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January 24th, 2019

The Quest for the Dragon’s Cave

The quests here described were undertaken with the children of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Kingdom of Caid, Barony of Guildenholt, the the mid-1990s, when I was the head of the children’s group, the Caidan Crescents.  Our quests were completely unscripted and followed whatever landscape or activity we chanced across.  I had not read any Tolkien, though it sure sounds like it.  This was my attempt using similar fairy tale sources as his.  I wrote these stories after the event and gave copies to the parents of the participants.  In the SCA, Caid is Southern California, Gydenholt is Orange County; if you are interested in playing dress-up and medieval role playing, go to www.sca.org

The Quest for the Dragon’s Cave

From the Baron’s Feast, our small band struck out through the woods.  We were Arthur the Traveler, Simon the Barbarian, White Fang the Ninja, Matt, Robbie, He Who Was Nameless and Lady Beth Carpenter of Rye.  We could taste adventure in the very air and we were ready for it.

These pictures are a few years earlier, but give a little SCA flavor.  Both are at previous Baron's Feasts.
 

The Baron’s Feast was held in Irvine Regional Park in the spring of each year.  Arthur the Traveler was my son Andrew.  Simon he Barbarian was my son Simon.  White Fang the Ninja was Michelle Sevigny.  Robbie was Robbie Morris.  The others I knew not then or now.  Lady Beth was me.  The real year was 1994.

After a long march, wherein we became acquainted, we spotted the Magic Caterpillar, whose sentience diverged our path sharply to the right.  There, through the ordinary trees, we spied the Tree of Life itself!  All the Band took our turns climbing the tree to gain its beneficence and, thus fortified, we continued our journey.

The Magic Caterpillar was a non-mage.  We took our direction from the way he was heading.  The Tree of Life was a huge live oak with many low branches.

Almost at once we chanced upon a Sage Bush in full bloom.  Each of the Band was given the chance to identify the fragrance, but none could, except Lady Beth, whose kitchen experience far outweighed everyone else’s.

Thereupon, we rejoined our journey, through league after league of forest and scrub land, occasionally hearing the mighty roar of the Dragon from on high.


The Dragon was represented by numerous airplanes following their normal flight path.


Imagine our surprise then, as we broke through the woods to behold a Village of Strangers, clad in the most amazingly brief garments we had ever beheld.  We caught them at their revels, bent on executing a gaudily dressed person hanged by the neck from a tree!  Before we could intervene, a village child struck a mighty blow with his quarterstaff; we were mightily relieved to discover the person was made of paper stuff and was filled with treats. We were unable to communicate with the Strangers, as they spoke an outworldly tongue.  We made use of the Village necessary rooms and drank from the foul waters of their fountain, and forthwith, traveled on.

The Village of Strangers was a group of Hispanic people celebrating with a piñata.


Our eyes then beheld a fair green meadow, rising gently toward the distance.  It was here that we first saw the Dragon as he patrolled the skies, roaring his anger with putrid breath!  All undertook to follow the Dragon to his lair and we forthwith crossed the meadow and gazed from its further most hill a vast and scorched lakebed.  White Fang understood, and explained that the lake had been dried up by the evil Dragon!

The vast lakebed is in fact a dry streamed in the park, not so very vast.

There was naught for it but to cross the forbidding landscape.  We undertook this task with sinking heart; the blazing sun beat down, parching us and the deadly lakebed.  Halfway across, Lady Beth became aware of a miracle: in draining and drying the lake, the Dragon had magicked many of the stones thereunder!  Our noble Band then set about collecting one or more of the Magic Stones.  There were pink stones, striped stones, flat stones, big stones and little stones.  All were imbued with a Magic most powerful.

Upon achieving the other side of the vast lakebed, our nostrils were assailed by the terrible, putrid, foreboding stench, by which portent, we knew that we were near our Goal.

The putrid stench was caused by several very ripe dumpsters.

After a long slog across a strangely quiet, sandy plain, we saw the cliff on top of which the Dragon ruled his Kingdom.  On the side of the cliff was his empty Cave and we knew that we could climb his Throne with impunity.  After holding aloft our Magic Stones, we placed them at the foot of the imposing cliff, in a Magic Pile, on top of the Comet Shield of Simon the Barbarian.  Thus disarmed, we made our way straight up the Dragon’s Throne.  Standing guard within the very Cave of the Dragon, Arthur the Traveler protected our flank as we climbed.

The Throne of the Dragon was the cliffs that rise across the river from the main park.  They really did offer a wonderful view.  Andrew declined the climb and stayed with our stuff.

After a strained and parched climb up the very staircase of the world, our hearty Band achieved the top of the Throne of the Dragon and beheld, away in the distance, the whole length of our momentous journey!  This will indicate to the astute the height of our ascent

The even more asture will realize we hadn't come so very far.

After a time of rapt gazing, we then made our perilous way down the cliff face, to join joyously again with Arthur the Traveler, and to retrieve our Magic Stones and weapons.

We then retraced our steps across the parched lakebed, across the green sloping meadow, and thence to our native Village, where we drank our fill and were greeted by our fond families.  (Had they given up hope of ever seeing us again?)