By Lord Dominic Seamor
Thrown Weapons Reporter, The Pennsic Independent
The Axe Maidens of Ealdormere once more displayed their dedication, skill, and grace by hosting the 15th annual Estrogen and Axes tournament Tuesday at 11:30 am, at the Thrown Weapons range. Her Grace Rylyn, Her Excellency Christiana, Countess Lidr Lang-Akasan, and THL Catriona (all Ealdormere) were the leading ladies among the many Axe Maidens organizing the tourney.
Fifty-eight women participated in the competition, ranging in age from fourteen to “none of your business,” in skill from first-time thrower to baronial champion, and in rank from peasant to sitting royalty. HRM Adrielle of Ealdormere and HRM Gwyn of Northshield led the assembled throwers in the tournament.
Indeed, Queen Adrielle came to the range with the dust of battle still upon her. She had been leading Ealdomerean forces in the Bridge battle, but graciously took the time to come to the range and throw. As Her Majesty said, the SCA should be “a community embracing all activities” and she was leading by example. Queen Adrielle not only competed in Estrogen and Axes, she took the time for a set of Populace Throws as well. Queen Gwyn arrived from the Children’s Arts and Sciences Display, but still had time to complete a set of throws on the Populace War Point as well as participate in the tourney. She said that she had only been throwing for about two years, and that Estrogen and Axes “looked like fun.”
Her Majesty was right. Each thrower was allowed two axes at each of the five targets. The first four targets were each marked with two small symbols, and hitting a symbol was worth five points, while sticking in the target outside a symbol was worth one point. The fifth target was something else. This target featured three small cups, said to be filled with wine, and the throwers were required to stick the weapons into the target without hitting the cups, which would spill the wine. A successful strike would be worth five points, but spilling the wine would be worth nothing. A perfect score would be fifty points.
As the assembled competitors completed the tourney, it was noted that five of these ladies were wearing armor. Not only is that a comment on the increasing participation of the distaff sex in martial activities, it shows just how hectic the pace of Pennsic has become, with activity piled on top of activity.
Weight of armor, heat of sun, buzzing of insects; nothing stopped these assembled ladies from their appointed throws. After all was said and thrown the winning total of 30 was held by Elizabeth (Æthelmearc), with Marrin (Ealdormere) second with 23, Kestral (Middle) with 21, Eve with 19, and Foley (Middle) with 18. As first-place winner Elizabeth received a scroll with calligraphy and illumination by Lady Bethó ingen MaelFéchín.
Each winner then chose a prize from a table snowed under to a depth of several inches with all manner of good things, donated by the good people of Ealdormere and gathered together by the vigor of the Axe Maidens. Topping the table was a handmade chess set, with an inlaid wooden board also forming a lined carrying case for cast and painted plaster pieces, made and donated by Olaf Smeo of the Northwoods. There were so many things available, thanks to the “mind-boggling generosity” of the people of Ealdormere – as their Queen described it – that every competitor took something home, and still there were good gifts left on the table.
Wassail! to Their Majesties for their support and encouragement, to the Axe Maidens for the enthusiasm and dedication, to the populace of Ealdormere for unrivaled generosity, and to the ladies of our Society for their grace, charm, and skill with sharp steel.