Editor’s Note: This story appeared as part of an April Fools issue.
The Knights of Santa Barbara emerged from the mud, blood and beer as state jousting champions in a tournament at Royal Yang Field.
The three best knights from the Santa Barbara/Islavistingham fiefdom defeated the top three knights from the North 2-1 in a tournament filled with controversy and debauchery.
The SB Knights arrived late for the match, having just returned from a conquest of the Spanish territory of Torres del Francisco. Santa Barbara’s finest returned with carriages stuffed with quality tapestries, strong ale and fine herbs.
The crowd of thousands received an early treat in the first match, when SB’s Sir John the Brave was struck in the face by Sir William the Dentist of the North. Sir John’s teeth flew into the stands and delighted peasants wrestled over the souvenirs.
The second match pitted crowd favorite Sir John the Kind against the fearsome Richard the Strong. The diminutive Sir John, who stands no taller than a horse’s knee and carries a specially constructed miniature lance, seemed no match for Sir Richard, who, legend has it, carved his weapon from a redwood he felled using only a herring.
The riders charged and Richard, carrying the longer lance, leaned toward Sir John’s chest. Sir John artfully dodged the blow and plunged his tiny lance into the exposed flesh between Richard’s chest armor and back plate, an area of weakness known to jousters as the “Death Spot.”
“A rider can have a lance as long as a dragon’s tail,” Sir John said, “but if he can’t find the D-Spot all that length is worthless.”
The crowd howled and drooled as the moaning Richard was carried from the field. The outcome of the tournament now depended on the match between SB’s Sir Hank the Sloppy and Sir Robert the Stiff of the North, whose name derived from his incredible ability to remain planted on his horse no matter how strong the blow struck against him. Many in the crowd, despite their love for Sir Hank, felt he had no chance against Sir Robert.
When the bells tolled for the final match, Sir Hank was nowhere to be found. Sir Robert sat smugly at his end of the field while peasants searched frantically for SB’s only hope. The crowd grew restless and inebriated during the delay, which finally ended when Sir Hank emerged clumsily from a carriage at his end of the field, reeking of ale and herbs.
Sir Hank told his horse-caddie he was catching a prematch nap, but witnesses claimed differently.
A maiden speaking on condition of anonymity said she was in the carriage with Sir Hank. “He was terrified of Robert the Stiff,” she said. “He was pouring ale down his throat and crying that some Stiff was going to leave him dead in the dirt.”
Attendants took several minutes to prop the disoriented Sir Hank on his horse. When trumpets signaled the riders to charge, Sir Robert immediately spurred his horse across the field. Sir Hank sat still until his caddie slapped his horse’s arse. Sir Hank had no control of the beast, and it veered to the wrong side of the divider that ran the length of the field. The two steeds charged directly at one another as the crowd gasped. Sir Robert wailed in fear while Sir Hank sat slumped over staring at the ground and holding his lance with both hands.
Hearing the terror in his master’s cry, Sir Robert’s horse jerked hard to the right, sending the previously unmovable Sir Robert soaring through the air. The crowd erupted as the victorious Sir Hank inexplicably charged directly across the field and out of the stadium.
Sir Robert said he was not entirely surprised by Sir Hank’s unorthodox tactics.
“These Santa Barbarians are known throughout the countryside as drunken brutes,” he said.