Monday, February 20, 2012

Gulf Wars, Day 5 (Friday, March 18th)

Another day, another major tourney. The Rose Tourney. Very prestigious. Lots of high level competition. You need to be sponsored by a Lady of the Rose in order to fight in it. Cool stuff. Anyway, I usually choke in high pressure tourneys like this. For example, first fight of the first match. Paired against an intermediate level fighter. Nice lady. Double killed. What? No, that's not supposed to happen. We fight again. I win, but it's messy. What the hell is wrong with me? Stupid tourney. Stupid brain getting in the way of killing. Ok, next bout. Better. Quick, clean kill. Fabris works, when done right. Next bout. Nerves calming now. Tall guy. Young. Looks like he knows what he's doing. Tall guys are a pain in my butt. Need to get control of his long blade, move in fast, press him, take him out of his game. Nearly worked, until he remembered his dagger. Couldn't disengage fast enough. Damn his reach! Dagger to the face. Hard. Smashed my mask into my nose. I let my displeasure show a bit. Marshal warned him to watch his shots. His attitude about it kind of sucked. Arrogant. Oh, well. I'm out. No problem. Moving on.

Pick ups. Had some fun, good fights. Good people. Rest of the day goes by quick. Time for Meridian Court. We are making a new Captain. Elijah Cameron. He's already a Warder back in the Midrealm, but he's one of ours now. Great guy, very deserving. He was tickled that we thought so highly of him. Welcome, brother! Court finished and we went to change in to better clothes for wandering around in. Ysabel wanted to make an appearance at the Known Worlde Party. Ugh! Hate crowds. Loud, drunk crowds especially. It's a borderline anxiety/phobia thing. Ok, I'll do it for her. We wander into the Fort where the party is. Too many people. Too much noise, pressing all around me. Can't breathe, hands shaking, cold sweat on my brow, eyes darting in near panic. I last five minutes. Ysabel takes pity and moves us out of the crowd. Thank goodness. We visit with some people outside the Fort. Good conversation in small groups. Much better. The night winds down. Bed starts to look pretty attractive. Sleep.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gulf Wars, Day 4 (Thursday, March 17th)

This day sucked. Had a fight (not the good kind) with Ysabel in the morning and it tainted the whole day. I did manage to buy some C&T armor that was really nice. Elbow and knee cops and a Fiore' helm. To be honest, I don't remember much else about this day. Moving on...

Friday, September 30, 2011


I just got finished submitting a short story to the Writers of the Future contest. Oddly, another idea just popped into my head immediately after. I guess I'll see if I can finish something in time for the next quarter's contest. I need to be able to take a piece of writing from concept to finished product a bit faster than I have in the past. It takes practice, I suppose, and the only way to get better is to do it. So far, I have a rough concept, a title and the opening scene figured out. Still a long way to go before it all comes together. Inspiration is only the beginning.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Magic time!

I'm going to take a break from the Gulf Wars posts for just a moment to get in touch with my inner geek. I know, like writing about running around with swords isn't geeky, right? Well, in this case, I just wanted to say that the new Magic the Gathering set, Innistrad, is freakin' amazing! Not in a "ridiculously powerful" sense, but in a "more fun than a barrel of goblins" sense. For those that are familiar with the game, I strongly suggest you check it out, if you haven't already. It harkens back to the days when Magic was about imagination and exploring cool new settings, rather than winning a tourney game on the third round. Not that it doesn't have some power. It does. But the feel of it is not typical of the more hardcore sets preceding it. And I like that.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gulf Wars, Day 3 (Wednesday, March 16th) - Part Three

After our victory at the Field Battle, we gathered our things and made our way to the Ravine. The Gulf Wars Ravine is just that, a tree-filled depression in the earth located at the five way crossroads near the center of the site. It's exact dimensions escape me at the moment, but suffice to say it is large enough to contain two opposing armies. It's steep slopes are treacherous and littered with obstacles, making for a dangerous ground on which to fight. The scenario involved is a "resurrection" battle. Meaning that if a fighter is "killed" he/she goes back to the "res point" on their end of the Ravine and can then return to the fight. This continues for 45 minutes as we strive for control of three flags placed across the center of the Ravine. It's grueling, sweaty work, to say the least.

This particular day, we had arrived a bit early and spent some time drinking (water) and eating a small lunch. It was also a good time to catch up with people we hadn't managed to talk to up to that point, as there is usually a large turn out of fighters for this battle. More and more kept filtering in until both ends of the Ravine were filled with eager swordsmen/women. It took some time for things to get organized, but once everything was in place, we found ourselves lined up at our res point ready to charge into the fray. Our job was to stabilize the area between the right and center flags, about halfway up the slope. Easy enough. We knew, of course, that there would ample opportunity for us to lay claim to one or the other flag if the forces holding them were to falter. Battle is, after all, fluid.

The marshals called "lay on" and we hurried out on the battlefield, quickly arriving at our position and engaging the enemy line. Things became a blur of fighting, killing, dying and walking back to the res point. Wash, rinse, repeat ad nauseum. The fighting went on and on as the right hand flag changed hands again and again. The sides were so evenly matched that it was a constant back and forth over about ten feet of ground. At one point, I found myself next to Ysabel at the extreme upper right side, at the very top of the slope. The flag was ours at the moment, but we were being pressed hard. An enemy fighter with a two-handed long sword had been giving our people grief there for several minutes and it was time for him to take a walk. With Ysabel keeping his friends off me, I stepped up to engage him. The length of his weapon made it difficult to get close enough for a kill shot, so I settled for targeting his hands. A longsword has an open hilt, which makes the hands fairly easy to hit. Sure enough, within moments, I had landed a solid shot to his off-hand. He cursed and switched to a one-handed grip on the longsword. Not really very optimal for him and he knew it. Before I could press my advantage, a hold was called and we kneeled down to wait. The issue (which I never found out the details of) was resolved and we rose to resume the fight. At this point, the longsword wielder, acting out of desperation, threw an excessively hard shot at my upper left arm. The blow struck with such force that my entire arm went numb. As he struggled to recover, my other blade snaked out and took him squarely in the remaining hand. "Well struck!" he said loud enough to be heard over the din of battle and faded from the line to go res. Being down an arm, and seeing that our side had control for the moment, I stepped "out of bounds" to effectively kill myself and went back to my own res point.

My left arm began to function again, though it hurt like the dickens. I spent some extra time at the res point getting water and letting the pain subside a bit. The bruise left by that shot ended up being pretty epic! Once I had rested sufficiently, it was time to gather up some fighters and head back up the right slope. By this point, everyone was starting to tire and move a little more slowly. Despite the lag, the fighting over our flag had only intensified as both sides realized that time was almost up. As the struggle to claim control of the flag grew to a fever pitch, there came a loud *snap* and the flagpole actually split in half! We had fought so hard and so valiantly that the structural integrity of the wooden pole was compomised. Fortunately, the battle was merely seconds from being over, so in the end it made little difference. Time was called and we all collapsed in an exhausted heap. Well, perhaps not that dramatically, but we were definitely worn out. After all that effort, no clear winner could be determined and the battle was declared a tie! Such are the twists and turns of war, I suppose.

The fighting done, we made plans to go into town for dinner at a mundane restaurant. Tristrim and Rayne were to be our companions. After the heat and exertion, we were all looking forward to some civilization. Little did we know that we were about to embark on a journey through a desolate land utterly devoid of comfort or pity. Not to mention food. A wrong turn (whose fault it was is irrelevant) led us astray and we ended up on a dirt trail barely fit for modern vehicles. Fortunately, we had all piled into Tristram's SUV, so we avoided getting stuck on the less than ideal track. A dirt "road", which we thought would take us to the rear gate of the camp, ended up going straight into the depths of the surrounding nature preserve (or whatever you call a seemingly endless expanse of tangled woods and treacherous bogs). By the time we had realized our mistake and turned around, Ysabel was starting to succumb to a bad case of hunger mixed with heat exhaustion. She had pushed herself too hard in the Ravine and the result was a screaming headache, nausea and dizziness. Not to mention irritability. Lots and lots of irritability. We did eventually find our way back to the camp and then, much later, to the local Red Lobster, but Ysabel, the poor dear, was too sick to eat anything but saltine crackers and water. I felt terrible eating in front of her, but I was famished and suffering a bit myself. Needless to say, it did not end up being a good evening out. Getting back to camp and collapsing into bed was a huge relief. For all its ups and downs, the day was finally over.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Apologies

