Horror on the List

bobtober15

kimconnrenfaireOn Sunday, Kim, Conn, and I traveled an hour south to Fishers for the 11th Annual Fishers Renaissance Faire, our third year in a row attending. It’s one of my favorite events of the year, primarily because it gives me a chance to see the Knights of Valour Joust Troupe live and in action.

After taking in Molotov’s act, browsing the vendors, and Conn purchasing a couple of LARP swords, we finally approached the arena. We marveled at the armour on display, took a few moments to allow a cameraman to  capture several sound-bites regarding jousting in general and about Troupe-Founder Shane Adam’s former Discovery Channel Reality Competition show, Full Metal Jousting, and then spent some time watching the rescue horses be groomed.

For about an hour before the joust, we sat on bales of straw, eating lunch, talking, playing, and watching children ride the warhorses before the exhibition got underway.

We also battled more than a few spiders, but that’s another horror story altogether.

Then, after much anticipation, Adams took the field and welcomed us to the field…

renfaireknights

There is absolutely nothing like a live, full-contact joust. Two armoured knights, armed with solid wooden shafts and mounted on magnificent warhorses, riding into each other as fast as their steeds will carry them, to deliver a brutal strike into their opponent’s gridded grand-guard? Yeah, that’s the very definition of insanity. Look it up.

I love it. It is violent, to be sure, but there is a grace and precision involved. The horses are beautiful, massive creatures. These mounts are the very epitome of awe-inspiring, and the knights who ride them are skilled athletes to be sure.

The joust is no easy task, and it’s dangerous stuff as Sunday’s List proved.

We were told beforehand that Knights Joseph Miller and Jaclyn Ziemniak had faced off the day before, and were part of a double unhorsing. Shane Adams, an accomplished knight in his own right, holding nearly a score of international titles, told the crowd that Dame Jaclyn had been unconscious for 8 full minutes but that she was ready to perform.

This was obviously far from the case.

damejaclynDuring the warm-up exercises, Dame Jaclyn’s depth perception was obviously off. She missed badly on both spear tosses and he sword strike during the cutting heads exercise was far from accurate. I leaned over to my wife and said that I suspected she was concussed…

To be honest, she still looked better astride Max than her opponent did on Paladin. Sir Joseph struggled to get his mount up to a canter in both exercises.

But, come the joust, both riders and their steeds were up to the challenge. We were treated to shattered lances and precision strikes, but on the third pass, Jaclyn was unhorsed.

It was a horrible feeling seeing her lying there, unresponsive. Shane Adams did his best to keep the crowd distracted, to try and interact with his fallen comrade and give her the opportunity to alleviate the audiences’ fears, but she didn’t have it in her.

When they finally got her to her feet and unhelmeted, there was plenty of blood on the side of her head and as we exited the arena we were treated to the sound of approaching sirens.

Needless to say, we were worried for her. Internet rumour tells us she suffered a concussion and would be back in the saddle soon enough, but I’ll feel better once we get some form of official word from Knights of Valour themselves.

Despite this ‘Horror on the List’, we had a terrific time, and it really was a brilliant and thrilling joust. It’s a deadly sport and I appreciate the bravery these modern day warriors display for our entertainment.

renfaireknight

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