ASK MR. MARSHALPERSON

Hey, Boys ‘n Grrls! Remember waaaay back when marshals were, not only the best source, but the only source of information about rapier fighting? Sure you do! Well, because marshals were thin on the ground in some areas back then, there was an actual advise column where curious fighters could get their questions answered in no time at all, if by which you mean weeks. I present one of the more memorable columns from the esteemed Mr. Marshalperson.

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ASK MR. MARSHALPERSON
by Count Lawdy ms Claudi, KRMIC d’Frogge

Dear Mr. Marshalperson:
I’m interested in getting started in rapier. How do I begin?
Inquiring in Isenfir

Dear Inquiring:
There’s no secret to excelling in rapier. Just follow three basic steps:
1. Rent the following movies: The Princess Bride, The Three Musketeers (1974), The Four Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, Blackadder II, and The Duellists.
2. Memorize all the dialogue.
3. Get some really spiff clothes (see next letter).
That’s it. You are ready to hit the list field.

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Dear Mr. Person:
I got your recommended movies. Where can I get great clothes like those guys?
Stymied in Storvik

Dear Stymied:
Congratulations! You have reached the first pinnacle of rapier fighting — the recognition that nothing is more important than your wardrobe. Now, where to get one. There are many
opportunities to pick up great period-looking duds. Try your nearest Ren Fair. These are wonderful places to acquire real period accessories, too. Second-hand fabric stores are good, if one’s in your area. Pay particular attention to the spandex/mylar/metallics section; lots of good finds there. Then just sew them up, and trim with lace.

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Dear Mr. Marshalperson:
My local marshal says I’m hitting too hard, but no one’s gone to the emergency room yet, so what’s the big deal, huh?
Confused in Caer Mear

Dear Confused:
Marshals are people, too, and can make mistakes just like everyone else. But it is possible you’re hitting too hard. To find out, take a simple test. Ask yourself these questions:
– do my opponents flinch every time I move?
– have I broken more than three blades this week?
– do they assign chiurgeons to my bouts?
– are heavy fighters telling me I’m “looking pretty good”?
If the answers to any of these are no, then you’re probably okay, and your marshal just needs retraining.

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Dear Marsha:
I was told my armor is insufficient, whatever that means. I told ’em to get stuffed and not even look at me. Damn Jerks.
Highly Pissed in Highland Foorde

Dear Pissed:
How dare they! No one should question your armor, particularly if it looks really cool. Unfortunately, there are those armor regulations, and they can be hard to understand, what with resistant-this and impenetrable-that. My advice is just tell them “it’s four layers” and let ’em eat cake.

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Dear Mr./Ms. Marshalperson:
I am constantly having my second intention attack in high inside defeated by either a replacement to the high outside, or a croise to the low ward. What am I doing wrong?
Kaput in Kappellenberg

Dear Ka-Ka:
Off hand, I’d say your clothes are not distracting enough, but I don’t have a clue. I’m a marshal, not some rapier-god. If you want stupid useless information like that, go ask a Provost.

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Dear Mr. Marshalperson:
I stand, vigilant, appraising my foe with, at once, disdain and concupiscence. He feints: a sloven drollery of movement. I am serene. He stumbles into a remise, unaware of the menace. I castigate him with an expulsion, deftly avoid his mindless reposte, and overwhelm his parry quinte with a derobement. I am victorious. All is silence.
Cathartic in Cathanar

Dear Cath-ode:
What in the hell are you talking about? This column is for important marshal issues: garb, snappy patter, how to look good. You have obviously wandered in here by mistake, and should be over yonder with the Laurels or something. Don’t go gettin’ all sentimental about this, now. Just remember: in rapier fighting, as in life, it’s better to look good, than to fight good.

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