2018 is the 20th anniversary of Endless Hills becoming a Barony. In celebration, Their Excellencies, Verde and Fiona, have declared that there will be a Year of Tournaments, culminating in a Grand Tournament on January 1st, 2019. January 23rd saw the first qualifying tournaments.
Don Po ran the first Fencing Tournament. We had a great turn-out with 10 fencers coming in from groups across Æthelmearc and the East Kingdom to fence in the tournament. The format was a “Throw Me Under the Bus,” Bear Pit. The fencers fought their first two bouts like a traditional bear pit, but if they made it to their third fight, the fencer got to pick their opponent from anyone in line. The competition was furious, but in the end there must be a victor and that victor was Lord Lucha Delion of ACG. Initially tied for second place were Lady Jenevieve Spillane of Hartshorn, Dale, and Curt the Confused of Endless Hills, with Lady Jenevieve edging out second place. Lord Lucha also walked away with the Bragging Stick of Endless Hills. If you want it, track him down and challenge him for it.
On the Heavy side there were six heavy fighters who competed. It was a standard best of three Round Robin tournament. Completion was as close as it could be, with three fighters tying for the win: THL Lotharius, Lord Ulfkell Dongelsson, and Baron Cormacc mac Gilla Brigde. The three went into a sudden death round. First up were THL Lothar and Baron Cormacc, with Lothar coming out on top. Next up, Baron Cormacc fought Lord Ulfkell, with Cormacc taking the victory. The third match was THL Lothar against Lord Ulfkell, with Ulfkell coming out on top. Once again, a tie. This forced yet another round. After 2 very dramatic tie-breaker rounds, Baron Cormacc squeaked out a victory, with THL Lothar finishing second and Lord Ulfkell third.
Lord Lucha and Baron Cormacc are the first to earn one of the 16 spots for the Grand Tournaments.
There will be plenty more opportunities to earn a spot. There will be a Fencing Tourney the first Tuesday of every month and a heavy tournament the third Tuesday of every month in 2018. These tournaments are open to all combatants who are authorized in the fighting style that they are competing in. Both will be at 8pm with doors opening at 7pm, at the Jackson Township Fire Hall, 1160 Chase Road, Shavertown, PA 18708. Come help the Endless Hills celebrate the Year of Tournaments!
Each reign, a celebration is held, the celebration of the Queen’s Rapier Championship. Through our efforts on the field, by bringing our best training and fighting wholly with our hearts, we praise the Queen through our actions, knowing full well at the end of they day one of us will be given the important duties of being the Queen’s rapier champion until another is chosen with the following reign. While we admire the excellence of the skills of those on the field, the praise of the tournament is rightly only for the Queen. Some may ask why the fencers have such a cult of worship built around the Queen and from whence did it originate.
The inspiration of documented history demonstrates the cult of the Queen being foremost in Elizabethan England during the reign of that illustrious and world-shaping woman. Notable heroes of the day such as Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh credited their renown to efforts on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, and their examples were not isolated but were instead forefront of those common of many men contemporary to them. A culture grew with this as instinct for soldiers of the realm with echoes continuing through England’s history with successive queens, most notably with Queen Victoria and again in the modern day with Elizabeth II.
Historical fiction enhances the importance of fighting for the Queen in the works of Dumas both in the original literary forms and further pursued in representations in film. Echoes of the same devoted fascination are brought forth in Rostrand’s writings as well. In the wake of D’Artagnan and his companions and Cyrano de Bergerac, the hopeful ambition of everyone who lifts a rapier is to serve the Queen.
In the culture of the Society, these inspirations took root throughout the Known World, but in Ansteorra, they were formative in the foundations of a Kingdom remarkable in its history as a leader of progress for Society fencing. The enthusiastic vigor for the cult of the Queen sparked imitation and competition in other kingdoms new and old with each developing a unique approach for their own pursuit of devotion to their respective Crowns.
In Æthelmearc, the Queen is first and foremost for fencers in our own unique fashion. With the first reign, the King and Queen established the Order of the White Scarf to grant a firmament for their fencers, but discussion of who would claim the fencers of the kingdom was silenced by Queen Caryl when she firmly stated, “They are mine.” Having been so lovingly adopted by our Queen, we have returned that love tenfold perpetually. The Order of the White Scarf invited the Queen to be an honorary member of the Order and upon stepping down as a Lady of the Rose has been welcomed to advise and guide the Order with noble wisdom beyond our ken, and this tradition has and will continue.
