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The Continuing History of Vatavia:
Vatavia Takes Over a War

by Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno)
Orignally published in the February 1998, A.S. XXXII issue of the Dragonflyre, a publication of the Barony of Vatavia.

In the month of June in the year AS16, 1981 of the Common Era, V'tavia marched to war on the shores of Oologah Reservoir. The forces of Calontir, numbering only a little over thirty, reinforced only by King Hugo and a knight from Ohio, faced the might of Ansteorra, eighty strong, including most of the their chivalry1.

Not deterred, Calontir took to the field was holding its own in the open melee, till the Red Horde of Stargate outflanked the V'tavian shield wall and collapsed the line2. While the first use that was the seed of the now famous Calontir shield war failed, revenge was quick.

In the bridge melee, once the flying pink elephants were disposed of, the shield wall thwarted all efforts of the Ansteorrans to get past3. The battle ended with Baron Humpk fighting Count Jonathon, with Humpk being cheered by friend and foe alike4. The afternoon ended with individual challenges. The outcome of the war was inconclusive, thought in many minds, the true victors were the chiggers, who plagued the whole population5.

Court that night, V'tavia made her own. It started by having <abbr title="Lord">Ld</abbr> Humpk and Ly Mammara invested as Baron and Baroness. And then no less then thirteen V'tavians were called to receive their Award of Arms6. And towards the back of the crowd, haunted the spirit of Ld Cire7.

The reveling that night was high spirited, lasting far into the night. There was a short kissing plague8, dancing again broke out in the road, snaring the likes of Robert Legsalot the Ranger, and a companion whose name is now forgotten9.

The revel resumed the following evening, as the King and Queen made their formal visit to V'tavia. There the King showed us some new dance steps10, and the body and sprite of Ld Cire were reunited11.

 

Footnotes

1. The reasons date to the year before at the first Middle Kingdom-Ansteorra war. Held near Grimfells, the Middle Kingdom chivalry angered Ansteorra by insisted that the Ansteorra fighters be re-authorized to Middle Kingdom standards including the knights. Ansteorra fully intended to avenge that insult at this war and so came in force. That the Middle Kingdom did not show up is one the reasons why there were no further wars. Fortunately they did not transfer their anger to Calontir fighters. This experience forms part of the background of the Interkingdom peace several years later. ^

2. The Red Horde was a unit of shield and pike men who practiced regularly to a level of discipline that would have made units of the real military proud. They were all dressed in a livery of red, hence the name. They were held back while groups of lesser experience fighters were sent and broke against the shield line. The line consisted of only five wall shields and was extended by regular shieldmen. King Hugo's intentions was for the shield line to hold the attention of the Ansteorrian army, while he led what would now be called a cavalry unit into the rear to capture the flag, sacrificing the shield line. As it was the cavalry unit was quickly demolished while the shield line held till the Red Horde was sent in. Their presence was noticed, but as the line was engaged with another unit on its front, was unable to refuse the flank to meet the charge. One fighter remarked it was chilling to watch the precision which the Horde moved down to using the pikes in unison. ^

3. Calontir took the now standard tactic of setting up a defensive position at one end of the bridge, letting the enemy charge them. The five wall shields made up the front rank. The Ansteorians front loaded their charge with "dwarves" (fighters who weighed over 300 pounds in armor) most of who wore red. Leading the charge was Sir Finn Kelly O'Donnell, Dragomyr of Morkywaid, and a third remembered only as Sir Twinkletoes as he was the lightest. As they charged the line Dragomyr and Twinkeltoes had the sudden bright idea of throwing Sir Finn over the shield wall to break it down to Sir Finn's ignorance. So as they approached the wall they grabbed Sir Finn by the elbows and heaved him over.

On the receiving end was David the Silent who was one of the smallest and slightest of the V'tavian fighters. It was estimated that the ensuing pileup, at which he at the bottom, amounted to over a ton of fighter and armor. Fortunately for David, V'tavian had recently acquired access to a sheet metal roller and so had changed the design of the wall shields from sheets of plywood, to the now familiar bowed sheets of aluminum. David was small enough that he could lay flat enough that the edges of the shield touched the ground thus the shield acted as an arch supporting all the weight above him. As it was, his leg armor had to be literally pried off him, and his cup had inverted. And while he was done fighting for the day, he sustained no injury.

It was several years before these details became known. But it appeared to the observers at the time that the three had jumped on the shield wall. And while the marshals immediately called "Hold!,” it was nearly a minute before all the fighters could respond and the pile began being disassembled. Once is was ascertained that David was OK, long discussions were held on what to do next. It was finally decided to restart the bridge battle, after admonishing the Ansteorians about jumping, and the remaining battle scenarios were called off. As Calontir went on to win the bridge battle, each side had a victory and so the war was officially a draw.

One further comment. As a tactic, flying pink elephants was a disaster. While the shield wall was breached, the hole became a bottleneck, and as the Ansteorian fighters attempted to go through they were being killed by the secondaries which created the huge pile on David. By the time everyone responded to the Hold, nearly half the Ansteorian army had been killed with virtually no losses to Calontir. ^

4. Jonathan DeLaufyson Macebearer was the first king of Ansteorra. However, he took very seriously the idea that the king's word is law, and ruled in a sufficiently arbitrary manner that he became widely disliked. Humpk was becoming widely known, and his charisma won over most of whom he met. The battle did not hinge on this fight as the Ansteorian army had been destroyed with few losses to Calontir. So effective was the shield wall that the fighters in the back ranks were complaining about missing out on the fun. Jonathan was the last Ansteorian standing, so Humpk offered single combat. So setting up the bizarre scene of Ansteorra and Calontir alike cheering on Humpk. ^

5. One final note. Before the battles, the Ansteorian fighters looking at the wall shields ridiculed them as being unmaneuverable. We found this amusing as the "barn doors" that they were using as shields were not that much smaller. Of course, theirs were strapped as regular shields while ours were setup as Roman scutums. We mostly ignored their jibes. Nothing was ever said after the battles. ^

6. The Ansteorian king bestowed a knighthood (Riccardo), a Star of Merit (Blackfox), three Thistles and nine AOAs. The Midrelm king besides investing Humpk and Mammara as Baron and Baroness of V'tavia, bestowed seventeen AOAs, thirteen of which went to V'tavians. Of those seventeen, only Alix Coeurbois and myself are active in Calontir, and one other in Ansteorra. ^

7. Cire (Edward Greymoor) was unable to travel to the war because of previous commitments. So Tymm the Mysterious sketched a life sized likeness on a piece of paper, which he held in the back of the crowd during court. ^

8. As we were all young back then, and the war was the first major event for most of us, along with the successes of the field and court rendered most pretty giddy. The V'tavian ladies were handing out their congratulations in the form of kisses, often more then once. ^

9. Robert Legsalot and his companion were the park rangers making their rounds when they came to the SCA encampment. Such was our enthusiasm it was over an hour later before they could escape the celebrations and continue. Not that they seemed to mind the attentions of the young ladies. ^

10. The side kick often seen as the final step in the side stepping sequences of the various bransles (known as the Burgundian kick) was first taught in V'tavian by His Majesty. ^

11. Rannock Glen-Inver and I performed a little mock ceremony involving Cire and his portraiture. The first of many quasi-religious rituals I performed over the years. ^

 

Copyright © 1998 - present His Lordship Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno). All rights reserved.

 

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