By DonalBane of Blakmers
Battlefield Correspondent, Pennsic Independent
After 20 War Points: Midrealm Dragons 19,
East Tygers 1
A hot and bright morning greeted the two grand armies Thursday as the Midrealm and the East met to face each other in the causeway battle. This was the second straight year the fort hosted this rollicking affair.
Each side took turns attacking and defending the fort. Attackers got unlimited resurrections while the defenders received none as they attempted to overrun the opposing kings banner in the center of the fort. Whichever side held out the longest would receive three War Points.
The first fight saw the Midrealm on the defensive. The Dragon dispatched the forces from Atlantia to the east gate with Calontir, Outlands and Northshield in reserve. The Darkyard Legion and House Red Wing Lion took the west gate, with Ealdormere and AEthelmearc in reserve. In the center, Trimaris, House Darkmoon and House Stahlgeist held the battlements with the rest of the Midrealm army in central reserve.
As the first battle began, the Midrealm lines held firm and a solid wall of ballista and trebuchet fire made the causeway a dangerous place to be. For 20 minutes, the gate defenses held firm, but then the East was able to break through the defenses on the east gate. A rush of warriors from Markland, the Tuchux, Black Talon, and elements of the Northern Army, led by HRH Darius of the East, crashed into the remaining forces of the Midrealm King's Guard and the Oaken Army. HRM Alaric was soon overrun and the fort was surrendered at 22:53.
The two armies switched sides and the Tyger attempted to outlast the Midrealm's time. HRM Kelson deployed the Northern Army and Drachenwald to the east gate, while Black Talon and the Southern Army were sent to the east gate. The East's western allies and the Ironlance Company led the defense of the central gate, with Markland, the Tuchux and Rome and House Bloodguard in the reserve.
The west gate defenses were virtually unmovable as Black Talon and friends did not allow a single Midrealmer or ally inside the fort. The east gate also held firm early on. Surprisingly, the Midrealm seemed to gain an early foothold inside the central gate, despite this being the hardest gate to punch through in past battles. More and more reserves were committed to the central gate until a small group of Midrealm fighters bubbled out the side of the kill pocket. However, the East's final reserves closed the gap.
At the same time, the East's defenses at the east gate collapsed. An international coalition led by Northshield and containing Midrealm, Outlands, Calontir and AEthelmearc fighters descended on HRM Kelson like locusts. HRM Kelson waved the flag in surrender with 16:27 elapsed on the clock, giving the Midrealm the victory.
HRM Tarrach of Northshield assembled his fighters on the causeway after the fight.
"There was no hesitation this time," HRM Tarrach said. "We charged hard and we ended this battle quickly."
Friday's Big Battle
The Field of Honour
This is the big one. A fitting end to a week of mass melees as the East and Midrealm will meet for a final time in this non-resurrection, last man standing brawl. There will be three fights, each worth one War Point, and the last one will allow for combat archery.
What to watch for: One of the greatest spectacles in the Known World. The first charge of the field battle is always a sight to behold.
By Peregrine Fairchylde
Staff Writer, Pennsic Independent
On a field crowded with Dons, White Scarves, Bronze Rings and others from the cream of the rapier community, it took 28 bouts to determine the victor in the Rapier Champions War Point. But when Warder Andrew Blackwood MacBain the Purple slew Lord Malcolm Bowman, that pushed the Midrealm to 16 victories, a majority among the 30 planned bouts.
The two sides split the remaining two bouts, giving the Middle Kingdom a 17-13 victory in the battle.
Using a heroic champions format, with each side taking turns selecting a fighter and the other choosing one from their team whose skills would best match, the fighting went on for more than two hours with only the occasional cloud cover to offer shade from the heat. However, spirits on both sides remained high, with shouts of encouragement and surprisingly well-organized cheerleaders egging the participants on.
The combatants being culled from the premier rapier artistes of the Known World, the fights were not wild and flashy affairs for the most part, though some had their moments. One of the more spectacular pitted two allied fencers: Baron Aedan Aylwyn, Provost of Atlantia, fighting for the Midrealm squared off with Don Robert McPharland of Ansteorra for the East. With the crowd loudly urging them to feats of valor, they clashed again and again until Don Robert scored a touch on Baron Aedan's leg.
