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.

The Gospel according to  HMH Sir Vyktor I Duke of Hazzard as told by Aleric

And So it came to pass that the Old Gods were slowly fading; lost, trapped in the far reaches of the Eldest’s mind,

“Tell us of the old ways, we know of Aldo and Blanche who else was there?” the young ones implored.  But the Eldest sat wrapped in his warm blanky and stared.

And from the heavens came Boi, and with him Violante Goddess of Bacon and Dancing with things on top of your head.  Tonaire ,would be consort of Violante, vied to be the God of office products, but alas Violante was not pleased and he fell from the sky never to reach the hallowed supply closet.

Later came Melissandre the Namegiver, also goddess of rough sandpaper hands.

Vbakkon God of War and roasted meat roared challenge to all that would oppose him.

 

Nissan and the Tale of the Chin Strap Tolerance test

Here is a “short” story for you. One I got to see up close and in person.

So there I am, recovering after a hard day’s fighting. Sitting in the shade of the common tent, munching a sandwich and waiting for the drinking to start. Also under the tent, AckAck had set up shop with his armoring tools and was helping some young lass with her helmet. Women that strap on armor and delight in hitting people with sticks aren’t to be called wenches. Make a note. This female fighter thought it was fun to hang out with mercenary scum. So much so that she now calls herself a Clovenhead. You know her as Susan the Short. AKA: Nutter. AKA: Thing #1.

At this time, she has a terrible gash under her nose. Not her mouth, she is sporting a split lip. It seems the kingsmen she camped with let her fight with substandard gear. The bastards. So, tink, tink, snip, snip, “ouch, mother fucker”, her and Ack are fervently crafting away at her chin strap.

Finally, they declare “success!” Susan slips on her helmet… And no shit. There I was. It was no sooner than her helm was properly fitted on her bean that… and this is an actual accounting… The Dread Lord seemed to materialize out of the Nether right there, with his katana in hand, and WHAM!!!! He hit her. He hit her square across the face. He hit her no harder than he possibly could. If you listen to this day, you can still hear the echo of that strike ringing in the gully.

In a flash of light and a cloud of brimstone, The Dread Lord vanished back to the Nether wenst he came. And once Susan’s heart resumed beating and the color returned to her face, she meekly said. “Yep, it works.”

Aleric and The Tale of the Abducted Dragon

Back in times of yor, yor being more than 8 years, the many gods granted to House Clovenshield a great gift. A ferocious and terrifying Dragon. Well, an inflatable beach raft in the form of a Great Wyrm, but a wondrous gift non the less. They named her Nessie and they carried bevies of scantily-dressed ladies upon her grand back. Akira was one such Dragon Rider and OH did jealousy sweep through the lands.

One group of folks who called themselves Dragonship Haven let the jealousy seep into their souls. They visited Camp Clovenshield, one day, to see the Great Fire Wyrm up close. No one was home. Unfortunately for them, they decided, then and there, that it would be “fun” to kidnap Nessie and so they did. They left a note. Doubly unfortunately for them, they had never had dealings with Clovenshield before and never expected what came next.

The first to discover the heinous crime was our own Silver Tongued Bastard, Aeleric. He made haste to the Dragonship Haven to recover our prized Dragon. Upon his arrival, he discovered that, likewise, no one was home. But there sat Nessie in all her Majesty. Aeleric quickly cast a Spell of Deflation to better conceal Nessie and then, surreptitiously, took her back home. In his wake he left the novice criminals of Dragonship Haven his own ransom note. The note stated that the Tuchux had kidnapped Nessie and she was being held hostage on Tuchux Hill. Regrettably, Aeleric fell victim to that damned short-term memory-loss Daemon and failed to tell the Tuchux of his devious plan.

Later, Aeleric put into effect Phase Two of his deviousness. He, Roak and Nissan went a-visitin’. They returned to Camp Dragonship Have to “negotiate the safe return of Nessie”. The camp was in somewhat of an uproar when the Clovenshield Goonsquad arrived, so to add fuel to fire, Aeleric immediately demanded to see Nessie, to ensure the proper treatment of the hostage. Their response was an expected slack jawed, “Uhhhhhhhh.”

To twist the emotional knife, Aeleric quickly dropped his rational demeanor and escalated the conversation to 11, with a hardy, “YOU MEAN YOU KIDNAPPED OUR DRAGON AND THEN YOU LOST HER?!?!?!” Nissan and Roak were similarly offended by Dragonship Haven’s neglect. Roak being quite loud as only Roak can be. Ahhhh, but Nissan had one of his finest hours in the situation, displaying appropriate irritation and being in fine fettle, he began spurting words of high dudgeon and telling the dwellers of Dragonship Haven loudly and repeatedly that, “You lost our dragon! You must pay weregild! You owe us beer! In his tender voice voice, Roak picked up on the chant and repeated, “YOU OWE US BEER!! YOU OWE US BEER!!!

Ah, it was wonderfully humiliating for those amateur kidnappers. Ultimately, the representative of Dragonship Haven was made to apologize on his knees and he paid several cases of beer to settle the weregild. Of course, Aeleric also demanded that Nessie be recovered and returned, unharmed, to her home. So, off to Tuchux Hill they went.

Aeleric, being a sneaky sadist, made his way to the Tuchux first. When the folk of Dragonship Haven arrived to recover the dragon, the exchange was a wonder to behold, for Aeleric left them in the dark as to the goings-on. Yes, the Tuchux reacted as one would expect, being amazingly rude, crude and insulting, of course, denying any involvement in the dragon heist.

Many tears were shed and much gnashing of teeth occurred during this rather short but “highly-entertaining” conversation which included interesting tidbits like, “What the f**k are you talking about?” and “Are you all out of your f**king minds!”  Sadly, Dragonship Haven ultimately left Tuchux camp with no resolution to their distressing conflict.  They slunk back to their camp and avoided pretty much everyone for the rest of the Pennsic War. The were never told them that Nessie was recovered — a small oversight, but it was a most delightful affair, all around.