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Battle cry

By

Lord Ivo Blackhawk 

(mka: Francisco M Cividanes Jr. [Fall of 1999])


The marching cadence of 

The Mooneschadowe Liondragon Guard

Written by Lord Oxlade Lachlann MacKinnon

Chorus:

Hello, hello Mooneschadowe

Queen of battle where we go

Looking left and looking right,

Looking good we’re out of sight

 

At Gulf Wars V we scaled the wall

At Gulf Wars VI we answered the call

At Gulf wars VII it was said;

‘We only yield when were dead’

Chorus

 

The Lion-Dragon we ware with pride

We will not run we will not hide

If Blackstrars on their helms not be,

Send them to eternity

Chorus

 

Sword and Board be our front line

Spears and pikes fall in behind

Arrows fly from our third ranks

Northkeep covers us on the flank.

Chorus

 

The Battle ribbon we doth bear

Come and get it if you dare

Before you try we must warn you

You’ll have to get past Northkeep too

Chorus

 

At the gatehouse we held back

the mass of the Trimarion attack

With there dead we built a wall

Twelve feet wide and six feet tall

Chorus

 

The sally port was more the same

We held out ground we gained out fame

Heavy Cav. charged our wall

Like baby seals they did fall.

 

Chorus

 

And thus was recorded the history of the fighting unit known throughout the kingdom as the Liondragon Guard. Within its lines are their order of battle, there awards, and tails of their victories past. Using time-honored tactics derived from the Roman shield and pike formations and ingenuity on their own part, the Liondragon is the most ferocious, dangerous and pivotal unit in the kingdom of Ansteorra. Liondragon’s heritage stems from the three major wars they have attended, the wars with Trimaris.

But wait, let me also add that they are real, and they exist now. For the Kingdom I speak of is not some far off ancient piece of land, but the combine land of Texas and Oklahoma. For this all takes place within the scope and reality of the people of the Society for Creative Anachronisms. An anachronism is something that is out of place in time. The members of the SCA are just this, people who meet once or twice a week and take on the character and mind set of a person from centuries past. They’re made up of every day people, who give up the modern world in their spare time and become people from different lands and different backgrounds. They talk about nothing but what was discussed back then, and try to dress in what was worn back then. It’s called ‘living the dream'; trying to recreate the ideals of chivalry, honor and ethics that names like King Author inspire today. For many, it’s a matter of personal principles, and a mater of fun. Fun is of corse the major reason that the SCA boasts a world wide membership approaching the population of a small nation. And for some, fun means the grand melee, or war. And for the members of Liondragon, the greatest melee there is the war with Trimaris

The Kingdom of Trimaris (the state of Florida) is our sworn enemy, and every March the combine armies of Ansteorra and Trimaris, totaling more than 200 fighters, come together in Mississippi and Fight it out in three days of combat. The event is called Gulf Wars, named for its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Every time, Ansteorra is outnumbered, and every time, the Trimarans have troops to spare. While there are several different types of melees conducted, the most viscous and demanding is without question the siege battle. A tall wood plank castle stands to one side of the event grounds at Gulf wars, and Trimarias and Ansteorra take turns defending and attacking the castle.

It was in this setting that the Burgundy colored tabards with the yellow Liondragons figures on the front earned their place in Kingdom history. During the castle siege battle, At Gulf Wars V, Liondragon, a new unit and green to the arts of combat, was forced to climb over the wall of the castle, only to be picked off one by one before they could make it over. The next year, at Gulf Wars VI, Liondragon, twenty members strong this time, was assigned to guard the gate house and repel the Trimarian charges. When the fighting commenced, three Trimarin infantry units, totaling 70 some-odd fighters slammed into the gate house at a full trot. For twenty grueling minutes Liondragon fought with a ferocity that the Trimarins had never seen before.

The Liondragon Guard fought using old and proven tactics, mixed with discipline and lots of practice. Over half of their members were shieldmen: people who carry large 2' by 3'’ ‘war shields’. The shieldmen also carry short swords or axes, but their main function is to act as a wall for the rest of the members to stand behind. The Shieldmen stood in a “shieldwall,” with each shield locked into the shields to its left and right, to form one solid formation. Behind them stood the “spearmen,” fighters who use nine foot long spears to reach out and kill at range. Collectively the shield and spear combination are the backbone and killing power of any medieval combat group. Augmenting this was also a pair of archers, who used their arrows to add to the unit’s killing punch. They had drilled and practiced these tactics for months leading up to the war, and now they were receiving their trial by fire. The battle was chaos, the charging troops hit the shieldwall full force, and screamed while doing so, making communication between the shieldmen and the spears nearly impossible. But discipline and training ruled the day, and despite the urge to panic, the shields held their ground, and the spears began to reach out over the shields and ‘kill’ people.

The charge was slowed, stopped and blunted, then finally could proceed no more because of the wall of ‘dead’ fighters piled in front of the gatehouse door. Finally, the sally port unit, another opening in the castle, was overrun and Trimarin troops poured into the castle. The absolute last person to fall was a lone spearmen in the Liondragon guard, and he took seven Trimarans with him. But even in this defeat, it was recognized that a single group of twenty fighters that no one had ever heard of before had managed to stop 70 of the enemy's best troops.

In the third siege battle of the day, Liondragon was placed at the sally port, in hopes of preventing a repeat of the first battle. A Trimaran Heavy Cav unit (also foot soldiers, we don’t fight with horses) 30 members strong, with a reputation for breaking defensive formations with their charge hit with all they had. Right behind them were over 50 more infantry. The assault was viscous, and the attackers determined, and the Liondragon shield wall came close to breaking more than once. At one point in the battle the mass of men and equipment was so chaotic that one Ansteorrian fighter turned to a Liondragon and asked whom he was supposed to kill. The Liondragon turned to him and pointed at the Black star of Ansteorra on the brow of his helm and yelled back, “If they don’t have one of these, send them back to creation!” then he turned back to the battle at hand. The fate of the gatehouse attackers became that of the sally port attackers, and again countless dozens fell as Trimarius tried to force open the sally port defenses. Again another point in the castle fell, and again Liondragon was the absolute last to die.

That night at court, the King awarded the Liondragon Guard and Baronial Guard of Northkeep the King’s battle ribbon, an award made only that day, especially for these two units in recognition of their skills in combat. In gratitude, our caption of the guard also made a public thank you to the Barony of Northkeep, and their fighting unit, who covered Liondragon’s left flank (side) during all of the battles. That night, the Black star of Ansteorra was flown proudly over the camps, but none quite so proudly as at the camp of the Liondragon guard.

And thus was the reputation, history and legend of the Liondragon Guard carved in the soil within that castle with ‘blood’, sweat and tears. After Gulf Wars VI the marching cadence was written. And if you look at the words, you can see the story in them.

 

It was September of this year [1999] when I finally joined the ranks of Liondragon. And finally I could sing the marching cadence with a feeling of authority. I was fortunate in two respects in joining Liondragon. One of the requirements in joining Liondragon is you have to be a member of the Shire of Mooneschadowe. The kingdom of Ansteorra is broken down into chapters, larger chapters are called baronies, medium sized chapters are called shires and the smallest chapters are called colleges. The shire Mooneschadowe is the Stillwater Oklahoma chapter, and boasts a membership of 70 members, about thirty of which are fighters. I was also fortunate in that I just happened to be living in the town that is home to the Liondragon guard. For all my hard work, I also owe my membership to Liondragon in part to this coincidence.

I joined Liondragon for two major reasons. The first was quite simply a reflection of my upbringing. My father was a United States Marine for over twenty years, and it was he who taught me the principles of honor, truth, valor and discipline. Every day he wore the uniform of a Marine and whistled the tune “from the halls of Montezuma” like he was born to do it. He carried the pride of the corps on his shoulders everywhere he went, and he also carried the prestige that his predecessors had left him, and he never once forgot the heritage that he was part of. I would wear the tabard and carry the pride of the unit with me everywhere I went from then on, just like my father. Unlike some people I know, though, I don’t do this to impress my father or to prove my self to him, I do it to prove to myself that I might some day be as honorable and decisive as my father is. The second reason for my joining the Liondragon was an issue of my personal job background. I had come from a strong fire service background, and consequently had a prevalent ‘teamwork’ mentality. So for me it seemed a logical choice to trade in the chaos of the fire ground for the chaos of a battle ground. But no matter my prestige and abilities, I had yet to fight with Liondragon in a real melee. I wanted a baptism of battle, a trial by fire or the like, only then could I call myself a true member of Liondragon. As fortune would have it, my trial by fire with Liondragon would come sooner than I thought, and I would be put to the test like I never thought possible.

Shortly after I joined, a unit from southern Texas, calling themselves the Arthurian Company, challenged Liondragon to a fight. Within their ranks were some of the best fighters Ansteorra had to offer, Included in this were knights, a rank awarded for fighting prowess, and a title that Liondragon had none off. Our unit had changed a lot. Over half of us were new fighters, and many of our best unit commanders were gone; moved away. It would be a decisive battle, but the only question was who would win?

