Thursday, 7 November 2013

East Kingdom Winter War, Feb 26, 2005

By Ludwig von Eisengrim

As posted to the Legio Draconis site.

During the weekend of Feb 26th, I went to the Winter War in the East Kingdom, along with my wife Leslie (who patiently drove the RV in seriously crappy winter weather), Sir Evander, Laird Colyne Stewart from Ard Chreag, and two fighters from Bastille du Lac named Ratanicus and Edward dit Lion. I carried a message to the East Kingdom's King Thorson from Her Illustrious Majesty Queen Genevieve, and sent Her the return message. When I offered to tell Their Majesties about the event, They took me up on it. So, I wrote an Epic Style tale about it. They really liked it, and I'll post parts of it here if anyone is interested.

I didn't know until a few days ago that Laird Colyne broke two ribs that day in his last fight, due to the simultaneous landing of two serious spear thrusts to his chest.

My apologies for the funky spacing and such, since this is a cut-and-paste transfer, obviously.

Ratanicus is a recent member of the Legio site.


Ealdormerean deeds done at Winter War in the East

We set out on our journey before the sun had begun to climb into the
sky. Our eyes were full of swirling snow as I and my forbearing wife
Lady Katherine fared our way. We were soon to meet the redoubtable
Knight, Sir Evander and his unfaltering Squire, Laird Colyne Stewart.
These two adroit nobles would soon rain steely blows upon the fearsome
warriors of the Eastern Realm.

We continued our wintery course, and were joined by two of Sir
Evander's stalwart serjeants, Edward dit Lion and Ratanicus. One would
be hard-pressed to find two other footmen more doughty and bold than

With our company now numbering six, our contingent travelled towards
the Land of the Tiger, the Eastern Kingdom. Keeping a watchful eye for
the venturesome troop led by valiant Sir Cennedi, we slipped across
the Border Fords, and wound our way to the Winter War. To embolden our
hearts, I read the missive sent by Her Majesty to her forces, and our
spirits soared at Her inspiring words.

It was with ardent and earnest rejoicing that Sir Evander was greeted
by his companions from the East. It was soon apparent to me that there
must have been a schism in the East Kingdom. The Eastern Warriors were
divided, and forming up on opposite sides of the field.

Our side was led by the renowned Baron Conrad, one of the comrades of
Sir Evander. With other nobles of high birth and rank, he scanned the
field and planned his campaign.

The other side was commanded by the Ruler of the East himself, the
indomitable King Thorson. The ground shuddered beneath His mighty
tread as he reviewed his warriors.

Donning our armour, grasping our weapons tightly, our company
followed puissant Sir Evander, the Captain of the Ealdormerean forces
that day. The scarlet-clad Lupine Warriors would soon show their true

Clutching my polearm, I peered out at the enemy line that faced us,
and waited for our signal. The Ealdormerean forces were arrayed on the
left flank of the line. We were to counter any outflanking maneuver to
that side, and charge forth to outflank them if the opportunity arose.

That opportunity did not come. Obviously, the Eastern Army remembered
the might and prowess of the Ealdormereans, and a full quarter of
their line turned to engage us, racing to surround us. We fought
bravely, but were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of their desperate
fury. I saw my companions turning blow after blow away as a forest
spears were thrust towards them and a legion of pollaxes began to
decend. Alas, I was dispatched by a well-aimed spear, and I fell to
the cold ground with only the thoughts of my Kingdom and my dearest
wife to comfort me.

I was revived, and went back to regroup with my company. The lines
were forming again. The plan of attack was the same, with the
Ealdormereans forming the left flank, with the same objectives. We
discussed our performance, and vowed to present a more unified front.
I glanced at my polearm, wishing that I had more length to it, since
it was originally constructed for use in tournament.

The lines met twice more then, with Your loyal troop resisting any
attempt to outflank our lines. Each time we clashed, we were able to
stand our ground longer before being crushed by sheer weight of
numbers. The javelins whistled through the air, falling to the ground
behind us, and yet we resisted to the last remnants of our strength.
Our presence there prodded the chagrin of the opposing force, for they
knew that we would fall furiously apon their flank if given the
smallest chance.

