By THLaird Colyne Stewart
The waters of Cynred’s
surged with mighty fury, gushing down the spillway and sweeping under the
bridge, lapping about the boards. The rain was—at times—torrential, and the
waterways of Petrea Thule were swollen and wild. Thusly, many of the
festivities for this year’s Pikeman’s Pleasure, the 16th of its
line, happened inside.
Þorfinna and I arrived early and were mistaken for Cap’n Bloodfox and Cap’n Widow when we signed in at the gate. We quickly explained the mistake and the Guard of Petrea Thule took off the irons and let us go unfettered. We hauled our gear into the fighting hall, which is an arena in which the mundane locals play a game called ‘hockey.’ We used the visiters bench as an armour dump and changed, having some fun at poor Cadugan’s expense (who is a mighty fine sport).
While we armoured fighters were preparing ourselves, many merchants had set out their wares on the other end of the arena, and some fencers made use of the centre. There was an arts and sciences display somewhere, but I never found it as I stayed on the list field until it was time for feast.
Lady Tarian verch Gadarn arrived just in time for authorizations, and quickly put on her kit. She faced Lord Amelius Claudius
Rattanicus in her primary authorization, which I am
happy to say she passed. She is, as she beamed, now a real fighter chick.
Another member of my canton, Lord William , authorized in
double-handed thrust, pole arm an Donovan d bastard
After fighting some pick-ups the marshals ran a warlord tourney on a bridge marked out on the floor. My first draw was Her Lupine Highness, Jocea. We dueled mightily, both legging the other, until finally she slipped her sword point into my unarmoured arm pit to slay me, becoming not only my princess, but also my warlord. As the teams of two were set upon each other, Jocea turned to me and remarked that she somehow knew that we would face the team of Sir
Edward the Red and
Lord Edward dit Lyn, visiting from
the East (where he had recently moved). I am ashamed to admit that I failed to
protect my princess, and so we became subjects to Lord Edward,
our new warlord. Eventually we ended up with three teams, one of them half the
size of the other two, but made up mostly of members of the Order of Chivalry.
A round robin was proposed, but in the end the small knight heavy team was
spilt between the other two. We each took an end of the bridge for a best two
out of three final. During the first engagement, Þorfinna single-handedly pushe d back the entirety of her enemy’s line, in an
amazing display of strength. I also had an outstanding moment on the bridge,
though unfortunately for me it was comedic in nature. In our thir d battle I was on the right edge of the bridge,
looking straight across at His Majesty Aaron,
who had a spear. I knew that spear woul d be
coming for me when we charged. The call came, I ran, I blocked the spear
thrust. However, the thrust picked me up off my feet and sent me crashing off
the bridge, laughing all the way.
I don’t even know who the victorious warlord was.
There then followed a spear tourney, single elimination tot here counte
d blows. I battled THL
Ulvar van der Nederlanden, and then faced Sir Mordain
Blackcloak. In our first engagement I ran past his defense
and unleashed my inner badger (as Lord Wat of Sarum calls it) and chased him
around the rink, making him duck an d block
and fight furiously to stay alive. I finally struck him on the shoulder but we
both decided the blow had not been sturdy enough. We reset and I never got past
his defensive stance again, and he struck me three blows to carry on (and
eventually win the tournament).
At the side of the area, Sir Evander MacLachlan began a feat of arms. The Lady Safrida Axehammer ha
some shortbread, and she had given it to Evander. However, to keep the
shortbread, Evander had to fight one hundred fights, and win at least fifty-one
of them. I believe I was the second person to face Evander in his feat, while
he was still nice and fresh and rested and he easily beat me in the two fights
While Evander continued his challenge, a bastard sword tournament was held, which was won by Sir Rory
Around this time Tarian had turned the penalty box into our lunch counter, and fed those of us from Ardchreag (and our friends) a constant stream of cheese, bread, pepperettes, cake, cookies, strawberries and other refreshments.
More pick-ups followed, and one of the people I fought was my squire-brother Lord Brandt das Lederwerker. Brandt had disappeared for almost two years due to mundane concerns, and upon his return this spring ha
d brought upon himself the ‘wrath’ of our knight,
Evander for a bit of schtick he did at court. As penance, Brandt was told to
seek out every person who ha d been
elevated to the Order of Chivalry, all those who ha d
been elevated to the Order of Thorbjorn’s Hammer, and all
those who had received an Award of the Scarlet Banner during his absence and
fight them. My Scarlet Banner, though received at the event after Brandt’s
return, is dated as of the event just before his return, and so I was on the
list. We fought three battles, all of which I won. Brandt, smiling, told me,
“Boy, have you improved!”
White Bear Fian—Septentria’s
fighting order—then walked out onto the bridge. Sir Konrad Mattias Jaggaer von
Dubrau, Sir Edward the Red, Sir Cennedi, THL Tiberius
Brittanicus and I then challenged all who still had energy to face us in honour
and courage until all were satisfied. Many brave and stalwart challengers
answered the call, and we fought many group melees on the bridge, until we finally
took a brief break. For Their Excellencies of Septentria brought us news of one
who would challenge into our order. And so THL Baldric
of Newcastle Emlyn was calle d before
Their Excellencies and the Fian, and he made his public challenge, and his
challenge was accepted as a good and right thing.
