A Company of Heroes: 
The Early History of the Liondragon Guard
Revised 8/21/2013

Author’s note:

While I am a former guard member, this article is not centered in any way around my time with the guard. Nor, is it simply a cold recounting of only the most verifiable facts of it’s history. It is a deliberate effort to bring together the fragmented collection of verbal and written history into one place. The ranks  of SCA battle are often filled by the young, and the youngest of the guard members need a consolidated history, or else they will walk into battle largely ignorant of the heritage they carry with the guard’s uniform tabard. 

 The “voice” of this work is not an accident. It is as much a fact as the words on the pages to follow.  Only in the modern age are we so willing to divorce ourselves from the passion and enthusiasm that is part and parcel to history’s creation. This work is an unapologetically enthusiastic chronicle of the unit’s history, and it’s words include a reflection of the energy and fire I see in people’s eyes every time they tell a tale about the Liondragon guard.  I feel that to completely remove that energy would be to do a disservice to every guard member who ever raised  a weapon and called out with their last bit of energy before pressing back into the fury of battle. 

 The writing process has been, and continues to be as much an experiment in social sciences and political history as it is an academic undertaking. Some facts are debatable as to their historical merits, and others are decidedly unpopular amongst certain figures. Murkier still, are events remembered by some, and never noticed by others, leaving legitimate questions as to if the tale ever took place. There is no formula for how to resolve these questions, leaving all involved only their own best judgment to depend on. In the end, it is an imperfect science at best. Still, rather than let doubt and  skepticism silence this effort, I choose to lay down all of the facts that I can, listen to all the criticism, write what I know, and give the next generation of guard members a consolidated history so that they know what chapters came before them as they write the next page in the story.       

Lord Ivo Blackhawk 


Introduction

Since its founding in Anno Societatis XXXI, the Liondragon Guard of Mooneschadowe has been one of the most identifiable and pivotal units in the Ansteorran army. The Guard directly and indirectly reshaped much of the kingdom’s wartime story, both inspiring others, and defending its own prestige at the same time. The single most prolific holder of the King’s Battle Ribbon, Liondragon has become an influential political and military force, raising the standard of battle in the kingdom army, and becoming part of the vanguard effort in building a close military tie with the Kingdom of Calontir, and helped to produce two Ansteorran crowns. Its members have earned (and in some cases physically commanded) respect from some of the most elite forces in the Known World, both allied and adversary.  With humble resources, and ambitious goals, the Guard entered the kingdom military scene, and both then and now, continues to leave an indelible mark on Ansteorra’s history.

It is the story of a company of heroes, told in a kingdom of heroes.

Foundation & First Captain: Talen von Marienburg (Back to Top)

The story of the guard actually has its origins one year before the official founding. Gulf War’s V would be the first war to see the now-distinct burgundy, black, and gold tabards by members of the Mooneschadowe Militia. The central, and identifying figure on the new tabards was the Liondragon itself, displayed in gold and shown in profile over a burgundy background.

The mythical “Liondragon” badge was actually born of an in-group joke. Several members of the shire had quipped that the group should register a “Draggin’ tail” because of how badly Mooneschadowe tended to procrastinate. The early efforts to move forward with the pun ran into some local resistance because of possible associations with Middle Kingdom, or Drachenwald. While the pun was eventually discarded for more serious imagery, the concept of a creature with a dragon’s tail persisted. Lord George Michael Edmundson, the herald at the time, discovered two previously registered badges called “winged lion-dragons”. George presented a wingless variant of the illustration to the group, dubbing it simply the “Liondragon”. The invocation (Whether deliberate or coincidental is lost to history) of an kingdom icon (the lion) and a unique feature, (the dragon’s tail) went over well with the group and won popular support quickly. Ultimately Talen and his wife Treshen became the strongest advocates of a newly fashioned design. The Badge was submitted (fieldless, meaning it needed no background) to the college of arms, and registered in June of 1991. The actual purpose of the Liondragon figure was not decided upon for some time, though the general idea had been to use it as an overall Mooneschadowe badge. Gulf Wars V would mark its first use as a military uniform, and the subsequent years would cement it in this roll. In over a decade of history since, this display has changed little, and has since proven to be one of the guard’s most identifiable features 

A direct descendant of  the militia, the Guard was formally established in September of AS 31 (1996)   by the sitting seneschal, Alarich  von Thorn, with the intent of both rebranding the group’s military identity, and inspiring higher standard’s of performance from them on the field.  Starting with a name intended to inspire glory  from within, and respect from without, he drew from the name of the already established uniform, and declared the new group the Liondragon Guard.

Alarich further distinguished the new unit with the creation of the Captain of the Guard. The Captain would serve at the pleasure of the sitting seneschal, and his responsibilities would be to organize and train the Guard during times of peace, and to lead them on the front lines during battle.  The Captain is held equivalent to local officers, and was expected to turn in monthly reports to the newsletter, provide an accounting of the guard at each populace meeting, and be available to the seneschal at those same meetings as the uniformed representative of the guard before the populace.

