Hector the Turncoat
I remember my first great field battle, Pennsic XV. The two lines charged
and there I was, in the front rank of the Barony of Septentria (this is in
the years B.E., folks, for lo, I am ancient). We were near the right flank
of the Midrealm line and I had been told that we would try to wrap right
around the Eastern line; some things never change. Over the rushing of the
adrenaline in my ears I repeated over and over to myself, "Wrap right.
Wrap right. Wrap right." And then the lines met. I crossed swords with an
Eastern fighter. Our swords tangled. Our shields locked. We pushed and
pushed. All the time I knew we were wrapping right, so I kept trying to
side-step right. My opponent and I untangled our swords. We both stepped
back to throw an unhampered blow and suddenly we were two paces apart and
out of sword range.
Suddenly I felt very lonely.
I stepped back and felt the comforting rustle of shields against my
elbows. I took another step back, locked my shield into the wall and then
a hold was called. We all dropped to one knee and looked across the
spear-strewn gap at the opposing line and there they were: Alasdair, Kato,
Aeden... I had joined the wrong shield-wall. And the marshals were calling
on us to rise in place and lay on!
Ah, to know then what I do now. I should have "charged like a berserker"
into the arms of my friends before the Easterners could react. Better, I
should have turned on my heels and charged into the unsuspecting Eastern
spears right behind me. But noooo, I had to be fancy and chivalric. I
stepped one pace forward, spun around, raised my shield and tried to back
Of course I died like a bug.
And yes, B.E. stands for "Before Ealdormere".
Hector's Goolies in Peril
Or there was the woods battle, at Pennsic XXII, I think. We were fighting
across a hill-slope, with pretty open ground. A number of saplings had
died or had been cut down, leaving stumps about half a metre tall. I was
happily dashing into the fray when some Easterner popped me a good one on
the helm. Down I went, falling into a downhill somersault. As I sailed
towards earth, I was perturbed to see a jagged sapling stump aimed
directly at my groin, like a natural punji stake.
I don't really know quite what happened next, but I ended up about three
body-lengths down the hill-side, dazed, with the sapling stump in my hand,
torn out by the roots.
Some marshal saw me sitting there with the uprooted stump in my hand. He
wandered over and, in his "This Is Serious Business" voice, informed me
that I needed more duct tape on that mace. He then wandered away,
laughing. I somehow didn't find it funny at the time.
Or there was the woods battle at Pennsic XVI. I was one of the Eastern
fighters (it's a long story) that followed Talymar's decoy parties deeper
and deeper into the woods, before the Midrealm columns' planned advance.
In a skirmish deep in the woods I charged, a good Scots fighter in a
belted tartan plaid and no trews -- only knee and shin guards -- a
Septentrian tabard (I told you it was a long story) and an ancient red
barrel helm. Some happy soul popped me in the arm; there was a hold and I
was asked "Are you all right, milady?"
For those of you who don't know me, I'm 184cm tall (a smidgen under six
feet for our southron friends), I'm not skinny and for as long as I have
been in the SCA I've had a full brown beard, hairy limbs and a baritone
So I died and went to Resurrection Point and the bees swarmed and the
battle was called off, before I could take my sword and shield and go
after the guy who gave me a sex change.
Hector and the Rattan Ice-cream Cone
Or there was the bridge battle somewhere around Pennsic XXII, when I was
fighting spear. Silly, silly me, I stuck the spear too far forward for too
many seconds and somebody on the other side snatched it out of my hands.
Unfortunately I wasn't carrying a secondary weapon. I scrambled around the
side of the bridge for a second -- where spare bits and pieces often end
up -- but I couldn't see anything. And then the opposition started to push
A young fighter named Edward the Red was standing nearby. Ed (Now Viscount
Sir Ed) used to carry a secondary weapon in a leather scabbard on the back
of his belt. It really was a rattan version of an unfolded pocket-knife;
it's a rattan stub with a thrusting tip on top. So I went to Ed and said,
"Ed, can I please borrow your dagger?" And kind fellow that he is, he said
"Sure!" So there I stood as the enemy charged, with no shield and a
two-inch dagger in my hand.
Fortunately they didn't break through to us in the middle of the bridge
that time, and even more fortunately some kind soul handed me a spare
spear. Still, it would have made a great war story, me charging the
shieldwall with a paring knife.
And now I carry a nice little short sword when I go fighting spear, a
generous gift from Sir Haakon Oaktall's squire Dirk, and rest assured that
stick's far longer than Ed's whittler.