Before times - Sea Wars, part 2
By Master Robert Beddingfield
When last we left our Stalwarts, they were kicking ass and taking names in Savanna, GA for King and Kingdom and Queen and Queensland (‘cause Queendom sounds wrong). But Sea Raids was about more than the first rapier war point. There was some weird shit going on from the moment we left Maryland to journey south.
The Trip Down
We caravanned down in 2 vehicles, a pick-up truck and a passenger van. I never rode in the truck and have no idea what went on in it, but neither of the folks who did are in the SCA anymore, so I’ll concentrate on the van. Our travelling companions included Giacomo, Gerlach, Geoffrey Gamble, Gregoire (now Nathanial), me (who violently resisted attempts to be renamed “Gobert”) and Alan (who unsuccessfully insisted we refer to him as “Galant”). There were a 1 or 2 others, but I’ll spare them the ignominy of being identified as part of this.
I have already detailed in Sea Wars: Part 1, the planning and tactical discussion that went on during the trip down. It was like being at War College and Clown College at the same time, with a semester at Jack Daniels University. I was in awe, when I was lucid, which was most of Maryland and Virginia.
We did more than just plan our campaign. When we tired of that, and threatened the military types we’d move them to the truck if they didn’t stop, we passed the time in other pursuits. Being mostly Elizabethan personas, those pursuits were alcohol and gambling. The seating allowed a 4-person game of something card related (I no longer recall what game) and we had SCA and Gardiner’s coinage to gamble with. This is Geoffrey’s favorite pastime, BTW, probably because it’s his persona name. But I digress.
I was seated rearward, next to Gerlach, with Giacomo and Geoffrey across from us. As we had no table, we used Geoffrey’s very nice toque hat as the pot. The game had gone on for a while, when I discerned that Gerlach was skimming the pot. I said nothing, but looked at him. He looked back and slid some coin into my hand. Thereafter, he and I managed to lighten the pot by a good half. Our scheme ended when Giacomo, ever-vigilant law dog that he is, noticed, and announced to everyone that Hey, Gerlach was skimming! I expressed incredulity, and shamed him. No, not Gerlach, Giacomo. Do-gooder, Mother-effin,’ Goody Two-Shoes should have demanded his own cut. We managed to amuse ourselves thus until we arrived at the hotel.
We stayed at what is now the Savanna Marriot Riverfront (I don’t recall what it was called then). I’m sure of this because it has the 7 story inside atrium, from which folks had hung various banners. Also the back of the hotel is a narrow street-width from the Savanna River. I recall this, as our room was on riverview side, and shortly after we got in, there was a noise outside our window. Pulling back the curtains, we saw a ship sailing by. Actually, we saw the mid-point of the hull going past our window; we had to crane our necks to look up and see the ship’s deck. I swear had the windows opened, you could have touched the side. Not what I was expecting, but when there were no tankers cruising by, we did have a nice view of the river.
I was in a room with Alan, Giacomo, and another fighter. Geoffrey, his wife and Gerlach had another room, and Nathanial, his wife and another fighter were in a third. I don’t recall how we spent the evening, probably talking to folks and getting dinner. We wanted to keep it relatively quiet the night before the battle, wherein they’d outnumber us and we use terrain, or vice versa.
I’ve described the melee battle. It began in typical SCAdian fashion, about an hour later than scheduled. It was obvious not everyone was as reserved that night before as we were, as there was much stumbling, vagueness, and a little throwing-up-in-your-mask. I’d love to report this was mostly among the Trimartians, but I’d be lying and y’all know I never…well, I’m not this time, anyway.
Following our roundabout victory, we watched some of the armored battles and returned to the hotel where court was to take place. While I have been in some large courts since, this was the first one I had attended in a ball room. It was huge. We were seated in the back and the vivats came back at us in a Doppler effect wave, so that our vivats were yelled after the next piece of court business had begun. It didn’t affect court, as the dais couldn’t hear us any better than we could them. Since we were fighting a war between Atlantia and Trimaris in Meridies’ land, there were 3 sets of monarchs, with 3 courts and 3 sets of Royal business. Court was long. Very long.