Drawing from the small core of experienced and senior fighters within Mooneschadowe, Alarich named Centurion Talen  von Marienburg as the founding Captain, and his wife Centurion Treschen  von Asselen stood as second-in-command.

Additionally, one of the founding members of the guard was a young fighter named Owen ap Aden, a hard-working figure known for a loud voice that leant itself to heraldry, and enthusiasm that played well in bardic circles. Joining the guard, Owen was selected as one of the early leaders within the unit, and would bring his own brand of command presence and raw power to the group’s dynamic.

Alarich himself also joined the guard, and was informally nominated to command one of the first lances by the others in the unit. Alarich recalled that he was selected partially because “they thought I was safer with a spear."

In the months following the Guard’s establishment Talen led the unit in close order drills, and establishing a common doctrine of combat that any member could use from any position along the line. Talen, a mundane veteran of the US Army, understood that training and repetition was the best way to insure a unit maintained cohesion and effectiveness when engaged with a dedicated opponent. These efforts would mark one of the first attempts by a group within the kingdom of Ansteorra to field a trained, uniformed unit, under a standardized doctrine and order of battle.

Early Fighting equipment

The guard’s fighting equipment was composed entirely of personal arms and armor. The shield wall was consisted of roughly half to two-thirds of the group, and was composed of personal shields, usually  “barn door” 2’x3’ or 2½’ x 3’ rectangular shield, with one or two of the larger fighters carrying 3’x4’ war shields.  The predominate killing arm of the formation were a core group of 9’ spears, and these were backed up by great weapons such as the 6’ glaive, and 7½’ great sword which acted as both killing arms and active protection for the shield wall.  The guard also fielded a handful archers, who were positioned in the third rank position.  On the field, archers were typically employed conceptually as “50-foot polearms”, opting to engage targets that had stepped just out of range of the spears. Shorter weapons, and twin-sword fighters would usually fight from the second rank in support of the shields, or hold formation in the third to exploit any opening in the enemy line after an initial punch of the shields.  While actual muster strength has varied from year to year based on available fighters, the guard was  generally considered to be at “full” (or optimum) strength at anywhere between fifteen to twenty armed members present.

The Guard was organized into subunits named lances, with each lance commanded by a lance commander (usually a spearman) and composed of one to three shields, and one or two pole arms or great weapons. Shield-men typically had basket-gripped shields and basket-hilted single swords derived from traditional tournament equipment. With few exceptions, gauntlets were worn only by pike-men and archers. Shield-men were usually dedicated to their role for the duration of a war, while pikes were able to switch between weapons. 

Waterbearers were typically referred to as a waterbearer’s lance, or support lance, thought this term did not persist long past AS 34. However, the Guard did quickly establish a tradition of strong mutual support between its combatant and non-combatant members.

During the weeks before Gulf Wars VI, the Captain and the full complement of the Guard were sworn in before the Shire seneschal and the attending populace for the first time, a tradition that would continue each year since. The first swearing in, as recalled by the presiding seneschal, was held to an authoritarian style and Germanic tradition, though each subsequent ceremony would grow and change to reflect the personalities and attitudes of the presiding seneschal and populace as a whole. In broad and general terms, the Guard is sworn to protect the Kingdom of Ansteorra, and the Shire (and later Province) of Mooneschadowe, and to follow the edicts and directions of the crown as translated down through the seneschal. (Iarngard von Thorn)

March of that year (AS XXX/1997) saw twelve members of  the newly formed guard deploy to Gulf Wars VI where it distinguished itself in several pitched battles against superior numbers.  This war was the event that cemented the beginning of the long partnership between Mooneschadowe and the Northkeep border guard, with fought side by side with Liondragon through most of the war.  Additionally, The guard fought next to the  fighting arm of the Black Company household for the first time. 

Most notable was the remarkable defense of the castle gate, and then the sally port during Ansteorran defense of the fortification. Despite repeated charges by larger units composed of veteran fighters, squires, and knights, the Guard and Black Company stubbornly defended their position until another point in the castle was breached.

The fighting was hotly contested, and one of the most spoken about specific encounters since was when a lone Trimarian fighter attempted to physically climb over top of Gylian’s  shield in order to swing at her.  Lord Owen ap Aden , who’s stature at the time was described in his own words as 6’2” 365 lbs, lashed out with his one-handed axe, and hooked the Trimarian fighter by back the helmet, pulling him across Owen’s shield, and proceeded to use the man as a layer of human armor while the man’s own allies tried to press the attack and only wound up pummeling their comrade. When it was decided (by Owen) that the man was officially dead, Owen then threw his victim back in the Trimarian line, the impact (both physically and psychologically) shaking the Trimarans. 

