As is usually the case with Crown, there are also tournaments on Sunday. These tournaments determine the new Warlord (heavy fighting) as well as the Princess Protector (fencing). Unfortunately, the sunny respite of the day before was long gone, and most of the day alternated between a light drizzle and a persistent rain. As such, only sixteen fencers and ten fighters came out (at least three knights, the rest unbelted). I briefly considered fighting in both tournaments, but I decided to focus on heavy fighting for the weekend and fought in the Warlord tournament. I ended up being glad I did.
The tournament ended up being a modified Swiss Five format, with each round being a single fight with a different weapon style. One of the benefits of this style is everyone gets plenty of fighting in, as you get to fight in all the rounds regardless of whether you win or lose. If I recall, the order went like this:
- Sword and shield
- Two weapons
- 6-foot spear
- Single sword
- Two swords
After that, the top four contestants with the most wins would fight in a short single-elimination, two-out-of-three tournament to determine the winner. This format was designed to make sure that the winner was proficient with all weapon styles, as is befitting a warlord.
Now, having the rounds be single fight changes things. Someone can get a lucky shot in and the fight will be over. As such, I found myself being much more cautious, timing my shots carefully to avoid unduly exposing myself to harm. The fight became more of a chess match than an arm wrestle.
Luckily the mindset from my second round the day before came back relatively easily. My first round was against a young left-handed knight, and I surprised myself by winning (even if it cost me my legs). My second round went less well; I hardly ever fight with two swords, and I was unable to get into a rhythm. The third round I managed to win, even after both of us lost an arm; it’s hard to use a polearm as tall as you with one hand, let me tell you. In the fourth round, I was finally able to get the bastard sword fight I wanted the day before, even though it wasn’t with the same duke. Being as it’s one of my favorite styles, I won. My single sword fight was another one I was worried about, as I was facing another knight, and since your offense and defense are concentrated in the same weapon, crazy stuff can happen. I managed to take his primary arm, and then his body. My second round with two swords proved that I should probably spend more time with the style; while I was able to get into a groove, my opponent was just more experienced than I was. The greataxe round went well for me as well; while I hardly ever use two-handed axes (or axes of any kind), it was similar enough to a glaive or greatsword that I did alright. Not wanting to be hit by a big guy with a big axe was also a wonderful motivator.
If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll notice that put me with six wins. I wasn’t keeping track that day, so I was fairly surprised to end up in the final four. That doesn’t happen to me very often, although I may not be able to accurately gauge my own skill. Usually I’m happy to go a couple, forgettable rounds, but today ended up different. I had made it to the semifinals, which meant the king would be watching my final fights. There was also the real possibility that I could win the tournament. No pressure.
The first fight of the round went poorly: I died quick and fast, and felt like a chump. Just my luck, I thought, I make it this far just to have my visible performance be forgettable. Luckily the second round went better: we both lost an arm (his left, my right), but I was able to duck past his buttspike thrust to punch him in the face with my blade. That one got some cheers. The third fight was a good one, but he ended up cleaving my face in half from the side.
So while I didn’t win, I’m happy with how I performed. I even had a knight (who had been watching the whole time, in the rain) tell me my fighting looked good. That made me happy: after all, even if I didn’t win, I had hoped to make an impression.
Stay tuned for my final thoughts!