Crown Tournament's early rounds yielded as finalists Sir Gaylen the Smiling and Sir Pieter, who would meet in a best-two-of-three final round whose ending was both suspenseful and surprising. Sir Gaylen fought for the honor of Lady Medb ni Ciaran Mac Murchadha. Sir Stephen Edgermont and Sir Gunther von Brandenberg were the other two semi-finalists.
Pieter, who appears after Galen in the Midrealm order of precedence, and was therefore able to choose the combat style for the first bout of three. He selected Florentine, or two-sword, and was victorious over Gaylen in that style. Next it was Gaylen's turn to select a style. Galen selected sword-and-shield and in this style he triumphed over Pieter. In the third and final bout, Pieter selected single-sword without shield. After a brief rest, the fighters took up their positions and were again charged to do honor to the Crown, their Ladies, and their worthy opponents. Both men were, at this point, visibly fatigued from all their previous bouts during the afternoon, and it was clear that they were drawing upon their last reserves of physical stamina and mental fortitude.
On and on the final bout continued, with each man connecting blows that were well struck but not decisively "lethal." At several points during the battle, a "hold" was called by one combatant or the other to discuss calibration and location of blows. It was clear, though each dearly wished to win the day for his lady's honor, that neither man was willing to forego chivalry or honor to attain that end. Both men were deeply concerned that the fight should be conducted with honor, and they took pains to ensure that light or glancing blows were discussed and resolved to their mutual satisfaction.
At long last, Pieter struck a blow at Galen's helm, and the battle ceased. The two combatants and the Marshals discussed the blow, and it was determined that Sir Pieter had won the Tournament. This final blow's "lethality" was not obvious to all spectators, and Duke Sir Palymar, the Earl Marshal, offered an explanation to the crowd.
It seems that Sir Gaylen, fighting single-sword with his off hand unoccupied, had accidentally raised the off hand to block the blow, interposing his hand between the sword blade and his own helm. This is something to be avoided, but it is such a deeply-ingrained biological reflex that even experienced fighters occasionally fall prey to this error. Such was the case today with Sir Gaylen. The hand is not normally a legal target, and if it is struck, the blow is not counted. In this case, however, the hand blocked a blow that would otherwise have struck Gaylen's head, a legal target, and so the blow was counted as the hand had not been present. It was a legal -- and "lethal" -- shot, and Sir Galen accepted the blow with honor and grace, yielding the bout and the Tournament's victory to Sir Pieter.
The courtesy and chivalry of these two gentlemen toward one another was very evident in their conduct of the bouts and in their resolution of that final blow. There was a need for clarification of the rules, but never any apparent controversy between the combatants -- simply a mutually-agreed desire to correctly apply a very obscure technical rule. Though the victory was Pieter's, honor also belongs to Sir Gaylen for his willingness to concede a bout on a technicality, simply because it was the right and proper thing to do.
To both Peter and Gaylen, congratulations on a tournament nobly and skillfully fought. To Sir Pieter and Mistress Nan, Tanist and Tanista of the Middle Kingdom, hearty congratulations and Hoobah!