This past weekend, I returned to Ice Dragon after having missed it for several years (as it was scheduled the same weekend as Late Winter Shoot). For those of you not familiar with the event, it is one of the larger events held in AEthelmearc. It's hosted by the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael (Buffalo and environs) and has a very long and distinguished (and in one instance, not so distinguished) history. More on that in a moment.
For the past few years, Ice Dragon has been hosted in one of the most beautiful event sites you'll ever see, the Connecticut St. Armoury. Constructed in 1899, it's one of the best examples extant of the traditional castle-shaped armoury and is built out of a beautiful pinkish sandstone. Inside, there is much beautiful dark wood, high-beamed ceilings, and plenty of room for large armoured and rapier lists, one of the kingdom's premier A&S competitions, and lots of merchants.
Ice Dragon figures prominently in Ealdormere history in both a positive and a less-positive way. On the positive side, many of our Kingdom's earliest Laurels were entrants and victors in the Ice Dragon Pentathlon. It's also where many of our Kingdom's first fencers got a chance to take place in large tourneys. But it's also the place when then-Prince Palymar of the Middle was sent to tell the people of Ealdormere that the Middle Kingdom had banned the concept of regions. Luckily, as most know, this was just the prelude that sent Ealdormere down the path that would eventually lead to becoming its own Kingdom.
I have a long history with Ice Dragon myself--I entered the A&S competition very early in my SCA life and was awarded the Baroness' Choice award. Years later, I and a team of Ealdormerians-- now-Mistress Medb, now-Dame Asa, and Lady Caitlin--were asked to actually run the Pent competition by a friend who was serving as autocrat. I've merchanted there, fenced there, and shopped there. This year, I was just there to enjoy the atmosphere, see a few friends I hadn't seen in awhile, and to go to Olive Garden afterwards. I was successful in all these things.
There was an oustanding turnout from the Kingdom in the very large armoured lists (quite possibly the longest bear pit lineups I've ever seen), including His Highness. The Ice Dragon motto seems to be "fight until you fall down" for both rapier and armoured combat, and there is certainly a chance to meet opponents you don't normally get to fight.
If you find yourself next March with Ice Dragon weekend free, I very much recommend the trip. Our neighbours in AEthelmearc are definitely worth getting to know better.