Thursday 3 October 2013

Households Unite! (Murder Melee in the Meadow, June 13 – 18, 2006)

By THLaird Colyne Stewart

Team: The Ursinators

Sir Evander MacLachlan
            THL Tiberius Britannicus
            Lord Brandt das Lederwerker
            Laird Colyne Stewart
            Lord Cameron MacGregor
Sir Siegfried Brandbeorn
            THL Dafydd ap Sion
            Lord Eirik Andersen
            THL Augustyn of Ely
            Lord Amelius Claudius Rattanicus
Sir Rory Cennedi
            Lord Wat of Sarum

Team Record: 5 – 1

Overall placement: 2nd

The day was bright. The sky was clear of clouds, and the sun was shining. The heat was high (in the mid 30s), it was humid, and the plant life was spreading its pollen.

Ah, summer had arrived, in all its blazing, burning, eye watering, sneezing fury.

Around half past eight in the morning, Sir Evander yet again stopped his wagon at my keep to pick me up. This time I went alone, as Þorfinna would be engaging in her other geekdom that day (that of the Browncoats). With Evander were Rattanicus, Cameron, Kel of Bastille and Argyle of Bastille. We loaded up my gear, which included a sun shade. Since there was room, we slide in a second shade as well.

We got to the site in good time, taking a shortcut that Rattanicus asserted saved us twenty minutes whereas Evander insisted it saved but ten. We set up our shades beside Sir Sarnac and Sir Kasamir’s combined team (called the SarKasmic Horde), with whom we were to share good food, drink and camaraderie throughout the day. We were quickly joined by Tiberius, Eirik, Dafydd and Augustyn who were already on site. Brandt arrived not too much later, giving me a second half gauntlet bearing my device that he had been labouring on for me. Fighters began slowly putting on their kits, a little lethargic in the heat.

Sir Siegfried pulled me aside and said that he wanted to name the team in honour of Septentria (as he has tried to name his teams in the past) and suggested the Ursinators. He wanted me to suggest the name, knowing that his good friend Evander would resist it if he suggested it himself. I agreed. Later, when Evander spoke up and said we needed a name I instantly said, “Ursinators.” Evander was surprised that I had come up with that suggestion so quickly, but everyone seemed happy with it and that is what we went with. When he later found out he had been played, Evander made one of his trademark faces, and I’m sure I will pay for my petty treachery later.

Amid a rush of Terminator jokes (“Come with me if you want to win”) we finished armouring up, and Wat and Cennedi showed up just before the list table closed. They put up a third sunshade, which was just enough to cover us all.

Since we had twelve people on the team (and only ten could be on the field at a time), Evander found another team for Kal and Argyle to join to ensure that everyone would get in as much fighting as possible. They joined the Marines, and made quite an impression (especially Arglye).

Lord Ludwig von Eisengrim arrived, blinking sleep out of his eyes, and found that due to a miscommunication error between himself and Evander that there was no longer a spot for him on the team. Luckily he was able to join the Ramshaven-Eoforwic Alliance and got in a full day of fighting.

While I was speaking to Her Excellency of Septentria, the Baron of Ramshaven came over looking slightly sheepish. He told Domhnail that Ramshaven had stolen away the Citie Guard of Eoforwic to fight at their side. Domhnail asked if Ramshaven was trying to invade her territory, but I remarked that it sounded more like her loyal Eoforings were taking over Ramshaven. Her Excellency Alyce, who had joined us, asserted that this was simply a friendly contractual arrangement between cousins, which was sealed amiably when Konrad gave Domhnail some liquid fortification.

When everyone was finally ready to fight we found that there were seven teams. They were: the Ursinators, the Rozakii, Septentria, the Ramshaven-Eoforwic Alliance, the SarKasmic Horde, the Marines and Tark’s Mongol Horde. The tournament was a round robin, and with only seven teams the tourney went very fast.

We had to cycle through our fighters a little bit, since we had twelve members. Even though I tried to take a turn to sit out it never transpired until the finals (when I was wounded). Generally, Siegfried, Cennedi, Evander, Wat and Rattanicus acted as flankers, so I was placed in command of our shieldwall since I had the most combat experience out of the others. I can tell you, it felt pretty good with the giant Augustyn on one side of me and the sturdy Dafydd on the other. Our speed was not so great, but we did not lack in strength.

In the first few encounters our shieldwall was destroyed fairly quickly, but since we had never acted as a unit before I was not too surprised. As the day went on we became much more coherent and became much more effective at moving as a unit and staying together. Both Cameron and Eirik fought very well.

In our battle against Septentria I took a sore wound. I was felled by a pole arm, and as I was falling someone hit me very hard across the back of the neck. I almost had to stop fighting because of the pain and the ensuing headache but I stuck with it for the body of the tournament.

In one of the Marines’ battles, Argyle found himself alone, facing seven opponents. In an amazing display of swordsmanship he managed to wittle the other team down to only two before being felled himself.

When all the battles were done, it was announced that the two finalists were to be the undefeated Rozakii, and the Ursinators. We were given a fifteen minute rest, and then we set up on the field again. The final was to be a best two out of three, though we had agreed to fight the third fight even if it wasn’t needed, simply for friendship and the joy of battle. I took part in the first battle, which we lost, but then my injury sidelined me for the last two fights. We lost the second battle as well, making the Rozakii the victors of the day.

I was not planning to fight anymore that day, but an Unbelted practice was being held, so I put my armour back on, promising my team mates I would stop if I needed to. It was announced to us that THL Etian du Naval was the official new captain of the Unbelts while Baron Tynne Duair Ap Beul would be the tactician. The Unbelts were sent to one end of the field, while most of the other fighters still present took the other side. In the battles that ensued, the Unbelts tried to implement the strategy that the Rozakii had been using all day. It did not work as well for the Unbelts as it had for the Rozakii (which is not surprising since as I understand it, the majority of the Rozakii have the opportunity to practice together once a week). Still, the Unbelts worked better together in each subsequent melee.

When our lines would meet, I always ended up facing Sirs Konrad and Edward the Red, and as such took many pole arm blows to the head. This, on top of the previous shot to the neck, caused me to withdraw from the practice. When I came off the field, Dafydd put his hand on my arm and told me that I was burning hot to the touch, right through my clothes. I stripped down to my pants, and my team mates made faces at the bruise on the back of my neck. My raven-sister Lady Dagmar Halvdan attended me, and gave me a menthol cooling pad which eased the swelling and the pain, and I am most grateful for her kind attention.

When the Unbelted practice was over, a Kingdom Fight Practice was held, but most fighters were dropping their kits because of the humidity. However, a few brave and hardy souls did fight on.

Several of my team mates then had to run off for a meeting of the Order of Thorbjorn’s Hammer, and the rest of us took the opportunity to eat, drink and relax in the shade. When the meeting was over, several folk took advantage of the Saxon Showers. We left site just before court, and went in search of steak.

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