Beltaine Newsletter, 2011

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Comyn
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Beltaine Newsletter, 2011

Post by Comyn » Mon May 09, 2011 8:00 pm

Tales of a wet spring from the south and west kept many eyes skyward in worrisome anticipation as the date for the great feast of Beltaine drew nearer, but our fears proved to be unfounded.The first day dawned sunny and fair as the wagons were prepared for the journey to our traditional festival site, a good omen and much appreciated after the recent soft days.
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The Dagda

Guthrum arrived first with a train of kitchen and festival gear in tow, followed by Comyn and Sabha and they soon had their respective encampments established and appointed as befitting their respective stations.The Dagda was set in a place of honor, the Druidic chest repaired so that it could stand at the ready and incense was burned in hopes of good weather for the duration of our gathering.

A half cord of wood was quickly stacked between the two huge oaks that stand at the center of the site with help from a colorful and talkative wood-cutter whom Colin had arranged to deliver it.As night fell, a welcome stew prepared by Vollund was heartily (and quickly) devoured.Old friends were welcomed: Fjord was in attendance, as were the new which included Bart the Yet To Be Named whose face served as unwitting canvas to a kubuki theatre of un-precedented hilarity.Comyn entertained for some time with songs seldom heard.Momus flavored spring water with mint leaves to wash down Guthrum’s bannock cake biscuits. Since everyone got a burnt piece at one point or another we decided to forgo the tradition of sacrificing the person who receives the blackened piece as it would have wiped out the entire Clann.As the night grew colder, several Clannsmen were set to stand at hand with spears after an unsuccessful raid on the kitchens by a band of dark and swarthy “Fur” Bolg who cowardly swarmed quickly up trees whenever our stout warriors approached.

There was some gambling, but the real gamble was a bet between the Chieftain and Colin as to whether there would be any gambling.When Colin’s back was turned, the wily Chieftain contrived to draw Bart the Yet to Be Named into a game of knucklebones to win the bet - but it cost him more in coin to equip the destitute outsider for the purpose than he won for it from Colin. The Chieftain challenged first the Druid and then the Fili to a game of ring toss for a silver screple and bested them both (though after a decidedly un-elegant and entirely accidental win by the Fili).

Those who rose early the next day to greet the sunrise were gifted with a wonderful sight and blue skies that spanned the very length of the great festival fields.The Fili walked their length with great strides to breathe the clean and sparkling air, refusing all offers of a chariot to instead feel the ground under his feet.Back in camp, the sun became hot on the faces of the Clann who moved from place to place frequently in order to stay in the slowly moving shade of the great oaks.

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Knife Throwing
Guthrum, recently returned from a local axe throwing competition, erected a target modeled after one he had seen there with a hefty tree round and three long planks which served wonderfully and provided excellent service for those Clannfolk who wished to hone their axe and knife throwing skills, truly a noble pursuit!

Sadly, none of our Norse friends were in attendance for the first time in many years and perhaps it is because of this that there seemed to be less crafting in camp than in recent years for those stout folk do not have idle hands. To our credit, Sabha worked for a time on her hand loom to create some trim.The children of the Clann were nearly as numerous as adult Clannfolk and they sought ever to find more exciting ways to busy themselves than the chores the adults would happily hand out to any who dared appear bored.

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Kid's Fort
One of their more enterprising activities was the construction of two opposing ring forts in the center of camp and the re-enactment of a Connaught raid on Ulster complete with sharpened sticks and pine cone missles.The Fili attempted to cool the hostilities and turn the encounter away from war and toward trade, but the economy of pine cones and sticks was decidedly less interesting than all out war.

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The feast of Beltaine was grand.The dining flys were raised in the afternoon as some few clouds passed over making the site suddenly much cooler and the Great Table was quickly arranged beneath them. The Clann was soon called by the Chieftain to sit together and enjoy the feast of Beltaine!

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Twin Meats of Beltaine
A “first annual” tradition of the Twin Meats of Beltaine was established with the finely seasoned roasted leg of lamb presented by Feallon and a tasy grilled ham by Sabha.Comyn returned from a task in the kitchens too late to find that his root vegetables had already been removed from the fire a bit early (he had intended to drain the beer and crisp them some more) but the serving table having been all set out and the Chieftain having already called the Clann he felt it too late to do much about it.Foinoulla’s pottage was excellent, but the army it could have fed never arrived and the aforementioned “Fur” Bolg ended up with much of it.

Each year a small stream being temporarily diverted a great distance to the fires of a beast we call Nomad flows into camp to provide hot water for washing and cleaning on site.But as those in attendance at our prior two festivals will recall, Nomad was then unable to produce enough fire and those tasked with clean-up suffered greatly for it.Comyn and Guthrum decided to correct that injustice this Beltaine and to great success!A new beast has been reared which Guthrum will keep for use at his own homestead and Comyn has pledged another like it to replace Nomad permanently.More details will be provided at the next planning meeting.

Wood was burned and meads were passed ‘round long into the night as the Bard led Bardic Circle and memorable music was made; but it can easily be told what was the most unusual event of the evening: Sabha was the last one standing!

There were many more tales worthy of telling, but no time at present to tell them.Perhaps you should ask about them at our next event! One was a “Fur” Bolg attack on the family of Guthrum in the middle of the night and how he fought them off single handed and was fast asleep again in a twinkling! Another, and perhaps my favorite should only be discussed in person and involved “no craziness”. What was yours?

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Guthrum
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Re: Beltaine Newsletter, 2011

Post by Guthrum » Mon May 09, 2011 8:59 pm

Tales worth telling

There was some retelling of tales of Pennsics past, also one of the strangest fox ever seen on this part of the island.

Also, a breakfast feast by the name Elevenses.

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Fionnualatdb
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Re: Beltaine Newsletter, 2011

Post by Fionnualatdb » Mon May 09, 2011 9:23 pm

Nice recounting of our adventures - I love the story of the attack on the bell tower at Pennsic and heard a good recounting of it by Brogan. The assembled were almost apoplectic at the tale of Momus and the three naked camp visitors.

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