Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, March 02, 2009

The last blow

About 8 am every morning we were greeted awake by heralds walking through the camps calling the troops to muster. About 9 typically troops gathered in their camp and walked to the kingdom muster area, where they would then be addressed by the crown and lead to battle.

As our camp neighbors are a group known for their drumming, our local group got to be led to muster by the war drums that also escorted the entire kingdom out to the battle field. I suppose each morning differs by who is up and ready for muster, today's was a small group.

AND - we were fairly early in the game, so waited as others assembled.

Eventually our King and Queen addressed the group. There were the typical congratulations for the battle the day before, news about the battles for today.

And then King Alrik said there was just one little thing left to do. His smirk revealed that this was something a bit special, and special it certainly was for our first ever muster. All the knights in the group were asked to approach the crown. In the SCA, being a knight is an award, the highest level of award for the heavy martial arts. The majority of people engaging in heavy fighting are not knights, but are referred to generically as 'fighters'. Knights are distinguished by the right to wear a white belt, and a chain around their neck. Probably some other symbols too, but those are the most obvious. The knights approached and knelt.

Boleslav, who was King Alrik's predecessor (SCA Monarchs sit for 6 month reigns) was to be knighted. I thought it interesting that a previous monarch was not a knight - since the right to serve as monarch is won through fighting tournaments. However I in turn found out that Alrik himself is not a knight either. Since the honor of knighthood must pass from knight to knight, Alrik required the assistance of the ranking knight present to actually convey the honor.

Half a dozen knights were called upon to rise in turn and make a statement about what traits Boleslav exhibits which justifies his knighting.

Meanwhile, there is a chain made up of individual links provided by all of the other knights from our kingdom, added at the time each one was knighted. This chain was brought forth, and passed throughout the rank of knights, I presume each finding his own link.

What ever they were doing, it was a solumn and intimate exchange. These three huddled around it so tightly you can't even see the third knight.

The King and Queen meanwhile were addressing both Boleslav and the court while this was going on. Eventually the chain made it through the group. King Alrik placed it around Boleslav, and then with the ranking knight at his side, did the sword taps on the shoulders, and presented to him a new sword.

The annoying thing about court, and the going's on up at the thrones in general, is that a lot of it is done in normal speaking voices - which means the audience can't hear a thing. So a lot of stuff was going on up there. But after Sir Boleslav had sheathed his sword, Alrik announced he was a knight... blah blah blah. And finished with "And let this be the last blow you ever receive, without answering with your sword."

And the king is to punch the knight. I take it, it's usually a symbolic blow. But Alrik wound way up and delivered a heck of a shot right to Boleslav's chest. It connected with a thunk we all could hear, rocking him to his heels. I noticed several gasps from the audience.

And then big grins from Alrik and Boleslav as they embraced.



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