The love of the Queen for the fencers and the fencers for the Queens has been circular and brought forth great things. Impressed with the friendship, service, and honor given her by the fencers of her guard, Queen Dorinda joined her friends on the field and led them when she returned as Princess on a following reign. This inspiration brought forth great works by many, the volley of which was returned by Her Grace Dorinda who showed the power of a Rose with steel thorns by winning the day repeatedly as Warlord, White Scarf, and Principal of the Æthelmearc Order of Defence. The garden of Roses with steel thorns continues to bloom in Æthelmearc as we are joined, inspired, challenged, and humbled again and again on the field by Elena, Rosalinda, Kallista, Branwyn, Ariella, and more.
As much as we respect the skill and tenacity of Roses as compatriots on the field, we are ever in awe of the constant gentle guidance and protection they have all given us, exerting their influence to shape the world to allow us to prosper, speaking kind words of encouragement when we need it or stern words of reprimand when we need it more, and setting an example of nobility, grace, and honor we ever strive to mirror within ourselves.
In this cultural phenomenon, we have our Cult of the Queen. We take joy in it and seek to preserve it. For all of those who have had the good fortune to serve a Queen closely, whether as a retainer, a guard, or a Champion, we are left with an indelible imprint and continuing devotion to them, a devotion that brings us to the feet of each new Queen hoping to serve again. The Crown of our Kingdom grant us the gift of the illusion of us recreating history serving them, and in our devotion to them, we are given the chance to allow them to experience the greatness and reality of Their Reign. It is a circular gift made more enduring and mighty the more we give.
Set forth for Queen’s Rapier Championship, and carry in your thoughts something greater to fight for than winning. You will be with the Queen, and you will have the opportunity to sing for Her in an opera of steel in harmony with your friends, glorifying She who makes our fight meaningful. Fight well. Fight with honor. Fight with courtesy. Fight to praise the Queen.
Long live the Queen.
Ad gloriam Æthelmearc!
The event announcement for the Queen’s Rapier Tourney can be found here.
Their Royal Majesties of Æthemearc, Timothy and Gabrielle.
Unto the rapier enthusiasts of Æthelmerc does King Timothy and Queen Gabrielle send greetings,
Some years back, We wrote the BoD of the SCA to discuss the issue of the Rapier Peerage. Our input, along with that of many others convinced the governing body of our organization that a peerage unique to the art of the sword would be beneficial to the society, and thus, the Masters of Defense were created.
We had the privilege of sitting the thrones when the MoD came on line. We discussed prospective members with many of you throughout the kingdom, before selecting the initial 5 recipients. Of the 10 who received enough comments from the populace to merit serious consideration, all but one have been invited to join the order. We’d like nothing more than to add the last one.
We are greatly pleased with those who wear the collar, and the contributions they have made to the community. We see these members travel throughout the kingdom as they share their knowledge. But their numbers are limited. There are only so many of them, and they cannot be everywhere at every moment.
Maestra Illadore. Photo by Lady Silence.
At Pennsic every year, Timothy takes the field and asks as many knights as possible to take the field at his side for an entire day. Friday, August 4th from 9am till 5pm. This year, We have asked Maestra Illadore, who has graciously agreed, to set up a similar deed of arms for the Masters of Defense.
Therefore, Her Majesty and I put forth this challenge to you. Come and show us your heart, drive and skill. Work with the Masters and Mistresses. Spar with them. Train with them. Learn from them. Show them you have the skill to be at their side. Since We cannot be of any assistance in training any of you, We will do our part by promoting this and trying to get as many MoDs as possible on the field with her.
No excuses. They are here, in one place for your benefit.
“They don’t come to my area”. They are here.
“They never fight me with my chosen form”. Yes, they will.
“I am out of practice”. This date is 2 months away. You have time.
THLady Ursula of Rouen, Kingdom Authorizations Clerk
So, you’re going to Pennsic this year and want to fight or fence? Make sure your paperwork is in order before you leave by following these tips:
Your Primary Authorization must be complete and dated on or before July 24, 2016. A primary authorization is your first authorization in any martial discipline. Any authorization paperwork for a primary form dated after July 24, 2016 will not be mailed out until Wednesday of War Week to help keep Æthelmearc in compliance with Pennsic rules.
All authorization forms are turned into the Kingdom Authorizations Clerk by July 17, any forms in hand that day will be mailed out on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Note: This cutoff is before the primary authorization cutoff. If you miss this cutoff you can keep your paper copy of your authorization form to use at Pennsic. We recommend sending a digital scan or copy of your paperwork to the Authorizations Clerk before leaving for War just in case.
The Authorizations Clerk’s address is THLady Ursula of Rouen, c/o Ms. Danielle M. Duvall, PO Box 661, Shepherdstown, WV 25443. A self-addressed, stamped envelope is never required, but always appreciated.
