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By THL Heirusalem Crystoma

Viscount Edward Zifran of Gendy, in his musings to the Pennsic populace stated, "I would like to dedicate the 33rd Pennsic War to 'inspiration.' I encourage us all to look inward to find that which inspires us to be part of Our Society and having done thus, share with others the motivation that draws us to Pennsic each year." This eloquent yet simple statement, when viewed in the darkness of a (mostly) sleeping late evening of Pennsic War becomes a quest. It is easily, longingly, happily fulfilled.

Our current world is filled with fear and strain. For many of us, the thought of spending a week or two playing at a congenial medieval war seems almost laughable in light of the harsh reality of war gripping the world. Our sons, daughters, husbands, wives and dear friends are gripped in that reality and are never far from our thoughts. What they are doing is so large compared to what we are doing and where we are that it is beyond our comprehension.

Therein lies a modest and grand part of inspiration.

Wars are declared, fought and lost over ideals, politics and commerce. Here we fight a different kind of war, not over a broken arrow or boundaries or over the long-planned and well-rehearsed designs of kings and queens. This war is not insignificant or silly. It is a war we each bring with us and each leaves the battlefield victorious.

For the individual, it is the same war our sons, daughters, husbands, wives and dear ones fight. Each of us, in our private war, starts each day with hope. Each day we do battle. If we do it right, each evening we lay down with less of ourselves and we somehow better the world around us.

Our war is against ignorance, greed, selfishness and loss of the heritage that has been stretched and shaped into the conditions we currently live in. It is a defiance of the idea that a community cannot be built on honor and integrity. It is a triumph of beauty, imagination and reason.

Here, the dignity of the Royalty, the heart of the artisan, the honor of the fighter, the banter of the merchant, the touch of the lover, the song of the bard, the innocent smile of the child, the nod of the person who just walked past you, and in all who create this unique and peaceable war, there is victory.

Because whatever else you may go home with, you will go home with inspiration in this short victorious war. Wherever our loved ones are today, may they be so inspired by their companions. May we be so inspired by their selfless dedication with which they fight their lengthy one.