RIPLEY, W.Va. -- Nearly 750 knights, barons and kings faced off Saturday in Jackson County to defend the Kingdom of AEthelmearc from raiders seeking coal.
AEthelmearc, which makes up West Virginia, is one of 19 kingdoms across the United States and the world sanctioned by the Society for Creative Anachronism.
On Saturday, the king and queen of AEthelmearc defended their territory from The Kingdom of the Midrealm in the 19th annual Blackstone Raid at Cedar Lakes.
"We're really using it as an excuse to hit each other with heavy sticks," said Catherine Sayre, a psychologist from Ravenswood, who is also known as Baroness Katherine Wert.
The group recreates medieval society from about 600 A.D. to 1600 A.D., Sayre said.
"The idealized version with the indoor plumbing and the modern medicine," she said.
The Midrealm consists of parts of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa and Ontario, Canada.
In Saturday's scenario, the Middle Kingdom had come to AEthelmearc to raid their coal.
The two kingdoms faced off in several scenarios -- on the bridge, storming the gate and on a battlefield.
Saturday marked the 19th year for the battle, which is more for bragging rights than actual booty, Sayre said.
The warriors battled each other in a variety of protective handmade garb made from steel, aluminum, leather and other sturdy materials.
The average warrior on the field wears about 50 to 60 pounds of protective armor, said Sam Cale IV, a pastor from Charleston, who has been taking part in SCA battles for about 16 years.