"Do you wish to continue?" inquired Don Robert as Aedan settled to his knees.
"Yes!" riposted Baron Aedan. "You've given me better wounds than that!"
"An old gentleman in my kingdom once told me I get one lucky shot a day," Robert replied. "And I think that was it."
Don Robert threw a number of shots at Baron Aedan's sword arm, and after His Excellency repeated blocked them with his quillions the Don suggested, "If you would turn the bars a little bit, that would really facilitate this."
Finally, Don Robert landed a thrust to slay Baron Aedan and take the victory.
AEthelmearc Youth Tourney
There were only four participants, but there was plenty of fighting to go around at the AEthelmearc Youthk Rapier Tournament on Wednesday morning.
Entering the tourney were Jason of Atlantia, Grazia and Collette du Vollois of the Midrealm, and Simon of Ealdormere. They fought a double-elimination tournament, with each round being the best two out of three - and with the third bout being fought even if one fencer won the first two. Schlager was the weapon used by all participants.
Collette and Jason made their way to the finals, with Jason undefeated. In the first round, Jason (fighting sword and dagger) took the first fight but Collette (fighting case) came back with two victories to force a decisive match. Maintaining their weapon selections, the two went at it again with Collette taking both of Jason's arms for the win. In the second bout, the fencers double-killed, and in the third fight Jason took Collette's sword arm, then ran her through for the victory.
However, after conferring following the round, the two fighters decided they should be co-champions of the list. They also shared the "best death" award, as selected by the marshals, and Grazia was named "most chivalrous" for continually making sure her opponents were not facing the sun and comfortable when they lost their legs.
"With the numbers of youth fighters in their kingdom burgeoning," said Youth Marshal, Lady Gwyneth McClellan, "AEthelmearc is hoping to promote the activity by recognizing their own and other kingdoms' young rapier fighters."
The only thing that threatens to hold back the surge in youth rapier numbers is the fact they grow out of the 14- to 17-year-old age bracket. "The biggest threat to youth fighting is birthdays," cracked Ivan Pevcov, another AEthelmearc marshal. "And band camp," added his counterpart Lord John MacPherson of Badenoch.
By Sir Guillaume de la Belgique
For all the similarities between the events of Pennsic and the events of the historical Middle Ages, there's one way in which the two things are very different. One of the prevailing concepts of the medieval era was a certain sense of change and ambition. The invading barbarian hordes (or whatever they're being called in academic circles these days - persons of migratory inclination, perhaps) wanted more of the Roman luxuries, the pilgrims of the 11th century wanted to see the Holy Land, consumers in Europe wanted more imports from the east, nobles wanted more authority over the tenants on their lands, knights wanted more lavish armor to impress the ladies who watched them in their tournaments (knights are kinda prima donnas that way). One of the hallmarks of Western society was that everyone, regardless of station, always seemed to want more.
Like the Middle Ages, the week of Pennsic can easily turn into a mad rush from one activity to the next: fight in the morning, then take a class, go shopping, have dinner, go party hopping ... and suddenly you wonder where the heck the week went. After fighting approximately seven zillion challenge fights the other day, I was laying there with my head on the thrusting tip of my great sword (which does not sound comfortable at all unless you've just fought seven zillion challenge fights) with barely enough energy left to stare at the sky and continue breathing. Then, a nice young lady came by and asked if she could take my picture. I'm not sure why she wanted a photo of a stinky, sweaty old fighter, but I was happy to let her use her camera as long as it didn't involve me having to get up.
She gave me a copy of the picture, and ironically she'd captured, not the sense of utter exhaustion that I felt at the time, but an image of something there isn't enough of at Pennsic, in medieval history or in the world at large: contentment. Sometimes it's easy to forget that not every moment needs to be full of getting, doing or learning more. Sometimes we need to take the time to lie back, look at the sky, and appreciate what we have - because what we have here in the SCA is pretty wonderful.
May you all find your own moment of contentment at Pennsic.
The full line of Guillaume's books and audio CDs, including "Here Comes the Reign, Sir Guillaume!" and "Bringing Chivalry to Life" are available in Ceridwen's Closet, space #74 in merchants row. Readers who have enjoyed Guillaume's columns in the Pennsic Independent may also want to visit his websites: