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September 2014 issue
by Damian Bird
To say that I wasn’t expecting the spine tingling levels of violence in Medieval Battle, a full-contact sport, would be an
understatement. The only thing between the knights and certain death was their armour. No wonder the process of
putting on the multiple layers of protective clothing and sculpted metal body plating that I had observed prior to the
fighting commenced had been done with solemnity and concentration.
The knights fought in teams of three. When one team lost a member to the wet grass (a fall to the floor, signified death)
then three would turn on two and if only one remained from the depleted team, three would then bludgeon the last
remaining team member in what can only be described as a an act of earth shattering ferocity. As the final blows were
struck, axes, swords and clubs rained down, invisible through speed on the remaining brave knight until he fell to the
ground, his ears ringing, for a well-deserved rest in the mud of defeat.
Behind the scenes, it became clear that I had entered another world, one of medieval dress and flagons of beer, that
simply became the natural precursor to a realm in which death truly could come in the form of an axe to the head. The
knights’ lovers kissed them passionately and their bodies entwined with a lack of inhibition that I have observed before
in modern day war zones.
I left the battlefield having seen blood dripping from facial injuries and compound fractured fingers along with quivering
limbs that accompanied the pained expressions on the faces of men who had sustained wounds they might well feel in
the form of aching arthritis in old age.
I had seen the brave become their sport and live out ambitions of violence. They had become knights and the back-
drop of Ludlow Castle in the rain was no more real than their alter-egos.
The Knights’ fair maidens.
Metal blade to the face.
A Knight’s daughter.
Lovers embrace, pre-battle.
Blinded by steal and rage.
Drenching rain, fists of fury.
Another World, another time.
The fight is real.
Helmet becomes life support.
Axe to the backbone.
Your enemies will fear you.
They found the chink in my armour.