November 8, 2019 by phicks2012
We all have moments in our lives that stick in our memories.
My main hobby is historical reenactment, reenacting the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, and I still remember the first time I drove with friends to Mobile, AL (The SCA Barony of the Osprey) to a attend an event called Gatalop, held in Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island.
Admittedly, this is not a medieval castle. It’s a civil war era fort, but it sits on the Gulf of Mexico with high walls on which people easily can walk, and jutting bastions, and a huge, arched entry tunnel that leads in from a drawbridge over what once was a moat. It also has some really impressive interior areas. As a result, it has a very similar “feeling”, especially at night.
After a long (but interesting and entertaining) journey of around six hours, it was dark by the time we turned in toward the fort, and a thick, rolling, engulfing (pardon the pun) fog had moved in from the Gulf. There were torches burning atop the walls, and people in garb and in armor walking around above, and we just stopped dead to stare and to absorb the ambiance. It was literally rather like stepping suddenly back in time, and I’ve never forgotten that feeling.
This verse was written to memorialize that experience, and will also be published in the March Issue of our SCA Shire’s monthly newsletter, The Equinox.
Enjoy it if you will, or can.
“Warriors in the Mist” (First Gatalop)
On a winding road we traveled, long ago and far away;
Rousing songs as day unraveled, kept the tedium away.
Anthems as the journey lengthened, chanties as the dusk crept in,
Eased our path, and voices strengthened, with our journey near it’s end.
Then at last with darkness fallen and our repertory thinned,
Close we drew unto the castle as the fog came rolling in
From the Gulf were surf-songs battered up against a hidden shore.
Weariness no longer mattered as the stones reared up before.
High upon the walls embattled, where the torchlight flickered gold
Sentries stood, and long swords rattled ‘gainst the shields that they did hold.
Striding through the fog like spectres from a long forgotten time,
Raising flasks of golden nectars, in a wondrous pantomime.
Thus the past rose up before us, and our eyes grew wonder-wide,
Fascination, like a chorus sweeping in upon the tide.
So we paused, and dumbstruck lingered, marveling before the gate,
And a song within the bailey rose to charm and captivate.
Magic soared and softly beckoned, drums resounded in the night,
Wonderment, unmatched, unreckoned — joy, enchantment and delight
Heightened as the dream came riding, pushing modern ways aside.
Warriors in the mist were striding, from a time beatified.
Long ago, but I remember. Ancient magic can persist
Like a softly glowing ember, and the warriors in the mist
Still are striding, mailled and mighty, high upon embattled stone,
Gallant, chivalrous and knightly, that I need not dream alone.
[06 November, A.S. LIV, 2019]