The morning before the fight, Liondragon was preparing for the day’s fighting with armor and weapons inspection. Captain Gunhilda Amberstar, our new captain of the guard was off to the side, looking as some tracings in the ground at her feet. I walked over to see what she was planning. As I walked up, she looked up at me and smiled. “Perfect, you’re just the man I was looking for.” She pulled me over to the drawing on the ground and began to lay out the plan. It was a very intricate plan, and the man on the far right end of the shield wall would have to lead the charge. Then he would have to kill his opposite number on the Arthurian Company. If he failed at either of these tasks, the Liondragon would be left open for a costly counter attack. She looked at me again, “this spot right here,” she pointed to the ‘x’ denoting the person who would lead the charge. “You’re it.”

After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I managed to regain my powers of speech. “Me?!” I asked. “I’m a rookie fighter, why put me in charge of this whole thing?” I was flattered, but I was actually more concerned with the well being of the unit than my own personal glory.

The caption replied in kind, “You have expressed interest in leadership within the guard, and you’re aggressive on the battle field. I want you to lead the charge.” She had faith, and at that point I wasn’t one to argue.

The moment of battle came, and I stood at the end of the shield line, scared to death. It was then that I realized that the man opposite me on the Arthurian Company, was a Knight, something equivalent to a black belt in marshal arts. I, a rookie fighter, was expected to take out a knight. To say I was pessimistic would not even begin to cover it.

Then, for a single moment, the cadence of the Liondragon guard came back to me.

At the gatehouse we held back

the mass of the Trimarion attack

With there dead we built a wall

Twelve feet wide and six feet tall

 

The sally port was more the same

We held out ground we gained out fame

Heavy Cav charged our wall

Like baby seals they did fall.

Liondragon was nothing but green troops when that cadence was written. All of the stanzas, were told about fighters with no rank, no training above and beyond the basic skills, and yet we, as one unit had managed to prove discipline, practice and communication within a unit could stop even the best individual fighters. I knew that while the Arthurian Company had a uniform and a battle cry, they weren’t a unit, they hadn’t practiced like we had, they hadn’t drilled like we had. He may have been a Knight, But I was part of the Liondragon guard.

The battle was started, and the two sides stood for a split second to eye each other over. Then I screamed “FOLLOW ME!” and I lead the shield wall in a sideways charge around the Arthurian Company’s left flank. They were caught totally off guard and began a haphazard turn to try and match our maneuver. But lack of discipline, training and communication cost them dearly that day. The moment I reached the point I thought best to attack from I stopped and Screamed “NOW!” The Shields of the Liondragon instantly locked together, faced the Arthurian Company and charged forward. 1200 pounds of fighters hit a totally shocked and disorganized Arthurian Company. The knight opposite me had a look of total confusion on his face when I slammed my shield into his, knocking him back three feet. He looked at me for a split second, and in his eyes I saw the panic of war setting in. And in mine, I know he saw the ferocious stare of the mythical Liondragon from which we draw our name. I slammed my weapon into his helm, and he fell “dead.” Another fighter ran to fill his place, but without thinking I dispatched him as well. What started as an even battle, became a rout, and then a chase. The shields stuck to strict discipline, staying together to form a mobile wall. The spears maneuvered close behind us using their nine-foot reach to act as our killing arms. Our two archers maneuvered behind them, sniping off any unfortunate soul that caught their eyes. At one point in the battle, a still disorganized Arthurian Company made an attempt at charging our shields to try and break our formation. The charge was sound, but a combination of good communication and shield discipline on our part let us stop and dismember the attack before they could even begin a retreat. As soon as they hit the shield wall, the spears hit them, and they lost half their number in the attack, and not one Liondragon was lost in the process. When it was over, The Liondragon guard, after losing only three members, still 19 strong, stood facing the sole survivor of the Arthurian Company, after “killing” all 24 of his comrades.

Liondragon and the Arthurian Company walked off the field that day arm in arm, laughing about the events of the day, and commenting on each others performance. Liondragon had proven itself yet again. And also, it had proven that a single disciplined fighter of no rank or special training, operating under a well-thought out plan, could kill a knight. Liondragon had proven itself that day, and its heritage is now mine, and will always be captured in the words of the Liondragon marching song.

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Battle Cry by Lord Ivo Blackhawk (mka Cisco Cividanes) is licensed under a