It was a very good weekend.
Imagine a tent as high and long and wide as a king's hall. A tent of white canvas, made in sections, open at the ends to the night breezes; open here and there between the sections to the night sky.
Imagine pine trees around it, and more stars overhead than you've seen in many, many, many years.
Imagine a fire in the middle of the tent-hall, bright and central as the fire in a British mead-hall. Along the sides of the hall and in the back are chairs. At the head of the hall, a King's and Queen's thrones.
Imagine people in the chairs, and a crowned King and Queen on the thrones. They are waiting, all of them, for a performance. They are waiting, all of them, to choose a Royal Bard.
The first of five competitors rises and steps out beside the fire, and begins to sing. She sings in Welsh and then in the common tongue, a lament made by a bard for a king's son in the very-long-ago. She sits down, and the second bard arises, to declaim poetry. And so it goes, until each has performed twice. The King and Queen retire to consult, and return to announce their decision to the people's applause.
And the night's performances have only just begun.
Stories, songs, poetry, poured out like a bright stream from the cauldron of inspiration. At last the night is old, and the fire is quenched, and all those in the tent-hall stumble off through the darkness to their beds.
Welcome to the Current Middle Ages, and the best of being a bard at an SCA war.
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