Wednesday 2 October 2013

A Bear Fighting with Hares: A Septentrian on Skraeling Althing's Melee Team (Murder Melee, June 19, 2004)

By THLaird Colyne Stewart

Team Roster: Barony of Skraeling Althing (the Rabid Bunnies) 

Team Captain: Lord Baldric Leeman of Newcastle Emlyn, Champion of Skraeling Althing 

Baron Sir Menken Brechen 

Sir Evander MacLachlan 

Sir Siegfried Brandbeorn 

Count Kildare Silverwolf Thorkillson

Master Tarkatai Bahadur

Lord Wat of Sarum 

Laird Colyne Stewart 

Lord Varenko 

Lord Leod 

Accursius the Bane

Lord Etienne du Naval 

I never thought I'd see the day, I really didn't. But there I was at Melee, wearing a Skraeling Althing favour on my belt. Not that I have anything against Skrael (I have a lot of friends who dwell within our northern-most barony) but I am a staunch Septentrian.

How then, you may ask, did I end up fighting for another barony? Well, the short answer is the winds of war. The more detailed answer is that being a squire, you go where your knight goes. Skraeling Althing, knowing it was going to be short on fighters this year, had asked my knight for assistance months before the event. And so there we were. (In fact, most of Skrael's team this year consisted of imports. It was liking playing on an Italian World Cup hockey team.)

Even though this team had been generally thrown together at the last minute, and that some of us had never fought with each other before, we did very well. Over all we emerged with a 5 - 4 record, with losses to the Hrogn, Ramshaven, a Rozakii team and a Marines team. We had victories over a second Rozakii team, a second Marines team, Septentria, Ben Dunfirth and the Blackswords. The win over the Blackswords was completely unexpected, and was the highlight of our day. (The Blackswords were on their game.)

This year you could only have two Peers made so by their own strength of arms on the field for your team at the same time. This meant that Siegfried, Evander, Menken and Kildare had to keep switching up who was fighting when. Bladric was very good at setting up the line and laying out tactics. Hey, they worked more than half the time, right?

The one I didn't expect to work was against the Blackswords. The Blackswords have a lot of big, tall lads in their shieldwall, complete with wardoors I could use as a bed. Well, Baldric wanted our shields (which included five-and-a-half-foot tall me) to go right through them. I had flashbacks of our battle against Septentria, in which Baron Corwyn and Lord Rhisiart (both over six feet tall) had smashed into me with their wardoors, picking me up off the ground, and laying me out flat on my back. Corwyn then—of course—tripped and fell right on top of me. Imagine being at the base of a redwood as it topples on top of you. So when we were told to rush at the Blacksword wall I thought we were doomed. When we hit I was indeed thrown back, but I managed to keep my back foot grounded, and I pushed back forward and was able to slip between their shields. I don't remember now, in the swirl of battle, what exactly followed, but we ended up with myself, Kildare and Varenko legged, and someone with a great weapon behind us. The Blackswords were down to Lord Lothar and a two-sticker. Our great weapon managed to tag Lothar, and then he fell prey to the two-sticker, so now it was up to us legged fighters to win the day. I'm sure it was a comical sight to see three guys trying to run down a two-sticker on their knees, but eventually we did, and Kildare took him down.

I'm not sure which team Lord Grimroth Skullhammer was fighting for, but I believe it was one of the Marine teams. At the end of our battle with them, he was the only man left alive on their side, legged at one end of the field. Our fighters offered him single combat, and he managed to take out two before falling to Baldric.

I fought in one battle with Septentria was well, along with Evander. It was against the Hrogn and I was dropped right away by Master Worgan's madhu. I wasn't much help to them, I'm afraid. I was hoping to be able to fight with my own baron and baroness more, but they had a plethora of fighters arrive to assist them.

Over all I did pretty good. I got one confirmed kill, helped out on several more, and (in my opinion) should have had at least a second. I also lived through most of our victories. So I did well, though not fantastic.

At the end four teams had tied records, so the Blackswords, one of the Marines, one of the Rozakii and the Hrogn, had to face off in a round robin final. In the end it was the Rozakii who emerged victorious.

After the finals, there was some pick up fighting. At first I did a four man bear pit with Varkeno, Sir Katsu and a fighter I did not know. We fought until two of us had to go for water, whilst the other two had suffered weapon malfunctions. After that I took a nap under my shield, then went out and fought for a while with Siegfried. I did ok, though the good baron still handed me my ass (as the saying goes). After that I joined a second bear pit. This one ended up being done as teams of two, and since we had an odd number of fighters in the line, the teams kept changing. I did decent in the pit, except for one embarrassing moment when I was facing a great sword. I tried to run up the sword, but as I did so he J-shot me and I slipped on some grass and fell on my face. To an onlooker it probably looked like I ran right past him and threw myself on the ground.

Humility's a virtue, right?

At the end of the day I was sore (and that was nothing compared to how I would feel Sunday!), bruised, hungry, sunburned, exhausted and smiling from ear to ear.

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