The Tale of the Pennsic Pig

“Ohhhhhhhhh!” (SFX: dyspeptic rumbles; under) “Now I, your Chronicler, will tell you a tale of a time long, long ago — a tale from the days of the youth of House Clovenshield. It is a tale somewhat long in the telling, but the end truly justifies the means. Surely, some will say it is a tale of great hideousness. And that is undoubtedly true. But sad though that may be, it is also a tale of even greater hilarity. So… judge for yourself as I recount for you… the Tale of the Pennsic Pig.”

“It was in the days after the floods of Pennsic IV and the brambles of Pennsic V, when the East and Middle Kingdoms at last settled on the War’s present venue at the Lake of the Coopers that our story truly begins. The War was much smaller in those days, and ‘Those Who Make The Rules’ had not yet accommodated their rules-making proclivities to a war site with so much space between camps and so many different groups. Foolish them.

“That year of Pennsic VI, the Tuchux decided to make a lasting impression on the SCA by dining in a very medieval manner. (They also made many other “lasting impressions” that year, but those are different stories.) The Tuchux brought a live sheep to the War with them and, after walking around to all the other camps and introducing the unfortunate ungallant to everyone as “Dinner the Sheep,” they took “Dinner” back to Tuchux Camp where, just after sunset, he obligingly, sheepishly, and quietly was made into tasty lamb chops that were enjoyed by all. And so the stage was set for the next year’s drama.

“At Pennsic VII, Clovenshield and the Tuchux moved far away from the main SCA campsite and built the gas-line camp together – the camp where Clovenshield has since resided. In those days, only the original three Clovenshieldians made up the household so, for purposes of thrift, security, and our love of being near people who camp on the edge of reality, dangling their legs over the precipice, we opted to camp with our ever-entertaining Tuchux brothers. Together we built the great stone fire ring, and after that monumental labor was concluded, Wolf the Mighty, Grand Ubar of the Tuchux, made an announcement that was applauded by all. That very evening, they would have their own pig roast to celebrate the opening of the new camp. Wild cheers and drunken screams of approval followed as the Tuchux’ minds roiled with the smells and tastes of bar-b-qued pork chops and ribs AND, announced Wolf, a live 250-pound pig would arrive that night as the “special guest” for the event. Drunk with their power over livestock the previous year, the Tuchux rubbed their bellies and dreamed of pulled pork. Sadly, they should have learned from Clovenshield and stuck to bacon.

“Late, late that night, when all the good SCAdians in the other camp were fast, fast asleep, The Pig arrived at the Tuchux Camp. The Pig was in the back of an old pick-up truck, with boards on its sides to prevent the erstwhile entrée from escaping. Wolf’s plan was to lean into the back of the truck and behead the pig with a single swipe of a great cleaver, sharp as a razor, that he brandished. It must be said that Aeleric, ever mindful of the physics such a blow entailed and the tough-looking gristle on the immense pig’s back, counseled Wolf that perhaps the beast might be better dispatched in another manner. But Wolf, confident in his youth as we all were in those days, brushed aside this concern and climbed onto the truck. A horde of eager Tuchux, each brandishing a fearful-looking bayonet strapped to a pole, ringed the pick-up’s bed, waiting for The Moment. Random, Nissan, and your Chronicler joined them, though none of us had any weapon – we were only “observers.” The Pig walked forward and obligingly lowered his head, exposing his neck. Wolf leaned in and swung the cleaver with all his might, connecting perfectly at the point that The Pig’s head met its spine. The Pig fell to its knees. The world stopped for a moment.

“What happened next was perhaps one of the most ghastly and horrific, yet side-splittingly hilarious events your Chronicler has ever seen in his long and interesting life. Wolf’s blow stunned The Pig to be sure, BUT… due to the 2” plus of gristle and bone on its back, it was far from ready for the cooking spit. The Pig leaped up and began to do what people have always said that injured piggies will do – SCREAM LIKE A STUCK PIG!!! WREEEE! WREEEE! WREEEEE!!! AT A VOLUME OF AT LEAST 120 DECIBELS.

“In an instant panic, at least a dozen Tuchux simultaneously stabbed the poor, wounded porker with their makeshift spears. Now, The Pig’s doom was sealed, but he wasn’t going to go quietly. Oh, no. The volume of his screams became even louder. 130 decibels… 140. The panicked Tuchux’ eyes were the size of dinner plates, their nostrils flared like race horses as they stabbed and stabbed at The Pig, trying to kill and quiet it. Then, things began to go badly.

“Shut it up! Stab it in the throat,” came a loud cry, and several Tuchux complied. But unintended consequence raised its ugly head. Now, the perforated porker hideously GURGLED its life away at 140 decibels, driving the Tuxhux into a frenzy. WRGGURGLEE!! WREEGURGLE!!! WRGGGRGLE!!! As the porcine cacophony continued, we noticed lights blinking on over in the main camp, some hundreds of yards away, first one, then two, then… many. BLINK. Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink! Now, your Chronicler and the other members of Clovenshield who witnessed these events had long since fallen off the side of the truck because we were laughing so hard at the Tuchux” that we had not to the strength or breath to hold on any longer. But by then, the shrieks and gurgles had blessedly died away as The Pig gave up the ghost. It took us many minutes to recover, and our ribs hurt for days afterward. Slowly, things returned to normal though a strange incense of testosterone and adrenaline-tinged the air for hours. In fact, one can still smell it on certain evenings at The War.

For the record, the adrenaline-basted Pig actually tasted quite good and nothing was ever publicly said to the Tuchux about these events, either by the Coopers or the SCA. But the very next year a New Rule was passed: no more live animals brought to The War as food items. And so the descent into cannibalism has been avoided.

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