The Prince of Redridge Joust is a tradition that was started during the reign of King Landen Wrynn by the Prince of Redridge at the time, Adamant Wrynn. The three day event, which was originally a system of separating the wheat from the chaff within the warrior castes in Stormwind, boasts pompous prodigality, great grandeur and sadistic swordplay. The tournament is enjoyed by folks of all classes from the Kingdom of Stormwind, though the main party is reserved for the peerage.
Though the event had once seen a period of neglect when the Kingdom of Stormwind fell, the spirit of the joust lived on, and no time was wasted in reconstructing the event for all Azerothians to enjoy.
The history of the joust begins with bored, young nobles occupying the company of Prince Adamant Wrynn. Having no wars to begin or foul enemies to sweep away, the wealthy warriors of the Alliance needed violence before they became soft - and fast. Prince Adamant, being a young and foolish man at the time, asked his father, the King, to grant him an event that could, in his words, show the "men from the boys" within the knights of Stormwind. The King was pleased by his child's willingness to put his subjects to the test, and agreed to finance a tournament.
The first tournament was more of a noble formality; the sons of wealthy earls and barons exchanged pleasantries as they had pages armour them, and, it was said, greeted each other instead of fighting in the grand melee. This was unacceptable to the King and, in the next year of the joust, he allowed any competitor to tourney in the melee rather than just nobles. The prize was to be able to compete in the joust, with a horse and armour supplied to them by the organisers of the tournament.
Soon, the tournament was crowded with spectators of all classes; come to watch their sons, dads and cousins compete in the challenges of the joust. Strong knights, that are now wealthy and prestigious families, were born from the peasantry that day. The events became more complicated, and a series of trials would await the challengers before the eventual joust happened.
The tournament was now breeding a warrior caste that would prove integral to the defence of the Alliance lands in the First War. Though only one knight was important to the general population that attended these events: The Grand Champion of Redridge. This title was given out to the winner of the event annually, and the title could be retained; no champion was given tenure.
From the second event, largely considered as the "real beginning" of the event, a man known as John the Black had been the Grand Champion up until his death in the sixth event. His five year reign has not been matched since, though people often interject that, if Lothar had participated, he might have won continuously. Nevertheless, John the Black was a legend of his time and had earned himself a reputation as a fierce fighter and an excellent gentleman.
His death was marked horribly with treachery however, and he did not die on the field of battle in the service of his King, as he espoused often. His squire, a jealous noble child, slit the throat of his master with a dagger whilst John slept. The squire was able to cover up his treachery by planting the dagger upon one of his master's men-at-arms who was drunk at the time. Unable to recall the events of the night before, the guard was sentenced to death whilst the squire usurped John's position.
The squire was eventually found out however, as a maid who had found blood upon the squire's clothing uncovered his treachery. Since, John the Black has been known as "the Undefeated" among other prestigious titles. His armour, which was iconically black, is now given to every Grand Champion of Redridge upon winning the tourney.
These events continued after the death of both Landen and Adamant, and were stopped only by the sacking of Stormwind. Indeed, the jousts ran through the war attracting crowds despite the marauding orcs that were only too close by. Many recreations of the event had happened in Lordaeron, though as the sentimental Azerothians found, nothing was quite the same.
Upon the return of humanity to Stormwind, the event has been reinvigorated. Though the Prince of Redridge, Anduin, has declined to visit the event, peasants and lords of the land still come to the event in flocks.
The events of the Joust last over three days, with the Grand Melee kicking the tournament off on the first day. This is a bloody free-for-all where there are little rules to the killing. Though some alliances are made before hand; usually between the sons of the aristocracy who are often too cowardly to fight on their own.
Anyone may join this event, therefore it is regarded (ironically, perhaps) as one of the most fair events of the game in terms of pure fighting skill. This is because many of the nobles who compete in the joust have better training in both horsemanship and jousting than any peasant does. Many people are killed in this event, even though the objective is only to wound them enough to have them surrender to you.
The combatants in the melee are whittled down to eight, usually from around thirty, who then go on to compete in the joust. Though the joust is on the third day, and this is because many of the fighters and participants who are peasants have to have their armour fitted (not to mention their wounds healed from the melee).
The second day is known as the festival day; this is when the more peaceful events happen.
Notable events are:
- "The Lobs": The first event of festival day, where criminals and villains are brought to the Joust and put on the stocks so peasants and spectators can throw rotten eggs, apples and even animal feces at them. This event is usually "skipped" by the nobility.
- "The Play": Actors and harlequins take to the stage in order to perform plays and shows for crowds of people. These plays can range from comedies, tragedies and talent contests, and it often depends on the occurrences of the year (for example, the play was a tragedy during the coming of the orcs, yet was a comedy when Stormwind was restored). This is not to discount the wandering fire-breathers and jugglers that show their talents around the festival.
- "The Banquet": Traditionally, the Prince would take the head table with his retinue of sycophants and aristocrats, though now it is usually inhabited by the Grand Champion of the previous year with attending nobility and royalty. The peasants sit at the lower tables, though arguably it's all for the better! The parties of the lower tables are legendary, and the cuisine of the festival is unmatched in the Kingdom!
That is not to say those are the only events, of course. Bear-baiting and gambling are general occurrences around the festival, not to mention games of luck and challenge.
The third and final day is reserved for the joust; an occasion of pompous dressing for the aristocrats, armouring for the knights and raucous cheering for the peasants. The eight combatants that survived the first day face off against each other in rounds. There are three rounds before a Grand Champion is made; this includes quarter finals, semi finals and a final.
The jousting itself is done by three sets of three games. This means that a knight must best his challenger 5 times to win. The finesse of the knight is very important to him winning, as well as horsemanship and knowing the right time to point his lance and raise his shield.