The Battle, win or lose
The sides have been picked and the weekend warriors move to their starting locations. One side gathers up beneath a row a trees, while the others bunch beneath the shade of a single tree on the other end of the designated battle field. The bows have already been strung and the swords and shields are adjusted, as the armored tug at it this way and that so it settles properly in place. While those that depend on speed let stretch and joke among their friends.
Such a hot day brings out the wenches to the field. Those fiery maids of fine attributes, taunting tongues, and swords that sting. The men in their leather and bulking muscles intermingled with the woman of softer, deliciously appealing expanses of skin. Dual sword in the Parisian style of fight or for the stronger maidens that feel they can stand toe to toe with the armored warriors a shield and sword. Counting on the Empire neckline of their tunic to distract and shield them from blows that would mar such beauty that stands naked before them.
Rattle the shields with blows of furry, and unleash the opening round of arrows the two sides form up and begin the joining of blows. Shields are raised against the arrows as their deadly arch tries to find soft skin instead of protective shields thrown up in haste. The merge of lines is steady as foe shifts to lines of advantage and gaps are closed within the lines. There is a rush to the left of our line as a small squad tries to fold our lines upon themselves, but two of our lads shift and set firm to resist the feint behind our lines.
As they ready themselves for the crash of swords the rest of the lines join in shouts of adrenalin surges and cries of defenses that failed. The shield that doesn't drop fast enough to stop the blow, or the sword that doesn't have the power the other does as it swing down with that sickening crunch. Neither side goes unscathed as one warrior drops and another takes their stand. The women slide through to slash and stab. The shields buckle as they receive the raining blows of battle as long sword verses the ax vie for which will beat the others defenses back.
The battle sways as individual battles within yield victors opportunities that promote their cause and the lines shift to limit the damage done. Women and men alike litter the field causing dangerous footing for those pressing on. Heat and exhaustion play their rolls as an easy victory is lost when a tired arm can't swing its ax as hard as it needs or that simple block becomes impossible as the weight of the shield weighs heavy on the wielder.
The battle won, and to the victors a small prize of knowing they won, and to the losers, a glimpse of what is needed to swing the battle their way next time. As both sides stand back up and divide up the teams again for the next battle of life and death. I am glad I battle only with a foam coated sword, and buckler of wood and foam. For if it were steel, I would not be here today to tell you the tale. Instead I will take a pair of wenches with me to the local pub and drink to their low slung shirts so beautiful as they lean over to express a point, or their mighty high skirts that need no comment at all.
Now bend me over lassie and help me with my shirt of mail and I will help you off with yours as well. Another drink my keep for I need your ale, to make them think I am what I wish I were. I down one more and I forget my losses, for tonight I win, tomorrow I feel the muscles that cry out in pain.
By Brian Rueby
copyright July 2012
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