This all began with the rescue of two cats in 2017, Maggie and Doby. There was no room at the no-kill shelters so Gwenndolynn ni hAilleachain and Erik Martel were asked to foster Maggie until she could be adopted. Severely malnourished, and of course pregnant, they began the process of getting her healthy.
One month to the day, two tiny tortoiseshell kittens were born in their sewing room. They were Bobbin (as she had no tail) and Tailor (who did have a tail, and was very, very small). Due to Maggie’s malnutrition, and her time outside, Tailor was born with a slight defect. With the help of their vet, who, like them, would not give up on Tailor, and had otherwise normal and happy kitten-hood. Sadly, at 7 months, Tailor collapsed and died very suddenly after being rushed to our vet. Everyone in the Barony of Iron Mountain knew about Maggie, Bobbin, and Tailor, and we were all heartbroken
Naz, in Thor’s Mountain, rescued a kitten about the same time as we had Maggie, and his name was Doby. Doby, like Maggie, had been abandoned and rescued, however, he was adopted from a no-kill shelter. Despite the care, he was weakened by his start and died very suddenly almost exactly a week prior to Tailor.
Baroness Rondalynne Seren and the populace of Iron Mountain decided that they could do something to help, to save abandoned cats from starvation and disease, in honor of these two kitties.
In June 2018 at Black Axe, the inaugural Nine Lives Tourney was held to raise funds for the local no-kill shelter to feed, house, and spay/neuter rescued cats. They raised over $1100 that year, but more importantly, other groups thought this was a great idea and also began fundraising for local pet charities through tourneys.
In 2019, at Black Axe, the second Nine Lives Tourney was held and expanded for heavy and rapier fighters. Master Wistric, Baron South Downs, issued a challenge. IF the tourneys could raise more than $1500, Sir Erik would fight at Castle Wars in the fall…wearing a catsuit.
Erik agreed, and well over $2500 was raised (because Meridians love a spectacle…and like to laugh). Thus, Erik Martel was forever deemed the Knight of Kittens. Mistress Elizabeth RaeFen and Countess Ellawin, taking …pity… on Erik, made mention that he shouldn’t be out there alone, and THL Lothan made plans and joined him in yet another catsuit for Castle Wars, and the Kitten Battle was born with its Cat “generals” leading either side.
The children of the Kingdom of Meridies glommed onto this, and the MOC began painting cat masks back in the summer for the children to wear at Castle Wars. Baroness Rondalynne and Mistress Gwenndolynn baked 200 sugar cookies with little mice images stamped into them for the kids (and adults) to enjoy, and cat ears were handed out to everyone who wanted (and didn’t already have) them. There was even a fighter dressed as a mouse on the field.
But unbeknownst to the Kingdom of Meridies, there was another brilliant, and secret, activity planned.
In the best-kept secret in the kingdom, Countess Ellawin, the Lady of Meridies and their Most Beloved Rose, donned the persona of Puss in Boots and began learning the art and skill of the blade.
She trained for months in secret, making her own cat armor, and authorizing for rapier. And then, at Castle Wars 2019, with the entire assembly watching, Her Excellency took the field representing all of the Kingdom of Meridies and challenged the best and noblest Master on the field—His Excellency South Downs, Master Wistric.
The video tells the visual tale, but behind it is the soul of Kingdom of Meridies: A people generous of heart, joyful in their participation, gleeful in their mischief, and gracious in all things.
What will they do next year when the Nine Lives Tourney returns in 2020? All we know is that these groups and many others continue to help some of the smallest among us who cannot help themselves.
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