The Queen’s Rapier Champion Tournament was held on December 5th, A.S. L, in the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands. Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope reports on the doings there, with much assistance from Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina.
The Queen’s Rapier Tournament event began with the Imperatori, Tindal and Etain, calling forth Baron Uilliam MacanTsaoire, and then summoning the Council of the Pelican and asked if they still agreed that His Excellency was worthy of elevation to their Order.
Upon hearing a resounding “Aye!” from the Pelicans, the Imperatori asked Baron Liam if he would sit vigil in contemplation of this elevation. He answered in the affirmative, but asked that he be permitted to give his baronial coronet into the keeping of his lady, Baroness Constance, so that he could go to his vigil unencumbered by his duties as Baron. The Augustus and Augusta consented, and the order took Baron Liam to his vigil.
Queen’s Rapier Champion Tournament
Then the combatants for the Queen’s Rapier Championship Tournament assembled, and each processed into court to be introduced to the Imperatori.
The Imperator thanked the 37 combatants who entered the rapier championship tourney, for they were all willing to defend His Queen’s honor.
The combatants were divided into four lists, each of which were fought round-robin and churned quickly since the rule for the day was “dead is dead,” and thus double kills were counted as a loss for both combatants. There were a lot of double kills that day, one of the MOLs, Baroness Anna Eisenkopf, observed with a laugh.
After the four lists had completed their tournaments, the top 12 continued to compete in the round-robin finals. During the tournament, the Queen and the Ladies of the Rose bestowed roses on the fencers whose comportment they felt embodied the ideals of courtesy and prowess. These roses were provided by Master Bastiano di Iacopo and Master Iago Benitez.
In the end, THLady Fiora d’Artusio and Don Po Silvertop tied for first place, leaving Augusta Etain to make a difficult decision regarding the two gentles who had impressed her the most during the whole tourney.
She asked them to both face the Imperator for the final, each fighting the best two out of three bouts. Each combatant won two out of three against their Emperor, and afterward Empress Etain expressed how impressed She was with both, adding She would announce Her decision on the new champion at Court that night.
The other finalists were:
Lord Jehan le Blanc
Doña Gabrielle de Winter
Don Eric Grenier de Labarre
Lord Jacob of Dunmore
Lord Durante de Caravaggio
Don Anais Fenne
Lord Cyrus Augur
Lord Magnus bastiano di Vigo
Master Bastiano di Iacopo
Lord Jacob Martinson
After the Queen’s Rapier Champion tournament was completed, fencers took a break for a tasty sideboard lunch prepared by Maistir Brandubh o Donnghaile and his brother, THLord Jorundr hinn Rotinn.
“The main driving impetus was for us, since it was a martial event, to choose largely portable dishes with a lot of meat. Very few things were not hand-held food,” Maistir Brandubh said, praising the kitchen’s collaborative effort.
The generous offerings included pork roasted in wine and spices, roasted chicken thighs, a silky beef brisket smoked by Master Tofi with poudre forte, and a Tyrolean ham from Her Ladyship Cassandra Matis. There were also thick slices of bakery bread with honey butter, roasted carrots and parsnips, fried chickpeas, cannellini bean hummus, an herb & cheese tart, and a leek & mushroom soup.
Although simple and easily identifiable to modern diners, all recipes were period, Maistir Brandubh noted. He had selected his favorites from Forme of Curye, while His Lordship Jorundr chose some dishes from the Italian corpus, such as the Siennese tart for dessert.
They lauded Kattera Doplerin for helping all day in the kitchen, as well as Master Creador Twinedragon and THLord Deryk Archer.
Free Scholars Tourney
The Free Scholars Tournament, sponsored by the Defense Academy, began after lunch. It was a single elimination tournament open to all fencers without grant or peerage level recognition for their fencing skill. Twenty-nine fencers participated in this tournament.
