The Legend of|
Saturday we fought three battles in the open and several battles for control
of the battle pit, but those are tales for another time. After the first of
the battles in the battle pit, I asked the army to use "Phaedra" as our
battle cry as we fought that day for Her Majesty. From that inspiration
comes the following battle.
The final battle that day was over the castle once more - but this time we
would be the defenders. We had already proven that a much smaller force
could take the castle given the unlimited resurrections - and worse, we had
showed the foe how to do it. Outnumbered three to two, with limited
resurrections we knew we had no chance for victory. But we would take the
field and deny the castle to the enemy for as long as a Falcon tabard
remained on the field.
Calontir was given the honor, and the difficult task of denying the largest
entrance to the enemy - Mathghamhain's Gate. I promised Sir Sean, the battle
commander, that we would hold it as long as we could. We would try our best
to keep the enemy out for the hour. A delaying battle was our only hope.
Killing the enemy meant nothing to us, but every Calontir loss would hurt us
The Falcon host was arrayed behind the gate. Eight feet inside the gate we
built a short line of five scutums. Then anchored to the corner posts of the
gate we placed two more scutums on each side.. Between these sets of scutums
and the main line we left a five-foot gap. A place where we could invite the
enemy to charge and die. A few feet inside of each of these gaps was another
scutum and a skilled secondary or two waited to stop the charging foe where
our poles could crush them. With our artillery heavily weighted towards long
poles and greatswords we waited and we sang.
As the lay on came we saw a large force of the enemy coming towards us. (We
later learned that we received the honor of facing the bulk of the Atenveldt
army.) From the back of our lines I could see the setting of shoulders and
the settling of weapons as our forces waited for the Aten army to reach us.
Just outside the gate they paused, and the weight of their numbers appeared
unstoppable. Several of our spearmen went through the gaps to poke at the
enemy - to stall for time by keeping the main unit from attacking. For a few
moments it worked, then with a terrible roar the foe charged. In the lead
was House Staghold, and a unit of mercenary troops dressed in maroon and
black whose name I know not though we faced them many times that day.
Forward into the pocket they charged. The crash as they slammed into our
scutums was deafening. From where I stood it was a terrible site. Every one
of our scutums in the front line seemed buried beneath the charging foe, and
for a moment I thought all was lost. But our valiant shieldmen were not
slain, only pushed over backwards into narrow wedges protected by scutum
above and earth below. After that first frightening moment the storm of
rattan intensified and polearms and greatswords began to rain death upon the
hapless Aten warriors. Pinned by scutums in front and pushing friends in
back they could scarcely move and they died like wheat beneath the scythe.
Soon every enemy within range of a polearm was dead and our spears began to
reap their own grim harvest.
I had rarely before seen such a charge, and none like it in recent years.
But, it was only the first of many that day. The foe were stacked like
dominoes, each lying the same direction - facing down across the backs of
their friends before them. Bodies were soon piled four deep and a hold was
called to clear them, and the way was clear for more foes to reach us.
I was later told by a marshal who was watching from the side, that in that
first charge the enemy lost approximately 40 men, and then 30 more moments
later in the second, while Calontir lost perhaps three men between the two.
23 1/3 to 1. Of such stuff legends are made, but there was still 55 minutes
to go in the battle - we had scarcely begun.
As the battle wore on Calontir stood - but not alone. Friends from the
Outlands, Sir Jax, Sir Rorik, Sir James and more, fought with us - not as
another army, but behind our shields and in our ranks. His Majesty Finn of
the Middle, Duke Kane of Meridies, and Viscount Dafydd of Northshield each
served within our lines. If they were needed on a spear or pole, behind a
scutum, or as a secondary in the front ranks they were there. Our friends
honored us greatly that day.
Time after time the foe charged. Thirty or forty times they came. Each
charge designed to break us once and for all. Each charge planned to take
that gate for the forces of Atenveldt. And each time Calontir stood firm and
killed and killed. Like butchers at a bloody work, our weapons fell upon
charge after charge. And each time hold was called to allow the hordes of
Atenveldt dead to leave, we would catch our breath, shrug our shoulders, and
return to our grim duty v. After their early charges I gave perhaps the
strangest orders I will ever give in combat - to slow the killing down. Once
we had a carpet of dead before us, the enemy could not reasonably advance.
This was protection for our castle. If we killed too many, they would call a
hold and clear the bodies allowing yet another charge. We needed to kill the
first wave quickly then slow down to stave off the holds for as long as
possible. And while this worked to some extent, the desperation of the enemy
to take our gate would not be held back, and they climbed over the dead to
reach us, forcing us back to our grim duty and holds to be called.
As charge after charge was driven home they did have one effect upon our
line - they slowly drove us back a few inches at a time. After 30 minutes we
had been pushed back 6 or more feet, opening larger gaps to the side that
the enemy tried to push through - but each time they were refused, and the
enemy corpses piled against the castle wall. Finally at a slight lull we
advanced the scutums back forward and closed the largest gap. But we
purposely left one on the left side of our line long enough for the enemy to
see it and try to push through. Before they did I shifted extra secondaries
and artillery to that side, out of site of the gate where they would not be
seen until the enemy had turned the corner. The next charge was clearly
informed of the gap by the dead and sure enough they entered and charged
that side - only to die horribly in our new secondary pocket, which we
closed after the next hold..
