Baron Giles Hill and Messer Giuseppe Francesco da Borgia invested as reeves of the Barony of Gyldenholt

Messer Giuseppe Francesco da Borgia offers a first-hand account of the recent investiture in the Barony of Gyldenholt.

For me, the morning began as many Unbelted Tourney days have over the course of years – with the alarm clock blaring at an ungodly early hour, and the dread the comes from a mix of morning confusion and the bleakness of a cold and unforgiving rain shower Yet, as the coffee began to brew, and a diffused daylight appeared over the horizon, we knew that today was ultimately going to be a great day.

Like many years before when the barrage of doubt comes flooding in at the last minute here in this typically sunny and mild area, the people of Gyldenholt were determined yet again to host one of the oldest and most respected tournies on the Caidan calendar – an homage to the up and coming heavy-weapons fighters, and an unofficial kick-off of what we refer to in this neck of the woods as “Tourney Season”. Even though I know that Unbelted is typically up against questionable weather, things always manage to turn out for us. The gods watch over, I guess. But still… cold, rain, ick.

By the time we had everything in the truck, I was pretty wet. But there was no time to worry about that. We had a trip to make, as Saturday was going to be an exciting day. Arriving on site, the Baronial pavilion was already mostly up, as many hands made for little labor. Of course, that didn’t keep my papa-Baron from yellin’ about me for showing up late. (He’s SUCH a massive brat, for those of you who haven’t met my dearest Baron Ursul). But, I helped pitch in with the last bit of schlepping and toting and setting-up, trying to avoid the mud-puddles along the way. Sure enough, not long after we finished setting up in the rain, the sky began to clear, and the field began to drain. WooHOO! The Unbelted Gods were watching out!

Helping my beloved husband to maneuver (as this was his first actual outing from the house following back surgery), we managed to set up shortly before it was time to dress the part. With my new outfit in tow, I headed off to the changing rooms. Mucky field or not, I wanted to dress for court! I finished my new outfit, the one from the Master of the St. Bartholomew altarpiece in the Getty. Having never worn it before, I had to wonder how well it would keep me warm throughout the day. As it turns out – CANDYLAND – it worked perfectly!

Shortly after getting myself all accessorized and to the field, opening court began. Gulp! Showtime! And as our names were called and we processed forward, my heart started to race. I honestly don’t remember a lot of the ceremony, as I was just trying to not panic. “I can do this! I can do this!” I kept saying to myself, trying to force away a minor panic attack. One thing did manage to register in my head, though – the beaming smiles of the Royals and the Baronial nobles, which came through in spades in all of the photos. I really do love them all, and hope more than anything to do them proud. Because the whole gender-thing has been a hot topic in the SCA as of late, I cannot help but feel a lot of pressure. But to me, this isn’t about what Giles and I are going to do for the same-gender community. This is about what we are going to do to serve the people of the Barony of Gyldenholt – no more, and no less – just like any other person or couple chosen for this office.

One subtle thing we requested during our ceremony was the way in which the coronets were placed on our heads. The Baron and the Queen placed Giles’, while the Baroness and the King placed mine. A mix of genders was a key point – and an important one. As we took our seats in court, the cheers were truly humbling. Our task now is to live up to the expectations set upon us by the people.

The rest of the day was nothing less than an absolute delight. I loved everything I saw – from the worker-bees taking care of gate and list, to the fencers hosting a coffee/hot cocoa bar, to the upper crust sponsoring lunch, to the happy faces in all the pavilions, and all of the wonderful fighters who put on a great show, and demonstrated very publicly that honor and courtesy stand at the forefront to each and every bout. Despite a stormy morning, the day turned out to be pretty close to perfect.

By the time closing court came about, we welcomed the opportunity to close out what had been nothing less than a wonderful tourney day. I must confess to one particularly memorable chuckle. At one point, Their Majesties called forward one of the rapier fighters. True to style and somewhat twisted sense of humor, in he walked from the back of court, only to have another gentleman offer his arm to be an escort. As the two of them came skipping in to court together arm and arm while the audience giggled, I couldn't miss the opportunity to utter the observation, “and people worry about us,” which was received by the first few rows, and Their Majesties, with much laughter.

To the people of Gyldenholt, and to Caid as a whole, my lord husband and I are very excited and grateful for this opportunity. And now, we look forward to our investiture as Barons of Gyldenholt by the third weekend of June.