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The Sixteenth Year

Burro Creek War - Kingdom of Atenveldt
February 12-15, 1982 (AS XVI)

From The Page (January, 1982):

Burro Creek WAR!

Proposed War Rules and Scenarios

The proposed war rules and draft combat archery rules published in the Summer 1980 T.I. will be used as the primary guide for the contact of the war. "Killing" from behind will be by means of a sword held across the eye slits, or a pole weapon as close as possoble, accompanied by a cheery "You're dead".

The safety of projectile weapons will be determined by evaluating the projectile's ability to spread and absorb impact corres, with its energy.

The scenarios that include combat archery will be on Saturday morning, so fighters may remove the mesh from their helms for the rest of the war.

Saturday -
Open field fight with combat archery.
Scrub "woods" fight with combat archery.
Bridge fight, one long and wide, another short and narrow, to be fought concurrently. A time limit will be set.

Conventional open field fight.
Banner scenario - one side has 1/2 hour to position their banner. The side in physical possession of the banner after a specified time of fighting wins. A ressurection point similar to that used at the most recent Pennsic will be employed.

More details will be forthcoming.

From The Page (April, 1982):

Le Roman de la Guerre
* d'Honnour*

The word went out across the land. The forces of the proud Atenveldt were preparing to gather in vast number on the sandy desert of Burro Creek. Their gallant King Amayot was to appoint fierce and wiley Jarl Sir Heinrich der Jaeger his general. Their staff, so spies reported, were prepared to do battle on any terrain. King Radnor, the West's true king, met this challenge, calling to himself a staff of loyal knights; the valourous Prince, James of the Mists; battle veteran and battle scarred Grey Wolf, Duke Sir William; bold and cunning Viscountess Sir Maythen; dour Duke Sir Aonghais, Commander of the Southern Cross; war leader of the Lance of Gryphon d'Argent, Sir Brandon; young but wise Sir Thomas called the Incomplete. As so assembled they made their plans. Messengers were dispatched to CAID's mighty King Gregory. Vows of brotherhood were exchanged between two courteous kings. The plans for war were shared. It could be done, perhaps, if enough forces were raised. Messengers were sent north to young An Tir. "Support us, brothers," was the cry, and they gave their word. Alfric, Prince of Cynagua called forth in fealty his own tribe Rotmahne. The Duramen, Earl Sir Strider raised House Persistant to arms. Silver Desert, Southern Cross and Westermark did arm. Duke Sir Armand hastened to arm is Lance of St. John. Lyondomere, Heatherwine, Dreibururgen, each levy called forth their best. Dhaemohn called his Guard. Mishra Kahn and the Abbey and Tryggvi and the Draffen joined the cause. King Gregory called his advisors and Sir Robear du Bois' expertise was sought. Sir Aethelred and Sir Guy of Coldrake their Liege willingly did attend.

Great Battle Wains rolled up to the battle site and camp was made. The dawn of battle broke. King Gregory stood ready with his forces. But where was West's Mighty Monarch? In serene aspect of that fairest and most courteous lady, Queen Esmirelda gave assurance that only direst cause could have kept her Lord from War's grim side, and although in her heart she may have feared for him she gave show of good courage to the assembled field. At her command Sir Maythen spoke an Order to the Army of the West and placed them under Gregory's command, he who as a Western King had been the last to rule over an undivided vast Western Land.

And so the allies of three great Kingdoms marched as one. They met the foe first upon an open field. CAID took the right flank with An Tir in reserve, while Mists held the left with Cynagua for support. And the battle was joined. In two great spear-heads, left and right, together and at Gregory's signal, the Allies smashed the Aten line and routed them. So sure and swift it was.

Aten's warriors retreated to a broken terrain along a river but the West-CAID-An Tir force, now joined by Sir Knarlic and his brother Ansteorran knights and squires, followed Atenveldt hard on. They met amoungst the thorn bush and jagged rock, where Aten, still reeling from the day's first blow chose to make a stand. Allied archers took a great toll. In their ranks a young commander, Lord Stephen of Bellatrix proved again a bold warrior and noble son of noble name. Duke Sir Armand held the sandy beach to the left, hard by the river. There he me the brunt of the Aten army, and inflicted heavy casualties upon them but at great cost to the St. John's Lance and their fellows from bright CAID. The Southern Cross held the narrow passage to the right. Gryphon d'Argent with awesome skill cut through to aid when suddenly a thrust to the right broke through. Rotmahne wheeled right to support the growing weakness in center of the line and with Sir Brandon's lance crushed the valient attempt by House Rolling Thunder to hit the Westland allies.