In the heat of battle, her Excellency Gunhilda Amberstar  was heard to say “Ansteorrians,  don’t break or fall back. Die where you stand!” moments before being felled by a siege engine’s rock.  But none the less, the command was heard and followed, this posture would force  Triamrus to earn each and every foot of ground into the castle.

Not once, but twice did Triamrus dedicate a heavy attack into the gate, with the full expectation of breaking the defenses and pressing into the castle. But the Liondragon line was never actually breached. Rather, they were overrun  from behind when other points in the castle were overpowered.  It is commonly believed that members of the Guard were the absolute last members of the Ansteorran army to fall to the onrushing Trimarian forces.  Liondragon had distinguished themselves that day, and done it in the crucible of battle. Following the engagement, the crown would dub the guard the “Guardian’s of the Gate” in recognition of their contribution to the battle. 

The next spring, Mooneschadowe and Northkeep entered into a treaty, formalizing their alliance, and assuring that they would never be compelled to march against each other on the battlefield. In the months following the initial signing, other groups within the north found merit in the ideals of the treaty, and petitioned to join. The agreement soon became known as the Treaty of the Northern Alliance, with Seneschal Alarich Iarngard von Thorn as one of the principle authors and advocates.  The last of the signatories joined the following year, weeks before Gulf Wars VII.

In July of  AS XXXI(1997), King Mahdi Jamal ibn Hakim, with Prince Kien in attendance, awarded the newly formed King’s battle ribbon to the combined fighting power of the Liondragon Guard and the Northkeep Border Guard. 

Second Captain: Treschen von Asselen (Back to Top)

In the year that followed, the Guard continued to practice its now proven doctrine, as well as increase its ranks. Fall of the following year (1997) saw Centurion Talen  victorious in the Northern Regional Warlord melee tournament. This victory would name his as commander of the northern Ansteorran army.  In order to fulfill this commitment, Talen  resigned his commission as captain, and  Alarich then appointed Centurion Treschen  von Asselen as Captain of the Guard, affording her time to familiarize herself with the newest members, as well as continue training. 

The guard would then travel to the battle of three kings, the first of their showings at the event, during the recreation of the English civil wars with Treschen  playing one of the characters of the Plantagenet family. The guard’s performance at the event held up to the high standards set at Gulf wars VI, and upon their return, the news of their successes would go on to inspire others to join their ranks. One of the most notable such recruits was a new fighter names Jean Paul, who switched his focus from rapier fighting to melee combat based largely on the reports of  the guard’s success at Three Kings.  

Later that year, King Jean Richard, as part of the kingdom buildup for the next gulf wars, charged all members of the Ansteorran army to qualify as combat archers. In response to this, the majority of the Liondragon would seek the required training, with the last group getting their authorizations at Northern Regional  Tribute/War practice less than two months before the war.

At Gulf Wars VII (March 1998) the Guard and their allies in Northkeep again distinguished themselves in repeated frontal engagements with the Trimarian army. Both on the open field and in the castle, Liondragon proved consistently that simple and well-practiced tactics can make even the newest of fighters a credible threat to a more seasoned but less disciplined enemy. 

Following an unexpected open-field battle victory at the beginning of the war, His Majesty Jean Richard II set a tone of celebration for the event when at court that night be proclaimed, “Today, we taught the Trimarians how to fight. Tonight, we’re going to teach ‘em how to party!”

The Guard would go on to preform as a pivotal player in the ravine/resurrection battle, and the climactic castle battle at the end of the war.  Several members were also part of the effort to soften the castle defenses before the final charge, firing longbows in volley over the castle walls before dropping their weapons and rejoining the shield wall for the final push.

The marching cadence

Another point of distinction that began with this war was the establishment of the Liondragon marching cadence, written by Lord Oxlade Lachlann MacKinnon. The verses contained the unit’s order of battle, their history to date, and highly spirited challenges to any who would tempt fortune and challenge the Guard. This military style cadence allowed the Guard to fully display their high esprit de corps. Following several engagement during the war, allies, and even members of the Trimarian army, were heard responding to verses as the guard exited the field in march formation. Liondragon had not only left its mark on the Kingdom’s battlefield, but was beginning to change the fighting culture as well.

Two months following the war, King Jean Richard II presented the King’s Battle Ribbon to the Liondragon Guard and Northkeep for the second time in as many years.

Third Captain: Gunhilda Amberstar (Back to Top)

The end of the summer of AS 34 (July 1998) saw Treschen resign her post as Guard Captain. The Shire’s new seneschal, Guillaume de Troyes, would then name  Her Excellency Gunhilda Amberstar as the next guard captain as one of his earliest official duties during his tenure as seneschal. 

Despite a dedicated showing by the Guard, Gulf Wars VIII (AS 34/ 1999) is largely considered “the year that the rain won” after severe weather forced the cancelation of almost all fighting activities.

In the months following Gulf VIII, the Guard experienced a high turnover within its ranks, with several of the more seasoned members being compelled to resign their enlistments, while a fresh crop of new members joined with the traditional influx of college students coming to the local university in the fall. 

