Following the unhappy combination of the long performance weekend and the cold and rainy weather, many of the performers were ill this past week (myself included). I managed to recover, mostly, by Friday. Chant, Lewis, Alen and myself had a light joust rehearsal. I rode Tamra a bit (fun!!!!!) as well as working with Oso. Did rings, and did rather well. A couple of the guys started doing hits on the solid quintain. As I’ve not done so since last year, I asked to be given a lance. I galloped towards it and popped the lance in the ‘sweet spot’ on the wooden shield. This was good. I neglected to lift my lance arm once I’d hit. This was bad. The lance rebounded and slammed into my mouth. My teeth cut deeply into my lower lip. I spit blood into the sand, relieved that I’d lost no teeth but feeling 1. foolish and 2. pain. I probably should have gone to the ER for sutures, but as I had to pick Don up, prep food for the weekend and then return to Faire, I knew I’d never have time. By the time I arrived home, the bleeding had slowed considerably. I rinsed my mouth with salt water and hoped for the best. As for the Faire weekend itself...
Gorgeous weather, huge crowds. Despite my grotesquely swollen lip, I felt pretty good. Joust 1 started off well; I won the games, putting me in a tie (4-4) with Lewis. During the joust passes, Tamra (Alen’s horse) went a bit nuts. On our second pass, she dropped her head, then her shoulder, pulling Alen forward in the saddle. His lance fell across her withers, falling at a ninety degree angle across the list. As they galloped past, the lance slammed into the juncture of my torso and thigh, blowing a hole in my chain mail and hurting like a son-of-a-bitch. I assumed (correctly, as it turned out) that he was not going to be able to stay on her (insult to injury, she stepped on him after he fell). I ditched my helm and then shield, shouting "Is he all right?" to Robin. She nodded; I got off, somewhat amazed I’d not been unhorsed from the blow I’d taken. I limped to the center of the field and did my ground fight with Alen. When the show was done, I had a look at my thigh. Not pretty (and it only got uglier as the weekend went on... I have a bruise as big as both of my hands, and it’s as dark a purple as I’ve ever seen). I took a couple of Advil, wished I had my arnica with me, and stumbled to my next scene.
Alen felt so horrible about hitting me. I hope I convinced him that it’s all right, or rather that I am not permanently damaged. This is a stunt show involving large, strong and unpredictable animals. Even Oso has his moments. I knew when I undertook to learn how to joust that it was not without danger. I may not be big and burly, but I am pretty tough. I’m also smart enough to pull out if I sustain an injury that will hinder my performance or health. No stupid machismo here. That being said... this bruise SUCKS. Riding is beyond uncomfortable. Walking, standing... between the swelling and the resulting pressure, my leg and hip constantly ache. Still, it’s discomfort, not debilitation.
Anyway... Joust 2 rolled around, and the decision was made that we would not be using Tamra for joust passes for the remainder of the run. She can do games, if need be, but that’s it. We fudged a three man, two horse joust (Oso and Dante being the horses, Jeff, Lewis and myself being the jousters). Alen stayed on the ground; it was set that he’d do a joust down w/Lewis, after which he would beat up on me, causing Lewis as Hood to take him down prior to doing our usual melee. Right before the ceremony that precedes the Joust, Laura told me Tammy was there. I ran out, not yet in armor, to say hi to Tammy, Tim and Raquel. Naturally I blithered about getting hit earlier on, and that I wished I’d known they were coming so that I might have had comps, etc. They stayed through Pub Sing, which was lovely, so I got to chat with them a bit.
Cast party and talent show were that evening (dress code: pajamas). I went in my red union suit with a tank top underneath. The talent show was the best it’s been in years, mainly because of its brevity. There had been requests for the Singing Wenches to do our ‘Cell Block Tango’ parody. Odd not to be doing it in a bodice, but it went over HUGE. Very nice. Cat is an astoundingly talented parodyist. Despite the availability of unlimited free beer, I crashed early.
Another beautiful day, even larger crowds. My chess game fights went pretty well. Wench sets were well attended. Kelley and I finally got to have our brownie sundaes (YAY!!!!). I won the games in Joust 1 again, pulling ahead of Lewis. Two more chances; Gods, but I hope I win!!! Most importantly, Nick got to joust. It was decided that he would sub in for Alen in joust one, and do three passes with me. He’s sixteen, and has worked so hard at this. I talked with him before we rode out. "I’ll give you great shield on the first pass so you can hit me. Second pass, we’ll both try to hit. Third pass just focus on giving me shield, since I need to knock you off." He was cool with that. I asked him then if he was ok with my shield (it’s angled differently from everyone else’s). "I know how to hit your shield," he replied.
In order to enable Nick to joust, we had to tweak the scene a bit. After the games, Gisbourne refused to joust a mere ‘woman.’ Norfolk therefore knighted Gisbourne’s squire (Nick), while I stood there about to bawl with pride. We did our three passes: first one, he hit me beautifully. Second pass, I pasted him and he nearly hit me (in hitting him though, I exacerbated the injury on my right hand; it went all but numb, making holding the next lance a challenge). Third pass, he gave perfect shield; I hit him easily. The rest of the show proceeded as usual, save I don’t normally run across the field to give my opponent a kiss and tell him how blasted proud I am of him.
We told Nick he had to go to Pub Sing at the end of the day, that it was tradition after your first joust. He went, all unknowing, and right before the final song Ann (as Queen Elizabeth) made an announcement about Nick’s feat that day, called him to the stage and knighted him. Alen presented him with a silver knight pendant (all of the jousters wear them; our spouses wear the same design in gold). Kelley and I cried, then outright sobbed as Nick said a few words about JT (fellow jouster and joust director who moved to the west coast over a month ago).
A good weekend, all told. Only one left. Where did the summer go?