Women work the wires at AEthelmearc tourney
By Peregrine Fairchylde
Staff Writer, Pennsic Independent
The Kingdom of AEthelmearc welcomed 20 ladies from around the known world to its second Ladies' Rapier Tournament on Friday, and everyone took away a prize thanks to the "treasure chest" format where each entrant provided a gift for the marshal's table.
After running through four pools of five fighters each, the top finisher from each pool - Warder Brighid MacCumhal of the Middle Kingdom, Lady Arnaz from Trimaris, Tamara of the Light from Ealdormere and Carol Roche from the East - fought a single-elimination bracket to determine the overall winner.
In the finals, Lady Arnaz planted a thrust onto the mask of Warder Brighid to emerge victorious and take, among other prizes, a scroll made by Do–a Sasha Grey of AEthelmearc, one of the organizers of the event, and a gift certificate to Gipsy Peddler. Warder Brighid was offered a bottle of Scotch to help her console herself, and she also took home a tablet-woven belt.
Lady Arnaz said she hopes to bring the same enthusiasm for fencing to the ladies in her home kingdom.
"I'm trying to get the ladies in our kingdom to fight, and hope we can do this at Gulf Wars," she announced.
Warder Brighid noted that she skipped the heavy weapons battle to fight in the ladies' tourney, and also would like to see the Midrealm reach the point one day where the East Kingdom is now, with close to half of its rapier champions being women. Warder Brighid was the sole lady on the Midrealm's team.
Tamara of the Light, an Ealdormearean fencer, said she was extremely pleased to have made the final four.
"This is my first tournament I've actually placed in," said Tamara, who's been fighting for about three years. "It was fun. It was nice to fight gentle ladies who take their shots. [There was] a nice skill level and no thuggery."
Lady Illadore de Bedegrayne, the other organizer of the tournament, said she was very pleased to have exceeded last year's turnout of 14 participants.
"We started this because we thought it would be fun," said Lady Illadore.
"In the past couple of years at Pennsic we've seen lots more women fencing," added Do–a Sasha.
The activity is still growing, and Lady Illadore noted that in their kingdom about 30 percent of all rapier fighters are women. They hoped that through tourneys like this one and another held at Estrella War for the past 10 years that more ladies will be encouraged to try out rapier fighting.
"I would have to say the rapier community is very accepting of everyone and we are delighted to have as many strong women on the field," said Lady Illadore.