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A medieval tournament hosted by
the Colbert Freehold and the Companions of the Silver swan
held at
The Coronation of Stromek and Alianore,
King and Queen of Trimaris, Autumn 1997

Invitations were sent on behalf of the Lady of the Forest of Hearts announcing a torchlight tourney in celebration of courtly love. On the evening of the festivities celebrating the ascension to the crown of Trimaris' new King and Queen, the Companions of the Silver Swan and gentles from the Colbert Freehold gathered to host an intimate reverie and pas d'armes (tournament). A light repast was provided and we were honored by the presence of the new King and Queen. There was some discussion on the nature of courtly love and the delightful music of Lord Jen of Wyvernwood filled the air.

As night fell, the attending gentles moved outside, where a challenge shield had been hung by the field, and torches had been arranged in a circle. The Companions of the Silver Swan and their fellows from Colbert Freehold donned their garb for the night. They would be dressed as Wildmen of the Forest, wearing surcoats, masks and crests adorned with leaves, twigs, bells, palmetto leaves, and vines.

Several fighting men had been invited to champion the Lady of the Forest of Hearts. When all were assembled, each lady was given a token whose match was put into a box; one was selected at random by the King. Much to her suprise, her Excellency, Erika Bjornsdottir, was chosen, and she was crowned "Lady of the Forest of Hearts," belted with a chain of silver leaves and given a sceptre which was topped with a silver pine cone. Just as she was crowned, the Wildmen of the Forest came forward and 'captured' her, placing her behind a bower of branches where she would view the forthcoming pas d'armes.

One of the Wildmen came forward and spoke to the assembled group.
"We are the Wildmen of the Forest and we know nothing of this Chivalry of which you speak so highly. We have taken the Lady of the Forest of Hearts and we defy those who would rescue her! Step forth and introduce yourself to the assembled populace!"

A mighty fellowship stepped forward;

Earl Bytor Fitzgerald...Baron Damian...Sir Demetrius...Lord Lorcan MacDara...Lord Edward Griffon

The Rules were explained:

Item~That any knight may, by doing well, gain mercy, strength, or an increase in love from his very gentle lady.

Item~That this combat is to be fought for love and honour only, and not for gain. Let virtue be more important than victory on this field.

Item~ That the ladies' gallery may bestow the veil of mercy upon any knight they desire to protect.

Item~ All combat will be a plaisance, in other words, good hits would be verbally acknowledged only, and the combat would be to 3, 5, or 7 counted blows.

Item~ The tourney shall be conducted in two rounds:

Round the First: The Wildmen's challenge to the Champions: The Champions step forward and answer a question about chivalry, the knightly virtues or the seven deadly sins, then do combat with a Wildman for 3 counted blows.

Round the Second: The Champions shall challenge the Wildmen: Champions must strike the challenge shield and announce their challenge. Should he defeat the Wildman, he gains a bough from the Forest of Hearts. Once all the challenges have been met, those champions with boughs will free the Lady of the Forest of Hearts, who will select "the Lord Protector of the Forest" from among them.

And so the tourney went. Strawberries and swan shaped confections were enjoyed by the ladies as minstrels strolled about the gallery. The champions expounded upon the evils of greed, pride and wrath. They extolled the virtues of humility, chivalry and justice. There was combat by torchlight under the open sky, and there in that circle we felt transported to another age. The ladies' inspiration was such that each champion bested a Wildman and earned a bough from the wood. Moved by the champion's noble display and eloquent speech, the Wildmen released the Lady. In the end, the Lady of the Forest of Hearts' choice was difficult indeed, and she recounted with earnest the many honorable deeds she saw that might have eluded a less watchful eye. At last she chose Sir Demetrius as the Lord Protector of the Forest of Hearts. A tear or two was shed as we rejoiced in the magic of the moment, and all that had been done that night. Their majesties were pleased to request a second tourney before the end of their reign, and the Companions accepted this most agreeable of tasks.

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