Follow the Flame

Long time, no update! Since last posting, well, anything, we left the Barony of Darkwood in the West Kingdom, picked up stakes, piled in the caravan, and moved east to the Kingdom of Atlantia, back to the Barony of Windmasters Hill. I’ve written a few songs and poems that I haven’t gotten around to publishing/posting (and had some inspiration for a direction to take the leadership project, but more on that later.)

On New Year’s Day, my friend Baroness Sophia the Orange invited me to represent my home Canton of Attilium (thus, my name) with a performance during a virtual event. It was a “Family Reunion”-themed event, and I had an idea that had been teasing around my head for a while. This was the perfect opportunity to come up with something, and of course, I waited until the morning of the event to finally tease it out, so I’m still perfecting it. I wanted to go with a theme of finding ways to connect, and looking forward to a time when we can do so in person. This was done in a ballad style, and eventually I’ll post a performance video and add the chords and melody line.

Follow the Flame
Teresa of Attilium

Verse 1:

Cold was the rain and the night halfway done
A harsh wind was howling, the storm driving on.
When high on a hill came a spark and a flame
And bloomed in the night to light up our way.

Chorus:

Follow the flames as they dance through the night
From hilltop to hilltop a path of bright light
Follow the flames past sorrow and then
Follow the flames till we all meet again.

2:

Out of the darkness the fire lit a path
That our steps would stay sure in the storm’s gloomy wrath
For our travels were long but the time’s coming on
When the dark of the night will give way to the dawn.

3:

From soldier to artisan, scholar and knight
Each flame burns a message of enduring light.
They light a new path to the future day when
We’ll follow the flames to meet once again.

Darkwood Shanty

Last December, the Darkwood Baroness’s Masked Ball had a seafaring theme, with a nod to the new Baron and Baroness who, when first joining the SCA, had piratical personas. As I was leading the Bardic competition to find my replacement, I was able to name the tunes for the contest. One of the categories was “Twisted Sea Shanty.” Since it was my last command performance, I decided to write a shanty specifically for the Barony, and offer it as a token of time my there. It can be sung to many a shanty tune … including, apparently, Sponge-Bob Squarepants. Enjoy getting it out of your head!

Darkwood Shanty

Upon the horizon the gray cliffs do rise
Haul away now, the wind and the foam.
The strong oaks of Darkwood stand tall ‘gainst the sky
Haul away for Darkwood our home.

For many long weeks we’ve stood hand upon oar
Haul away now, the wind and the foam.
With our ship’s cargo full we’ll turn now for the shore
Haul away for Darkwood our home.

The harbor is sheltered from waves and from wind
Haul away now, the wind and the foam.
Our loved ones are waiting to gather us in
Haul away for Darkwood our home.

We’ll drink and be merry and dance through the night
Haul away now, the wind and the foam.
With a right willing heart we’ll greet dawn’s early light
Haul away for Darkwood our home.

And when upon shore all our money is spent
Haul away now, the wind and the foam.
It’s back to the waves and the sea air’s salt scent
Haul away for Darkwood our home.

A view from the Monterey coastal trail, looking out into the bay that served as the inspiration for this little ditty.

My Lady Mercy

My time as the Bard of the Oaks is now over, being taken over by the lovely and talented Sholeh of Susa. However, I am still working on getting the lyrics to the songs I wrote during my tenure up on the web. Eventually, I may even sit down and transcribe the melody into a lead sheet and then make a little video performance. Eventually … Anyway, this was a piece that was, as the info below notes, commissioned by the Baron of Darkwood, Carrek MacBrian. He was not yet the Baron, but had been elected, along with his Lady, Mercy Grym. He had pulled me to the side and asked if I would write a song for her, and of course, how could I turn him down? I had a chance to sing it for them at night around the Baronial tent, and though the performance was interrupted by the longest train whistle EVER, I think that I did please those for whom I sang this ditty.

My Lady, Mercy
Lady Teresa of Attilium
In service to His Excellency, Baron Carrek MacBrian

Late e’en when the seabirds call
I traveled on a road
That led me to garden fair
Some gentle hand had sowed.
And from its walls I glimpsed a view
Few others did obtain
And touched my hand unto the gate
That I might enter in.

First greeting me was green Ivy,
Who grew upon the stone
Embracing with her cool, dark leaves
The walls on which she’d grown.
I bowed to see her waiting there
With great sincerity,
The picture of her quiet strength,
Lady Fidelity.

Next came Heartsease, merry flower,
Tri-colored in its face
A carpet for the garden floor,
Most comforting its grace.
“Oh, happy flow’r,” I spoke to her
As on the path I went,
And smiled to think of her so well,
My Lady Merriment.

Tall Foxglove next, with bells of gold
And white stood straight and sure,
This beauty whose bold petals both
A man could kill or cure.
This stately bloom did nod her head
With calm civility,
And beckoned me along the way,
My Lady Dignity.

Amidst these pleasant flower beds,
A might Oak did spread
Her limbs o’er every fruit and flower
That rested in its bed.
For in her shadow none are feared
To lay their heads to sleep,
A nurturing eye o’er all her buds,
My Lady, Steadfast, keeps.

A Lady whose bright talent wove
A home to rest secure,
The hand that sowed these faithful blooms
Has made this to endure.
This garden is a place for all
To enter freely in
And find a welcome from her hands,
My Lady, Mercy Grym.