Report by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope and Lord Christian Goldenlok.
The Shire of Misty Highlands lived up to its name on Saturday, October 10th, as gentles from all over Æthelmearc wended their way through foggy valleys and across hills just beginning to turn to autumn gold, heading to the site of the Crown Tournament that would determine the successors of the Imperatori, Magnus Tindal and Etain. The mist soon lifted, and the populace was treated to a perfect fall day of bright sunshine, pleasant temperatures, and great deeds of nobility.
The day began with the Kingdom Youth Champion’s Tournament. Five enthusiastic youth fighters from Divisions 1 and 2 assembled to hear the words of Their Majesties, then spent almost an hour in joyous combat. The bear-pit tourney allowed all of the young combatants to fight as much as they wished. Their Majesties made it known that they would choose their champions based on chivalry and honor as much as prowess, and the youth fighters responded with great courtesy. In the end, the Imperatori chose Karl Kupferhelbelinc as their Division 1 champion, and Drake Magnusson as their Division 2 champion. The Marshal in Charge, Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope, was assisted by youth marshals Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen, Lord Matheus Weasel, Mistress Zoe Akropolitina, and THL Tegrinus de Rhina. The marshals and fighters also appreciated the great efficiency of Mistress Ekaterina Volkova, who tallied the wins and losses as MOL for this fast-moving tournament.
Once the youth fighters finished their tournament, the adults entering Crown Tournament assembled for the Grand Processional. 26 combatants were present to vie for the Crown, and each couple was presented to Their Majesties with a heraldic flourish and many banners flying. Once the procession was complete, Lord Thrain inn riki, who ranked lowest in precedence, set the tone for the day by challenging the highest ranking combatant, Duke Timothy of Arindale. The rest of the fighters then made their challenges and the tournament began.
Long-Winded Tourney Coverage from Lord Christian Goldenlok
At Crown tournament, happiness, excitement, and inspiration were as beautifully abundant as the foliage of the fall season. A blessing from the Kingdom of Atenveldt, it seemed an illuminator gilded the golden sun as it made the fall foliage glow. The stillness of the lake painted the perfect picture of the majesty of our Kingdom.
The laughter of children and the clash of the combatants boomed throughout the valley and out across the lake. Lightning struck with each blow delivered, and when laughter abounded, it echoed so intensely that it seemed the entire Known World’s populace was gathered in fellowship, laughing with us.
The Shire of Misty Highlands was the setting for this most perfect atmosphere, which seemed to emanate the honor and glory of our fall crown tournament. With each passing list runner, herald, fighter, or consort, it was easy to become overwhelmed at just how alive the event was. As its vigor intensified, I found myself stationary, just looking at how the event unfolded before my eyes.
As I entered the site, I was greeted by Lord Arias Beltrane del Valle. He greeted me and directed me to where I would register. A fine southern region lady would accept my troll fee and place around my neck a token of admission. I heard the clanging of pots from the feastocrat, Lady Barbaia, and her helpers, resounding through the hall. I embraced the Autocrat, Mistress Juliana Delamere, who seemed rather popular as she had a line of people asking her about myriad things requiring her attention.
I excused myself and made my way down to the fighting. As I trod, I passed a fine gentle and his wife, Lord Olaf Steinabrjotr and Lady Mckenna Henderson, who were balancing large plates of food and drink to share with the populace. I intercepted them and relieved them of a tray of apples.
As I began my round of randomly serving refreshment, I had the opportunity to observe individuals in their respective pavilions. Canvas tents with pennants flying in the fall breeze framed the lists. In those tents sat the retinues of the fighters they were representing. Fine food spreads on a decorative cloth would be placed on long tables to be shared with others. Laughter and excitement was a common sight.
Since there were only two fighting lists, the populace was treated to an intimate view of the combat. I saw others in support, hurrying about. List runners would retrieve small wooden shields of heraldry from the heraldry tree, then place them on the appropriate list hangers to visually prepare the populace for which list the warriors would be entering.
