There is a lot to be said for Wiesenfeuer's championship, both in general, and for me personally. Some of my earliest events were Wiesenfeuer activities, first conspiracies, my first tournament fight and not too few list fields were called before the seats of the prairie fire.
This this year was a little different. Heraldically, there was little for me to do. With some new tormenting formats, and a more condensed schedule, things were different this year, especially after mother nature shoved them off of their first event date, months ago, with the very serious threat of tornadoes and heavy rain starting the Friday before. This year was just a little different. Still fun, to be sure, but different.
But I think the one thing that I wanted to talk about more than anything else was something I haven't seen in years in the north. a truly random, spontaneous, bardic circle.
It started when I chanced across a face I hadn't seen in years.The good lady Bella O'Roark. We'd met ages ago, friendly rivals in the bardic competitions, and fast friends in the late night circles. she's vanished for some time, mundane life pulling her from the SCA. But yet here she was, real a life, under a tent at Wiuesenfeuer's baronial championship, at the same site we had lived so many adventures at in times past.
After the sentiment and the salutations, the quick catching up and the long narratives of what we had done with our lives, Bella said something that was so true that I I had just come to accept it as fact and stopped wondering about it ages ago.
"I miss the late night bardic circles, Ivo." She said. "I kept coming back, and they just never happened."
It was true, the practice of old had quieted to whisper, the skill allowed to atrophies, wither, and hint at its own demise. Even I, a past champion, had stopped carrying his bard book a long time ago; dead weight that never seemed to be used.
but then something remarkable happened. after several false starts, and a few tries to gather the vanguard around and plan for a circle shortly their after, frustration just got the better of us, and Bella opened her mouth and started singing.
Within two lines the rest of us had joined in, a tale of old, a story put to tune, a tune engraved on the heart of those who used to sing it every day. Our Trio, Bella, my wife and myself, because four and then five. Five dropped to three, and then rose to six. The number varied, but ours was light that would not be diminished once it had taken hold, not then. People stopped conversations and turned to hear the tunes we were singing. I could seen eyes turned from spouses, children and friends to put faces to those who's harmony was carrying.
We went around the circle, resurrecting the emotions of times pat, of the magic of the bard and his and her craft. Bell practically begged me to tell one of my stories, and we all got to hear my wife preform Harold and Herald. Bella warmed up, and then brought tears to my eyes with Lady of sorrows, a tune I hand't heard in over seven years.
Four forty minutes or so, an island of performance art stood out in the middle of an after-court social event. but rather than be silenced, I saw person after person turn, listen, and then smile. Appreciating the art that was mine so long ago.
Maybe it's time dust off the old bard books.
Maybe it's time, for the bards of the north to cast their spells once more.
Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"