On Points of Honour

by Hector of the Black Height

Non-fighters are confused occasionally by some goings-on in the list. One of the most common sources of confusion is when a fighter strikes another fighter's leg. The opponent, Sir Swift-Stick, loses the use of his leg, falls to his knees and then the first fighter, Dame Daisy, draws her sword across her own leg and also drops to her knees, at which point the crowd cheers wildly.

What has just happened is that Dame Daisy "gave a point of honour" to Sir Swift-Stick. Swift-Stick has lost the use of the leg struck: Daisy has "taken" her own leg, so that the fight is again evenly matched. This may be seen when one fighter loses use of an arm or a leg.

In Ealdormere, this is considered the height of good manners in the List. Marshals and heralds often point out the generosity of the fighter who has surrendered an advantage voluntarily, crying out "A point of honour for Dame Daisy". It's reached the point that both fighters and spectators in these parts appear to expect points of honour to be given.

In southern reaches of the Middle Kingdom, however, giving a point of honour can be seen as a grave insult. It can be interpreted that Dame Daisy's actions mean "I'm so good I don't need the advantage I have earned". In extremes, it could appear that one fighter is toying with another fighter, which is not chivalrous anywhere. To be fair, not giving a point of honour can be considered praise, as if to say "You're so good that I've taken your leg and I'm still worried about you, so I'm going to give you all I have".

So what? Pray recall that points of honour are not compulsory. Also, remember that a point of honour can be construed in a positive or a negative light, by both spectator and participant. By all means applaud a fighter who gives a point of honour, as is our wont in much of Ealdormere; please do not question the actions of a fighter who does not give such a point.

Copyright 1996, 1998 Arthur McLean. All rights reserved.