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The Ninth Year

First Annual Caid Rebellion -- Principality of Caid
April 26, 1975

From The Page (June, 1975):

The First Annual Caid Rebellion was a success. King Paul and most of the Northern forces assembled in Rieslingshire. The King's forces met those of Prince Hugh upon a bridge and through the valiant efforts of Sir William the Lucky and Richard of Havn the bridge was taken and Prince Hugh's forces beaten back to a large field and a fierce melee ensued. Prince Hugh's forces were beaten back to a castle which they defended extraordinarily well totally annhilating the forces of the King. The King's forces thus driven back were forced to defend a castle and the outcome of these battles definiately shows the King will have to lead his troops to the South again next year when the Prince and the Barons once again press past their borders and arrive in the Field of Bakers.

From the History (by Wilhelm):

Held at the Bakersfield Junior College Campus, Bakersfield, CA. Thomas the Merciless was the autocrat. Prince Hugh instituted the Order of the Wolf Pack for those fighters who kept formation. The kingdom forces defeated the Caid forces. In the bridge defense the Caid fighters died to the last man which two kingdom fighters survived to claim victory, one being Sir William the Lucky, the flag bearer, who crawled across to victory with the flag.

See photos of this event

“This was the beginning of the legend of William the Lucky - finest sword and banner-pole Florentine fighter in the Knowne Worlde. Caid had the kingdom forces outnumbered by a margin of about ten fighters (roughly 40/30 if I remember clearly) but the Crown forces had the edge in belted fighters including the King, a couple of Dukes and several battered old road-warriors. The open field battle was won handily by the Crown forces due to better skill and discipline. The bridge battle was indeed a "Damn close-run thing", to start with the 'bridge' was a bunch of folding-leg cafeteria tables laid flat edge-to-edge as pavers between two lines of hay bales. The footing was worse than a shopping-mall floor for combat. Unless I'm mistaken, the other survivor of the bridge battle was Richard of House Havn, Henrik's squire. The fortification defense battle I believe was a draw or damned close again (I was dead inside their walls with a mild concussion {repeated 'that don't count Kevin' haft blows from pole weapons during the end-game}). We later swapped sides so the Crown forces defended and the result was similar - it is very difficult to force your way into a defensive position with adequate defenders and weapon reach.
     “The other historical significance of this event is that its porta-privies were the site of the events leading to the composing (filking) of the Ballad about Douglas Longshanks entitled Brown Sleeves.” – Kevin Peregrynne

“This event was great fun. In a fit of whimsy, I had constructed a banner and banner pole rugged enough to be carried into battle. In those days, most banners were patterned on large, roughly square, processional banners, and were frequently made of satin or something equally delicate. This one was also square, but denim ... heraldic, but denim. The banner was supported by a fixed cross bar, and the pole came complete with a basket hilt, allowing it to serve as a long, slender shield at need. (Unfortunately, in the close confines of a bridge battle, it was still possible to lose a leg. I did better in the open field.)
     “I also discovered that you could fluster a lot of opponents if the banner just happened to come between the opponent's eyes and my upper body, my head blows went unblocked. Or else the opponent put his shield permanently up to cover his head, and so left his ribs open. Not appropriate tactics for single combat in a Crown Lists, but it fit the (happy) mood of the event.” – William the Lucky

“What hasn't been mentioned here is the identity of the other fighter, and the circumstances of his fighting. Richard of Havn, one of Henrik's household and a fine man, was wearing Duke Paul's old armor for the day. Paul and I had died in the first seconds of that fight (charging a shield wall did not and still does not usually work). Rick had a fairly short spear or pole arm, and was a very new fighter at that time. But he was wearing Paul's armor - the Caidan's knew that armor, and held back, allowing William the Lucky to kill them off, one by one. I remember watching this in amazement, and laughing afterwards. Great fun.” – James Greyhelm

