It is a busy time of year for the UK Fed, having just completed the Tournoi du Valois and now preparating for Flandres, it was forgivable that plans for a remote tournament in northern Germany had fallen of the radar for a few of us.
However, to the ladies of the Swords Of Cygnus, this tournament held much more promise and they had a rather pressing motivation to go. I discovered just how keen they were to go when Silk herself, collared me on the way back from one of our sorties to far flung lands. Her brows knit in her full indignation (which is considerable I can tell you, if you’ve not had chance to witness yourself) she asked,
“Why haven’t we sorted out the Berlepsch Cup trip yet?”
I only had time to ask what a burlap cup is before she figured out we had no intention of going.
It didn’t take long for her to tell me this was in fact not an option, as this would be the largest gathering of female teams we would see this year. Not having the Swords of Cygnus there representing the country and the UK Fed – well… that just was not going to happen.
I couldn’t help but agree.
So with that, my trusty vice, Jam boy James and I agreed that we would get them to this burlap cup and support them in their efforts there. It would be easy, a few girls, a couple of boxes and a few fights. What could possibly go wrong?
However, almost anything involving silk, is ever straight forward.
After a journey fraught with large scale traffic, over confident sat navs, unimaginable amounts of baggage, a wedding and a train station sprint marathon… we arrived.
The setting was beautiful. Schloss Berlepsch is a small 14th century castle nestled into the dark forest of Germany. Despite the castle being bedecked in chevron covered effigies my attentions were instantly required on a host of admin for our ladies. From setting up camp, to last minute armour modifications… and the jolly news that silk was in the list within an hour of her arrival for her pro fight – work got underway.
We wrestled her into her harness, warmed up and prepared in record time, giving her the time to get her self ready for what was coming.
And ready she was, three straight rounds of hard hits, technical throws and gritty grapples landed her a clear victory. We were off to a promising start!
After this, to compliment our good mood there was a banquet in the castle, complimented by some rather fine beer. There was it seemed, some advantages to not fighting!
Alas! Where there is light there must be dark, and the heavens opened up upon us all night soaking the arena and much of the kit. Further to our woes, James was attacked by a t-rex in the night and woke the entire campsite up with his blood curdling screams (upon closer inspection it was in fact, a fallen box).
As always, the sun rose on another day. This would be the day Cygnus would go out together for the most intense bohurt tournament they have faced to date. James and I woke early, lit the fires, started cooking and fixing armour while the girls… did something that I am assured was very important and time consuming! Our hard work was well placed though, as when they were called to the list, they were as ready and as eager as a team could be.
First up was the Prague vixens. one of the most experienced high flying teams. It was a hard and drawn out fight, with the vixens gaining the win in the end, but not before Cygnus had taken a round from them.
The next challengers were the Swiss team, Leoni Rhodani. Again they opposed with ferocity and grit, but our girls pulled another decisive victory.
Then came Höllenbrut from Germany, boasting strong and experienced fighters they provided a tough fight, but the Swords of Cygnus came out the clear victors.
Their last fight was against the Danish Sisterhood, fond of their pole arms and very experienced they took the win, but Cygnus didn’t fall easily and took them to three exhausting rounds.
All of our women performed amazingly, with silk skirmishing and striking with the best of them, Rexies impressive staying power and endurance, to the unbelievable, and quite frankly disproportionate power of the tiny Sofies axe and the expositional take downs performed by the newest member of the roster, Sam.
All of their skills came together to earn them bronze medals! I can honestly say that I am indescribably proud of our girls, and everything they have achieved. Having trained with them for some time now, and supported them at their first independent competition for them to bring back medals is amazing.
Overall I had a great time, and if I learned anything, its that swans are demanding creatures, but they are worth it.
Isca men at arms captain
Swords of Cygnus cook/ Cheerleader