Posted by: Rashid_al_Qasim on Aug 04, 2011
Ok so as some of you may know, last year I went to Tournament of Armies 1 in Lions Gate, An Tir. It was a bit rocky, some major delays and schedule changes. There was a lot of very cool ideas being implemented, such as a warband processional in which all the armies came into court and presented a bit of propaganda for their side. Nice idea, but it took quite a while and it was less than comfortable waiting around in that armour. The idea that A&S and service added to your Warlord's warchest was also great, but alas the economy became a bit inflated due to all the volunteering.
This year, none of those were issues.
Despite the fact that the event venue had been changed at the last minute (flooding and mosquito infestation of the original site), the entire thing went over very smoothly. Well, less smoothly for me and my lady Artemis, since we got lost a time or two on the way and when we got there, we found that our tent had the wrong polls. No worries though, Johanna gave us the use of her tent for the weekend, to which we responded by gifting her with Turkish delight (the candy, not a swarthy man from Istambul) and Belgian and Insula Magna beer.
Court was very quick, lots of banners and pomp for all the warlords. Right after that we basicly jumped right into war mode. There were a lot of people there, easily twice as many as last year. A great deal of fighters as well were present, and a solid force of Rapier mercenaries. It was starting to feel like a big event.
I pledged my services to Baroness Margaret of Lions Gate as an archer to gain her army boons. I even submitted my bow quiver into the A&S competition to give her some more coins, and was drawn into judging a research paper as well. Despite not having any documentation (except what I gave for an oral presentation), I scored pretty decently. I'll put some of the feedback up in the blog when I get around to posting about the project in question.
After that it was archery. The set-up took quite a while, and it was damn hot on that field. Lady Jaqualine, who was MIC, did an amazing job of providing us with shade, water, and a lot of fun shoots. I shot myself a king-sized rabbit, shot two arrows through a cross-shaped loop hole and one arrow through an inch-wide 'Assasins Slot' in a castle wall. I was one of only 3 archers to make that shot (One was a Gray Goose, the other was just a really good archer!). We even had enough space for a Clout Shoot (the kind where you have to aim your bow 45 degrees up to hit a target 100 yards away). Our group of archers earned many boons and points for the Baroness' army, and it was an absolute pleasure to be on the line with the fantastic archers from Lions Gate.
The evenings were... well... The first night the Drakkar's invited me to drum with them. I only had my little thing that I picked up at San Fransisco (the store, not the city) and scraped off the painted pot leaf, but they were incredibly encouraging and gave me hope for my white-man rythem syndrome, AND my lady even got up and danced a little in her new Turkish garb. I also drank nearly all the wine and most of the beer we brought.
The second night I got to sit back and enjoy the sound of my favorite instrument in the world: The Saz, as played by Shareef Musiqi al-Rashid. If you haven't heard one, youtube it. There was also much dancing, coin tossing, singing of drinking songs, and one awkward moment when Tiampo was feeling me up.
The following Sunday was my favorite moment of the weekend. I got to teach my lady Artemis (Caitlin) how to shoot a bow. I even made her up a bracer from some leather the night before in expectation of her loving this part of the hobby. I don't mean to brag, but she got pretty darn good with that bow. By the end, she wasn't missing the target once at 20 yards. I was very proud and thrilled that she was enjoying it so much.
We packed up a little early and left site before 2pm on Sunday. After saying goodbye to all our new friends and old, we got lost on the highway back to the ferry. Not to worry, we made it out and caught the 5pm ferry with no difficulty. Caitlin was lamenting that the weekend was over so soon, and I could definatly relate. I highly encourage everyone reading this to go next year to Tournament of Armies.