“I had a post movie drink with Rick and Karen yesterday and as one might expect we were yarning about the Goode Olde Dayze, so I asked him to confirm my message (to the AHP) from last week that is along the same lines as this one from James. He laughed deprecatingly and called it his "Fifteen minutes of Fame". We got to swapping 'No Shit, There I Was' stories about the event and his tale matches Jims' account in every particular. – Kevin Peregrynne
“I also remember the incident vividly and pretty much exactly as Jim does. I remember right at the start of the bridge battle we lined up Olaf the Medi-Ogre and Warren the Strange to try and break their spear wall with a charge. Olaf made Warren look small and Warren made everyone else look small. They charged and went exactly nowhere. The pikes stopped them, killed them, and slaughtered the fighters behind them, including Paul and, I think, myself. If Caid had charged when we were down to Bill and Rick, they'd have killed them easily.” – Steven MacEanruig
“Very true.
     “Nobody had really fought a bridge battle on that scale, and we didn't know that the charge wouldn't work. We did lose most of our better fighters in the first few minutes.
     “Also, the West didn't take things as seriously as Caid did. The odds were, I think, 27 to 14 in their favor.
     “A similar thing happened in the open-field battle. Once it started, I was at one end of the line surrounded by about six Caidens, who were staying well out of range, and yelling "watch out" every time I made a move. The same thing was happening to Rick at the other end of the line. This evened up the numerical odds for everybody else. At that time, the fighting quality was much higher in the West, so even odds were in our favor.
     “By the time of the Castle battle, they had figured things out.
     “Replying to Kevin's question about the site; It was in Bakersfield. I don't remember any cannon, though.” – Paul of Bellatrix
“I also have this vague memory of Rick losing a tooth later due to having put foam rubber cheek pads in Paul's old helmet instead of the firm ones Paul used. Perhaps someone could confirm that for me.” – Steven MacEanruig
“That was at a different event. That was the end of his short fighting career. One glorious victory, one painful loss.” – Henrik of Havn
“I seem to recall that that was also the event where the automatic sprinklers came on at the tourney field at 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Bill woke up when he put his feet down to the bottom of his sleeping bag into a pool of icy water. I remember Maihe McFergie storming around the field shouting about how people weren't going to like this. From the warm security of my sleeping bag in the center of the pavilion we were in I heard him and drifted back to sleep.” – Steven MacEanruig
“Nope, the event with the ice-water was one of the wars with Atenveldt. Out in desert, which had gotten cold as only deserts can. We had arrived late, and I had simply tossed my sleeping bag on the ground next to the vehicle we had come in, figuring to unpack in the morning. By morning, there was heavy frost on the ground.
     “Some people wake up quickly, and leap out of bed ready to face the day. Others of us wake up slowly. But if you have been curled up in a sleeping bag into a tight little ball, trying to keep warm, and finally give in to the inevitable and stretch out -- only to find you have just put your feet into a pool of ice water . . . !” – William the Lucky, who has made very sure ever since that any vehicle he buys has room for him to spread a sleeping bag INSIDE!
“This makes sense to me because I don't remember the rebellion being an overnight event. My recollection is that everybody from both sides packed up after the fighting was over, drove up highway 99 to Rieslingshire and partied til the small hours doing a thorough but viewpoint-slanted post-mortem on the day's fighting.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“I don't think it was a 2 day event. We drove down on Friday night and slept in someone's pavilion in our sleeping bags. I vaguely remember driving back to Rieslingshire that evening as well, but I'm not sure. We may have gone home instead.” – Steven MacEanruig