Please check your card now to see if it has expired or will expire prior to August 14, 2016, and please complete the paperwork for a renewal now. No need to wait until the card is close to expiration.
Keep a copy of your paperwork in a safe place; whether it is a brand new authorization, an additional form, or a renewal, plan to have that paperwork on your person for use at Pennsic in case your card does not make it to you before you leave for vacation.
It’s a good idea to make a copy of your authorization card/paperwork, and photo ID, put in a Ziploc baggie and tape to the back of your shield, or keep in your armor bag. You’ll need these along with your medallion to get inspected at Pennsic.
If you need to reach THLady Ursula regarding your Authorization Card, or if you have any questions her e-mail address is email@example.com. You may also call before 10pm at 540-287-1748. Please do not send Facebook messages as those get lost in the shuffle.
Medievally speaking, what gets your creative juices flowing?
Is it getting your hands dirty making stuff?
Is it figuring out how things were done?
Delving into the when and where and why of medieval life?
Is it learning something you didn’t know before?
Is it learning more about something that intrigues you?
If you answered “YES!” to any of these questions, consider teaching at Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College, hosted by the Shire of Ballachlagan (Wheeling, WV), on June 11.
So far, we have 25 classes (that’s 31 class-hours!) scheduled, on these topics: Bardic, Brewing, Clothing, Dance, Embroidery, Heraldry, History, Metalworking, Research, SCA Life, Scribal, Youth Track, War College — Fencing (for a listing of class titles and descriptions, please visit the Æcademy website).
But sadly, there are NO classes (yet) in Cooking, Equestrian Arts, or Fiber Arts. If you’ve never taught at Æcademy (or if it’s been a while), no problem! It’s easy to register — Just go to the Æcademy registration page and supply the requested information about yourself and your class.
If you’ve never taught a class (or have taught but are still a bit nervous about teaching), I have a solution! On Saturday of Æthelmearc War Practice, from 3 to 4 pm, I’ll be teaching a class called “Documentation to Class,” which will give you ideas to turn what you know into a successful class.
If you have signed up to teach at Pennsic, consider teaching at Æcademy as a “dress rehearsal.” Teaching in June will give you time to fine-tune your class. Plus, the feedback and experience will boost your confidence.
Lord Christian Goldenlok reports on the epic fighting that took place on February 20-21 in Abhainn Ciach Ghlais.
Photo of fighters and fencers at the AEdult Swim by THLady Ursula of Rouen
Morale has improved significantly! On February 20th, both new and experienced fighters from all over the Knowne World made the journey into the heart of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc. There, all were given the opportunity to jump in and prosecute the joy of singles combat at the first annual Æthelmearc Ædult Swim.
Just how many fighters were at this glorious event? Almost 400 people were in attendance from twelve kingdoms. These numbers included 75 fencers, over 260 heavy fighters, and 40 distinguished guests representing royalty from all over the Knowne World.
Princess Ariella of AEthelmearc vs. Prince Nigel of Ealdormere. Photo by Ursus.
What made this fighting event so special? Many firsts come to mind, but I believe the accessibility and availability is what made this such a memorable event for me. There are many different learning styles and it was so easy to learn at your own pace and in your own learning style.
I learn through observation, so I was thankful to have such a plethora of fights going on all around me, so I could take off my helmet after a series of passes and learn by observing others. Many learn from an interactive experience and Ædult swim did not disappoint. Singles matches were available in overflowing abundance. There were so many fighters present, I spent the majority of my time fighting those who were completely outside of my Kingdom. Not only was the deep end of the pool squaring off for friendly competition, but novice contenders spent the whole day challenging knights and friends and seeking their tutelage. Fighters were doing so much communication with both swords and ideas that it seemed impossible for an individual not to walk away from the day with some idea on how to improve their fighting skill.
A feeling of intense excitement permeated the site. The Ice Dragon might have frozen us into our homes in recent months, but the day was absolutely perfect for the event! Laughter echoed as loud as the clashing of swords; the populace cherished the fellowship the day offered. Many were laughing with friends from all across the kingdoms. Also worth noting is the meager site fee. The low cost made it even more beneficial for those to travel to the event.
So much more than just fighting: the format of the event facilitated the maximum amount of fighting with a motive of learning with nothing else attached to it. There were no prizes to be won but individual honor, knowledge, and camaraderie. There were no court processionals to prepare for, and save for a few cautionary holds and announcements, there were virtually no interruptions for medical purposes. With safety in mind, all fighters had to do was register, get their arms and armor inspected, and participate.
