Tag Archives: Calontir

Conna’s Pelican Ceremony

Greetings all

Saturday, one of my favorite people was elevated to the Order of the Pelican. For those not in the SCA, the Order of the Pelican is a peerage order at the same level as the a knight. However, instead of prowess at arms on the battlefield, the Pelican is chosen for their hard work and service to the SCA. They serve as officers, run events, organize projects, and whatever else needs to be done at a high level. By the way, the other bestowed peerage orders are the Chivalry, which is someone who has great prowess with rattan fighting, the Master of Defense, which is someone who has great prowess with steel fighting, and the Laurel, which is someone who has great prowess with an art or science. There’s also the Royal Peer, which is someone who has served as royalty in the SCA. A person can earn the right to be a member of any or all of these orders.

For those who don’t know Conna, I hope someday you get to meet her. She is one of the sweetest, most helpful, and talented people you could ever meet. I was honored and excited for her sponsor, Elasait, to choose me to write the ceremony.

One reason she chose me is that I am currently the Lanner Herald of Calontir, which means I’m to help make sure ceremonies happen. I took this job in part because I love ceremonies, which is why I took such pleasure writing the funeral in A Lake Most Deep and the stepping down ceremony in I Am a Wondrous Thing. I also took this job because I wanted to make ceremonies more interesting and fun. Conna’s ceremony is an example.

It dawned on me I’ve never really talked about how I shape ceremonies and what I think about when I’m writing them. With Conna’s permission, this post is an annotated copy of her ceremony that people who have always been interested in ceremonies can perhaps use as a reference.

Many kingdoms have a set standard for each ceremony, but I am not a fan of that. I aim to make every ceremony special for the recipient, because it is their day in the sun. However, the first rule is the ceremony is for the recipient, not for me. My job is to give them or their sponsor interesting options, but if they want something standard and vanilla, they get it.

Like when I write scroll texts, I want to shape ceremonies around the recipient’s persona. It would be odd for a Norse persona to be given a ceremony that is appropriate for the Hundred Years War, and vice versa. So, my first step is to find out, if I don’t already know, what time and place they like so I can focus my research to match.

Determining the time and place for Conna was easy. I drew upon the writings of Alphonso X, the Wise, King of Castile from 1252 to 1284. Alphonso is one of Conna’s great inspirations. She’s studied his writings and, especially, the many cantigas he wrote. Taking from his work would be very powerful for her.

Even for those I know well, I always start by asking their sponsor a number of questions, not just the time and place of their persona. What does the recipient want? What are their likes and dislikes? Hopefully, I’ll find out some inside jokes. I’m looking for anything that makes the ceremony more personal.

Again, for this ceremony, that proved easy. Elasait said to me she wanted to retrieve the protege belt she gave to Conna years ago. For those not in the SCA a protege is to a squire what a Pelican is to a knight. Each bestowed peerage has the opportunity to take students and guide others in the SCA in what they’ve learned. A token, usually a belt, is given by the peer to the student to show the connection.

If a squire is elevated to the Order of Chivalry, part of the ceremony includes a moment where the squire returns the tokens showing their station as a student to the knight. However, if a squire, such as myself, is elevated to a different order, like the Order of the Laurel, he or she has the option of keeping the tokens and remaining a student of the peer, or returning the tokens to his former peer. This is a completely personal choice. I gave mine back to Fernando when I was elevated. Conna chose to keep hers ten years ago when she was elevated to her first peerage.

So Elasait wanted to make sure that was in the ceremony, and that gave me the hook.

This is often one of the greatest challenges of a ceremony. Very rarely in Calontir does a peerage ceremony happen without everyone in the audience knowing it’s going to be a part of that court. Many people will know who is sponsoring the candidate and know when that person is called into court that the elevation ceremony is beginning.

In general, ceremonies are formulaic, so again most people know what’s going to happen in general terms. The sponsor will come up, ask to elevate the candidate. The candidate and the order to which they will join are called up. Also called up are the speakers in the ceremony and close family members. The speakers will talk about the candidate to the Crown, who will confirm that the candidate should be elevated. Then, the accoutrements of the order will be bestowed. The candidate is dubbed, swears an oath of fealty, and the scroll is read. There are some specific differences, like the buffet for the Chivalry and the different accoutrements to each of the orders, but that’s the basic structure.

Hence, it’s almost impossible to make ceremonies completely different from each other. One of the places you can make a ceremony unique is to find a way to start the ceremony in an unexpected way. I’ve done a number of different things, but in this case Elasait’s requirement about the protege belt gave me the opening.

Here’s the opening as written:

Herald:       Their Majesties grant the petition of Mistress Elasait ingen Diarmata.

< Elasait approaches the throne >

Elasait:       Your Majesties, I come here to seek redress. I hesitate to name it theft, but there is one amongst your people who for over a decade has held something of mine and it is time that she finally return it to me.

Damien:     This is a serious charge. Who do you thus accuse?

Elasait:       I accuse my protégé, Mistress Conna ingen Ui Chearbhaill.

