A Brief History of the Barony of Castel Rouge

by Lord Torin of Hyrcania


In May of Anno Societatis V (called by the Christians A.D. 1970) was founded the Barony of Castel Rouge. It came about thusly.

A fair lady of mundane aspect, Ardythe Packer by name, sought entertainment at a Worldcon. She espied some Gentle Folk sparring with strange weapons, and approached them to see what transpired. We now know that she witnessed the Crown Tourney which saw Cariadoc become the first Crown Prince of the Midrealm.

Being an educated person, Ardythe immediately knew a Good Thing when she saw it, so she came home and started our Barony. (In those days, a Barony was created when a new group was too far from the centre of a Kingdom for weekly commerce. Nowadays we would have been started as a Shire.)

It came to pass that an Event was held in a park in June of A.S. V (A.D. 1970), at which time many mundane folk had a great time. Some of them decided to stay. Ardythe took upon herself the name of Alixe Pfau von Herscheid of Livonia, and became our first Seneschal.

In the early days, the Barony was small and disorganized. Members had tenuous correspondence with the Midrealm, but nobody knew aught about the peculiarity of the SCA -- the Fighting. Our first demonstrations were merely mundane fencing and bake sales, our first events only potluck suppers and wine-and-cheese parties. All this was to change quite soon.

In May of A.S. VI came to Castel Rouge the Court of the Midrealm -- that same King Cariadoc whom Lady Alixe had seen the previous year. He brought both fighters and ladies, and they showed us what was what. We found that the armour we had made was totally inadequate. I was stunned to discover that fighting meant I had to hit (and be hit). Real Hard. I bore the bruises for weeks.

Over the next two years, the Barony's fortunes waxed and waned. The following year I fought in Crown Tournament. Some people joined us; others moved away. Then a second group formed in Killarney, Manitoba, calling itself the Shire of Ben Turtle, later Carraig na Cnoic. A canton at Brandon, Manitoba, called Red Oak, also formed. Grandiose dreams of a Region swam through our heads.

Alas, it was not to be. In time, Carraig na Cnoic and Red Oak faded away. Gradually the population of Castel Rouge dwindled to a mere four: even our Founder was away on Pilgrimage to India.

Then it dawned on us: Castel Rouge, a Barony in name, lacked leadership! We seized upon the concept, and began to petition the Lady Alixe to become our Baroness. Hard was the struggle, particularly as she was never here, but at last she accepted. Castel Rouge flourished again. Fighting men appeared once more; foremost among them was Evan Æthelwald, soon to be our first knight. We began to travel to events throughout the Kingdom, and our name was again heard in the Courts of the Midrealm.

It came to pass, therefore, that in A.S. XVI, ten years after the first Royal visit to Castel Rouge, Alixe was confirmed Baroness at the hand of Queen Caitlin. Shortly thereafter, Her Excellency Baroness Alixe bade us seek a replacement, citing pressures of Motherhood.

So in A.S. XIX did we elect Baron Thrym and Baroness Gabriela to lead us into the XX's.

Some years have passed since then, and all to the good. Castel Rouge is now known as a bastion of the Midrealm, filled with mighty warriors, fair ladies, skilled artisans and artists, cooks, calligraphers, clothiers, brewers, and folk skilled in ways I cannot number.

I write this now in A.S. XXV, the Twenty-First year of Castel Rouge's existence as a chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism. I have been here twenty of those years, and would not have spent them elsewhere.

-- Torin of Hyrcania, 3 March A.S. XXV (A.D. 1991)


Glossary

A.S.
see Anno Societatis.
Anno Societatis (A.S.)
Anno Societatis, abbreviated A.S., is latin for "Year of the Society" (referring to the Society of Creative Anachronism, or SCA). The SCA numbers its years from the date on which it was formed, May 1966, and the start of our year is May 1st. Thus, A.S. XXX started on May 1st of 1995, and ended on April 30th of 1996.
Baron and Baroness
The Baron and Baroness of a Barony are the representative of the King and Queen within the group, and are the group's representatives to the Crown. The positions are mainly ceremonial, though they also have the right to vote in baronial council (as do all of our officers).
Crown
The King and Queen of the Middle Kingdom.
Crown Tournament
A combat tournament held every six months to select the reigning royalty of the Midrealm. The winner and his or her consort become Prince and Princess for six months; after that, the old King and Queen step down, the Prince and Princess become the new King and Queen, and another tournament is held to choose a new Prince and Princess for the next six months.
Midrealm
Also known as the Middle Kingdom. A large administrative region of the SCA, comprising parts or all of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Ontario and Manitoba.
Mundane
A term used to refer to real life and the modern world, as opposed to the Middle Ages and the SCA. Also used to refer to people who aren't members of the SCA.
Seneschal
The chief administrative officer of an SCA branch, equivalent to chairman or president.
Worldcon
The World Science Fiction Convention. The first Crown Tournament of the Middle Kingdom was held at the July 1969 Worldcon in Chicago.