Yule is Mountain Freehold and Panther Vale’s joint winter celebration, held this year on Jan. 19.

by Marieke van de Dal, Yule autocrat

The weather looked dire, but the bulk of the snowstorm delayed until later that evening. 75 or so hardy souls gathered in the shelter of St James Church, bearing armloads of tasty food and good cheer. The hall buzzed with meetings and greetings. It was a pleasure to see random encounters bloom into new friendships, and I hope everybody had a chance to meet new faces and tell old stories.

The Mathoms all found new homes and nobody left empty-handed (unless they wanted to!).

Late in the afternoon, Magister Tiberius took Lady Aurelia as his apprentice, in a ceremony where Aurelia received a beautiful engraved green leather belt, and she reciprocated with a sonnet of her own devising.

The dishes shared at feast time were varied and bountiful. A brace of roast ducks, armored turnips, a luscious bacon and beef pie, quiches, a stew of chickens, braised ham with peas, cabbages in broth, a succulent roast pork dish sufficient for the assembled throng, soups and stews aplenty, homemade pizzele wafers, … that’s just some of what I saw. Plain and fancy, we had it all! We had four full tables of food! It was glorious. Nobody left hungry.

At clean-up time, Karl and friends provided lively music to speed along the mops and dishrags. Cat, Kenneric, Emily, and others I didn’t see were amazingly efficient in the kitchen – thanks to everyone who took a turn. It was the fastest cleanup I’ve ever seen, doubtless hastened by the incoming storm, but no less welcome.

As we turn to another year, in both our shires, I look forward to good times with excellent friends… as do we all, I’m sure. Many events are scheduled in the coming months, so keep an eye out for the next opportunity to learn, play, cross swords or epees, nock arrows, dance a few steps, or just share a cup of mead or homebrew with a new acquaintance.

Best wishes always,


What say you?