Thursday 3 October 2013

Hats and Bats at Centre Ice (The Sir Thorbjorn Osis Memorial Fighter Day, June 11, 2005)

By THLaird Colyne Stewart

In the summer of 1999, Sir Thorbjorn Osis was the king of Ealdormere, the second king of our young kingdom. Returning from an out-of-kingdom event he was involved in a car accident that claimed his life (and the life of fellow passenger Lady Bernadette of Lauren). To celebrate the life of this King of Ealdormere, this former king of the Middle, this knight, the Canton of Skeldergate1 held an Osis-style event. The planned activities for the day included (as the event flyer stated): “FIGHTING – Also…watching fighting, talking about fighting, fighting classes, heavy weapons authorizations, even more fighting…” All of this fighting was to be followed by a dinner of wings and home brewed beer.

Not your typical SCA event perhaps. More like a giant fight practice. But, from a fighter’s perspective, doesn’t it sound like fun?

A lot of people must have thought so. Over fifty fighters came out to celebrate Osis’ life by hitting each other with sticks, including Duke Brannos O'Iongardail and Duchess Rebekah MacTiernan of the Middle Kingdom, and Duke Sir Rurik Longsword and his squire Lord Stevan Ulfkellson from AEthelmearc. From our own kingdom there were fighters present from every barony and from the shires.

The site was a community centre in Markham, and the fighting took place in a hockey rink. Normally, hockey rinks are cold (d’uh), but on a muggy summer day, with no air conditioning, a hockey rink is extremely hot. So much so that most fighters were drenched in sweat just from putting on their kits. It was very like fighting inside a huge oven. To begin there were pick-ups and authorizations. To warm up I fought with Edward Fuchyn of Bastille du Lac, and Lord Stevan of AEthelmearc, who I found to be a most chivalrous and friendly individual. It was an honour to meet him. Shortly there after classes were held. Duke Sir Roak taught great sword, His Highness Edward the Red taught pole arm, Count Sir Cennedi taught sword and shield and Duke Sir Brannos taught spear. Each teacher took one corner of the rink, leaving the middle free for more pick-ups. While my lady Thorfinna used our full gauntlets for the spear class, I fought more pick-ups. When Lord William the Younger and I went out to fight, we just had to face each other at centre ice.

When the classes were over and everyone had had a chance to drink water or peach drink, and eat a handful of pretzels or a piece of watermelon, two Royal Tournaments were held. Many fighters were so tired from the heat by now that getting knocked out of the tournaments early was a blessing, as it allowed them to sit down! In the first tournament I was out in two fights, loosing one of those fights to my friend the newly squired Lord Eirik Andersen. (Humpf. Put a red belt on a guy and suddenly I can’t beat him anymore!) In the second unbelted Royal Tournament I lasted slightly longer, going out after four fights, and receiving a lovely bruise to my right arm pit as a souvenir. I don’t know who won either tournament, as I was so tired that I wasn’t paying too much attention.

After the Royal Tournament there was a Warlord Tournament2. This took about a half hour or so to run, and by the end of it (when I was finally slain in the last battle by a grinning Baroness Domhnail Galbraith) I lumbered upstairs to the air conditioned lobby and did not see who ended up winning. (Have I mentioned I don’t deal well with heat? No? Well, I don’t.)

For a while I sat on a bench looking out at the rink as those fighters with better endurance than mine continued to run melees, drinking an ice cold Coke dropped into my hand by Master Garraed Galbraith. I finally pulled myself to my feet and went back into the rink, intending to fight at least once more, but once in the muggy cloying heat again I decided to call it quits instead. While I was armouring down, Baron Luke Wolfsson came by and asked where Eirik was. I told him that Eirik had left to go to Dairy Queen, and Luke, after calling Eirik a naughty name, fled out the door in pursuit. (Eirik and Luke traditionally hit Dairy Queen at every event where possible, and this time Eirik had gone on without him! I am told there were many noogies given in the Dairy Queen lobby as pay back.)

After a cold shower I loaded our car and went out with Eirik in search of more Coke (as only Pepsi was available for sale in the centre)3. After finding a convenience store, we returned and went up to the hall and sat at our table. Skeldergate then began plying us with foamy beer (which I was told was excellent, but I hate beer; yes, I’m a weird one, I admit it) and plate after plate of wings (I believe they had bought something like 150 pounds of wings). I am known as a lover of chicken wings and I was quite happy to be able to gorge on while spending a pleasant evening in discussion with several friends, old and new.

After toasting Osis’ memory, our rulers, the rulers of our visiting friends, and so forth, we further honoured Osis by engaging in one of his favourite pastimes—the signing of bruises. Those who had particularly lovely bruises stood up on chairs and showed them off, while the person who delivered them signed them with a red felt tip pen. There were several bruises signed, perhaps the most memorable being the bruise Baron Sir Siegfried managed to give Duke Sir Brannos on his leg (as Duke Sir Berus said, even gods sometimes get labeled). Siegfried said he would only sign Brannos’ bruise, if His Grace would then sign the bruise he had given to Siegfried in return! So they both pulled up their shorts and signed each others leg.

A game of hide Siegfried’s keys soon ensued after he put them on a table to chase Sir Evander around the room (a chase which ended with Evander tripping and sliding into a table and chairs, luckily unhurt). I still don’t know what the chase was about. Evander faced further mishap later as he walked past Lady Mahault van der Eych who made a wide hand gesture that smacked him in a most delicate area and caused him to collapse in a chair. Mahault continued her accidental campaign against knightly genitalia later while standing in a circle of people, bouncing an Indian rubber ball back and forth, when she managed to nail Duke Sir Rurik in the crotch. (Rurik got her back later by managing to bounce the ball against the back of her head while she was walking down the hall.)

Many of us then returned to the home of Duke Berus and Duchess Marion, for there was still much beer and many wings to be consumed. While there Worgan put his arm around my shoulders and told me that I should know that no matter what was about to happen, he loved me. I knew I was in trouble. He then told me to pick a shot glass and poured me some Everclear (which is 75% alcohol). I took it in a gulp and gagged as it burned my throat to cinders. I know that he still loved me, but my feelings for him were questionable at that moment.

I think this event was meant as a one-shot deal, but the fighters had a grand time and many roared for a repeat performance, so hopefully there will be more Fighter Days in the future.

  1. Skeldergate is home to Osis’ legacy, being the home canton of many of his former squires, including Master Worgan MacGregor and Duke Sir Berus Wolfsson (both of whom also have dependents playing in the canton). Their household, the Hrogn, is known in full as the Hrogn fra Osis (or the Spawn of Osis).
  2. In a Warlord Tournament everyone faces an opponent. The one who wins is the Warlord and commands the other fighter. This team of two then seeks out another team of two and fight. The winner is the Warlord of this new team of four. This continues until there are two equally sized teams to fight one final battle.
  3. I’m not much of a drinker, as alcohol just makes me sleepy.

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