Their Highnesses, Byron and Ariella, recently named Don Donnan MacDubhsidhe as their Rapier Warlord for Pennsic 45. The Gazette reached out to ask Master Donnan about his new role.
You’ve held this post before – which royalty did you serve under, and how do you think things will be different this time around?
I was first warlord under King Maynard and Queen Liadain. The army is quite different now; not only is it larger, we have a number of newer fencers as well as quite a few heavy fighters crossing over. Both are great.
What are your plans for helping to train the rapier units around the Kingdom?
At the basic level, we need to get used to the idea of working together as an army. I have always been a fan of the “Trained Bands” model of the Tudor era. Each group works together to train, and then we get together at musters and inter-group practices to challenge ourselves and learn to work together. Each group should learn to work in five person teams, with one person as the designated leader, and everyone in the army needs to learn how to fight as line infantry. There is always going to be a need for people in specialized roles, like skirmishers, but at the end of the day even they need to able to form up and fight together.
Regarding melee, what do you think our fencers excel at?
Defense. No one can form and maintain a kill pocket like Æthelmearc. Also, the fact that we are willing to travel to and train with other groups means that getting together as an army is in our nature.
What do you think they most need to work on?
The idea of working in a line and fencing as a group can always use work, and the better we get at that, the better we will be as an army.
Once alliances are announced, how much collaboration do you expect between our forces and the Kingdom on whose side we end up fighting?
In the past we have been quite lucky in this. We generally get along with our allies, and the rapier community is tight enough that there is generally some familiarity between the leaders.
Do you know yet what this year’s rapier battles are likely to be, including champions’ battles?
Details are still being worked on, stay tuned.
What do you hope to accomplish as Warlord (other than the obvious of having our troops perform well and winning the battles for our side)?
I would like to establish a standard for organization and training that would give anyone who took over from me in the future a good workable army to build on, and allow anyone new to understand what standards to train to so they can be part of that.
Don Donnan MacDubhsidhe OP