The Barony of Storvik's signature annual event is the Novice and Unbelt Tourney, generally held in June or early July (but not Independence Day weekend). In many years (but not all, depending on when we can rent the site), Novice is the last event at which new fighters can authorize for Pennsic. ("Authorizing" is like passing your driver's licensing test, except for SCA fighting.)
Once again this year, Pennsic isn't being held because of the covid-19 plague, so we didn't have any pressure to get authorizations done, but we did want to have an in-person event after all these months! And June 5 was the very first Saturday after the SCA's North America-wide ban on in-person events expired on May 31.
To get ready for Novice, we did everything the way the SCA higher-ups said we had to: pre-registration only, limited attendance (but bumped up from 50 people to 150 in the last week prior to Novice, yay!), face masks on everyone, no shared food or drink, no feast, no camping, nobody under the age of 18. (I think I've listed all the major restrictions.)
As the day grew closer, I grew more excited to see friends who had been just video images on my laptop's screen for more than a year. Maybe my Baron and Baroness would hold court, although the Baroness had been looking mighty pregnant at the last business meeting. In addition, some folks I know just weren't interested in Zoom-based meetings and were holding off on Virtual Atlantia in favor of the promise of real-life activities. At any rate, I felt sufficiently worried that I would forget something that I staged my gear -- accessories, mugs, chair and cover, whatnot -- on the dining-room table.
Finally, the appointed day (June 5) began and I headed out on the familiar route to the site. For some reason, a section of Croom Station Road was marked "closed." I wasn't sure if it was for paving work or for replacement of a bridge, so I just got on U.S. Route 301 down to Croom Road (normally I take Croom Station Road all the way to the end at Croom Road and then take a left onto Croom Airport Road -- and, yes, the road names are way too similar). When I arrived at the park, my site token (a fancy ribbon strip) was awaiting me in an envelope with my name on it.
But ... no Baron and Baroness. It didn't take long for me to learn why. Apparently the Baron showed up at the start of the event, dropped off all the baronial gear (day shades, the baronial thrones, all sorts of things) and then announced that he was heading to the hospital. Later in the morning he changed the cover photo of his Facebook page to an image of a sign saying, "Welcome to Labor & Delivery Check-In."
So ... naturally many of the attendees of the event spent the day in happy anticipation of the baby boy's arrival (Their Excellencies had revealed the baby's sex/gender a couple of months ago). Many of us were hoping that some sort of dramatic announcement would happen at Royal Court. However, while Their Majesties Anton and Luned noted the absence of Their representatives who hold the Storvik lands, They had no further information on the impending birth. If you want to see what They did do in court, Atlantia has the video:
The event broke up a bit early because of the hot weather (duh, this is Maryland in June). I tried to help some with the breaking down and packing up. As I went toward the restroom trailer for a last pit stop before heading home, I heard a few voices yelling, "Vivat! Vivat! Vivat!" The Baron had just posted on Facebook that the Baroness had given birth successfully to a fine and healthy boy, well over 8 pounds. The newest resident of the Barony of Storvik!
The baby photos are not mine to publish -- I am always cautious about putting pictures of other people's children on social media. But the little fellow, who was named Ari, looks adorable, and his older brothers, Connor and Braeden, seem extremely pleased to be big siblings. (Notice the naming pattern?) Of course I am thrilled for all of them!