This year’s Yule was truly one to remember. It was beautiful, enjoyable, and altogether a fantastic way to celebrate our wonderful Barony and the people in it.
I would first and foremost like to thank Lady Lianor and her crew. Events of this size require a huge amount of planning, and have many moving parts that no one sees if everything goes according to plan. From what we saw and heard, the event ran very smoothly. Everyone we have talked to said that they had a wonderful time, and the fact that Their Majesties were able to relax and enjoy the day speaks volumes about the amount of hard work went into planning, prepping and pulling off the day. Well done all of you!
I would also like to call out the cooks who worked throughout the day. I know that I will not be able to mention all of them, so I will just say that Mistress Juliana, The Honorable Lord Muin and Lady Jadwiga put out a bountiful spread that was both delicious and interesting. I will look to them to acknowledge the rest of their fine crews. Just know that more than one person found it necessary to restrain themselves throughout the day as they kept wanting to go back for more, and more, and more. Thank you for your work and your artistry.
Speaking of artistry, we had two Baronial championship competitions: Brewing and A&S. Judging the brewing was especially difficult and enjoyable this year as the variety and quality of offerings was unlike what we have seen before as a whole. Nearly all of the entries were period, had interesting documentation, and such a set of flavors. They ran from the sweet to the sour, to the just plain interesting. In the end, Thane Alexander won with a dry Italian wine that we could sweeten to taste with honey, following researched instructions. We hope to see more of that in the coming months. The A&S competition also saw a remarkable variety of entries. I think my favorite part was that all of them showed such a love of investigation and experimentation. I had the feeling that everyone was stretching themselves and really learning from their projects as well as teaching others. In the end Lord Lorenzo became our champion and was also Populace Choice. We are pleased to have both these fine gentles stand with us as our Champions in the coming year. Lady Shoshana did the illumination and Baroness Marietta did the calligraphy for both Champion scrolls; thank you both for service and especially your skills!
I would like to give a special thank you to Lady Alesia for running the Youth activities this year. From all accounts, the children had a wonderful time and there were quite a few smiling faces (and multi-colored fingers) to be found throughout the day. That is definitely one of the jobs that can be easy to overlook when it’s going well, but it is definitely appreciated. The children continued to have fun later in the day when His Majesty King Brennan read to them for an hour. Baron Mael Eoin took the retaining shift for that hour and was able to join in the fun.
While all this was going on in the lower two floors, musicians and dancers took over the library for an all-day dance session. although we were not able to participate, I have it on good authority that this was an excellent idea. The dancers and musicians alike had an absolute blast and would like to see more of this kind of set up at events. I hope to see it as well.
Our Court was a busy one this year. In addition to welcoming our new champions into court, we accepted their fealty, as well as that of the officers of the Barony, the Bailiwick and the Canton. The Bailiwick and the Canton both paid their taxes this year and Lords Berrick, Lorenzo and Martyn also presented fees or shares of the profits of their Baronial Appointments. Thanks to the great generosity, we were able to in turn pay our taxes to Their Majesties and Her Highness in the form of freshly roasted coffee of various kinds and roasts. We were also able to make two additional Appointments: Baroness Alesone is now the keeper of all the pandas in Fairmount Park that do not reside in the Zoo, and Lady Lianor is now Our Court Astronomer. We were indeed so prosperous this year that we were able to create the position of Constable which now belongs to Lord Calin. We hope that he is able to help us keep track of our taxes and who has paid them in a timely manner.
An additional tribute was given in the form of a lovely song that was written and performed for me. It is to the tune of “Oh how a rose e’er blooming” and was both touching and lovely. I’m sure you can get Baroness Suba to sing it again if you ask. I would tell you more about it, but I was rather overwhelmed by the experience and so will have to hear it again to be able to tell you more than it was touching and beautiful. I’m sure that could be arranged.
Baron William Graham was inducted into the Order of the Harlequin for his skills and teaching of brewing. Lords Stoldo and Taldo were recognized as Companions of the Order of the Horse, as was Baron Rowen. Master Arden did the calligraphy and illumination for Stoldo and Taldo. Baroness Sabine wrote and did the calligraphy for Rowen’s scroll. We were all very pleased to be able to surprise our Salamander Pursuivant. Not an easy task, but a fun one. And speaking of heralds, we would like to thank everyone who read in our Court. I know that Mistress Sabine, Mistress Judith Fitzhenry, Baroness Suba, Lady Zhelana and Lady Ravenna all helped with reading, and Mistress Gisela was our Silent Herald for the day. Thank you kindly for stepping up and helping. I do apologize if I missed anyone, but the transitions were so smooth, they were easy to miss.
After our Court was closed, Their Majesties opened Their Court and what a Court it was. Ravenna and Alana are now Ladies of the Court and Osric and Quintus are both Lords. Juliana and Damiana were both awarded their Burdened Tygers from the last reign for their work on Coronation. We also had 15 newcomers come up to be recognized by the Crown. (Apparently, there would have been 16, but one of them had to step out right as folks were being called up.)
In addition, you may have heard that some Writs went out at Yule. In fact, four writs went out. Baroness Alesone will be sitting vigil for her Laurel at 12th Night, and Lady Lissa will have a date announced in the future. Baroness Suba will sit vigil at EK Bardic Champions and Baron Mael Eoin will contemplate the question before him at the Schola in the Shire in Caer Adamant. I for one could not be more pleased about these four being elevated. They are all incredible assets to our Barony, the East Kingdom and the Society at large. They are so very deserving. Please make sure to congratulate everyone who was recognized at Yule when you see them. It really was a joyful day.
In parting, I would like to especially thank the folks who worked the Gate this year. Over the course of the day, they processed 97 walk-ins in addition to the folks who pre-registered. And they were all cheerful, if a little blurry-eyed at the end of the day. This is a remarkable feat, and the day could not have happened without their, and everybody else’s, help.
Thank you all again for a fantastic Yule. It was a real pleasure.
Baroness Ysmay and Baron Mael Eoin