May 29, 2011

Ealdormere Crown Tournament

We moved up to Ealdormere just slightly too late for the reign of Quilliam and Dagmar - a bit disappointing, as I'd heard nothing but excellent things about them as people and as monarchs.  So I was pretty excited yesterday to watch 20-year-old Quilliam win his second crown.

Coming from an all-rapier background, I don't know nearly enough about heavy fighting for the blow-calling to make any sense.  But I can tell this - when everyone a person kills looks really happy about it coming off the field, that person is doing something very right.  Best I can tell, Quilliam fought with deadly honor, and I've not heard a soul breathe otherwise.

The rest of the day was filled to the brim with music, and I want to share this song by Lady Marie l'Englois.  She wrote it for Quilliam's first coronation, and reprised it most aptly at feast last night.


Northern Heir
... being a bardic retelling of the happenings at Ealdormere's XXIVth crown tourney, to the popular Elizabethan tune of Lord Willoughby's March

The last day of October in AS44
King Nigel sought a royal heir to lead his land to war.
The strongest northern fighters all gathered in the cold
To learn who would inherit the lupine crown of gold.

Syr Mordain and Syr Edouard both fought a valiant fight,
But in the end they fell before a stalwart squire and knight.
Syr Wat addressed the people in windblown Ard Chreag,
Then Quilliam showed his mettle with a heart-felt dialog.

He spoke of inspiration, and of a childhood dream,
He spoke about the baroness whom he would make his queen.
He spoke of his opponent, his honoured consort's knight,
And thanked him for the training that brought him to the fight.

When Quilliam finished speaking, Wat gave a bow profound.
The two embraced as brothers upon the tourney ground,
Then knight and hardy squire each other did assail
Until, for love of kingdom, young Quilliam did prevail.

My noble lords and ladies raise cups and voices high
For Adrielle and Nigel, and their heirs we name hereby,
For one spring day in Greyfells, bards of the trillium
Shall sing of the ascension of Dagmar and Quilliam.
         -Marie l'Englois, December ASXLIV

You can see a recording of Quilliam's speech and the ensuing bout here.  I love this song because it's got everything anyone could want in an SCA bardic piece - it's a stirring account of people we know doing great things and it's totally authentic.  Lady Marie wrote this to the tune of "Lord Willoughby's March," a song from period that recounts a person's accomplishments in battle.  Not only is the tune period, but the practice of melody-borrowing itself was common throughout period - in fact you can find a period filk of this very tune here (PDF).  It's even persona-appropriate - though Prince Quilliam is a Viking, Lady Marie is a 16th century English woman living in France.

Information on period printings of "Lord Willoughby" can be found here.  Lady Marie has a recording and the score available for download here.

And Waes Hael to Prince Qulliam and Princess Dagmar - may their reigns be fruitful and frequent!

1 comment:

  1. It was an awesome event, for sure! :)

    I'm delighted you enjoyed the song. I didn't know Quilliam when I wrote it, but after hearing tales of our (then) teenaged king, it seemed to me that there was nigh-infinite bardic possibility in making parallels to the young Henry VIII, who also inspired a nation with his youth and strength. When I saw the crown video and his powerful pre-fight speech the piece practically wrote itself!

    Of course, now that I've had the chance to get to know Quilliam and Dagmar a bit better I'm even more delighted that I was able to record their initial path to the thrones. Aside from the fact that they're both really nice people, let's face it, a second round with a bardic king who sings as strongly as he fights, and a warrior queen who fights as fiercely as she laughs, seriously, how totally cool is that???

    That said, there was more than one inspiring fighter this crown. Gajin's speech brought me near to tears, Nigel always puts on a good showing, Edward is a treat to watch when he's wielding polearm, and of course I'll always have a soft spot for our fighting Skrael ladies Aelfwyn and Morag. Really, every fighter on the list did themselves proud that day. Add in an epic feast, lots of music, dancing and pageantry, and you create the kind of magic that reminds me why I play this game. :)