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Mercenary Wars Title

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Hail, and well met!
Thou hast come upon the site wherein the great and glorious Mercenary Wars shall be discussed! I am Maelgrim Cedaur o Lan Filan o Pouis, and this is my young associate, Ralamean of Ramsey. Together, we shall tell thee (or you if there are several of you) the tale of the Mercenary Wars.

Table of Contents
the Tale of the Mercenary Wars
Last Year's Mercenary Wars
This Year's Mercenary Wars!
Rules and Laws of the Mercenary Wars
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the Mercenary Wars: a Tale

It was in the Year of our Lord . . . oh, when was it? Well it's not important anyway.

One day, it was the Middle Ages. Some place in northern England (though I can't recall the name of it just now) a powerful Baron (to protect both the guilty and the innocent, we shall call him Aelfric) decided that he was going to throw off the yoke of his overbearing and militant neighbor, the Earl of . . . oh, something-or-other.

Sitting in his drafty throne room in what we will refer to as Caer Aelfric, the baron realized this his somewhat-less-than- intimidating force of fifteen men-at-arms would never defeat the Earl's army of hundreds.

Thinking heavily on the question, Aelfric realized that since he had more money than sense, he could easily afford to hire a few mercenary companies. Among the three most prominent in his mind were the Black Falcons, the Company of the Mists, and Fflemedd. Since the Black Falcons had already taken out a contract with the King of Norway, the Baron Aelfric decided to pit the Company of the Mists and Fflemedd against one another in order to see whcih would be a better choice for his offense.

Offering both companies handsome contracts and arranging for them to meet "by accident" on the road, Aelfric sat back and watched.

So began the first Mercenary Wars . . .

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the History of the Wars

Hearken now, as we tell thee the tale of the clash between the cataclysmic forces of good and evil.
All right--the forces weren't all the cataclysmic. As a matter of fact, the forces weren't even particularly evil. In all honesty, the first Mercenary Wars was more like several battles between the forces of vaguely neutral and somewhat-more-than-usually-sneaky.
It is a story of crappy archery scores, thieving rodents, bawdy tavern songs, and immortal warriors.
It is, in short, the full tale of the Mercenary Wars.

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Dramatis Personae

Rillion/Maelgrim--myself
Pyridan/Owen--my best friend, Ben
Cynara Rookwood--Rillion's lady
Lance of the Truewind--another good friend of Rillion's
Ralamean of Ramsey--my younger brother, a medieval pyromaniac
Rhys the Thief--friend of Ralamean, another medieval pyromaniac
Daryoon y Darres--javelin-throwing champion of the Company of the Mists
Flynn--great swordsman of the Mist Company
Ceolmhor--my younger sister
Cora--friend to Ceolmhor, a cynic
Becky--friend to Ceolmhor, a drunkard
Farlin--master of the broadsword
Jon--companion of Dareoon

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Mehefin 29: Day One

Morning
The day dawned brightly . . . I think. Actually, I woke up around the eighth toll of the bell after the midnight hour, so I wouldn't know. It just seems to me that if the sun were to rise over the land, it would cast a fair amount of illumination across the land. Common sense--right?
Between the ninth and eleventh tolls of the morning bell, the mercenaries arrived at Rillion's manor, full of energy and adventure.
Sadly, one from our ranks--Treylane--was trapped in the bleak and greasy dungeons under the Burger King's Castle, so we all stopped by to convey our pity for him with a round of raspberries.
After thoroughly spraying the counter of Burger King, we departed from that cursed land. To add insult to injury, we dined at the Golden Crescent Inn. All of us, that is, except for Pyridan, whose tastes are terribly exclusive, and Lance, who was stuck in the same car as Pyridan.
Note: the word car is perfectly acceptable, because it is actually (no lie!) a medieval word which means "caravan." The word "van" is equally medieval, coming from the same word. So hah!
When we arrived at Red Rocks campground in Pike National Forest, the skies were pleasantly overcast, so both mercenary companies were able to set up camp in comfort, without the blasted sun blinding them.
One of the ground rules was that neither team would be allowed to look for the other team's campsite until after the bardic circle gathering at night. Unfortunately, the Company of the Mists set their camp up right next to the road on which the Company of Fflemedd drove.
Oops. Now we had unintentionally broken our own cardinal rule: don't look for the Company of the Mists' camp until after nightfall.
Dang.

