Stories of Master Osric

Unto Áindle ÓDiarmada, greetings from Alison de Winfeld.

I had the joy and honor to be Master Osric Cumbra’s wife. Hearing that you wished some tales of those no longer with us, I sat down and noted two incidents of Osric’s that I definitely wish people to remember. 🙂

In service and remembrance,

(Lady Alison de Winfeld is a member of the Order of the Willow and has the Award of the Purple Fret. Her late husband, Master Osric Cumbra is a member of the Order of the Laurel, Order of the Dragon’s Heart, Order of the Willow and also has an award of the Purple Fret. I use “is” as he will live on in our memories. – webminster)

Osric and the Beerwolf

In June 1997, Osric and I attended Border Raids at the old Beach Bend site. We’d traveled separately, because it was a weekend I had to work. But I wasn’t going to miss the Shire of Dragonsmark’s Saturday night potluck dinner, so after getting off work mid-afternoon, I went home, got our dog (pets were still allowed to attend at that time), and drove to the site.

Osric had arrived the night before, and after I found the Shire’s camp, I settled in to a lovely late afternoon of visiting with friends, watching the last of the fighting, and getting ready for the evening’s feast.

It was very hot, and so when we finally retired to the tent late in the evening, we had a hard time getting to sleep. The usual noises of revelry also helped keep us awake.

Then, as we were beginning to drop off, an ominous sound could be heard in the distance.

“Reeeeeeauuuuuuuuuuuuuugghhhhhhhh! Auuuuuuuuuggggggggggggh! Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!”

Somewhere away from our camp, a man was being constantly, violently sick. The sounds of retching went on. And on. And on. And on some more.

Another camp close by us was enjoying themselves still. We heard one person ask, “What is THAT?”

To which another person replied, “It’s a beerwolf!” to the sound of riotous laughter.

The beerwolf’s cries were heard throughout the night, quieting down from time to time, but always returning with ever greater vigor and volume.

Finally, Osric sat up and said, “I can’t stand any more of this!” He quickly pulled on some clothing, and rummaged around in the tent until he found a few bananas and a gallon of water.

I’d almost managed to fall asleep by this time. “Where are you going?” I asked groggily.

“I’m going to go shut that man up,” he grumbled.

I had to leave the site early the next morning to be back in Lexington to work in the afternoon, so I snuggled back into the blankets and fell asleep. I woke up for a few minutes when Osric returned much later, but didn’t hear the rest of the story until late Sunday night, when we were both back home.

Osric had followed the cries of the beerwolf until he found a man crouched down on the ground, dry-retching as though his life depended upon it. He approached the man and asked if he could help. The man nodded, so Osric helped him up.

For the next hour or two, Osric walked him around, fed him bananas, gave him water, held his head when he got sick, walked him to the porta-potties, and finally saw him back to his tent once he could be sure the unfortunate fellow wasn’t going to collapse from alcohol poisoning.

Late the next morning, he stopped by the fellow’s encampment to see if he was doing a bit better. A friend of the man’s looked into his tent, and reported that he was lying flat on his back, snoring loudly. The friend then inquired as to why Osric was concerned. When Osric told him of the previous night’s events, he and his wife looked astonished. They had slept through the whole noisy drama taking place not a stone’s throw from their own tent.

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Why Osric Sometimes Felt Nervous Around Duke Sir Palymar

(as told to me many years ago, so some details might not be completely accurate)

A year or so before Osric and I met, the Shire of Dragonsmark cooked one of the Royal dinners at Pennsic. Being a feast in the field, with relatively primitive cooking and cleaning areas, the cooks and servers worked hard and fast in order that each remove be presented in a timely manner. Also, since it was a camping event, the Shire did not have as much in the way of serving ware as they might at a local event.

Osric and his good friend, Basilius Phocas, were working to clean dirty platters so that they could be used again for the next remove, when Duke Sir Palymar entered their work area to chat with Basilius. The evening was warm, and he removed his headdress and coronet and set them aside while he and Basilius spoke.

Osric continued working at a quick pace, grabbing a clean dishtowel when the one he’d been using was no longer clean or dry enough.

Then Palymar prepared to go back to the feast, and realized that while he saw his coronet, he could not find his headdress. It was red and white checked, of the style I’ve heard called kaffiahs.

By a strange coincidence, Osric was using what he thought was a red and white dishtowel to clean the remains of strawberries off of a platter.

Both men realized the problem at the same time, and as Basilius shook with laughter, Osric sheepishly handed back the headdress, which Palymar took with a disconsolate expression.

From that day on, Osric always kept his own supply of cleaning rags, and looked carefully at them before using them! And he made certain to be polite around Palymar, in the hope that His Grace might not plan some belated revenge.

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