Golden Rose 2011

For the third year now, we have honored the current and former queens of Atlantia with a day of fighting in their name, for their glory, and giving it our best.  The Roses each have a team, and the Rose with the most points (earned on the armored or rapier field, or archery field, or by the prowess of their herald) wins.

Rather Un-fighting-type Thoughts on Format

The first year the rapier side was a single fighter fighting for each Rose in the tournament, with the Roses picking their fencer prior to the event.  I did not get chosen by a Rose (well, I was asked on behalf of one two days before the event, but by then it was too late), and volunteered to serve as RMiC.  Which meant I got to watch this awesome fighting from inside the list fence, and that was pretty awesome (except for when I was too busy watching Celric get chased into the list fence to call “Hold”).

Last year was one provost, picked by the Rose prior to the event, and 1-2 Non-Whites (I really try not to call them “Coloreds”) picked by the Roses on the day of the tourney.  The provosts for each team fought each other, and the non-whites fought each other (Roses with 2 non-whites rotated the fighter from one round to the next).  It was nice to get to fight, but the “kick ball pick ’em” aspect of it, and the “everybody gets to fight” took a lot of shine off the specialness of getting to fight for a Rose.

This year, the Roses picked one provost, and two non-whites, before hand.  Provosts would fight each other, non-Whites would face off in a 2-on-2 melee.  This was great, it added to the specialness factor and still meant most everybody who wanted to, got to fence.  Until it came out that not enough non-whites were enthusiastic about the event, and Roses were having to hunt for fighters.  That was just sad.  Luckily, the teams got filled by volunteers, but “volunteer” <> “specially selected”.  Oh well.  I still felt special, because…

I Fought for Countess Kari

First of all, as you may remember from the Gulf Wars regaling, Kari is awesome in awesome ways, is a great mom to the fencers, and really actually seems to know who we are, which means it’s special to be chosen by her.  Second, I was asked back in January or so, when it was still “Grab the best while you can” thinking.  Third, well, okay, I wasn’t asked by her, but by Dante acting on her behalf.  He also had asked Benjamin.  And then he told us, in so many words, “Losing is not an option.”  I pinged Benjamin and said, “So… we’re going to go slow, right?”  Ben, as is his way, just laughed.  I like to think I jog rather quickly, and he has the foot turnover rate of an Olympic sprinter.  His legs are just circles when he’s running, like a cartoon character.  The usual plan for woods battles is “We run to the flag, Benjamin passes us as we get there, on his second trip back from rez point.”  So, yeah, sloth would not really be the order of the day either.  Only victory (with honor),  and glory for Kari.  I mentioned to Dante as he had no excuse for losing, simply because he seems to believe that anyway.

On the Day

Luckily for him, they gave him an excuse.  Her Majesty decided that, since the knights were only fighting with massed weapons, the Provosts should have a similar challenge.  Giacomo suggested “Single sword only, first-blood/no killing.”  So, you had to make your opponent disinclined to continue fighting, and killing them meant an instant loss for you, also.  No such rules were applied to the non-whites (hooray).  Or, if you were fighting C&T, it was 3 counted blows.  Dante won the C&T tourney last Pennsic, I think (or maybe it was the Pennsic before).  He had no excuse for losing a C&T fight, and didn’t.  But he did end up killing his opponent in one heavy rapier fight.  Oops.

On our side, Benjamin and I approached our matches pretty much the same each time: the field was small, maybe 50′ across, so we would move aggressively to the side, preventing any flanking action, and forcing our opponents back into their starting corner since squeezing between us would likely cost them.  I took Happiness and Joy (45″ and 30″) and was usually formed on the left, from which I’d hammer in with my range advantage while Benjamin pulled terrier duty on their right flank.  He died once, I think; I don’t think I lost even a hand.  It was a good day of fighting.

Kari was pleased.  We had brought her all but one point that we could from the rapier field.  Her armored fighters did similarly well, as did her herald and her archer, and she took the contest in style.  Truly, she was the most inspirational rose: She stood on a chair on the edge of the field, shaking pom poms at us when we were getting ready to fight.  Like I said, awesomeness.

Then the Tornadoes Hit

Luckily, they didn’t hit the event.  But when we finished our last fight, we looked up, saw that the sky was black and ugly, and I realized that the evilest part of this evil cloud was to the south, between me and home.  So we left pronto and I drove towards it.  The first drops of rain hit about a half hour south, and hit with the sound of rifle shots they were so big.  Immediately, the sky opened up, and then the wind started.  When the rain slacked, the wind got worse, and then the rain came back, and this cycle repeated for the next two hours.

Unfortunately, further south, in Raleigh and points south and east, this cycle spawned a series of tornadoes that killed 22 people.  So if you are of the praying variety, pray for them.

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