Sir Evander—also a member of the Fian—was then about to face his final fight, against his Majesty
Evander managed to defeat the King, and then learned that he had won sixty of
his battles and thus got to keep the shortbread! However, in an act of
largesse, he vowed to share the shortbread during feast (which he did, and it
While the other fianna put back on their helmets, I walke
d back out onto the bridge, for our worthy opponents
ha d been left waiting. I then faced
three in single combat, losing the thir d bout,
but winning the first two. The secon d bout
was against THL Etain du Naval, a hulking giant with a reach almost as long as
my body and great at the martial skills. We battled to and fro and I suddenly
realized that we must be close to the bridge edge and so I gave a small nudge
to the giant and he fell laughing into the drink.
More singles followed (with Þorfinna pushing Sir Konrad off the bridge), and then more group battles (with Sir Evander joining us for at least one). It was some of the most enjoyable fighting I have ever had the pleasure to partake in. In all the Fian held the bridge for an hour before we laid down our arms.
We then quickly changed for feast, which was a most scrumptious meal prepare
d by THL Augustyn of Ely and his staff. We sat at the end of
a table beside Lady Ariana de la Rose and Lord Gavin of the Rozakii. I had
never met Gavin before and found him to be a funny, affable fellow.
During the meal Their Majesties held an installment of Ealdormere Idol, and many good gentles stood up to entertain the crowd. The most skilled was Lady Raya of Petrea
who sung a 7th century Arabic song, accompanying herself on drum.
Lord Rattanicus, who was to squire
to Sir Siegfried Brandbeorn later
that evening, was tol d by his future
knight that he was to sing for the crowd. Though at first unwilling, Rattanicus rose to the challenge and did his best.
However, Melusine (playing the part of Simon) grabbed Sir Nigel MacFarlane and used him as a gong to try and
end Rattanicus’ pain (as well as
everyone else’s). Rattanicus,
oblivious, continued on. Sir Nigel was gonged many times until finally he ran
up to the front of the room, swept Rattanicus
up over his shoulder and carried the poor man-at-arms away. Other singers
included Sir Konrad (who got points for his hand gestures depicting flying
reindeer), Master Worgen (doing a Wolfman Jack impression, albeit unknowingly),
Edward dit Lyon and Lord Martin Bildner.
Everyone in the room then got one free vote to cast for one of the singers,
though extra votes coul d be bought
for one dollar as a fundraiser for the kingdom. The three people with the most
votes would take part in the Ealdormere Idol finals at War of the Trillium. Rattanicus bought many votes for Sir Konrad to
ensure that he was not one of the finalists. In the end Raya was in first (by a
landslide, and rightly so), with Master Konrad in second (much to the delight
of Baroness Alyce who wanted to face down her husband in the finals), and
Master Worgen in third. Worgen beat our Rattanicus
by one vote, which Rattanicus bought
just before the books closed.
THL Anne Tinker presented a flask to
dit Lyon for being the most chivalrous upon
the field that day. A toast was then raised to absent friends.
When feast was completed many folk walked out to the island in the rain to witness Haus Sternstaubt as it welcomed two new squires. THL Augustyn and Lord
(previously men-at-arms) both swore oaths of fealty to Sir Siegfried to become his third and fourth squires.
I then rushe
inside to attend His Majesty, for Lord Wat—the King’s Champion—had asked me to
stand in for him that day and attend Aaron
at court. I leaned the sword of state against my shoulder and took my place
behind Aaron in the procession and
walked into court (managing not to catch the sword on the two low overhangs we
had to walk under). As His Majesty took his seat I took my place behind him and
got to watch court from a most interesting perspective.
As always, I can not recall all of what transpired, but I do recall a few things.
In Septentrian court, Lord Cadugan was given an Award of the Golden Bear for his brewing and THL Anne Tinker handed over the keys of Petrea Thule to Lady Mahild de Valognes. Lady Mahild was recognized as the new baronial archery champion, taking over from THL Augustyn.
was brought forth, and made a challenge to join entry to the White Bear Fian. To prove that he did truly care for
the safety of the barony—and especially for the safety of the baron—he
presented Corwyn with a scarlet hand-made leather jockstrap emblazoned with a
white bear. The Fian conferred and agreed to accept Rattanicus’
challenge, but only if he agreed never to make such a thing again, and that he
had to wear the jockstrap to at least three events.
In kingdom court Their Majesties called Þorfinna before them.
Aaron told her that many
people had approached him and told him of her mighty shield push, and so
impressed was he to hear of it that he presented her with an axe.
Lady Mahild presented THL Anne Tinker with a token for being such an outstanding and giving person. Their Majesties bade Mahild remain with them in court, and presented her with an Award of the Maiden’s Heart. The archers of Peatrea Thule (who had shot in the rain) presented Her Majesty with gold (which she shared with the crowd).
As I said, there was more, but I cannot now recall it.
When court concluded, I returned the sword of state to the Royalty Room, and came back to the arena to find Sir Konrad talking with Þorfinna. He told her that he ha
a gift with him that day, which he was to give to someone who had impressed him
on the field. After doing some singles with Þorfinna earlier in the day, he was
most impressed with her improvement since the last time they had fought, and
therefore he presented her with a beautiful knife blade.
We then packed up in the rain and headed home, exhausted and happy.