By DonalBane of Blakmers
Battlefield Reporter, Pennsic Independent
The rapier combatants of the Known World got melee season officially underway Saturday morning with the 10th annual Storming of La Rochelle.
About 200 rapier warriors from across the Known World assembled at the Pennsic fort on a perfect summer morning. These forces were split into those with orange tape (“The Dutch”) and those without.
Under the watchful eye of head marshal Uadhalrich von Sassmanchausen, the two forces were each given a chance to defend the fort with the defenders given one resurrection and the attackers having unlimited resurrection. Whichever side held out the longest would claim victory.
Rubber band guns were in full force during the melee and a petard was used to “blow the gates” by both squads.
The Dutch army defended the fort first and put up a determined wall of fire with its rubber band guns. The defending snipers on the battlements proved so effective that the attacking armies needed three attempts to place its petard.
Eventually, an earth-shattering kaboom blew the gates open, but the Dutch resistance inside proved stubborn. A kill pocket at the main gate, manned by forces from Atlantia, Pentamere and the Southern Watch, held the attacking forces at bay for more than 10 minutes, despite repeated charges from Brendoken, Wednesday Company and the Thieves of Hearts.
Meanwhile, defenders from the East and attackers from Æthelmearc battled over the western gate ferociously.
It took heavy fighting, but the attackers finally overwhelmed the Dutch. The Dutch army held out for 13:51.
After the two armies changed sides, the Dutch threw everything they had at the main gate – including one fighter who spider-crawled his way under a shield wall to set the petard.
With a second earth-shattering kaboom achieved, the Dutch army began an efficient assault on their foes, with Midrealm and Atlantian fighters keeping constant pressure on the kill pocket.
Within minutes the kill pocket was perforated, and Dutch forces spread out to sweep the fort. Last stands were made by forces from Brendoken in the two towers, but the Dutch forces cleared the fort in 8:50, claiming the win.
A third battle ensued with Warders, White Scarves and members of other top rapier orders taking on the remaining rapier fighters.
Despite being outnumbered by what appeared to a 5-to-1 ratio, the warders used careful placement and superior skill to hold off and then seize the battle.
The end came when the warders in the east tower broke out and encircled the forces assaulting the western tower. Wednesday Company was the last force to fall with Vindis the Sigtnygson being the last man to fall before the warders’ blades.