I survived Pennsic.
I arrived on Saturday and set up my tent with the help of Berus and Clark from Camp T, and hiked off to Northshield to report in and down to Vlad's to give Liz her belated birthday present. It was a little chaotic at Vlad's as they were preparing for the night's revels, so I left it with Rhys. Went up to Clan Kilkenney to talk to Konrad about the Heroic battles the next day, received marching orders, and went back to camp.
Sunday morning I got inspected and fought in the Allied Champions Battle, aka capture the flag. We made it through 45 of the 60 minute battle before it was called because of heat and attrition. I made it through half an hour before I accepted a slot as an alternate so I could rest and breathe with my helmet off for about ten minutes. Back to camp to shower and get some food, and mostly relaxed for the rest of the day and night. I did hike up to Northshield Camp to ask about muster for the next day, and to the food court for some birthday ice cream where I stood in line behind a fun older gentleman who gave me a sip of his Super Ultimate Death By Chocolate milkshake. My own was mint chocolate chip / moose tracks.
Monday I walked with the Northshield Army out to the battlefield. As we were fighting for the East, the tent was on the far side of the battlefield and near the top of the hill. Oy. We fought the field battle five times, mostly retreating as a delaying action (speedbump) for the first two, pressing back a little more on the third, and rolling the edge of their army on the fourth and fifth. (We won 4 and 5.) In one of those we approached the Midrealm combat archery command unit - who watched us approach and didn't fire - and would have wiped them out except that a flanking unit caught our attention instead. Monday night we did not fight in the Atlantian 10-Man Unbelted Melee as we didn't have the numbers; more to the point, we didn't think we had enough fighters who could stand up to the beating that tournament entailed. Upon speaking with some of the Ealdormerean team from last year, they have decided to retire from the tournament because the calibration is just too high. Instead, dinner with camp and helped them get set up for the Ealdormerean Known World Party which most of camp then attended until something like 4 AM. By which I was long abed.
Tuesday was the woods battle. I walked to Northshield and got a ride from there to the near side, then we walked to the far side. I blew a leg strap just as the battle started and spent a few minutes taping my leg back on, then fought mostly along the left side - side by side with some of the Camp T folks, His Highness Ansteorra (Miguel) and Her Majesty East - and we pulled and pushed through a line of scrub and trees for the duration. That evening I helped to marshal the Ealdormere Youth Tournament, stopped at a couple wedding receptions on the way home, and returned home to find Bucket's "not a vigil" party sprawling around the camp. I turned in relatively early again.
Wednesday was meant to be either Drunk All Day Day or Space Viking Day, or a combination of the two, but instead I fought in the Known World Rose Tournament. I fought for Her Highness Danae of Cynagua and got 33 points of a possible 70, which put me somewhere in the middle of the nearly 70 fighters on the field. Overall, out of the seven rounds (best two of three) I only completely lost one fight - the others I either won outright, won one of the three, or won two of the three. In one we double-killed twice and I won the third. After that, back to an exhausted camp - apparently two nights of partying in a row was too much. Drunk All Day Day had been renamed to Nap All Day Day. I did some quick shopping, then had dinner and led a couple new folks through a tour of Midnight Madness. We walked the whole shopping area and I finally deposited them at the Practical Viking, where Kjartan took the young man as a squire on runestone hill around 1 AM. At which point I was asleep in bed.
Thursday I helped move hay bales to set up the bridge battles, which I then fought. I took a ballista to the side of the head, was killed in more regular ways, and overall took out more opponents than I myself died. Back to camp to clean up, and then joined many of the folks from camp at Midrealm Court. I spoke in Bucket's Laurel ceremony, and am told that there's video of it. After that, back to camp to clean up the tent and go to bed.
Friday morning I finished packing and headed out to fight the final Siege battle. It didn't go well for our side - we were assigned to guard the rear flank of a unit which was transporting a heavy 'bomb' in a crate, but it turned out that nobody knew where the actual drop zone was. We did well, for what we did, but didn't do it quickly. When we switched sides, the Midrealm - who knew where the drop zone was - drove straight there, finishing the battle much more quickly than us. It was good fighting, I just wish the communication had been better. Back to camp, then, where I packed out and hit the road just ahead of the rain. The drive home was uneventful, and I unpacked the car and was in bed by 12:30 AM.
Yesterday I treated myself to breakfast at Denny's, did grocery shopping, washed all the things, dried and re-packed the pavilion, did the weeding which I've been ignoring all spring and summer, and caught up on work and personal email. Today I'm relaxing at home and ignoring the outside world - and doing some armor repair - before I return to work tomorrow.
The weather was alternately hot and humid, and warm and rainy. The roads are full of rocks and mud. I missed my wife terribly. But the people there are some of my favorites, the fighting is glorious, and I'm glad I went. Maybe next year the weather will be nicer and expenses will be low and Laura can come with me, and we can enjoy it all together.