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.