At the thirty minute point we were getting somewhat tired. The scutums had
been fighting hard, and most of them replaced by this time, but it was still
crushing work. The polearms and spears had been swinging as often as men
felling trees and arms were tired. Then we got the word that we had used
only 60 resurrections thus far. My grin almost split my face when I heard
this, and I could see the word spread as soldiers laughed and returned to
work with a new determination. By God, we could hold this castle!
At the resurrection point, the army commanders were given orders to ration
the resurrections carefully. Only Knights, or other upper level (GOA)
fighters, or those with a particularly needed weapon would resurrect. But
this was waived for Calontir. A Falcon tabard was all that was needed to
clear the res point and return to our lines. Such was the job we were asked
to do, and such was the respect they gave us.
As the battle wore on the Aten forces though clearly tired grew even more
determined. One charge with perhaps 10 minutes left had a unit trying to
jump over the scutums, or knocking them down and attempting to fight from
atop them. But even this did the enemy little good. They just had farther to
fall when they were cut down.
I was privileged to see many deeds of courage and resolve: Albrech staying
behind a scutum for the entire battle; Spearmen dropping their weapons to
take up scutums; Rorik with a secondary in the front rank for charge; Hufta
stopping a charging column cold; Arial and Cora behind scutums on the left;
Dongal stopping two chargers with a spear held sideways till greatswords
could remove the threat; and so many more. Just the deeds I witnessed would
take pages to tell and only serve to hide others which I did not see personally.
I will however tell in brief one tale - that of Sir Rolf's stand. Fighting
with a centergrip scutum he had been the plug behind one of the gaps, when
in the midst of a charge, his shield was ripped from his grasp. A lesser
man, perhaps a saner man, would have stepped back - perhaps to return with
another shield or weapon, but Rolf instead pressed forward, armed only with
his gladius. Prying open an enemy shield he quickly killed its owner, and as
he fell, the man beyond him as well. Though I almost lost sigh of him at
that point, I believe he killed one more before he bent to retrieves his
shield and retake his place in the line. Why do I tell this particular tale?
Because for this, and his actions in the Duke's Gate one day earlier he was
awarded a Sword of Calontir.
Though standing firm before each crushing charge was surely enough labor for
any of us that day, but there were countless more examples of determination
and bravery. We have often said "No heroes here!", but this day proved the
lie to that phrase. There was not a man our woman within that line who was
less than a hero that day!
After one final charge the end of the battle was sounded and Calontir still
held the gate! They said we could not hold the castle. We said we could not
hold the castle. But we did! As Calontir had done at Mathghamhain's Gate,
the Outlands had done at the Duke's Gate and the breachable wall, and the
rest of the allies had done at the Sally Port and the East Gate. And we
still had 20 resurrections left! Where we had killed a thousand the day
before they had killed less than 300.
What's more we discovered a few minutes later that in the final minutes of
the battles at the Sally Port or the East gate, where the enemy forces had
been much weaker, a lone Trimaran had managed to get out past the enemy.
Somehow he was forgotten about, and made his way behind the enemy lines to a
redoubt which was very lightly guarded (No one? One man? Two? Stories
differ.) Killing the guard (or just moving in) he took the redoubt and sat
down to await the end of the battle. Thanks to his ploy, we did not only tie
the battle, we won!
This battle is the stuff songs and legends are made of. In days of old, at
Pennsic's past, the shield wall had withstood charges like this. But never
had a foe continued to throw charge after charge at us like this. Even the
Tuchux learned better over time. v So great was our defense, that Their
Majesties Atenveldt, and Duke Mathghamhain himself agreed to allow us to
rename Mathghamhain's Gate. A plaque shall be carved and placed there next
year, and from this day forth the front gate of this castle shall be known
as Phaedra's Gate, in memory of our inspiration that day.
To Their Majesties Joe Angus and Phaedra who granted me the honor of
commanding Their army, I owe a debt I can never repay. I have received
wonderful awards from Crowns of Calontir, but never one with memories like
this attached. The view of the Calontir Army as it came over the rim down
into the pit behind us. The respect given Calontir's forces by His Majesty
Martino of the Outlands. The smiles at the end of our victories and the
rueful grins of our opponents. The words of my fellow soldiers. And so many
To my unit commanders: Marcus, Nazir, and Dietrich and their subcommanders;
to the men and women of the Falcon Host who followed us on the field to
defeat or to victory; to Kirk, Rolf, Ariel, and Dongal who acted as
advisors; to all those who ensured the army was well fed and well watered;
and to each and every one of you who made the trip to enrich our presence at
this war, I also owe a great debt. Calontir, I salute you!
Sir Fernando Rodriguez de Falcon (Fernando Vigil)
General of the Falcon host by the Grace of
Their Majesties Joe Angus and Phaedra
The maintainer of
this page is Mistress Sofya la Rus
Standard Disclaimers and Credits