[Ansteorra] Help with a project (favorite SCA stories)

Jay Rudin rudin at ev1.net
Wed Jul 18 08:23:45 PDT 2007

I had joined the Barony of the Steppes, and was fencing, performing, and a 
few other things, but didn't really understand the SCA yet.  I had talked 
to the Knight Marshal, Master Lloyd von Eaker, about starting to fight 
heavy, but had never actually made it to a fighter practice.

Then came Steppes Warlord, our big tournament.  The morning of the list, 
Master Lloyd came up to me and said, "You've said you wanted to start 
fighting.  We've got 23 fighters in the list.  Would you like to make it an 
even number?"

This was the seventies, and there was no such thing as "authorization" in 
Ansteorra.  I said yes, and they found me some armor.  Squire William of 
Weir gave me two minutes of shield practice, and I was called to the 
tournament field, my first time in armor, having never actually swung a 
sword before, to face...  His Royal Highness, Count Jonathan De Laufyson, 
the Crown Prince of Ansteorra.  There's only one fighter in Ansteorra who 
has ever won Crown tourney, and he's done it twice.

He was very polite.  He let me throw a bunch of blows, then he threw one 
... to the leg.  You know all that lovely leg armor we wear now?  I didn't 
have any of that.  I think I screamed

I got on my knees, he threw away his shield, and then he killed me.

I walked off the field in pain and sweat, feeling stupid and miserable and 
confused -- and worse yet, it was double elimination and I had to do it 
again.  And I had no reason to.  I was hot, embarrassed, and in great pain. 
I was wondering why I was there, and considering getting in the car and 
going home.

And then a messenger came over to me -- the Crown Princess wished to see 

I was scared to death.  The Crown Princess didn't know me from Adam's off 
ox.  She only knew two things about me:

1. I have just tried to kill her husband, and

2. I was appallingly bad at it.

I didn't know the protocol. I had no idea what I had done wrong; I was 
quite certain that I hadn't done anything right.  So I walked over to her, 
scared, confused, and lost.

I bowed to her, awkwardly (thereby exhausting my entire store of courtly 

Her Royal Highness, Princess Willow de Wisp, having seen my miserable 
excuse for a fight, told me, "My lord, I saw that you faced my lord in 
combat, even without having practiced before.  I know that he can only earn 
glory because there are those who have the courage to face him, and I thank 
you for that.

"I also saw that when they called the fighters to salute their ladies, you 
had no one to salute.  Will you do me the honor of carrying this my  favor 
for the remainder of the day?"  And she handed me a simple ribbon.  All of 
her ladies-in-waiting added their favors as well.  I proudly entered the 
list in the second round with seven favors on my belt.

That was more than a quarter of a century ago, and I've fought in many 
tourneys since.  I've had my share of victories, won my share of prizes, 
and gained my share of glory.

But I have *never* had a victory to match that defeat.

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