Northkeep's Castellan this year was perhaps the most unique event in the course of my life. This is not for any SCA reason, but rather my own.
In my mundane life, I was recently diagnosed with cancer, a treatable, but aggressive from of Lymphoma. In times like this, I knew that it would be the strength of both my own spirit, and the support of my friends that would get me through the other end of this mess. So I knew Saturday morning as I loaded the car up and helped my wife and son get ready, that this would be an event unlike any I had ever attended.
We left early, and rolled into sight perhaps ten minutes later than I had hoped. It would be a light trip for us, no camping, no major supplies. We were there to socialize. For reasons of health, I wasn't planning on heralding, though even in that intent, I wound up making a few choice cries.
All in all, it was a good day, however. A chance to see people I don't see often, and today we had decided to bring my aging Pyrenees, Herald, out for some sun socialization. In close company is the slightly younger, and much, much smaller Sheba Inu, Pippin, a spastic, wild card of a dog. Herald is old and arthritic, and spent a lot of time collapsing on the ground, but he had a chance to meet people and see new places and explore, and that's the type of thing he enjoys. I wound up taking him home early, but that was okay, I needed the break myself.
Before we left we grabbed lunch at the Wolf Star Tavern. One of the cooks offered up a sausage for us to divide between the dogs. Herald, who was lying down and utterly exhausted, eagerly entailed his half. But when we offered Pippin his, the smaller dog hesitated, not really seeming to understand what in the heck he was supposed to do with the offering. Well the uncertain hesitated lasted all of five second before herald lurched to his feet with unexpected zeal, walked five steps over and inhaled the sausage right out from in front of Pippin's nose. He stood there for a moment, chewing, and when he had swallowed the last bit of meat, he collapsed again, a satisfied groan coming from him.
I wish I had had more of a chance to see the event, but by the time I had returned for the afternoon, things were winding down, and I was still dealing with the after effects of three stitches in my leg. Hobbled and tired, I spent a good portion of the event letting people come to me to say hello.
There were some items of note; not all heraldry related specifically, but the act of rebroadcasting information as I am here is as time honored a job as any other in the herald's resume.
One of Northkeep's own is proving himself quite the man of many talents. Sir Evangelos, a long time fixture in the fighting community, preformed three original pieces in the bardic, as I understand it. And ultimately took the title, despite stiff competition from more veteran competitors. I've known of the man for a long time, and never considered him an artist. It looks as if my appraisal was very, very lacking.
Northkeep this year will be hosting Crown Tournament, the July crown, where the real fight in the third round is between the fighters and the heat. So, during Castellan, they held a raffle to help pay for the extra fees to have the pool open. The target was supposed to be $300, I believe. When the count was over, they bested $500. As good as this sounds here, I'm sure it will sound even better when we're all in the water two months from now.
I have to say watching evening court was a lot more fun that normal for me, Their Excellencies Facon and Keigan kept the pace up, and the emotions sincerer. They had a lot of fun, and the crowd seemed to feed off it well. its a hard thing to keep court going that long, but they did, and better yet, they did it well.
I didn't spend the night, I had to get home with my family. But as always, Castellan was an event worth going to, and I was glad that I made it this year.
Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"