The heralds would set the routine of the bout before and after each fight. Fighters would enter the list, salute the crown, make salutations to their combatants and their consorts, and begin their dance of destiny under the watchful eyes of the marshals. When the fight was concluded, those same list runners would bolt back to the Minister of the Lists (MOL) to report the victors. These ladies would record list advancements, announce who would fight next, and politely remind spectators to remove themselves from in front of the MOL table.
With all of this movement happening simultaneously, it’s truly a wonder that an event of this magnitude was so expertly executed. I attribute this to experience and the willingness to participate from the many volunteers that make these events possible.
The fighting was fierce and honorable, with no willing disregard for honor, courtesy, and chivalry; characteristics that are intrinsic to the Æthelmearc fighting community.
The semi-finals saw Sir Arnthor inn sterki and Duke Duncan von Halstern emerge with one loss each, while Sir Thomas Byron of Haverford and Count Andreas Morgan were undefeated. Sir Arnthor and Duke Duncan were instructed that they must win twice to advance, but Sir Byron and Count Andreas had other ideas, and defeated their opponents in a single bout each.
In the end, only two brave knights remained. Sir Thomas Byron of Haverford stood the field undefeated. Driven by love for his lady wife, Sir Ariella of Thornbury, and determined to become the heir to the throne of Æthelmearc, he stood opposed by a man who is no stranger to ruling the kingdom, Count Andreas Morgan, fighting for the honor of the beloved Countess Kallista Morgunova.
Two proud sons of Æthelmearc met in the finals of crown tourney with greatsword in hand. The first of three bouts were initiated by the marshal, Count Jehan de la Marche. The first pass saw Sir Byron brought to his knees, then defeated with a thrust to the body by Count Andreas.
Count Andreas chose to keep greatswords for the second match. Lay on was called, and the populace assembled was treated to a match that spanned the entire list field. Through an exchange of blows, and an intense moment of close-in fighting, Sir Byron rose the victor of the second bout.
Sir Byron chose to exchange his greatsword for a weapon and shield for the third and deciding fight. Count Andreas chose to match his weapons form. With patience, maneuvering, and timing, one well-struck blow to his opponent’s helm ensured victory and the eventual rule of Æthelmearc for Sir Byron.
“I have dreamed, dreamed so often of this moment.” Phrases like these are said everyday. Few however, truly witness what it feels like when others complete their dreams. For Sir Byron and Sir Ariella, those assembled were blessed with a magical and intimate moment in which we were offered a glimpse of what it was like for Sir Byron to complete his dream, or rather, compete and win the honor of actualizing his dream beside his wife. It was truly a moment which I hope will live in the hearts of those assembled for years to come.
Many heavy fighters such as myself see the battlefield beside their significant others. My fiancée dons armor and literally fights by my side. Many fight beside their spouses in the battlefields of mastering an art or science or the battlefields of service to the kingdom. Many of us journey with the support of our friends, family, and chosen family. Whatever the journey, Sir Byron and Sir Ariella, or rather, Their Royal Highnesses, Prince Byron and Princess Ariella, offer us a look at the top of the mountain. A pinnacle of what it looks like to dedicate their family, years of their lives, their hope, honor, and prowess, to achieve the opportunity to serve the populace of Æthelmearc and indeed the Known World from, eventually, the thrones of Æthelmearc.
You can watch video of the tournament finals and the crowning of Byron and Ariella as Prince and Princess here (with thanks to Master Alaxandair o Conchobhair, videographer).
Kudos to the marshals, led by the Earl Marshal, Duchess Tessa the Huntress; the heralds led by the Sycamore Herald, Baron Robert O’Connor; and the list officers led by the Kingdom Mistress of the Lists, Baroness Rynea Ingen of Stormsport, who all did their usual efficient jobs to keep the tournament running smoothly.
After a brief respite, the Imperatori held Their Court, in which they recognized Their Youth Champions and bestowed awards on an array of deserving gentles. The Ladies of the Rose gave tokens to THLord Jussi Laplein and THLady Beatrix Krieger for their honor and courtesy on the field, and then bestowed the Shield of Chivalry on THLord Darian Valski, who was the only unbelted fighter to make it to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Congratulations to the Autocrats, Mistress Juliana Delamere and Lady Barbaia of Sable Maul, along with their staff and all the people of Misty Highlands for a beautiful event.