“Although the rebellion itself took place on Saturday, it was intended to be a weekend event. Probably a little over half the Caidans drove up Friday night and camped. Although I had only been in the group a little over six months, Caid was a small group, and I knew the people in all but one tent Saturday morning. After closing court (where Paul "beheaded" two watermelons offered up as surrogates), the Western contingent did return to Riesling, which was the only disappointment of the weekend. We had hoped to rehash the battles and hold a bardic circle together. I don't know of anyone driving to Riesling for the evening, nor do I know of anyone being invited. I think there may have been a few challenges fought on Sunday, but most of us were pretty worn out, and there was no one there who we couldn't fight with at most Tourneys. I think the high point of Sunday was Philip of Meade taking his flanged steel mace over to the old car the college students were using as a fund raiser. For a buck you could hit the car with a baseball bat, but Philip used his mace, and left a real impression on the car.” – Robear du Bois
“Rick described the bridge end-game as a teamwork double-psyche - they'd see him, think "Oh Shit, Paul!", then Lucky would wave the banner in their faces and Rick would clonk them, while they were paralyzed with fear and momentary blindness, with his pole weapon. He also noted that their opponents made the classic mistake of coming on singly against two fighters who had, for whatever reason, hit upon a team tactic that worked (a sure way to get your ticket to Valhallah punched).
     “Rick and I also talked about his tooth loss Sunday. That happened at the Kingdom event a few weeks later (Big Trees?), he was still using Paul's old equipment. The injury is described accurately - both upper center incisors broken or killed. It happened during a melee when Robear du Bois caught Rick under the rim of his helm with a pole weapon, and as described, the cheek pads were not properly fitted (and to quote Rick - "fortunately neither was the chin strap or my neck would have been damaged."). This was the origin of the WK (later SCA) prohibition against thrusting on the run using the body's momentum as part of the impact.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“Robear could definitely hit with a pike. He was the origin of my first real breastplate after he about stove in my ribs during a castle battle.” – Steven MacEanruig
“Another Alzheimers question ... I always thought the first rebellion event was in Visalia, another 20 minutes away from Bakersfield??
     “Does anybody else remember that !@#$%^&*(-+=! cannon at the North end of the field that they shot off every 20 minutes or so?” – Kevin Peregrynne
“It took place at a Junior College in Bakersfield, and was held on their athletic field. They were holding a "Renaissance Fair" in conjunction with the rebellion, but didn't have a clue regarding what sort of crafts or games to have. Morvin delivered the challenge from Prince Hugh to King Paul at a very soggy March Crown, throwing one of Hugh's gauntlets at Paul's feet. After the challenge was read, Paul picked up the gauntlet and asked Morvin if tradition now dictated that Paul should slap Morvin with it. Morvin looked nervous, because the gauntlet was very heavy, but agreed that this was probably true. Paul then handed the gauntlet to Morvin and told him to slap Hugh for him. Morvin asked, "How hard?", and Paul told him, "As hard as you dare."” – Robear du Bois
[didnt have a clue what sort of ...] “Likewise with the Renaissance Fair. I never managed to make it from the tourney site and have no clue either what they had there.” – Steven MacEanruig
“We were worried about being outnumbered, and knew they were better fighters, so we tried to bribe the Riesling contingent with alcoholic beverages, but Earl Douglas said that without Riesling the King would only have six men with him, so they would have to stay with him. Years later Douglas would comment that getting the Western fighters to come to the First Rebellion was like trying to stack water.
     “There were 19 Western fighters (12 from Riesling), but this number included 2 Dukes, Paul and James, at least one Earl, Douglas, and several Knights, including William the Lucky and Kevin Peregrynne. Only Kevin had brought a polearm, and it was broken in the first battle. There were 21 Caidan fighters for the first battle, 23 for the second, and 25 for the third battle. Only Hugh was a Knight, but we had 6 polearms, and had been practicing fighting in teams.” – Robear du Bois
