Ii Katsumori of the Palatine Barony of the Far West relates happenings at the recent Far West Fall Coronet.
Wind whipped at the waves far below on the coast as we gazed out from the ruined battlements of an ancient stronghold. Standing there, I reflected on the honor that I had been given, consort to a wonderful woman, and then made baron of one of the most incredibly unique locations in our Knowne World; the Palatine Barony of the Far West. Stretching over a distance greater than most kingdoms, and more isolated. A barony with ancient precedent, which had seen its share of ups and downs; it had been our privilege to look after these lands for the Crown of the West Kingdom for the past six months. Already, however, the curtain was starting to come down, as it must on every era, and a new one would begin.
What thoughts could the ghosts of ancient Ryukyuan kings offer at this time?
The Far West has challenges like no other barony, being disconnected and crossing national boundaries. For those who do not know, we stretch from Diego Garcia, up to Singapore, Thailand, and the Phillipines. It has had members in Guam, Japan, and Korea, and welcomes those SCAdians living in China. Our baronial meetings are, of necessity, a virtual affair, and we have even held virtual courts using modern technology to bring us together in unprecedented ways. Our ties to the military bases are both a blessing and a curse, and we are constantly fighting the challenges of the language barrier, as well as considerations of international relations. Perhaps we are closest in structure to the Kingdom of Drachenwald, but even there the analogy isn't perfect.
Often we encounter rules that have evolved for the SCA in the US that are difficult or impossible to implement in our environment. Most of the rules of setting up new groups seem to assume that you have another group within easy reach. Access to marshals and the creation of bank accounts in foreign countries has been a unique experience. Yet we have been graced by the likes of Mistress Siobhann and others in the Kingdom of the West who have helped us work with Corpora to keep the SCA alive and growing out here.
We have seen a tremendous growth in the activity during our time, and the people we have met will be always in our hearts; yet it cannot last forever, and it is time for a new couple to step up and guide the barony forward.
At the shores of White Beach, washed clean by the downpour the night before, we watched as members of the Stronghold of Battle Rock worked together like a well-oiled machine. The damp ground was hardly a problem, and the list field was quickly and efficiently moved. The rolls of the list were more full than any coronet list we had recently seen, as well, and the caliber of fighting would have shown well in any corner of the SCA. Fighting for their consorts, all of the competitors showed great honor and chivalry on the field, from the newest competitor to the most experienced veteran.
There was no clearly superior fighter going into the tournament, which led to round after round of thrilling bouts. Chrysanthos fought with the energetic spirit of the newly authorized fighter, while Baron Rothri entered the lists looking cool and collected in his flowing cape and crusader apparel. Lord Aodhan's sword flashed as he faced off against his opponents, and Lord Wilhelm's heraldry gleamed in the morning light that reflected off of the rocking waves. In the finals, it was the heavy might of Lord Edome, his burned leather armor a testament to his own artistic as well as martial skill, against the organized combat of Lord Turtious of the IX Legion, forged in the fires of war, his red crest like a blazing fire above his Roman helmet.
Having met once before in the tournament, the two finalists squared off against each other. Each was well-versed with the fighting of the other, having tested each other constantly in practice after practice, but now they fought for more than mere bragging rights. The first round went to Turtious, but Edome quickly came back, and at the end of the second bout they prepared for the third. The clash of rattan on armor echoed througout the shelter where the assembled populace watched and waited, the combatants consorts perhaps more anxious than anyone else.
When the final blow was struck, and one of the combatants fell over in honorable death, Lord Turtious remained standing. He was quickly joined by his consort, Tatiana, and as they stood there on the field, her excellency and I did name them Lord and Lady of the Far West.
Their deeds that day were witnessed by the populace: My lady and I from Golden Playne, as well as many souls who traveled down from Vale de Draco and elsewhere. It was also witnessed by Baron Rowan, Seneschal of the Kingdom of the West, who traveled out for the event, and members of our sister organization, Avalon. We set the baronial coronets on their heads that evening, and their Majesties' representative, and in anticipation of their acceptance by the Crown of the West. Now we have stepped down, and watch from the sidelines as Palatine Baron Turtious and Baroness Tatiana begin their true journey, to lead the Palatine Barony of the Far West through another six months.
For our part, we are grateful that we are being succeeded by such a capable Coronet. Their excellencies hold the barony deep in their hearts, and we know that they will do their utmost to see it grow and prosper. Thus, we can step back into the populace knowing that the barony is in good hands.
Note: The Palatine Barony of the Far West held its Fall Coronet Tournament this year on October 9th in Okinawa, Japan, also known as the Stronghold of Battle Rock.