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By Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
For the Pennsic Independent
Monday’s Archer Champions’ Shoot had some of the best archers in the Known World faced by Rodents of Unusual Size, shrieking eels, potions and sorcerers, and a certain Prince Humperdink—not to mention an Iron Man clout shoot and the dreaded Friend or Foe shoot. This year, two practice sessions were held on Saturday and Sunday to help the archer commanders from each kingdom to select their teams. Both the East and the Middle fielded teams of twenty archers, with sixteen additional archers provided to each from their allied kingdoms.
First up was the Roving Range, featuring ten targets based on the movie “The Princess Bride.” At one station, archers were faced with five Rodents of Unusual Size that had to be shot in sequence, from farthest to nearest. One particularly challenging shoot featured a tiny knothole in a tree that had to be hit before taking aim at the albino behind, and another forced archers to think quickly and hit targets that rhymed with the words being announced. Another target featured a picture of a jug of water—but hitting the jug resulted in negative points; only the rope counted for a positive score. Several shoots, including the large herd of shrieking eels, were unknown timed shoots at unknown distances.
After spending the morning in the woods, the archers emerged to find a lovely lunch spread of fruit, ham, cheese, pepperoni, and salty snacks arranged by Camp Kellswood and friends under the direction of official drudge Maude of Oldchurch and Baron Jorg Johansen. The East Kingdom then shot the Friend or Foe while the Middle shot the clout. The Friend or Foe shoot featured two devilishly intertwined creatures. Only the heart area on the enemy counted for points. Hitting the other creature (a much larger dragon) counted for negative points. The clout shoot gave archers an opportunity to fire as many arrows as possible at the clout (a circular castle more than 100 yards away) within one minute, with any arrow within the clout scoring one point, any reaching the target in the middle scoring two, and any inside the castle window on the target scoring three points.
Final scores for the shoots were: Roving Range: 2591 East; 2143 Middle; Friend or Foe: 53 East, 46 Middle; and Clout, 392 East, 269 Middle.
At the end of the shoot, archer general Mark Squirrelsbane of the East thanked all of the marshals who had made the shoot possible. Thanks to an earlier start time and the efficiency of the range setup, the shoot was complete by 1:30 pm—much earlier than is customary. And best of all, when asked whether they had had fun, the answer from the Archer Champions was a resounding “yes!”