The Scarlet Guard Inn is one of a small number of archery-themed events held in Æthelmearc throughout the year. When the Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais decided a few years ago that they would no longer run Will’s Revenge, the Companions of the Scarlet Guard, Æthelmearc’s grant-level archery order, persuaded the good folk of the Shire of Hornwood to fill the gap. This year’s third Scarlet Guard Inn was as much fun as ever, despite some occasional rain. A total of 57 archers participated in one or more of the shoots.
The event included camping from Friday night through Sunday for those who were interested, but the main activities were held on Saturday. Roving ranges, which required archers to walk through the woods and shoot at targets placed along the way, included one with archers shooting the damned souls of Dante’s Inferno, run by Lady Katherine Täntzel; another run by Alrekr Bergsson (who received his Award of Arms later that day) in which archers had to acquire the assistance of Mythic Heroes to kill the escaped Norse wolf, Fenrir; and a third in which Lady Marina Aragones de Navarre had archers take aim at natural objects like tree stumps, sometimes through tricky terrain.
There were also several stationary ranges. Master Robert the Grey once again ran his “skeet shoot” which had a wooden machine that Queen Gabrielle described as “looking like something out of da Vinci’s notebooks.” It tossed disks into the air that archers had two chances to hit using “flu-flu” arrows. Master Robert also ran a Popinjay shoot that required archers to shoot nearly vertical to knock a stuffed bird off a wire many feet above them.
The Kingdom Archery Marshal, Baron Edward Harbinger, ran a charity shoot in which gentles could pay $1 per arrow to shoot at targets of Pelicans, Laurel wreaths, Knights, and Puss in Boots (for the Order of Defense), each sponsored by a peer of the appropriate order. The sponsoring peers matched the arrows shot at their targets to a maximum of $10, and those who were present could also “defend” their targets by shooting them, with each hit removing a point scored by another archer. Some targets were shared by multiple peers, which led to the amusing scenario of one peer defending their target while simultaneously adding points to another peer’s tally, only to have the peer sharing the target return the favor. The shoot brought in $393 for the Kingdom Trailer fund.
A third range, in which archers took aim at characters from the Princess Bride movie, was run by Lord Ru Cavorst. In addition, THLord Juan Miguel ran a 100-yard clout shoot with a dragon at the center, and there was also a standard Royal Round range available for those wishing to improve their scores or receive advice from the members of the Scarlet Guard.
Many of the ranges had members of the Scarlet Guard available to offer training to those who desired it, and some classes were also offered under the pavilion where the cooks of Hornwood provided an all-day sideboard of bread, fruits, veggies, soups, sweets, and drinks.
King Timothy and Queen Gabrielle each took turns at the archery range. Her Majesty, who has previously held the rank of Master Bowman, was shy a string for Her crossbow, so THLord Juan Miguel graciously loaned Her his crossbow.
His Majesty shot a longbow, and despite His protestations of not being a very good archer, did a creditable job at the Royal Round targets. Their Majesties announced in court that night that They intend to arise early each day at Pennsic to participate in the populace shoot on all four days, to serve as an example to Their subjects and encourage everyone to shoot the Archery War Point. King Timothy has said several times that He believes this year the War may come down to the Archery War Point as the deciding competition.
Their Majesties chose the Inn as Their venue to select both the Kingdom Archery Champion and Their Thrown Weapons Champion. The outgoing Thrown Weapons Champion, THLord Gunther Grunbaum, ran the Thrown Weapons Tournament. The finalists were Master Tigernach mac Cathail, Baron Caleb Reynolds, Lady Aemelia Soteria, THLady Rois O’Faye (called Rosheen), and THLord Kenn the Just.
The rounds included a variety of targets, including ones where the objective was to not hit certain portions of the target. After a hard fought final round, the winner was Master Tigernach mac Cathail, who was invested as the new Kingdom Thrown Weapons Champion at the evening court.
The Kingdom Archery Champion’s Tournament was organized by the outgoing Champion, Lord Ichikiero Osoroshi. After a qualifying round, there were seven qualifying archers who were required to shoot six arrows alternating between the 20 and 30 yard targets, with speed as well as points a determining factor. After this round, the field was reduced to three: Lady Katherine Täntzel, Lord Ru Cavorst, and Lord Gawin Hawkseye. The semi-final round required the archers to perform the difficult task of hitting “snakes” that popped out of canisters when Lord Ichikiero pulled a string. It took at least six rounds but this then reduced the field to two finalists, Lady Katherine and Lord Ru.
In the final round, the archers were required to hit paper plates affixed to a mechanical device that made them spin at varying rates of speed, which was another difficult challenge. Both archers performed well, but the winner was Lord Ru Cavorst.
That evening, Their Majesties held court, bestowing awards on a number of deserving individuals in addition to investing Their new Archery and Thrown Weapons Champions. They also welcomed Their outgoing Archery Champion, Lord Ichikiero Osoroshi, to the ranks of both Ludicrous Bowman (with a royal round average over 120), and the Order of the Golden Alce.
THLord Juan Miguel announced the winner of the Scarlet Guard Challenge, which invited every Shire, Canton, College, Dominion, and Barony in the Kingdom or from other Kingdoms to send a champion to compete. Five groups sent a representative to this year’s Scarlet Guard Inn: the Debatable Lands, Rhydderich Hael, Steltonwald, Hunter’s Home and Delftwood. Since there were only five competitors, they all shot in both rounds of the competition. The first round consisted of shooting at the dragon in the clout range; each archer got 2 shots from 100 yards, 80 yards, 60 yards, and 40 yards. The second round was a timed shoot at the dragon from about 35 yards away, with the archers having to shoot through a castle window. At court, THLord Juan Miguel and his wife, Lady Marina, displayed the banner they had made, which features a white escarbuncle on red, the badge of the Scarlet Guard, and space to add the name of each group and its archer who wins the challenge going forward. This first year’s winner was Lord Takamatsu Gentarou Yoshitaka of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands.
THLord Juan Miguel also offered a challenge for all archers to complete all nine stations and roving ranges over the course of the day. As the archers completed each shoot, the marshal in charge gave them a sticker to place on a scorecard. Those who accumulated stickers for every shoot received a gray “Iron Tassel” crafted by THLord Juan Miguel, which included a small cast pewter rendition of a tassel as well as an actual yarn archery tassel. Quite a few archers accomplished this feat, with a few others coming very close. THLord Juan Miguel lists the following archers who received Iron Tassels:
- THL Meadhbh inghean ui Bhaoghill
- Lady Simonetta d’Alfassi
- THL Aindreas mac Ghille Fhionntaigh
- Greg Straub
- Lady Miriel du Lac
- Lord Robert MacEwin
- Brandy Straub
- Baroness Elizabeth Arrowsmyth
- Viscountess Lucilla Theresa de Courtenay
- THL Madoc Arundel
- Siobhan Readnait
- Caelfind in Eich Gil
- Lord Goffraid Cleireach
- John Matichko
His Lordship says, “I’m already making plans for next year’s Iron Tassel, thinking of adding another range or having the archers attend a class.”
Saturday evening ended with gentles enjoying potables and good food around campfires. Despite the intermittent rain, which made it necessary for a few vehicles to be pushed out of the mud, everyone had a great time. Lady Katherine Täntzel said, “I can’t wait until next year!”
All photos not otherwise credited are by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.