It was during this time that a number of other groups within the kingdom were looking to the Guard’s success at war as a possible model to emulate. One such group was the Elfsea’s baronially chartered Arthurian Company. The unit issued a formal challenge to the Liondragon Guard to meet them for a unit-on-unit fight following the day’s fighting at the Battle of Three Kings that year.

A large contingent of the Guard traveled to the Battle of Three Kings, and during the event fought on the side of the Scots during the event’s recreation of the Scottish fight against English rule.

Of political significance at this event, Count Mahdi was formally invited, and then inducted into the guard, it’s first non-resident member. For the event itself, Mahdi fought opposite the guard, siding with the English. The towering Moor’s fleet footedness would leave a lasting impression on all sides that day after he was able to quickly circumvent certain groups of fighters and engage targets of his choosing, seemingly at will.  The display was quickly dubbed “the Mahdi teleport”, and was inflicted on at least two Liondragon  archers in less time than they could reload their weapons.

 Following the event’s scheduled battle, Mahdi was gifted with a Liondragon tabard, and welcomed into the unit so that he could fight with them during the engagement with Arthurian Company. 

When Liondragon and the Arthurian Company did meet, they were roughly evenly matched in number, though the Elfsea unit had a substantially larger proportion of seasoned fighters and melee veterans.  Acting on a specific plan laid out by Captain Gunhilda Amberstar before the engagement, the shieldwall immediately broke from their position and ran in a flanking maneuver around the Arthurian’s left side. The maneuver doubled the length of the Liondragon battle line and quickly engaged the edge of the Arthurian company’s line.  Suddenly facing an enemy spread across a huge battlefront and already attacking on one side, the Arthurians were forced to react quickly and without time to coordinate their movements.  As a result, they were folded back on themselves, cornered, and then broken in short order when they were not able to move quickly enough to counter the attack.

The engagement ended with all but one of Arthurian members dispatched, and Liondragon suffering only three losses during the fight. When asked to yield, the final member of Elfsea’s unit defiantly countered “And why would I want to do that?”

The Guard’s newest member, Count Mahdi, then quipped back, “it hurts a lot less that way.”

Of important note for the rest of the Kingdom at this time, is what the Arthurian Company did following this engagement on that cool, drizzly November day. The fight quickly showed the unit their shortcomings, and their weaknesses, as well as violently outlining the cost of non-proficiency in basic maneuvers on the field. For the next four months, the Arthurian company would work to learn from its losses in order to better represent the Kingdom on the field at Gulf.

Fourth Captain: Alarich Iarngard von Thorn (Back to Top)

Weeks later, Gunhilda  would step down as Guard captain, and Guillaume de Troyes would then name Alarich Iarngard von Thorn as Guard Captain.  

Nearly a dozen members of the guard, including Jean Paul de Sens and Alarich , would travel to Calontir in late January, AS XXXIII (2000) to participate in the annual Mongolian themed melee event, that year named “Mongols 2K”. The event was a tournament/melee format with five to seven-man teams. The guard participated in two teams under the monikers “Liondragon” and “Liondragon two”. Also present from Ansteorra was HE Thorgim, baron of Northkeep and his personal guard.  In the following royal court, with Ansteorra’s crown in attendance, Alarich would receive a his sable falcon in recognition for demonstrated prowess on the field. For several of the guards, this was one of the first exposure to the Calontiri fighting culture, and for others it was yet another step in the building of inter-kingdom relationships that would reach it’s full potential several years later.

In April AS XXXIV (2000),  Jean Paul would earn victory in the Northern Regional Warlord competition in the same fashion that Talen had three years before. And Likewise, Jean Paul would lead the Northern Region on the field of battle at the following Gulf Wars.

At Gulf Wars IX (2000), the Liondragon Guard returned in force, with a large contingent of Northkeep at their side, intent on retaining the Battle Ribbon for a third time.  The Arthurian Company also returned, and also came in force, with their numbers bolstered by an alliance with the fighting arm of the mercenary household Iron Lance, bringing their fighting strength to over thirty members. On the field during several engagement, including the ravine battle, Liondragon would again fight next to the fighting arm of the Black Company household. Black Company and would stand shoulder to shoulder with the guard at some of the pivotal moments during the final push for the center ground in the ravine. 

The two units, Liondragon and Arthurian company, quickly and separately proved stubborn defenders, and viscous opponents on the field of battle, with both routinely going shield-to-shield with Trimarian troops in fights that normally would have favored the Trimarian numerical advantage.  During the interludes between the battles, several members of Arthurian Company leadership openly commented that the model they were basing their formation on was heavily inspired by their experience with the Guard.

After a stellar showing on the part of both units at the war, King Alaric Drake I both acknowledged the legacy that had been started by the Liondragon Guard, and recognized that the Arthurian Company had stepped up to the challenge and met it. For the first time since its creation, the Battle Ribbon was awarded to someone other than the combined forces of Mooneschadowe and the Northkeep.

