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By DonalBane of Blakmers

Battlefield Correspondent, Pennsic Independent

The Great Pennsic War XXXIV officially got underway Sunday morning as a large multitude of the populace assembled for Opening Ceremonies. As has become custom, the populace of AEthelmearc was the first to assemble, with TRMs Malcolm and Tessa preparing to welcome the rest of the kingdoms to their land. Songs of the glory of ®thelmearc rang out as Their Majesties awaited their guests.

After about 20 minutes, the grand columns from both the East Kingdom and the Midrealm marched in shoulder-to-shoulder, followed by representatives from every other kingdom in the Known World in order of their date of founding. It was TRMs Tarrach and Fina of Northshield that drew the biggest applause, as this will be the first war Northshield will participate in as a kingdom.

Once all of Their Majesties had arrived, HRM Malcolm welcomed the populace in a full voice.
"The sun shines brightly on this morning," HRM Malcolm said. "We hope this leads to a week of great camaraderie."

Malcolm then yielded to the kings of the belligerent nations. HRM Kelson of the East, leading the Tyger to war for the second straight Pennsic, spoke first.

"I find the entire concept of fighting my cousin here foolish," HRM Kelson said. Kelson then presented his court jester to the crowd and said he was willing to fight a fool.

HRM Alaric of the Midrealm was not fooling around, however.

"I am sure the forces of the Midrealm will be here to meet you on this field," HRM Alaric said."

"We will then pledge to do as we have always done: to keep the fight clean and honorable," HRM Kelson said.

"We must remember always what is written on the Runestone," HRM Alaric said. "Let no one fight in anger; Let no one fight in pain."

Alaric then produced the war arrow and broke it before presenting it to Kelson. As he did, cannons sounded drawing great applause from the crowd. Kelson then asked Alaric to keep the arrow, although he showed that Alaric would look excellent with the arrow sticking in his breastplate. Alaric countered that he would hold onto the arrow's barb to ensure no foul play.

The heralds of both the Midrealm and the East then alternated in calling out the names of the kingdoms and asking that they declare their allegiance to either the Dragon or the Tyger.

After HRM Thorfinn of the West and HRM Eduard of Atenveldt declared for the East, HRM Maximillan of Meridies was asked to declare.

"Well, I do declare!" HRM Maximillan said, drawing much laughter from the crowd. Saying he wanted to repel "the Yankee menace," HRM Maximillan declared for the Middle.

HRM Dietrich of Caid and HRM Uther of An Tir both then declared for the East, with HRM Uther indicating the East served him well when he was a novice fighter and he would repay the debt.

HRM Robert of Atlantia then broke with tradition as he declared his kingdom would fight alongside the Midrealm. HRM Jason of Ansteorra then declared for their traditional allies with the East.

HRM Tristan of Calontir then pulled a bit of a swerve, as he said he would repay the hospitality of the new Kingdom of Northshield by fighting alongside them. An emissary from The Outlands later said his kingdom would follow suit.

HRM Baldar of Trimaris, who is celebrating his kingdom's 20th anniversary, said he pledged "our weather and our arms to the Midrealm." HRM Cornelius of Lochac later would reply that it was snowing in his homeland and that Trimaris "can keep its weather" before declaring for the East. Drachenwald and Artemesia also declared for the East.

It was then ®thelmearc's turn and HRM Malcolm said, while he remembered his kingdom's heritage with the East, HRM Alaric had impressed him and AEthelmearc would fight with the Middle. HRM Edouard of Ealdormere then said he would honor his heritage and that his kingdom would follow the Middle.

Finally, Northshield took the stage for the first time and, with three kingdom armies at his disposal, HRM Tarrach declared he would fight alongside his former kingdom brothers in the Midrealm.

After all the SCA kingdoms had declared, representatives from the Holy Kingdom of Acre came forth and declared for their traditional allies of the East. Khan Rowena of Avalon, Khan of the Great Dark Horde then approached and said HRM Alaric had welcomed her people "with open arms, open minds and open pocketbooks." She then gave an arrow to Alaric, signifying the Horde's alliance with the Midrealm.

House Darkyard then came forth, bearing the Pennsic War Horn. HRM Alaric then played a scale on the horn before his consort, HRM Noelle, gave her own high blast.

It was HRM Alaric who had the last word of the ceremony.

"Let you all come to what fields that you may," said HRM Alaric. "Be it with rapier, archery or at heavy fighting, may you come with victory in your hearts and honor for your noble opponents. Until that time that we see you on the field, we will greet you."