As Read in the Journal of The Scarlet Knight
Following a BloodLetting after a failed joust I Pen these words for All to Read
Third Month / Third Day / Third Year of my Quest
Individual Knights and entire cohorts are often drawn together for game, sport and challenge without a training regimen provided by the Guardians. Blood spills are limited and all blood spills acceptable only under honorable conduct. Any blood spilled with honor is blood spilled well and any loss of blood with honor is but a part of the Life of a Knight of the Land.
A Traditional Game often staged by 2 cohorts of Knights, cohort against cohort, on the "Quad" for All Knights to watch. In numbers and spirit, these Cohort Games laid claim for defining the Knights strength, honor and pledge to One Another. Lucius Mater, the gatehouse immediately adjacent to the Southern Quad and housing the Sophius and the Juvenus, provided both the most cohort and most visceral Games for All to watch during any year of study and training. Blood spills were indeed few while pain was appropriately administered and appropriately received - always with honor. A Knight is a Knight and all pain is felt equally between those Knights who administer and those Knights who receive.
The Game would begin when a boar's head, properly inflated, would be put into play by an individual Knight. The goal was to maintain sole possession of the boar's head for as long as possible while the "Mauling" persisted over a defined area of engagement. One Knight against All Knights. The goal of the "Maulers" was to gain individual possession of the boar's head and become the new "Maulee". An imperiled but highly coveted coup for any Knight. Pain was a Given in Maul Ball with Victory never to be fully gained.
The Knights would often alter the Game to give rise to Teams of "Maulers" whose Intent was to maintain possession of the boar's head for the Team. Members of each Team would protect their members possessing the boar's head and "Maul" members of the opposing Team seeking to possess same. This behavior gave rise to the Cohort Games of Mauling Balls, always an epic confrontation that would inspire the Knighthood to find the Best in each Cohort and the Best in Individual Knights.
Individual Knights in Groups as small as 3 would often engage in this Game of Mauling Balls on the Quad and other fields in the Homeland during periods of absence from study and training. Even in relief from the Guardians Oversight and removed from the Cohort Games where Individuals lose their standing and all Colors are blurred, Knights would seek out competition and validation amongst each other. Knight against Knight for the benefit of strengthening the Knighthood. A cohort of 3 learns well to bleed their share for a cohort of 100.
This Game of Challenge would be laid down in the Arena of Knights or the Place of Challenge for the Game to be sanctioned. Individual Knights would coalesce into 2 Teams on the "Court", either by choice or by selection, with one Team identifying themselves by wearing their individual Colors and the other Team identified by displaying their bare torsos during the Game. This Challenge would be between both Teams and Individuals with Honors going to those who rose above their opponent.
A large cowhide-covered bladder, properly inflated with Athenian Flubber that is willing and able to bounce on the Court, would be referred to as the Leather and placed into play. Those who gained the Leather within the confines of the Court needed to place and score the Leather within a Hoop set at a height well above the outstretched arm. Two Hoops at opposite ends were allowed per Court - one Hoop used to score and one Hoop needed to defend for each Team with the two Hoops being easily identifiable by both Teams. Those endowed with the gift of "notshort" did well. Those with keen eye, quickness, speed and consciousness of thought competed well against the "notshort" buffoons. When those of the "notshort" also displayed keen eye, quickness, speed and consciousness of thought they would often rule the Court. But winning the Game of Threads and Flesh was always in jeopardy, always in flux. The Game of Threads and Flesh was always about the Team and any Individual was only some of the Team. It was the Team that held sway. It was the Team that won the Honors and Individuals culled out their fair share. But in essence, this Game of Challenge was about realizing one's own strengths, seeing and believing in the strengths of fellow Knights and understanding the strength and camaraderie of the Knighthood during Challenge. This Game of Challenge was about individual Knights learning and understanding their role in the Knighthood and it was the Knighthood that always won the True Honors in Threads and Flesh.
In the Arena of Knights, near cleansing showers and the Inner Sanctum lies the Seclusa Aquarum, a large pool of water both shallow and deep that is heated by the warmth of the Earth burning at its core. The Knights would often seek out the warm waters of the Seclusa Aquarum in order to soothe the pain absorbed from training, conflict and grief that are a Constant in the Life of a Knight. Knights being Knights who are always in training would also use this healing pool to put forth the Challenge of Marco Polo. The Collection of Scrolls in the Homeland is lacking in the identity of Marco Polo but Stories abound that Marco Polo achieved greatness in a Boy Band out of Peoria.
The Challenge of Marco Polo would be given to an Individual Knight to seek out and capture other Knights in a defined area of the Seclusa Aquarum. A defined area as calculated and espoused by the Greatest of Greek Scholars of The Old World; Sacramento, Platypus and Aerosmith.
The Individual Knight chosen for the Challenge would forfeit sight by being blindfolded while still being able to hear and touch. Upon his challenge call of "Marco", other Knights were obliged to respond "Polo". Using echo location and the errant hubris of sighted Knights, the challenged Knight would seize and guide the Captured to the surface of the pool to win the Challenge. The Captured Knight would then face the Challenge of Marco Polo. The Game of Marco Polo would continue unabated until "Final Call" of the Seclusa Aquarum or until the Breath of Life being first adminstered.
Knight Games of Challenge are not Games - they are Strategic in thought and purpose for the Knighthood and for the Land. A Knight will not seek to intentionally inflict injury upon a Fellow Knight in Games of Team or Personal Challenge. This bodes well in Battle where a Knight will always place the Life of a Fellow Knight above His own. Knights Learn Well during Games of Challenge. The Knighthood thus flourishes and The Land thrives for All.