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.


Quest Recap aka “Do All the Things”

This weekend was Quest for Wit and Wisdom, the Settmour Swamp camping event where the new Archery, Fencing, A&S, Heavy, and Brewing champions are decided. Saturday was archery tournament run designed by the former champion Kinryu for which I was the Marshal in Charge for because he is not a marshal. The heat was brutal and the sun bore down on us all but overall, it was a fun shoot. Unfortunately, the day started a bit rough when Rachael sat down for the first shoot and her quiver shifted under her and ended up breaking two of her eight bolts. During the shoot, she hit the targets but her bolts blew through the target and got lost in the tall grass behind the range. Just like that, she was down to three bolts and would have had to bow out after the first shoot if not for the kindness and generosity of Baron Thor (seriously, thank you from us both). The first shoot ended up being a head to head shoot with 8 targets and each person having 6 arrows. Targets only counted for the first person to hit them. I’m not sure of the name of my opponent but we both rushed and missed our first few shots. After that, I slowed down and focused and took 4 targets for 8 total points. As the shoot went on with advancing men (which were actually really cool targets), making the best of a set of 5 shots in dice (which Miles and Rupert destroyed by getting straights of 2-6 for 80 points each), laurels, and saving Caesar. It was a lot of fun and in the end, Miles had the highest score but I had the highest score among those willing to take on the job making me the new baronial archery champion of Settmour Swamp. Rachael shot really well especially for her first tournament and she should be really proud of how she shot (I promise I’ll get your new set of bolts done before the next archery tournament). After the archery, we had a couple of kids come shoot on the range (out of respect to them and their parents, I will leave them nameless unless they would like me to mention their names). They seemed to enjoy shooting the targets especially the roman soldier. The heat and sun made most people call it short so the range cleared out for the most part after the tournament and the kids shoot. I decided to go check out thrown weapons since it’s on my list of things try when I don’t have so many other things to do. It turns out I have a knack for it because I was able to hit the target with all three axes (unfortunately, one went into the pink card that was negative points) but it definitely is something fun to try out more when I can. We ended up spending the night at my mom’s (since she lives up the road and a bed and air conditioning beats sleeping in the heat on an air mattress especially when the next day involves fencing and we both got sunburned a bit)

The next day started off with us both turning in our entries for the A&S display. Rachael had been asked by Don Orlando to make a pair of beautiful black-work cuffs prize for the historical tournament he runs at Pennsic which she submitted for the competition and I made a trio of squirrels in the German style of cut paper known as Scherenschnitte (pictures will be posted later). After that, we were off to fence. The tournament was very interesting and involved coins and cards and lots of stabbing and fun. In the end, Rachael had a beautiful kill on Don Owynn and I managed to land a very nice shot on Firebow’s mask. Everyone fought really well especially Rachael, Lucy (Berenika), Stacey (Elizabeth), Jonathan, and Dutchess Caoilfhionn (the f is for fun!). I love fighting you guys and can’t wait to fight yall again soon. At the end of the day, Firebow became the new rapier champion and, for a short time, all three of Orlando’s cadets (Vivian was the A&S champion who stepped down) were all champions in the barony. That’s all I got for this post. I’m sorry it couldn’t be longer and have more details but I’ll try and edit it later and add more. Keep doing what you love and finding new things and always have fun.

Archery season is coming

After a long winter of coldness plus several weekends on events and rain and more coldness, Rachael and I finally got to go back to archery again. In retrospect, pants were probably unnecessary. In order to not end up getting shot in the ass for not wearing pants at archery, next time I’ll go with shorts. After some general socializing and whatnot, we inspected our bows (Ray inspected Rachael’s since he’s in training to be an archery marshal), grabbed our quivers and got to shooting. I forgot how much I’d missed shooting. It is one of the few times I can actually focus all of my attention on a single train of thought (the rest of the time it’s like someone put Ozzy Osbourne in charge of Penn Station). Over the winter, I made a new set of arrows (soon to make another dozen once I finish at least a dozen of Rachael’s bolts) an inch longer than my old set so I can’t shoot both in the same round (different lengths and weights will affect flight path and [insert physics explanation that sums up to the arrows will go different places]). I was considering just putting my old set in with the loaners but it turns out Kerry’s arrows went missing/broke/are no more so I gave her my old ones and am going to teach her and her fiance, David how to make their own (they both really want to learn).

So I finally get up to the line and start shooting at the 20 yard target and I try to continue what Phillip had me working on in counting down from 2 so that I don’t take too long to aim and end up missing when my hand starts shaking. My first few rounds weren’t bad, I was shooting in the high teens which is a decent start for the season (for those who may not know, you shoot 6 arrows at 20, 30, and 40 yard targets and as many as you can get off in 30 seconds at the 20 yard target for an official royal rounds set so when I say I shot a certain score, it’s out of 30). Then I did something I’ve never done before (but have photo evidence that it did happen which I’ll post with this). I completely zoned out (or zoned in I guess) and shot 4 golds, 1 red, and 1 blue (gold=5, red=4, blue=3, black=2, white=1) for a score of 27! I was so excited with it that I took Ray’s advice and wrote it in as the start of a royal round (you can shoot them in any order you want as long as you shoot all 4 rounds consecutively) even though I hadn’t dialed in on the 30 and 40 yard targets.

Instead of changing distances (and aim points), I decided to shoot my timed end. I usually only carry 6 arrows so that I don’t have to count how many are left or how many I shot already. I’m supposed to make each shot the first shot as per Phillip’s instruction (see, Phillip? I do listen) For a timed end, I usually add an extra arrow or two in my quiver just in case I can get into a rhythm and get off more than 6 arrows. Ray counted me down (a marshal or MIT has to count you down with a stop watch) and I got my first shot off in the gold but I started to rush and fumbled an arrow or two. I still managed to get 17 points with 7 arrows (I missed with 2 which is bad for me but I’ll get back into my rhythm and do better next time). What I took away from this is I got off 7 with a bit of stumbling which makes me wonder if I can get off 8-9 in 30 seconds (and this is where Phillip yells at me for trying to shoot faster instead of better). My goal is to get better shots off but if I can get 7 in the red and gold and maybe an extra arrow in the blue or black, I’ll take it. My 30 and 40 were pretty bad (6 and 9 respectively) but that just means there’s lots of room for improvement. Overall, I shot a 59 which is by no means my best (my average of my top 3 shoots over the past 12 months is 73.33 with my best being 77) but it’s way better than I was doing at the beginning of the season last year by probably double. I won’t get the chance to shoot this coming Sunday (going to Southern Region Sunday practice in Iron Bog instead) but next week I’ll be back and shooting again. I got to get started on designing targets for Quest since I’ll be the archery Marshal in Charge (as a back up in case something happens with what the barony’s champion comes up with) because time flies like an arrow (looks straight but if you take a close look it’s really all wibbly-wobbly).


Archery shoot 4.17.16.jpg