As 1985 drew to a close, I went on a tear, at least as far as rapier was concerned. Somewhere
in this time period I went on a streak of about a year where I won every tournament I entered,
and I entered quite a few up and down I-25, the main North-South highway in the Outlands. I didn't
get outside of the Principality very often, but I did make it to Estrella in 1987
and won the rapier tournament there. (The prize was an epée with a bell guard and
quilons - the first quilons I ever had on a sword. I still have bits of that hardware
in my garage.) Fencing was growing, though, and Caer Galen (Boulder, CO) was the hotbed.
I was there, and teaching. Ian of Nightsgate, who was in Unser Hafen when I met him, moved
down. Soon after, Max - Massimiliano Pontieri de Sasso - also came down from Unser Hafen. A year later, so too did Genevieve Duran. I think I started teaching all of them, but Ian and Max were
soon going to Northern Colorado Fencers and studying with Gary Copeland. The extra training they got there brought my reign of
terror to end toward the end of 1986 or early 1987. In any case, Caer Galen was
the dominant fencing force in the Principality, and remained so for several years. Of the
first ten Outlandish White Scarves, five or six were from Caer Galen, and another couple
were from just down the road in Caerthe. The rest were from al-Barran. (Ian and Max
were in the first five, Genevieve was eighteenth.)
Although I was barely aware of it at the time, in November of 1985, a poll had gone out
about the Outlands becoming a Kingdom. I probably received a poll, and probably responded.
I honestly have no memory of it, though. I was only a couple of years in and was
still mostly thinking locally. I was active in the Principality, but never made it to
the rest of the Kingdom - across the Rocky Mountains. It was much easier to take my
tiny little Subaru up and down the highway on my side of the mountains. There was
discussion at the time about who should be the first Kingdom Rapier Marshall, and my
name was on the table. It was decided that Jarl Freana would be a better choice
for the initial KFM, and in hindsight, it was a wise choice. As a Master at Arms and
Royal Peer, his ability to establish the program far outstripped mine. I would
settle for being second in a few years' time. On the subject of the poll, it is giving
nothing away to say that it was positive, and the Outlands would become a Kingdom
in the middle of 1986.
Before that, however, was Grand Outlandish. This was the largest camping event in the
Outlands, held over the long Memorial Day weekend outside of Albuquerque. I had heard the stories
about it and it sounded great! I arranged to borrow camping gear from my parents, who were
conveniently along my route south from Boulder, and made plans to go. By this time, I had been
semi-adopted by The Abbey (aka St Mary's Abbey), the household of the Baroness of Caerthe, whose
champion I was, so I would be camping with them at Grand Outlandish in May of 1986. I was quite
excited. The Abbey had (and has) a reputation for, shall we say, a certain decadence - especially
at camping events. Breakfast at least one day would be Eggs Benedict, for instance. The Abbey
was also renowned for its cooks, and it is likely that somewhere in this general time frame
I first set foot in an SCA kitchen. (My mother had taught me to cook as a child - if
you are willing to grant that at this point I was no longer strictly speaking a child.)
I packed my kit up in Boulder, drove to my parents' house in Aurora, loaded up there kit
and continued along to the site. I found the camp and set up. The Abbey's camp was marked
out by a small border which I heard referred to as 'a snubbery' - a name which still amuses me.
The tent went up and I had time to watch a bit more of the area being set up. Most memorably,
a couple of the al-Barranians who had access to the site all week were just finishing installing
the waterbed. Quite the luxury, since I don't think the site had running water, and it
all had to be trucked in.
In the morning, there was opening court for the event. At long events, this was commonplace. It
was where announcements were made about schedule and site rules and so forth. As information
was essentially limited to postal speed, anything which hadn't been finalized in the previous
month's newsletter would be unknown to most attendees. At this particular court, the herald (or
more likely the chirurgeon) got up said something like this. 'Welcome to Outlandish! A few
important things to remember. This is a plague area, so if you see any dead animals do
not approach them, find a member of staff to dispose of them. If, in a few weeks, you
begin to develop flu-like symptoms, tell your doctor you were in a plague zone. Bubonic plague
is easily treated if diagnosed early enough, but most doctors are unlikely to test for it.'
In addition to Black Death, this was also a rattlesnake area. It was pointed out that, in general,
the snakes won't bother you if you don't bother them. Sound advice. Unless, of course, you
have camped in their usual path of travel and have a small child. If memory serves, such
was the case of Edward Tremaine, a fencer from Aarquelle. The snake appeared, and was carefully
removed. It returned. After the second or third time, Edward fetched his rapier. Suffice it to
say that the next year, his hat had a snakeskin band on it. (NB: this event might not have
taken place at that Outlandish; it might have been the next year, or possibly even the year after.)
There was no fencing on the schedule. So I went in search of the marshal for the event,
who was also Kingdom Earl Marshal at the time I think, to
ask if we could have a tourney on one of the fields when it wasn't being used. This
request was denied, the restriction against 'live steel' on the field was cited as the
reason. Undaunted, we decided to have a tournament in the street. We put out the call for
a bottle tournament. To enter the tournament, a fencer needed to put a bottle into the
kitty. It didn't have to be alcohol, and bottle was pretty loosely interpreted - I seem
to recall several cans of soda making it into the pile. The winner, quite naturally,
took all. Since this during my streak, I, quite naturally won and took all.
I got onto the docket at closing court. In court, I thanked the hosting group for
their graciousness in allowing us to have a tournament, and presented the Baron
and Baroness with a bottle from my winnings. At the same court, I was awarded arms
by Prince Johann and Princess Andreah, the last Prince and Princess of the
Principality of the Outlands.
Their Heirs would be the first King and Queen of the Kingdom of the Outlands.
The presentation of the bottle to Baron Stefan and Baroness Beau Marishka. Seated on the throne to the left is Prince Johan. On my belt is a red scarf, edged in black, which suggests that
this may also have been the time when an Academy of Fence was being bruited in the Outlands.
It never really took off. More research is needed. (Read: more digging through my files.)