Late Medieval Martial Service Contracts at Pennsic War XL, Part V – Five Bridges

Tuesday morning started much like Monday morning. I woke up early, ate my granola bar and trail mix, slowly armored up, grabbed my sword and shield and marched out of camp. I was to fight for Constellation (Indiana), specifically under the command of Baron Fergus MacPherson. Having already tucked one battle under our belts, the veteran fighters were quick to muster and ready with arms for the day’s scenario. Before us lay five bridges, all parallel to one another, varying in width but spanning the same distance. Our army’s goal was to hold the majority. That meant we had to keep more soldiers on the bridges for as long as possible.

Unlike the previous day, my commander was in line with us, shouting commands and running the unit. I was set between two young men, Scipio and Torsten, on the front line. We were to run in as fast as we possibly could, gain as much of the bridge as we could for the rest of the army, crush into the opposing forces, and hold that line. It was a suicide mission. We knew it. Rush in, throw up our shields, hit as many people as we could, make room for some spears to poke through, and die valiantly.  But that’s exactly what we did.

Five times.

Third of five bridge skirmishes. You can find me in the front (white surcoat with black shield) about to slam into our enemies. Photo credit: Ursus of Anglesey.

When the battle was over we reset and moved down to the next bridge. Then when that one was through we moved to the next bridge. And the next. Until all five were fought, contested, and either won or lost. It was a ton of bloody fun fighting with the other fighters of my region. I never lasted terribly long but that’s how it goes being a hired hand.

Things can get tight on the narrow bridges. Here I am fending off attacks and clearing space for pole weapons to get through. Photo credit: Ursus of Anglesey.

Fergus, Sig and I retired the field together. I welcomed the use of their wagon to get most of the way back home. We chatted for a while and relaxed as His Excellency and I had already taken care of my wages. I had the evening to myself and thus soaked in all Pennsic had to offer for I knew I’d have to fulfill another contract the next morning.

My half of the Constellation contract with payment in the form of salts and handmade coin. Another set of cherished memories to take home.

The contract as written in French:

Cet acte a fait le sixième jour d’Août, dans le second règne du roi Cameron du Midrealm, témoin que Arthur Nathaniel Archer ne se lie lui-même, pour la période d’un jour, neuvième Août, au baron Fergus MacPherson, pour le soutien de notre Roi agressif desseins contre l’Orient. Son Excellence granteth lui quarts et d’entretien pour dit Arthur et de l’avoine et des écuries pour sa monture, pour être son homme d’armes et de lui faire le service mentionné ci tous les autres de la manière suivante; ledit Arthur, sur avertissement raisonnable, doit être prêt à tout moment quand il est que le dit Fergus lui ordonne de venir à sa présence et dans toutes les régions et lieux, à voir avec le service avec lui, et pour le séjour et rouler avec autant d’hommes que ledit Fergus est de céder ou de commande sous sa livrée. De plus, le dit Arthur ne se lie lui-même à cet acte et elle doit tenir le conseil de Fergus dans toutes sortes de choses qui sont légales et douce, et elle ne doit pas être libéré que par mot de Fergus, ou par l’accomplissement de ses fonctions, comme indiqué ci-dessus. Et le dit Arthur a de ladite Fergus le troisième d’un tiers de toutes sortes de prisonniers prix et les gains acquis par voie ou de la fortune ou de l’aventure de la guerre. En foi de quoi, les parties ci-dessus à ces présents actes ont mis à leur sceau à la guerre Pennsic le sixième jour de anno Août societatis LI.

And translated in English:

This indenture made the sixth day of August, in the second reign of King Cameron of the Midrealm, witness that Arthur Nathaniel Archer does bind himself, for the period of one day, August ninth, to Baron Fergus MacPherson, for the support our King’s aggressive designs against the East. His Excellency granteth him quarters and maintenance for said Arthur and oats and stabling for his mount, to be his man-at-arms and to do him service afore all other in manner following; the said Arthur, upon reasonable warning, shall be ready at all times when it shall like the said Fergus to command him to come to his presence to and in all parts and places, to do with service with him, and to sojourn and ride with as many men as the said Fergus is to assign or command under his livery. Also the said Arthur does bind himself to this indenture and she shall keep Fergus’s council in all manner of things that are lawful and gentle, and she shall not be released save by word of Fergus, or by fulfilment of his duties, as specified above. And the said Arthur shall have of the said Fergus the third of a third of all manner of prisoners prizes and winnings gotten by way or fortune or adventure of war. In witness whereof the parties above to these present indentures have put to their seals at the Pennsic War the sixth day of August anno societatis LI.


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