Because the event allowed such a massive amount of time to fight, combatants who stayed in armor reported engaging in hundreds of battles with dozens of fighters. This sort of continual engagement without interruption allowed scores of fighters to leave the fighting area to talk or to rest, and others to replace them in the fighting area. Ædult Swim saw a constant flow of fighting and fellowship. Most importantly, respect was a common trait displayed regardless of which Kingdom the fighter belonged to. I was proud that we all observed the chivalric virtues of Prowess, Humility, Courage, Loyalty, Honesty, Largesse, and Justice.
Hardworking Ministers of the List checking fighters in and issuing authorization cards. Photo by Lady Julianna Woolworth.
The first annual Æthelmearc Ædult Swim was for many a much needed invigoration of the joy that SCA fighting can bring. The event took some back to their fighting roots. Rule number one of fighting is spreading the word about how awesome this day was for you. Many thanks to Duke Timothy of Arindale and his support staff including the troll and MOL staff.
Here’s what some of the other participants at the Ædult Swim had to say.
Lady Maggie Rue shares her comments about specific classes:
Duke Timothy taught a nice long class on Sword and Shield 101, where I picked up a few tips before moving on. There was an “Intro to Combat Archery and Combat Archery Tactics,” plus a “Combat Archery Class” taught by Mistress Zoe, a “Beginners class on Shot Set-up” by Sir Arnthor, a Great Sword class taught by Prince Dietrich, “Fighting from the Female Perspective” taught by Sir Rauokinn, and “How to Suck less at Two Sword” by Duke Sven.
Duke Timothy talking with other fighters. Photo by Lady Maggie Rue.
Duke Malcolm Duncan MacEoghainn discusses why the Ædult Swim was a success:
Photo of Duke Malcolm by Ursus.
[The Ædult Swim] was probably one of the highlights of my (mumblety) years fighting. I am fortunate in that I have been blessed by training at points with some of the best our sport has to offer. My talents are miniscule compared to the raw talent and abilities I have learned from. This weekend saw the best of the best.. in skill, in PEOPLE.. the fighting was all about Training. Not Ego..not Reputation..not earning this or that cookie. It was about what we do, and what we, as fighters are at our core.
As Duchess Dorinda put it.. no rushing to do other things, no pressure because we’d miss something else. It was our Art, and all our Art. I was told that my joy showed in my face and I have no reason to doubt it. I was able to fight and talk with friends that I have not seen in years. Friends that have been friends for decades, and friends I just met this weekend..
AEdult Swim practice allowed us to just BE who we are. To learn. To grow. To stretch. To become more.
The beauty of the SCA is not the fighting. Fighting is one aspect of it. But for me, it is the fighting that speaks to my spirit, it is the fighting that grounds me, makes me whole when my soul bleeds. My body whines, but my spirit soars. Others can make music with their voice. My tool is coarser, less refined, more bloody. But to those that hear its siren call, I salute you, and thank you all for crucible of the field of honorable, brutal, chivalric, vicious combat.
Photo by Duchess Siobhán.
Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin reports on her experience as a new fighter:
“My name is Duchess Siobhán and I am a new fighter.” That is pretty much what I said to every fighter I crossed swords with at this past weekend’s MEGA fighter practice called Ædult Swim.
Now, I have been playing in the SCA since about 1997, and during my years I have put on armor and fought only a handful of times, the last time being about 6 years ago. So when I decided that I would accompany my husband, Duke Sven, to the Ædult Swim, I thought there is NO WAY I can go there without dusting off my armor.
And there I was…back in armor (well…actually…I wouldn’t exactly call it “armor” but more…well…my “protective gear”) and standing on the side looking at sea of talent before me. I kept looking around to see if there was a “kiddy pool” at this Ædult Swim but alas, I didn’t see arm rings or a shallow end anywhere. As fear started to fill me (because I was probably going to have to walk out into the deep end, without a life vest), I felt a Royal presence near and turned to see His Royal Majesty of Æthelmearc, King Tindal, approaching me. I soon felt relief, for I was confident that he knew where the “shallow end” of this Ædult Swim was and where I would find more new fighters like me. But then he said something that I did not expect. His advice was actually NOT to find the new fighters but instead, look for knights. And here I thought he liked me, but instead he was throwing me to the wolves…was my first thought, but then he explained himself and it all made sense. You see, new fighters, with all their good intentions, do not have the skills yet to be able to teach someone like me, who is just as new as them and would probably hit them in ways that could potential hurt us both. We would just be human pells to each other and not really walk away with any knowledge or skills but instead with more bruises and pain. This made SOOOO much sense to me and I thanked his Majesty, for he is wise. So now I looked at this sea of talent with new eyes and by the end of the weekend I fought: the King of the East, the Prince of Ealdormere, a Duke of An Tir, a Duke of Ansteorra, a Duke of Æthelmearc, A Duke of Drachenwald (ok…this was my husband but he WAS a Duke), and an amazing squire (shout out to THL Beatrix). I walked away with only a small bruise (thanks Bea) and so much more knowledge than I expected. So my advice to new fighters, “When you are new to fighting…be a snob and only fight knights.”