Fifth Captain: Angus Gunn and Gulf Wars X (Back to Top)

Alarich ’s term lasted through January (2001), where Seneschal Walter Robin would appoint  Angus Gunn to captaincy. Angus would lead the Guard at Gulf Wars X, where an unfortunate combination of circumstances would lead to a muster of only four guardsmen that year.

An effort to bring the Guard back to its previous strength began in earnest the following spring. Between existing members, and new recruitment, the Guard was brought back to “traditional” strength before the end of the fall.

Also around this time, the 7½’ unpadded glaive was beginning to come to predominance on the Ansteorran battlefield. The unpadded glaive was a potent addition to the Guard’s offensive punch, with skilled pike men willing to trade 18” of reach in exchange for the weapon’s devastating striking ability. While the unit never fully gave up classic 9’ spears, smaller actions, and broken terrain would quickly favor glaive-equipped liondragon pike-men and commanders.

May of AS XXXV, Doireann inghean ui Brolchain became the twenty fifth seneschal of Mooneschadwe, and with several changes to the administration of the group, she would also moderately alter the captaincy of the guard. While already treated as an officer, Doireann moved forward with plans to informally consider the guard captain as an automatic deputy to the seneschal. The most significant element of this policy was to make the guard Captain one of the people who was expected to step up in the seneschals absence.

In July , Jean Paul was added to the order of the Centurions of Sable Star of Ansteorra in recognition for his demonstrated prowess on both the tournament and melee fields, the first of several marshal achievements that would be made in parallel with his guard career. 

Sixth Captain: Oxlade Lachlann MacKinnon (Back to Top)

In October, Doireann would appoint HL Oxlade Lachlann MacKinnon to the Captaincy after Angus gun’s stepping down. It was during this tenure, and largely through the efforts of Oxlade and Jean Paul, that the Guard began to restructure itself both in doctrine and equipment.

New Equipment and Scutum shields

Recognizing parallels between the Guard and the more formalized army of the Kingdom of Calontir to the north, efforts were made to establish stronger ties with the kingdom, as well as a heavy investment in Shire maintained military equipment, specifically the first batch of heavy war shields, properly called scutums. 

These shields were a significant departure from earlier equipment in several important ways. Not the least of which was the fact that the shields were owned and maintained by the Shire itself, and were emblazoned with the Liondragon emblem. The Guard would now present a uniformed, armored front to all onlookers, yet again distinguishing themselves on the kingdom battle line. The shields were constructed of layered plywood (and later shaped aluminum) and, despite dimensions that were rivaled only by the largest and heaviest of  tournament shields before, they were comparatively lightweight and maneuverable. Their curved shape made them extremely strong, and harder to grab by spears or pikes. The shields were ambidextrous, hung with a full width crossbar. While this required all members, including shield-men to now wear gauntlets at least on one hand, it would also eventually allow the Guard in years to come to fluidly switch its members between roles as needed, even in the heat of battle.

The standard sword of the shield wall was eventually traded out for 24” “fishbat” short swords; a close-quarters weapon that was easy hung by lanyard from the wrist, freeing shield-men to use both hands when needed. The transition, however, was not instantaneous, but a gradual progression over the course of almost two years. Basket-hilted longswords were traded in for shorter mass weapons such as axes and maces, and those transitioned from basketed grips to open grips requiring gauntlets. Finally, the weapon of choice within the unit was unofficially accepted as the short swords, which were popularized within he group by their now common nickname. Though the choice of weapon was, and still is, the choice of the individual, and some can still elect to carry a different weapon.

With this new equipment came changes in the structure. The older lance system was largely done away with, and a newer, more fluid structure was adopted, with more emphasis on supporting arms and unit maneuvers.   The evolution, however, would call out the best strengths of the current guard members, preserving the unit’s determined defensive and powerful offensive abilities.

This transformation reached its culmination when a contingent of the Guard traveled to the Calontir kingdom war practice, called Winter War Maneuvers, in central Calontir. Yet again, the Guard was composed of a majority of new fighters, with a core of more experienced members making up the leadership.

One notable incident had the Guard placed in what was expected to be a cannon-fodder role for the First Company of the Calontir Army to practice against in a bridge battle scenario. After the two forces met, First Company quickly dispatched the majority of their opposition, but the attack stalled hard and ultimately floundered when its front ranks collided with a stubborn pocket of rookie Liondragons who would not go down without a fight. Though First company did eventually dislodge the Liondragons, a somewhat bemused Calontiri king was clearly heard on the side lines to say “That wasn’t what was supposed to happen.”

This event marked the beginning of a strong relationship between Liondragon and the Army of Calontir.  The training and techniques learned from this relationship were quickly adsorbed into Liondragon’s doctrine, and along with the impressive 3’ by 4’ scutum shields, became part of the unit’s unique and bold identity on the battlefield.

