Thursday, April 08, 2010

Overdue Gulf Wars XIX Post

After staying overnight in Jackson with Shimofuri on Saturday, we caravanned down to the site on Sunday to help set up camp. We arrived in the early afternoon, and I immediately joined in the raising of the kitchen/dining tent. Here I received my first injury of the war. The roof frame is made of fitted pipe sections, and I asked someone to push on the other end of one of the pipes as I was getting it fitted. The push came a bit sooner than I expected and my hand got pinched, so I went through the war with a bandage on the web of my right hand next to the thumb. Fortunately I was up to fencing by Wednesday.

Monday I found a very nice merchant who provided me with some tape to properly secure the bandage on my hand. That served me most of the day, and I obtained a small roll of tape from the chirurgeons to keep me going through the rest of the war. On top of that, Her Excellency Katherine got me some bactine, more bandages, and more tape. I was being positively doted on, but that suits me very well.

In the early afternoon, I went to the dance hall (Bede Hall) to help teach a dance class. This was simple 15th Century Italian dances: Amoroso, Petits Riens, and Anello. Since the planned teacher was unable to attend the war, Lady Sibyl was teaching, and I happily assisted. It's always nice to have some ringers when you're teaching a dance class.

Following the dance class, I ventured down to the Fort for the Verona Street Brawl. I wasn't up to fighting yet – just trying to hold a rapier hurt my hand – so I volunteered as a marshal. I don't think that brawls were quite as amusing as they were two years ago, when I last attended the war. The attempts to frame the other family were rather hamfisted, and the Governors were shamefully oblivious to the bloodbaths in the streets.

That evening I hosted the Beginners’ Ball. I planned it with lots of common, easy dances. Basically, if you didn't already know the dance, any ringer on the floor could drag you through it with minimal coaching. The list worked out quite well, if I do say so myself, as we worked our way through the dances at a steady pace and had plenty of time for requests before we had to close down the ball.

Early Tuesday afternoon I taught my dance class. This year I taught two variations of the Contrapasso. The standard variation is for a couples, and the Contrapasso Nuovo variation is for a set of three couples. Contrapasso itself is not really very difficult and the students learned it with plenty of time to spare. Contrapasso Nuovo is similar, but there are definitely some tricky maneuvers, and it has l5ess repetition, making it more difficult to remember. Fortunately Lady Ginevra assisted by providing live music; you can ask a musician to play just a particular section of the music, a request that recording just can’t seem to accommodate.

On Wednesday morning,I was up to fighting, and the Green Dragon Inn hosted a Tavern Brawl. Nothing rocks quite like a tavern brawl in an authentic tavern. Don Mateo organized several different scenarios, some involving just staying alive, others requiring an effort to loot the place. Some of the survival scenarios were real meat grinders.

In the afternoon, I competed in the Everyman Tourney. I didn't make it past my first round robin group, but it was a near thing. Three of us tied for second place, and we had to fight another mini round robin to see which two would progress. I had some really good fights in this tourney.

Thursday morning was the Ladies of the Rose Rapier Tournament, and I again fought on behalf of Duchess Katrina. I don’t exactly have a stunning track record at the Rose tourney, but it’s always a fun time. The tourney had 110 entrants this year, which is a new record. I drew Don Iago for my first bout, and I actually dispatched him with surprising speed. I’m thinking of adding a white ribbon to my outfit every time I win a tournament match with a Don, now.

My second draw was Warder Sibyl Sevenoke, and I couldn’t have asked for a better second draw. Make no mistake: Sibyl is better than me at this game, but that makes the fight all the more fun. I am especially pleased by the fact that when she disabled my left hand with a cut to my thumb, she did not put down her own dagger; I like for my opponent to continue to treat me as a threat even after scoring a significant blow. She got my other arm a bit later, putting me out of the fight in a way that Joseph Swetnam – the historical fencing master I study – would definitely have appreciated (i.e., no one “died”).

I drew Lord Silvani for my final fight, and he’s definitely been keeping in better practice than I, too. I managed to stretch it out for a while, though, before being legged and then finally eliminated.

The schedulers moved the Rapier Field Battle up from Saturday to Thursday afternoon this year, and I turned out for it. We were fighting with Trimaris this year, and the first battle of the two-out-of-three contest was something of a cluster-fail. Meridies was positioned at the left end of the Trimarin line, facing the Hellhounds from Northshield. When the battle started, our front line ran out to make contact with the enemy while the rear ranks (consisting of some people who don’t move very fast due to knee troubles and such) closed at a slower pace. It’s not a good idea to take on the Hellhounds piecemeal; each little unit gets cut to shreds as it arrives. It would have been better to all march up at an even pace and make contact at full strength. Yes, I died pretty quick in that battle.

I’m not sure what the plan was in the second battle. After changing sides of the field, Meridies was on the right end of the Trimarin line, next to the Atlantians. When the battle started, the Atlantians quickly moved out and crossed in front of us to engage the Hellhounds while we looked for a place to reinforce. Our commander pointed out a thin spot for us to fill and I stepped into place to engage some Trimarins and Midrealmers. I soon noticed that our line was still pretty thin to the right of me; then it was also thin to the left of me; then I realized I was on my own against about six opponents. Well, I managed to keep them busy for a while and I got three of them, so I think I did my part pretty well in the second battle, but it was still an overall loss.

With the war point settled, round three was a “friendship battle” which my side won (due in no small part to the Hellhounds defecting to our side, I suspect).

Friday morning I took my camcorder down to Bede Hall, where the open A&S competition was taking place. I recorded the performing arts entries, and one of them is already posted to YouTube. Hopefully I'll get the others up shortly.

Later in the day there was a Ribbon Tourney, and I assisted as a marshal, as I was saving my energy for the Ravine Battle.

Like the Field Battle, the Ravine Battle was pretty lop-sided. I also couldn't seem to get any cooperation from my allies. On the way to the line, I'd ask the fighters on either side of me if they would take shots if I blocked blades, but when I knocked blades down, the shots didn't materialize. I eventually gave up on that and decided to just cause a bit of havoc, and I actually did get into the enemy backfield once, killing several of their fighters in the process. Moments like that make the whole tiresome business worth while.

Rain was threatening Saturday, and I really didn't want to pack a wet tent, so I broke camp early in the day, did some final shopping, and for the first time at Gulf Wars, I actually left site early.

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