The following letter was written by Baron Jibril al-Dakhil, East Kingdom Earl Marshal, and is being posted by the Gazette at his request.
Greetings unto the East Kingdom:
A complaint has been brought to the office of the Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom regarding this past Crown Tournament dated November 1, 2014 for violations of the list. Upon due investigation and consideration the following shall be the official and final ruling of the Office of the Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom:
East Kingdom Earl Marshal’s Response Regarding a Complaint Filed from Fall Crown 2014:
At the outset, any rule that purports to say a complaint shall not be made against the Royalty cannot apply to Crown Tournament. No Royalty fights in Crown Tournament by express decree of EK law. Secondly, it is nearly impossible to bring a written complaint against a combatant in a tournament before completion of the tournament. Therefore, the rule is clearly meant to apply to SITTING Royalty and not someone who becomes Royalty after the action that gives rise to the complaint. To construe the rules in any other way would defy common sense and logic. While January 2014 Curia’s rule change to EK law amends the language to Crown from Royalty it is a change that merely clarifies language and not content.
It is with this understanding that I move forward in my capacity as Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom in accepting a complaint against His Grace Omega Aurelius Serpentius for conduct in the list of the Fall 2014 Crown Tournament of the East Kingdom. Both of the Finalists know that I have spoken with the combatants in finals, various marshals present during finals, various members of the Chivalry, His Majesty Edward, and former Earl Marshal Oskgar of the Woods. In addition, I have read various emails and extensive social media commentary from spectators who are among the Peerage and Populace alike. Until this complaint was made, neither Baron Sir Oskgar nor myself could take action despite our discussions about how best to proceed in the best interest of the Kingdom and Marshallate.
A complaint was made that during the finals Duke Omega (a) called a head shot good, did not die and continued to fight after Duke Omega called a second shot low, and; (b) threw down his polearm so as to be helpless and therefore invulnerable to attack by his adversary.
There were several additional allegations that spoke to the final blow of the tournament that stuck Duke Omega in the head but was not accepted as a killing blow as well as Duke Omega backing up into the crowd to avoid defeat.
In the responses that I received to my solicitation from marshals present, it was also raised that Duke Kenric (a) may not have accepted solid blows, and; (b) lost his composure, threw down his weapons and stormed out of the list.
The following are the applicable sections of the rules:
Pt. 1, Sec. F. Combatants shall behave in a knightly and chivalrous manner, and shall fight according to the appropriate Society and Kingdom Conventions of Combat.
CC1. The legal target areas are defined as the whole torso, head and limbs, with the exception of the lower legs beginning one inch above the top of the kneecap, and the hand from one inch above the wrist.
CC4. Judging the effects of blows is left to the honor of the combatants, unless they relinquish this responsibility, with the exception of clear violations of the Rules of the Lists or the Conventions of Combat.
CC7. A helpless opponent shall not be struck, and a “hold” must be called. An opponent is helpless if he has slipped or is falling, or has struck the ground, or if he has dropped or broken his weapon. Blows begun before the cause of the hold shall be counted. If a combatant either drops his weapon, or slips and falls without being pushed three times, the combatant will be warned that on the next occurrence he will be considered to be held at sword’s point and be forced to yield.
I will first address the issues for which there lay no possible sanction. There was no clear list and backing up into the crowd to avoid defeat cannot be construed as a violation. This was an error manifest by the weather conditions and environment. While unfortunate and should be avoided at all costs in the future, even if a list must be made of kneeling fighters behinds their shields, this is not conduct that calls for sanction. Calibration questions were raised by Duke Omega against Duke Kenric during the finals. Duke Kenrick answered them and the bouts continued. To the extent that Duke Omega was unsatisfied with the answer and continued to fight, this is not conduct that calls for sanctions. Fighters must trust their adversaries honor as they wish their own to be trusted or seek guidance from the marshals if the question remains. This was not done. This is not the fault of Duke Kenric and no sanction is warranted.
Duke Omega was struck with the blow that ended the tournament. Duke Kenric chose to withdraw (discussed below) rather than question the call or seek guidance from the marshallate. This blow has been the result of great controversy, as it seems to spectators that the prior Earl Marshal and King were finally approaching the combatants to intervene and address the issue. The blow was not addressed within the confines of the rules as Duke Kenric chose to withdraw at this point. Duke Kenric’s withdrawal from the tournament precluded further discussion in the moment as was sorely needed. I will not issue a sanction against Duke Omega for making call of calibration that was not properly questioned by Duke Kenric. Regardless of how the blow looked, this was not the fault of Duke Omega as the rules expressly make Duke Omega the sole judge of the effects of the blow and Duke Kenric did not question the blow or call in the marshals.