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the Tournaments
Before the tournaments, the Knightning of Cynara, the Guardian of the Twilight, took place. after receving the accolade from both Maelgrim and Owen, Cynara rose a Knight and received her gift of fifteen new grey arrows from Owen.
That being done, everybody prepared for the tournaments.
To test the skill of both mercenary companies, six tournaments had been devised. Of each tournament, only a single victor could emerge to claim what prize he or she wished.
The six tournaments were as follows:
Archery
Javelin Throwing
Florentine Combat (two weapons at once)
Broadsword (two-handed sword)
Pole Arm
Sword and Shield

And, naturally, there had to be prizes for the various tournaments as well. So, here they are as well.
Black Leather Belt Pouch--work of Cynara
Medieval Muslin Tunic--work of Cynara
Leather Bracers (arm-guards)--work of Maelgirm
Medieval Leather Blank Book--work of Maelgrim
Leather saxon-style belt with inscribed Celtic knotwork--work of Maelgrim
Wooden Fipple-flute (recorder)--bought by Ceolmhor
5 arrows--work of Owen
New boffer-sword--work of Owen

My pardon, I can see that thou art falling asleep, and I had no wish to bore thee. I shall proceed directly to the descriptions of the archery tournament and all subsequent contests!

Unfortunately, the single target that made up the archery tournament's only range was placed too low on the ground for any accurate shooting to be done, and the most points anybody walked away with (out of 12 arrows each) was 18--the winner being Owen Cwiran.

For his prize, Owen chose the black leather belt pouch which Cynara had made. Cora, having laid eyes on the pouch before, coveted it for herself, and greatly scorned Owen for being such a greedy guy.

The next tournament that took place was the javelin-throwing tournament. Hung from a large tree, a large ring (bicycle tire inner-tube) swung slowly back and forth, daring somebody to cast a javelin or spear cleanly through the center at ten yards. Do not be fooled--this was far more difficult than it sounds. Evenutally, after several rounds, Owen and Daryoon both scored a single hit out of three throws each, tying for the high score. Owen already having won a tournament, he doffed an imaginary cap and stepped aside so that Dareoon was prolclaimed the winner. For prize Daryoon chose the muslin tunic sewn by Cynara.

Meanwhile, the florentine (two weapons each) tournament had begun, consisting of four elimination rounds.

In the first round, all 13 warriors participated, and the Lady Becky took great pride in losing every duel she fought. Now that's optomism! After several grueling fights, Maelgrim, Owen, Cynara, Lance, Flynn and Ceolmhor progressed to the second round. Owen, having lost the spirit for fighting against Flynn, made his quietus from the battle ground, and in the third round, Maelgrim, Cynara, Lance and Flynn all took a short break, as they had been fighting almost constantly for nearly two hours. Finally, Maelgrim and Lance duked it out in the final round, with Lance thoroughly wasting Maelgrim. As the victor most noble, Lance did choose a pair of leather bracers made by Maelgrim for his reward.

Whilst the florentine finalists rested, the broadsword (two-handed) tournament began, in which Cora, Farlin of the Woods, Ceolmhor, Daryoon y Darres, Ralamean, Rhys and Becky all participated. After much whacking and smacking, Farlin of the Woods emerged victorious and claimed the black leather journal made by Maelgrim as his prize, opening the way for the pole-arm tournament.

Lady Cynara took the victory as the Master (Mistress/Lady?) of the Quarter-staff, which came as a surprise to very few. As her prize, she chose a saxon-stlye knotworked leather belt made by Maelgrim.

About this time, the sun had moved far to the west (and in the Outlands, there isn't much farther west one can go) and the stomachs of the assembled mercenaries began a mighty grumbling, the likes of which would have frightened brave Beowulf himself. Thoughts turned towards the great feast, and many a warrior found his or her eyes wandering towards the rapidly diminishing supply of fruit upon the wooden tray nearby.

