While discussing the tentative schedule for the retreat, Beth mentioned we might go to the Medieval Times show one night for supper. I restrained from putting undue pressure on anyone and replied, “YES!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE, PLEASE CAN WE GO? PLEASE. I’LL BE GOOD. PLEASE CAN WE GO?”
The others agreed. They probably also made a note to not invite insane people with knights, armor, sword and horse obsessions next time.
Sunday morning we all ate quick breakfasts. Some went out to walk. I scarfed down some cereal and went back to work on revisions. Everyone pretty much settled into the work mode until it was time to get ready.
Donna cooked some delicious pasta. I think it was on Sunday, but it might have been another day. Whenever it was, it was great. She made it with fresh tomatoes, butter and real cream. Absolutely decadent.
Our reservations were for Sunday night and we went all the way with the upgraded package so we had good seats.
We arrived early, even though we used Beth’s GPS. For whatever reason, we found the castle and a huge church next to each other interesting.
Most of us took the dungeon tour, though Beth passed on it. Beth and I are very similar in some respects. We don’t care for graphic torture scenes. I spend too much time alone and did even before the separation. Those scenes haunt my nights, so I avoid them. However, I was interested in seeing some of the actual restraints etc. Thankfully, they didn’t have dummies with the devices on them. The descriptions and drawings were quite enough.
The actor doing the announcing before the show was pretty good, with a suitably commanding presence and accent.
I saw a dragon I really liked in the gift shop, but funds were limited so I resisted. Especially since I don’t care for the resin stuff and I am an accomplished dry brush ceramic painter.
At last, the show is about to start. They go through several knighting ceremonies, including one for a young man who is deploying to Iraq.
We all have our crowns, banners, programs and assorted paraphernalia and take our seats. Our wench is named Jennifer, but we mostly just called her Jennifer or ma’am. She was friendly and smiling all the time. I decided I need a wench when I get rich and famous. She can smile a lot and bring me coffee to the lair where I am chained up while I write.
Our knight is the red and yellow knight. He is a suitably dashing young knight with blonde hair and a tantalizing stubble of beard. They, of course, are all quite handsome and noble young men. I can’t help but think this has got to be the time of their lives. I’m sure they will all look back on this time fondly in years to come. Even for all the work and putting up with moron customers, this has to be a rush.
Jo sits next to me so she can pick my brain. She is easily amused.
“Those horses seem small to me,” she says.
“Nope, good sized horses. Some of them are on the large side.”
The horses are mainly Andalusians with some Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds and a Fresian. I think the Fresian is more what she had in mind.
“Do you think they’re good riders?”
I take this opportunity to stare at them as they go through some horseback drills. Actually, I’m quite impressed with their riding skills. I didn’t expect them to be that good. I watch intently a bit longer. Hmmm, yes, they are quite nice, I mean good riders.
“Yes, they’re really quite good.”
Sir William the horsemaster put several Andalusians through their routines and it was a nice show. They’re very athletic horses.
They have a falconer who is fascinating. The hawks name is Lady Natasha I think or Lady Natalie. Donna Rubino captured the falconer later and talked to him.
Jennifer serves tomato bisque soup, which is decent. Then there is half a baked chicken and a rib, plus half a baked potato with no condiments. There are also no eating utensils. She explains we eat with our hands. All righty. I dig into the chicken and potato. Not a real big fan of ribs as they are a lot of work for a little meat under the best of circumstances. The food wasn’t fantastic, but let’s face it, you’re there for the show.
I bought a beer, which garnered a souvenir glass.
They introduce the knights and each section cheers madly for theirs. Our red and yellow knight really knows how to work a crowd. He sniffs his carnation and kisses it then throws it to an adoring fan. He gave one to the toddler daughter of the soldier who is deploying. His credit went up immensely with me when he did that. He also handed one to Beth. It didn’t surprise me. Beth is a very classy, elegant lady and don’t tell anyone, but she’s the inspiration for my spirit walker character. Yes, I’m sure there were many a teen-aged heart tripping madly for our knight.
Then the main show begins. We all agreed they need a new script writer. The prince is going away to seek a peace treaty and gets waylaid. The evil green knight is behind it. The darling princess is left behind to worry about him and nag the king. In the midst of their sorrow, they decide to put on a tournament.
