Thursday 3 October 2013

To Strive for a Sword (Snowed Inn IV, Feb 19, 2005)

By THLaird Colyne Stewart

Noble and redoubted knights, honored and gentle squires, I have come before you to advise, request and notify you on behalf of the Canton of Ardchreag of a very noble tourney and bouhort of arms that has recently been undertaken by them. These gentles have agreed together to welcome you over all others on account of the great fame of your valor, the renown of your intelligence and the praise of the virtues that have long endured in your noble persons. So, please join us, for much good may come of it.

So began the announcement, proclaiming the pas d’armes to be held at Snowed Inn IV, hosted by the Canton of Ardchreag. Once again the Company of the White Heart would ride forth and offer up a sword to the most worthy fighter of the day. A sword first won by Lord Tiberius of Warwickshire, then by THL Kasimir of Stargard, and then by Lord Etain de Neval.

The hall was large, with banners hung upon the walls, and rafters spanning high over head. To one side of the hall were arrayed many tables, where good gentles gathered and sat. Along one wall was spread an Arts and Sciences display and competition, beside which sat another table, this one laden with games for all to play, supplied by the Games Guild of Ealdormere.

The other side of the hall was given over to the tournament. A line of tables ran along one side of the list field, upon which each fighter placed their helm. On the opposite side of the lists was constructed a gallery, where the consorts of those taking part in the tournament might watch in comfort.

First, the Ladies of the Gallery did inspect the displayed helms, seeking for any belonging to a combatant they felt to be a rogue or in some other way unworthy to compete. No such recreant was discovered, and her Majesty Genevieve led the other Ladies onto the lists, where each was given a pole, upon which hung a gold or blue star. The King of Arms and his heralds called out all those who were to compete in the tournament, and those combatants then made an oath to fight in honour and with courtesy. For this was a tournament, an event of heraldry and comradeship, not a war battle. Oath made, each fighter then had to lance one of the stars with their sword to determine their team. The Ladies of course did not make this easy, juggling their poles and making the stars bounce and bob. Finally, all the stars were were lanced, and the Azure and Or teams were formed.

The Ladies were then led to the gallery, being a raised dais where they sat in comfort, fed, watered and waited upon by Snæbjörn sverðsbrjótr called Swordbreaker.

The tournament did then begin. First individual challenges were made, as fighters of the Or strode forth to the center of the lists, holding aloft their weapon of choice. When the Ladies had been satisfied, and when every combatant had fought at least once, a grand melee was held. The combatants battled until hit, at which point they returned to their end of the list and waded once again into battle. Again, this continued until the Ladies had been satisfied. After a short break a barrier was erected in the centre of the lists and the Blue team now made challenges to the Gold. After the barrier there was one more grand melee to conclude the pas.

The Ladies of the Gallery then entered the lists, and the combatants knelt about them. The Ladies then handed out several tokens to the combatants, to recognize certain deeds or talents. Count Sir Rory Cennedi was recognized for his energy and enthusiasm, Laird Colyne Stewart for his heraldic display, Edward and Argyle for being newly authorized and fighting with such eagerness in the tournament. Lord Tiberius of Warwickshire and Lord Tarquin Bjornnson were also given tokens. These were by no means the only tokens awarded, but only the ones that this chronicler can now recall. Also, the Sword, the grand prize of the tournament, was that day graced to His Excellency Ramshaven, Baron Konrad Matthias Jaegger von Dubrau, to hold for a year and a day, to be brought to Snowed Inn the following year where it would once again be sought after in the lists.

Following the pas there was a Royal Speed Tournament, as well as several individual challenges.

Court was then held, and many worthy gentles were recognized for their contributions to the kingdom. Their Excellencies of Septentria bestowed Awards of the Golden Bear upon Lord Berend and Lady Mahault van der Eych, and the Horn of Muinnin—Septentria’s preeminent award—upon Lady Christiana MacNamara and Lord Percival de Laroque. Her Majesty then called upon many for acknowledgment, including Tarian verch Gadarn, who was made a Lady, Lord Hans Thorvaldsson who was given an Award of the Scarlet Banner, and Baroness Gaerwen of Trafford, who was elevated to the Order of the Crucible. Duke Sir Finnvarr de Taahe’s knighting scroll was recognized by Her Majesty as a true relic of Ealdormere.

After court a most sumptuous feast was held, prepared by Lady Mahault and Baron Sir Siegfried Brandbeorn. It consisted of: Squash Soup, Sautéed Mushrooms, Roast Onion Salad, Roast Chicken with Orange Sauce, Hungarian Torta, Ham with Winter Cameline Sauce, Torta Bolognese, Blancmange, Chireseye and Candied Orange Rinds. (This was in fact part of Mahault’s winning entry in this past Kingdom A&S Pent.)

It was a grand finale to a glorious day in Ealdormere.

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