Sir Aengus MacBainalso reflects what the Ædult Swim meant to him:
I’ve been trying to put my finger on what made this such an amazing event and why it resonated so much in my soul. It just dawned on me now. The focus was purely on singles combat. My opponent stood in front of me and tested my skill, my mettle, my technique, and my heart in the crucible of armored combat. That is something I sorely miss with the ongoing focus on Melee. It took me back to my roots. I didn’t realize how much I had been missing it. Thanks to all those who participated and gave the gift to their sword brothers and sisters!
Video of Duke Timothy of Arindale fighting Duke Sean Kirkpatrick from
Artemisia by Master Tigernach mac Cathail.
Master Donnan MacDubhsidhe, Kingdom Rapier Warlord, reports that the activities included a variety of classes, a bear pit tourney, and melee training. There were also quite a few White Scarves and Masters of Defense available for pickups.
Duchess Dorinda Courtenay commented: It was wonderful that the rapier community got to be a part of the Ædult Swim. Despite the making of the first MoD in Ealdormere and a Baronial Investiture in Atlantia, fencers from as far away as Ansteorra and Artemisia took to the field to improve their skills. Over 65 fencers were present on Saturday, with reinforcements on Sunday from Atlantia.
Six of Æthelmearc’s MoD’s were present, as well as several from out of Kingdom including the East, Atlantia and one gentle from Artemisia who has been placed on vigil [for the Order of Defense]. A huge number of White Scarves from Æthelmearc and Atlantia also came. Fencers came from all over our Kingdom and our neighbors were there. We are looking forward to doing it again.
Master Aedan Aylwyn from Atlantia teaching a class. Photo by Lady Sinn Larensdotter.
Duchess Dorinda noted that there were a lot of great classes.
Saturday brought out a whole slate of classes. Master Áedán Aylwyn, a member of the Order of Defense from Atlantia, taught classes on Gigante as well as Tempo and Measure (or maybe that was Measure and Tempo!) Mistress Aleson Grey taught a popular class on Destreza while Lady Cairdha Eilis brought out the melee lessons. If this wasn’t enough, Sunday brought out Longsword lessons from Mistress Aleson, while Master Áedán was there to teach Italian Rapier from the Waist Up, Master Clewin Kupferhelbelinc taught sparring drills designed to get people to think about attacks and defenses from different places, and Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen provided training on German Longsword as well as Sword and Buckler.
The Measure and Tempo class was of particular interest, as it was suited to both beginners and more experienced fencers. Both concepts are key for those starting in fencing, but the nuances were interesting for those wishing to refine their game or put words to things that they already do.
The Gigante class was a more advanced class that focused on a particular style. While many of the basic terms were familiar to those who have studied Capo Ferro, the tiny details around hand position and tip placement were fascinating as small changes produced great results.
Duchess Dorinda was thrilled with the tournament and pickups.
The middle of the day was spent in a 30-man bear pit tourney! Everyone got to fight everyone else, and it doesn’t get any better than that. People brought out their best weapons (or kept changing), but the winner of the day was Will Deth of the East. Fighting with two swords, he kept people out of range and swept through the field. However, win or lose, it was a great time.
All of these planned activities were great for teaching and testing, but to be honest, the best part of the weekend was just the freestyle pick-up fights. Many of us got to fight people we hadn’t seen in a while – or ever. New friends were met. Some people went all out while other match-ups were for working on a certain skill or lesson. We fenced until we couldn’t walk, and that is always the best. Then we got up, and did it again the next day!
Master Benedict Fergus atte Mede, Kingdom Rapier Marshal, commented on the melees:
About half-way through the day on Saturday, Master Donnan led about twenty-five of us through some basic melee work. Countess Elena and I were given command of two separate units. We focused on line movement and advancing though the enemy lines. In previous years, this line work was the backbone of Æthelmearc’s rapier army. It was refreshing to see it again. Within a few passes, each side had a clear and mostly straight line that was able to advance and retreat together. This was some fast improvement. When we moved to actual combat, we were able to successfully move to actual engagement rather than only to the point of contact which is what stops most lines from being successful. I was thrilled to see the units actually meeting the line in combat, rather than hesitating. It was great to see the group working so successfully so early in the year. This looks promising for Pennsic.