So it was that Cynara did begin preparations for the feast while the Sword and Shield tournament took place, with Maelgrim winning and claiming the 5 Owen-made arrows for his own.

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the Feast
What a feast! Mere mortal words cannot describe the deliciousness of the food (especially after such vigorous fighting). Therefore, I shall merely list the menu and describe some of the more noteworthy events that took place during the feast.

Menu
Roasted Goose with Orange Sauce (courtest of Cynara)
Roasted Cornish Hens stuffed with authentic medieval stuffing (Cynara)
French Bread (courtesy of Owen)
Italian Bread (courtesy of Maelgrim)
Dark Rye Bread (Cynara)
Many assorted fine cheeses
Beef Pies (Maelgrim)
Blackberry Cobbler (Cynara)
Fresh Fruit (Cynara)
Wine (Cynara)
Of course, everybody who had feasting garb wore it. The feasting site was alive with brilliant crimsons, emeralds, sapphires, golds and silvers flashing in the threads of the mercenaries (where they got such fine clothing is probably better left unsaid). Because most of the mercenaries were under 21, the wine was non-alcoholic (what fun is that?) although that didn't stop some from getting a bit tipsy anyway (not that Becky made a fool of herself).
While the feast drew to a close, Ralamean and Rhys slipped away to the bardic fire site, where they called upon the great and terrible demi-gods of the fire world. Apparently, the aforemention deities were listening, because soon a blaze that could be seen above the treetops roared in the fire pit.
When Maelgrim and Owen saw this, they uttered (almost in unison) "Jesus Xristos!" Actually, they used somewhat more . . . ah, mundane terminology--but that's not important.
While Owen thoroughly punished the naughty fire-makers, the bardic circle began to gather . . .

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the Bardic Circle
The Bardic Circle was a bit sparse, but then again, it was only the first time anybody had ever done a bardic circle.
Daryoon sang a wonderfully wholesome song about whiskey and ducks. It was very informative.
Besides that, Malcom told an amusing tale about a lady who tried to swallow her lute, and there were a few songs from Maelgrim, Ceolmhor, and Flynn.
After the music and entertainment, everybody was spoiling for a good fight, and so it came as no surprise that the Night Battle was soon to follow.

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Night Battle

The night battle for the first Mercenary Wars was quite an event to remember.

Lance of the Black Falcons first elft on a scouting mission, but was captured by the enemy company upon finding their camp.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Black Falcons had followed in Lance's footsteps and found the Company of the Mists' camp. In a quick attack, they narrowly defeated the three Mist defenders and captured the banners in the camp.

Leading the prisoners back to the main clearing at swordpoint, the Black Falcons were too busy rejoicing ni their victory to realize their danger. They released their prisoners in their confidence, and Rhyse and Ralamean left to find the other half of the Company of the Mists.

While the Black Falcons were weakened, they were attacked and captured by the Company of the Mists, who had been hiding in the trees and darkness. Quickly defeated and tied to a large tree, the Black Falcons were taunted by the sight of their weapons mere feet away.

Luckily, nobody noticed that Cynara and Maelgrim were not quite bound, and the ropes were slashed in seconds.

With vengeance on their minds, the Black Falcons that had been captured left in search of their captors. Lance became lost in the twisting blackness of the forest, as did Owen. Rhyse and Ralamean suffered the same fate.
Eventually, nearly everybody ended up sleeping in the Company of the Mists' camp.

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Mehefin 30: Day Two

Morning

In the morning following the battle, Maelgrim and Cynara headed towards the Company of the Mists' camp, where everybody else had ended up.
They were faced by a line of defenders, but no sooner had the pair declined hte fight than the Mists' grey flag was seen bouncing across the ground--in the mouth of a thieving squirrel! The flag was never seen again.

After breakfast came the three-team battle. It ended with Owen and Cyanra's team being victorious. Before the rest of the event could take place, the rains arrived.

As the mercenaries were preparing to leave, Maelgirm, Owen and Cynara saw another friend--Sir Haroun (now Baron Haroun) of the SCA!

