Mother of All Battles

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Fierce guards protect the Dragon gates
Photo by Master Philip the Pilgrim

By Uilleam of Clan Friseal
Reporter, The Pennsic Independent

Chaos was in the air on the battlefield all morning—the sounds of shields being beaten as drums, and the cries of the noble houses gathered. The Tuchux made themselves known as they crossed the field chanting to honor their clan. Captains formed units of their best fighters and handed out orders to be followed while in battle. Marshals gave the word that battle would begin shortly, which resulted in war cries from all sides as fighters took to the field.
The attacking armies of the East formed a line, fronted by a massive shield wall composed largely of three units of Tuchux warriors. The armies of the Middle, who were to defend, formed into several squares through the town, as well as in line sent to lay in wait for the armies of the East to pass the mountains. At the sound of the cannons, the East began to march through the mountain pass, quickly gaining speed to a full charge. At sight of the charge, fighters from the Middle heeded orders from captains and met their foes with force enough to break the lines. With lines broken, a group of Eastern fighters broke off from the rest and flanked the to the far side of the battlefield and forced the Middle army against the castle. Marshals did their best to ensure the safety of both fighters and spectators, but in the madness of battle mistakes are often made. There were many holds through the day, but they were mainly to ensure all combatants were thoroughly hydrated. Sadly, one hold was needed to clear a fighter who had suffered a knee injury from the field. After the hold was lifted the Eastern armies rallied and forced the remaining Middle fighters through the castle gate, which caused the battle to enter its second stage. During the rest between stages, water bearers were encouraged to allow fighters as much to drink as requested. Fighters gathered around their captains to receive their orders and take rest. With the field reset, the armies took their positions and awaited the call to lay on. At the sound of a horn, a barrage from the Eastern army’s siege weapons and arrows from the Middle filled the sky. Fighters from the Middle found their way around the walls to meet their enemy. With a wall of shields and polearms behind the gate, Eastern fighters found it difficult to enter the castle. However, once inside, the number of defenders began to dwindle. Those who remained made their way to defend the chokepoints in an attempt to hold out as long as possible. Tuchux reinforcements charged the final large skirmish happening inside the castle, flanking Middle fighters and pushing them to the top of the walls. The Midrealm lasted a long while defending from only the walls, though nobody could have foreseen the strategy that won the battle. The final death was aided by Torvus of Rome who served as a platform for his ally Maximus, who reached over the castle wall to end the second stage with a dramatic kill.
During the battlefield reset fighters did their best to stay in battle mode by sparing with allies. However, an unfortunate number of fighters and spectators found the heat to be unbearable and EMTs found it necessary to remove several of each. Marshals instructed captains and water bearers to ensure that every fighter had been rehydrated.

Upon the order to return to the battlefield and prepare for the fight, the Eastern armies formed a line close to the castle road, forcing a long charge from the Midrealm forces. Many fighters broke stride and fell from the lines before reaching the waiting shields of the Eastern ranks. The East held on to an impressive troop formation, allowing themselves to be pushed to a chokepoint along the left side of the castle. With the aid of their rapid fire siege weapons, the East held their position until they were finally overrun by reinforcements from the Middle.
During the reset, captains on both sides were heard giving orders and words of encouragement, telling their allies to fight with honor, for a victory without honor would be more of a loss than an honorable defeat.
Eastern armies next took positions through the castle, mainly covering the far left flank. At the sound of the horn, catapults and ballista launched their payloads to the sky upon the field of fighters waiting to charge. Upon breaking through the gate, the Middle’s armies separated and attempted to flank, only to find the East ready and waiting. Orders were called and a small band broke off to make an attempt on the opposing flank. Eastern fighters prepared for the second flank and sent a group of unbelts to act as cavalry for those standing guard of the right side chokepoint. The Tuchux fighters broke into three units in order to aid all points of conflict. Each charged in and overran the front lines of enemies, giving their allies an opportunity to reform their lines and prepare a charge of their own. Broken weapons then caused a hold to be called, which all fighters seem to have needed at the time.
With weapons repaired, the battle was restarted only to be held several times to clear the dead out of the gate. Piles were so dense that not even poles could reach the enemy. A massive regroup followed by a charge caused the Middle armies to wrap around and close in on one half of the castle. With reinforcements occupied by forces at other chokepoints, this charge became the turning point and gave Middle armies an upper hand. A brief hold allowed both sides to reposition and rehydrate before the end. With fighters briefly rested, both sides traded blows for nearly 20 minutes until the Middle broke through shields with well placed pole strikes.
His Royal Highness Marcus of AEthelmearc said, regarding the battle, “Beginners were seen throwing themselves into the heaviest fights, and the most experienced were seen taking charge and providing support wherever necessary. I also felt that our opponents all fought with great honor, and it was clear that everyone was having fun.”
The battle was decided by duration of defense—how long each side was able to defend their positions before being overrun. The Middle defended for 19 minutes and 49 seconds, and the East defended for 24 minutes and 32 seconds. The War Point was thus awarded to the East Kingdom.