Æthelmearc defends its house, wins castle

By DonalBane of Blakmers

Battlefield Reporter for the Pennsic Independent

For the first time in recent memory, the armies of the East and Midrealm united against a common foe. The two belligerent nations joined forces to storm the Pennsic Fort against the forces of Æthelmearc, which were determined to hold defend their home turf in the Castle Battle.

According to HRM Malcolm of Æthelmearc, his Kingdom had secured aid from Atlantia, Clovenshield, Black Talon and others to help defend the castle. Æthelmearc also got a big boost as the Tuchux sided with the Æthelmearcians for the battle.

Per rules of the battle, Æthelmearc was allowed to post a force of 200 fighters outside its gates, who were allowed one resurrection upon returning to the castle. Forces inside the castle and the entire attacking force were not allowed to resurrect.

At the sound of the cannon, the first five minutes of the fight were spent with both sides sniping at each other with ballista, arrow and trebuchet fire. Leonard One Leg, an archer in Duchy Von Drachenklaue who uses a motor scooter, fired one of the first volleys. Leonard’s volley was greeted with cheers from both sides.

After a few minutes, House Bloodguard took the initiative and charged up the west bridge. The bulk of the attacking force soon followed and, after a few minutes fighting, Æthelmearc’s outer defenses were overrun.

Cracking the main gate and western sally point proved much more difficult. Entrenched forces from Æthelmearc held their positions well for most of the battle, despite constant fire and repeated charges.

With the Tuchux in central reserve, Æthelmearc’s position appeared solid. The Tuchux had to commit one of their units to contain a small breakout at the sally point and a second one to contain a final rush on the gate. Once those charges were contained, however, HRM Malcolm ordered his forces to shift from defense to offense.

“It was just a gut feeling,” HRM Malcolm said, with a smile. “It was just time to close the door.”

Æthelmearc’s remaining forces poured through the main gate and proceeded to sweep over any remaining enemy forces. The end came when the final force of the Spartans holding at the sally point were eliminated.

“We wanted to make them work on the outside,” HRM Malcolm said of his opponents. “Once they got inside, we wanted them to come to us. They were very, very intelligent in the way they fought. It was just a matter of them not having enough to get past us.”

HRM Brion of the East said he was also satisfied with the battle.

“Our intent was to create a realistic castle battle and I think we accomplished that,” HRM Brion said. “To me, it played out just perfect. It went the way of Æthelmearc because they fought very well. We just didn’t have the guys to pull through.”

Today’s big battle: The Field Battle

It’s time for the main event. This year there will be two open field battles, the second of which will allow for combat archery. Each battle is worth one War Point and both will be fought to the last man standing.

What to watch for: The first charge. It’s difficult not to be inspired by the spectacle of more than 1,000 warriors crashing headlong into each other for glory and kingdom.