December 9 was the day of Carolingia's second annual Masked Ball. The Great Hall of Claflin, overlooking placid Lake Waban, was crowded with nearly three score folk, both from Carolingia and other parts of the Eastern Kingdom, whose identities were concealed by masks. For the first part of the evening the guests danced, sipped wassail and sampled the varieties of sweetmeats and pastries which had been provided by various guests.
Eugenie de Bruges (who has since been named Mistress of the Revels) led the company in a medieval version of blindman's buff, to the delight of all. Throughout the evening Demoiselle Eugenie's jests and wit amused the entire company.
Upon the stroke of ten, the Kingdom Herald, Alfgar the Sententious, loudly proclaimed a Royal Court; and one of the dancers was revealed as His Majesty, Jehan de la Marche, who assumed his throne at the upper end of the Hall. The company then executed a processional pavane for the length of the hall, each couple unmasking and announcing their identity as they came before the throne.
When all were unmasked, King Jehan announced that he had several investitures to make. While John of Isleway, Baron of Carolingia, held the King's sword, the King called forth Lady Diana, the Duchess Tregirtsee, and asked if she were willing to assume the office of Mistress of Arts of the Kingdom of the East. Lady Diana accepted, King Jehan invested her, and she swore fealty to the Crown. Then the King called forth Demoiselle Aravis del Clare, heretofore acting Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of the East, and formally invested her with that Office, and received her oath of fealty also. King Jehan next called forth Sir Patri du Chat Gris and presented him with a chess set in formal recognition of Sir Patri's victory in the human chess game during the recent War with the Middle Kingdom. In that game Sir Patri was the only Eastern Kingdom warrior to defeat his opponent. Sir Patri then asked if he might renew his knightly vows, to which Jehan gladly assented. John of Isleway then asked if he might swear fealty to King Jehan and his vow also was welcomed by the King, who in return thanked the Baron and Carolingia for their hospitality.
His Majesty then proclaimed several new laws of the Kingdom pertaining to the King's Council, how knighthood may be won, the duty of baronies during times of war, and charters for households.
At this point, the Royal Court was concluded since there was no more business before it, and a Baronial Court was held. Tostig of Logaan, who had earlier asked to speak before the Royal Court, apologized most handsomely for any of his behavior which the Crown might have found offensive during the Coronation Tournament in the Barony Beyond the Mountain. Jehan graciously indicated that he was satisfied with the apology. Announcements of coming events were made and the Court was then concluded.
A large group of jongleurs under the direction of Daniel de Tankard then entertained the company with choral works, which were very well performed. The company later returned to dancing and merrymaking. By midnight the guests had departed for their manors, the evening pleasurably concluded.
John of Isleway and
Marian of Edwinstowe
Lady Eugenie de Bruges, a lady eminently wise and well- versed in the usages of Courts (both noble and of Love), favored us by the holding of a Court of Love on St. Valentine's Day, A.S. VII, in Carolingia. The learned lady read to the gentles assembled the thirty-one Laws of Love as set down by Andreas Capellanus under the close direction of Princess Marie de Champagne, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine. They include rules of evidence, of right and wrong conduct, and judgment. The ladies were then encouraged to present cases to the Court, and Eugenie demonstrated her great judgment and ready wit as she extracted justice from obscure and difficult cases. The culmination of the Court, however, was reached in a case brought by Marjorie of Losenmere on behalf of all the ladies against every male in the Barony, for insufficient flirtation. A case eagerly attended, gentles! for it touched upon wellsprings of feeling in all persons present. After careful deliberation and consultation of the Laws, the learned Judge ruled in favor of the ladies. She pointed out that flirtation was practice for love, that practice makes perfect, and that perfection in the arts of Love should be the goal of every lover; therefore she admonished the gentlemen to correct their behavior. You know the outcome: "Miller in the Middle" has been a livelier dance ever since!
A fine feast indeed was served in Shakespeare House that night, and the mead and song flowed, led respectively by Cariadoc of the Bow and Daniel de Tankard, Master of Jongleurs.
His Majesty King Akbar ibn Murad held a Royal Court with his Queen, Khadijah, a gentle and gracious sovereign couple. They received homage and gifts rich and curious. A wandering cleric, Brother Benurikan, presented a Magic Box which seeks a Master Magician, who, it was prophesied, will claim this treasure and bring mirth and good magic to the life of the Barony; until he appears and is acclaimed, however, the box was placed in the care of Giles the Page.
The King granted his former squire, Sir Asbjorn Gustavvson Haarfagr, the privilege of starting his own household, to be known as the Household of Roed. And much honor was bestowed by Carolingians upon two of their Officers who are retiring from their posts - Chaim Elihu ben Moshe, former Foreign Minister of the Barony, who was granted an award of arms by the King; and Marian of Edwinstowe, former Chronicler of the Barony, who will now perform that same duty for the Kingdom.
John of Canterbury
In Carolingia, 5 Mai A.S. VIII, Sir Finnvarr de Taahe overcame a field of fifteen knights - among them Sir Asbjorn; Sir Patri du Chat Gris; and Sir Jehan, Count de la Marche - to become Tanist of the Eastern Kingdom.
John of Isleway, Baron of Carolingia, was Autocrat of this tournament. Kingdom Herald Alfgar the Sententious performed his office. Master of the Lists was John de Treville of Carolingia, assisted by Lady Amorette des Lavandes, who kept account of the progress of the competition - a difficult art, following the trials of those who would be King! Marshals of the Lists included King Akbar ibn Murad; Sir Cariadoc of the Bow, Duke Tregirtsee; Count Murad ibn Hassan; Lord El of the Two Knives, Seneschal of the East; Baron John of Isleway; and Baron Balin the Fairhaired.
The weather was threatening, but through the spiritual efforts of Brother Benurikan, water was held above air until Sir Finnvarr was by his sword elected Tanist.
Notably hard-fought were the matches of Count Jehan de la Marche and Sir Asbjorn Haarfagr, mace to mace. So also the struggle between Count Jehan and Sir Patri which raised the issue of the force of a killing blow; Sir Patri was forced to shift to a thrusting sword ere he won his match. The Count de la Marche was wounded by a blow to the head, but was restored to mens sana in corpore sano by the medicines and attentions of Demoiselle Aravis Del Clare. Remarkable also were the three combats of Sir Finnvarr and Sir Patri, which reminded this Chronicler of a cat fighting a tall tree! Their strokes were cataahestrophic!!
A Green Man of the Woods appeared among us, in accord with ancient May Day custom - a Priapic figure whose very touch is potent, it is said, and so he believed and reputed himself, in the Latin that is his only language, so ancient a figure is he. He thus was the terror of the maidens - and those who claim to be - all consciences aside, and an object of great curiosity to the rest of the company. The Green Man was entwined to the Maypole by dancing maidens, but was not contained; and most Priapus-like, escaped and chased the dancers with the pole tied to his back!
The Quest for Ganmer Dalflin, supreme wizard, drew again the attention of the Court. The Magician's Box, until now in the care of Gillian of the Green Woods, passed in public ceremony to Master George des Iles Verts, who swore an oath to its defense. Brother Benurikan celebrated the transfer of the charge.
Following the Crown Lists, with Finnvarr victorious, a general melee was held. Seven warriors of Carolingia and Duke Cariadoc were left standing after Carolingia and that Duke had fought everyone else; the eight then fought each other "for the spoils!" at Nicholas Bleumert's instance. Bartolomeo della Rocca became the sole survivor, to this novice fighter's great credit.
Great honour was made this day, and a goodly company of over 200 souls learned its true worth.
John of Canterbury
After the great deeds of the day on which Sir Finnvarr de Taahe won the Crown of the Eastern Kingdom, John of Isleway, Baron of Carolingia, held a high revel in Claflin hall. One hundred and twenty gentles and others were well served of roast beest, meat pies, fish, fowl, mead and wine, in great and merrie assembly. Never in the Eastern Annals has such feast been seen as this, said notables of experience and much honor. My lord El of the Two Knives led the hall in a toast to Baron John, and other toasts followed to the Equerries, under Martha of Tammblynne and Lorimel the Gentle, and to the Servers, who had been organized by Avi of Draco's Weyr.
The company received with sadness the news of the passing of the wife of William of Bothnia after a long illness, and expressed its sorrow.
Then Daniel de Tankard, in his last service as Master of Carolingia's minstrels and players, led us in fine songs, particularly new verses of "The Pope, He Leads a Glorious Life", describing notables of the Kingdom and the Barony. Duke Cariadoc encountered Eugenie de Bruges in another brilliant exchange of puns; and he, recalling her discovery of a heretofore unknown Chaucerian text, the Krummhorn fragment, read to the company another poem: The Saga of Beowabbit, as written by Foulgut, Dux belli of the Maryland Militia, as true a tale as ever told of heroes and good rulers, and merrier than most.
Of Beowabbit well-beloved
Meadhall dweller, long-sworded,
Cariadoc, Duke, well-meaded,
Told long-winded glorious saga;
True barbarians, fierce, well-meaning,
Broke up Meadhall, then and now.
Finnvarr, the Tanist, gambled for his crown at the Court of Fools, who were presented to him by Eugenie de Bruges. Sir Finnvarr kept his crown, winning in turn against Eros, Satan, and the Fool, as has every king who so gambled with such a court since the second Richard of England.
Duchess Diana of Tregirtsee announced the winners of the contest for dessert: Lady Tabitha of Wyndmoor and George des Iles Verts. In the contest for Koumis (sweet fermented mare's milk, a Mongol delicacy) Asbjorn Haarfagr emerged victorious.
An exercise in measuring took place. Tostig Gewisse, proud of this, his new knowledge, and applying it to one of the usual Saxon pastimes (wine in winter, war in summer), measured Cariadoc and Lord El for a garden spot to be granted them immediately following the coming war between Barony Beyond the Mountain and Ostgardr. Tostig was measured in turn by Lord El (and was found a wit short of two ells high...).
The Guild of Calligraphers, who had labored long and hard, mente et manu, to produce individual invitations for each gentle at the revel and a Register of those who attended the event, were thanked by the Baron for their work. The Register, the work of Ceriwen ap Llyr, Caryl de Trecesson, and Peridot of the Quaking Hand (the last being the Mistress of the Guild), was displayed in the Hall.
John of Isleway conferred charters on two households: The Household du Chat Gris (headed by Sir Patri of the same name) and the Household of Otterhaven (headed by Lorimel the Gentle). The newly enfoeffed gentles took the Oath of Fealty as written by Bernard of Clairvaux, 1221. Duke Cariadoc gathered all the knights present and conferred a Knight's belt on each, and a Lady's Chain for the Lady of each, as was given to him in the Middle Kingdom, long ago. Sir Finnvarr invested Shinawasse Magnuson as his squire.
Martha of Tammblynne and Daniel de Tankard resigned their posts as Mistress of Equerries and Master of Jongleurs, respectively. These resignations were accepted with sorrow by the Carolingians, for it is well known how both have served the barony, and how much we owe to their labors.
The evening closed with a toast to the Lists, a toast proposed by El of the Two Knives to Carolingia for its conduct of the Crown Tournament and of the Revel, and a final toast to the workers who brought all this about. There was a shout, "Now let's help clean up!" And so we did.
John of Canterbury