Photo by Lady Sinn Larensdotter.
Master Fergus continued:
One of the best parts of the day for me was working extensively on two handed sword. In my part of the Kindom (Delftwood), there are few rapier fighters who study this form, so it was great to be able to make that a big part of the day. I fought many passes in traditional rapier as well as cut and thrust, and managed to knock some of the rust off. It was a great day.
Rejoice! For Duke Timothy reports he is planning to hold a second Ædult Swim sometime in March or April of 2017.
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
Master Donnan fencing at the Donnan Party event, March A.S. XLVIIII
“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!
Fencers gaining points at the Free Scholar Tourney Finals, Lord Durante de Caravaggio vs. Lord Jacob Martinson. Photo by Arianna.
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.
War-Don Adam CarMychel – Dragon’s Rose Challenge Master Photo by Leslie Abeyta Dionne (Warder Nerissa)
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.
The Imperator faces Don Po Silvertop. Photo by Baroness Katja.
“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.”
Master Lodovick of Gray’s Inn, Queen’s Rapier Champion. Photo by Master Will Parris.
Rapier fighters of Æthelmearc, pay heed and make ready. Herein are the details of the Queen’s Rapier Championship of Her Imperial Majesty, Queen Etain ingen Dalaig II, to be hosted by the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands on December 5, 2015.
For those wishing to pursue the mantle of the Queen’s Rapier Champion, it behooves me to inform all of the responsibility this position demands. The Queen’s Rapier Champion is not a title or a mark of the greatness of the one carrying the blade and wearing the cape of office; rather, the Champion is the emissary of the Queen to Her people and of Her people to the Queen. The Champion becomes the representative of the best aspects of the Arte of Defense in Æthelmearc and of the Queen we hold so dear. In simpler terms, being Champion is not about you but instead about everyone else. The Champion must be ready to fight when needed and always be near the Queen as armed escort in Royal Court and amongst the masses.
The questions of why and how we fight are of equal importance. Above all, we fight this day to honor and celebrate our Queen, she who gives of herself for her people, always seeking to enrich our experiences and grant us hope and inspiration. Personal glory is a passing light, but fighting for someone who believes in us, who shares with us her passion for giving to others, who is our model of graciousness – this is a cause that lifts the heart, emboldens the sinew of aspiration, and lives on as a moment of inspiration to sustain your efforts in years to come.
As you fight in this tournament, fight with all of your skill, passion, love of friendship, and honor, and with your ego left safely outside the list. A true champion is gracious in combat, blow calling, and conduct. We are our greatest if we are all champions regardless of who represents us to the Queen at the end of the day, for she may need to call on all of us at some moment.
The tournament itself will be conducted as a ROUND ROBIN to ensure the highest saturation of competition and testing of endurance. All bouts will be fought DEAD IS DEAD. Weapons forms will be per the choice of the combatants; however, should the Queen wish to see a particular form, all combatants will yield to Her wishes. At the conclusion of the round robin, a select number of combatants will be skimmed from the pools to compete in a second ROUND ROBIN with the ruling of DEAD IS DEAD still in effect. Finals will be determined as needed upon consultation with Her Imperial Majesty.
The list will open at 9, and the tournament will start after court which is at 10. Be advised, there will be no authorizations being conducted before the tournament. If you wish to fight for the Queen, come prepared with your authorizations completed.
I look forward to seeing you on the field and take great pride in your skill and efforts.
This report was written by Lord Magnus de Lyons, Lady Miriel du Lac, Duke Timothy of Arindale.
From Lord Magnus:
On a chilly fall morning a small group of intrepid members from the Rhydderich Hael headed south to experience the A&E War (aka the Corn Maze) hosted by Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais. The event boasted “More fighting and fencing than anyone should ever do in a week, all in one weekend,” and let me tell you it did not disappoint. Sadly, due to time constraints I was only able to attend Saturday’s portion of the festivities but I certainly came away fulfilled.
The setting for the event was Ard’s Farm in Lewisburg Pennsylvania. Ard’s farm is a large farm market with a country store, gift shop, and full restaurant, but the key feature of the farm was the massive ten-acre corn maze that would provide the stage for the day’s martial activities (honestly the place would be a wonderful day trip just on its own). The corn maze was divided into two sections; a large section that was set aside for heavy combat and a small section reserved for fencing (don’t let the word small mislead you; it was just as confusing as the large section). Surrounding the corn maze was a small collection of tents and pavilions for the combatants and staff including a rather welcoming fire pit. This was a three day event, so for people looking to stay the duration the site offered primitive onsite camping.
