Pennsic is coming up soon! Her Majesty, Queen Gabrielle, has been hard at work making baldrics for the gentles who will be chosen as Æthelmearc’s Champions in each of the War Points. Because our allies will also contribute Champions, Their Majesties don’t know yet exactly how many gentles from Æthelmearc will be participating, but there will be teams of skilled and inspirational gentles filling the following slots.
His Majesty, King Timothy, says that He is working with Sir Stefan Ulfkellson, Kingdom Warlord, to choose fighters for the three Heavy Weapons Champion Battles. “Prowess alone will not get you a slot on the team,” His Majesty said. “Attendance matters. I’m looking for the people who put their heart and soul into going to every muster and really care about being on the team. I want the fighters who will be thrilled to receive a champion’s baldric and cherish it for the rest of their lives. There is no “entitlement” – being a hot stick won’t get you a slot on a Champions team if you don’t put in the effort to show up and work hard.” The three heavy weapons champions’ teams are listed below:
- Unbelted Champions: the first War Point of Pennsic 44, this battle held immediately after Opening Ceremonies features a total of 40 fighters per side, none of whom may be Knights or Masters at Arms.
- Belted Champions: immediately after the Unbelted Champions battle, it features 30 fighters per side, all of whom are either Knights or Masters at Arms.
- Matched Champions: immediately after the Belted Champions battle, it features 30 fighters from each side who have not fought in either the belted or unbelted tournaments. In this battle, fighters are sent out in small groups of 1-5 fighters, with numbers matched by the opposing side.
Arts and Sciences:
This war point will be held on Wednesday of War week throughout the day, and features 14 artisans per side. The A&S Champions may not be Laurels. Queen Gabrielle says “We are trying to showcase artisans from the more remote parts of the Kingdom who don’t have as much opportunity to have their work seen, although we also want to showcase some well-known artisans and challenge them to come up with something really special and unique.” To help Their Majesties find such skilled but lesser known artisans, the Kingdom A&S Ministers, Master Fridrikr Tomasson and Mistress Orianna Fridrikskona have been hosting A&S Displays at events around the kingdom, where artisans are encouraged to enter works in progress and seek feedback from other artisans and the populace. Her Majesty notes, “Rather than spending six months working on something and then find out that you could have done something different at the beginning, we thought it would be helpful for artisans to get feedback during the process of creating something. Master Fridrikr and Mistress Orianna printed up booklets for comments that We and they have been sharing with those who want to have their work displayed.” Mistress Euriol of Lothian, who is coordinating the A&S Champions for Pennsic, set up a Facebook page for the A&S Champions, where the artisans who have been selected so far are sharing their research, discussing their efforts to create or purchase supplies, equipment, tools, and ingredients for their projects, and generally encouraging each other.
There will be 30 Archery Champions per side, with the shoot held on Wednesday of War week. King Timothy has appointed THLord Juan Miguel Cézar as Captain of the Archery Champion’s Team, and tasked him with choosing the members of the team. His Lordship says, “Enthusiasm is definitely one of the criteria that His Majesty impressed upon me that he feels is an important attribute for each member of the Archery Champion’s team to have. The chance to shoot with some of the best archers in the Known World is both daunting and exhilarating at the same time, and can really make a huge impact on a person and their relationship with the SCA. An experience like this has a chance to take a blossoming archer and give them a long lasting sense of belonging in the archery community. That does not mean that skill and prowess are to be thrown out the window, it just means that such things are a secondary criterion. Also being considered is the disposition of the archer. We want to avoid people who are sore losers or cannot get along with the other archers. Often the champions shoot takes 6 to 8 hours to complete and that can be trying on anyone.” THL Juan Miguel also noted that the kinds of shoots that archers encounter in the Champion’s Tournament challenge archers in unusual ways. “One might think that Royal Round scores would serve as a good metric, but I have found that more often than not it is an untrue measure of skill. The Champions’ shoot tests an archer in ways a Royal Round never can. Once we have a list of potential archers, we will have them come out to the range one or two nights for some practice to be better able to gauge their aptitude for this type of competition. After that comes the hard part of choosing the candidates that have the best combination of spirit and skill to add to the team, and of course negotiating with our allies, who will also contribute archery champions.”
As Rapier Warlord, Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta will recommend the fencers who should represent Æthelmearc to Their Majesties. As with the other champions, Their Majesties have asked him to find people with enthusiasm and passion as well as skill. Maestro Orlando says, “I will be recommending individuals who demonstrate prowess as well as dedication to the rapier community through their participation and activity. Simply winning a particular tournament does not guarantee that a recommendation will follow, or that one will be named to the team. Additionally, Their Majesties and I will be looking at who would represent Æthelmearc well on the field; meaning a fencer who is very honorable in combat, comports themselves well on the field, and fights well.” There are two Rapier Champions’ Tournaments:
- Rapier Champions: 20 fencers will represent each side in this battle, to be held on Wednesday at 11 am.
- Rapier Heroic Champions: 12 fencers from each side will compete one-on-one in this War Point, with at least one of the bouts to be Cut & Thrust. It will be held immediately after the Rapier Champions Battle on Wednesday.
Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato will lead the Thrown Weapons team, choosing those throwers whose commitment as well as skill exemplifies the best of Æthelmearc and its allies. Twelve throwers from each side will compete in this war point to be held on Wednesday of War week from 3:00-6:00 pm. Master Giuseppe has contacted the Thrown Weapons Marshals of the Allied Kingdoms and asked them to send him a list of their all of their throwers who are going to Pennsic so he can reach out to them. He will be hosting a series of try-outs in the evenings early in the War. These try-outs will be open to everyone from Æthelmearc and our allied kingdoms. Throwers who are interested in trying out should look for a note regarding days and times at the Thrown Weapons tent. The prospective Champions will throw for a couple of hours at each try-out so they can be observed by the allied marshals. Master Giuseppe says they “will be looking for people who embody their Kingdoms down to their soul.” They want people who teach, work well with others, and learn from each other as well as exhibiting skill. He will choose the top 12 throwers plus three or four alternates for the Champion’s team. Master Giuseppe notes that three years ago, which was the last time Pennsic pitted Æthelmearc against the combined forces of the East and Middle, Æthelmearc and our allies outscored the other side by more than double. He is very proud of that, and expects our team to do equally well this year.
Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope wrote this article with contributions from Their Majesties, King Timothy and Queen Gabrielle, THLord Juan Miguel Cezar, Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta, Master Fridrikr Tomasson, and Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.