Gulf Wash XXV: Spin Cycle – Wistric’s Wednesday

Armored Ravine Battle

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling like I’d spent about three hours in the sun in heavy armor the day before. Because I did. In other words, I wanted nothing more from life except to drink coffee and eat bacon and watch everybody else go off to fight. Then I armored up anyway, because it’s not like there was anything else to do. I figured even if I only fought for ten minutes before falling out I’d have done what I could, and the ravine at least had shade

It turned out it also had room to move, with the lines in more open order, so I could do my fencer-with-a-spear thing. It was great. Gone was the uselessness of the day before, and I had a blast. It helped that we had some great archer support, so when a couple of particularly tough knights with spears appeared on the other side of the line, I could just call in artillery. I love combined arms. Love it so hard.

Overall it felt like Meridies brought an entirely different army from the day before. Maybe its natural state is that open order sort of fight. It was much better coordinated and effective even at the grunt level. Shields would move to protect me against spearmen shooting at me from an angle, and would give me room to work when we had spear superiority.

Thanks to the rez walk not being goddamn awful, Kynric was able to form larger units with greater punching power. At one point one of these overran the center flag, which snapped off. By the end of the battle only one of the three flagpoles was still in tact. Strangely, it was the two Meridies was fighting over which died.

Atlantia for this battle was on the far side of the ravine, so I didn’t get to kill them.

Meridies held its flag almost the entire time. The total time-held difference between the two sides was under two minutes, with Trimaris winning because of Meridies.

I’d been worried I’d have to hot-swap gear between the ravine and the rapier field battle, but as it turned out that was not the case. It was only an hour, and started almost on time (so, if the GW MiC and the Pennsic MiC could gift each other a bullhorn and a watch, that would be great). I was able to go back to camp, drop my armor, dress leisurely, get food, and then go do the thing I’d been looking forward to for, oh, five months, at least.

 

I HAZ SCHOLAR!!!!!!

I’d been hoping to do it on the actual field, a little more formally and with a wider audience, but Their Majesties Atlantia had to go and elevate Dominyk to the OD during the time I’d been planning to do it. Damn them (congrats Dominyk!)  So immediately after that we went off to the side, with a not-too-shabby audience, and His Majesty Meridies and Their Majesties’ Atlantia in attendance. Zhao read the contract, Toki gave her oath (in Japanese), I gave my oath to her, talked about the collar, put it on her, and we signed the contract. Now I have a Scholar/Pet Samurai/Valet (with a hard ‘t’). Except she objects to me using those last two terms. She is no fun.

Toki wondering if it's too late to run for it.

Toki wondering if it’s too late to run for it.

 

Then came the only Rapier Battle of the war:

Rapier Field Battle

His Majesty Meridies took the field with us, which may be the first time that’s happened for the Meridian Rapier army. Also, it was the first time that Meridies had an army – 30 people. Usually it has 5 or 6. A lot of that credit goes to Gauge and Natalya who trained up Bryn Madoc, including a good chunk of crossover heavies, and brought 15 fighters to the field.

Still, despite Gauge’s prodigious unit, Trimaris and her allies were outnumbered by about 50% (number I heard was 190 to 130).

For the first run, Meridies was placed on the far left. I was told to form up with His Maj, who, along with Master-Sir Morgan and a clutch of MOBs, was at the core of the hammer. Then Ximon mentions “Oh, yeah, His Majesty’s color blind and can’t see that orange line on the green grass.” That orange line which you step one foot over, you die. I checked with His Majesty. “I can kinda see it,” he said, “Don’t worry about it.” Luckily, the solution already fell in with my own personal plan.

[Melee lesson time!] I picked up a trick from watching the Dragoons fight that, these days, I employ whenever possible. “Your Majesty,” I said, “My foot is going to be on the edge of the world the entire time. You stay on my right shoulder.” See, if you’re clinging to the edge of the field, then half of the world is no longer a threat to you. You only have to worry about the person in front of you, and the person to their side, but that’s where your whole army is, so really you have a single person to worry about. And so long as you don’t retreat they can move one of three ways: Step off the edge of the world (die), retreat (give you the ground you want anyway), or step away from the edge of the world (give you their flank). This was the thing I would do, and as a bonus it made sure Our King didn’t step off the edge of the field.

The downside was that I’d wanted to have Toki, and her shiny new collar, running on my right wing. But, droits du roi and all that, so she was running behind me (And now she knows what it means to “be on my six”).

There was a hay bale we wanted to stop them at: it was on their half of the field, technically outside of the edge of the world but a good visual marker for organization and edge awareness, and an ever so slight bit of terrain advantage (a rightie shooting a lunge along the edge would be obstructed). Also, if we could secure that point, our line would form a cup that the rest of their army would bulge into. Hey! Local numerical superiority!

So at “Lay on” I ran like hell for it. And almost made it.

Is it too late to negotiate?

You and what army?

