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King Timothy of Æthelmearc breaks the war arrow.
Photo by Lord Tarmach ben Yehuda al-Khazari

by Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
Features Reporter, Pennsic Independent

From north, south, east, and west, the kingdoms of the Known World arrived at the Fort, bedecked with scarlet banners bearing the Escarbuncle of Æthelmearc at the foot of Mt. Eislinn to be greeted by their hosts, TRM Timothy and Gabrielle. It was a somewhat desultory affair. Bubbles filled the air, at least one herald did a little dance, and Master Andrixos went up and down the line of Royalty, presenting them with breakfast.
At long last, the kingdoms of the Middle and East arrived together. The Æthelmearc herald greeted the heralds of the East and the Middle, asking them what business they had before Their Majesties of Æthelmearc. TRM Omega of the East and Ragnvaldr of the Middle were distracted with a few last minute negotiations. “So, the terms are 40% for the Middle, 40% for the East, 10% for infrastructure, and the remaining 10% taxes to be split amongst us?” asked HRM Omega. HRM Ragnvaldr confirmed the terms for splitting Æthelmearc between the Middle and the East. TRM of the East and Middle were then welcomed by HRM Timothy.
“To all gathered here, thank you, and to all we offer friendship,” said HRM Ragnvaldr. Turning to Timothy, he said “We are willing to offer you 5-10% in taxes if you will agree to split your kingdom.”
“I appreciate your most generous friendship—but such an offer cannot be accepted,” replied HRM Timothy, who commanded the Great Dark Horde to bring forth the War Arrow. Cries of “War Arrow? We don't need a War Arrow!' went up from the Royal Households of East and Middle. But Ursus of the Great Dark Horde brought it forward anyway, presenting it to the two kings. “This can still be peace!” exclaimed HRM Omega, as the kings held the arrow between them. Then TRM Timothy stepped between them to grab the arrow, breaking it. “If we must go to war,” said TRM Ragnvaldr, “then we must go!”
House Darkyard was called to bring forth the War Horn, to the sound of cannons proclaiming War. The horn was presented to TRM Ragnvaldr, who sounded a clear note despite an attempt by HRM Timothy to goose him.
One by one, each of the visiting Kingdoms of the Known World declared that they would fight for Æthelmearc. The Kingdom of Calontir threw dice to make their final decision. HRM Drachenwald declared that it would not be right to have two dragons on the same side. HRM Steffan of Lochac declared that he did not expect to be embattled in a Middle-East conflict at his first Pennsic. He went on to state that his kingdom fights for the innocents, so they would fight with the Æthels “because we know you will leave a mark.”
When asked to declare, the Khan of the Great Dark Horde presented an arrow to Timothy. “We declare for Æthelmearc, but we fight for Dave Cooper. This is Dave's war.” The Tuchux, when called forward, silently presented a skull and their allegiance to HRM Timothy. Only the Holy Kingdom of Acre stood with their traditional allies of the East. “That 10% tax money will go to them instead!” stated HRM Omega.
HRM then addressed the crowd. “Before we have a great time, we found out two days ago that we lost Barones Lucia, always a hard worker at Pennsic. She will be missed.” “Others have been lost as well,” stated HRM Ragnvaldr. “The other side of great friendship is that we share more loss than the average person. Let us have a moment of silence for our losses. Remember these people, and treasure the friendships we will share this week.” “For absent companions—Vivant!” said HRM Omega, before all stood in silence and memory.
“I have been friends with these two men for over twenty years,” said HRM Omega of HRMs Ragnvaldr and Timothy. “Our desire is a fun, safe time that all may share.” “Everyone should leave this place with a smile and a burning desire to return,” said TRM Ragnvaldr. “There has been no tension at all in our negotiations. We considered fighting only because we are supposed to. We ARE disappointed that so many kingdoms did not take our offer of 'friendship.'”
HRM Timothy gestured at the fort behind him. “The castle could not be painted red, so we have covered it with the red banners of Æthelmearc. Your Majesties, welcome to Hell.”