Ballad du Hochjadgsfest user: readonly
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Ballad du Hochjadgsfest

THE Evening was upon us by the time I did arrive, the location was a camp ground somewhat distant from our shire.

For some, it was a puzzle; but for me a pleasant drive, for I knew the site quite well when camping in my Scout attire.

I set my tent in darkness, only aided by some lamps, and the studious Petronella (who's a visitor to our land).

The deed was done, we sallied forth to see the other camps, and to gather in the food-hall with the rest of our good band.

The drinking had well started, and young Friedrick held the lead, with a grip upon his wine-cup that was fearful to behold.

Alas, his grip on soberness was starting to secede; he joined us in some drinking games - I fear we left him cold.

We started with a curious game called Whiz Boing Bounce Bang Boom, or some such other moniker, (it goes by different names.)

The object: to propel a ball around and round the room by gestures and quick shouts - a sup of wine for faulty claims.

The other games I dare not speak aloud, for they were coarse; we played them heedless of the gentle women nearby.

Their laughter only spurred us on - we drank like warriors Norse, we swore, we staggered, and gave Friedrick cause to curse and cry.

I went away, I was quite tired. I lay my head to sleep.

The merriment and laughter drifted up from far away.

Eventually, they too did rest.

Night did her counsel keep, and then the birds' sweet song did herald in the newborn day.

I wandered high, I wandered low, I wandered loud and long, I practiced playing dancing tunes, recorder in my hands.

I feared to wake the others with my tootling and song, And so, returned with soaking boots - the dew was on the lands.

Eventually, the cooks arose to make the morning meal; their culinary efforts were enjoyed by one and all.

We then attempted to construct Stefano's tent; 'twas an ordeal!

We strove with might and main until we heard the lunch-time call.

That afternoon was filled with bows and archery galore: at first we had a target shoot, and combat arrows flew.

The target filled with holes, and no-one knew the final score, but soon arose a greater need; a hunting-horn then blew!

All archers quickly rallied round and sallied forth to hunt, with scores of pretty maidens and some noble marshals too.

The game was spied; the hunters lined up at the front, and all the rest stood back and watched a stag come into view.

It was a small, but noble beast; its antlers like a crown, 'twas such a sight, the archers closed and feathered arrows flew.

But curse and blight, the undergrowth did thin the arrows down, and scarcely one could find its mark though trees bruised black and blue.

The stag drew nigh and charged; the archers called to fire upon a word, a volley thick as hail went out, but did not hit the prey, and Leofric, the proud young man, was very badly gored.

The rest of us, for safety, very bravely ran away.

But gradually our aim improved, and soon its dusky coat was caked with blood from arrow-holes, but yet it fought the pain.

It charged once more, but thankfully a branch ensnared its foot, we managed to regroup before it found its feet again.

It moved uphill, we followed too, and tried to shoot the game, but in a final madness it did gallop forth once more.

Another archer fell to it (I did not catch his name), ill-caught by underbrush he was and sadly lost in gore.

A few more shots were well enough to bring it to its knees, and then it died; a nobler beast we thought not to be found.

We rested for a while then, a-savouring the breeze, and searching high and low for arrows scattered all around.

But then, a shout was heard; a new foe hove into our view, two Centaurs, brave and fierce, shouted of their master's wrath.

They dared us all to follow.

Well, by Jove, what could we do, but follow them and hunt them down upon the forest path?

'Twas then that Courtain drew his bow, he knew well what to do.

His shots, some true, some hitting wayward trees, did spur him on.

Alas! a loud report was heard - his bow had split in two; he was given a replacement, for our hunting was not done.

We now had some experience, and soon we hit our mark.

They yelled, but soon went down as accuracy grew.

And then a fop in Cavalier attire did call us, "Hark, you've rescued us, and here's the trophy-horn to prove it too!"

We all marched back, and tidied up for feasting and a fire. more people joined us for the dinner and the revelry galore.

Six lovely fairies served us as the crackling logs burned higher, and cloved lemons did the rounds - they numbered more than four!

I must relate a curious sight, for one strange fairy there, was not as small as dainty as the rest that hovered round.

He was tall, he uttered "Flutter. Flap."

He had disheveled hair, and oft he threw a log onto the fire that scorched the ground.

The Lord of all the Forest, with his sniv'ling hunchbacks two, came near and told us he would kill our champion on the green.

But when he had departed, then the fop returned anew, and told us it was not a quest (though some were rather keen.)

Then Killian struck up a tune, he sung just like a laird, with songs both sad and bawdy we did liven up the night.

The fare was past comparison, the wine was never spared, and merriment and smiles shone in the firelight.

Good things will come unto an end, and so too did that feast, though several people tried to keep it going, but in vain.

And finally, until the sun drew night from out the east, the dorm reverberated to the snores of Alaric and Courtain.

That morning, sev'ral people were not quite the best of health, I must include myself with those that did not feel quite well), but with hot and tasty breakfast, and with total lack of stealth, those healthier than us did make us not feel like a pell.

'Twas not a day for fighting, nor for harsh aerobic sport; 'twas just a day for lounging, as a Florianite only can.

We drew the bow at boars that raced 'til they could not be caught, and listened to sweet tunes and watched as down the river ran.

The day was sweet, the day was pure, the day was long and bright, and food came out in plenty o'er that pleasant holiday.

To sit amongst the greenery was a manifest delight, and every one of us was very sad to go away.

Thanks to Blaine, Stefano, and everyone else who made it possible.

Dominic of Oxford