Photo by Master Phillip the Pilgrim
This year’s bridge battle saw some of the hardest fighting of the War.
By Lord Alaric Messer, Martial Reporter
Following an intense Armored Castle Battle, the assembled heavy fighters of the Known World were ready and rearing on Tuesday to keep the War going. The armies gathered their respective sides, and siege weapons were rolled onto the field in preparation for the conflict to come. Many fighters waited with an air of foreboding around them as 10 o’clock neared because the Armored Bridge Battle holds an infamous reputation as a strenuous game of attrition. This year’s more than lived up to this reputation. Many marshals and fighters alike considered this to be some of the hardest fighting of the war. Some would say it was the ugliest, as many holds were called for exceptionally rough blows and uncalled shots.
The center of the field was divided into three bridges, which were the objectives to be held by the armies. Unlike the previous year, this event was divided into three 20-minutes battles. To add to the changes, there was no resurrection, making every kill count in the “meat grinder.”
To add an interesting twist to the fight, piles of construction materials (in the form of hay bales) were left on either side of the field. Fighters could forego combat to act as battlefield engineers, using the bales to construct “fords” no wider than a spear and no further than half the length of a bridge.
With the rules established, the armies organized into their respective formations. Upon the boom of the cannon, the armies engaged in the first battle.
The East-Middle army elected to engage Æthelmearc and her allies on the bridges, allocating the bulk of their forces towards filling the bridges. The red fighters met them with similar resolve, but behind the confusing mass of bodies, their engineers began the hasty construction of fords between the trio of bridges. Shieldmen took to the front of the construction, with the job of protecting engineers from arrows and ballista bolts if necessary.
While both armies clashed with equal ferocity and stubbornness, the first battle turned when the red forces completed their fords. Allied archers took to their new shooting platforms and unleashed a defilade upon the purple army. Under the combined hail of arrows and surging spearmen, the purple forces were pushed back, and Æthelmearc and Her Allies surged across all three bridges. The first battle went to the red army, earning them the first of the battles three War Points.
In the second battle, combat archery and siege were removed from the battle, turning the melee into inelegant chaos. Both sides fought hard, as large divisions from Æthelmearc and her allies rushed to engage and seize as much real estate as possible from the Eastern-Midrealm alliance.
Without archery and siege levying their bloody tithes on the heavy fighters, the battle went on for some time. Purple battlefield engineers used their ford materials to construct spear platforms for defending their bridges. However, in the end, the East and Middle could not overcome the early land gains of the red forces. While the purple army broke through to the end of the center bridge, the reds held the other two securely. This battle brought the tally to two victories for Æthelmearc and her allies.
The third battle saw the return of the archers and siege engines and the cancelation of battlefield construction. Both sides took fiercely to seeking control of the outer bridges, with the middle bridge hotly contested in its center. In the end, the archers of the red army drove back the surging purple forces, resulting in a total victory for Æthelmearc and her allies. The final melee brought them the third War Point of the Armored Bridge Battles.