When the pageantry was finished and the last alliance declared, King Felix of the Middle Kingdom gave his final instructions to the gathered crowd.
“Go fight,” His Majesty said. “Have fun.”
The songs of Æthelmearc, Ealdormere, and Calontir mixed with the sounding of the war horn, the snap of the traditional broken arrow, the tunes of a bagpiper and the strong voices of kings and queens during a quick and efficient opening ceremony held for Pennsic XXXIII in bright sunlight in front of the Pennsic Fort.
The processions had begun with musters early Sunday morning, with the East’s allies mustering outside her gates and the Midrealm’s allies lining up by the Dragon gates. Æthelmearc stood as one, in front of the fort, ready to receive the visiting armies.
War point battles will not begin until this morning, but the makeup of the two armies was finally revealed as eight kingdoms declared for the Midrealm, and seven kingdoms, the Great Dark Horde and the Kingdom of Acre declared for the East.
In a war that was declared “between friends,” the sides appear to be fairly equal, with the alliances decided mainly on past agreements between kingdoms and for historical reasons.
The Midrealm will be joined in battle by the kingdoms of Atenveldt, Meridies, Calontir, Ansteorra, Trimaris, the Outlands, Drachenwald and Ealdormere. King Alaric of Ansteorra declared his armies would fight alongside its traditional ally, Calontir. The loudest and clearest declaration came from King John of Drachenwald, who declared his intention to ally with Ansteorra and therefore the Midrealm. King Berus of Ealdormere explained his kingdom’s decision to the crowd by saying, “The blood of the Dragon still flows within our kingdom.”
King Kelson of the East handed war banners to each ally, and that group included the West, Caid, Atlantia, An Tir, Artemesia and Lochac, as well as the Great Dark Horde and Acre. The West was the first to declare, and Caid and An Tir said they would stand beside their brothers from the West. King Cuan of Atlantia and King Maynard of Æthelmearc declared that since their kingdoms had come from the East, they would fight alongside her. King Konrad of Artemesia said that since each of his fighters would bring the strength of many, Artemesia would provide “a thousand men” for the East.
Eight of the war’s 27 war points will be decided today, starting with three Field Battles, which begin at 11 a.m., and five champions’ competition, which begin following the field battles. The Champions’ battles will start with a one-hour Heroes’ Resurrection battle, followed by the Belted and Unbelted Champions battles. In addition, the Archery Champions and Rapier Champions will take to the range and the list. Each champions’ battle is worth one point.
Photo by Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton