Pennsic Recap: The Highlights

It’s been a while since I last posted here (miss me? If so, I’m sure your aim is getting better). This past week, Ellynor (mka Rachael) and I attended our very first Pennsic. We drove out and arrived on the Friday of Peace Week and got trolled in and met up with Berenika (mka Lucy aka big wolf sister) who helped us get to our camp by driving us up to our camp with Rachael sitting in my lap in her tiny Honda Fit (seriously, what did I do to yall to be punished like that? Ow) and helped us unload the car in VDK camp where we were staying (seriously, thank yall, especially Brennan and Caoilfhionn, for making our first Pennsic as amazing as it was). Rather than making this post a novel, I’ll stick with the highlights of the week with a brief summary (which can be elaborated on upon request).

1) Marshaling the battle of La Rochelle- I decided to marshal the battle of La Rochelle (unscarves vs OGRs/White Scarves/etc and MoDs). Since I’m still a marshal in training, I stuck by a marshal to help out. It was my first time marshaling a melee let alone one with RBGs (Rubber Band Guns) which was really interesting to watch. I originally stuck with Melchior and then a marshal from the Mid whose name I believe was Fergus. He kept me out of trouble and taught me a few of the finer points to marshaling like using your marshal staff to defend yourself if necessary.

2) Rapier Singles Champions- I had the honor of making the Pennsic Rapier Heroic Champions (singles bouts) teams as one of 3 alternates. Although I did not get the chance to fight, just standing with and processing with the team meant a lot and felt really good. I hope that in the future I may make the team and get to fight to represent myself, my don, and my kingdom.

3) Bouting with Master Anton of the Mid- Before the rapier champs match-ups were announced, I was warming up in the practice list and trying to control my nerves. I met a Master of Defense from the Midrealm named Anton. He was an amazing fight who helped me work on fighting from the balls of my feet and setting up my opponent to do what I want them to so that I can set up a second or third intention attack. What stuck with me the most though, was the advice he gave me. I confided in him that I have struggled with depression for years and as a part of that, I struggle to accept that I beat opponents by my own skill versus their own misstep. He suggested that I put myself in a mindset where all of my training and practice, all of the blood, sweat, and tears, is what allows me to beat my opponents. They may slip up but I still have to see the opening and take advantage of it to beat them. His words were very powerful and I hope that I may pass them on to another to help them as he helped me.

4) Bardic Night at VDK- On a completely different subject, Dutchess Caoilfhionn held a bardic night back at camp which was filled with a bunch of extremely talented artists including Master Grim the Skald, Mistress Alys Mackyntoich, Dutchess Caoilfhionn solo and in a duet with her daughter, Mistress Elizabeth Lovell (and her rendition of A Grazing Mace) and many others.

5) Causing Chaos with the Irregulars- On the Monday of War Week, the first battle commenced as a ruins battle of 5 flags in 5 different locations (a field, a forest, a castle, etc). For this battle, I fought along side Eldritch and Firebow under the command of Master Lawrence Thornguard with two objectives: if we saw trouble for our side, stop it, otherwise, cause trouble for the others. A number of times, we got into the enemy’s backfield and made them focus on us rather than the rest of our army. On a few occasions, I managed to hold off (and a couple of times take out) white scarves and MoDs. At one point, I joined the line close to a Master of Defense who I know and admire from Atlantia, Pan Connor aka the Damn Gypsy (yes, that is how he is known). At one point, he turns to the fighter next to him, points at me and says “kill him.” The fighter turned to me just in time for me to catch them in the face and take them out before the could set up. Knowing Connor and his love of banter, I turn to him and say, “now what?” He warned me not to get cocky but honestly, I was just trying to distract him so that he wouldn’t be killing my team and hoping one of them would kill him. It didn’t work but I managed to at least distract him for a few seconds which was good enough for me. Can I take him in a one on one fight? Not a chance but if I can keep a mod busy for a little bit, my team may be at an advantage at least for a little bit and sometimes that’s all it takes to turn the tides of a battle. After the battle, Master Lawrence gave me one of the biggest compliments I ever could receive. He told me that my don, Master Orlando (who did not fight because he was spending the day with his daughter on her birthday) would be very proud of how I fought. I can only hope that he is right because I felt really good about how I fought and I hope he’d agree that I fought well.

6) Later that night, Caoilfhionn, Ellynor and I decided to take the kids down with us to the Ice Cream Selfie Social being hosted by Master Phillip White. We enjoyed ice cream, got to see some friends, make some new friends and got to walk around the merchants before heading over to SHARC Pit and hang out with a bunch of great people (and Master Thomas de Castellan who I have to give crap to if for no other reason than he’s my grand-don and it’s fun).

7) The next morning was the stronghold battle where each side defended 5 flags that had to be captured in order and the side to do it the fastest won. We defended first and my unit with Orlando and Firebow was set to guard the second flag. Unfortunately, the unit that came at us was the Black Tigers, a group known for their skills on the rapier field. They knew of Bow and Orlando and targeted them. They ignored me, though since I’m a nobody with no honors so while they were throwing their shots, I targeted their legs and legged 4 of them. Since this battle did not have knee walking, after I legged the 4 in front of me, I took half a step back and smiled. I was just out of their range and they were no longer a threat to me or to my sides objectives. I have to say it felt really good to have managed to pull it off even though I realized upon dying that they were a distraction that played us. The flag had been captured as had the next two leaving just one left. All in all, it was a moment of great pride followed by an even greater humbling experience.

8) That night was Dutchess Caoilfhionn’s “Ladies Roving Keg Party” (which was pretty much just as it sounds, the ladies went around with a keg and had a party). My being male prevented me from going so I stayed behind to watch the kids. Since B was asleep, I got to join poker night with Master Frasier, Master Alesone, and Duke Brennan. Long story short, 3 is a magic number and it turns out I’m really good at getting lucky.

9) Wednesday held Archery Champions where I was again honored of being on the team as an alternate. I had the pleasure of shooting with some great archers/crossbowmen and had a lot of fun learning what I need to work on to get better.

10) Last highlight for this novel was thrown weapons. Allaster (sorry if I misspelled that) helped teach me how to throw axes and we were able to take part in King Kenric’s challenge of doing all the war points for multiple activities. Allaster had caught a shot to the bottom of the gorget in Monday’s fight which took him out of the fencing for the rest of Pennsic (thankfully, he was ok and hopefully will be fighting again soon). We threw some axes and knives (which I did surprisingly well for having no real experience with) and made an entertaining attempt at throwing spears.

As a whole, Pennsic was everything I could’ve hoped for (though I could’ve done without the heat exhaustion but that’s a story for another time) and so much fun. I can’t wait to go back next year. Thank you again, Brennan and Caoilfhionn and all of VDK for letting us stay with you and thank you Lucy, Allistar and Kara for showing us around. After getting to spend time with 10,000 of our closest friends, I’m glad I got to spend it with you guys.

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