Tuesday 15 April 2014

The Challenge of Colyne Stewart: AS 48

In the name of Ealdormere and of the blessed queen Adrielle, Saint Finnvarr and Saint Gillian, I Colyne Stewart, to exalt my name and honour my fortieth year upon this earth, knowing full well the renown of the prowess of the Ealdormerean fighting force, have, from the date of this present letter, taken a piece of a greave to bear upon my leg until I be delivered from it by an Ealdormerean performing a deed of arms as follows:

First, to enter the lists on foot, each armed as seems best to them, having their dagger and sword upon their body as they wish, and having a pollaxe as well. And this shall be the number of blows for all the different weapons and arms: ten strokes with the pollaxe, without intermission (sans reprendre); and when these ten strokes shall have been performed, and the judge shall say, 'Ho!' we will give ten strokes with the sword without intermission, or parting from each other, or changing our harness. When the judge shall say, 'Ho!' we will take to our daggers in hand, and give ten strokes with them. Should either one lose or drop his weapon, the other will be able to do as he pleases with the one he holds until the judge shall say, 'Ho!'

So shall I meet each fighter who would don harness and meet with me in glorious combat.

And there will be in attendance a gallery, and this gallery will consist of citizens of upstanding moral value. I shall, after consultation with these witnesses, surrender my greave to the fighter deemed most noble and virtuous and preaux.

This deed will occur in the Canton of Ardchreag on the 14th day of April of this year.

To add greater faith and security to this letter, I Colyne Stewart have sealed it with the seal of my arms, written and dated from Colynesburg, Thursday the 30th day of January in the year 48."

Based on “The Challenge of Michel d'Oris: 1400”, Enguerrand de Monstrelet, Chroniques, Book I, chapter ii as translated by Will McLean, 2001.


To mark the occasion of his 40th birthday, on April 14th, in the Canton of Ardchreag, THL Colyne Stewart held a deed of arms. This deed drew a crowd of 58 people, with 24 of them participating directly in the deed.

The king-of-arms was HRM Nigel II, knight of the Society; the herald was Magistra Nicolaa de Braction, member of the Orders of the Laurel and the Pelican; the scribe who recorded the names of those crossing blades in the book of the deed was THL Jocelyn Cranewell, White Scarf; and Lord Anton Rongefer acted as Colyne’s man-at-arms.

The book of the deed had been commissioned by his lady, THL Þorfinna gráfeldr, and bound by THL Tarian verch Gadarn. The book was bound in red leather, with Colyne’s original motto, vulpes cum lupo stat, written on the edge of the pages in ink. Inside was printed the original proclamation of the deed, as well as Colyne’s other mottos: colorful and preaux, and verba volent, scripta manent.

Colyne’s heraldry was on display in cloth, drape and flag, and the finial on top of his banner pole was in the shape of a fox (the charge from his Arms). The venerable Couter of Chivalry was also present, on display by His Majesty’s seat. Though no one in attendance at the deed knew it, there was another venerable artifact present that night. One of the long swords Colyne used once belonged to Baron Torbin of Amberhall, and had been given into the keeping of Þorfinna and himself by his daughter, Eanor of Amberhall. Colyne wielded it in the Baron's memory.

Thos not participating in the challenge of arms, who had come to witness the noble deeds to be done that night, did so in garb to dignify the event. Magistra Nicolaa wore her heraldic tabard, and carried a white baton as would have been customary in period.

Though upon a time holding a tournament to mark a significant birthday had once been somewhat common in Ealdormere, the practice had not been conducted for quite some time, and many remarked how glad they were to see a deed of arms held in the north.

Honour flowed like water. Just, stout blows were given and received, as were tokens. Indeed, Colyne had cast pewter coins based on a mold made by Þorfinna, for all in attendance. Likewise, Their Majesties Ealdormere gave each combatant a royal coin.

And these were the combatants:

  • HE Berend van der Eych, Master of the Laurel, squire- and sword-brother to Colyne
  • HE Richard Larmer, Baron of Rising Waters, member of the Order of Thorbjorn’s Hammer
  • Lord Fulk Beauxarmes, sword-brother to Colyne
  • THL Hans Thorvaldsson
  • Lady Neala
  • Lord Thorulfr inn smithr
  • THL Gann, member of the Order of Thorbjorn’s Hammer
  • Lady Ailis of House Marchmount, Bard to Nigel II and Adrielle II
  • Artyom
  • HE Grom meinfretr, Baron of Septentria
  • Lady Alienor la fileuse
  • Lord Mattius
  • Lord Pelayo of Marchmount
  • THL Þorfinna gráfeldr, wife to Colyne
  • Sir AElyth Grey, knight of the Society
  • THL Bjarn Aaronson, member of the Order of Thorbjorn’s Hammer
  • Wulfgar
  • Count Kildaire Silverwolf, former King of the Kingdom of Ealdormere, former Prince of the Principality of Ealdormere, member of the Order of Thorbjorn’s Hammer
  • THL Brendan Hunterson, member of the Order of Thorbjorn’s Hammer
  • Lord Alexander the Blue
  • Lord Hugh the Rose
  • HE Tiberius of Warwickshire, member of the Order of Thorbjorn’s Hammer, fian-brother to Colyne
  • Jack the Pirate
  • Lord Tristram Ovinra I Groffa
 Though originally Colyne was going to try and do ten passes with each person in poleaxe AND sword AND dagger (as was done in the period deed he was emulating), he quickly learned a lesson in the knightly virtue of humility, and with the blessing of the king-of-arms, they changed the format to five counted blows with either poleaxe, sword (single, long, or great) or dagger. This change was wrought after he fought to ten blows with polearm against both Master Berend and Baron Larmer.

Colyne was surprised by gifts including a dice cup, a set of goblets, and a full set of clothes. He was also given a token by HE Grom, and by Her Majesty.

Though all who took part fought well and good, only one could be awarded the prize--a greave made by Colyne’s own hand. The judges (Their Majesties Ealdormere and Nicolaa) declared that the one fighter who had shone brightest with chivalry, courtesy and prowess had been THL Hans Thorvaldsson. Hans was awarded Colyne’s greave, and tasked with doing with it what he willed. Wear it, pass it on, the choice was now his.

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