The History of Realmgard in 30 Days: November 29

“Though none of the knights involved in the duel lost their lives, several were seriously wounded, most were at least moderately wounded — and after losing his sword, Aldéric is famously recorded as trying to beat Justin into submission with a loaf of crusty bread.”

The Disputation of the Baker’s Dozens

Le Combat des Trente: Octave Penguilly L'Haridon. Public Domain.
Le Combat des Trente: Octave Penguilly L’Haridon. Image via Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

Fittingly fought in the Gallicantien Duchy of Chevaliers (chevaliers being the Gallicantien word for “knights”), the large-scale duel known to history as the Disputation of the Baker’s Dozens — in Gallicantien, “La Disputation des Douzaines de Boulanger” — has long been regarded as one of the finest displays of chivalry in Realmgard’s history.

More cynically-minded scholars, however, regard it more as the easily-offended finding an excuse to have 26 people trying to bludgeon each other into submission.

The precipitating incident was an offer of marriage posed by the widowed Baron Josselin Dieudonné to the young noblewoman Adelaide Béranger, whose brother Aldéric took the attempts of an elderly man to marry his much-younger sister as a personal insult.

Though Baron Josselin accepted the refusal with grace and withdrew his proposal without complaint, his son Justin in turn took Aldéric’s harsh, out-of-hand rejection as a personal insult.

The knights of Gallicantu are to be noted for the ease with which they perceive interpersonal interactions as insults…

While Baron Josselin and Adelaide each attempted to smooth over affairs between the two families and call for the restoration of some semblance of calm and decency among their offended family members after this series of perceived slights, Aldéric and Béranger agreed to settle matters in a duel, agreeing to meet on neutral ground at the castle of the ruling Duke of Chevaliers. Aldéric and Justin each assembled a group of twelve companions to join them in the duel. Thus, each side had thirteen members — hence, “Baker’s Dozens.”

The duel became the social event of the season and much of the nobility of Chevaliers and even the Gallicantien royal court came to the Duke’s castle to view to proceedings. It was declared by the King of Gallicantu himself that the side with the last man standing would be understood as being in the right, while any surviving members of the losing side were to be exiled from Chevaliers.

By means of catapult.

Despite desperate last-minute pleas from Baron Josselin and Adelaide to their feuding relations, going so far as to swear to the King that neither of them were, in fact, offended by the conduct of the other family, the duel went on as planned.

Though none of the knights involved in the duel lost their lives, several were seriously wounded, most were at least moderately wounded — and after losing his sword, Aldéric is famously recorded as trying to beat Justin into submission with a loaf of crusty bread.

The duel proved inconclusive, with Aldéric and Justin fighting to a stalemate. Matters were ultimately resolved when the stresses of witnessing the duel caused the elderly Baron Josselin to suffer a fainting spell. Rather than taking advantage of Justin’s distraction at seeing his father suddenly collapse, Aldéric instead called for his personal physician to resuscitate Baron Josselin.

Such an act of honour and compassion from his adversary caused Justin to renounce his quarrel with Aldéric, spurring Aldéric to do the same. Afterwards, the two became close friends and the quarrel between the two families was forgotten.

Ultimately, Baron Josselin would marry the widowed Comtesse de Bertrand, while Adelaide would elope to Goldharbour with Corin d’Arquestone, the younger brother of one of her brother’s companions.

The names of all 26 combatants are well-attested in historical sources:

Aldéric Béranger & SupportersJustin Dieudonné & Supporters
Aldéric Béranger, Lord-Mayor of Port-aux-SeigneursJustin Dieudonné, heir to the Barony of Dieudonné
Eugène Renault, Captain of the Guard of Port-aux-Seigneurs
Firmin Dieudonné, his cousin
Lionel Renault, his brotherJerome Dieudonné, another cousin
Olivier d’Arquestone, officer in the Gallicantien navy, grandfather of the famous pirate Guillaume d’ArquestoneGaspard de Gaspard, Captain of the Guard for the Dieudonné family
d’Aramitz Pelayien, adventurer in service of the BérangersArmand de l’Auster, longtime companion of Baron Josselin
Rolf Ormsson, Hrimfaxi companion of Aldéric’s fatherJosselin de l’Auster, his son, named after Baron Josselin
Alain Valéry, knight with a personal grudge against the DieudonnésRufin Côte-des-Neiges, knight in service of the Dieudonnés
Mathis de Garmo, had nothing better to do that dayAndré Montagne, knight in service of the Dieudonnés
Jean-Courtois Aurélien, knight in service of the BérangersGautier Aymeric, longtime member of the same book club, dragged along with him
Martial Planque, knight in service of the BérangersDiodore Desroches, happened to be standing nearby while Justin was naming his supporters
Edmond LaRue, knight in service of the BérangersFortune Duguay, thought participation would look good on his resume
Machaut Laclerc, volunteered to fight on a dareConstance Archambault, female knight in service of the Bérangers
Maëlie Neuville, female knight in service of the BérangersCléomène de Sous-Colline, volunteered to fight in hopes of impressing her

Yet again, this one’s basically a true story.

The Combat of the Thirty (the name is a little misleading; there were 30 guys on each side, so 60 in total) has fought during the War of the Breton Succession, itself part of the Hundred Years’ War, for unclear reasons: either just because, or because the Anglo-House of Montfort faction was harassing the local populace and the Franco-House of Blois/Châtillon faction came to their defence.

Basically, 11 guys died, most of the combatants were seriously wounded, and really nothing was resolved. But, hey, at least they got to look chivalrous and kinda cool doing it.

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