When we left our story, it was November of A.S. XXVIII. Things were getting stirred up between Axemoor and Seleone, but no irrevocable steps had been taken. All that changed at Axemoor's Yule Feast and Revel in December. By mutual agreement the actual challenge for the War of the Pearls was to be issued at the Yule Feast, and Seleone intended to do it in a way that would not be forgotten. We rehearsed our challenge but told no one of our plans.
At the end of baronial court that evening The Honorable Lady Daphne repeated her poem about Axemoor practicing to deceive. This was followed Jean-Pierre Richard du Montague appearing with some plastic pearls, and declaring it was Seleone who was trying to deceive. He finished by, "casting his pearls before S-S-Seleonese."
Unable to stand such an insult, I jumped up with my hand on the hilt of my sword and declared, "First time I ever heard a dead frog croak!"
Then Isolde made her entrance.
The Mistress was born into court on a shield bearing Seleone's device carried by four stalwart Seleone fighters. Isolde came in dressed as a Valerie wearing a winged headpiece, scale armor over a dark blue gown, and bearing a spear. All this was to the accompaniment of "Night on Bald Mountain" played on a keyboard by Thorvold Inigme. To say the least, the entrance made quite a splash.
Baron Ragnar reports that all he could think when he saw her coming into court was, "I made those scale pieces for her!"
Interestingly enough, it seems that the farther the report of Isolde's entrance traveled, the less she was reputed to have been wearing. Our SCA son and daughter-in-law reports that in South Downs they heard that she had been wearing a chain mail bikini and little else.
Isolde, as seneschal, recapped Axemoor's grievous insults to Seleone and issued a challenge to Baron Ragnar over the land between the pearls. Ragnar immediately accepted the challenge and agreed to meet the Seleone fighters with his army shortly before new years A.S. XXIX.
Since Seleone was only a shire, and Axemoor was a barony we wasted no time recruiting allies. The very night of the Yule feast, several fighters approached me and told me that after such a great piece of court theater they had to fight for Seleone.
In the weeks following Yule Feast a Seleone-Grey Niche concordance began to develop. It started with the Shadow Legion, which declared that it could be hired for chocolate chip cookies. The ladies of Seleone promised a bag of cookies for every fighter the legion could muster.
Katerina Tessmer, noting that John Bearkiller and Jane Falada had just had a baby, decided to offer free baby-sitting and pampers to Countess Jane if she would get Duke John to fight for Seleone. When Baroness Arielle de Brabazon heard of this, she pointed out that she and Baron Guillermo had also just had a child, so Katerina extended them the same offer. In this way most of the fighters of Grey Niche came to be enlisted in Seleone's cause.
In January, a combined group of Seleonese and Axemoorians went to inspect the site for the war. The site, which had not been used before, was in George county near Lucedale. Sigrid Thorbjornsdottir and Lord Shaul ben Yisrael, who was seneschal of Axemoor at the time, were in the van I was driving. On the way to the site my passengers started discussing their plans for the upcoming war. Shaul averred that Axemoor should approach Grey Niche for fighters. All I could think of as we drove on was, "Too late!"
I also thought it was prudent not to mention that Axemoor had signed a treaty of alliance with South Downs during the time that Gordon Blackwolf had been Baron of Axemoor.
After January A.S. XXVIII things got somewhat quiet between Seleone and Axemoor as we prepared to let our fighters do the talking. In Seleone we were somewhat concerned for Axemoor; The shtick we did in October and November had gone largely unanswered and we had heavily out recruited them for mercenaries. It was beginning to look like Axemoor would be buried by Seleone.