Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A market day at Birka

We're back from Birka !

Shopping happened, fun was had, friends were hugged and Birka Plague was avoided (at least, for me), yay !

Driving was kinda long, but it was all worth it. We didn't see a whole lot on the road, except beautiful snow capped mountains and lots of trees. Getting in the hotel was another story, as we kept bumping in people we knew. One of the biggest highlights of the week end, is that my brother Eginhard finally made it to Birka at the last minute, and he made it into a surprise. It was great also to meet Mariota and Conogan, who had made it all the way down from the maritime.

After getting our stuff in our rooms, we checked out some of the merchants who were open already on Friday night. Eginhard found a nice enamel chirurgeon medallion and I bought two jewelry items, a brooch and a pendant. We then went to eat at a local restaurant, who's specialty was pizza.

A deer brooch and a caribou / deer pendant from Raymond's quiet press
And pictures while we waited for our lunch

On the following day, we woke quite early to make sure to get all the shopping we had to do completed while the best merchandises were still for sale. I bought really less than I expected. For example, the first item I was looking for was a kind of cloth bag, to store my purchases in. I never found one, which surprised me. I thought with the amount of people and merchants there, that would be an easy fix.

The merchant hall was huge
My favorite merchant from Great Northeastern War was also at Birka and I decided to get myself a girdle book. I wanted something portable and small enough so it wouldn't be cumbersome, that I could write in, but also tuck away without worrying all the time on where I left it, or having to carry it in my hands.

A girdle book, for keeping archery scores and other important stuff
There was a booth that sold all kinds of whole spices and hard to find things. I splurged and got 4 different kinds of spices I can't get readily in Quebec, but really, it was a steal. I'm quite eager to cook with that I got. As well, the spice traders had this very nifty balance to weight the spices.

The spice trader weighting spices for me
Spices ! From left to right, galingal, long pepper, grains of paradise and saffron
When I was buying spices, Guyuk came to get me, so I could see something totally awesome at the little merchant's area between the heavy fighters and the fencers. He had spotted caribou antlers and part of a caribou pelt. I hadn't seen it yet that I was pretty convinced that we would buy it. There are two animals I believe are linked to me, which are the caribou and the fox, so it was pretty much a sign for me. Since it's not something to come by often, we pondered for a moment about the border and how hard it would be to get across, and we decided to try our luck. No need to say we did see a few raised brows on our way to the room.

We scored a nice caribou pelt with it's antlers
Following all that walking around it was time for a little snack, before heading to court, which is traditionally long at Birka. It is the largest event in the East Kingdom, after all. There were two people introduced in the order of the Laurel that night, one of which was Elinor Strangewayes. Elinor came to the TMCPU (Tir Mara Crown Principality University) to teach bead making, about a year and a half ago. I was delighted to see her accept the offer and get elevated at the end of the day.

Elinor after her elevation to the order of the Laurel, with scroll and full regalia
After two hours of court, we went off again for supper. The crazy went out as well. It was good to have everyone at the table. During supper, I received an offer to shadow the royal herald who will be present at crown tourney, on May 17th. I'm looking forward to that, a lot ! After the meal, most people were tired and went to bed past this point. I tried to find Anne of the fuzzy hat, to have a go at the stitching of her embroidery, but alas, she, and her project, were nowhere to be found. I retreated in my room as well.

Our meals were selected with a lot of attention
Overall, this was an exciting event. I got to meet many people from outside Tir Mara, which is a good thing, and greet older friends. I witnessed an elevation I thought was well deserved. I got more projects in the back of my head. Next event should be on the first of March, and will be the Baronnial Investiture Anniversary of Ile du Dragon Dormant.

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