The Friar Goes Dancing

by Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno)

It was overcast as I finished my midday meal and began my long journey to the distant Barony of Scattered Crystal. The impulse behind this journey was the desire to attend the fabled Crystal Ball, a day long extravagance dedicated to the art of dance. Though I had long wished to make this pilgrimage, it was only now that the grace of God has allowed me.

The long trip passed uneventfully till I reached the environs of the Barony of Three Rivers when my steed threw a shoe. Hastily fitting a temporary shoe, gratefully that the rain showers that had been threatening the entire time held off till after dealing with this inconvenience, and noting the need to find a farrier the following morning, I continued to my destination. Finding that farrier proved more daunting then expected, and who proved sufficiently busy, that arrangement had to be made to leave my steed there for the day. Overall, the incident was but a minor annoyance.

The site was a large school complex, and a little exploring found the troll at the entrance of the gymnasium in the back. Actually the site consisted of three gymnasiums, several multipurpose rooms, and the usual assortment of classrooms. As I entered the main gym, to one side a dozen or so people were learning various dances, while to the other those of the fencing persuasion were practicing. Those in the middle gym occupied themselves in standard sword fights while others were making their sleeping arrangements. And in the far gym, the merchants were setting up their wares.

I joined those testing out their skills at dancing. I was pleasantly surprised to meet several folks I knew from Ansteorra. Having enjoying a number of dances, fatigue from the long journey asserted itself, and I found a quiet corner to sleep.

Midmorning saw the beginning of the planned teaching. For most of the classes I attended, I largely knew the dances, but every region has its quirks that can catch the unwary on the dance floor, and there were several that seemed strange to my eye. The classes ranged from the simplest English County to the athletic Russian, from early Bassa to the Renaissance, with etiquette and reconstruction classes tossed in. There was no lack of things to learn.

As the classes ended and some prepared for the formal feast, I with Lord Donald and his lady Zoe with others searched out an establishment where the Mongols cooked rather then pillaged. While simple in preparation, there was plenty and as spicy as one dared. It was very popular.

Just prior to the start of the ball there was a short court. This mostly consisted of a reenactment of the investiture of the local baronage. This included a telling of the history of the barony, notable in that it was one of the side effects of Calontirís independence. There was also a reading of the list of previous barons, which include one who would have been Warlord of Calontir had not Calontir become a principality when it did.

As the accouterments of court were being carried away, the musicians took the stage for the start of the ball. The ball was structured into six sets, each a mixture simple and challenging dances. Such were the numbers dancing that the circle bransles need three concentric rings of dancers to accommodate them all. On the Korabushka, the stomping had the floor vibrating. After the second set a break was called so that all may partake of the large dessert buffet. To entertain those waiting in line, a group of singers performed a song detailing the ball based on a tune from the musical play "Grease." While the musicians retired after the third set, the bards in a box continued to belt out tunes so that the dancing may continue. During the course of the fifth set, long after the office of matins (3 AM) I began to fatigue. Facing the start of a long journey on the morrow I decided it was best to retire, even though there were still many active on the dance floor.

The morning came all too soon. But as the innkeeper insisted that all leave by midmorning, I made my preparations for the journey home. The skies were still overcast as I left, but as I left the shire of Standing Stones behind, they began to clear. I arrived at home without incident, weary but satisfied with the experience.


Copyright © 1997 - present His Lordship Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno). All rights reserved.

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