A Savior Appears
As we had sat down for court, I noticed a hotel employee in the back of the hall. He was setting up a bar, likely I thought for a reception of some type scheduled for after court was done. About an hour into court, I noticed the fellow again. He had on his black vest and bowtie and was standing at the bar, with his hands behind his back; he looked like he was waiting. I got up and walked over to him and inquired if he was open. He said yes. I held up my American Express and asked if he took charges. He said yes. I turned to my compatriots, AMEX card still in my hand and yelled “Cash bar!”.
I was at an event once where there was a small explosion in the kitchen, before feast, but while most everyone was in the hall. No one was hurt, but the hall was evacuated in case of fire. That evacuation for an explosion and possible fire wasn’t anywhere near as fast as the flood that came at that bar. I was first in line and I think ordered 5 or 6 drinks, spread out amongst my crew. Easily half the hall rushed to the back. It may not be the only court to have an cash bar, but it’s the only one I’ve ever seen.
Giacomo was Queen’s Champion at that time and was behind the thrones, where there was much whimpering and wailing and sad looks among the various retinues. The Crowns looked at Their fancy goblets, filled with water and frowned Royal frowns. Others had begun bringing drinks up to the retinue, who were passing them back and forth between them. The Crowns looked back at them, then to Their water-filled goblets, then back at the retinue. I’m told no words were spoke, but messages were heard. In short time, kings and queens were quaffing rums & coke, Pina Coladas, Margaritas, and (‘cause we were in the south), Red, White & Blues. I don’t know if or how this affected court, as we still couldn’t hear them, but it didn’t shorten it, as I went back at least 3 times to refill. Alas, these herculean efforts to happy the populace of 3 kingdoms did not result in my getting any kind of award. They should have at least given the bartender a KAE.
I can honestly say I do not recall what happened after court. It’s pretty much a blur. Everyone went off to see folks, talk to folks, at some point I assume food was had. Nothing burned down, blew up, or got trashed – as far as I know.
I do recall that I had ended up hanging with Padraig (WS #7) and wandering the hotel. We ended up in Geoffrey and Gerlach’s room, where we had a grand ole time, without the benefit of Geoffrey or Gerlach participating. Or maybe they did, at first. Eventually, it was just Padraig and I, sitting on one of the beds, while the rooms inhabitants tried to sleep. Gerlach, not being at all taciturn, started suggesting we get out. It was the 3rd time he explained, loudly, that we should get the fuck out. Padraig looked at me and noted that he thought Gerlach was serious, saying “I think he’s serious”. We left dressed the same as when we arrived: I had on some kind of hat, and Padraig was wearing a hennin; pink, if I remember correctly. To this day, I don’t know from whence he got it; I don’t believe he does, either.
The Journey Home
In truth, I don’t remember much about the trip home, other than at some point 2 hours into our journey, we were in negative travel time. I think the trip back took twice as long as the trip down. I slept most of the way, mostly to avoid the moving sand table debriefing of the battle the day before. Army guys, waddaya gonna do?
The beginning of the trip, however, was memorable. Four of us were in one room. At around 7 in the morning (that’s 7 o’clock in THE FUCKING MORNING!) the phone rang and someone (Alan?) got up to answer it. It was Nathanial, our stalwart driver, asking if we were up and getting packed. Our man advised that we were, hung up and went back to bed.
Half an hour later, the phone rang. Someone else got up to answer. Nathanial (again) advised he had the van almost all packed and wanted us to bring down our stuff. Our man (Giacomo?) said, “On our way”, hung up and went back to bed.
Fifteen minutes or so later, the phone rang. Pretty sure I got up this time. Nathanial asked where we were, and I advised we were half way there, hung up and went back to bed. It was maybe only ten minutes later there was a knock at the door. Someone (no clue) got up to answer; I heard Nathanial’s indignant voice that we weren’t even up yet. That was pretty much the end of it, we all had a good laugh, got up, dumped gear and clothes back into bags and were down and squared (-ish) away and on the road.
In all, it was a most excellent adventure; there was a journey, drink, a battle, more drink, women, Royal intrigue with even more drink, and carousing good fun. Those were the days, my friends, and you are accursed to have been not there.
And that’s the way it was