“I can remember myself, Rick, Paul, William, and Warren.” – Steven MacEanruig
“The first battle was a bridge, made up of 16 (I think) hay bales. Hugh put a bartizan on each side of the bridge at mid-point, and I think the bridge was about 6 feet wide. Hugh put a polearms man in each bartizan, and lined the rest up on the bridge, with a couple new fighters at the front to absorb the shock of a charge, and then his best swordsmen (probably two ranks) and the rest of the poles. The newer fighters filled the back ranks. The poles were all halberds and glaives, but there was no length limit then, and some were over 9 feet long.” – Robear du Bois
“We came, we charged, we died. I remember watching a good deal of the bridge battle from the sidelines. I have no clear memory of who killed me or how I was killed but it was early.” – Steven MacEanruig
“I don't know how many times the Westerners charged, but since the bodies weren't removed and they had no polearms to speak of, it was very tough going. During one of their charges I killed Paul with my halberd. Hugh's position seemed invulnerable until Hugh got either bored or tired and, saying "You just live once", he charged the Western fighters. He was, of course, butchered, but not before Maihee McFerge, and then Einar individually charged after him. All died in seconds, and three of the best swordsmen on the bridge were gone. But the bridge was still a hard nut to crack, and finally there were only 2 Western fighters left, William the Lucky, fighting with sword and banner, and Rick Mantegani, a new fighter with sword and shield who had been legged. We had 6 fighters left on the end of the bridge, but they were all beginners, and William picked them off one by one, and won the battle.” – Robear du Bois
“I admit, I thought William's sword and banner arrangement was completely goofy, but then it worked.” – Steven MacEanruig
“We expected to be swept away fairly quickly in the open field battle, but found that fighting in teams really does make a difference. Martin, Morvin and I fought together as the right flank unit, and found ourselves facing Paul most of the battle. Generally the two armies slowly pivoted, with each side advancing on its right. During a hold Hugh told us to reverse to the left flank, which we did, but Paul also reversed flanks, so we weren't able to stabilize the flank, and shortly after this the line began to break up. I would guess that they suffered at least 50% casualties.
     “There weren't enough hay bales to make a satisfactory castle, so several cafeteria type tables were also used for walls. The middle section of hay bales was considered a broken gate, and the hay bales here could be climbed over. I was fighting near the right end of the wall, I don't remember how Hugh stationed the rest of the Army. At first the Western Army tried to skirmish along the walls, and I found myself facing Paul, who had a great sword. After what seemed like a great deal of fencing, I succeeded in killing Paul with a thrust to the face, the first time I had used the thrusting tip on the halberd, and James, who was next to Paul, killed me as I leaned over the wall. The skirmishing was not very productive, so they formed a column and charged over the hay bales in the middle. They got about ten feet into the castle before they were stopped, and then they were beaten to death from both sides. The bodies were so thick that Kevin couldn't fall down when he died. Only three battles were planned, but the West wanted a chance to defend the castle and use our polearms, so we fought once more, "just for fun".” – Robear du Bois
[Kevin couldn’t fall down ...] “I died in the skirmishing. Robear was the one who did me and it remains one of the hardest body blows I've ever received. Afterwards I quickly built my first heavy leather breast and back. I felt like all the ribs on my right side were stove in.” – Steven MacEanruig
“I talked Paul into letting me use my halberd, but they kept the other five. Naturally we all died. It was great fun. Come to the war in April and we'll do it all again.” – Robear du Bois

