By Peregrine Fairchylde
Staff Writer, Pennsic Independent
That didn't take long.
With the East Kingdom and allies outnumbered three, four, even six to one - depending upon whose estimates you accepted - the outcome of the Rapier Broken Field Battle was virtually preordained, and the Middle Kingdom's army and allies easily took the first two battles and the war point on Tuesday.
While the best two of three scenario was scheduled to take 20 minutes per battle, neither of the two scenarios lasted 10 minutes as the Midrealm's forces were able to quickly surround and then crush the Eastern army.
In the first battle, the East decided to attempt to defend only a small corner of the field, and managed to hold their lines initially as the Middle army faced them four deep along both fronts, more in places. A hold barely a minute into the fight only delayed matters shortly, and once the battle resumed the Eastern side began to suffer attrition at an alarming rate. Pressed by Northshield on their eastern line and Atlantia on their northern flank, the defenders were soon overwhelmed and the Middle took the battle.
The Eastern commanders tried to at least delay the inevitable in the second battle, sending small groups racing out to draw off or possibly flank the advancing Midrealmers. But again, there was little doubt of the end result.
"It was more fun, even if we didn't live longer," said a grinning Baron Fergus MacRae of the East, who led one of the small squadrons. "If you know you're going to die, go out fast, get killed fast, get out of your mask and get some water."
A third battle was fought with some units from the Midrealm crossing over to assist the East, but with similar results. However, the finale of that clash was a dramatic pair of duels between Don Robert McPharland of Ansteorra, fighting for the East Kingdom, and first King Malcolm of AEthelmearc then Duke Palymar.
With dozens of surviving Midrealm fighters surrounding them on the field, and dozens of deceased Easterners on the sidelines, Don Robert and King Malcolm faced off with single swords. After a series of quick lunges between the two combatants, Don Robert took His Majesty's sword arm. King Malcolm then fought left-handed and held off the white scarf for a time, but soon Don Robert had taken His Majesty's remaining arm, and King Malcolm conceded. Don Robert won a rousing round of applause from the onlookers for his skill.
Duke Palymar then stepped forward, also fighting single-sword, and the two faced off quickly amidst the eager armies. Their skills proved evenly matched that day as, mere moments into the duel, each struck a killing blow upon the other and they fell to the ground amidst loud cheers.
After the conclusion of the battle, King Malcolm addressed the Eastern forces on their sideline.
"Many are the days I have taken the field when a landslide was about to fall on me," he declared to the kneeling fighters. "I salute every man and woman who did so today. You brought courage, you brought honor, you brought guts. I thank you all!"
His praise was seconded by Her Majesty Noelle, Queen of the Midrealm, who saluted the Eastern army for their efforts.
Master Alexander d'Avigne of Ostgardr, who had directed the Eastern efforts, also had praise for his troops after the fighting was done.
"We stood against an army that dwarfed us," he told them. You did well, you fought well, but sometimes the bear eats you!"