Let's get it out of the way first, and talk about the weather. It was Crown Tourney in Montreal, and fortunately I've been taught by msmemory's experiences to expect horror. AFAIK, there have been three previous Crowns in Dragon Dormant. Two of them had cold rain all day; the third, of course, was the one that was held inside a big gym, so the weather was lovely. Yes, Murphy has a persona and makes a point of attending as many events as possible.
Anyway, I succeeded in being sufficiently paranoid to the moment, and the result was a far better experience than I probably would have had otherwise. Yay for thinking with my persona's brain: four layers, two of them thick wool, really is good enough for anything up to truly wretched weather, and this was merely kind of icky: cold but not frozen, raining kind of half-heartedly rather than trying to really make for a bad time.
My only garb failure was failing to remember (for the 20th time) that my cloak doesn't have a clasp any more, until I was already on the road. But lady_cassia was prepared for that, and more knowledgeable than I, and handed me an Eensy-Weensy Hook to replace the old snapped Huge Clasp, and tpau whipped it onto the cloak. To my astonishment, about a gram of wire suffices to hold about fifty pounds of cloak on my shoulders. So another Yay, for Smart Engineering.
Speaking of Engineering, I think everyone agreed that the most notable element of this Crown was the Shield Trees. This was His Majesty's pet project, and I have to admit to being a bit of a pain in the ass about it -- I've seen this attempted before, and it's too often foundered on poor traffic flow and underestimating the labor requirements. But lots of people helped out, especially Varju, who not only took the combatants' devices and turned them into lovely reusable laminated shields, but on the day-of led the project of taking the pairings from the Lists table and turning them into pairs of shields. Not a trivial project, and there were some tricks for future tournies to remember, but it succeeded in its goal: the pairings wound up displayed on the Oh-My-God-How-Tall-Are-Those? trees so that everyone could see them, without any significant delays in the running of the tournament.
(And the trees themselves are a marvel. I gather the design was inspired by some lessons from down in Atlantia. They're preposterously tall, but are cleverly hinged in the middle, so you unhitch them, swing the top down, put the shields on, and swing them back up, high enough to see from pretty much anywhere on the field.)
My primary focus for the day, of course, was Royal Court. Fortunately, we've had some nice easy Courts as warmups in previous events, but this one was full-on hardcore Court Dammit. Not a Birka-grade butt-buster, but a good 15+ items of business. And just to make it all *far* more fun, this is l'Isle Dragon Dormant -- which means everything has to be done in both English and French.
Fortunately, the IDD herald, Lord Cairn, is bilingual, and used to the unique challenges required there. He was really the MVP for that Court -- working with the scroll translator, reading the French version of all of the scrolls, and translating TRM on-the-fly as needed. So he basically did about as much talking as me, Tibor (who was helping me with the English side), and TRM combined.
There were several fun highlights of the Court:
- Ursion de Gui received a perhaps-unique distinction, having done the illumination for his own Burdened Tyger. He'd apparently done it as a blank some time before, it hadn't gone out, and he had been asking to get it back. So he did -- as his own scroll. (Which, I should note, was pretty excellent: an enormous full-page illumination that just got a bit of calligraphy added for the award.)
- Her Majesty got to demonstrate her super-power momentarily later, when Ursion asked if he could share the award with everyone who had worked on the event.
- One gentleman spent much of Court translating and helping a bunch of locals from Le Dragonet (a nearby Shire), so it was delightful seeing him receive a Terpsichore himself near the end of Court.
- The conclusion was an elaborate ceremony, one of those rare moments where a Court gets to actually *be* a Court. Someone had stolen Mistress Freya's award medallions and other regalia; this person was essentially tried in absentia. After that, several Esteemed Personages affirmed Freya's qualities, and asked that she be re-invested with her goods; new regalia was presented for each order, with lots of appropriate ceremony. It was all lovely -- not just schtick, but both period and moving schtick.
Other than that, there were lots of little memorable details to the event and trip:
- Kate's Dangerous Donuts of Doom (jelly-stuffed cupcakes rolled in butter and sugar -- *so* bad for me, but *so* good).
- Ken getting deep enough into the Crown list to make Cezilia rather nervous.
- Chatting with Julien de La Pointe about his grandchildren. (The De La Pointes are not only impossibly talented, but look that much younger than they really are? Seriously not fair.)
- Snow on Sunday morning (when we could think of it as decorative instead of horrible).
- Candy-shopping with tpau in the local supermarket. (The presence of 70% Dark Chocolate Kit-Kats does, I'm afraid, prove that Canada is more civilized than the US.)
- Being amused by the PFK -- Poulet Frites Kentucky -- next to said supermarket. (Okay, not *that* much more civilized.)
- Living in Total Communications Blackout for most of the weekend. (There was nearly zero cell coverage within about five miles of the site, and the roaming data plans cost something like $15/MB. I almost had withdrawal symptoms.)
- Chatting politics with tpau most of the way home. (Since we both actually find the topic interesting, and weren't going to drive anyone else insane, we took the opportunity.)
Overall, actually quite a lovely time. But most of all, it is gratifying to know that my Crown Socks (yes, I have a pair of heavy wool socks *specifically* for Crown Tournies now -- only took 25 years to figure out that I needed them) actually work...