It began Friday morning, the anxiety attack. As I grow older my desire to be around large groups of people has declined. I've never been one for crowds, and that aversion has worsened over time. But this wasn't just a matter of crowds, I was terrified of going to a large...very large SCA event. Involuntarily I kept running through scenarios that would keep us away, but this was Turtle's wedding, dammit, and if I wasn't going to allow the feral equines to defeat me, I sure as hell wasn't going to give in to some foolish neuroses. So I shopped, and packed, and prepped the car, and did my best to look forward to the event. I got myself and the COA ready, and waited for the others to get home. Those others being Mrs. Marius, and JJ, one of my favorite former high school students who had played in the SCA prior to moving to Florida, and was coming with us to act as governess to the young'n. We finally got on the road around 6ish, stopped for a bite, and wended our way into the wilds of Northern Florida.
It was a dark and stormy drive, but we arrived safe and sound around 9pm. I managed to hide my pounding heartbeat and overactive adrenal glands, but when we went to get our cabin assignment I nearly had a panic attack. Duke had reserved a cabin for himself, his family, us and our two mundane friends who would be attending also, but he wouldn't be arriving til Saturday afternoon. And there was some confusion as to which cabin was actually the one we were to be in. But it was eventually figured out, but there was enough uncertainty left that I was fearful of being displaced in the middle of the night. Fortunately that fear was unfounded, and the night passed without incident. There was, however, one wonderful moment that evening. After we had unpacked our vehicles, we went searching for the parking lot. Alas, in the inky blackness of a night far from city lights I missed the turn and ended up at the entrance to the campground. I leaned out of my window to ask the folks at the gate if were had gone too far, and a lady's voice called out, "Are you Marius?" I had to pause a moment since I have very rarely used that name in the 'real' world, and realized what she was asking. "Yes, I am." I said with some surprise. "I'm Alysoun!", she said, and I jumped out of my car to get a hug from this friend I'd never actually met. We laughed, and then explained what was going on to my puzzled wife in the car behind me, and all was well.
Saturday morning dawned, and we all arose, dined, and dressed. The forecast of scattered thunderstorms never happened, and the temps climbed into the upper 90's. The main crux of the event was Crown Lyst, which would decide the next king and queen. And as with all such things, the tourney started about two hours late. Added to that the lyst itself was designed to take as long as possible, which it did. So we wandered, we perused the merchant tents, we mingled. And I discovered something. I was once a fighter. There is a camaraderie amongst fighters that, even if you are not fighting, you are part of 'the club'. Unfortunately very few people there remember me in armor, and I did not plan on fighting this weekend so I did not have it with me. I felt very much the outsider, and most of Saturday was spent walking in circles, talking to the few who knew me, and generally feeling like a garden hose basket hilt. Useful once, but now obsolete. Never mind the fact that the mercury eventually hit 97, and I would probably have left the event in an ambulance had I armored up, I was not having the best of times. But I did my best to not let it show, and everyone seemed to have a good time. We had a nice visit with the folks from Marcaster, and made some plans to play with them some more in the future, and I met a gentleman who works at my school, and we had mutual friends from the old days, so the day wasn't totally boring.
Finally, the evening came, and we got dressed for the wedding. Targon had arrived, and was looking very monkish in his borrowed garb. Alas, Rico has a new job and couldn't get away. Unfortunately the lengthy lyst pushed everything back so far that the 7pm scheduled time for the nuptials became 9:30 or so, and Mrs. Marius had to leave before the ceremony began, as she had to work Sunday morning, and it was a 2.5 hour drive home. After I saw her off Duke gathered us for a wander about to look for the groom to be, and a friend from City of Heroes who plays SCA, yet we had never laid eyes on. We found him, and had a great time chatting and making future plans.(if they come to fruition I will have a hell of a blog for next weekend) The wine and Rumplemintz began to flow, and the Wihtgar of old began to emerge. Many more old friends and some new ones were well met, and there was much hugging and laughing. At one point as I walked past a group of people another voice summoned me, and KA grabbed me for a hug and chat and introduced me to her charming daughter. Then it was back to the cabin for some food, and more wine. Finally it was time for the wedding.
We gathered before the decorated arch, and the bride and groom approached. The service was brief, but beautiful, and then the party began. The food was excellent, and the libations plenty. There were toasts, and laughter, and the sharing of a very expensive whiskey amongst us old friends. The details of the night become just a bit hazy here, but I stopped just short of stupid drunk, and instead merely flitted about in a pleasant fuzziness. Eventually Duke and Targon called it a night, and JJ and I chatted for a while before I could keep my eyes open no longer, and sleep descended.
Sunday morning we gathered our stuff, packed up the vessels, and traveled south to break our collective fast at a nice little country restaurant courtesy of Duke and his lady. Then we all went our separate ways, and an uneventful drive home capped off the event.
The anxiety attacks were long forgot, and my wife and I came away from this journey determined to do such things more often. I plan to get my armor, and myself, back in fighting order, and we intend to get out of the house more often so that the next time we go to an event we'll have even more fun.
Duke and Targon mug for the camera.
The groom approacheth.
This was the only pic of the ceremony that came out.
Behold, the happy couple!