Photo by Baroness Ellesbeth Donofrey.
My choice of activity for the day was heavy combat in the larger maze. I have not had the chance to get into armor since Pennsic so I was excited to suit up and get into the action. Once I was in armor and inspected I was lucky enough to run into some friendly faces. Joining my friends on the red team we headed into the maze. Having no prior knowledge of the maze it was pretty easy to get turned around even when using visible landmarks on the outside of the maze. The “tunnels” of the maze offered a challenging but not overly restrictive area to fight and was ripe with choke points, pockets, and three or four way battle points. Spears seemed very useful and popular but I was able to wield my pole arm without difficulty. Combat archery was allowed in every battle and added a nice “stay vigilant or die” element to the scenarios. Hats off to the combat archers who participated and I hope they found all their ammo at the end of the day
Heavy Combat Report by Duke Timothy:
Are you tired of the typical melee event? Do you find yourself shortly before lay on is called saying: Field battle, bridge battle, field battle, bridge battle, boring, boring, boring, boring! If you did not make it out to this years’ A/E War, you missed an opportunity to do something completely out of the ordinary. His Majesty Tindal and Their Highnesses Byron and Ariella joined nearly one hundred combatants gathered from five separate kingdoms at a small farm in Abhainn Ciach Ghlais. There, these warriors fought and fenced battles that were anything but the ordinary.
A ten-acre maze carved out of a corn field featuring thousands of feet of corridors, each 6 to 8 feet wide, provided a battlefield that allowed for combat far outside everyone’s usual comfort zone. It wasn’t what anyone would describe as high medievalism, but everyone present seemed to have had a great time and they all left with a smile on their faces.
Photo by Ursus.
The initial heavy battle consisted of roughly thirty fighters per side playing a game we named “polearm polo.” Sir Timothy, Viceroy Gui, and His Lordship Brada dropped a “puck,” (a 3’ diameter rubber ball,) and both teams had to move it using just polearms and greatswords. A point was determined if the puck was moved outside of one of the four maze entrances. Both sides had to take just the right mix of weapons to help score. To add an additional threat, both sides had combat archers. Archers Baron Friderich, Baron Fergus or any of the other combat archers spent the afternoon making the undefended or unprepared fighters’ day miserable. Polearm Polo raged for about an hour, creating numerous amusing situations. In one round, the last person left in a battle at the puck was a sword and shield fighter, and it took about 10 minutes before anyone from either side was able to locate him.
We next ran a five-man melee team free for all. Each team was given three flags, similar to what would have been used in flag football, and then instructed to disperse in the maze. No two teams could work together. After each engagement, all fighters were allowed to heal wounds or revive, and the winning team took one of the losing teams’ flags. This battle lasted for about an hour. A tie was the result, with two teams ending up with six flags each.
We next decided to play Capture the Flag. While every fighter knows how to organize and marshal a bridge or field battle, the marshals were pretty much flying blind. There was some confusion as we tweaked the scenario so that it would be the most fun. We decided to use both ends of a massive wooden bridge in the center of the maze as each team’s resurrection point. Just before lay on was called, a five-man banner unit from each side had thirty seconds to choose a spot to place their banner. The first team to capture the other side’s banner and return it to the bridge received a point. After about an hour or so, we called it at a two to two tie. Of all the day’s events, this scenario seemed to be the highlight of everyone’s fighting.
Photo by Ursus.
At this point we had been fighting for four solid hours, and we allowed folks to take a dinner break. Considering how many people gorged themselves on ribs/brisket/steak, I was quite pleased to see how few folks had disappeared when we started to fight again a couple of hours later, under the massive banks of lights that the site provided. As is now traditional, we needed to select a corn maze winner to receive the lovely scroll produced by Nemenia filia Hweli, known as Nyfain merch Coel. Each fighter was given 3 resurrections, and we had a free for all in the so-called children’s section of the maze (kind of fitting, considering that many of the fighters were giggling like idiots). When the smoke cleared, Sir Havouc was the sole survivor. What is a maze without a Minotaur? Or in our case, several? We decided to take a few of the more senior fighters and give them special abilities and see how long they could last against the bulk of the fighters, who were given unlimited resurrection. Well, when you are allowed to literally walk through the maze walls and kill from behind, it can take quite a while. Our initial crew of 5 Minotaurs, HRM Magnus Tindal, Duke Gregor, Sir Tash, Master Wulfstan the Unshod, Sir Murdoc and Sir Havouc weren’t enough of a challenge, so we added a few more. This made for a laugh riot. The Minotaurs succumbed, but it took quite a while for 30 some heavies to kill 8 or 9 Minotaurs. We did a couple side A vs. side B meat grinders, but everyone was anxious for the grand finale, our now famous (or infamous) zombie scenario. Each fighter was given an unbroken glow stick, and instructed to wander into the maze and find a spot where that they were comfortable. Then once each person was given sufficient time to wander, they were allowed to break their glow sticks; red sticks/red team, blue sticks/blue team. As a marshal, from my vantage point safe on top of the bridge in the maze’s center, it was amusing to see the occasional red in a sea of blue and vice/versa. We used the bridge as a resurrection point, and just had the fighters fight for the sake of fighting. One fighter was coached that he was patient zero; when he died, he came back as a zombie, and all his kills joined his side. Once a sufficient number of zombies had been spawned, we declared humanity’s last stand, and everyone laughed as heavies with glow sticks were slowly swamped by fighters screaming “brains”. Around 10pm, the fighters declared that they had finally had enough, about 10 hours after the initial lay on. As I said before, not what I would call high medievalism, but everyone left with a smile.
