Wednesday, 23 October 2013

United at War -- Pennsic 25

Compiled by William Meriic
November 1st AS 38

Throughout history, Aethelmearc and Ealdormere have shared, in addition to a common border, a great friendship. In the year of AS 31, this was no different. Unfortunately, the kingdoms of the Middle and the East met in the debatable lands to do battle. Now the soldiers from Aethelmearc and Ealdormere would face each other on opposite sides to fight.

Towards the end of the war, the King of the Middle decided to let Ealdormere fight alongside of its cousin, Aethelmearc. This brought great joy to the fighters, the reigning princesses and inspired Mistress Marian to write her song “United at War”.

Below are two interviews; one with Countess Caryl (Princess of Aethelmearc) and Viscountess Moria (Princess of Ealdormere). Also included is a brief explanation from Mistress Marian. Further information about this topic can be found at the bottom of the page.

Even if you already know the story, I encourage you to read this. The events of Pennic 25 have had greater affects on the Kingdom of Ealdormere than most people realize.

Countess Caryl’s Story

Roak and I were friends for years and I actually knew lots of the Rosaki but I had never met Moria. We had lots of friends in common, but our paths never managed to cross. Well, I heard Roak won Coronet up in Ealdormere, and Yngvar had won Coronet here for me in Aethelmearc. So, I was excited, Roak and I were friends, and everybody told me I would love her.

Well, we went to Ice Dragon and I saw her across the room. I didn’t know who she was, but I knew the coronet, and same thing for her. We spotted each other. We kind of looked at each other and pointed; “you”, “yea”, “ok”, and we crossed the room and said “hi”. We shook hands and then there was that awkward couple of minutes where you’ve been told that going to like somebody, so you are kind of expecting to, but you don’t know each other yet. So, we were being kind of polite, getting to know who knows who. After a little while, we had a couple good laughs together and our friendship was sealed.

We were just starting to be heir and heiress, I think we’d each been on the throne a couple of weeks as heirs. So we went out of the way to be at a lot of events together. We traveled up to Ealdormere, they came down to Aethelmearc, we were at war practice, and the friendship just got stronger. By the time we got to Pennsic, we were like best best friends and it was agony because Ealdormere was apart of the Midrealm and Aethelmearc was apart of the East. So, we were on the wrong sides of the war.

Every battle we were fighting against each other. We would go up to the bridge battle, we would cheer our own guys on, but we’re standing on opposite sides of things. It was fun, I mean, everybody was having a great time fighting each other, but at the same time, it was awful, because we were against each other. If my guys won, then that meant her guys had to loose. And if her guys won, then my guys had to loose. And it was just awful! So there was a lot of angst over this whole war thing. But, in the evening we all drank together, so that was great.

Well, then the mountains pass battle came about. The numbers were just outrageously unbalanced. The East was over on one side, and we had to be a third of the number that was on the other side. So, the Midrealm king sent Ealdormere over.

They came marching over with all the Crimson Ealdormere banners flying and Roak at the forefront, marching across the field. A bunch of the Eastern guys are going, “Hey, wait a minute, the cannon didn’t go off! What’s going on? What’s going on?” But they were marching slow, they’re not marching in battle formation. And then, everybody figures out, they are evening up the sides. They’re sending over Ealdormere.

My heart just flew into my throat. I was so excited. You’ve got to remember it’s like the last day of Pennsic... second to last day, I think. Reality is gone. You know, you spend a week at Pennsic and you kind of lose reality to begin with. You spend a week at Pennsic as Princess, there is no getting back into touch with reality. You’re in a completly different place.

The fact that, finally, the two of us were on the right side, that we were on the same side, what ever side that was, was just, like, unbelievably thrilling.

So, I ran out to greet Roak. The Ealdormere army and the Aethelmearc army are merging. And the Aethelmearc guys are all peeling the blue tape off their helmets, tearing it in half, and sticking half of their tape on the other guys’ helms. And the Ealdormereans are all peeling their red tape off and balling it up, and taking the half strips of blue duct tape from the Eastern fighters and embracing. It was this wonderful joyous moment.

