In the words of
Duke Sir Talymar gan y Llyn
Recorded and transcribed by
Taran na Ceol
You probably know that [Eislinn and I] were king and queen at Pennsic 16. She had contracted breast cancer when my son Brian was born. ... She went into remission and we thought everything was okay. And she wanted to be War Queen; she was Winter Queen the first time. She asked me to fight, and I won Crown Tournament.
That was in the fall, and then sometime in January the cancer came back. It metastasized to the brain. We had some discussions with the king and queen and, of course, ourselves about whether or not we should resign, and the decision was: let’s wait and see what happens with chemotherapy and radiation. And those things worked well. The cancer went away. So we moved forward with becoming king and queen.
It was pretty well known that she was fighting cancer and had those two episodes, so her dream of becoming War Queen became like a fairytale.
This (the included photo) is a picture of the procession of Opening Ceremonies, and it’s actually longer than this because we had all the kingdoms except the East and the West. The West brought ten people, and the king of the West was an old knight from the East Kingdom, so he was fighting for the East. The King of the East was Randal, and he was a friend of mine. He said, “I would like to fight for her, but if I did, there would be no war.”
So the majority of those allies—all those other kingdoms—didn’t fight for me; they didn’t fight for the Middle Kingdom; they fought specifically for Eislinn. That’s why it’s called “Eislinn’s War”. The squires of the Middle Kingdom all fought for her; they would normally fight with the Midrealm Royal Army, but they formed their own unit ... called “Eislinn’s Guard,” and all the Midrealm squires fought under Queen Eislinn’s banner.
There’s lots of little things that happened during the battles… that were just absolute dreams, you know? The Tuchux fought for the East, but they came into our War Court and ... they got kind of boisterous about it, but then they settled down and said, “We would like to fight for Eislinn, but if we did (same thing the East said) there wouldn’t be anybody to fight. So we’re going to fight for the East.”
And then he turned around and said, “Now, King Talymar, watch out! Because we’re coming for you!” And I said, “Okay, come for me!”
So they attacked what would have been my left flank en masse and they broke through.... I had Duke Comar and his household in reserve. They’d kind of been sitting there—just waiting and waiting for that moment, because we had plenty of guys, so I think they thought they might not get a chance to fight. But the Tuchux were coming through! So Duke Comar and his household went and hit the Tuchux hard and broke them up.
Two guys got through, so I went out and I think I one-shot one of them and he went down, and the other guy, I took his leg. I stepped in and did a wrapshot around the back of his head, and as he fell over ... Eislinn was standing there right at the ropes. So I walked over, and I looked at the field (and this is that “end of the battle” when you’re chasing them down, but the field is still active), and I took her by the hand, lifted up the rope, and took her onto the battlefield that was still active, because I knew that we were in such control that she could safely come onto the battlefield.
It was a phenomenon that most people don’t understand. She was the queen of the Middle, but it was the king of Ansteorra—Texas—who said that that hill is Mount Eislinn. That’s* the ritual scroll that I got at Pennsic 17. It so affected the fighters of Ansteorra that he decided that had to be done. And that’s a poem from a guy from An Tir, you know? I selected things [for this display] to show the wide variety of people that were affected by her. This is a sympathy scroll from the East Kingdom. The head of that unit that was Eislinn’s Guard was Galen of Newark, and this is a poem that he wrote
Midrealm had never held a court at the War; it was always “War Court” with everybody. But we were getting too big, and we had decided years ago that only peerages would be made at War Court (and we don’t even do that anymore). So we held court, and it was going to be something reasonably simple, but when [the Middle Kingdom] went from the Appalachians to the Rockies and from the Smoky Mountains to the North Pole, there were a lot of people who deserved awards who wouldn’t get it from the hand of the king; they would just go through the mail or “Mongol Express” or whatever. But a lot of times they would come to Pennsic, so people were saying, “Are you going to have War Court here? Can so-and-so get an AoA from you? Can so-and-so get this award?” So it really grew, and it was a two-hour-long court that we had a break in the middle of and I bought popsicles for everyone in the audience, so it was called “The Popsicle Court”.
At the beginning of court, Eislinn was off getting these allies, and when she came in the court had already started, and she came in on a golf cart because it was getting a little difficult to walk.
...Ealdormere was part of the Middle Kingdom (at that time) and they presented us with two plaque crowns (which the king and queen still wear to this day) and this scepter. So when Eislinn came in and I helped her up onto the dias... with hundreds of people out there, I said, “Kneel before your king.” I got this confused look, and she knelt down, and I said... “Give me your crown.” And I got this confused look again. So I took that crown and I set it down and I put the plaque crown that we had just been given on her head ... so she was the first one to wear that crown, and I put this scepter in her hand. [The scepter] got de-acquisitioned because it was so fragile, and somebody bought it and gave it to me as a gift.
We were here for two weeks, and she went back [to Ohio] over the weekend because she had a doctor’s appointment. The cancer had metastasized to the other breast.... After Pennsic was over and we got Coronation out of the way, we went to Cleveland Clinic, and the bad news was, “There’s nothing that we can do.” ... We stepped down in the beginning of October, and she died in March.
That was the story of Eislinn’s War.