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Norman Medieval Fair 1984 and 1985

by Talen Gustaf von Marienburg

My very first "Tourney" fight was at MedFair back in 1984. It was a beautiful day, and the winner of the bout held the field. That winner was His Majesty, Charles Inman MacMoore II. As a matter of fact, he had held the field the entire time; there were no longer any challengers as he'd beaten them all. I stepped forward, having stood in my borrowed armor for quite a while as I watched each challenger fall. I knew I was in way over my head, but Lord Rafael Diego de Burgos, my mentor, insisted I go.

"Might as well jump in feet first," he said.

Inman was standing in the middle of the field, impatiently waiting for any challenger. Rafael walked up to him and whispered to him that this was my first fight. The look on his face, nay the look of his entire body, spoke volumes. Pretty sure I killed his shield with the one blow I struck, then he one-shotted me in the helm. Apparently, he felt pity upon my exposed thigh.

The next month I bought a helm from him.

That summer I discovered a love of the melee, and the following spring, MedFair rolled around again. We were working 5-man melee teams, and my team held the field. Our next challenger? His Majesty, Charles Inman MacMoore III, two knights and two squires. None of us were squires, let alone knights.

We actually were doing well, considering. Our shields were holding against a knight and two squires, another knight was down, and I threatened their flank. Unfortunately, I lost track of Inman. As I turned and stepped to my right, I saw the end of his spear inches away from my helm. The end of that spear combined with the hard step I had taken struck with such force that I flew backwards, my nose now firmly placed against the inside of my visor as the metal of the helm had bent. By the time I got up, the rest of my team was down. Pretty sure Inman killed them all.

It took two people to pull that helm off of me, and it cut my nose as well. There was no way I could get it back on. By then, the Marshals had called a break, and Inman had returned to his pavilion. I walked over there, helm in hand. His eye was twinkling, I swear it was. I showed him the helm and said, “You made it, you bent it, now how do I fix it?”

He took it from me, looked at it for a second and handed it back to me. “Jump up and down on it,” he said. Then he turned away, finished with me.

You know what? It worked. I laid it on its side, jumped up and down on that 12-guage steel helm until it bent out enough to wear it again. Now, here’s the rest of the story.

Many knights have worn that helm when they first started training. I am not one of them, but I started training them before a knight took them and added the polish. It was now my loaner helm. That helm is well known in the Northern Region. We called it the Bug-Eyed Helm. It’s the one that had the perforated mesh visor. An Inman spun-dome helm. Last I saw, it was still being used as a loaner helm in Mooneschadowe, training future knights.

Namron Beltane, 1993

Provided by Elric Dracwin
Beltane was being held at Taylor Lake in the incipient group of Loch Windt. A strong storm came in Saturday evening with high winds, lighting, and twisters nearby. People were huddling in their tents or in Mistress Valia's GP Medium tent to stay dry. Mouse the jester went to his dome tent to get a bottle of mead he received for winning the "biggest spang" contest that day. His was a full sized spang costume that he wore. I think it was made by Mistress Gwyneth of Ramsey Mere. After exiting his tent he was standing in water, zipping up his tent when lighting stuck the tree next to it. My household was camped across the road from him. The lighting strike was so loud that we all jumped and shouted. He was brought into the GP Medium tent and laid down with his head in Dominique's lap. His first words were, "Well, that was a hell of a thing". We were all convinced the Spang Gods were jealous and smited him. He hung that costume on the dead tree every Beltane for years to come as a peace offering to the Spang Gods.

Bryn Gwlad, 1993

Provided by Pendaran Glamorgan
In the 28th reign of the Kings and Queens of Ansteorra, being in the year 27 A.S., it was determined in the Barony of Bryn Gwlad that a grand tournament of grace and chivalry would be held to honor the fairest of all flowers, the ladies of Ansteorra.

This tournament “took place” in the Loire Valley of France in the year 1448 and all of the greatest fighters in the realm were invited to test their skill at arms and perform feats of chivalry for the pleasure and entertainment of the ladies therein present. Likewise, the fair and gracious ladies were invited to attend wherein they were seated in Ladies Galleries to inspire the fighters and bear witness to their deeds of arms.

In addition to the grand tournament, a fair was also held and thus were merchants able to come and sell their wares and entertainers allowed to ply their craft. All who attended, be they of the highest nobility or lowest station were to behave in the manner best befitting such a day.

The fighting was held in different stages throughout the day and a great day it was. There were contests at the barrier, single combat, melees and passes au cheval and throughout the day many a fighter, inspired by the ladies therein present, distinguished themselves on the field of combat.