But where’s Moria? I go running to the Ealdormere pavilion, which is half way around the battlefield. We were on the far side of the battlefield so I had to run all the way around the corner down to the Ealdormere pavilion, and she’s not there.

She’s up at the archery field, all the way on the other side, that’s when they were up that hill. Well, a runner had gone to get her when they sent Ealdormere over. So, she was already on her way down. So, just as I started out of the Ealdormere pavilion to find her, she came tearing in. The two of us spotted each other, and swept up in this huge embrace. And someone took a picture. And, evidently, that was what inspired the song, for Marian.

So the two of us had this huge embrace, and we ran down to the field where all of our guys were, and jumped up on a hay bale, all excited. They were coming up to us, two by two, an Aethelmearc and an Ealdormerean, coming up and kneeling before us, to get our blessing before the battle. So, it was just this magical, magical moment. There is just no way to describe how amazing it was to finally be on the right side, on the same side with my sister.

And then when Marian sang the song, when she wrote the song...

[How long was that afterwards?]

Not long, because that was August, and we stepped down in September. Moria brought the tape, a tape of the song, to our de-investiture. So she brought the tape down and played it for me, right after I stepped down as Princess. Which, talk about your emotional moments. That’s a maelstrom to begin with. Then she plays me this song. It’s like “waterworks”.

[Why did the Midrealm give the Ealdormereans to the East?]

They were already going to win the war. The points were already so far on the side that there really wasn’t anyway they could lose the war.

[Did the Midrealm understand the companionship between to two Principalities?]

I don’t know if they did or not. They may have understood. I don’t know, Roak may have asked to come over. It was just the battle was so badly outnumbered. It’s really no fun to fight one of those, if the numbers are that overwhelming. And they had already won the war, so it didn’t matter in the long run. So, “let’s make the battle fun”, I am sure was the plan. Why they chose Ealdormere to come over, I really don’t know. I never wondered, I was just thrilled.


Viscountess Moria’s Story
Back when Roak first made me heiress, We traveled down to the principality of Aethelmearc, because We had a lot of good friends there. We were down there for Ice Dragon and We were introduced to the heirs of the principality of Aethelmearc which were Yngvar and Caryl. They were about to become prince and princess of Aethelmearc about the same time we were going to become prince and princess of Ealdormere. And we just happened to hit it off. Caryl and I got to be good, solid friends.

We kept talking all throughout the summer about what a shame it was that We were on opposite sides, because Ealdormere had to fight with the Midrealm and Aethelmearc had to fight with the East. So, We kept talking about how it would be great if We were on the same side so We could actually spend all of Pennsic together and camp together. But the thing is that wasn’t going to happen since we were both royalty from different kingdoms.

On the morning that We were having one of the field battles, we had scheduled the Ealdormere archery shoot. Roak really liked to do archery, but because of the way the battles were scheduled, there were three battles that day. So, Roak decided he would let me take the archers to the archery field, while he stayed down and did the fighting with the army on the field.

We got the archers together and we did this large procession all the way up to the field. One of our big things throughout our entire war was doing very large processions. We had decided that, if we were going to become a kingdom, we had to look like a kingdom and act like a kingdom. So, part of our reign at Pennsic 25, was not being part of the Midrealm, but being Ealdormere on its own. So, We always had these huge processions with everybody wearing red and just going Ra! Ra!, Ealdormere.

We walked by the fighting field to go up to the archery field and I saw her Highness Caryl, the princess of Aethelmearc. She had stopped me, and asked, “where are you going?”.

I said we had to go do archery.

She said, “Oh that’s too bad because I was looking forward to standing with you on the field. Even though we fight on different sides, it does not matter, we could still stand together”.

“Well when archery is over I’ll come back down. There’s three battles so I will be down for the second and third battles”.

And she said, “OK, hurry back”.

So the archers and I went up and we did archery, and I didn’t fare to well. But we ended up staying up there a lot longer than what I had expected. Afterwards I dismissed the archery corps and told them we didn’t have to process back, that they could all go off on their own and I was going straight to the fighters’ field.

