By Master Liam St. Liam
Features Reporter, Pennsic Independent
Thormot Quilliam was within two victories of becoming the king of Ealdormere when his mother, Brigit Lanbein, leaned over and whispered in his ear.
“You are a bout away from achieving what you have always dreamed of,” she said, fortifying his resolve and sending him out for the final round against Sir Wat, whose squire Dagmar Halvdan was Qulliam’s consort.
“I had won the first best two-of-three, and he had won the second,” Quilliam said. “My mother said that, and that was the moment that just blew me away.”
Minutes later, the 19-year-old from Skeldergate was the crown prince of Ealdormere and finding himself preparing to be a Pennsic king.
The king, the walking definition of an earnest, strapping young man, started in the SCA youth fighter program at 14, and while he could fight heavy weapons with adults in Ealdormere at 16, he could not fight adults at Pennsic until last year. Every time he swings a sword, he is appreciative of the chance, because when he was 17, he was in a serious automobile accident. While it was not obvious at first, it turned out he had broken his neck. After two months of therapy, he was fighting again.
The king said he chose to fight for Queen Dagmar because, “My first-ever event as a heavy fighter was a demo in Oshawa, and she made me a shield,” he said. “She’s a really, really good friend. She’s the best organizer I know. Everyone loves her.”
The queen, who is older than her king and has known him since he started in the SCA, also fought for him in the tournament. For the final, she was on the sidelines, knowing that she would either be a monarch or would be in her knight’s entourage.
When Queen Dagmar speaks of her king, she bursts with pride. “If you saw the jewelry I wore at opening ceremonies, part of it was the prize he won in his first youth fighting tournament,” she said. “We have been good friends for a long time.”
Qulliam is not the kingdom’s first unbelted prince or king, but the bout between him and Sir Wat marked the first kingdom final where neither man had ever been prince before.
Master Hector of the Black Height, one of the kingdom’s oldest and most respected peers, found himself impressed by the king in many ways. “He really is someone special. He does so much. At one of our events, he wrote a poem, and it was quite good. We award our people with words, and we dubbed him Skald King.”
HRM Ealdormere spoke with humor and confidence at opening ceremonies. He first pointed out that he had come “for the picnic,” then, in a loud voice, declared for the Midrealm.