“Caid's war song, complete with pre-written "apology" verse should we lose, which we expected to sing. Presented and performed by myself and Jessica Llyrindi of Northmarch.
     “Oh, and to Kevin, I remember the &@%#*$)@& cannon. It was a hand cannon (gun), belonged to one of the mundanes participating in their fair. I think he wore a cavalier's suit and was tolling some of the hours.” – Martin the Temperate

The Caid Rebellion (First Annual)
Tune: Battle Hymn of the Republic

VerseMine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Prince,
He is marching out his warriors as the Western soldiers wince,
They're lining up for battle and all Caid is convinced,
Caid shall rule this day.
ChorusOnward, onward Caid rebels!
Onward, onward Caid rebels!
Onward, onward Caid rebels!
Today the tyrant falls!
VerseMine eyes have seen our warriors with their halberds waving high,
They're lifting them up to the sun a-shining in the sky,
But e're the day is done they'll make the central Kingdom cry
Caid shall rule this day.
ChorusOnward, onward Caid rebels!
Onward, onward Caid rebels!
Onward, onward Caid rebels!
Today the tyrant falls!
VerseOur warriors advance upon the tyrant's line of knights,
Our swords are up and flashing with an eerie battle light,
And as we clear the field of foes, Caid shall prove its might,
Caid shall rule this day.
ChorusOnward, onward Caid rebels!
Onward, onward Caid rebels!
Onward, onward Caid rebels!
Today the tyrant falls!
VerseThe Western King did lead a charge and how the earth did shake,
The Caid rebels held their ground, not one of them did shake,
They turned that charge into retreat, the field a bloody lake,
Caid shall rule this day.
ChorusGlory, glory, Caid rebels!
Glory, glory, Caid rebels!
Glory, glory, Caid rebels!
Today the tyrant fell!
P.S. Verse
We wrote this song and did not mean for you to take offense,
And every artist is allowed his poetic license,
And this is not to make you mad, or tempers to incense,
But wait until next year!
Chorus(as we drop to our knees in supplication.)
Mercy, Mercy, O King Paul,
Did not mean to make you small,
As a king you really are quite tall,
I like my head this way!

“I am writing you to "set the record straight" so to speak on the details concerning the final moments of the 'bridge fight' that occurred during the First Annual Caid Rebellion. This was the incident that involved three Caid fighters, William the Lucky and Richard of Havn (myself). For me, it was my "fifteen minutes of fame" in the SCA as my fighting career was a brief one to say the least ... Although this event took place around 25 years ago, it remains a vivid memory. Here is my account as I remember it ...
     “After much spirited fighting, both sides were reduced in number to just three unbelted fighters for Caid who remained on their side of the bridge, and two for the West/Mists, William the Lucky and me (Richard of Havn). William was armed with a long sword in his right hand and carried the banner of the West on a staff in his left hand ... He did not have a shield ... The three fighters who remained on the Caid side were each armed with sword and shield. Both of us stood a few paces back from the bridge on our side of the "river" so to speak ... I was armed only with a pike mall some 8 feet in total length. It was the weapon I carried with great success during this entire fight. I stood behind and to the left of William so as to use his banner (pole) as a shield. It turned out to be a good decision ... At this time I remember thinking "if those men rush us all at once, we are dead ..."
     “Instead [to my surprise], and one by one, they walked over the bridge to face us individually ... The first fighter to approach swung his sword at William who blocked the blow(s) with his sword and banner staff ... In dealing with William his guard was down for anybody else, so it was easy for me to time my moves. Using my pike-mall, I reached around to the left of the banner pole and dispatched this man with one quick blow to the right side of his helm. The second fighter was taken out in exactly the same manner ... The third tied himself up in the banner pole and William was able to deliver a strong blow to his helm ... As he hesitated a moment, I made two additional blows to his helm with my pike-mall and finished him.
     “William and I actually stood there for a moment before it 'sunk in' ... There were no other opponents ... we won ... At that point William let out a cheer and ran across the bridge with me right behind him and "planted the Kingdom flag" on "their soil" ... We exchanged war hoops and back patting ... etc ...
     “That is how I remember it ...”
     “I was without armour at the first Caid rebellion but wanted to fight for the West on that day. Paul had heard this and offered me his complete original suit of black armour as he was planning to wear his new armour for the first time on this occasion. It was loaned to me [Paul never asked for money, nor was any ever given] for as long as I needed it..., or at least until I could make or acquire my own. Paul was most generous to allow me to use it ... I can remember thinking that I must do well ... I am wearing the king's armour! Some months later as I recall, the suit was returned to Paul's household or on to someone else for further use. The second time I wore it was at the June AS X Crown tourney in the field melee ... where I had the misfortune to be on the receiving end of a Robear du Bois polearm. Robear has remembered his tactics well ... Paul had just gone by taking a swipe at me when Robear moved quickly up behind him and thrust at my helm. However, I was not on my knees but was moving towards him when I was hit ... The force of the blow [you are stronger than you think, Robear] slammed the helmet back into my face and badly chipped three of my upper front teeth ... I then DROPPED to my knees spitting tooth fragments through the visor slots!! There is NO excuse for a helm that is not properly padded, strapped and fitted ... I offer none ... I should of made all the adjustments to Paul's old helm to achieve a perfect fit ... I never bothered ... case closed ... teeth still missing!” – Richard of Havn

