The 50th Pennsic War took place in the kingdom of Aethelmearc this August, as the kingdoms of the East and the Middle came together with their allies once more to test each other’s mettle. This year, the hosting and the warring Crowns desired that no war points be counted: there would be no winners or losers, but the event and the scenarios would be a celebration of the society and its people.

Drachenwald travelled to the event as a strong army, led by King Sven and Queen Siobhan. We had representation from Nordmark, Aarnimetsä, Polderslot, Knights Crossing, Insulae Draconis, as well as old friends who had once dwelled in our kingdom and later moved on to other lands.

Insulae Draconis was well represented, with His Highness Prince Alexandre and Viscount Ranulf li Norreis from Flintheath, and from Dun In Mara, Máistir Aodh Ó Siadhail, Master Agnes Boncuer, Baron Rodrigo Bernardez, Hon. Lord Mícheál Breathnach, Lady Teresa of Dun In Mara and Lord Etienne the Younger. A great many of the travellers were attending this iconic event for the first time.

The Drachenwald camp was well situated in the so called “Serengeti” area, only a short stone’s throw from the Merchants Row with easy access to the food court. The camp flew the standards of many of our travellers, and sported white encampment walls during the Peace Week, and the kingdom colours during the War Week. The camp attracted a lot of attention with many pictures being taken and many curious visitors sticking their heads in to say hello. Some of the Drachenwald travellers resided in other camps due to ties elsewhere, but all gathered at the main camp for war meetings, parties, court, as well as just to enjoy the company of our fellow Drachenwalders in what could otherwise be a strange and busy environment.

Many of our travellers organised activities as well as participated in them. Duchessa Isabetta was closely involved in the Pennsic half-marathon, which took place early in the morning during the Peace Week. She also gave a class on doing the Camino pilgrimage. Mistress Lia organised a weavers meet-up, at which, your correspondent is told, her work was greatly admired. Drachenwald offered a ribbon tourney for armoured fighters, crafts picnic, and cocktail parties. Many put in shifts in the Watch and at the check-in (Troll).

At the Opening Ceremonies, Drachenwald processed in led by Master Erich Haane, the army’s General and its standard bearer. Heralding, Master Agnes cried out the introduction of the kingdom, with her words in English followed by representations of seven other different languages spoken in Drachenwald delivered by native speakers of each: Finnish, Swedish, Icelandic, Dutch, German, French and Irish. Their Majesties declared that Drachenwald would be allied with the Kingdom of the East.

The Drachenwald army participated in all of the major battles, starting with the Allied Champions Battle on the second Sunday. Before each battle, the army got together the previous evening for a war meeting to discuss strategy and tactics. On the morning of each battle, the army mustered on the road by the camp and marched to the formation, singing a rousing war song in Swedish [1]. This song announced the arrival or departure of the Drachenwald army not only on the warfield, but often also at parties and other social occasions. One night, members of Drachenwald tended the bar at the encampment known as the Pleasure Palace in the legendary/notorious area called the Bog, to great acclaim.

With the song, the yellow war outfits, the war banner, and the cohesion of the group, Drachenwald’s army was a distinct and striking sight on the field. Especially towards the end of the war, our allies had noted the army’s prowess and cries of “Drachenwald!!” often accompanied the army’s arrival and departure. Our waterbearers were critical to our success, and our Queen was often present on the field, helping, signalling and inspiring all of us.

Their Majesties held court in the camp, recognising worthy nobles. A very moving moment was the recognition of Count Ærikr and Countess Jacquelyna for their tremendous leadership and support of the Kingdom during the Long Reign. Their Excellencies were awarded Augmentations of Arms as well as granted a right for their Arms to be supported by Black Dragons bearing a thistle [2] in their mouths.

Accustomed to SCA travel as your correspondent is, the experience of going to war as part of a big Drachenwald group was extraordinary. The encampment was a place of refuge during the worst heat of the day, and a place of joy in the evening - assisted by Master Erich’s skill at making cocktails. The companionship and mutual support were remarkable, both on and off the warfield. The size and the scope of Pennsic War is huge and can feel overwhelming, but the presence of the rest of the group was a great grounding factor.

Because so much of our Society’s lore revolves around Pennsic, it was good to have made that trip - not quite as a pilgrimage, but as a mandatory study trip, perhaps? It was good to see almost all of the kingdoms officially represented, and to feel both deeply connected to our own, and also to feel that we are definitely part of the greater family of kingdoms. Our warriors, our artisans, and everyone who created joy by a myriad means did us all very proud.

[1] Tänk om jag hade en liten, liten apa
Ompa, ompa, fallerallerej
Tänk vad folket skulle stå och gapa
Ompa, ompa, fallerallerej
Inte på mig, men på min lilla apa
Ompa, ompa, fallerallerej
Nej, inte på mig, men på min lilla apa
Ompa, ompa, fallerallerej

[2] Which may or may not bear resemblance to a certain well-known virus.