Submitted by Duchess Dorinda Courtenay
“We have seen the results that Countess Elena has posted, and we will not be treated as a region! We would have you challenge the entire Rapier Army of the Midrealm! Let them see the might of Æthelmearc!” ~Tindal Augustus & Etain Augusta
Wait – what? Did our Emperor and Empress just sign up the Æthelmearc Rapier Army to do battle with the Midrealm? Why yes, They did! This is the Dragon’s Rose Challenge, and it is time for Æthelmearc to rise up and stand together!
The Dragon’s Rose Challenge started as a challenge among fencers in the regions of the Midrealm to earn points by practicing, doing drills, serving the fencing community, and participating in (and doing well in) tourneys. Additional points could be earned by receiving tokens from Ladies of the Rose. Each week, fencers tally their points and report them to the Dragon’s Rose Challenge Master, Warder Adam, who totals them by region. The region with the highest total will win bragging rights and some loaner equipment to encourage even more fencers. There will also be prizes for the highest totals held by individuals. Early on, a few folks in Æthelmearc, and one in North Shield, asked if we could participate. The Challenge Master agreed, and we joined.
Who is this Challenge Master, and why did he start this? “War-Don” Adam CarMychel, member of both the Orders of the White Scarf and the Bronze Ring, has a history of setting interesting challenges to keep people growing in the art of fencing. Several years ago he anonymously popped up in the Midrealm as “Fencer X” where he set a challenge for people to go get 1000 bouts with various people as a way to encourage travel. The “M1K” challenge is now on its sixth round with different leaders. This year, Adam wished to encourage people to continue to train after Pennsic, and in particular, work on tourney skills. Adam noted, “I think there are a lot of fencers out there that never leave their home barony. I wanted to challenge people to break out of their little corner of the world and show the strength and spirit of the Midrealm.” To do that, he created a challenge that encouraged training and practice, but the real points come from entering tourneys. The competition between regions served to keep people motivated to get out and do more fencing! Adam also generously allowed the participation of people from outside his own Kingdom.
When Æthelmearc first joined the Challenge, we expected a few folks might participate, so we entered as a fifth region. Adam was very welcoming, but the turnout was higher than expected. At the midway point, Æthelmearc was not just competing against the Midrealm Regions, but in fact, we were in the lead! The 862 points held by AEthelmearc put us ahead of the next highest region at 619. This led to the challenge that we not participate as a region, but as the Kingdom we are! With your help, we can do it.
So what do we need to do next? We need to work hard – and as a team. The four regions of the Midrealm have a combined total of 2150 pts, so we are over 1200 points behind. The way to overcome this is to recruit more participants, to work hard, and to actually report! Anyone interested in joining the challenge may do so by emailing Warder Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org and telling him you are from Æthelmearc and wish to join. Our Emperor, Tindal, is personally joining this challenge to lead us. Then contact Dorinda or anyone in the challenge for an invite to the Facebook group set up for the challenge. It contains the rules and a spreadsheet for reporting. Then fence! Then report! Most of the regions have at least a few folks who never report at all. Two points a week for twenty weeks adds up. Even if you have only one point for practice or drills, send in a report. Together, we can do great things and answer the call of our Emperor and Empress! In the end, we will also be better fencers.
We leave you with parting words from Tindal, Augustus.
“I am very happy to be joining the Æthelmearc fencing community in the Dragon’s Rose Challenge. Over the last year I have gotten a chance to see the passion and dedication of Our fencers first hand. And I would encourage everyone to participate so that Æthelmearc is represented as a glorious kingdom where everything is better.”