Gulf Wars XX Part 3   1 comment

After the battles on Wednesday, I yet again got good and properly ethylated in the company of the Atlantian Rapier Army and the Four Free Scholars of the Apocraphypse (though, Letia, having firmly established the one-drink-per-two-hours rule the day before, abstained), and went to bed glad that we had nothing at all to do the next morning.

Thursday AM – Champions Fight

“Hey, Wistric, you gonna get dressed or not?”  I believe I was up and vertical at this point, drinking coffee and waiting for pancakes to be done.  Nonetheless, this question from Raph was unexpected.  I mean, I had on pants, PJs, but they were pants, so I was nominally dressed.

“Why the hell would I do that?”

“Champions fight.”

“Nooooo, no champions fight, sit on butt and eat pamcakes.”

“Noooooo, champions fight.”

“You said we don’t have any champion spots.”

“We might.  They haven’t told me.”

“Sooooo… what’s the plan?”

“We go down there, and if they need us we fight.”

“How long do we have?”

“Five minutes.”

In five minutes, I managed to chug pamcakes, jump into my clothes, and get down to the champions fights.  We rallied round there, and Raph asked if they needed any Atlantians to win their tourneys for them.

“One,” sayeth the allies.  And Raph points at me.  Just… er… crap, there’s not a whole lot to say about that.  Sarcastic Wistric would say “No pressure.”  In fact, he might have.  But, fuck, pressure.  Lots of it.  And not exactly in the best mindset, what with the rushing and the pamcakes and the changing of plans.

I have a ritual that works pretty well for clearing the mind: I get my hair braided.  Letia put it in a French braid to keep it out of my face, then I removed myself across the path and did a set of sun salutations to limber the body and clear the mind.  Then Marius and Letia came over, and put me through the Priest Drill a couple times.  Then Marius and I sparred, and after that I was pretty ready, or as ready as you can get for a single pass.  I paced the ground in honor of Silver’s First Rule, and then waited around for my turn, sitting back to watch the fighting.

Except I was first.  I mentioned earlier I like to be ready when my name is called, so I can take the field immediately and wait for my opponent.  This has a few reasons behind it: to my thinking, you should always be in a state of readiness to fight, especially during a tournament; I think in terms of “my opponent has stepped on to my field, thereby offending me, and it is my job to remove him”; I like to put on the white mask and stand there impassively measuring my opponent, to fuck with their brains (Ego Hadouken, totally).

I hustled into my gear, bowed and spoke to my Queen, and took the field.  We made salutes (Sunneva, before we were even in the SCA, made me a favor; I pinned it inside my doublet the entire time so I would know where to find her), and spoke a few more words with Her Majesty, then it was time to practice murder upon each other.

My opponent, Don Ryan, was fighting with a 36 and a tiny buckler (I WANT ONE!  WHERE DO I GET ONE?!?!), I with my mixed case (45″ and 30″).  Disinclined to give up my range advantage, I decided to play at long range rather than let him get access to my weapons with his leverage-advantaged 36 and buckler.  I took some shots at his sword hand, trying to trigger him to give me a tempo.  I put my 45″ on his sword, then realized how stupid that was and changed my line, so I changed line.  Shortly after he launched his attack, I parried it, and he began retreating.  I pursued with a flurry of lunges, him blocking and backing as fast as he could, until he tried to duck under and went to his knees.  The marshals called hold, thankfully, because his helmet was precariously close to my jibblies.  We re-set, re-centered, and played a bit more until he attacked again.  Here I caught him with a stop-thrust to the ribs, voiding his sword over my right shoulder (Agrippa K FTW), and that was the fight.