Oxlade led a fifteen-member guard contingent at Gulf Wars XI, where the guard again defended their reputation as formidable opponents on the field of battle.

Seventh Captain: Owen ap Aeddan (Back to Top)

Oxlade Stepped down in May of AS 37 (2002), and seneschal Doireann inghean ui Brolchain would appoint of HL Owen ap Aeddan  to captaincy.

In an unusual development  for the guard, a large unit was rebranded as members of “Clan Adden” fighting under HL Owen’s  personal command, and competed in the River War melee event hosted by Wiesenfeuer’s Incipient Canron of River’s Run. “Clan Adden” returned victorious from the event, and was disbanded soon after by Owen himself.

In October of 2002, Chandranath Mitra, (later to be known as Reis ap Tuder), would step into the role of seneschal. While Chandra never officially countermanded or rescinded any of his predecessor’s instructions regarding the guard, his own policies would shift the captaincy back to that of a position equivalent to local officer rather than deputy to the seneschal.

Owen would lead another strong contingent of the guard to the next Calontiri Winter War maneuvers (January 2003). This time, the number of guardsmen present was sufficient to allow them for work as their own independent unit. During several engagements with the practicing Army of Calontir, the guard was able to flank opposing forces and devastate pikes and supporting arms behind the  enemy shieldwall.

The Guard marched at Gulf Wars XII (2003) with one of the largest formal musters in it’s history. Including supporting members, fighters and uniformed allies, the total muster of the guard was close to 30. Now using the battle proven weapons and tactics of scutum, fishbat and pike, the Guard distinguished itself in battle throughout the war once again, and was awarded the King’s battle Ribbon following the final siege battle. This would mark the first time since AS XXXIII (1998) the guard took home the ribbon. Gulf War’s XII would also mark the advancement of Lord Owen or the rank of Centurion.

Eighth Captain: William Lindsay (Back to Top)

In June of AS 38 (2003), HL Owen stepped down, and  Seneschal Magdelena da Cadamosto named Lord William Lindsay as captain. 

That following October, HL Lachlann MacKinnon, the sixth captain of the guard,  would be elevated to the order of the laurel at Namron’s Protectorate. The announcement was made by the his majesty Quintus Aurelius Dracontius (Alaric Drake) and the elevation was done in the evening.

Half a year later, Lord William would lead the Guard onto the field at Gulf Wars XIII (2004), where it would once again fight to uphold the reputation it had established.

The "flamingos" incident.

Midway through the war, however, the Ansteorrian army awoke to find several plastic, blue and pink flamingo yard ornaments displayed around the kingdom’s Gate.  Revelations years later would implicate a group if intoxicated Trimarian squires who had liberated the plastic decorations from a “flock” that one trimarian knight in particular carried with him to events. The sight of the odd display the next morning left most of Ansteorra both scratching their heads as to the point of the display, and with little doubt as to what kingdom the flock needed to be returned to.

Liondragon, however, did not miss the opportunity  to one-up their adversary. After some creative conspiring between several guard members, including HE Gunhilda and Lord Charles, the guard stood ready to “return” the wayward trespassers to their rightful owners. When the guard marched to the Ravine battle that day, no less then four Flamingo’s were affixed to the unit’s armor, and one was a makeshift Blue helmet crest (complete with duct tape blindfold and a cigarette in it’s beak), and another three duct-taped across scutums as “pink” decorations/ablative armor. No small number of odd looks were received between blows as Liondragon and Trimaris  vied for control of the Ravine that day.

During the open field battle, Liondragon would find themselves, as well as several  fighter’s from northkeep, in the middle of an opening in the Trimarian line, and quickly maneuvered deep into the Trimaran backfield before turning and attacking the rear of the Trimaran right flank, crippling the enemy’s  forward movement as the Ansteorran main line pressed in from the other side.  

Despite this performance, however, the Battle Ribbon was passed to the Western Region after His majesty Alaric Drake recognized  a strong and unified effort coming from the region that year.

Gulf Wars XIII was also personal milestone for  Jean Paul De Sens, who was knighted that year.  He was escorted into court by two lines, one of Centurions, and one of Liondragon guardsmen, and knighted by the hand of King Miguel Sebastian de Oporto, in front of the Gulf War’s Castle gate at evening court. Members of both the Ansteorran and Calontiri chivalry spoke on his behalf. The final Calontiri quipping that they only wished they could have knighted him. To this, Miguel laughed and said “He’s ours!”

Following closely in his good friend’s footsteps, HL Owen was elevated to Knighthood at Mooneschadowe’s local even in September of that year (2004). The event, Mooneschadowe Guardian, was one of the largest ever held in the northern region, and was heavily attended by society members from across northern Ansteorra and southern Calontir.

