For Zane had been
inspired - whether by the Mercenary Wars or his own fencing experiences,
it is not known. And he gathered together many of his own friends and
founded the fighting group known as Parable.
And it was, to
Mælgrim's eyes, both strange and wonderful. For in his despondency,
and his need to sate the sword-fighting bug, he had sought out other
groups - SCA and Amtgard. And though each had some bit to recommend it,
Mælgrim yearned for his own Mercenaries of Shadow & Light.
So when he beheld
Parable - like his own group in rules and spirit, but unlike in weaponry
and approach - he was filled with amazement, and marveled. And he said,
"This is great! People sword-fighting again! And this time, I don't
have to organize anything!"
At this time,
Mælgrim had just received a book for Christmas for Cynara called
"Medieval Swordsmanship: Illustrated Methods and Techniques." This was
a book that literally (no pun intended) changed everything about the
way Mælgrim viewed swordsmanship and the approach to historical
fencing as a whole.
He began to
study the book voraciously, and then to seek out other, like-themed
publications. And his mind sought authenticity and accuracy in all
things medieval or sword-related. He began to read books with titles
like "Infantry Warfare in the 14th Century."
When the fourth
Mercenary Wars arrived - with a year's gap since the third - it was joint
effort by both the remaining members of the Mercenaries of Shadow & Light, and Parable. Many new friendships were made that weekend, and
the interest in sword-fighting took hold on even more impressionable
Early snow-fighting encounters were always great fun. Lance, Ralamean and Rhyse vie for traction.
By the time the
fifth Mercenary Wars rolled around, Mælgrim had attended a seminar in
Atlanta about medieval swordsmanship, hosted by the Historical Armed
Combat Association, with head of fight interpretation at the Royal
Armories John Waller as guest, as well as Hank Reinhardt, the founder
of Museum Replicas.
Cynara and Mælgrim with their daughter Gwen. It's totally a family affair these days. Our garb is better, too. Ten points if you can name the film that inspired Mælgrim's look here.
It should be no
surprise, then, that Mælgrim's mind was filled with ideas of studying
medieval swordsmanship as a legitimate martial art, and not just as a
By this time,
the Knights - the senior members of the Mercenaries of Shadow & Light - numbered as follows: Mælgrim, Cynara, Lance, Flynn and Ralamean. Owen had long been in Kansas, where he went to college, but was also
still counted an absent number from the Knights.
called together the Knights, and said to them: "We could really make
something of this group. We could all be really good swordsmen, or,"
he added with a glance at his wife, "swordswomen."
The next few
years were marked by slow change in the Mercenaries of Shadow & Light. Parable diminished, and some of its members were absorbed in the
Mercenaries of Shadow & Light. Ideas and approaches to both medieval
swordsmanship and historical authenticity in general grew more focused.
In these areas,
new recruits Snorri and Thomas were especially influential, as they
provided not only support, but also served as living test subjects for
Mælgrim's new ideas and approaches.
Wars VI, a return to the old "three hit rule" was announced. Three
hits by a well-aimed sword with decent power behind it should be enough
to kill or incapacitate an opponent, it was reasoned, and the tendency
to "swat" with swords had been greatly diminished with the introduction
of flat-bladed sparring weapons that no longer held the ambiguity of
round-bladed "boffer swords."
And so, the
process continues. As the Mercenaries of Shadow & Light continues to
grow in both depth of research and scope of vision, who can foretell
what the future will bring? Even the very wise cannot see all ends . .