Thursday PM – Everyman Tourney

Lamb gyros again, and then to the fort for the Everyman tourney.  Format: bearpits, 8 of them, with the top 8 wins going to a play-off.  I had signed in early, so I started on a list, and held it through 10 wins.  Went through the line, came back up, took a field, held it through 1 win before I was evicted by Leyla.  When I came back up to the front of the line, I realized I was headed for the one shady spot on the whole field.  Raph was marshalling, and as I walked behind him I said “They will bury me on that spot.”  This was about 25 minutes into the hour of bearpits.  I held it for 22 wins (I say only 21, one win was because my opponent’s gorget broke, I won’t count that).  Time ran out with me still in the shade.

This is less impressive than it seems for two reasons:

1)I was in the shade with a nice breeze.  Everybody else had to stand in line in the sun, fight in the sun, and walk across the entire field in the sun to get to me.  I got to put my swords down between fights

2)Most of my kills were contratempo stop-thrusts with a void under my opponent’s attack.  I really do mean it when I say that everybody can learn to do this, and rather quickly compared to some things (like growing old).  It’s not braggadoccio, it’s “Hey, you can do this, too.  Do it.  Let’s fight.”

Anyway, 22 passes straight, which was the total of the second-highest placer.  32 wins total.  Not bad.  Until I got punked in the quarters.

I was out of fighting mode for just long enough that I ended up standing there saying “Hey, my tall fricking opponent is holding his long fricking sword by the fricking pommel.  I bet he’s got huge fricking range.”  Then I beat his sword to start a passing attack, and he flicked that sword up and one-shotted me.  Balls.

This raises an interesting consideration for me, which I haven’t quite yet figured out, and is best described in the contrast between two sets of advice.

The first, from Roz, is to keep your focus during a tourney.  Many people think she is generally angry with them, because she tends to glare at you if you try to talk to her during a tournament.  Really, she’s just keeping her focus on the fighting, and doesn’t like to chit-chat.

The other, from Giacomo, goes back to the previously mentioned discussion.  When the mask comes off, the young fighters who look to provosts, free scholars, and, I guess, me, for an example, are not best served if I glower at them.

I think, between the bear pits and the quarters, I did too much relaxing, not enough glowering, and it hurt me bad.  But it seems a very fine line to walk, if it can be walked at all.

Thursday Night – Guard Duty

Her Maj decided she wanted to go shopping Thursday night, so we fencers formed up her escort.  It’s fun, we get to play Secret Service agent, and the Queens get a huge thrill out of it.  While others carried their weapons openly, I was wrapped up in my gray wool cloak with The Pretty Stick concealed underneath, wearing my spiff new Basketman hat.  When we were in Carolina Calicos, I was leaning against a wall, and overheard Matheu and Dude From Meridies observing that I looked like a bolt of fabric.  That’s right, Stealth Wistric exists at all times (the next day, I walked into Zen Warrior and sat down in Raph’s chair, right behind him, without him noticing.  I am NINJA!).

When we were headed back to royal, Giacomo was goofing around as Giacomo is wont to do, and Royal Herald Talorgen said, to him, “We all know your reputation, Wistric.”  I had been bringing up the rear.  The Freescholars of the Apocraphypse turned to see me, arms up in the air, head back, mouth open in a silent shout of victory.  I told Giacomo, once, and only half-jokingly, that I wanted to be a Provost the way he was: energetic, with a sense of humor, but also with a great sense of duty, and the power to inspire all around him to great deeds.  I’ll take having him mistaken for me as a good start.

Later, Her Majesty was sharing some damn fine Scotch around with her guards, and it ended up with me.  “You know,” says Giacomo, “Giacomo would share that Scotch with Wistric.”  I pondered this for a moment, and said, “Actually, I think Giacomo would cup-check Wistric.”  This may not be the last time name swapping happens.  There was talk about us going in to court in eachother’s place, though it didn’t happen at the next opportunity.

The next morning was the Tourney of the Rose, so we staggered back to camp, and there found our beds, for however briefly.

Posted March 23, 2011 by wistric in Events

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  1. Pingback: Gulf Wars XXI (aka 2012) Part 4: In which Wistric doesn’t fight « Wistric’s Weekly Warfare

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