Here will I begin to make such poor words as can describe the valor and glory of the Army of Calontir upon the field in these most recent troubles.
The weather was splendid for the making of war. Warm sunshine fired the blood and brightened the cheeks of the army. King Siridean, great ring-giver whose pay is silver, but his honor is gold and Queen Sile, heart-thane whose laughter rings through the ranks with the joy of dolphins at play led the purple host upon the field under the generalship of Baron Magnus Anskegg, Boar of the North, to aid the Star of Ansteorra in time of war.
Though time is the cruel master of us all, I will start out of time with the telling of the last day of battles. Saturday, the disposition of the war is unknown and the forces of Ansteorra were to hold the fort first. This was not "the plan" from the previous night, but the grim warriors of the Calon host had fought in too many battles to hold faith in any plan but toil, pain and death. Our order came down to hold "Blackwidow's Breach" until such time as the enemy left or we were carried off. A brave unit of Ansteorrans swept out at the beginning to destroy a pair of lightly defended ballistae. This was a great service to the Calon host performed at dear cost to those brave soldiers. The wall was formed once again and we hunkered down to await our fate. We looked round and many units stood in "the keep" and were thereby protected from arrow fire. Calontir manned the breach and suffered arrows from the front, side and back. (Archers were firing over the far wall to hit our soldiers in the back.) One crossbow caused every soldier to wince at the sound of its firing and striking with each bolt. Luckily, its owner was not as skilled in aim as in the stacking of its limbs. Time seemed to slow to a stop as the afternoon wore on. The shadows changed on the ground and the only thing marking the passage of time was the slow grinding down of numbers as one arrow in a hundred found its way home to a Calontir stalwart. While ordering the lines, I was asked to provide cover for a young Ansteorran archer with a crossbow. (Later, I found out this was the same person who was the "Blonde on the Ballista" two years ago.) I was wounded in the thigh in fairly short order. She was quickly hit by a multitude of bolts. As she walked off the field another salvo hit her in the back "just to make sure". (I don't imply any dishonor on the part of the foe here, it was funny, you just had to be there.) I directed the left side of the breach from my knees for a time as our numbers continued to dwindle. Finally, I entered the wall as a scutum replacement; committing myself as my final reserve. Having tired of the bow, the enemy now advanced to take our position with sword and spear. Many shields were hooked as we flung them back time and again. The arrows continued in their fell rain. Not long after this; word came that our King in battle was slain. A young warrior (I could see naught but my left wrist) cried, "our King is slain, we must not leave this gate while we have breath to defend it". Our numbers dwindled still; finally Drx, Odo, and I manned the scutae while brave Kier (sp?) the Illustrated protected us from above with his spear. I know there were many others, but those are the ones I could see from my position. (I could not see any who manned the other side of the breach.) Finally, the main gate of the castle was taken and we were overrun from behind. None came through the breach while a Calontir soldier drew breath. Our noble foe showed great courtesy in their overrun of our position.
Next, we were to attack the castle. HRH Alantia Cuen (sp?) had suggested a bold and daring plan. We would push through the castle from all sides at full charge and overwhelm the defenders. We would go to victory or defeat in one blow. We were unable to pry the defenders from their possession of the castle but the Calontir army died almost to a man *inside* the castle. Calontir was assigned to take the breach we had just defended. Maximus led the charge as we pushed deep into their ranks. Rhodri and Richard de Bleys commanded a small detachment to guard the other side of the breach as the Calontir Army flew past. They plugged that hole until there was naught to do but join the charge. So stalwart was the fighting of the huge Banba and Ian (his first foreign war) that a foreign knight felt compelled to speak of it before the falcon host. None came into the falcon chargers from that port nor will they ever while hearts like those populate the plains. The Calon host knew we charged into a killing pocket, but charge we did. It was far more fun than baking in the sun. As the Trimarian host rushed out of the breach that only death could remove from Calontir, a lone figure in purple observed their flight. Our puissant King calmly observed the push as they rushed past him. He then stepped into the castle. After slaying more than a few, he remained the only member of the Ansteorran force on the field. He was offered single combat and proceeded to slay many of the foes champions. At last, Siridean was wounded, and tired and the King of Trimaris took the field to rid himself of this troublesome prince. Trimaris offered parlay and asked Siridean to yield the field as he was obviously in great distress. Siridean replied that by his life he could not leave the field still stained with the blood of his kin while he drew breath. As the sounds of "Warriors' Wyrd" drifted across the field HRM Trimaris fought and overcame our wounded King. Then there was sung Non Nobis and Te Deum and the tearful shades of the Huscarls slain before him brought the scutum which would return the mortal coil of their King to the clay from whence it came. While Calontir had a man left we fought inside the castle of our foe, but the day was not ours.
Then, as only happens in the SCA, all were alive, most unhurt and rejoiced in the pleasure of the company of like-minded friends some of whom were the foeman but seconds ago. His Majesty Ansteorra gathered those who had fought with his Kingdom around him and gave words of great praise. The traditional awarding of the regional battle flag for the year was made. The King awards it to the region of Ansteorra most outstanding on the battle field. Stunned silence was swiftly followed by tumultuous applause as this coveted banner was awarded to Calontir.
As always, song swelled from our hearts as we marched back to the unbelievable spread which the soup kitchen had prepared for us all week.
That night at evening court, we marched the army back to Blackwidow's Breach where some thoughtful souls had installed a sign on which Kier (again, sp?) had tattooed with his Sharpie-est needle "Siridean's Breach" and the banner of the King hung in the breach. At this point, everyone assured themselves that something was in their eye and pounded away a few tears. Their Majesties marched into court accompanied by their "entourage of the whole" as usual. When Lyriel opened the court of Calontir with "Here opens...", a banner of the falcon host slammed into place in each crenellation of the castle. As court closed, they were withdrawn in unison.
As the great merriment bubbled to a full boil under the purple pavilion, this tired warrior took to his bed after a full week, with a full heart. I needed a spot of rest to strike camp and prepare for the upcoming Lilies War.
Republished by permission.