Twice a year in the kingdom of Caid, fighters compete in a Crown Tournament to become the new
Sovereign (King if the winning fighter was male, or Queen if female.) The victor's consort became the
new Queen (or King).
Combat is fought using real armour and shields, but with "swords" made out of rattan. While bruises
are common as with any contact sport, this combination helps prevent serious injury. Marshals and
Marshals-in-Training keep an eye on the fighters, and look out for possible hazards--a sword that
cracks, a leather tie that comes loose, or a child who starts to wander into the roped off fighting area,
But the Marshals do not determine the winner. Virtually unique for a competition, the one who
determines who lost is the loser. Fighters are held to an honor system. If an opponent's blow feels
like it hit hard enough that, had it been from a real bladed sword, it would have disabled an arm, the
hit fighter continues fighting, but without using that arm. A "damaged" leg means going to one knee.
And a sufficient blow to the head or torso meant the victim falls down "dead." (Of course if you "lost"
both arms, you might as well fall dead. Sometimes the antics of the "dying" fighter are the most
entertaining part of a fight. Caid used to have an award for best death called the Battered Helm, but
that tradition is no more.) In many competitions, including Crown Tournament or Crown Tourney, you
will continue fighting until you die twice (called a "double elimination".)
Because the SCA is very focused not only on combat but on chivalry, honor and the arts, it is
traditional in Caid for each fighter to have a poem written in that fighter's honor. These used to be
called Fighter Poems, but now are generally called Crown Poems. These are then gathered and
informally published in a book that is generally available by the victor's coronation. Hopefully, this fine
poetic tradition has continued.
Below are links to some of the fighter poems I wrote for Crown Tournaments, also called Crown
Tourneys. I'll be adding more in 2009. All of these were published in an SCA collection unless stated