More on the Fighting at Marshal – Flower of Chivalry

For Marshal – Flower of Chivalry, we invite Companions of the Chivalry to gather a company of their squires and sufficient others to bring their mesnie up to seven men (including the leader). For the purposes of this tournament, each mesnie will be limited to two members of the Chivalry.

All combatants of good heart are welcome and encouraged to attend. There will be noble lords forming new mesnies upon the day of the tournament. Rest assured a place will be found for any who would choose to take the field.

The fighting field will be fairly large, with enough room to allow for multiple groups to be engaged separately with room to pass by them. As this field represents the countryside, it will have various interesting terrain features included within it: several streams, a bridge and ford, a small group of buildings, etc. And for some combats the battlefield will include a portion of the woods that surround the main field.

Unlike later tournaments, a 12th century tourney being far ranging and having no borders per se would not have a gallery of nobles facing a small list field. However there will be a refuge in the middle of the clearing, from where we hope much excitement can be observed. This area will be enclosed by rails for safety, and will have a safe path leading to it which the fighters might cross, but where combat is not allowed.

In addition to more typical SCA melees – the equivalent of combat a plaisance, where no ransoms were won or lost – we will hold ransom melees, a l´outrance. In these battles the goal will be to unhorse, and capture one´s opponent, and then escort them safely off the field in order to arrange a ransom.

During the a l´outrance combats:

Any fighter struck with a killing blow, or a blow to the legs is assumed to have been unhorsed. He must drop to his knees but he may continue to fight from there. If this fighter finds himself with no opponent within range, he may “remount” by rising to his feet. If an unhorsed fighter is struck with another “killing” blow he is considered disarmed.

A disarmed fighter is open for capture by any unengaged armed fighter. If they touch him and tell him he is captured, he must then stand and follow his captor to that teams resurrection point / herald to arrange a ransom.

Of course, the way to the heralds may be fraught with peril for the captor. He may face additional enemies, or even the companions of his captive coming to rescue him. If at any point the captor is driven away from his captive, his prisoner now mounted but still “disarmed” is free to run off and attempt to reach his own resurrection point / herald to re-arm.

Ransoms will be arranged between the captor and the captive.

A ransom may be as simple as a small donation to a Kingdom fund of the captors choice, such as the soup kitchen, travel fund, etc. If fighters wish to take this option, we´d recommend a base level of one silver coin (quarter) per fighting rank.

Of course fighters might choose to bring items to offer as ransoms to their captors, or a promise of a tasty beverage might go over well.

Or, it may be that something more interesting might be agreed upon – such as a poem for the captor´s noble lord, or a flower for his lady, or some other promise of a future act.

Ransoms are left to the discretion of the two combatants, but since neither may re-enter the field until a ransom is agreed upon, the heralds may be asked to act as arbitrators.

Heralds will be very important for this tournament. First, heralds stationed at each teams safe zone will be responsible for recording (and if necessary negotiating) the ransoms promised from one fighter to another.

Additionally heralds might cry the camp with announcements of impressive deeds or ransoms. For example: “Let it be known that His Grace Eringlen, Duke of Aldhelm has unhorsed four men upon the bridge over the mill stream and has suffered nary a wound” Or, “Marcus de la Foret, a brave Knight of France, bested by Duncan, Baron Three Rivers, has promised the good Baron a song for his lady as his ransom.”

Don´t forget to tip your heralds generously – it´s what William Marshal would do!

Marshal – Flower of Chivalry   •   Coming to Three Rivers Memorial Day Weekend 2009