Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Lady Alisaundre Muir. I was born in the year of our Lord 1296 in the highlands of Scotland. During my forty-sixth year, I stepped through a portal and traveled forward in time to the year of our Lord 1988. I landed in a village called Carlsby (Lawrence, KS) in the Kingdom of Calontir (Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, most of Iowa, and Fayetteville, Arkansas) in what is called the Knowne World of the Current Middle Ages. I am a member of the Order of the Golden Swan, the Order of the Torse, and the Order of the Leather Mallet. I was the founding Herald of the Shire of Cum an Iolair (Johnson County, Kansas).

I am also a bard of Calontir. As a bard, one of my duties is to tell the history of the Known World. So, today, I tell you the story of the Pennsic War as told to me.

In the year of our Lord 1971, or AS 5 (the year of the Society) there were four kingdoms in the Known World, The Kingdom of the West, The Kingdom of the East, The Kingdom of the Middle, and the newest kingdom, Atenveldt.
A new group was forming in the modern state of Pennsylvania in the city of Pittsburgh. Both the Kingdom of the Middle and the Kingdom of the East claimed this area. Now King Irial of the Midrealm sent his messenger (Duke Caridoc of the Bow) to King Rakkuri of the East with a challenge and an arrow of war. King Rakkuri accepted the arrow and broke it, thus accepting the challenge of war.

Now we all know negotiations between countries take time. By the time all of the problems surrounding holding the event were ironed out, neither Irial nor Rakkuri was still king. In fact, Duke Caridoc had moved from the Midrealm to the East, fought in Crown Tourney, and was king of the East.

The site and time for the war were finally agreed upon and in the summer of AS 7 (1972), the two kingdoms converged on a place called Newton’s Campground in Waterford, Pennsylvania. I have been told there were approximately 500 attendees at that first war. The name of Pennsic comes from Pennsylvania and the Punic War.

The first war was won by the Midrealm. However, the board of directors had previously ruled  that a state should not be divided between kingdoms. Since there was already a group in Philadelphia that belonged to the East, Pittsburgh was determined by the BOD to belong to the East. Therefore the story handed down over the years was the loser of Pennsic got Pittsburgh.

For the first five years, the war was held at a different place every year. Then in AS 12 (1977), the war found a permanent home at a resort called Cooper’s Lake which is halfway between Newcastle and Slippery Rock north of Pittsburgh.
I was privileged to attend Pennsic XX in 1991. That year there were just over 8,000 attendees. What started as a weekend event in 1972 has grown to an event taking over two weeks and three weekends to enact. July 27 of this year, over 10,000 people from all over the world will begin gathering at Cooper’s Lake for Pennsic XLI. Motorists southbound on Interstate 79 who are unaware of the SCA will be astonished to see a campground full of everything from one-person, modern pup tents, to huge pavilions that resemble Medieval tents or Viking A-frames. Groups sometimes wall off their campground with walls of cloth or wood. At night, there are no Coleman lanterns, just flickering torches. Banners will fly and you’ll see clothing from the seventh century through the sixteenth.
The war is still fought between the Midrealm and the East. With the kings of the other seventeen kingdoms deciding on which side they want to fight.
As I stated, I attended Pennsic XX. The morning after the opening ceremonies, I was the first one awake in my household. Remembering the pageantry of the previous day, I wrote the following. It is sung to the tune of Blueridge Mountain Girl.


In the foothills of Pennsylvania, by the side of Cooper’s Lake,
Warriors gather for a battle to be fought for honor’s sake.
In the morning mist you’ll see them, like a vision in a dream.
Knight of old with armor shining, in the breeze, their banners stream.

As they meet there, in the meadow, swords will crash and pole arms bend.
When it’s over, they’ll drink together. Annual foes, eternal friends.

Many years, now, they have gathered ‘neath the Pennsylvania skies,
To relive in bonds of friendship, an age old dream that never dies.

And as they meet there, in the meadow, swords will crash and pole arms bend.
When it’s over, they’ll drink together. Annual foes, eternal friends.

In service to my King & Queen (Lucian & Conna), the Kingdom of Calontir, and the SCA. Lady Alisaundre Muir.

Pennsic XX as seen from I-79

Tents of all sizes and shapes

People of all ages

His Highness, Prince Conn of Calontir

Her Majesty, Queen Brayden of Calontir

His Majesty, King Roderick of Calontir

The Calontir Army mustering for battle

Another shot of the Calontir Army

The archery line

Campsite of Ladies Alisaundre & Isabeau and Lord Lars

All photographs taken by me at Pennsic XX 1991.

2 responses to “P-Pennsic

  1. I’m confused; why is the war re-enacted each year? It sounds like fun, but there doesn’t seem to be anything in the tale that explains that bit.

    • I guess I didn’t make that part clear. One thing – it is not ‘re-enacted’, it is ‘re-created’. Re-enacting involves have the same result as the year prior. In the SCA, no one knows who’s going to win any given fight. Whether it’s single combat, a melee, or an all-out war. There are actually four wars every year in the continental US. Estrella in Arizona in February, Gulf Wars in Mississippi in (I believe) March, Lilies in Missouri in June, and Pennsic, with Pennsic being the oldest.

      Mainly it is an excuse to get together with people from all over the world who have a common interest in the Middle Ages. Besides the fighting, there are classes in the arts and sciences.

      You could also say it’s an excuse to get together, party, and hit each other over the head with sticks. The only thing a fighter likes better than a fight is sitting around the campfire telling stories of past fights and drinking with that day’s foes.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.