Herein, one will find the tale of how I (Galeran) was granted a surprise authorization in sword and shield combat during the last minutes before the last day of battles at An Tir – West War, was tossed into three different melee scenarios, survived to tell about it, and even enjoyed the experience.
After a methodical year spent assembling armor and preparing to start participating in heavy combat in An Tir, somehow I thought I’d have some warning before authorizing, let along fighting in a series of battles. My progress towards assembling and crafting pieces of my kit had been slow due to the huge time demands of my job, and my improvements in skill and confidence at Tuesday practices had seemed incremental at best. About a month ago, when last I had inquired about steps that I needed to take in order to authorize, our local marshal (a very well known and respected knight and Count) sparred with me and asked me to work on a few specific issues. I did indeed work to correct those over the next week of practice, but then life does as it will and I needed to leave town for a conference, then caught the flu for most of the last week before An Tir-West War (the biggest annual event in these parts, with about 2500 people). Having missed my last chance to attempt an authorization before the War due to the creeping crud, but having recovered my health by Friday, I assumed that I’d be sitting the main event out. Even so, I packed the armor along in hopes of finding some informal practice. Rhi and I stuffed the car full on Friday and arrived at the event Saturday evening, with just an evening and a day of the event remaining.
I was enjoying a morning stroll with Rhi on Sunday when we ran into our friend Nemo, who happens to be a very skilled local fighter, and the day took an abrupt turn. As far as I recall, the conversation went about like this:
Galeran: Good Morning, Nemo.
Nemo: Where’s your armor? The battles are about to start.
Galeran: I’m actually not formally authorized . . . can’t fight at War.
Nemo: I’ve been fighting you for a year now and there’s no way that you are going to miss this. Follow me . . . .
. . . which triggered a flurry of events involving me being marched up to some prominent knights, being told to dash back to my tent to get my kit, and eventually discovering that I had misunderstood the marshal a month ago, who had in fact been waiting for weeks for me to bring him the paperwork to sign. All of which resulted in me feeling sheepish and the ink still being wet on my authorization card as the knights placed me in a unit and wished me luck five minutes before the start of battle.
The post is already getting long, but suffice it to say that I managed myself well enough through a broken field, field and castle battle, discovered that those armed with sword and shield do a lot of blocking when pikemen are around, managed to kill someone once, died ignominiously when someone got behind our line, and managed to confuse several comrades-at-arms with the “beware of girl with sword” sticker on the shield that I had borrowed from a female friend. More importantly, I had a great time, and apparently have become a least a little more competent over the past year than I had thought.
Lots of other neat stuff happened at the war was well, including some fine musical moments and a fun chance to surprise Rhi with a gift, but those are material for other posts.
Next time I want to go for an authorization though, I think more planning may be in order.