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My Pennsic Experience Note: all photographs on this page were taken by and are copyright Zorikh Lequidre 1996, unless Zorikh Lequidre is in them

Before going on, I've found out that several people have found this page by looking for Pennsic videos. Well, the Duckball Home Video Pennsic XX (20) documentary has been re-released in a 10th anniversary special edition with added footage and features. Go to the Watch This Space catalog page for a complete description and ordering information.

You can order the Pennsic War Video Documentary and other Watch This Space merchandise by clicking on this banner
Pennsic Video Documentary in the Watch This Space catalogue
"The Knights Next Door" is a great new book about the SCA from iUniverse, Inc. icon

And now on to the article...

You can see me here. I'm the blond squire in green and white kneeling with his back to the camera at the bottom of the picture.
SCA pictures. Pennsic pictures. Woods battle. Gathering before the battle.

The year of 1996 was an eventful one for me. I graduated college, (BFA in illustration and cartooning School of Visual Arts), worked 2 jobs, had photos published in a national magazine, assisted in the making of a student film, lost one girlfriend and gained another (that I eventually lost), and actually went to The Pennsic War for the first time in four years! This essay is only regarding the latter event.
SCA photos. Pennsic photos. Spear knightSCA pictures. Pennsic pictures. Helmets

Upon the event of my graduation, I hosted a party at my home. Among the folks at this party were many people in the SCA. This being late spring, of course one topic of discussion to come up was "how are you getting to Pennsic?" various plans were brought up, but the one that stuck was renting a large van or truck and going out as a group. So, come August, my lady at the time Giovanna, my squire brother Derek, and friends Dugal, Jeffery (Otto), Mori, Lazaro, and I piled into a large rental box truck and headed out to Butler county, Pennsylvania.
SCA photos. Pennsic photos. Pennsic camp at night; fast shutter speedSCA photos. Pennsic photos. Pennsic camp at night; slow shutter speed

We got out to Pennsic in the middle of the night. We were early, in fact, I think there was still a day or two until the event began in earnest. I had begged an extension on one assignment from Walter Simonson, The graphic novel teacher at SVA, so I had to finish two pages of comic art at the war (or at least try to). I spent much of those first two days working on that. Well, I didn’t exactly finish them, but I did enough work on them to be able to finish them quickly at home after the war (hey, why don't you check out those pages?).

The bunch of us were all camping together with the Crown Province of Ostgardr that year. When we got there we found that we had been stuck in a tiny little corner of the encampment to the side of a Grimm’s tent next to the swamp. With the several other men in this little encampment of ours, we were referred to as "Testosterone Central," with my lady as the "token estrogen." Otto had made a fire dish and tripod and all manner of useful things for us. He was a fine arts student at SVA and was using the sculpture shop there to make armor, weapons, and all sorts of things. The expression was soon coined "Otto made it" when anything new and nifty was spotted.
Ostgardr team photo

Some time before Pennsic, I had spotted an ad in Tournaments Illuminated for a photo book that was going to be published of the War. Now, I almost always have a camera with me at events. I love taking pictures. I love showing the pictures to other people. I had been involved with a major visual recording of Pennsic before, Duckball Home Video’s documentary of Pennsic XX. I decided that I would like to be a part of this new project. So I contacted the producer of it, one Valdis of Gottland, and he told me the deal was that he would supply the film, and I would go and take pictures. He also took pictures, as did several other folks. One of these folks just took his free film and disappeared, but hey, there's a bad apple in every barrel.

Having the camera and the duty to take pictures did get in the way of some things. I had suggested to Valdis that he print up releases for the people we photographed to sign, and Valdis wanted us to keep a journal of what each picture was so he could give credits and descriptions in the book. So either before or after every picture I had to whip out the release form and get signatures and jot down something in the journal. This would get awkward if I was doing it in the middle of a battle that I had already been killed in or if I was escorting my lady to the food court because I was hungry and I suddenly saw the one-in-a-million picture I had to take.
The Crown Province of Ostgardr on the march

As could be expected, after four years of college with only sporadic practice, my stamina and skill in the battles was not as good as I would have hoped. My equipment, also, was not perfect upon arrival. I had to spend a good part of the third day fixing the little things that were not working. A strap here, a buckle there, etc. In one terrifying moment my chin strap had even stretched and slipped so when I broke through to the Calontir backfield in a bridge battle my helmet came right off! Food or fight, food or fight...

The unit I fought in, Ostgardr, had been trained at the Tuesday night fight practices by my squire brothers Derek, Tadg and others. They had worked hard to learn how to fight as a unit in battle and to give the enemy hell. In the Southern Regional war practices, We had shown that we were a unit to be well considered on the battlefield.

Here’s a picture of Ostgardr and the king before a battle.

At one of the bridge battles we were given the honor of being the opening "hand grenade." When the cannon went "boom," the entire line of green and white charged forward. We covered more than half the bridge, flattened the enemy "hand grenade," and engaged the enemy line, giving our forces the time to set up their line at an advantageous position on the bridge. What I mostly remember was charging forward and getting immediately impaled on a spear. My stomach stopped in space while momentum continued carrying my feet and my head forward. UGH! Then gravity caught up, and the fatal spear wound up between me and the ground. The poor fellow who owned the spear struggled mightily to withdraw it. Unfortunately, I was in no position to help him. My blue plastic cuirass did protect me from a potentially life threatening injury, but I just didn't feel like getting out of my nice, safe fetal position under my shield with all that ruckus going on overhead.

This is a moment in a bridge battle where one small unit found itself between two enemy units. Rather than surrender, they chose to fight it out. It was glorious.

I also have pictures of the Passage-of-arms at Pennsic XXV!

And even more Pennsic Pix!

Stay tuned! There's more to come!

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