Point Debate

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Written by Grim the Skald in the Norse Meter fornythislag. These are the events of the last day of the 37th Pennsic War (AS 43)

1. Hear, oh warriors of worlds so far,
Vallhall’s bright fields where fighters die
And rise again grasping wound-snakes. [1]
Within this plain are Pennsic’s lands.

2. Bide for a tale not of blunt cudgels
But of sharpened steel, striking as lightning,[2]
Three flags planted in Pennsic Woods,
Fight that was lost, and fame that was won

2. Wise Alethea waited for battle,
The regal heir to Eastern throne,
Her head girded with helm of steel,
Natalia came, quick and anxious.

3. Small titan of blades[3] Natalia spoke
“Dire we need you in deepest woods,
Badly goes the talk of battle’s rules.
Helm from your head I’ll help remove,
For you’ll need to don different brow-ring.”

4. Tiger-adorned to deep forest,
The princess strode, stern and angered.
Middle-Realm Monarch had made it known
He’d spare no men to match numbers.

5. Alethea spoke to spur-booted[4] king:
“Are you not party to Pennsic’s oath?
Any piercing fight for points of war
No force may be a fourth larger
Yet you nigh double our doughty blades.”

6. So spoke Lutr, Lord of the Mid-Realm:
“When first we met to match shield fire. [5]
The East yielded each battle to us.
Points do not hang on this host debate[6]
To fight allies is foul to us.
This I won’t order for an empty fight.

7. “Though I’ll not send soldiers to you
The Mid-Realm Knights are my vassals
Though sore they will miss this sword-tussle[7]
I’ll order a score out of this forest.”

8. Ogedai spoke, East-Realm general
“Deny no knight, never mind this.
The East will meet each man as they come.”

9. King and princess then parted ways.
The fair one felt fury arise
While her host waited for word of this Thyng[8]
Alethea’s course was clear to her

10 Like an angel of wrath the East-Heir spoke:
“Brutal shall be the battle to come
Our foe’s leader will lend us no men.
Though we number not even six score,
Ten score Warriors wait for our charge.

11. “Bright blades alone cannot beat these odds
But arm yourselves with honor as swords,
Bear your bravery as a buckler, your guard.
Show the Mid-Realm the mettle of the East”
12. As one the East and Allies cheered
They bared their blades, brought forth their arms
Stalwart and stern they strode to the woods
Marched in to meet a massive foe

13. No sooner the last left the safe-field,
The first fighter flew back to this place.
Slain in the fighting but sent back to life,
Alphonso fleetly faced back to the woods.

14. Through forest his feet fell with no noise,
Stealthily stalked the Storm-guard scout,
Behind the line held by the Dragon
He spied a lone man sporting a white belt

15. Quietly Alphonso crept to the knight
He touched shoulder with his shinning sword
He said to the man “Sir you are dead” [9]
Swift turned Lutr, Lord of the Mid-Realm!

16. Dragon-King spoke dark and angry:
“Foully you struck a flanking blow
Hitting from behind is hardly right
It is not fitting a fighter true.”

17. Alphonso spoke to fierce ring-thrower: [10]
“The odds are ill our army small
My skill is strong with stealth attacks –
Best will I serve with silent steel,
And fencers are not knightly battlers.”

18. King Lutr spoke calmer and thoughtful:
“I’ll speak with you on honor and swords
But at another time, Tiger’s armsman,
For now my blade is needed here.”

19. Lutr then left to lend blade elsewhere
Alphonso found foes aplenty,
Endless in number their enemy seemed
But the East fought on with fearsome skill

20. About each banner battle raged on
Brave Tigers strove to take each flag
The Dragon’s weight drove them from two
The last they held with line stretched thin

21. The thyng of swords[11] swelled even stronger
The flank buckled, faltered beneath
From behind the foe fleet princess struck
The East pushed back, battling anew.

22. Hard struck their foe hitting the left
Storm-Guard stood there to stop the charge
Their bright piercers a barrier made
Though fiercely their foe fell against them

23. As iron-games[12] neared end eager grew their foe.
They struck the flank stronger than before.
Commander Caine called out to Storm Guard
“Flee not from this line, you fatherless ones!” [13]

24. Tyger-heart[14] laughed loudly and crazed
Flashed out his sword falling like lightning
Cackling, Caine killed the Dragons
Scales rained downward a score or more.

25. Forest was then filled with a forceful sound,
Horn of Heimdall[15] halted the fighting,
Both side’s warriors from woods took leave
Soldiers assembled on the sun-lit fields

26. Althea spoke to her throng of swords: [16]
“Fiercely you have fought our foes this day,
‘Gainst odds that seemed sorely hopeless.
Never you yielded your honor to rage
Nor fear showed you in the face of odds.
Battle has proved you the best of folk.”

27. Then Lutr spoke, Lord of Mid-Kingdom,
“Brave Crown-Follower to Brenwen the Fair,
Queenly cousin, clear is your speech,
Proudly you praise your point-wielders.
My eyes have seen all you say is true.

28. “Honor and courage the East has shown,
We are well served to witness this
I am glad my knights your greatness saw,
We of the Mid-Realm reward these things.
Take the Dragon’s Teeth [17] from my hands –
Eastern Army and your allies true.”

29. The Princess became Queen of the East,
She sought poets to praise these blades:
Hail the Eastern Army of Fence!
Who by honor took Teeth of the Dragon.

© 2009 Dan Marsh

Footnotes

  1. A Kenning for “sword”
  2. Making clear this is a tale about Fencing, rather than SCA Armored combat
  3. A Kenning for “Ogre” (sounding out OGR, Order of the Golden Rapier,) an expert fencer. Natalia is also somewhat short.
  4. A kenning for “knight”
  5. A Kenning for “battle.”
  6. A Kenning for “battle.”
  7. A Kenning for “battle.”
  8. “Thyng” is an Icelandic council, here I am alluding to the prior discussion.
  9. This is how fencers execute a “Death from Behind” or DFB.
  10. A Kenning for “king”
  11. A Kenning for “battle.”
  12. A Kenning for “battle.” Yes, the Norse have a lot of kennings for battle.
  13. To render in less poetic speech, “Stay the line you bastards!”
  14. Caine has a very large tattoo of an OGR medallion on his chest, which is a symbol of a tiger’s head being pierced by a golden rapier.
  15. A Pennsic battle is typically halted by a cannon, but as I am setting this in Vallhall I’m having one of the gods sound the horn.
  16. A kenning for “army.”
  17. The “Dragon’s Teeth” is a Middle Kingdom unit award for “excellence in martial prowess for the Kingdom.”
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