Brave Sir Evander's flashing blade eagerly bit into the helms and
hauberks of his enemies, cleaving them in half as their ruined corpses
fell. His squire Colyne struck down the foes before him as a smith
beats with his hammer- strong, sure, unerring, and unfailing. The two
serjeants Edward and Ratanicus pressed ever forward, like waves that
flash and race to the shore, slicing and carving deep rents into
Eastern flesh. As for myself, I fought behind my steely barricade of
comrades, keeping the East-Realmers back where I could, thrusting my
polearm into astonished faces before me.

The lines then broke into a general brawl. I found myself before a
shieldman, and closed with him. Entangling his sword with my polearm,
I reached for the mace that swung by my side and grasped it firmly. My
arm rose and fell, smashing my weapon down towards his helm and hip.
Alas, my mace must have found no solid purchase, and I tasted his
sword before falling into a confused heap of the dead and dying.

The lines reformed, and as I did glance to the side I was overjoyed
to behold the arrival of valorous Sir Cennedi, accompanied by two of
his squires. He had been deceived by a false and confusing map, a
cowardly ploy by those who despaired before his renowned prowess. It
is well that such a misguided plot failed, as must all that stand
against such dauntless courage. Even so, he had been delayed, and had
striven to arrive with great swiftness.

With the increased might of our troop, we were even more fearsome on
the field. I had been given a long spear by the gracious Baron Conrad,
and one of Sir Cennedi's squires held a long polearm. Our company
resolved to quickly do some flanking maneuvers of our own! At the
onset of the next charge, we drove deeply into their right. The two
Knights charged to their right, and a counter-attack was launched
against us. I was beset apon by three enemy warriors, and as I strove
to thrust into the face of a foe pressing Edward, I was struck down by
multiple blows.

All this while, my wife Lady Katherine busied herself by bringing
water to the Ealdormerean forces during those lulls when we were
regrouping. She was also keeping a keen eye on the movements of the
opposing army. It was not long before she discerned that the Eastern
King Thorson personally led each flanking thrust. He was going so far
as to bend his body and hide behind the line of his men as he moved to
the side that the flanking attack would be launched, so as to deceive
our commanders. She brought this observation to me, which was then
relayed to Sir Cennedi. The honoured Knight then moved to the
Commanders, informing them of this new intelligence.

While I was not able to see it myself, my Lady wife reported later
that the Commanders kept a close eye on the movements of the Eastern
King, keeping adequate forces aside to counter his movements. There
were two more engagements, and our army was victorious in those.

The last charge was a shining moment for Ealdormerean forces. More
swiftly than ever before, we hastened across the field to our left,
then turning sharply and plunging into the back of the enemy line.
Smiting down any enemies as they passed them, the Ealdormerean Company
tore into the flank of the enemy line, filling their hearts with
dismay. With skill and fortitude worthy of any Ealdormerean, Ratanicus
slew King Thorson before the ashen faces of his men.

It was worth noting that the Eastern warriors are savage in melee,
even breaking past their own shieldmen with a barbaric lust to smite
and crush their enemies. Even so, they attack in force, outnumbering
exposed opponents, and as I can well testify, seeking to overwhelm
opposing polearms and spears. They have a great many Great weapons,
which they wield in groups with practiced and deadly proficiency.

During this break between battles, I had the opportunity to approach
King Thorson with the warm greetings sent by Your Graceful Majesty.
Since I have already told of that exchange, I will spare you those
details. He struck me as being a very good-natured man, full of lively
mirth and robust spirit.

The battle then moved to the bridges. I was disheartened by the lack
of spears on our side, but we made plans for "pulse charges". We felt
that if we could break through their lines, that we could swiftly slay
any opposition.

Those of us with two swords, small shields, greatswords, and shorter
polearms waited behind the shieldmen and spears for the command to
charge. Our commander was eagerly collecting javelins and hurling them
back at the enemy spearmen. Sadly, the command to Charge did not come
forth, and as the shieldmen fell, our Squad went forward to fill the
gap, where we were quickly speared.

At the second bridge, we once again waited for our signal as the
spearmen on both sides did their deadly work. A signal was given, but
was only heard by a few, brave Sir Cennedi being one of those. He
leapt forward with two others, crashing into the enemy line with great
fury, striking down two enemies before falling in front of their
shields. Ratanicus was then speared in the leg, and fell to his knees.
Our line had been pushed back, so that I was to his right at the edge
of the bridge. He began to shuffle forward on his knees as enemy
spears began to be leveled at his face. I leaned forward, slapping
down the spears that I could reach with my polearm as he continued to
cross the bridge. Brave and resolute, he went beyond the reach of my
polearm, and he struggled on tenaciously, fending off the thrusts that
pushed and rang against his shield and upraised sword. It was all too
soon that his left side became exposed during that onslaught. He was
pierced by a cross-thrust, and perished on that bridge.

