Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What You Missed - Black and White 2015

You weren't able to make it to the annual Black and White Masquerade this weekend past? Pull up a chair then, and let me tell you a little bit about what you missed.

The Black and White has been a long-standing event in the Realms, well-known for the quality of the food served, the large auction, and of course, the dancing! All of these were, of course, in full effect again this year, along with various other activities both old and new. King Sir Cecil and the people of Chimeron are ever the gracious hosts.

Upon arriving in Chimeron, guests were given auction tickets by Sir Iawen and Magus Sir Bright. This afforded us the opportunity to try win a prize from the auction table, which was laden down as usual. Sir Wil and Princess Bryn work hard to solicit items both sundry and exotic, and there was an excellent selection to peruse this year, including baked goods, clothing, jewelry, boots, leather and other supplies, as well as various trinkets and the ubiquitous "mystery boxes."  The drawing of the tickets later in the evening was, and always is, a much-anticipated occurrence at the Black and White. 

The weather was pleasant, with just the right amount of chill in the air, and guests were able to walk about the grounds in earnest. The first part of the afternoon saw the annual Champion of Chimeron Tournament. Many Chimeronians entered, and all fought bravely and to the best of their ability (be they caster or fighter), but in the end - Sir Therian of the Felwood emerged victorious, and assumed the title that had previously been held by Sir Oliver. 

There was also a quest for those more recently arrived in our Realms which, as far as I know, involved retrieving Aymise's missing spoon and which these adventurers seemed to enjoy. In addition, there was a small obstacle course set up by Lady Hope of Paradise, which put many of those who attempted it into some pretty awkward positions and provided much merriment to those of us who were spectating.  Tournaments were run throughout the day for those with battle and bloodshed on the brain, and there were other quests running as well that were open to all those of an adventurous mind. One of these involved foiling the agenda of the Risen Kingdom to forge the Iron Road as the adventurers attempted to disable and remove four anchors found in the woods that were being used in the forging. Lost souls dressed all in back were also seen wandering the grounds, begging people to end their misery, though to what end or purpose I am not certain.

 And of course, Blue showed up to wreak a bit of havoc, as it is wont to do at the Black and White.  While on the subject of customs, Pater Yule's mailbox also appeared in the woods  that day, and those who braved a short walk up the hillside were able to write their heart's desire in a letter and drop it in said mailbox in the hopes that their wishes would be answered come Yule time.  And a new custom this year - in honor of the holiday, candy was available for younger guests to ask for and consume (and older guests as well!)

Inside the hall there was plenty of activity going on as well. The Chimeron Shop/ Realms Outfitters was open and doing a brisk business, as was the Chimeron Royal Casino, and people were dropping tickets into auction envelopes as they got them.  King Sir Cecil was sitting in state on his throne in the back of the hall, for any who wished to capture his ear. 

And I would of course be remiss if I didn't mention the food!  The large tables in the front room were never empty, as a plentiful array of tasty treats were brought out continuously throughout the day. The beverage selection included the traditional poison punch, as well as hot mulled cider, among others. Some of my food favorites included the spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce, the sandwich triangles (apple, turkey and cheese and english/italian meat and cheese! Also, cucumber sandwiches!), the mini-quiches (sausage and spinach! Mushroom asparagus, and swiss! Bacon, potato, and cheddar!), chicken teriyaki skewers, the beef-on-a-stick that you could cook in a pot of hot broth, and the French onion soup.  

Other selections included cheese balls and crackers (one of which was styled like a porcupine), a trio of hot dips (including buffalo chicken and spinach and artichoke) as well as homemade cheese dip and guacamole. There were other varieties of soups in addition to the french onion, including tomato bisque and accompanying grilled cheese triangles for dipping . There was pork and sausages wrapped in dough, a delectable ham, deviled eggs, and prosciutto-wrapped melon.  Crabbies also made their time-honored appearance. 

There was also a variety of fresh fruit, assorted mini muffins (pumpkin spice and lemon poppy), and crudites with ranch dip.  And my favorite - chocolate-peanut butter mini cupcakes for dessert (and some vanilla mini cupcakes as well, but really, who cares about that when there's peanut butter frosting?) as well as an assortment of cookies. And I'm sure I'm forgetting  some of the other items that were served, but considering that I was so full I pretty much had to roll myself out of the hall, I think I can be forgiven for any omissions here. 

It would not be Black and White without Chimeron court. Here is a list of all court items, as best as I can remember them:

  • Atticus announced the availability of mantles for newer adventurers courtesy of the Order of the Peacock
  • Balthasar of Eagle's Rook  asked for permission to plant trees throughout the Realms to combat the destruction caused by Bedlam
  • Captain Charwindle of Mayerling announced that the nation is looking for silver and silver weapons and asked for help in gathering these resources
  • Lord Sir Aeston of Rhiassa, along with Shader orf Ashenmark and Kite of the Oaken Guard, presented Oaken Guard graduation favors to Swift and Darvon of Mayerling
  • Swoop of Clan Riverhawk performed a sonnet to Princess Bryn as part of a squirely task
  • Magus Janus of Chimeron took Edwin as his apprentice
  • Orion was made Captain of the Chimeron Militia, and Vero was named Lieutenant
  • Sir Oliver named Aymise of the Felwood as Second Adviser to the Crown (himself being the first) and presented her with an original Chimeronian shield
  • Aymise names Kyomi and Cimone of Chimeron as Royal Patisseurs of Chimeron, both of them having tied in the annual dessert competition 
  • The Crown announced that the people of Khae Ossrim would not be held accountable for the actions of the fathers
  • The Crown appointed Sir Therian of the Felwood as Master of the Currency
  • Sir Oliver appointed Sir Radstar as head of the in-service and a Lord of the Court
  • Cimone welcomed Orion into the Azure Guard, and renewed her vows to Chimeron and the Crown
  • Kovaks was appointed as a Foster of the Royal House, and Kyomi was made a full member of the Royal House
  • King Cecil introduced the Cup of the King, which would guarantee the holder the King's ear and undivided attention on any matter when invoked, with the caveat that the cup must be won "with blood" by challenging the current holder. The cup was entrusted to the Sir Therian, the Champion, for safe-keeping until the first challenge (it must be noted that Sir Oliver challenged him for the cup five minutes after the end of court, and won the cup after a pitched battle).
Other important happenings outside of court:

  • Rhiassa: in a small private ceremony midway through the day, Sir Gwen took Charlotte as her squire to the Knights of Rhiassa
  •  Mayerling: Darvon and Kamilla enlisted in the militia. Darvon received three battlefield commendations for valor. Katerina was promoted to First Archer, and named Champion of Mayerling and commander of the second squad.

As is customary, an evening of dancing followed the conclusion of court. All of the traditional favorites, including Toss the Duches and Hole in the Wall, were taught.  As a participant myself, I can assure you all that what the dancers lacked in experience, they certainly made up for with enthusiasm! Speaking for myself, I learn the steps at the Black and White each year, and yet somehow always manage to forget everything by the time the next year rolls around. Fortunately, Princess Bryn is a patient and thorough instructor, and this is always one of the best parts of the event for me. 

Following the dancing, the evening concluded with the Black Ticket Auction, after which Magus Sir Bright kicked us all out of the hall (not that I blame him, since we were there for most of the day!)
And so, that is what you missed at the Black and White Masquerade this year - a day full of food, fun, friends, dancing, pageantry, and tradition. Hopefully I'll see you there next year!

In Service,

Dame Areni Stromgate

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