After a wet stop at the nearest Wendy's, the mercenaries headed home, with the Company of the Mists victorious. So ended the first Mercenary Wars.

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the Mercenary Wars 2: the Black Falconsí Return

Prologue:

It has been a year since the first Mercenary Wars.

One year ago, Baron Aelfric ap Llew, hungry for land and power, hired the mercenary Company of the Mists after their defeat of the Fflemedd Company. So successful was the Company of the Mists that soon Baron Aelfric had seized all of the surrounding lands from the lesser, weaker lords.

In protest, the displaced lords turned to the presiding Eorls of the land and begged for justice.

The Council of Eorls decreed that Baron Aelfric must cease his aggression towards his weaker neighbors and return control of their lands to them. When Baron Aelfric refused, the nearest Eorl launched an attack upon Aelfricís army. However, the Baronís army, knowing the land and having much to fight for, drove away the larger force.

Furious, the Eorl spoke to his cousin, the King of Norway. King Harald (of Norway) not only sent several troops to help defeat the over-ambitoius Baron, but also recommonded the Black Falcon Mercenary Company.

Following along at the rear, the Black Falcons witnessed the eradication of the large force of the Norse Army. The last remnants of the Norse Army joined with the battle-hardened Black Falcons in hopes of defeating the Company of the Mists and the Baronís personal guard. . .

And so began the second Mercenary Wars.

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Basically, it was a lot like the first. This time, the Black Falcons won, and the tournaments were as follows:

Archery: Pretty much everybody participated in this tournament. Owen won this--how annoying. He never even practiced with his bow!
Longsword: Most people fought in this tournament. It was tough and hard, but eventually won by Maelgrim (by use of a rather dirty--if legitimate--trick).
Broadsword: I'm fairly sure that Aldric won this tournament. I could be wrong.
Sword and Shield: This tournament didn't go far--it was more of a long practice session.

Night Battle

The night battle was a bit of a farce.
The Black Falcons, exercising extreme caution and commendable stealth, sneaked up on the far-distant Company of the Mists camp. It took a few hours of sneaking, but the group eventually reached the camp completely undetected (despite the protestations of Isaac). The attack was swift--if not completely by surprise--and the Company of the Mists surrendered their sword to the Black Falcons.

It should be noted that it was Owen's idea for the entire Company of the Mists to stay at camp and drink around the fire. As a result, the Black Falcons were the only ones who did any sneaking.
Both sides had a great time.

The Mercenary Wars ended with the Black Falcons victorious. What will future wars bring?

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the Mercenary Wars 3

The next Mercenary Wars is set to take place in late June (Mehefin) of 1998.
The tournaments are planned as follows (although this is by no means final):
Longsword (one-handed)
Broadsword (two-handed)
Archery
All-weapon
Grand Melee

There will certainly be prizes for the winners, and possibly prizes for the second-and-third-place winners.

As for a story, that will be revealed shortly. However, this Mercenary Wars is planned to last a whole weekend. The schedule idea is this:

Saturday early: Organizers arrive and set up tournament fields
Saturday morning (probably about 10-11 AM): sign-up for tournaments. Campsites determined and camp set up by opposing companies.
Saturday afternoon (about 12-1): Lunch and beginning of tournaments. Archery tournament to be held at far end of the main camp. Another tournament (possibly longsword?) starts.
Saturday late afternoon (between 3-5): Another tournament--probably boradsword. Saturday evening (after 5): Feast, feast cleanup. Resting time.
Saturday evening (after feast and resting): Bardic circle. Storytelling and songs (hopefully--last year wasn't bad).
Saturday night: Night battles
Sunday morning: Breakfast probably.
Sunday morning (after 10): Tournaments--all weapon and Grand Melee.
Sunday afternoon: Lunch and preparation for Hourglass Battle.
Sunday afternoon (about 1:00?): Hourglass battle.
Sunday afternoon (after HG Battle): Tallying of points, etc... Closing junk. Prizes handed out and winner announced.
Sunday afternoon (about 3:00): Pack up and go home.

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