My Experience Playing a Guildmaster's Prize
Originally published in Punta Dritta May AS XXXVI (2001)
Hello to everyone I met at Rowany Festival; I want to thank you all for a wonderful experience! I enjoyed meeting you all and had a great time getting to fence with many of you. I had some very challenging opponents as well as some educational ones. Lochac has a great asset in its rapier community!
To those Provosts who played in my Prize I wish to extend my deepest thanks to you for your participation and assistance in helping not only me, but also the whole rapier community to be represented well. Our efforts were noticed by many people and appreciated by everyone I spoke to! Anyone who aspires to become a Provost would be well served by talking to and training with the Provosts I went up against. I can guarantee you that it's not as easy as it looks to play with your food before you eat it! Although they made it look VERY easy to drink quite a bit of wine that evening...
As you will have noticed, we did our best to carry out the drama and seriousness of the Prize while having a bit of fun along the way. This wouldn't have been possible without the forethought and planning of Their Lordships Baron Francois and Dameon Greybeard. They truly made it come alive for me making it a very meaningful event. Thank you.
For those of you interested in reading further, I've written a few snippets from my perspective regarding the Prize and it's highlights.
It all started with me "warming up" with the Provosts...They were all skill-full opponents, but Tariq stood out. In our bouts he kept pushing and playing a sniping game. After the second touch he got on me I decided that this game was over and moved up a notch. It was great to later hear Tariq recounting that experience, saying something to the effect of, "I came on guard, blinked, realized I'd been hit, fell down... and died in the dark." I hope he knows it's the highest compliment I can give someone on the field when I have to move up a level like that!
Once through the Provosts they kindly allowed me a few minutes to rest which I was grateful for. We then moved on with Dameon and Francois testing me.... for those of you who may not have seen Dameon going full speed in the first Guild Master round I'm sorry you missed it. Not only did he get things off on the right foot.... He Scared Me! I haven't had anyone come at me with that much intensity and intention in a Long time. I just hope his leg is feeling better by now... After that it was fun and educational to be tested in the seven different forms by them both. We all got in some great shots and sometimes caught each other napping. I can honestly say that I can learn a lot from them both when given the opportunity. Specifically, I commend Francois and Dameon on their humbling demonstration of skill with case of rapier and cane respectively.
At the end Her Majesty asked us to answer an age old question...That being, "Which is better, width or length?" To determine this I was given a cooking spoon as was Francois and Dameon (I can't remember which one I had...width or length) as well as my trusty dagger. To be honest, I can't remember which one came out on top (although it was mine), but I do remember Francois' look when he was given the pizza board to fight with (I was given both of the small spoons as a handicap). I've never seen such stoicism! The final outcome was of course inevitable....It's not size that counts, it's how you use it. Being able to demonstrate this while using dagger was great fun since it's very clean or Really messy. We were all fortunate that the bouts were clean and fun. Her Majesty seemed pleased by my demonstration as well as by my answers to her questions so she proceeded to re-affirm my station as a Courtier in Her Court (To my great delight!).
As you can see, I had a great time! I hope everyone who was there did too. I look forward to seeing you all again next year at Rowany!
Your humble servant to the Dream, Michael