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Saturday, 08 October 2005
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The Petain Treachery
The Path to Ruin
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Trail By Combat
Page 9

Trail By Combat

The armoured judicial duel was typically held between nobles, fought in armour with the knightly weapons that include the spear, longsword and dagger, usually to the death. Essentially, the duel was a private affair and the role of the judge was only to ensure that the duel was conducted according to the formalities of the period. If a noble had to undergo a trial-by-combat to settle the issue of whose case was right or to provide evidence in support of the individual, the challenger had to wear the same clothing and armour as depicted. Not all trials were fought to the death. This was necessary only when a major offense like murder, treason, heresy etc. was put to court.

Additional requirements over and above the tournament arms & armour requirements will include:

beirs draped with sheets, one with a white background and red cross, the second with a red background and white cross, medieval encampment chairs ("X" chairs) or other medieval chair alternative which the combatants will sit in while the charges are announced to the spectators, no less than three judges present to administer the duel.

The beirs were assumed to be used as a stretcher used to carry the dead from the lists.

Duke Huebald, on hearing of this duel, declared he would be present at it.    Earl Cadfael, and members of his court requested  to provide additional time, for that he would be present.   Upon his arrival by flying mount,  the principal chiefs went to Quenelles, to witness the combat, lists were made for the champions behind the Temple; and the lords had erected on one side scaffolds, the better to see the sight. The crowd of people was wonderful. The two champions entered the lists armed at all points, and upon entering the field,  du Bois Guilbert  went to his lady, who was covered with black and seated on a chair, and said,—. "Lady, from your accusation, and in your quarrel, am I thus adventuring my life to combat Simon Petain: you knew whether my cause be loyal and true." "My lord," she replied "it is so; and you may fight securely, for your cause is good."

The lady remained seated, making fervent prayers to the Lady, entreating humbly, that through her grace and intercession, she might gain the victory according to her right.    Her affliction was great, for her life depended on the event; and, should her husband lose the victory, she would have been burnt, and he would have been hanged.

The adversaries were seated in a chair opposite the other; the Count de St. Polidorus  directed Sir Hercule du Bois Guilbert, and the retainers of the count Simon Petain.  As to the Charges and the terms of combat.

The two champions were then advanced, and placed opposite to each other; when they mounted their horses, and made a handsome appearance, for they were both expert men at arms. They ran their first course without hurt to either. After the tilting, they dismounted, and made ready to continue the fight. They behaved with courage; but the Marquis d’Ascoyne was, at the first onset, wounded in the thigh, which alarmed all his friends: notwithstanding this, he fought so desperately that he struck down his adversary, and, thrusting his sword through the body, caused instant death; when he demanded of the spectators if he had done his duty: they replied that he had.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 09 October 2005 )
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