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Duchess Dorinda Courtenay attended the Hartstone Muster and filed this report.

On Sunday, January 18, over 90 people heeded the call of His Royal Highness, Timothy, and traveled to Hartstone for a regional practice. These good folks started their Pennsic training by hiking up three long flights of stairs to a large area with a wooden floor and a room full of sword brothers and sisters. What followed was six hours of fun.

Hartstone muster all

Photo by Prince Timothy

The day started with some warm-ups and authorizations as people gathered. The Shire of Heronter had two new fighters join the ranks of the Æthelmearc Rattan Army as both Rachel and Loegaire mac Conaill mhic Siadhhail picked up their initial authorizations along with at least one other fighter. Loegaire came to the Kingdom a few weeks ago from a different organization and immediately fell in love with rattan fighting. This practice gave both of them their first taste of SCA melee fighting, and they loved it. Matthew from Alfred also authorized, and Davus of the Rhydderich Hael successfully completed his rapier authorization in parry item. This practice not only gave people the chance to get their needed authorizations, but it also served as a learning opportunity for the Marshals in Training.

Photo by Lord Simon

Photo by Lord Simon Peregrine.

The warlords split the floor as the rattan fighters took the floor for thirty minutes while the fencers went downstairs to discuss tactics. Every half hour, the groups exchanged places. This format gave each a chance to spend time actually fighting as well as time discussing what to improve. An afternoon of teaching and practice left both groups exhausted, but better than when they started. None were more exhausted than Prince Timothy and Lord Sittius of Hartstone, who switched back and forth between rattan and rapier all day, although by doing this they did manage to avoid some of the stair climbing!

Hartstone fencers 3

Photo by Lord Simon

An afternoon of repeatedly climbing three flights of steps and thirty minute segments of fighting would normally leave people in a sorry state, but a marvelous crew from Hartstone provided food and drink for all. In addition to the standard pretzels and pickles, there were delicious meat pies and other foods to keep folks happy and healthy. This group of folks worked all day to take care of the 85 fighters and fencers who traveled in.

Hartstone cooks. Photo by Lord Simon.

Hartstone cooks. Photo by Lord Simon.

Both groups spent time on standard “fight to the last man standing” scenarios as well as resurrection scenarios later in the day. Fencers also worked on “how do we deal with being outnumbered” – a scenario we have been facing on a regular basis on the fencing field. Finally, the day ended with pick up fights for those who hadn’t been able to match up during the melee scenarios.

The following members of the White Scarf were in attendance:

  • Don Orlando di Bene del Vinta, Kingdom Rapier Warlord
  • Don Will Parris
  • Countess Elena d’Artois
  • Duchess Dorinda Courtenay
  • Baron Eric Grenier de Labarre
  • Don Mateo Pesci
  • Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen
  • Baron Benedict Fergus atte Mede
Comes Tindal vs. Prince Timothy. Photo by Lord Simon.

Comes Tindal vs. Prince Timothy. Photo by Lord Simon.

The following members of the Chivalry were in attendance:

  • King Titus Scipio Germanicus
  • Prince Timothy of Arindale
  • Duc Henri d’Artois
  • Duke Cygnus the Blissful
  • Duke Marcus Eisenwald
  • Duke Khalek Shurrag Od
  • Comes Magnus Tindal
  • Viscount Syr Bear the Wallsbane
  • Sir Michael of Northwood
  • Master John the Pell
  • Sir Havoc the Wild
  • Sir Wulfstan Huscarl
  • Sir Óláfr Þorvarðarson
  • Sir Stefan Ulfkellson, Kingdom Heavy Weapons Warlord
  • Sir Vladimir Mechnik

The day was a huge success, and can best be summed up by Loegaire’s post after the practice:  “I love Æthelmearc!”