Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Samhain was this past weekend, and I have to say that it was a spectacular event for me in terms of heraldry. To set some background, about five or six months ago, Lady Muirenn , for whom I have heralded before, asked me to herald the removes for feast at Samhain. To this I gladly agreed, Muirenn is a good friend and always wants whatever she does to look its best. So when she asked, it was just natural for me to say yes.

So, fast forward a few month, like five and three weeks, and I get an e-mail from Rose the Obnoxious. (hay, she picked the the name!). Turns out that she wanted to make sure she had site heraldry covered, and asked me to come in and act as a backup for the crew she had already assembled. Since I was going anyway, I agreed without hesitation. I love site heraldry, and besides, I wasn't scheduled to do anything else during the day.

So, I arrive Friday night at Camp Kate, fiends and family in tow, and we settle into the cabin (thank God for cabins!). I checked in with Rose, who was glad to see me. It seems that last minute scheduling issues had eaten up her cadre of site heralds like candy. She had a few still, but they were also obligated to other activities during the day, leaving some big blind spots in the schedule.

Rose was looking a little worried about wake-ups the next morning, so I volunteered to go ahead and handle them at the least. My logic was two-fold. The first was that I knew I could do them, but also, walking people up can be intimidating for some, so I didn't want to saddle a rookie with it and possibly have them getting grumbled at the whole morning.

Let me tell you, as much as I have heralded in the past, and as much as I enjoy heraldry, Saturday morning, I hit my stride like never before at eight in the morning, and never got off of it. It wasn't just walking around heralding, I hit a synergy where it was like I was having a conversation with the whole site. I recycled some of my old jokes from past events like Triumph, but it all just came together so much better than it ever had before. Each herald was a little different (including some customized ones for the Wolf Star camp), but overall, I tried to keep the same theme going.

“Hear yea, hear yea, hear yea! Good morning to you! I bring tiding of the eight O'clock hour. If you recognize the tent your waking up in, then you obviously didn't start the event off right last night! The sun is bright, the sky is clear, and the morning is calm! We much change that last part! Now, rise up and give to revelry that which would otherwise be given to sleep. Rise up and embrace the day, make merry, and enjoy this that is the event of Samhain!”

Each herald only got better, and after a while I was getting laughs, and claps and cheers. Even when things were delayed I made the most of it.

“Hear yea, hear yea, hear yea! I pray you all attend, for when the schedule was made for today, their was much revelry, and much drinking, and not a great deal of sleep. So of course the schedule is now subject to changes, and here they are...”

After lunchtime, I started offering to do some on-the-road classes to anyone who interested in site heraldry. Like everything else, I did my best to make the announcement as much fun as the possible.

“For any and all who might be interested, I will be teaching the skill of site heraldry throughout the day. In other words, I will be teaching the art of making large masses of people mad at you from a safe distance.”

or another take on it..

“For anyone interested in learning how to inflict mass punishment on a large population, I will be teaching such skills today. Note, that's mass punishment, not punishment with mass weapons... different class.”

The day went on with each herald turning out that much better than the one before it, I was really in a Zone by the time the afternoon rolled around.

Not that all of this didn't come without cost; by three or four, I was dead on my feet, and wound up crashing hard in the cabin for an hour, but after the day I had, I wasn't complaining.

Now, of course, lets not forget the original reason I came, heralding feast for Muirenn.

The logistics for feast were not simple. The room was marvelously well decorated, but modest in size. Once everyone was seated, their would really only be room for the servers to move around, and then only in a controlled fashion at that. The only access into the room was through a curtained doorway opposite head table, and that was a narrow aisle.

Myself, I had arrived dressed in my best, a black shirt, red tights, my burgundy surcoat (which got no small number of good comments), my velvet sugar-sac cap, and my walking staff. I was deliberately trying to look my absolute best, Feast was all about the presentation, and I was part of that effort.

The head server and I decided that the party for head table would go in first, then I would announce the remove while they were serving head table, and then once the head servers were back out of the room, the rest would go in and serve. It would be a tight set of moves, with little room for maneuver, but I wasn't overly worried, things have a habit of coming together in the end.

And in this case, they did.

Still feeling the rhythm that I was before, I treated each announcement like a mini bardic performance, adding enough theatrics and pomp to match the decor of the room.

Now, Ill admit that as soon as each remove was over, the surcoat came off in short order. The drawback to small rooms with lots of people in them is that they collect heat at an unholy rate, so I spent most of the feast standing outside trying to vent heat between roasting sessions in the surcoat.

But when it was all said and done, it was a marvelous event, the servers came together well, and aside from some small slips here and there, the whole presentation went off without any major problems.

I know I sound like I am trumpiting myself here, and to an extent I am, but at the same time, I need to say how fiercely proud I am to have been part of the whole thing. We all did our parts, and the result was well worth the effort. It always feels good to work with people, and feast is no exception.

I went to bed late Saturday night, I usually do at events, and then got up early enough that Rose tapped me for another round of wakeup calls. I really didn't mind, I was still feeling whatever it was that had a hold of me Satruday, so I went at it yet again.

Now let me be clear, I wasn't the only site herald there that weekend. The Eldern baronial herald did his fare share, as did a few others, including Chad (Rose's Husdand) when things got tight. A lot of people pulled more than their weight around, and my biggest regret there is that I don't know all of their names to acknowledged them here.

But when it was all said and done, Rose was ecstatic about my efforts, and as a “professional” herald, I admit to taking a few minutes to bask in the glow of a favorable job appraisal.

I am so looking forward to Samhain next year.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk

Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

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