Weary veterans returned to camp for a brief respite, when the glad word came. "King Radnor is arrived with his personal guard." Gracious words had he for His Queen and for his brother King before the assembled army. Scouts reported in. The mighty Aten army was assembled at a bridgehead not far away. The only way to them lay in not one bridge but two laid out like an "L". "There is no choice. We must split our forces and attack on both fronts." So the commander declared. Fair Gregory and his knights boldly claimed the wider right hand bridge, knowing that is where the main thrust would come. James, Prince and Duke, would stand guardthe treacherous left lest a heavy charge there open the allied back to flanking attack. The army approached the bridge. "Look! They are gathered but not yet on either bridge. CHARGE!" Then came a rush by both armies to claim a bridgehold, but the Aten seized the greater span and the crash of weapons in that charge and counter-charge must surely have been heard in far Jerusalem. A long and bitter fight ensued as toe to toe the foreman fought. CAID indeed took the heaviest charge. Sir Robear with cleverness and skill deployed his reserve. Sir Guy, once trapped upon the other side, heroically took war's ill fortune for an opportunity and turned upon the Aten line to break a hole for his CAIDan brothers. On the other front the Mistlands fighters held a solid and relentless front. Toward dusk the Western King committed his last reserve. It seemed his army held, but in that tangled mass of lances, pikes and swords not much was clear. Jarl Sir Heinrick, in a last great gesture lept the pile of dead, four deep and eight feet wide, to throw himself at Mists strong line, and died a Viking's death. And then that line broke through and clamoured to the center of the bridge, and in the heat of battle and the crashing and the din could scarce be heard "Hold, brother" from the opposing line. "It is CAID" "It is Armand" "Our lines are joined." "The day is won!"

And so the armies retired for the night to dress their wounds, repair their gear, and drink and tell good tales of cheer.

Again too soon a cold thin drawn brought readiness for war. CAID's armed Queen, Arianyn, who stood with longbow against the Aten charge the day before, now led with drum and courage the Allied armies to the field. And then a span of silence not longer than a heartbeat. And Radnor winded the horn, and the Allies charged. The Aten, stunned by the sudden fierce and thoughtful attack did counter-charge, and broke the center, but a center left to decoy, and Mist's own Prince with his mighty liegemen pounded right across the field while CAID swept the left. The momentary success of Aten's charge turned quickly to defeat as they were crushed between two giant paws of the armored beast they faced.

The Aten banner then was captured and King Radnor held it as his own until the battle ended. And then upon that very field of honour with utmost courtesy he returned it to the Aten King saying, "With honour you bore it. With honour we return it." "With honour we receive it." Amayot did reply. The greatest sorry of that fray was that King Gregory had fallen and was taken to the healers. "Royal Commander, we salute you."

But all this that went before would soon seem as squires' melees within safe castle battlements to what was yet to come. So fierce the sun. So long the fray. So many heroes fought that endless day.

By skill of healer there was not one upon that field of honour who did not rise as if from Death's feared pallour again and again to return to battle. King Radnor took his banner into the Wasteland. It must not fall to Aten hand. And on a sandy hillock he made his stand. Duke Sir Steingrim, green An Tir's kin, himself twice King of Western shores, with knightly Blakhand and Morgan stood by their ally. Lance commanders claimed their ground, "Be not so far as to be out of sight nor so hard on that you can be flanked." And all stood waiting, searching each and every compass point with eye and ear. At last the scouts espied the advancing horde. "A large body to the right, Your Majesty." "A smaller one, some 30 souls comes to the left." And the army stood and waited. And then the waiting ended. Every Aten warrior heaven ever spawned, knights without number, men-at-arms without end, came charging, striking, pounding to that hill. And yet the West banner held. And again the eerie silence. Aten numbers ever large, it seemed while West-CAID's war weary band dwindled in number. And still they held. Once into camp there slipped an Aten youth and snatched the banner but died in the attempt. Now by the rules of war the banner could be moved. But where to flee in this unforgiving land? No tree or hill, no rock nor rill was there in which to hide. Run, run with all and Aten army at your heels, and who to choose.

Sir Brandon spoke. "My squire, Jay d'Argent, is skilled and swift." And so the task was given him if all should fall. The King looked out over the sandy field, and another youthful hero left the Aten line and suddenly the King lay wounded. As he fell he gasped to Steingrim, "You have command." And then he went to the healer's tender care. The Duke espied a force approaching. "Who are they?" "I see two Aten knights are in the van." "We cannot hold against such numbers." The banner stood ready to flee. "Wait, the Aten knights are down. It is Sir Robear du Bois. They are ours." And so reinforcements came. But the last two waves were yet to hit, the allies fell to the man. Young Jay, his lady and some friends made bold escape the banner for to hide. The allies routed formed again only to be laid low. Then Radnor, newly healed had a plan. "Sir Robear, go forth as decoy, but rejoin us when with the Aten is battle joined." And so the Western-CAID-An Tir army sought and found the Aten stronghold and in furious battle the banner was regained. In that encounter in the brush, King Radnor, in his golden surcoat seemed to be a dozen places all at once. Yet once again the Aten army reappeared, healed as if by magic, and fell upon the Allies weakend by the recent clash. At last, but a scant score remained to face the Aten horde.