I will say that this particular blow will result in a change to the EK Marshal’s rules, which will allow marshals to notify fighters of the angle and appearance of shots that the fighter may not otherwise be aware of without waiting to be invited by the fighters to speak. This is NOT a rule that allows marshals to call fighters dead but simply to provide information so that the fighter has all possible information when judging a blow. Sir Oskgar and I discussed this at great length and I humbly thank Sir Oskgar for his assistance in putting forth a solution that maintains our culture of honoring the fighter’s integrity but strengthens the marshal’s role in tournament.
Turning now to the actions for which a sanction will be issued I begin with Duke Omega calling a head shot good, then a low shot, then continuing to fight. Upon a declaration of being struck in the head with a good shot, a combatant is dead. These are our rules. In my first Crown Tournament, I called a head shot good against Baron Sir Manfred Van Halstern. After leaving the field I was overhead to say to my knight, Sir Stephen von Dresen, that the shot was light and I should not have taken it. Baron Sir Manfred was informed of my whimpering and came to me to offer to refight. I declined to refight because I called the shot good, I did not immediately communicate to Baron Sir Manfred that I wasn’t sure or ask the marshal. Instead, I made a call and let it stand. That is similar to the action that happened here. Duke Omega made a call, did not discuss it, but instead resumed fighting. This blow landed on a legal target and was judged by Duke Omega to be good. At this point, Duke Omega must either yield the fight or immediately explain why he wished to continue. Duke Omega did not and as such the conduct violates the rules of the list.
Next, Duke Omega threw down his pole arm. On one occasion the pole was clearly trapped against Duke Kenric’s body and Duke Omega stated as much. Next, Duke Omega, while backing up into the crowd, threw down his pole arm to avoid being struck. This happened directly in my line of sight and was clearly done to avoid a shot that could not be blocked. This violates the rules of comportment on the list. It did not occur three times and does not require Duke Omega to yield.
Finally, Duke Kenric threw down his weapons and stormed off the list because Duke Kenric struck Duke Omega with a blow Duke Kenric felt was a killing blow. This was not Duke Kenric’s call to make by operation of the rules. Moreover, it violates the rules of comportment on the list.
Revenge and justice are not the same. Revenge is an emotional response to a wrong, while justice is the reasoned response to a wrong. A Knight must do justice in the name of his King, not seek revenge. A Marshal must be fair in the application of the rules. There is no room for revenge in the marshallate. Thus, when the Earl Marshal metes out sanctions it must be must be an appropriate, reasoned response to a wrong.
Pursuant to the EK Marshal’s Rules His Grace Kenric aet Essex shall be censured for his lack of comportment and unseemly withdrawal from the list at Fall Crown Tournament November 1, 2014. Because Duke Kenric immediately apologized and showed contrition, no greater sanction is warranted.
Pursuant to the EK Marshal’s Rules His Grace Omega Aurelius Serpentius shall be censured for refusing to yield after acknowledging a good blow and for intentionally disarming himself to gain tactical advantage and avoid a loss. Because Duke Omega has expressly committed to the Chivalry and the Populace that he never again enter a Crown Tournament, no greater sanction is warranted.
Some may feel this is insufficient sanction against Duke Omega as Duke Omega was declared the victor and named Prince. Here is where revenge must give way to reason and justice. Duke Omega has publically stated that he will never fight in Crown and this self-imposed sanction exceeds any punishment allowed by EK law and one that would otherwise be reserved for the Board of Directors. No King should ever accept a letter of intent from Duke Omega again without dishonoring the foundation of our Society – that we are men of our word. No Earl Marshal should ever allow Duke Omega to fight in Crown Tournament even if allowed by a King, as the very entry into the list of Crown Tournament would be a violation of Duke Omega’s own word and unequivocal evidence that he cannot comport himself in a knightly and chivalric manner as required by the rules of the East Kingdom. This is rational and reasoned justice and a heavy self-imposed sanction that cannot be undone.
For those who wish to hear Duke Omega apologize and beg forgiveness, I say your position is unreasonable and unhealthy for the Kingdom. What fighter drops his guard when under attack? Where is the sense in expecting Duke Omega to say, “I did wrong” when it will be thrown in his face and used against him rather than accepted as contrition? It was Duke Kenric’s withdrawal that ended the tournament and King Edward’s acceptance of the withdrawal that made Duke Omega our Prince. Had Duke Kenric not withdrawn the fight could have continued or been refought. This is why we have a marshallate and the lesson to be learned here is to turn to the marshallate and demand that issues are addressed IN THE MOMENT. I stand resolutely in support of my Prince Omega because he has chosen a path of unequivocal, self-imposed punishment that could only have been done by the Board of Directors.
Let this begin what I hope is a very short list of sanctions recorded against fighters in the East Kingdom. Let these examples of conduct signal the importance of communication between fighters and the importance of adherence to rules of the list. Most importantly, let this begin to truly heal the Kingdom.
Yours in Service,
Baron Sir Jibril al-Dakhil
Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom