By Dara of House Gawain
As rapiers poured onto the field for Tuesday’s Field Battle, the East Kingdom and its allies again outnumbered the Midrealm and its allies, but the Middle Kingdom fighters were not hesitant to take the field.
In fact, Professor Pieter van Doorn, supported by Lord Stephan, strode out onto the field to issue a challenge to the entirety of the Eastern army before being forced off the field by the marshals. Both armies were so eager that the marshals had to spend even more time reminding them to start behind the hay bales.
Both armies lined up and advanced. The Midrealm held back to force the Eastern forces to march or run farther across the hot field, letting them expend energy before even reaching the fight. The battle was hard fought across the lines, but the Eastern army took victory by managing to envelop and destroy the left flank of the Midrealm army as well as sending in reserves to take advantage of a gap in the Midrealm army’s line.
It seemed to go very quickly for the spectators although the first bout was one of the longer open field battles ever held. Unfortunately, the ending came too quickly to accurately determine the last fighter standing for the Middle Kingdom.
Before the second bout began, the Midrealm was allowed to use hay bales to develop a defensive position. They built a large fort with an entrance that began wide but narrowed to a V farther into the fort. Fighters could attack with swords over the bales of hay but could not cross over them. The Midrealm arranged themselves into a kill pocket and waited for the East to advance.
The East, however, did not cross the field uncontested. Some sortie parties were sent out to harry and cut down their advance troops and provided a good account of themselves. Warder Maximilian der Zauberer was still on the field being stalked by two Eastern fighters even as the East attacked the gates of the fort.
The Eastern army battered at the gate but the Midrealm army held it against wave after wave of fighters, turning the gate into a brutal kill zone. At last, the call came up from the Eastern army to retreat and King Morgan of Northshield issued a challenge of single combat to the castle. Professor Pieter was chosen by King Arch as champion but fell below King Morgan’s blades. The victorious king issued another challenge and Don Iago of the Kingdom of Ansteorra immediately stepped up to the challenge. He also fell. However, the Eastern army had retreated to a safe distance from the fort at that point in order to regroup.
A stalemate lasted between the two armies for several long moments. The Ansteorran fighters eventually emerged from the fort and held a tight line against the Eastern army, taking opponents with them as they eventually fell. A second squad emerged from the fort and again the battle was fierce before they too fell to the Eastern armies. Just as the last of the dead cleared the field, the Midrealm army gloriously charged out en masse and the armies clashed with shouts only barely drowned out by the ringing of steel on steel.
Due to superior numbers of Eastern fighters, the Midrealm army was forced to retreat back into their fort where they quickly arranged themselves into a kill pocket at the gate. The Eastern army pursued and crashed upon the defenders’ rapiers, fighting hard and fast for several minutes before managing to break through into the fort. Once inside, their superior numbers came into play and they cut down the Midrealm army to the last fighter, Lady Collette Valois.
After the fight, Duke Ogedi, commander of the Eastern army, gave credit to his opponents for a hard fought-battle. He explained how he hit the left flank hard in the first battle and used his reserves to his advantage. The second battle required patience and he felt the Midrealm army had used excellent tactics. He admitted to losing more than he had expected but was pleased with his victory and the gain of two more War Points for the Eastern Kingdom.
The commander of the Midrealm army, Anton Du Marais, was not disappointed in how the battles went. He was proud that the first battle had gone on longer than almost any other field battle. For the second bout, he admitted that it had occurred to him to remain in the fort, forcing the Eastern army into the kill pocket or waiting them out. However, as his fighters and allies and the Eastern army had all come to fight, “not to stand around in the sun for two hours,” he gave the order to emerge, placing the desire for an enjoyable war over a desire for victory. According to him, he knew they were “going to die to a man but it was a glorious charge.”