War with the West 1980

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War with the West 1980
Location: Rieslingshire
Date: May 17 and 18, 1980

The Armies of Caid and the West met in battle at Rieslingshire on May 17 and 18, A.S. XV (1980).


  • The war was declared a draw by King Balin and King Strider.

From the Heatherwyne Press, Vol. III, No. 4


by Lord James the Inconstant

Rieslingshire, CAID - On May 17 and 18, A.S. XV (1980) the Armies of Caid and the West met in battle here in the northern regions of Caid. The war started when, at opening court, King Balin of Caid and King Strider of the West publically quarreled over the illumination of the peace treaty from the last war. King Balin had a scroll prepared with argent and azure coloring and King Strider insisted that, instead, it should be vert and or. Crown Prince Martin attempted to calm the crowned monarchs but, alas, the situation rapidly deteriorated and war was declared.

The first battle occurred at a bridge over a swift, deep river. (Or so the marshals insisted it was since, despite their presence in it, they declared drowned anyone stepping into it. Caid lost a King and the Shire lost a sheriff in this fashion.) The West threw a line of shields across the bridge slightly past a gully that also ran across the bridge. Caid, with a series of disciplined maneuvers, threw line after line of attackers against this wall with limited success. Most of the fighting was being done with 9 ½ foot long thrusting pikes from behind a line of scutum on both sides.

After a time Heatherwyne was placed to the front as a guard while the Army rested. During this time Crown Prince Martin came forth with a pike and advanced in front of Heatherwyne to spar with the Western ranks. He dispatched a few with more than slight danger to himself and was soon joined by his squire, Rhiannon, and others. The West, thinking to overcome these relatively unprotected fighters, chose that moment to charge. The ploy was unsuccessful and Heatherwyne held as HRH and company moved to safety, but the Shire took grevious losses. When the fighting subsided only James the Inconstant and Stephan von Halleck of the levy were left standing after the combined attacks of the West and the heat. Shortly thereafter Caid counterattacked and carried the fight all the way to the opposite end of the bridge and threw the West into disorder. With the West regrouping the commanders withdrew Caid back to the middle of the bridge the better to receive the next attack.

During the renewed sparring Stephan fell to a pike. Shortly thereafter James fell while attempting to spit the infidel that slew his brother.

Finally, after close to three hours of fighting the battle was declared a draw. There were approximately ten fighters left on each side out of the original seventy or so with which each Army started. After a short break an archery battle was fought in the hills that the West won. (Ed. Note - I still remember the arrow bouncing neatly off the center of my chest. Damn all archers!!)

The heat flared and so did occasional tempers. The open field battle occurred while this reporter was unconscious in his tent so he can give no great detail. The West won after struggles over who would hold the high ground. This reporter understands that Heatherwyne was scattered at one point and regrouped speedily and professionally. (Consider this official invitation for Philip of Meadhe specifically and any other fighter generally to write their interpretation of what happened during the field battle.)

The camp that night was one large revel. There was a very large bardic circle where dancers, poets, and other artists were vying for war points. In the end, Caid garnered most of those for the Arts. Philip and Yaroslav were seen skulking about with a gallon sized bottle of vodka (the least of their resources) muttering something about Heatherwyne winning the revel. (Ed. Note – the Heatherwyne motto was “We might not always win the war, but we always win the Revel!) No war points were awarded for this.

The next day dawned hotter than the first. It was so hot the jackrabbits were carrying canteens. The water carriers did a Herculean job of supplying the needs of fighters, marshals, medics, and heralds. All weekend the medics did a brisk business with heat exhaustion and a few cases of heat stroke. Al least two persons were taken to the hospital due to the heat. This reporter’s mouth was so dry that only one side of his tongue was wet at any one time.

Fairly early the fighters armed and gathered at the castle that Caid was to defend first. There were three points that were vulnerable. There was a wall with an opening. There was a ‘sapable’ wall of brush that could be pulled away to make an entrance. Last, there was a wall with a larger opening that had a wall section set back from it. Heatherwyne was set to defend one side of the large main opening with Riesling on the other side. The Brotherhood of the Blade was placed in the center of the castle as a reserve and the rest of the Army was put to the defense of the wall and the back door. The West was allowed 45 minutes to expel the Caidan forces or to get a 2 to 1 superior force inside the castle.

The West also had a siege weapon throwing tennis balls. Fighters were to count hits as sword blows. The final toll that fell to this insidious contraption was one already dead body, two marshals (who were thrilled beyond description), and (count ‘em) two Westerners.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, oops, main gate Heatherwyne and Riesling were jabbing around with the Western forces opposing them. There was much fighting over and through the holes in the wall. Heatherwyne lost three in quick succession on the end of the line closest to the West. Finally, Emory stepped in, eventually with two shields (one on each arm), and held the position as James, Stephan, and Philip used pikes from behind him and the rest of the line.

Eventually the West charged in order to beat their deadline. The fighting at the main gate was fierce as the lines closed and the Brotherhood was called on to reinforce the defense there. When the dust cleared at the gate there was Emory with two shields in front of James with a pike (with the Heatherwyne war banner affixed thereto), who was joined by Einar aus Enwelt with a halberd, facing a Knight of the West holding a spear and the banner of the West. (Philip was alive but in the process of killing the first Westerner over the line had disgorged through his faceplate and thus succumbed to a mild heat stroke. According to Philip the look on his opponents face was worth the experience.) (Ed. Note - I was standing right next to Philip when this happened, I don’t know if the sword or the projectile vomiting hit the poor opponent first, but both were deadly. Possibly the first use of chemical weapons in SCA combat.)

The knight immediately circled around to join the forces opposite the ‘sapable’ wall just in time to fall with the rest of the enemy there in the face of a Caidan sally.

This left two Western swordsmen at the back gate opposing about 15 Caidans total. The two immediately charged and carried to the middle of the castle where everyone got to hit them at once.

Caid had won their defense and the West was to defend next. However, due to heat and bad humor, Their Majesties Balin and Strider met and cancelled the last battle and declared the war a draw. Opinion was heard that fighters who had spent $ plus 6 to 12 hours of driving time, one way, had come to participate in melees, heat or no. This came to no avail as the King’s word is Law.

Various Arts, archery, and other competition winners were announced at closing court. Surprisingly, Caid did rather well at the (not for war points) archery competition. Afterwards, it was pack up, go home, die.


  • Please feel free to add memories to this section

From James the Inconstant

  • Philip of Meadhe gave the Heatherwyne levy a pep talk at a Shire Meeting prior to the War. He was pleased with our preparations and predicted fighting forces of 60 Caidans and 100 Westerners. He stated flat out that Heatherwyne and Rieslingshire were going to win the War for Caid. This would be the first time the levy would bear the King's arms. "It is the Kingdom's honor we fight for. If we win, the glory is theirs! If we lose, the blame is ours." Heady words.

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