Thoughts on Mudthaw

Mudthaw! Holy (baronial) cow! What a day! Mudthaw is an amazingly full, all day event, that is always packed with friendship, fighting, music, food, court, arts and sciences, and many wonderful memories– but this year truly outshone. Yesterday was a day of surprises and many wonderful moments that I will cherish for years to some. Here’s some of my highlights…

As many know the prep work for Mudthaw begins months in advance. My wife, Emeline, deals with this a little more directly than I as she serves as Chatelaine for Settmour Swamp. She does a lot of work to make sure the Barony looks it’s best and is as inviting as possible for newcomers (and I am happy to be able to lend her a hand). We prep Gold Key, make display boards and brochures, created new baldrics and belt favors, and this year she tackled a new project– replacing the baronial banner poles that serve as the backdrop for the Mudthaw stage. She will be posting more details about these projects, but suffice it to say we had a decent amount of work to do to prep for her office’s responsibilities and the event.

The new baronial banner poles doing their job.

In other officer related tasks, I recently became deputy exchequer and volunteered to help set up and breakdown troll and see it in action at big event like Mudthaw. Unfortunately, (thank you to Mabel and Charis for being so efficient!) by the time I arrived troll had already opened, but I did manage to run a shift early on to help get every trolled in. It was A LOT of people but everyone was in a great mood and looking forward to the event so the time sped by quickly. I suddenly realized I still needed to get my fencing equipment inspected but morning court had already begun. I was able to make it out to the list in time to see Baroness Beatrice de Warynton become Don Lorenzo Gorla‘s cadet (congratulations to them both). Then a roaming court was cried and, to my surprise, I was called into court…

I was surprised an every honored to be inducted into the Order of the Silver Rapier by their Majesties. I was incredibly moved by the response shown me, the thoughtful medallions I received, and the elegant scroll I received by Morwenna O Hurlihie. I have been entrusted with three very special medallions: the first by Ciaran Ua Meic Thire, the second by Wulfgar Silfrahárr that has lineage through the Barony, and the third from Jane Milford, another medallion that has lineage with my teacher Owyn Greenwood. I was incredibly humbled and very excited that I was able to be inducted in my home barony at an event that had an enormous pool of exceptional fencers. Thank you all for all of your support in helping me to become a better fencer and feel like a valued member of this community. With every practice I attend, I am able to learn and fight with some immensely knowledgeable fencers. I am constantly learning something new and made better by having this community in my life. I would also be remiss if I did not sincerely thank Erich Guter Muth for taking the time to recommend me for this honor. His support and encouragement mean the world.

I settled into a fencing list to begin the fencing tournament gracefully, handled by Master Orlando Sforza, just in time to be pulled away (but for the best reason possible). I had to make it to the rotunda where Mästarinna Margreþa La Fauvelle was waiting to make me her apprentice! She wrapped a gorgeous green belt around me (tailored to my persona and period) and we signed a contract in the presence of my local Coronets and her Laurel Sabine de Kerbriant! The ceremony was short but filled with a lot of fun/shenanigans (as you might expect from Margreþa and me). I think that we work well with each other and can’t wait to see what else we can accomplish. I cannot thank her enough for all the support she has given me over the last year. Consequently, the contract we all signed was a actually a beautiful scroll my wife created based upon period indenture scrolls. The text was written in duplicate, and, after signing, we actually ripped the scroll in half so that both Margreþa and I could keep a copy.

After the belting ceremony, I raced back to the list field where my list was in a holding pattern until I could make it back. Looking around the list, there were a lot of familiar faces and a few new-to-me fencers; I was able to learn lessons from both. And though I didn’t make it past the first round. I was able to fight the tournament winner Gerhardt von Hohensee; A well-deserved win from a skillful fencer. I walked away from the tournament feeling like I had learned several valuable lessons (and of course, had a great time). Special thanks to Isabel Chamberlaine for giving me some new things to try with cloak!

After some much needed lunch (and a sleeve of thin mints), we processed in for Baronial Court to announce the winners of the competitions and Their Excellencies usual “Thawing of the Mud” schtick, Ellynor Redpath, Ciaran Ua Meic Thire, and Jane Milford were called into court to receive their Iron Towers (congrats friends). After baronial court, we had a few moments and then quickly lined up to process in for Royal Court. Their Majesties bestowed numerous awards and raised three Peers during their evening court. There were wonderfully heartfelt moments for so many deserving people and our new A&S champion, Þórfinnr Hróðgeirsson, (Settmour represent) was chosen!

After court finished, many people enjoyed the high-energy performance from the Universal African Dance Ensemble as they performed an hour-long set with dancing and drumming. Our North African-themed event was brought to life in a profound way with this performance moving so many people. I’m glad we were able to have them there! We then had a North African-inspired feast to end the day…and the figs and candied citrus peels were a delicious way to end a day that was full of surprises, food, and fellowship. So many thanks to all those involved that make such an enormous event with so many moving parts go off without a hitch! I feel so lucky to have been able to attend and be a part of this wonderful event. Ut luto vescantur.

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