Duke Sir Armand, Duke Sir William and Vicountess Sir Maythen stood on the hill and sang the song of Harlech's men, and fell, at least, in place. The banner fell as night approached. The Aten king lay wounded by its side. But Chivalry is a stronger force than even Death, and he arose. He bore it with a guard to King Radnor and in the words once said to him he spoke, "With honour you bore it. With honour we captured it. With honour we return it." "With honour we receive it," said King Radnor. The two royal cousins embraced as friends.

Have ever there been those more bold? I think not. My tale is told.

(The author is Maythen of Elfhaven)

Burro Creek V

A Simple Soldier's View

To speak of Burro Creek is to speak of war in its highest form.

The strategems of the commanders and skill of the fighters are renowned (and rightly so) throughout the Knowne World. I was witness, as a fighter to the last Burro Creek and so can give true testimony of the valor and skill of our opponents, even though we beat them. In the first battle we did brutishly charge upon them, and though I did get through their line (stumbling to the ground in the process) a swift and simple back swing was all that the skillful Aten did require to lay me low. In the second battle, a woods battle, the Aten King did cagily refuse to march his tired troops over the uneven sandy and rocky ground in the hot sun. So our bold commander did march us to their line, thereby gaining position (I think).

As we did close with their line, walking over and around boulders and shrubbery, a well laid branch did block my path. As I looked down to watch my step, a crafy and observant Aten pikeman did dispatch me promptly with an economy of motion I wish I had seen.

In the third battle, a two-bridge battle, our King told our group to press onward. Being a simple shieldman, I soon found myself in the front, with nothing between me and them but our shields. Unfortunately, just as I was settling in; a large, tall, hairy Aten (I think I heard him yelling something about dwarves) with a pole arm (I forgot to mention strong) removed my shield from its position of protection while an equally skillful Aten pikeman dispatched me with an economy of motion beautiful to behold, which I did see this time.

Having nobly aided our forces in winning the three battles, thereby winning the war, I felt it my just reward to rest the next day. Though I must confess, I do fel some measure of guilt at not being at the last stand of the last battle, for with myself and others like me there on the hill, things might have been different (or may not). In any case, I want all you people to feel secure in knowing that the level of sill and strategy in these Western Kingdoms is something proud to behold (which I did).

(The author is Jones Smith)

Burro Creek Massacre

The blazing rays of the vengeful sun pierced through the thin air of the Atenveldt sky over the knoll at Burro Creek. The few surviving soldiers of the battered Allied forces, their lines stretched thin, squinted through eyes nearly blinded by sweat and exhaustion and beheld their doom before them. Although they had already killed hundreds of the Atenveldt foe, it seemed to the weary few that the gains dearly bought in the furious struggle had been for naught. For two long hours, the gallant men of the West, Caid, An Tir, as well as the mercenaries from Ansteorra and the East, had fought a desparate and increasingly despairing battle to save their King and battle flag from capture and death from the implacable hordes of the Sun Kingdom.

But now as the lethal heat of the desert sun penetrated steel helms and pounding skulls screaming for cool, the brave men finally realized that the end which they had valiantly fought to stave off was near. Although they had sent a messenger to find the main contingent of their forces before all escape routes were cut off, no sign was seen of rescue. At last, all hope gone, like a wounded lioness at bay protecting her cubs, they turned to face the enemy for the last time.

Grimly, they watched as the Atenveldt forces ringed them in on all sides in ranks too numerous to count. They closed thir own ranks and formed their shield wall, their backs to an impenetrable hedge which prevented both attack as well as escape. Gradually, the choking dust raised by the shifting battle lines cleared and revealed the full extent of their dilemma. Seemingly resurrected from the dead, it seemd that the entire Atenveldt army, undiminished by the appalling losses inflicted by the allied force, stood before them as executioners. The gleam of victory at hand grew in the eyes of the Aten host and as they awaited the command to attack, one of them begain to rythmically beat his weapon against his shield. Soon another followed. Then another. Within moments the pounding of the shields fell upon the ears of the trapped forces like rolling thunder at the Twilight of the Gods.

