Boasts at Crown
The Drachenwald Autumn Crown Tournament, AS LVIII, held by the Canton of Unikankare, Barony of Aarnimetsä, was a really fun event. Keldor and I were two of eight fighters to enter, none of whom have ever reigned over a Kingdom before. The full list of entrants was announced on 24 September:
- Varakreivitär Kareina Talventytär fighting for the honour of the Honourable Lord Keldor av Skellitta
- Honourable Lord Keldor av Skellitta fighting for the honour of Varakrevitär Kareina Talventytär
- Vicomte Stigot Eke fighting for the honour of Lady Lofnheithir (Lo) Halvarsdotter
- Lord Jan van Nyenrode fighting for the honour of Maestra Victoria Piera Rosselli
- Sir Mikael Carhu fighting for the honour of Baroness Margaret Walsingham
- Sir Jon fitz John fighting for the honour of Maestra Ellisif Gydasdottir
- Vapaaherra Mikael Rantzow fighting for the honour of Vapaaherratar Rikissa Apilgaard
- Lord Wilhelm Marsson fighting for the honour of Lady Emilia Murmelius
As soon as the list was out the people of Drachenwald begin their speculations—while none of us had won Crown before, some had been in the finals of Crown, and another had won Coronet. We are all reasonably well known, and we have lots of SCA experience, including several laurels, several baron/ess es, a couple of knights, etc. The consensus seemed to be that the tourney could go to pretty much anyone, but that the Kingdom would be in good hands no matter which pair should win.
The tradition in Drachenwald is to have boasts during the invocation ceremony for every pair entering—either bosting for themselves, or a herald speaking on their behalf. This time I choose to do our boasts myself, and had fun writing them.
We were presented in order of precedence, and since I stepped down as Princess of Oertha and received the title Varakreivitär (Viscountess) in January of 1986, while Stigot didn’t become a Vicomte till 2021, I got to go first which suited me very well. I opened with a short bit of praise for everyone entering, before I literally sung Keldor’s praises (to the tune of the Pavane Belle Qui Tiens Ma Vie), and then followed with a short boast for myself (to a tune I simplified (taking only the first six measures) from the Galliard for Belle Qui Tiens Ma Vie), the sheet music for both of which I found in Dells’s dance book.
Your Majesties, today the fates have truly smiled upon you, for the cream of Drachenwald’s warriors have gathered today, ready to test their metal and prove themselves worthy to be your Heirs. All of these nobles are well suited to serve the Dragon throne, yet I am here to call your attention to one who holds my heart and carries my favour on this day. To that end, I have written a pavane for my champion:
Keldor av Skellitta comes
before you now to fight.
His prowess echoes with drums
of war to sing his might.
He’ll slay you one and all
after the herald’s call.
He’ll slay you one and all
after the herald’s call.
Or, perhaps it shall come to
pass that he is struck down,
calling blows if they land true,
if so, we’ll yield the crown:
my heart does sing in song
to praise his honour strong.
My heart does sing in song
to praise his honour strong.
Your Majesties, I present my champion, Keldor. Furthermore, because all good pavanes need to be followed by a Gaillard: I have also prepared some words in my own behalf:
I shall also fight, Kareina is my name
dancing upon the field
with my brand-new shield,
for the honour of a man
that I hold so dear. For with
Keldor by my side, there’s glory in the game.
We are ready for the day,
let us enter in the fray!
For the honour of a man
that I hold so dear.
Your Majesties, should the fates so guide our hands, we stand ready to take our place as your heirs.
After I successfully performed both boasts, to both laughter and applause, we took our place to the side and listened as various heralds announced the remaining competitors, with plenty of good boasts about their skills, prowess, and experience. Then it was time for the tournament, but I felt that I had already accomplished my most important task of the day, so I was free to just enjoy the fighting.
As a fighter I have spent far, far, far more time off the field than on, so that I still count as a beginner, even though decades have elapsed since the first time I armoured up. Luckily, sometime between when I first learned to swing a sword and today it has become common for fighters to have one (or more) specific skill(s) they are working on to improve their fighting, and to set a personal “victory condition” for the day that will encourage their progress in that goal. Since I have always had a bad habit of letting my feet get rooted to the ground when fighting I set my primary goal for the day: Move my feet! (Dance!), with the companion goal of “Swing my sword!” And, because it is a good idea to have a bonus goal, if things go really well, I added “Hit someone!” but knew that if I didn’t manage the bonus, that would be ok too.
The tournament was run as a round-robin, with every fighter facing every other fighter, which meant that I fought seven people in a row. The bouts were “best two of three”, which meant that I fought 15 times—14 of which I moved my feet and swung my sword, and they hit me before I hit them. But one time I actually managed to hit the other guy in the head, with my stick… at the same time as he did the same to me. Having consistently achieved my goals, and even achieved my bonus goal, I was happy and content.
I didn’t pay close attention to the win/loss record of the other fighters, other than my champion—Keldor managed to kill most of his opponents at least one of the three bouts, and several times killed them two of the three bouts, to gain the point for the round.
After the first part of the tourney the other fighters knew it would be Stigot in the finals, as he had gone undefeated through the morning (ok, he sometimes lost one of the three bouts, but always rallied enough to take the other two), but they weren’t completely certain if there would need to be a semi-final bout or not. Nope, it turned out that Sir Mikael Carhu had more wins than the remaining fighters, who were mostly fairly closely matched—with a tie for third place, and two more only one point behind them.
The finals, was fought best of five, and it took all five bouts before Stigot claimed the field, the day, and the Kingdom for his beloved Lofnheithir.
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