I came walking down from the archery field. Back then the archery field was above the fighting field, it wasn’t way off to a corner on the far side. So, it was a straight line down. I came walking down from the archery field, and it looked as though something was different on the field. I was too far away to actually know what was going on. I walked past the Middle Kingdom and our standard wasn’t standing with the Middle Kingdom. I walked around the end of the field, when out of nowhere, Princess Caryl comes running up to me, and starts jumping up and down. She starts hugging me and says “Its happening, its happening, your here in time”.

“What’s happening?”

“We’re fighting together”.

“Caryl, you’ve lost it! We can’t be fighting together.”

“No, we’re fighting together. Your king gave us Ealdormere, so now Ealdormere and Aethelmearc are fighting together. Yngvar and Roak are on the field right now talking strategy. We’re going to fight together.
“Oh my god that is so wonderful, we can actually sit and watch the battle together”.

We were just so happy. We walked up and down the line encouraging all of the fighters to go out there and have fun together. This was so neat that Aethelmearc and Ealdormere got to fight together. The twin principalities got to fight side by side.

We just sort of walked up and down and I guess everyone else saw how happy we were that we thought this was just such a great thing. And for the life of me, I can’t remember if we won, or we lost. I can’t remember how many people died, whether it was a good fight or a bad fight. It didn’t matter. It was just so much fun.
When everybody came off the field, we hung out together on the field and talked about where our principalities are going and how great its going to be when we’re both kingdoms. And we really formed a huge friendship with the entire principality at the time. It suddenly became Ealdormere and Aethelmearc together.
Then we went off to dinner and I actually didn’t see Caryl again for almost the rest of Pennsic. But the very next day, Marian came walking into my camp and said “Your Highness, when all of the fighters came back from the fighting yesterday all they could talk about was how much you and Her Highness Aethelmearc inspired them. So, I would like to know if it would be ok with you if I would write a song about it.”

Marian has always been one of my most favorite bards. I just adore the woman. I was so honored. I said, “Marian, it would be great.”

And she said, “well, then how about this...”, and started to sing me a song.

It was such a great song, “United At War”, that I begged her to please tape it. First I said, “Can we go up and have you sing it to Her Highness of Aethelmearc?”

And she said, “Unfortunately, I am leaving right now. That is why I am in my regular clothes.”

I said to her, “I can’t let Caryl step down without having heard this song. Would you tape it for me?”

And she looked at me and said, “I never really thought of taping my songs.”

I said, “I need to have her hear this. To me it is such a wonderful song about how well we get along and how close our two principalities are.”

She said, “Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ll record it for you and you can take it to her de-investiture.”

So, about a month later, Marian showed up at my door. It was about a week before Caryl’s de-investiture, and I said, “Did you get me the tapes?”

She said “I got you a few tapes. One copy of her, one for you, and I made a few other ones, because you inspired me and I put all my songs on tape rather than just that song. And if it is ok with you, you gave me the idea, I think I am going to start to sell them.”

I thought that was absolutely wonderful. So that weekend we took the tapes down. I gave one to Caryl and she listened to it right there and she was just so touched by it. She played it for her people just before her de-investiture.


Mistress Marian’s Story

I wrote this song at Pennsic in 1996. Lord Raffe Scholemaystre came down to camp after a battle, and he said how proud he’d been to see Princesses Moria and Caryl walking side by side on the battlefield, as friends. I was so inspired by his tale that I wrote this on the spot. After Pennsic, Moria asked me to put it on tape so that she could share it with Caryl... while I was at it, I put down a number of my other songs and it became my very first cassette album “Light of the North”. You can still hear that first version of the song on my CD “Call The Names”. So here I am all these years later, on the path of a professional recording artist -- and it all started with two wonderful ladies leading their troops by example.

Further Information

Here are some related materials:

Call the Names: Mistress Marian of Heatherdale’s (MKA Heather Dale) CD which contains, among many other wonderful songs, “United At War” ( 

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