contribute verses! I'm over the moon. I know it takes guts for non-performers to do that kind of thing, and I'm so glad it seemed simple and non-threatening and fun enough for them to join in.
Then - bardic circle! I cannot even remember the last event I went to a fireside bardic circle and stayed up all hours. It was very much like my earliest days in the SCA, when I was too young to drink, and went to long, long bardics on chilly nights in the (then) Principality of Aethelmarc.
(Honestly? I'm returning to a mostly-dry ethos as it is. I went through the "everything's better with more beer" phase in my early and mid-twenties, and it's done now. I'll have some, but more than one or two and hurts my voice and makes me sleepy.)
Morning brought hot tea and a few moments by Hagerstown's lovely city park pond. Breakdown went smoothly this morning and the trip home was fine. Gear is clean or getting that way, and there's just a bit more putting-awayness to do before the boys roll in themselves.
But I really needed that.