“My recollection of the challenge & first Rebellion went this way; The challenge was delivered to King Paul by Morven of Carrick with Bevin Fraser of Stirling backing him up. I was the banner bearer behind them as I had done that for the Brotherhood (and King William II once) and would serve in that capacity for the Principality more than once later on. Hugh was not tired-merely bored when he suddenly said his piece, and, without informing his shieldman and bodyguard (me) what he planned (if planned is the right word) he charged. Hugh used to play Dungeons & Dragons that way as well. A while later someone with a polearm from the Kingdom side, knocked me from the first line into the third with a half-gainer that left my shield caught under me and split my lip. All-in-all a day of great fun, where we did a whole lot better than any of us expected, what with the difference in expertise that we all readily acknowledged.” – Charles of Dublin

“Three things stick out in my mind about this event. 1st: Martin’s X-rated birthday cake. 2nd: William the Lucky and his lone stand at the bridge. 3rd and most humorous: was Douglas Longshanks. After the fighting he had put on a new yellow T-tunic with sweeping angel sleeves. After a visit to the privies, Ian of Cawdor caught him pouring Brown Derby beer on one of his sleeves. Doug finally confessed that he thought that the toilet paper seemed extremely soft for a port-a-poti. Needless to say Ian never let him forget and the song “Brown Sleeves” (I think written by Amanda of Cawdor who also wrote “Men of Riesling”) became a shire favorite. Does anyone still have the words to this song?” – Rand of Dunbar

“I will take credit for “Men of Riesling”, but not “Brown Sleeves”. Somebody else gets the blame for that.” – Amanda of Cawdor

Men of Riesling
Sung to the Tune of “Men of Harlech”
by Amanda of Cawdor

Come, you drunkards, stop your dreaming,
Can’t you hear the bastards scheming
Overthrow of all of Riesling,
At your very door?

Men of Riesling all unsteady,
On your feet and at the ready,
Though it often has been said ye
Cannot find the floor.

          Raise your glass and quaff it!
          Your nightshirt you must doff it!
          Leave your thoughts beside her cot,
          But get your body off it!

Men of Riesling, into battle,
They are stealing all your cattle.
And your e’en more precious chattel,
Your wenches and your beer!

Stagger yon our fleeing foemen,
Drunken knights and drunken yeomen,
And some very drunken bowmen,
Tangled up with twine!

We’ll pursue them and we’ll harry
Them where’er they stop to tarry:
Another day they’ll be more wary
Who they rob of wine!

          Riesling, hear your duty!
          They’re fleeing with their booty!
          Your wives you’ll miss, but worse than this,
          Of wine the swine would loot ye!

Let them have the fields and towers,
We’ll defend the casks and bowers!
Castles fall, but nothing sours
Loving and good wine!

Description of this event, © Copyright 1980 by William R. Keyes (Wilhelm von Schlüssel)
This is from The History of the West Kingdom, Volume 1 (the only volume produced). When reading this text, please keep in mind the following disclaimer:

Disclaimer: This history may have errors in it, as much of the detail is “remembered” history, or as one of the cover pages of the original type-written manuscript states “The material within is derived from the information printed in The Crown Prints and in The Page, and from the memories of the participants.” The original document was typed on onion-skin paper, with hand-written notes (often in the margins). All attempts have been made to reconcile the notes with the original document.

Annotations, when they are added, are from The Annotated History of the West, Volume 1, which is the same text as Master Wilhelm's mentioned above, with commentary from members of the SCA who were active at the time of the event, and are added to help clarify questions and expand on what happened and why. This volume is copyright © Ken Mayer (Hirsch von Henford).

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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).