ANNO SOCIETATIS XXII (June, 1987 - May, 1988)



Encounter with the Tuchux, as told by Cynthia du Pres Argent at the Felding/Auntie Get-Together, October 16, 1988:

"My very first year at the Pennsic and Ariel were the two newest people, so we decided to hang out together for a while. Richie, my lord, had gone off gallivanting somewhere to talk to people about numerous things. It was evening on Thursday night of the war, and we decided to go try and find him, because we were lonely and wanted to figure out something to do, but we were new and didn't know what there was to do.

"So we went off looking in the direction that he seemed to have disappeared in. Well, we gradually got closer and closer to where he had been. People were telling us, 'Yeah, he was here about half an hour ago.' We finally got to the point where it was, 'Oh yeah, he left a few minutes ago.' It was quite dark by then, and we were going down around by the lake on one side, and there weren't any campsites there.

"All of a sudden out of the bushes steps a naked man. He wasn't quite naked, but he was at least the sort that might as well be naked, because he was really rather cute. He was wearing a piece of leather perhaps six inches wide and a foot long, and that was about all. He had a Tuchux symbol written on his chest in some sort of black stuff. He asked us in very broken English what we wenches were doing in the dark of night in this godforsaken place, and where were our masters, and why would they let us go about like this? We basically told him that we happened to be very willful wenches and were not particularly interested in what our masters thought.

"So he decided that he should conduct us back to a more populous area of the camp. He conducted us that way, and we were talking to him, or sort of talking to him and he was grunting back. Then he invited us to the Tuchux camp. We thought that this would be a really nifty idea because we had heard how very difficult it was to get into the Tuchux camp, seeing as how they kept armed guards and all this sort of legendary stuff that we'd been hearing for years about the Tuchux. So we went with him back to the Tuchux camp.

"After he got lost, we did get there... We were conducted into the Tuchux camp amidst a number of, well, sarcastic remarks on the part of the guards, but guards will be guards, you know. So we sent and we watched the belly dancing, and we got to drink from the horn of the leader of the Tuchux, whose name is Wolf. His horn was this huge antelope horn which he filled to the brim with Wild Turkey or something like that, and it was really neat because it was about a yard long and it twisted around, and it was very pointy at the end. When he got tired of holding it, he'd just casually throw it at the ground, where it would stick and go quiver-quiver-quiver. I made sure not to get too close to him. God knows when he would want to send it through someone's foot.

"Eventually we decided that it was time to go back to our campsite. So we and the first Tuchuck proceeded across the camp, when we ran into another Tuchuck, whose name we later learned was Denys the Decadent. Denys looked at us and looked at the first Tuchuck and said, 'How much for the little one?' Well, we thought this was very funny, we thought it was a joke, and so we laughed. Denys and the first Tuchuck went off in a corner for a moment, and came back. Then Denys invited us back to his tent, where we learned why he was called Denys the Decadent. He had an electric lamp, and a battery powered tape machine, and a queen- sized air mattress in the second room of his two-room tent, etc. So we stayed there for a while and talked with him, and then the first Tuchuck left. After he left, Denys told us that we had in fact been sold into slavery.

"'Yeah, right,' we said. 'No, really, you were sold into slavery. I can't prove it to you, but really, you were sold into slavery. Because you've been sold into slavery, you are going to have to do some things.' 'Oh no! What are we going to have to do?' we said. Well, I'm going to tell you this because I know you are all my friends, and I know you won't have a problem with this, but we were forced to - [Cynthia takes on a look of mock distress] SUBMIT TO BACKRUBS! [The audience takes its cue and reacts with gasps.] It was so traumatic. Well, you know how it is, we couldn't do much about it, and then - [pain and distress again] we had to give him a backrub too! [More pretend shock from the audience. Comment from Lord Tibor of Rock Valley: 'There there, be brave.']

"So after that was all over with we went back to our campsite. Later on the next day I went and visited him again and found out that we had in fact been sold for two bottles of beer. Apparently that's a fairly high price for a Tuchuck. Considering that when I went back there was some Tuchuck guard drinking from a bottle of beer that was a couple of feet high, maybe it wasn't such a bad price after all.

"At any rate, when I went to the war this past year, I had planned to buy some beer to buy myself out of slavery from Denys the Decadent, and I had instructions from Ariel to buy her out of slavery as well so that we could be free women again. Well, I went and bought a case of Beck's, figuring that that should be plenty no matter what ridiculous price he wanted, and since Richie had to go and strike a deal with the Tuchux witch doctor to exorcise his garb, which is another story. [Every time he wore it there was some medical emergency he had to treat (he is a chirurgeon).] Richie also was emissary for me and Ariel to be bought back from Denys, which he did indeed accomplish. He sauntered back into camp a few hours later and told me that I was now bought out of slavery, my honor was intact, and he wasn't sure what he was going to be doing with Ariel.

"'Well,' said I, 'Ariel didn't say that you were to buy her back, she said that I was to buy her back.' He said, 'Well, I bought her back, and that's too bad.' I said, 'You didn't pay me for the beer you used, so I own her as well.' And he said, 'Now wait a minute...' Well, just at that point Baron Patri had the misfortune to walk into camp. Deciding that this was the time, I gathered up my skirts, threw myself full length at his feet, and said, 'Oh, my lord Baron! I have need of your wisdom!' He kind of looked down at me and blinked, and I went on for a couple more sentences about how his wisdom was known far and wide, etc.

"I presented my case to him, and Richie presented his case, [and it was agreed that the beer belonged to us both,] and the Baron thought on it for a moment. Richie continued arguing, as he tends to do, while I stayed silent, which worked very well because the Baron said, 'Well, since the beer belongs to both of you, and Li Kung [Richie] has charge of it, then his first obligation as your husband is to buy you out of slavery, because it is unchivalrous to have your wife be owned by someone else. So his portion of the beer went first to buying you back, leaving your portion of the beer to buy Ariel back.' And because it would not be proper for Richie to own his wife, that also being against the laws of chivalry and love, I was instantly set free, so I am not a slave and Ariel belongs to me."

[Editor's note: At the February 1989 event, Ariel was formally declared free from her slavery to Cynthia.]

Provost: Siubhan NicCruimein
Exchequer: Radegund von der Feuchtenstadt
Chronicler: Lucy Herring