By Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
Editor-in-Chief, Pennsic Independent
It’s the question everyone has been asking. Why peace?
I spent nearly an hour talking with HRM Konrad of the East about his decision to concede all 37 war points to the Middle Kingdom. His Majesty was very open and candid about his reasons. “It was not a quick decision,” said HRM Konrad. He and HRM Lutr had spent many months preparing for Pennsic and working to gain allies, a process His Majesty describes as “very political,” since allied kingdoms’ alliances at other wars are often involved. About six weeks ahead of Pennsic, after Meridies and the Tuchux declared for the Middle, he realized the East could be outnumbered by as many as 250 fighters—an unwinnable situation. He and HRM Lutr discussed the possibility of evening up the sides, but nothing was resolved as the actual numbers were not known. HRM Konrad’s greatest fear was the impact on fun and sportsmanship. “I remember kings of the East doing terrible things—not letting their allies go” in the past when the advantage was on their side. He added that he had never agreed with that approach. “There’s no joy in winning against an opponent with no chance. And it has an impact on young fighters, and becomes a vicious cycle—for both sides. I want people to feel it was worth it after driving that far—rather than either getting run over or not even getting a chance to fight
His Majesty offered a few personal reasons as well. “To me, Pennsic is about challenging ourselves. It does not make sense to play a game of chess without the same number of pieces. I have waited 16 years to be king. With the numbers as they were, I might have won a couple of points here or there, but it would not have been a true test of skill.”
Why such a bold move? “I wanted to make a point—to fix the process. I hope the drasticness of it makes people think.” His Majesty stated that the reactions have covered a whole spectrum, from incredibly appreciative and “I can’t thank you enough” to “I’ve never been more disappointed in a king and a knight.” He added that he felt bad about how it might go over with HRM Lutr. “We had a great time with TRM of the Middle at events we attended together and offered our full support when their reign was invalidated. They were wonderful to work with.” But His Majesty is willing to accept the judgement of history for standing on his principles. “Ten years from now, people may read ‘37-0’ in the records and assume that’s the year the Middle slaughtered the East. But it was important to me that it be seen as more than just lip service.”
How have things gone since Sunday? “Today (Monday), HRM Lutr gave me 50 fighters. They fought hard, and I was honored to have them. We had a great time, and people cared even without the points at stake.” He added he hopes this can continue. “I respect HRM Lutr’s negotiations, but I’d like to make sure we keep at a competitive level. I’d like to send some of our marquee households to fight with the Middle as well. Duke Lucan has offered his household if this can be arranged.” He hopes this might improve relations between the two kingdoms, bringing them closer “I know some in the Middle feel that some of our Royal Peers are Satan—I’d like them to get a chance to fight together on the same side.” He mentioned that the King of the West had told him this is more common there, where it’s considered an honor to be asked by the King to cross the field to even out sides.
His Majesty also hopes his actions will have a longer-term effect. “Maybe in the future we can take the ultimate win/lose less seriously.” He described the process of Pennsic negotiation as it exists today as long and exhausting (sounding to me more like corporate lawyers negotiating a contract, complete with board rooms in hotels and conference calls, rather than any approximation of medieval society.) “There is a great deal of pressure on kings to win. The fun is lost.” He added that perhaps future kings might consider scenarios such as one king picking two teams, with the other king given first choice of the two.
He also understands why people may be upset, and hopes that as the week progresses, everything will work out as they realize that there are still many opportunities for honor, camaraderie, and fun. Although these have been a challenging few days, he is continuing in that spirit, stating “I think my sense of humor is abundantly intact.”
Note to readers: The interview with HRM Konrad was recorded in its entirety and is available at www.pennsicindependent.com under podcasts. Look for #4.