At the end of the tournament, Master William Parris, who heads the Academy, had the top two fencers, Lord Durante de Caravaggio and Lord Jacob Martinson, fight a final round. Both died in a double kill, so he went on to the third and fourth place fencers, Lord Ru Cavorst and Lord Takeda Sanjuichiro Akimasa… who also double killed. When the fifth and sixth place fencers also double killed, Master Will announced that there would be no winner, but thanked all of the participants. He later noted, “Given the frequency of double kills throughout the day, the Academy looks to put its future efforts into training and refining defense, making every parry and void count. Victory is appealing, but survival is at the heart of fencing.”
He then announced the names of those who had qualified for the rank of Free Scholar in the Academy: THLord Jorundr hinn Rotinn, Lord Magnus bastiano di Vigo, THLady Fiora d’Artusio, Lord Jehan le Blanc, and THLord Ælric Ravenshaw.
Countess Elena d’Artois le Tailleur praised the tourney for being very clean, and Master William Parris expressed how excited he was about the attendance and involvement.
Baron Liam’s Vigil, Classes
While all of these hostilities were going on in the main hall, non-combatants had activities to keep them entertained, including an A&S Display and classes on such diverse topics as pilgrimage songs, jewelry, and banners.
In addition, Baron Liam had asked the populace to assist him in his Pelican vigil by contributing to the Toys for Tots drive that his modern employer, Cranberry EMS, was running. The gentles of Æthelmearc responded by filling His Excellency’s donation box almost to overflowing. Fifty-six gentles signed the vigil waiting list to give him advice or just express how inspired they were by him.
As the day wound down, the court of the Imperatori commenced with a choral processional. Empress Etain called forward the two Champion’s Tourney finalists, Don Po Silvertop and THLady Fiora d’Artusio, thanked Don Po, and then announced Her choice of THLady Fiora as Her Rapier Champion.
Numerous gentles received well-deserved awards, most notably Lord Jacob of Dunmore, who was inducted into the Order of the White Scarf, and Dame Elsbeth Anne Roth, who received an Augmentation of Arms for her decades of service at all levels to the College of Arms.
“For sharing the joy of heraldry in all of its forms, thank you so much,” Master Kameshima Zentarō Umakai proclaimed after handing Dame Elsbeth her scroll, pointing out that she had recruited him and several previous Silver Buccles to that job.
The high point of court was the elevation of Baron Liam to the Order of the Pelican. After numerous fine gentles of great repute told the Crown about his many accomplishments and his excellent character, Emperor Tindal and Empress Etain placed the ancestral Pelican medallion around his neck and invested him with a Pelican brooch made by Don Anais Fenne, a Pelican torque made by Lord Takamatsu Gentarou Yoshitaka, and a hood crafted by Lady Rivka bat Daniyel. His Excellency then swore his oath of fealty and was greeted by the Companions of the Pelican with great joy.
Usually the last items of court are the Empress’ inspiration of the day (in this case, Master William Parris for his work on the Defense Academy), and a thank you to the scribes, but Emperor Tindal took the populace by surprise with one additional item. He said there was a gentle who had “confounded” him, and then called for Lord Robert MacEwin of Thornhill. The Emperor noted of Lord Robert, “I originally met you when you were Youth Combat Champion for Our first reign. Then at Æthelmearc Æcademy last month, you sought me out to learn about adult fighting. Last Pennsic during the Æthelmearc Novice Fencing Tourney, you taught me some fencing moves. So I thought, I would give you a Golden Alce so you wouldn’t be eligible to fence in the Novice Tourney next Pennsic! But it turns out you already have a Golden Alce for having been Kingdom Youth Combat Champion and a Junior Grandmaster Bowman, which you got when you were a youth… but you’re still a youth — who fights and fences with the adults… but is still a youth. Now you see why I’m so confounded.”
This rambling exposition by the Imperator drew much laughter from the populace, but the Emperor’s next words brought tears to Lord Robert’s eyes: “Since I can’t give you a Golden Alce, I give you a ring from My right hand, so you will be the Right Hand of the King.” The Emperor then pulled a heavy brass ring from his finger and handed it to Lord Robert, to the cheers of the populace. Lord Robert, who is 16 years old and has been a member of the Society since birth, later said that this was the most touching and meaningful “award” that he has ever received.
On that note, court was closed.