For the first time the courage of the defenders began to fail as the pulsing din blew cold as frost on their blazing hearts like the palsy of death. When suddenly from the rear of their serried ranks a voice was raised, pure and defiant against the beckoning call of doom. A lone voice raised against the storm began to sing the words of freedom and resistance against the foe. "Men of Harlec" the voice sang, piercing through the gloom as a ray of purest light. One by one crached parched throats croaked the words, and those who didn't know them hummed.

And the storm was silenced. The barbarian hordes of Atenveldt stood amazed in awe as the joyful vocies grew in volume and the soldiers glowed like bloody, battered angels. When the strains finally ended, the field lay quiet as the Atenveldt stood transfixed. When suddenly the Atenveldt King barked a command and the enemy once again came to life. Taking up their arms they rushed with merciless frenzy upon the defenders. In great silver and crimson arcs the swords raised and fell ringing on the shields or seeking out a space to bury themselves.

Like adder's tongues the defenders pikes flicked out, slaying continuously. But it seemed that as one fell, he was replaced by two, while defender's death diminished the allies alarmingly. For what seemed like hours the hand to hand struggle raged on, both sides suffering grievous losses, when the order was given to retreat.

As the Atenveldters pulled back to re-group for another attack, the defenders could see many a friend lying still in the sand, still facing the enemy in defiance. Nevertheless, they grimly noted, not without satisfaction, that the Atenveldt corpses far outnumbered thier own. Atenveldt would pay dearly for this victory.

Before they could rest futher, the survivors found themselves facing another onslaught. Once again friend and foe locked in mortal embrace as the battle surged back and forth. But on the brave soldiers fought, "Men of Harlech" still ringing in their ears as a sacred spell against the darkness. Just when it seemd the assault must succeed, the Aten forces pulled back again, noticeably fewer in number. Still the carnage had cost everyone dearly, and now the odds stood at least eight-to-one. No one knows how many times the enexorable tide of overwhelming forces swept up that knoll only to break on the defiant shieldburg. Yet the sun moved three-quarters of the way to the horizon, and under growing shadows, the exhausted defenders still stood. Barely able to lift their shields, and gripping weapons slippery with blood, a mere handful still awaited with resolute heart the fate that had befallen their companions.

Yet they still stood, defenses drawn tight behind walls created by the mounds of corpses, which testified to the ferocity and desperation of the fight. But their numbers were few and strength was nearly gone. A burning heart may defy the darkness forever, but flesh and blood must rest or it will fail. So it was with the soldiers of the West and An Tir, so it was with Caid. So it was with a grim smile that they faced the final assault.

The Atenveldt King, sensing victory denied finally within his grasp, suddenly saw a glimpse of something catching the sun on the distance horizon. Something bright! Rescue on its way? But he still had time, for they were miles away. Summoning his forces for a final push, he led his troops in a wild charge. Smashing into the shieldwall in berserk rage, he drove through and reached the banner, clutching it in his hand as he died. Standing bravely to defend the banner, Steingrim, a noble duke from An Tir, slew again and again until the bodies of the slain became a small hill. Yet another Atenveld fighter, an earl from the Principality of the Sun, one Christopher Hoghton, died with his hand on the banner. Still Steingrim fought on, but even he was finally slain. But rather than allow the banner to be seized, he gathered it to him with his dying strength and fell on it so the enemy might not see it. The final four or five fighters were borne down and seized alive, carried off for ransom just before rescue could arrive. For rescue it was, that arrived too late, along with a message, a message of victory, for elsewhere on four fronts, the allied armies had smashed the Atenveldt forces. As it was, the would-be rescuers surveyed the scene of a battle ended too soon. They saw the concentric circles of bodies left as the shieldwall was drawn in tighter, and the mad tangle of bodies at the crest. They beheld the King lying slain by a madman's dagger near Steingrim and his honor guard to hell. Eyes blurring with tears, they beheld Maythen of Elfhaven, her voice, which had rung like a silver bell against the storm, stilled in death. Her lord, Duke William, who had slain endlessly before being overwhelmed, lay by her side. Sadly the general commanded that they all be given a soldier's burial and the giant cairn be erected over them to commemmorate their gallant last stand.

This is the account of the Burro Creek Massacre, and the last stand on the knoll. Can anyone forget their sacrifice? Can anyone of true heart who hears of them and their courage, stand unmoved and not devoutly wish that he too had been there?

The war coulds have for a time been dispelled and peace currently reigns. But as is mankind's fate, they shall undoubtedly return to menace our noble kingdom. When they glower over us and our King must once more call us to war, can we fail to answer?

(The author is Thomas Buttesthorn)

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Description of this event (if any), taken from The Page, or from memory of at least one person who attended the event.

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