Another call for a charge came, and I answered, pushing across the
bridge with another warrior. We advanced, disrupting the spearmen's
attacks. My polearm battered the heads and faces of the opponents
before me, until I received a crushing blow on my helm, and stumbling
back, toppled, fell, and rolled off the bridge into the water. I
cannot say how effective that charge was, although my wife swears that
two enemies fell as well.

We moved back onto the third bridge, and this time, we wasted no
effort on a half-charge. The entire line moved forward, and broke
through the enemy. We swarmed through the gap, and chaos and confusion
reigned as enemies struggled and swirled around each other. I found
myself face-to-face with Sir Richard, and I began a swift series of
smashing blows to his head and shoulders with my choked-up polearm as
he tried a glancing blow against my leg. With each strike, he cried
out "not dead, not dead"... which puzzled me greatly. Nonetheless, I
continued my assault as he fell to his knees with another cry of "not
dead..." I felt a sharp rap on my helmet, and retired from the field,
although I was unsure of where the shot had come from. To say that the
Rules of Engagement were being badly bent would be an understatement,
but that is often the nature of war. Shortly thereafter, Sir Richard
came over and laughingly said that the first shot I had thrown had
been good, and that he had been saying "I'm dead! I'm dead!" as I
continued my flurry of blows. We chuckled together and parted to
briefly rest.

There then came a bridge battle that was very confusing, if the truth
be told. It was agreed that if a warrior was killed, be should be
revived and join the side that had killed him! There were men in blue
fighting beside men in red, and when a charge was successful none
truly knew who was his friend or his foe.

I took my confusion to be a sign to retire from the field. My lady
wife insisted that I rest and recover from the battles, and I
respected her wise words. My back had received wounds too great to
allow me to continue.

The next battle pitched the Peers against the Knowne World. When the
sides were arrayed, the Knights faced four enemies apiece. The
non-Knights charged, chasing their quarry across the field. Sir
Evander held his ground with two Brother Knights before finally
falling under the rain of incoming blows. I was unable to see his fate
due to the mass of warriors that surrounded them. King Thorson ran
around the perimeter of the field, out-pacing most and eventually
taking a defensive corner position. Sir Cennedi also hastened around
the perimeter, but was slowed by a squad of five foes. He managed to
slay all five as he passed them. Swiftly, he joined the King of the
East. The throng of warriors fell on them as a swarm of locusts on the
grain. The pair fought bravely, but were slain together, surrounded by
a hill of the dead.

There was an "endless resurrection" battle at the last. The large
soft blocks that served as our bridge were now spaced out and
transformed into lava. A touch of one of those bubbling tools was
instant death to any unlucky soul. The lines formed and a general
brawl ensued. Again and again the soldiers fell, went back to their
line, and began their assault anew. Groups flowed and ebbed like
tides, breaking apart as the soldiers were slain, and re-forming in
new formations. The Ealdormereans fought on as I watched, bravely
engaging their immortal foes without pause. Edward engaged one enemy
several different times, culminating in an intricate and viscious
duel. He was eventually bested, yet as his opponent back away and
began to rejoice in his hard-fought victory, he toppled into a lava
pool. Such is the way of life.

The Ealdormerean forces all fought with great honour, fortitude, and
prowess. There was great wonder in the Eastern Realm at the number and
skill of the Ealdormereans, and we were given many sincere invitations
to return. It should be noted in passing that as we observed the East
Realm holding court, we observed the Royal Family and Retainers
turning somersaults on those large spongey blocks. We were sore amazed
to see such acrobatics during court, but reasoned that it must be an
East Kingdom custom of celebration after war.

The journey home was filled with much snow and ice, and our arrival
was later than we had anticipated. Regardless, the time was filled
with much merriment and telling of tales. It was due to the efforts of
my good Lady Wife that we came to be home safely. Save for a bruised
knee for Edward and a sore back for me, we were all exhausted but whole.

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