The Tabard's later role

The Liondragon tabard at this time underwent a significant conceptual change under the administration of Seneschal Magdelena da Cadamosto.  The burgundy, gold and black uniform up until this point was generally treated as a military uniform reserved for sworn members of the guard, the vast majority of which were members of the fighting community. While not an overtly enforced law, the social agreement of the time encouraged this policy. During her two-year term as Seneschal, Magdelena began to encourage both active guard members, and those who support the guard to make and wear the tabard.  Moving forward from her reign, the tabard’s use would become binary, identifying both members of the Guard itself, and non-resident supporters of Mooneschadowe.  Gilyan Clonmachoise would later coin the humorous acronym  “MAFIA” (Mooneschadowe And Friends In Abstenta) as a catch-all phrase for Mooneschadowe’s growing circle of supporters. By 2006, the guard uniform had become a strong social badge within and around the group, while also retaining the reputation of the fighting unit as well.


Ninth Captain: Charles the Grey (Back to Top)

January of AS XXXIX (2005) would see Charles the Grey appointed Captain. Soon after his appointment, the guard would send another strong contingent to Calontir’s Winter War maneuvers.  The experience and training would pay off two months later when the Guard were led into battle yet again.

The guard marched at Gulf Wars XIV under the command of its new Captain. With another mix of veteran and newly trained fighters, the guard upheld its reputation yet again. One notable engagement during the ravine battle best illustrated the Guard’s prowess when a group of Trimarians, lead by their crown, rushed the line and broke the formation. The enemy king, armed with sword and shield, closed on Lady Elsa von Schammach, who was armed only with a fishbat, her other hand holding the unit battle standard.  Elsa, who was known predominately for her card-weaving, and service within the province, stood her ground, and lashed out at the last minute with one shot from her “fishbat”   sword, killing the enemy king before he could strike. 

The Guard would go on to acquit itself well during the course of the war, and later be recognized with its 4th King’s battle ribbon.

In a less official showing in October of AS XL (2005)  a smaller contingent of the guard traveled to the Calontiri Event “blood of heroes” in the shire of Grimfells . This was a small-unit melee event inspired by the 1989 Rutger Hauer film.  Working in 5 man-teams, and rotating out the tired, the guard went under the unofficial moniker of “damned dirty foreigners”, and ultimately won the day’s highly unique fighting event, despite determined (and somewhat unorthodox) efforts by other teams.  

January of 2006 would carry two significant moments for Mooneschadowe and the guard.  First, for the coronation of  King Mahdi II, the Liondragon guard were selected by Mahdi to escort him in for his stepping up court, reflecting the still present friendship between Mooneschadowe and the monarch (who’s membership was never formally resigned or stricken). It should also be noted that this is one of the very few times in kingdom history where a Monarch was escorted into his stepping up court by a local unit not of his own group. 

The following week would mark a milestone for both Mooneschadowe, and the Kingdom as a whole. Following over three years of determined political efforts, and an internal movement that in many ways redefined the way the group saw themselves, Mooneschadowe was officially made the first (and, to date only) province  in the kingdom of Ansteorra. The effort was formally announced as the only business of court held by King Mahdi at King’s Round table, hosted by Mooneschadowe that reign. While not directly related to the Liondragon guard activity, the guard’s reputation on the field of battle, distinct uniforms, strong identity, and high esprit de corps, were just a few of  many things cited by Mooneschadowe members during their campaign to persuade the kingdom and society leadership of the appropriateness of a group elevation to Province. 

The "MOG Cog"

Leading up Gulf Wars XV, Charles the Grey worked to establish a perpetual, guard-centric award meant to recognize outstanding displays of teamwork by guard members. This award (technically “largess” by SCA standards) represented a combination of three distinct elements  within Mooneschadowe. The final product would come to be known as “the MOG Cog”.

The first part of the name is actually a reference to a phrase coined by the seneschal who founded the guard. Alarich Von thorn, despite a very pragmatic and cooperative administrative style, conveyed his leadership through an authoritarian persona. After several highly spirited such displays during his term, a shire member quipped that Alarich   was the head of the “Mooneschadowe Overlord Government”. The phrase was abbreviated to MOG, and thus the cry of “Hail MOG!” was born. The phrase was later resurrected during the shire’s push to become a province, and grew into a patriotic sentiment and strong display of solidarity within the group as a whole. 

The second element of the name was a direct reflection of Charles’ personal philosophy about the guard. Constantly emphasizing, and re-emphasizing the interdependence of guard members on each other towards the ends of completing whatever the mission was, he used clockwork and mechanical metaphors when explaining how the unit should perform. With this philosophy, and a little poetic creativity, the name “MOG Cog” was born. 

The last element of the award was the inherent ability of the captain to recognize guard members for their service. One of the earliest such examples within the guard’s history was when Captain Gunhilda Amberstar paid the guard members who marched with her against the Arthurian company, and Later at Gulf Wars VIII, with amber and jewelry from her personal collection. Several years later, Oxlade Lachlann MacKinnon would fashion military style ribbons and hand them out in recognition for services rendered at, and in preparation for, Gulf Wars XI. It was Charles the Grey, however, who formalized the process further, giving the award a name, and a set of criteria. The specific reason of recognition, as well as the time and place of presentation are traditionally held to be at the sole discretion of the captain. 