Prince Byron. Photo by Ursus.
Fencing Report by Lady Miriel:
I have been excited about this event since I read people’s war stories from last year: the night-time zombie battles, BBQ, stories by the camp fire, and just being able to run around in a corn maze sounded like a spectacular time. So when I read that there would be fencing scenarios in the maze as well this year, I was sold!
The day of the event, we arrive and I get geared up and hustle over to the “field,” hoping that I haven’t missed anything. Thankfully I arrived just in time and Lord Andreas Jager von Holstein the fencing marshal for the day, was giving the low down for the first scenario.
Scenario One: The Buckler of Destiny and the Minotaurs.
Teams of three ventured into the maze in search of the mythical Buckler of Destiny. However, in their path stood two fearsome Minotaurs (Don Po Silvertop and His Majesty Magnus Tindel), hell bent on keeping the intrepid teams from ever finding the Buckler.
Many teams entered and fell to the foul beast, but finally the creatures were slain and the victorious team exited the maze with Buckler in hand. The scenario was run once again but with a Holy Mackerel and that item was retrieved by the very first team of three.
Photo by Baroness Ellesbeth.
Scenario Two: Attack and Defend
Two teams of six, with two resurrection points in the maze. One team entered the maze first and placed the Buckler of Destiny in the maze, then set themselves up to defend the Buckler from the attacking team. The defending team had two resurrections while the attacking team had infinite resurrections. Both teams took a turn at being defenders and attackers. The team that could retrieve the Buckler and get it out of the maze the fastest was the victor.
The first defending team decided to set up a kill pocket in an alcove within the maze, the Buckler and res point both directly behind them in the alcove. The attackers went to it, trying to break the defenders’ line and fend off attackers from behind who had lain in wait. Finally, when the defenders’ resurrections were spent, the attackers grabbed the Buckler and removed it from the maze.
When the teams reversed roles, the new defending team placed their buckler and resurrection point at the farthest end of the maze and decided to go with a retreating res. They created a cup of death at the near beginning of the maze and doing their best to just hold off the attackers as long as possible. When a defender fell, they ran to the res point and placed them selves not at the first line of defense but at a new one closer to the location of the Buckler. They did this for both of their resurrections, the last line of defense right at the opening to the alcove bearing the Buckler. It came down to one lone defender, the fierce HL Alianora Bronhulle, holding off the attackers for a good half a minute, giving her team the overall win.
Photo by Baroness Ellesbeth.
Scenario Three: The Adventures and the Zombies
Three noble adventurers entered the maze, going to the farthest point with whatever weapon combos they chose. Then, the zombies entered the maze one at a time every 20 (or so) seconds. Zombies were only able to use one weapon, but could be killed only with a poke to the head. The adventurers had to survive the advancing zombie and make it out of the maze.
Almost all of the three-man teams survived, fending off the brains-hungry zombies. Cries of “Brains’, “Urrr Argh” and “Ready Whip” filled the maze as each zombie was slain on the adventurers’ path out to safety.
The Zombie Scenario was run multiple times until the fighters grew hungry for more than just brains and went to lunch at the outstanding BBQ restaurant on site.
My time doing all of these scenarios was so much fun, I couldn’t have had a more outstanding day. I loved meeting and fighting beside fencers I’ve never had a chance to meet before. I enjoyed working with the teams and working out how to best help my fellow fencers achieve victory. I was able to have some one-on-one bouts with His Majesty, Don Po, Lord Andreas, and more. Each helped me to grow in my skills and just have a damn good fight! I highly enjoyed this event and cannot wait until next year to see what’s in store for the fencers of Æthelmearc and the East.