Someone gifts the king with a beautiful white stallion and puts him through his paces.
There is jousting and combat on foot.
Our red and yellow knight is defeated. We all cry out in grief for him. Since Jo is writing about revolutionary France, we adopt the blue knight who has silver fleur de lis on his tabard and barding.
He fights valiantly, but the dastardly knight he is fighting groins him. We boo the knight who looks like he might be victorious over our poor blue knight who is crumpled up on the ground, curled in a fetal position. The other knight looks on then seems to also be hurt and doesn’t press the attack on our poor knight. Yay!
Our knight stumbles to his feet and attacks again. He is victorious and kneels right in front of us, sweat streaming down his face and a definite sickly look. He spits several times and still looks like he’s about to throw up.
I think the groin shot was a little more real than planned.
We wonder if he’s actually going to ride off the field, but he does. The show must go on!
The princess has a sweet, melodramatic warbling voice that makes us think she is going to break out in song at any time. After the tournament, she remembers her poignant parting with her sweet prince. We all growl, “She better not start singing.” She doesn’t,
The princess is very reminiscent of Lily Tomlin playing Snow White in 9-5.
The prince eventually defeats the villainous green knight and everyone lives happily ever after. I secretly wonder if the Prince didn’t pay the green knight to get him away from the warbling princess, but I’m evil like that.
After the show, we all went out front where the knights gathered to have their pictures taken with their adoring fans. Our red and yellow knight was captured by some twits who didn’t realize there were other twits who wanted to capture his attention, so we went to see the blue knight. Oddly enough, I restrained myself and didn’t ask about the groin shot. The writer in me wanted him to describe how it felt for a scene I have in Paladin, but I didn’t. I did encourage all the others to come take pictures with him. I got some fantastic pictures which are all on my missing camera.
I introduced him to Beth. “Sir, I’d like you to meet Beth Shope who is the author of THE KNIFE GIVER, a soon to be best-selling epic fantasy.”
Beth turns brilliant red and gasps, “Julie!”
She does that a lot when I’m around. Remember, she’s the elegant, classy one? Yeah, me, not so much.
Then I introduce Jo. “This is Jo Bourne, author of SPYMASTER’S LADY and LORD AND SPYMASTER, both of which are RITA finalists this year.”
I make the rounds and he finally asks what we are.
“Writers!” we all chorus. “Epic fantasy, epic fantasy, historical, historical romance, historical…Tara, what are you working on today?”
“Historical, but I’m thinking about going back to the fantasy.”
“Tara is multi-faceted.”
I pull everyone in for group pictures. The blue knight is so sweet and he points out his twin brother who is also a knight. Jo asks him about riding and he says they hire people who can’t ride and teach them correctly. It shows. They really are good horsemen.
We make the rounds, doing the tourist thing. Donna corners the falconer and I get more pictures of the beautiful bird, falconer and our ladies.
Not to be incomplete, we end with the prince who is probably just wishing everyone would go away and let him sit down.
I ask him if he plans on becoming an actor. This pops up because someone on Facebook mentioned one of the guys in Dallas who is still hoping to become an actor.
The prince, with unusual common sense, says, “Why? That’s kind of what I do here and I get paid for it.”
He remarks we can go out the side exit and see the horses. I look for the egress sign and we flock to the stables. The prince heaves a sigh of relief.
The horses are quite nice. One of them is busy lipping a few stray kernels of grain from the horse next to him. It’s fairly entertaining to see him work that hard for a few oats that are spilled on the rail above the feed tub.
Sir William, the horsemaster comes down the walk. Oh, really bad timing, Sir William.
He is immediately set upon by a flock of writers with inquiring minds.
Medieval Times has their own horse farm in Sanger, Texas where they raise, train and retire their horses. How cool is that? I would be surprised if they retire all of them, but it’s nice they do think enough of them to at least retire some.
Medieval Times was a blast. It’s cheesy good fun made even more fun by the wonderful writers. A big thanks has to go out to the performers and the staff. They were all very gracious to visit with us and put on a great show. Even the poor princess, who was a beautiful young woman, but had less than stellar dialogue.
We ended the night with more writing and drinking and poor Beth once again having to ask the pajama party to keep it down.