Travel was icky due to rain, although not exceptionally so. (Brand-crunchy-new tires make rain driving much more pleasant.) Had I not had Caitlin directing the route, I would probably have gotten lost twice finding my way into Manchester, but good signage in-town was a great help. (Unfortunately, they didn't put up signs for how to get out of town again, so that was slightly more of an adventure.)
Fortunately, the event was indoors, so I didn't have to risk turning my cold into pneumonia. The hall was a typical Armory: a gigantic concrete box. This one had a nicely arched ceiling, which made for acoustics that were bad even by armory standards. When I realized that I couldn't understand what the other heralds were yelling from 30 feet away, I knew that the day was going to be an adventure.
msmemory and I did our usual herding-cats routine with the combatants. (It has become Sacred Tradition by now that Crown starts with a Grand March -- all the combatants come in and present themselves to the Royalty, in reverse-precedence order. Caitlin is basically in charge of this.) There were 60 people entered into the tourney, so it was a long March. As usual, she dealt with all the muckety-mucks at the end of the line, while I arranged everyone at the front.
Spent the first several rounds of the tourney heralding, which was fun; the cough has subsided enough that it wasn't a big problem. It's fun playing ringmaster during Crown. Fortunately, I had the list near to where most of the fighters had dumped their armor, so it wasn't quite so hard for me to get their attention when they were due in my list. Also, a bunch of the more-experienced combatants were taking advantage of pauses in the action to wander from list to list and figure out where they needed to be next. Since we had eight lists running simultaneously, it was very helpful that some of the fighters were being clueful.
In general, the fighting was quite nice. Some Crowns I come away feeling just a little dirty, because some people want to win just a little too much, and it just stains the day. This one was quite nice, though -- everyone was fighting clean, there weren't any serious arguments, and there was a lot of talent on display. And the final four came down to Duke Randall, Tribune Darius (which is how he's been styling himself), Sir Thorson and Sir Kenrick, any of whom I would have been perfectly content to see win. Kenrick and Darius were the finalists, both of them undefeated coming into the finals. Kenrick was fighting fabulously well (he's looking more like Lucan every day), but Darius was swinging an impossibly hot stick, and took him down in two clean kills. Too bad, really -- while it would have made for a rather more complicated year for us, it would be quite entertaining to have a Silverwing on the throne. Oh, well -- at this point, Kenrick is getting better every time, and is likely to win eventually.
Didn't get to see much of the A&S competition, unfortunately, since I was running around doing the tourney all day. I feel a little guilty -- it was being run by Cecelia, an old friend of mine, and I'd meant to see more of it.
The protogee-ing ceremony for tpau was quite nice, and we managed to get a good crowd of friends to witness it. She's got some nice photos of the event.
We had to decamp for the other hall (several blocks away) for court, which meant that it was rather late and a bit smaller than it might have been -- a bunch of folks split rather than moving their cars. Poor Baron Harold wound up accepting a substantial pile of awards on behalf of various Stonemartians. It was a generally nice court, though, with a bunch of cool business. Kenrick received the Shield of Chivalry, along with a book that Gabriel (the previous holder) has put together, with one page for each holder of the shield that he's managed to track down so far. Yeliz got her well-deserved Silver Crescent. Baron Balthazar of Concordia was inducted into the Pelican (he had been totally poleaxed when they sent him on vigil early in the day), and they gave a Pelican Summons for a fellow from Ar-ne-l'elian-ne, way up in Newfoundland. (I dearly wish they'd do the summons thing for more peerages.) The day was capped with an Augmentation of Arms (basically the highest honor one can get in the East) for Duchess Marieke, which I think everyone agrees is richly deserved.
Once court was finished, we went out for sushi with tpau and learnedax. We were a shade nervous about it, since the susherie had just changed management and sushi chefs. But the new fellow seems to have learned well -- the sushi is still quite good, and it's the only place where Caitlin and I can eat an oinkingly large amount of good sushi for less than fifty bucks.
Off to four hours of Baronial Order Meetings. Whee...
"... This would explain the apparent American oversupply of superheroes compared with other nations in both the Marvel and DC universes. The other countries -have- the same percentage of 'persons of power', but American 'pops' have cultural conditioning encouraging them to don garish costumes and commit acts of violence in the name of law and order that most non-americans don't." -- James Nicoll