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Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina (Chris Adler-France) reports on spring Queen’s Rapier Championship:

On a boiling-hot early summer day, Æthelmearc’s fencers arrived at the event site in Abhainn Ciach Ghlais to find… the wonderful surprise of an indoor, air-conditioned  list!

While His Majesty was on the northwestern side of the kingdom at the equestrian championship, Palfreys and Polearms, on May 28th, Her Majesty observed her rapier championship in comparative coolness and shade.

Everyone needs to watch out for these two. Neither are White Scarves but they’re definitely both fencing badasses! I’m really glad they got to shine and showcase themselves today.

After receiving encouragement and roses from Queen Ariella, 21 fencers of all skill levels entered the tournament, which began with three pools of round robins.  Double kills were counted as a loss for both combatants. The top two combatants from each pool were promoted to a double elimination round, along with two fencers selected by Her Majesty.

The brackets progressed swiftly to the top eight total from the three pools, who were culled by double-elimination rounds to the semi-finals of best two-out-of-three rounds: Don Po Silvertop, Lord Jacob Martinson, Master William Parris, and Lord Durante de Caravaggio de Florenza.

In a rather rare occurrence in this kingdom’s history, neither of the two finalists were members of the Order of the White Scarf (or equivalent or higher rank): Lords Jacob and Durante.

Lord Jacob steps up as Kingdom Rapier Champion. Photo by Lady Wilhelmina Marion Bodnar.

In a final best three-out-of-five rounds, Lord Jacob Martinson won case, single, and rigid parry rounds, while Lord Durante won a case round.

Outgoing kingdom champion Doña Fiora d’Artusio applauded the tournament for being “ridiculously smooth” and all the combatants for being “particularly courteous.” She was happy that the tournament format gave each entrant as many fights as possible before elimination.

“Everyone needs to watch out for these two,” she remarked of Lords Jacob and Durante. “Neither are White Scarves but they’re definitely both fencing badasses! I’m really glad they got to shine and showcase themselves today.”

“It’s great we had two finalists who weren’t White Scarves. This keeps the Scarves and MoDs accountable,” agreed Master Will, head of the Academy of Defense. He noted that the tournament had a wide variety of entrants from Award of Arms-level of recognition to Masters of Defense. He was especially happy to see “people adapting, learning, changing their game when they lost a bout, which meant that some of the finalists came out of the losers list.”

“Whoa, what a day!” Lord Jacob enthused after the tourney. “First and foremost, thank you to the Queen of Æthelmearc, Ariella of Thornbury, for granting me the opportunity to be her fencing champion. I will do my best to represent our kingdom to the best of my abilities, and will protect her at all costs with my steel.”

In addition to thanking the shire for hosting a great event, and Countess Elena d’Artois le Tailleur and Duke Titus Scipio Germanicus for training him, Jacob expressed deep gratitude to his inspirations: “My wonderful wife, and our children, who put up with me stabbing all the things and constantly running off to practices or events.”

Bearpit and Food

Her Majesty Ariella faces Lord Jacob in the list. Photo by Lady Wilhelmina Maron Bodnar

A relaxed bearpit tournament followed the championship, with marshals continuously crying “Table for one!” when a combatant needed a new “dancing partner” and “Table for two!” when both combatants died or a combatant successfully held the list five times in a row. Queen Ariella good-naturedly accepted challenges in a separate list, offering fencers who are participating in the Wild Hunt the opportunity to nab the highest score, a five-point kill (since royalty are worth even more than Masters of Defense).

“My Rapier Championship had many highly skilled and chivalrous fencers compete,” Her Majesty commented after the event. “They honored Æthelmearc and Me in entering the tournament and it was a pleasure to watch.  As My outgoing Champion, Doña Fiora, said, it was a very courteous tournament but with intensity as well.  Congratulations to My new Champion, Lord Jacob Martinson, and to the other finalist, Lord Durante!  Thank you to the Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais for hosting such a well-run, enjoyable event!  It will be a meaningful, good Royal memory for Me.  As a bonus, I had the opportunity to fence almost everyone in the tournament and some who marshaled, which gave Me joy.”

Throughout most of the day, the St. Lawrence Guild of Cooks offered a copious repast of tasty finger foods, including sliced Pyes of Paris and spinach pies, several different kinds of marinated hard-cooked eggs, sliced cold cuts and cheeses, bread, dried fruit, fresh fruit, raw vegetables, and a variety of pickled  vegetables. (The delicious pickled onions and carrots were lacto-fermented in whey.)

Court and Wild Hunt

After opening Court with a moment in remembrance of Baron Malcolm Fitzwilliam, and allowing a brief Endless Hills baronial court, Her Majesty awarded a Silver Buccle, Golden Alce, and Keystone. (See Court Report.)

Countess Elena and Master William presented prizes (including a copy of Talhoffer’s Medieval Combat) to the three top three bearpit entrants: Lord Durante, Lord Andreas von Halstern, and Don Po. Master Diego Miguel Munoz de Castilla, one of the four coordinators of the Wild Hunt, reminded everyone that both the bearpit and championship that day counted toward the year-long competition.

“Don’t worry about the math about how much someone is worth, we’ll do that for you,” he said. “Just remember who you fought and email us that.”