Yet there was one battle that outshone all other tests of arms that day. At mid-day, during a break in armored fighting, the ladies, with zeal and joy, took the field for The Battle of the Flowers. It was this battle that outshone all other battles that took place that day. The ladies gathered in the middle of the field on either side of the great barrier and there armed with roses, carnations, and other flowers great and small fought a most tremendous batter. These fair and graceful ladies fought with such ferocity and beauty that it did cause great delight in all who saw it. Many a lady was felled by the swift stroke from a flower wielded by another lady of grace and charm. Not swords nor spears nor daggers were the weapons in this most beautiful of battles, no, flowers were the weapons in this contest.

No knight, no matter how skilled in combat, no squire no matter how eager to show his worth could match the skill and the joy of these ladies as they felled one another at the barrier with their soft-scented weapons. So much fun was had by the ladies that one pass was not enough. No sooner did one side claim victory than a second pass was called and once again the flowers flew in haste to seek their fair targets. With glee and with laughter the ladies waged their war and this time the side was acclaimed the victors. And still the ladies would not yield! The knights, usually so eager to take the field with sword and lance dared not approach while the noble ladies yet held the barrier. Only after a third pass at the barrier were the ladies thus satisfied. And through all of this grand battle a great din was heard. Not the clamor of arms or the baying of steeds, no; throughout this battle was heard the peals of laughter, shouts of joy and cries of amazement by all in attendance.

Then, following their own grand display of arms, with the field strewn with flowers, the ladies once again took to their pavilions and thus allow the armored combatants to finish their fighting for the day. While many a great feat of arms took place that day, none were as memorable as the great Ladies Tournament of Chivalry Battle of the Flowers.

I bear witness and swear that these events did happen to the best of my memory,
Pendaran Glamorgan, KSCA, OP, OL, Lion

Crown Tournament, 2002

Provided by Kein MacEwan
(Story snipped from a discussion of a photo of a bout in the Semi-Finals, of Kein and Timo (Timotheos Kalamanos) fighting.) "The real story of this day, though, was in the finals between Timo and Patrick Michael. With me gone, they made it a normal two-out-of-three final. Each of them took one point. In the third point Timo took Patrick's leg. He asked Patrick to yield. Patrick said something like "If you want to be a Duke, you have to come through me" or "finish the job" or something like that. Memory fades.

Then Timo said something like, "I don't know if I'm going to be a duke. I'd rather be a HERO." And then he THREW AWAY HIS SHIELD.

If you check the OP, you can see how that turned out, but I'll always remember this as the day that my friend, Timo, chose to be a hero.

Braggart's War, 2019

Provided by Jóra Dennisdottir

So, I'm 4 hours into a solo waterbearing shift at Braggart's War (my 4th event ever), and 3 hours and 30 minutes past my patience. I have learned in spectacularly quick fashion, just exactly how stubborn knights can be. I have, over the course of the last 4 hours, connived, cajoled, and outright threatened all but one person on this field into hydrating or partaking in some form of food. At this point in the story, I am a sweaty, tired, temperamental and very very annoyed individual. And this one person, this one knight, has not had a single drink of water, nor a single bite of food. So I both worried, upset, and deeply deeply frustrated by my inability to do what I perceived to be my "God Given, Hydration Related, Mandate."

Namely? Get water down their throats and try to get them to eat an orange or two. So, I decided to pull out the big guns. I go up to Duke (now Prince) Jason Drysdale, and calmly, sweetly, and with all the venom in the world, ask what kind of herculean task I must take upon myself to get this particular knight to drink.

Jason tells me that this particular knight will only drink bottled water from his camp, and then he tells me where the knight's camp is. So I hustle myself clear across the site (in record time, might I add!) and retrieved half a dozen bottles of water from a very confused Lady. I then hustle myself back, and having run what was quite possibly a mile in roughly 11 minutes, I am tired.

So I walk/stagger up to this Knight, make eye contact with Prince Jason, and say "Here's your water. Drink. ... Sir."

He turns and looks at Prince Jason, Jason glares at him, I glare at him, and he drinks.

"Great!" I think to myself "Now that he's drunk, surely he will continue to!" I was wrong.

30 minutes later, he hasn't finished the first bottle of water. I take it upon myself to forcibly remind him of it's existence. Namely by glaring and miming drinking. This does not work. I try more techniques, like asking Prince Jason to make sure he does. He does not. Finally, it's nearly sunset, and I. Have. Had. It.

This knight has his helm on, so I know I will cause him no injury. I yeet the water. The bottle collides with his helm, and makes a glorious, glorious sound. "THONK"

He turns, confused. And what does he spy? But lo, a short, tired, pissed off woman. With another bottle of water in her hands. He, slowly, slowly, bends over, picks up the bottle I chucked at him. Takes off his helm, unscrews the lid, and drinks the whole thing in 30 seconds. I proceed to smile, hand him another bottle, and say "Thank you, Sir." With all the best voice customer service can manage.