The-Blow-art - 8/31/00
"The Blow Which Did Not Fall" by HL William McNaughton.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: steps-owner at antir.sca.org [mailto:steps-owner at antir.sca.org] On
Behalf Of Grey Saje
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2000 11:19 AM
To: steps at antir.sca.org
Subject: [STEPS] The Blow That Did Not Fall (from Meridies)
Gentle cousins, I commend me to you and offer this tale from Meridies
which has brought tears to my eyes this morning (in a good way), for the
joy of the tale about to follow and all that we should each remember:
from the Tavern Yard.... From: "Bill McNutt" <mcnutt at pobox.com>
The Blow Which Did Not Fall
It was not so long ago, at the Coronet Tournament of the Principality
of the Mists. The Prince, like all mortal men, felt the cold hand of fate,
and knew that his days were numbered. Lacking an heir, and mindful
of his duty to his people, he had word spread throughout the land that
all worthy Knights and warriors should gather at a certain time and in
a certain place, that they might, though trial by combat, select one from
among their number to be the Heir Apparent, in the event that the Prince
be struck down.
Not all worthy warriors can serve as Prince, though, and that they
might participate in the trial of arms that day, the Mists also sponsors
a grand Tournament of Roses (no relation). This tourney is fought in the
style of Sir William the Marshal. Each participant enters the list with a
single rose. When he loses, he presents the rose to the winner. At the
end of the day, the warrior is the Champion of Roses, and his lady has
a lovely bouquet.
Now it came to pass in that Tournament of Roses, that one Baron Gunar
Merielsson did meet Sir Andrew Shae Forestborne. Gunar is an
experienced warrior, and known for his honorable behavior and his strict
adherence to the Rules of the List. But he is a full-bore competitor. He
is there to win. Win within the rules, win with honor, but win. Now Gunar
had but recently won the Southern Shores Warlord tournament some
weeks agone. It is the privilege of the Warlord of the Southern Shores to
wear a splendid surcoat, made of fine quality cloth, white, and lined with
cloth-of-silver. The surcoat is cut to resemble the wings of a gull, with dags
that hang all the way to the ground. In announces for all to see that the
wearer is the Warlord of the Southern Shores. Remember the surcoat.
It's going to be important later.
The sky was a brilliant blue, and brave banners waved in a stiffening
breeze as the two warriors entered the lists to face one another. Gunar,
owning a baron's rank, and years of experience, a stirring sight in his
surcoat, and his shinin' silver maille. The very picture of a Knight in Shining
Armor. Sir Andrew, a full-belted knight, though young. They advanced to
the center of the list warily, in the manner of warriors unfamiliar with
one-another. Then young Andrew threw a blow at Gunar's helm, and they
were at it, hammer-and-tongs. The sound of the blunted weapons of the
tourney-field rang out from the lists for some moments, then each man
stepped back, to consider the measure of the other. Once again, Andrew
took the aggressor's role, this time reaching for an exposed arm. But
Gunar's shield was suddenly there to meet the blow, and the dance
began anew. The contest proceeded thus for some minutes, the
participants clearly well-matched.
Then Sir Andrew made an error. It was a small one, but it was enough.
He extend his arm just a little too far in throwing a blow, and was just a
little too slow in recovering. It left a hole in Andrew's defense half
as wide as Cooper's Lake. Gunar was on it like a starving wolf-hound on
a pork chop. From a low defense he threw a rising snap blow at Andrew's
And in the process, threw the dags of his own surcoat over his
faceplate. His own shot a clean miss, Gunar desperately clawed at his
helm, trying to free his vision, all the while bracing himself for the
head-shot that was sure to come. Long moments passed before the sea of
white and silver fabric at last parted, to reveal his opponent, Sir Andrew,
standing gently out of range, his sword point dangling toward the ground,
his shield at rest. Seeing his opponent had regained his vision, Andrew
courteously saluted his opponent and returned to guard.
"What manner of man is this I see before me," thought Gunar, "to so
yield up an advantage granted by his opponents own vanity. To pass on
an easy victory. What manner of man, indeed."
And in the silence of his soul, Gunar knew the answer.
There was a crash and clatter as Gunar's shield and weapon hit the
ground. "Hold!" cried the marshalls.
Gunar's helm and gauntlets joined the other fallen gear. He motioned
for a Page. Accepting the rose from the boy, he walked over to Andrew's
lady, and laid it at her feet.
"Milady," said he, "It was not Sir Andrew's sword that won this rose
for you this day, but in fact, his honor that struck the killing blow. My
lord Marshall, you will have the Herald announce that I yield to the
Thus is the tale of Baron Gunar Merielsson and Sir Andrew Shae Forestborne.
And if ye seek word-fame, understand this. I do not know the name of
the Prince who sat astride the throne to witness this. Nor do I know who
won the Coronet List. I don't even know who went on to win the Tournament
of Roses that day. But I know the name of the honorable Baron Gunar,
and Sir Andrew Shae Forestborne, the better man to whom he yielded.
And for so long as others are willing to hear my voice, so will they be
The Honorable Lord William McNaughton
CSQ, CBM, CSG, CMC, CMB, CRH-A, CRH-S, CRH-C, CAP, CSH
(Occasionally I get the urge to trot all that stuff out.)