The physical award has changed between captains since its inception, but the overarching concept is a solid “cog”, or gear like shape fashioned to a decorative ribbon. The Cogs themselves have been made of steel, pewter, leather, and bronze, with the ribbon they are fashioned to usually made form fabric, or having been card woven. 

In yet another twist unique to Mooneschadowe, the recipients of the Mog Cog, as well as the specific reasons for their award, are not recorded by the captain or any member of the province. The award is recognized as a highly personal display of gratitude from the captain to the guard member, and the story behind it is left for the recipient to tell as they choose.  


March of AS XL(2006) would see the newly titled provincial Liondragon Guard of Mooneschadowe travel  to Gulf Wars XV. They would fight side by side with their long-time allies, the Barony of Northkeep. The first of the Mog Cogs were handed out at Gulf Wars after the guard displayed exceptional levels of coordination of team work fighting against a determined Triamaran army.  During the defense of the castle, a now staple role for the Liondragon guard, the unit held out for 32 minutes against the press of the Trimarian army. 

As a result of Charles leadership, and the coordination with the Barony of Northkeep, the Liondragon Guard and the Northkeep Border Guard were jointly awarded the king’s battle ribbon for the first time since Gulf Wars IX, six years before. This brought the total number of times that the guard has held the Ribbon to 5, three of which are jointly with Northkeep.

October of AS XLI (2006) would see Oxlade Lachlann MacKinnon added to the order of the Centurion, recognizing the Laurel’s  latest efforts in the fighting arts.


An unfinished tale... (Back to Top)

There is no real way for this story to ever realistically be complete. Only with the collection of tales told past, present and yet to come can the narrative be kept alive as a perpetual document, preserving what was seen, heard, learned and shared by those before. All contributions to the page are welcome for review. They can be sent to Lord Ivo Blackhawk at -engtrktwo (at) gmail (dot) com-, please be sure to include your full SCA name and title.


Bibliography 

    Amberstar, G. A. (2004, October Saturday 30th). Mooneshhadowe Mailing list. Retrieved may 20, 2013, from Yahoo groups.

    Ansteorrian College of scribes. (n.d.). Ansteorrian order of precedence.

    Ap Aden, O. [. (2005, Janurary 27th). Liondragon Guard Captains/Discussion page. Retrieved may 20, 2013, from Ansteorra Wiki:                                                                     http://historian.ansteorra.org/wiki/index.php?title=Talk:Lion_Dragon_Guard_Captains_of_Mooneschadowe

    Ap Aden, O. (2013, May 17). (I. Blackhawk, Interviewer)

    Blackhawk, I. (n.d.). Lord.

    Brolchain, D. i. (2009). Senechal. (I. Blackhawk, Interviewer)

    De Sens, J. P. (n.d.). [mka, Chipman, Carl]. (I. Blackhawk, Interviewer)

    Iarngard von Thorn, A. (n.d.). [mka Sir Von Groote VI, Peter E. J.]. (I. Blackhawk, Interviewer)

    MacKinnon, O. L. (n.d.). [Brian Keenan]. (I. Blackhawk, Interviewer)

    MacKinnon, O. L. (1998). Liondragon Marching Cadence.

    McDonald, B. K. (n.d.). Ansteorria Kingdom e-mail list archives. Retrieved from Ansteorria Kingdom e-mail list:                                                                                                    http://lists.ansteorra.org/pipermail/ansteorra-ansteorra.org/1997-March/007003.html

    Mooneschadowe, L. G. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5th, 2013, from Ansteorra Wiki: 

            http://historian.ansteorra.org/wiki/index.php?title=Lion_Dragon_Guard_Captains_of_Mooneschadowe

    Scalla, C. M. (2013, May). (I. Blackhawk, Interviewer)

    Schammach, E. v. (2013, April 30th). MOG Cog. Retrieved May 5th, 2013, from Ansteorrian Wiki: http://historian.ansteorra.org/wiki/index.php?title=MOG_Cog

    Schammach, E. v. (2013, April 30th). Mooneschadowe Timeline. Retrieved May 20, 2013, from Ansteorria Wiki: 

            http://historian.ansteorra.org/wiki/index.php?title=Mooneschadowe_Timeline

    Schammach, E. v. (2013, April 20th). Mooneschadowe wiki page. Retrieved May 20th, 2013, from Ansteorra Wiki: 

            http://historian.ansteorra.org/wiki/index.php?title=Mooneschadowe

    Sparhawk, H. (n.d.). [mka Burdett, Lee]. (I. Blackhawk, Interviewer)

    Swet, E. (n.d.). [mka Sweet, Debby]. (I. Blackhawk, Interviewer)

 

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A company of heroes: a history of the Liondragon Guard by Lord Ivo Blackhawk (mka Cisco Cividanes) is licensed under a