They came to a halt just past the hay bale, I moved to engagement range as the rest of Meridian hitting unit came up and filled in next to me, and we got to work.

First Wave

Also, I got to have Toki at my side after all!

They fed into the line and we munched them and moved forward:

Notice the significant decrease in white cassocks not standing on the sidelines.

Notice the significant decrease in white cassocks not standing on the sidelines.

Pictured above is the first wave of reinforcements.

And here’s a picture of the second wave of reinforcements filling in:

Third Wave

After the second wave of reinforcements my body asked for a pause in the killing to catch my breath, at which point somebody from the THIRD RESERVE walked up and poked me.

That guy, there, on the left. Kanly for reals.

That guy, there, on the left. Kanly for reals.

Fighters from the enemy side have told me that that third reserve was sent from the complete other end of the field.

I wasn’t the only one gassed, and by the time I died a good chunk of Meridies had attrited away. When I looked up from the edge of the field, Atlantia was marching down the far end of the line, rolling up the flank and a rapidly disintegrating Trimarian army. The center of the field had buckled, splitting the field into two pockets that were slowly crushed. But the left, damn, we didn’t just hold, we took ground, outnumbered 3 to 2 or not.

 

For the second round, the enemy (in this War with no Enemies) decided to balance the sides. They sent six fencers over. One had a white scarf. So, 184 to 136!

We lined up across from Northshield again and were getting into position for the fight when Corbin (our Watch Commander) yelled “Meridies, up the hill!” I looked up the hill. Atlantia was at the top of the hill. “How far up the hill?” I asked. “Up the hill!” I was told. And so, giddy, I ran up to the top of the hill and proceeded to do my best “HI GUYS!” dance at Atlantia. Also, I was wearing a black and white boa (because the Atlantian blood never goes away) to make sure I was highly visible.

We fell in in the same order (me on the left, His Majesty under orders to stay to my right, the rest of the hitting unit around us). Across the field from me was Gardiner’s and Atlantia’s cross-over knights. I admit, Atlantia’s hitting unit kind of outnumbered ours, by a bit (Per Caitilin, Atlantia had 50 fighters. Meridies had 30).

Looking forward to a target rich environment, I crouched into my vague approximation of a runner’s stance, and across the field Terasu waved at me and did the same.

At “Lay on” we ran… cups out at each other, met in the middle of the field, and completely failed to do any awesome samurai one-lethal-cut-on-the-fly attacks. Instead we pretty much set where the lines would form up, and a little while after they arrived, Terasu legged me. Then I legged him. I took a moment to wonder why I was not looking up at the sky with Giacomo’s knee on my throat and Alan pretending not to hear my death gurgles. I realized that the fighter to Terasu’s right, between him and the edge of the field, was not one of their hitter squad. The Atlantian hitter squad was stacked up behind them or sliding off to the left to fill in further down the line. Atlantia’s flanking action was dead.

And then Terasu stabbed me, and I was, too. My whopping contribution to the fight was taking Terasu’s toe, and also forming a highly effective speed bump in the way of Atlantia’s momentum.

Meridies held the ground really well. In the center of the field, the Mid got a little too eager, pushed forward, and opened a gap between the Mid and Meridies. The Dragoons, on Atlantia’s left flank, punched through that gap and swept down on Meridies’s backfield while the rest of the center dissolved. Maintaining line integrity is a Good Thing (it doesn’t have to be a straight line, but it does have to exist).

In the last phase of the second battle the numbers had fought down to almost even. There was a line fight going on in the center (with Trimaris facing back towards their rez line) and a small unit skirmish going on in Trimaris’s backfield (with the Atlantian fighters’ backs towards Trimaris. Cunning and I stood on the sidelines asking each other “Are you seeing that?”). In the end, though, the numbers and the battle went in Ansteorra’s favor.

Ansteorra had won the first two battles, and therefore the warpoint, so a lot of fighters trickled off the field. I stuck around for the third, because I like fighting, at least that’s what the business card says.

 

For the third round we put Meridies’s runners – that unit of fifteen that Gauge trained up – out front. They train melee on a regular, and know each other well, but I’ve always wanted them to get an idea of Atlantian unit coordination and tactics, so they could steal them and improve upon them. They got a closeup view of those tactics. I was in the second rank, and as we trotted up to fill in a huge gap in our line opened up in front of us. I have no idea how, really. It probably didn’t help that they were against a high end White Scarf and two high end Free Scholars. There was just suddenly a gap with some guys trickling out, and the Atlantians in front of me were turning to face the exposed edges of the hole. So I killed them while they weren’t looking. I zippered the line, recovered back into position, saw Sinclair out of the corner of my eye, and realized he might want some revenge from the day before. He lunged, I extended, and we doubled.

 

Then it was time for more beer, this time including sitting around the dining fly with Morgan, Sir Aiden, David, Gauge, Brendan, and The Ladies talking until around midnight. That was the second best part of the day (see the above picture with the red neckgear for the best).

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