The first stop was Lancaster, CA. Though we were running a little late, it seemed that the rest of the event was doing so as well, so it wasn't all that big a deal. I was able to deliver quite a few presents to friends before I went on. Alas, the event was not quite in full swing when I made my appearance, but there were two girls there who received presents. I also called up his Majesty for a gift. He skipped down the aisle, plopped himself into my lap and proclaimed "I want a pony!" As joeguppy has by this time hopefully discovered, you must be careful what you wish for. *evil grin* With a flourish and a "ho, ho, ho," annecathryn and I were off on our way to Starkhafn.
The drive from Lancaster to Boulder City, NV was uneventful. The traffic was very light, and we arrived on-site by 8:15. By the time we got there, 130 people had come through gate, and most of them were still there. I entered to a thunderous applause as people were finishing the last course of the feast save dessert, and later found out that the populace had been getting periodic updates on our progress. I passed along the Season's Greetings of all the baronies and shires I'd visited this season, then called up the children to receive their presents.
Children came running from everywhere, skidding to a stop at my feet. There were at least 20 of them, ranging from -1 month (carried by a very pregnant expecting mother) to...well...the Baron of Starkhafn, who promptly plopped himself into my lap and proclaimed, "I want a pony!" After the gifts were given out, the barony gathered around me and did a large group shot.
I need to take a moment and talk about the group photo (which you will find below). This really was one of the most beautiful moments of this season for me. Nearly all of the barony, as well as some prominent guests (on the left you can see Their Graces Dietrich and Adrianna holding their newest children, twin girls) gathered together as a family to document the joy of the evening. Apart from warbands, I've never seen this happen with a group in the SCA before, and I think it's a pity. Time is too precious, life too brief, to take such moments for granted. Some of the people in the photo may not be with us next year, whether it be because they move, move on, or pass on, and all we're left with is photos like these.
Anyhow, after the group photo, I was escorted to a corner of the hall, where individual photos were taken (when they come in, I'll share them). Then dancing, dessert, and lots of lovely singing by the ladies of the barony and annecathryn. We spent the night with the baroness, and woke up next morning to briefly visit the baronial fighter practice before heading home.
And now, as promised, some of the photos (bit blurry on the action shots, I'm afraid):
Thus ends another successful tour. I've got some great plans for next year, which I may share soon!