|From Duke Finnvarr, posted on the Middlebridge, 3/2/00 (with permission):
Nathan von Daritz was one of two brothers active in early Wurm Wald.
The other was Nubbin Keshran. Both were eventually knighted, Nubbin
first, I believe.
Nathan was about medium height and I remember him as slender. He was
also very blond (while Nubbin was dark-haired). In their early days I
was more aware of Nubbin.
My first conscious sight of Nathan was at a masquerade at North Woods
where the point was to fool everyone as to whom you really were.
There was a prize for the last person to be identified, which was won by
Albert von Dreckenwald, Baron Wurm Wald and another early king. He was
well known for his goatee. For the purposes of the contest he shaved
the goatee, and wore a mask that covered his whole head *except* his
chin. When he took off the mask, it took a moment for anyone to
recognize him, even unmasked. Then we were all stunned.
Nathan was at that same revel, dressed in a gorgeous Tudor women's
dress. He was a real fresh-faced kid, and lots of people were
wondering who the babe was. When he was unmasked and unwigged, my
shock was moderated by the fact that I didn't have the slightest idea
who he was.
Nathan went off to Guatemala in the mid-70s to do missionary work --
perhaps for the Presbyterian church. This involved a lot of hard
physical labor. He came back in time for the May 1978 Crown
Tournament, which was held in Three Rivers (St. Louis), now part of
Calontir, and fought in it.
That tournament was hot as hell. At least, I thought so. When I
arrived on Friday evening at midnight, it was 100F and close to 100%
humidity. It didn't cool down on Saturday or Sunday, the day of the
A lot of up-and-coming fighters, such as Laurelen Darksbane, Alen
Elegil, and Hugo von Feuerklippe, took part in this tournament. Hugo
had perfected the Bellatrix snap and killed several people in one
blow. Laurelen was in the midst of a comet-like progress that took him
from authorizing to winning Crown Tournament in 18 months (read it and
weep -- he was a phenom, that was not normal even then). But these
and other future knights and monarchs ground to a halt the first time
they got into a long fight. I remember Laurelen the fight after his
first tough one -- he tottered out on the lists like an old man and died
But, yes, there was one exception -- Nathan von Daritz. Memorial Day
in St. Louis was nothing to someone who'd dug ditches in Guatemala.
Nathan did not get hot, did not get frazzled, and by gum he could fight,
too -- he was stronger and fitter than when he'd left.
The finals of that Crown tournament were never finished. Nathan's
opponent was Alen Elegil (soon to be king, too), who had survived, but
did not have 3 fights in him.
He did not want to quit, but his friends forced him to have his
temperature taken, and when the unbelievable numbers were read off ,
they talked some sense into him.
Nathan's lady was not present that day. She was Kirsten von der Walde,
the beautiful and charming younger sister of Sir Fern. She had just
got off the throne as Merowald's second queen. She was tired of being
royalty and had stayed home in North Woods. She'd only agreed to be
Nathan's lady if he promised not to win. Neither had thought victory
to be at all likely. So Kirsten ended up being royalty for two years
Nathan was an unbelted king, but he managed to be royal and
authoritative nonetheless. The test came at the Crown Tournament he
presided over when there were two obvious candidates for the accolade,
and the knights were divided on one of them. He decided both would be
knighted, and managed to win the respect of the knights for his
authority -- no mean trick. Later that day, he faced an interesting
situation when two unbelted fighters -- Laurelen and Alen, both of
Cleftlands -- faced each other in the finals. There was a quick
consultation and it was decided that before the crown was decided, they
would be knighted on the field, simultaneously. They were called out
for the second fight, brought through the ritual to the point of laying
on -- then there was an interruption and they were knighted, two knights
standing on either side, holding swords while the king put a hand on
each. Since L and A loved each other like brothers and had trained
each other in arms, it was exactly the right thing to do -- neither of
them lost those finals!
So it was that an unbelted king made four knights in one day, the first
time that had ever been done in the Midrealm. That many haven't been
made at once too many times since.
Nathan was knighted by his successor, Laurelen.
So much off the top of my head.