Conde Fernando writes:
I and the other Calontir folks who made it up to Bonfield for Baron's Howe would like to thank His Grace Finnvarr and Mistress Ragni for their wonderful hospitality.
As we have each time we've made the long journey, we all had a great time from the moment we arrived.
With a dozen or so fighters, Friday's torchlight tourney was a fun start to the long weekend.
After a long drive and the evenings revelry, I was certainly glad for the leisurely start His Grace always seems to plan for Saturday morning. It allowed for sleeping in and enjoying the delightful weather (extra nice for folks who had left 35° C weather behind at home), and still lounging for a while before donning armor for one of my all time favorite event activities - the 12th century tournament in the woods.
For those who have never attended, this is "tournament" is essentially a resurrection melee contested by multiple small teams - think of the Tournaments of the era of William Marshal.
While the size of the teams has ranged up to five or six in the past, this year we were divided into three man teams with each team being led by a Knight. The goal of this tourney is not simply to kill or best your opponent, but to unhorse them (symbolized by any good telling blow) and then capturing/disarming them (with a second good blow) and then successfully lead them back to your teams rez point to arrange a ransom. Of course this is made more difficult because an unhorsed opponent could re-mount if they were given the opportunity before being disarmed or captured. And harder still because a fighter leading a captive to his res point could himself be attacked, and a fighter thus engaged could not keep hold of his prisoner which would allow him to escape.
Some of my favorite moments in this battle actually came while I was a prisoner being led off for ransom. Shouting things like "Rescue! Rescue! I'm being taken to Normandy!" or "Germany", or "Ireland" as appropriate for my captor, just seemed extra fun. Especially on those occasions where a rescue attempt really did arrive. Over the course of the hour or more of fighting I was captured several times, but had the good fortune to capture a number of others as well. The ransoms that were arranged truly showed the spirit of the day. Aside from typical offers of a beer, or the like, I heard men asked to promise such things as: a service for the autocrat; a song; a flower for the captor's lady; words of praise for ones friends or comrades; and more. Each time I've made the trek to this event I seem to come back loving this scenario even more. If you get a chance to take part - don't miss it.
After a break in the shade of the woods we made the short walk to the fortress carved into the side of the hill. There we fought a number of different scenarios in the gateway and over the walls. In addition to more traditional battles we fought one set where the defending side had unlimited resurrections - but only so long as their leader stayed alive and in the front rank of the defense in the gate. Those were intense. In another set each side started with only 1 fighter in the gate, and every 5 seconds another fighter was added to the mix from each side. Duke Finnvarr counted the seconds out loud - but as the intensity grew his counting grew faster till at the end I doubt there was much more than 2 seconds between adding fighters. :)
Exhausted we headed back to the camps which surrounded the list field. Some guys, with more energy than this tired old knight, continued to do pick-ups there, but I lounged and took part in the age old sport of watching other guys fight. :)
The evening was kicked off with a delicious dinner with a centerpiece of stone soup organized (I believe) by Mistress Ragni. There was a ton of great food and if anyone went away hungry rest assured it was their own fault. Though I heard tell that torchlight archery took place, for me Saturday ended with another evening of revelry around a number of much appreciated fires.
Sunday also gave us a leisurely morning followed by arming to fight around noon. The fighting began under Viscount Mordain's direction with three rounds of Mordain's Rings - where victory required a combination of fighting skill, cunning, ability to make alliances, and a bit of deviousness. (Hmmmm... come to think of it that's a lot like Mordain himself....) :)
Following this we played Derfel's rings, a challenge tournament based on challenging each other for rings. Each fighter was given 5 rings and could purchase additional ones as part of a fundraiser for Cancer research. These challenges were done both on the open field and over the barrier. This was Lord Richard's (one of the traveler's who accompanied me - and recently moved to Calontir from Drachenwald) first time fighting at the barrier and he enjoyed it greatly.
We ended Sunday chatting with a number of friends, but sadly we had to make an early night of it so as to be in good condition for our 6 am start on the 18 hour drive back to Calontir.
Overall it was a very enjoyable event with some great activities - but once again what made it truly worth the long drive was not the event itself but the people of Ealdormere. The friendliness and hospitality shown us by both old and new friends was truly exceptional
Thank you all.
Conde Fernando Rodriguez de Falcon