Friday evening I got to Stronghold around 8pm-ish (emphasis on the ish part because I can’t really recall). I couldn't really see what the scenery surrounding the castle looked like (other than lots of trees, which made me really happy because I love woods and forests and such).
I knew Stronghold was a castle, but I didn’t expect to be so enthralled by the castle itself. I must have had bug eyes when I first entered. After dropping off my bags in the great hall and saying hello to a few people I must have spent half an hour running around exploring with some of the other kids. There’s just something about castles that makes me really happy inside. I love old houses, and this place was MASSIVE! It had a tower, a fairy tale room with the story of Rumplestiltskin painted on the wall, an amazing Great Hall, just so many things that I loved. I was told that I had little sparkles of fairy dust following me around. I probably did I was so excited. It didn’t take me too long to figure out my way around, but the floor plan was pretty straight forward. There was a secret passageway from the library to a chapel, it was really easy to find (maybe I just think too much about how to hide secret passages).
Apart from seeing the castle, I was just so happy to see all of my Ren Friends again. Everything about these people puts me at ease and makes me feel at home. I was a little nervous just because I had no idea how to be “nobility” but I knew that there would be plenty of people to teach me. Thank goodness, because otherwise I would have felt very ill at ease. As it was, most of my decorum was tossed out the window when I learned of the expectation of the Maids of Honor was to get into as much trouble as possible without being over the top.
Only a few days before Stronghold I found out that I’d be portraying Lady Elizabeth Cecil, Lord Burghley’s daughter. I wasn’t able to find to much information about her in the little time I had, but I was able to glean more information from the people at Stronghold. One little change we made was making me a Maid of Honor for the weekend, even though Elizabeth Cecil was never a MOH.
Ever since I’ve been going to the Ren Faire, I’ve loved watching the nobles. Part of it is the history, but I also look for new the dresses each year. I felt bad for staring but those dresses are so beautiful! AND I GOT TO WEAR ONE!!! One of my childhood dreams was fulfilled. I got to wear a court dress.
It was beautiful. Green and orange and rust/brown with trimming and beading and amazingness. Getting dressed itself was an adventure and the whole time I was praying that the dress would fit me. It actually fit very well for not being made to my exact measurements, but I had no idea what I looked like until I stepped out and got a look at myself in the hallway mirror.
I didn’t know what to do for a few minutes. I couldn’t look at myself, I felt so pretty. The other girl who was going to be a maid of honor with me was equally excited/impressed/taken aback by her own dress. We had a little “procession” into the great hall to show everyone and the reaction just completely befuddled me. I said “I’ve never felt so pretty in my life, and my prom dress was beautiful.”
Then I learned a little bit of a court dance, and I learned how to walk. Or rather, I was told how to walk and just picked up how to hover right off the bat. I also learned that when a lady is sitting on the ground she waits for a gentleman to help her up before she stands. I think Anne might need to pick up that habit simply because it would be funny.
Most of Friday night I just spent talking to people and having some fun being back around everyone. Even though I didn’t really know most of the people because I am not apart of St. George, everyone was nice and down-to-earth.
Falling asleep Friday night was sort of difficult because of the smoke in the Great hall. Apparently the chimney isn’t that great, so there was a fair amount of smokiness. It usually only takes me a couple of minutes to drop off to sleep. Friday night it almost took me an hour and a half, and I woke up every few hours. However, Saturday was going to prove to be quite the adventure. I’ll write about that tomorrow.