The Armour Ransom

Words: Mikal Hrafspa (Mikal the Ram)
Every year the Renaissance Festival comes to Kansas City. We in the Barony of Forgotten Sea use the festival as a demo opportunity. I found the SCA through the renfest, even though I had searched for it for years before. Every year fighters come from all over the kingdom to fight in the Eric there. and every year, they leave armour, weapons or unk behind. sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. This tale is written in the form of a legal argument. There is precedent for this in nearly all cultures. Besides, it was too much fun not to do!

MY BARON AND BARONESS, GOOD gentles all; I wish to put a tale of a legal nature before you. It is a sad and woeful tale I offer to you, and it is a cautionary tale as well, for it tells of loss, and of tragedy, and to the falling into the hands of a wholly just man! Pay heed, for a tale such as this is a lesson to us all!

Not long ago there was a Barony bright and fair, built upon the shores of a long Forgotten Sea. It was populated by a gentle folk, and possessed of various and sundry talented artisans, craftsmen, and a few long winded bards.

These happy lands were overseen by a gracious Baroness of rare beauty and charm, and a fair-haired Baron who distributed gifts, administered justice, and dealt fairly with all. But alas, good nobles, he was but mortal, and bound by those temptations that come to us all.

It was in this time that a great fair was held, about the time of Michaelmas. And as was the custom, entertainments were held to the delight of the villages around. Among those entertainments was the fighting of many of the Chivalry an many of the noble warriors in a tourney.

Now my lords and ladies, you know the habits of warriors at such fairs. By day they did glorious battle, and by night they did feast. And it is my own observation that no matter how hard fought the war, a fighter will oft feast and drink with more fervor than he will swing an axe!

There came then an end to the fair and many of the nobles made ready to depart. Whether due to the sweetness of mead or the sweetness of maid, many of those brave warriors did leave some bit of armor or some valued weapon behind. Such a wealth of steel did remain, that should thieves come the Barony could be beggared by the loss of it. Now as I did mention earlier, it was fortunate that this Barony did have so fair and noble a Baron and Baroness. For no sooner than they had spied this amassed wealth they took it upon themselves to collect these errant tools of war, and transported them to a safe place.

But I must remind you my lords and ladies, that this Baron was still only a man after all! And the Baroness was not possessed with the soul of a deity!

So we are faced with a problem of some subtlety. In the spirit in justice, I offer three possible outcomes to this tale. I beg your assistance in resolving this case, by giving judgment on each of the three resolutions and thus we may decide of how such a fair, noble, and just Baron might decide this problem:

First let us consider the nobility of the Baron. Perhaps the generosity of his heart might overcome the fairness of his spirit. After all, it could well be that wine, women, and song did woo his warriors into a sense of false security. So each of his noble fighting men could come before him and he might say, "I forgive your carelessness. I know that in these times of peace the accouterments of war are little remembered. Come, take those weapons and armor you forgot."

Humbled by the generosity of their Baron each noble would then gather his arms, never to leave them unguarded again. and the peoples of the Barony would be so inspired by this show of nobility and honor that they would live in peace and chivalric deeds for all time.

What say you good gentles? is this the ending you would prefer?

Well then, secondly we should look to the human nature of the Baron and Baroness. Perhaps they did look at that pile of war-harness and say, "Warriors abroad without weapons are how dragons get fat! There will be fewer warriors abroad next season, and all those easy victims will gather ogres and trolls and all manner of vile creatures."

And so, looking toward the safety of their peoples, these paragons of wisdom might gather their Barony and sell each item at auction. By arming their people they would gain new warriors to replace those who forgot their arms, (as well as using the coin from such sale to enrich the Barony and themselves.) Of course many of those who left their arms might try to by them back. But most would have spent all their coin on the wine, women, and song that caused them to forget them in the first place. So they would not be able to return to their former glory, and be forced to see humble people parading about in the steel they lost. And they may become so despondent that they give up battle forever and take up embroidery!

In this way the Barony would raise up new defenders to guard it's people, thanks to the wisdom, (and the greed,) of its lawful governors.

What say you to this resolution, good gentles? Does this seem fair?

Well, there is but one more possibility: The noble pair, holding all those weapons and armor, could consider all that they might do. If the Baron gave back all the found items and forgave all the noble's carelessness, the noble warriors might not be humbled by his nobility, and succumb once more to the temptations of wine, women and so forth, forgetting their armaments once again.

And knowing their wisdom, it would be hard to believe that they should distribute such wealth to the gentry at random, since peace is such a fragile thing. The defense of the Barony should rest with experienced fighters. (Besides, I've seen their embroidery!)

So in their wisdom, the lawful Baron and Baroness could lay quests, duties, and foul geas on each member of their forgetful army, forcing them to be embarrassed by their lack of weapons. Thus, being chastised heavily, (or in some cases having bribed heavily,) the warriors could be given back their war harness.

It is hardly fair for me, a humble bard, to decide this. So I put it to you my Baron and Baroness, for I am sure you, as just, and as noble, and as fair as you are, will put yourselves in the place of these forlorn fighters. What then shall be your decision?

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