Once I went to a Crown List at Iron Mountain in the company of a Lord from Caid who was on TDY to Keesler Air Force Base. After the tournament was over, I asked the Lord what he thought of it.
"It was a good tourney," he said, "but we would never call those wrist snaps in Caid."
Later, I asked Earl Sir Phelan Cathaoir-mor, who was Earl Marshal at that time, about the Lord's comment. "Well, here in Meridies, we believe that you shouldn't have to be built like a gorilla in order to be a fighter," he replied.
It is true that most other kingdoms call their blows harder than we do in Meridies. I have been told that a Westrealmer who had moved to Meridies once wrote back to his friends about "The love taps they call killing blows here."
I believe that there are two reasons why Meridians call their blows lightly. The first reason is our climate: heat exhaustion is a very real problem in our kingdom. Fighters cannot afford to wear heavy armor or they will never finish a tournament. When you wear light armor, you tend to call your blows lightly.
The second reason has to do with the age of some kingdoms and their former principalities. When a fighter starts fighting, his armor tends to be minimal and he calls his blows lightly. As the fighter progresses, he builds better armor so he doesn't get as many bumps and bruises. With better armor, it takes heavier blows to register as good and with heavier blows, the fighter starts to get bumps and bruises again. The fighter then builds still stronger armor, so he doesn't get the bumps and bruises. This feedback loop continues until the fighter is a veritable walking fortress and a pile driver is needed to deliver a blow that he will call. Westrealm, Eastrealm and Midrealm are the oldest kingdoms, so this process has had its greatest effect in those kingdoms.
The first time I tried to qualify as a fighter was in Eastrealm. I was at an event in the Shire of Ridderich Hale and they were holding qualifications before the list. Lady Morgan Elandras, the autocrat, asked me if I was going to try to qualify.
"No," I replied, "I don't have any armor with me and I haven't had fighter practice in three months."
"Why don't you try?" she said, "What have you got to loose?"
"Yeah," I thought, "What have I got to loose?" I borrowed some armor and took to the field.
The person in charge of the qualification was His Highness Master Fredrick of Holland. Before we started the qualification, His Highness gave me a series of blows on the helm for purpose of calibration. When Prince Fredrick struck his first blow, I thought, based upon my previous experience, that's good.
"That's light," His Highness said.
Prince Fredrick's next blow rattled my teeth. "Boy, I'm in the big leagues now," I thought.
"That's intermediate," His Highness said. "If it gets through cleanly call it, otherwise I wouldn't."
Then Prince Fredrick gave me a headache for the next day and a half. "That's good," His Highness said. I did not qualify that day.
In fairness to His Highness, my headache probably had more to do with the allergies I have since discovered that I am prone to than it did with the blow he delivered, but I was so discouraged that I decided that I was just not fighter material. I resolved that I would henceforth devote my all efforts to the art of wine and mead making, something I at showed a little skill at.