I am deeply sorry for the lack of posts in the past few months. I will continue my Gulf Wars stories as soon as I find the time. This Summer has been a bit of a creative drought for me, but hopefully Autumn will see the return of my Muse.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gulf Wars, Day 3 (Wednesday, March 16th) - Part Two

Fresh from our first victory, the Meridian Rapier Militia regrouped and took up our assigned position for the next battle. This time, we were on the right side of the main line, but starting from the downward side, near the treeline. So, effectively, we were holding the same flank as before. To my surprise, the other side had done the same thing, leaving us facing the same units we had in the previous battle. They were the Gleann Abhann contingent and our numbers were fairly even. The Kingdom of Gleann Abhann has some good fighters (some damn good), but it looked like this year their forces had a disproportionate number of newer people. Not only that, but most of them were using a sword and a large "war buckler". In contrast, Meridies had fielded quite a large number of Captains and mid-level fighters. Also, most of us were using a case of swords. So, they were just the tiniest bit outgunned. That would explain a lot about how the first battle went and I was feeling pretty confident that this one would be no different. Nor was I wrong. Lay on was called and we began our advance. Our line stayed pretty solid as we approached mid-field, but, strangely, the other side had decided to use some bizarre staggered line as they engaged. That left the first ten or so of them trying to fight against more or less our full strength. Needless to say, the outcome was predictable. They hit us in small clumps that were easily dispatched. Once we'd cut them down, we moved on to slam into the next part the enemy line. We had an open flank in front of us and in no time had collapsed it in on itself. We pressed them mercilessly and victory seemed well in hand. It was then that I found myself once again standing in a pocket of calm. Mikolaj and I held back to survey the field, looking for where we could do the most good (or the most damage, rather). It was well that we did. Two enemy fighters had broken free of the press and were running for the open field behind our line. "Stop the rabbits!" someone yelled. Indeed, thought I. My body had already reacted and I found myself running to cut them off. Mikolaj was right behind me, but his presence barely registered, so focused was I on my target, the lead rabbit. I caught up to him and held his pace, legs churning, heart pounding, the thrill of pursuit driving away any hint of doubt or exhaustion. I was going to stop him, kill him if possible, and that was that. He turned slightly toward me, still running, and our blades came together. Once, twice and apart again as we maneuvered ourselves for best advantage, him trying to get away and me trying to bring him to a stop. Finally, he seemed to realize that he would have to fight me in earnest. It looked to me like he tried to stop and engage, but my reflexes kicked in an instant too soon. My left hand blade snaked out, a slivery blur in the sunlight, and took him in the ribs before he could react. Inertia took over as his attention was pulled from what his feet were doing and he went down with a yell. He rolled a couple of times to break the impact and wound up laying on his back, one hand over his ribs. I immediately called a hold, dropped my blades and kneeled down to see if he was all right. Marshals were quick on the scene and got his mask off. My opponent was none other than Don Crowley of Ansteorra. I apologized muchly, of course, and despite his obvious displeasure with the situation, he was as gracious about it as could be expected. The marshals determined that we were both at fault (swordplay while running is frowned on) and he retired from the field of his own accord to recover. The battle continued, but it was more or less over at that point, with just a few skirmishes here and there left to be resolved. Once again, our side emerged victorious. The War Point for the Field Battle was ours! Next up, the Ravine...