Photo by Sean Sreamach
Axes in the air and the table full of prizes at Estrogen and Axes.
By Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
Editor-in-Chief, Pennsic Independent
It’s all about the axe.
For at least 16 years, the ladies of the Known World have been gathering in the annual Estrogen and Axes tournament to enjoy the unparalleled feeling of axes flying through the air to bury themselves into wooden stumps with a satisfying “thunk!”
The Kingdom of Ealdormere has sponsored the tournament for the past six years with the support of the Axe Maidens of Ealdormere. Once a woman has participated in the tournament at least one time, she is given a special green favour, as well as dubbed with her “axe name” by Viscountess Axflaeda when she leaves the range. Those from other kingdoms are also christened with axe names as well.
Before starting the tournament, Princess Rylyn (or rather, Rylax) of Ealdormere, who was acting as patroness of the tourney, thanked all for attending, as well as those who had made prizes. During the year, the Axe Maidens (as well as others) make and collect amazing items to present to the participants of Estrogen and Axes, with the top three finishers (as well as some special award winners) getting first pick. Everyone who participates in this tournament is then permitted to pick a prize from the table.
THL Catriona inghen Ragnaill then explained the tournament. This year’s theme was “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” While a “stick” on any part of the butt gained the thrower one point, ten points could be scored by hitting any of the two sheep targets on the first butt, the bag of the wool on the second, or the specific bags of wool on the third, fourth, and fifth butts for the master, the dame, and the little boy in the lane. Fifty-three women took part in the throw, with Princess Rylax leading the way. She was later joined by her royal cousin, Princess Matilde of the East.
Support and camaraderie ruled this tournament. Loud cheering was heard for each “non-zero” score, as many who take part are not regular throwers. A certain Pennsic Independent editor by the name of Nicolaax was extremely happy with her score of 2. The marshals kept their eyes open for axes that landed in interesting ways, such as Countess Lidr’s upside down and backwards stick, or Alice’s axe that ended up stuck to the side of the butt, with the handle facing backwards. They were given first choice of the prizes once the winners received their picks.
The winner of the tournament was Baroness Rosheen from the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, with 47 points. Second place went to Mistress Dealla from the Kingdom of Atlantia with 27 points, and third place to Lady Dorothea from the Kingdom of Æthelmearc.