You’ll see the first line is the most common way we start off ceremonies. The sponsor is granted a petition to speak to the Crown. Most often, they say something like “at such and such event, you granted my boon to elevate the candidate to this order, is it still your will to grant this?” There’s nothing wrong with that opening, but we do it all the time so I tried something different.

Now, I’m a bad, bad man for suggesting this opening. However, it was something that no one who knows Conna, or for that matter, knows how ceremonies work, would expect. Elasait had to think about doing this for a few days, but in the end agreed that this would be a fun way to kick things off. And when she went into court she put on her stern teacher face and blasted it out. Fantastic job with that.

As a side note you’ll see that I put all of the speaker’s names in the ceremony. There’s an argument to be made that I should use Their Majesties’ titles instead of their names, but this document is written to be a script, hence I’m focusing on making it as smooth as possible to perform. It’s easier to see your name than your title. However, since I don’t know who the herald will be when I’m writing it, I leave that in there. In the case of other speakers below, you’ll see both their role and their name. Again, I just put the name in, if I know it, or sometimes it’ll be both because the speakers get added in later. However it happens, the point is to make sure people can identify their part easily and quickly.

You can see I use italics for stage movements and instructions, bold and underline speakers, and I always write them in 14 point Garamond. It doesn’t show as well here, but I put in extra white space to make the separate lines easily readable. I also put extra page breaks between sections so that, at least for the herald, they can move from page to page while other things are happening and it doesn’t distract from the ceremony. People often rewrite ceremonies to their own preference but I start it out with as much differentiation as I can to make it easier and quicker to read from while it’s happening.

Getting back to the action, Elasait has just accused one of her best friends of stealing from her in court. I had spoken to Conna earlier in the day and knew she had no idea about the ceremony. So I knew to watch her face. It was priceless. The absolute last thing she expected. Yes, I am a big old meaniehead.

Issabell:      We grieve that such acrimony might exist between two peers of Our realm.

Damien:     And have you witnesses to support your claim?

Elasait:       I do.

Issabell:      Then I shall have my herald call them forward.

Herald:       Their Majesties call forward all who would bear witness is Mistress Elasait’s claim.

< The speakers all come forward and arrange themselves to the sides of the throne. Master David, even if he is not a speaker, should join the speakers >

This is even meaner to Conna, really, though it flows better arranging this as the next step. Conna was just bursting to come up after that start, but now she has to wait for all her speakers. It’s not terribly common for the speakers to precede the candidate, but there’s no real set order to get sponsor, candidate, speakers, and order up there. All that you have to do is make sure that all the people that need to get up for the ceremony know when they are supposed to go up.

A note on the last instruction. Master David is Conna’s husband and I usually find a role such as banner bearer or speaker for husbands, wives, children, and parents if I can. If there’s no specific role, I still specify that they go up to where they can watch. They may not be needed for the ceremony, but I’m a sentimental guy. Anyway, let’s give Conna chance to participate.

Damien:     Herald, call the accused before us that she may defend herself.

Herald:       Their Majesties invite forward, Mistress Conna ingen Ui Chearbhaill

< Conna comes forward >

Issabell:      Mistress Elasait, what item is it that you claim belongs to you?

Elasait:       When Conna was elevated to the Order of the Laurel, she deemed it improper that she then return the tokens I had given her as my protégé. I agreed only reluctantly that she keep them then, and the time has come for her to return these tokens.

Damien:     Why do believe the time has come?

Elasait:       Because I believe she has earned the right to be named a Pelican in her own right, and to put aside the tokens of a protégé forever.

Issabell:      Well-beloved is she, no doubt, but this is no small thing. We would have that Order advise Us and all such witnesses that might help.

Herald:       Their Majesties invite all members of the Order of the Pelican attending to join Them in Their court.

< The Order of the Pelican comes forward >

As you can see, I’ve arranged that this ceremony will work like a court case. This legal structure is convenient for peerage ceremonies and I use it the vast majority of the time. The sponsor has a suit, brings it before the Crown, provides witnesses to attest to the case, and the Order serves as the jury. Obviously, we don’t get to the point of having a ceremony written if the decision hasn’t already been made, but it’s still a good way to structure things.

Damien:     Mistress Elasait, call your witnesses.

Laurel (Aislinn): < own words, suggested topicAlphonso X (Siete Pardidas Part II, Title XXXI, Law ii): Masters who teach the sciences and the pupils who learn them, must have a hall where they may live in health, and rest and take pleasure in the evening, when their eyes have become weary with study. It should, moreover, be well provided with bread and wine, and good lodging houses, Conna has provided both a hall and been a teacher in that hall >

This begins the section where all of the orders of peerage and the populace speak about the candidate. There is no set order for which peerage goes where, however, I believe that the order to which the candidate will be added should always go last to confirm all the rest. I usually have the populace go right before them. Other than that, I may just choose randomly or I may have a sequence of topics that works best. It’s just whatever feels right.

Often, a ceremony will have a line that says something like: “Master Cooks-All-The-Feasts, will you speak for the Pelican?” There is nothing wrong at all with having the sponsor or the Crown saying this. In fact, it’s sometimes easier because everyone gets an explicit cue that it’s their turn. I will often try to avoid it, though, because if we prepare the speakers well (“you go after Mistress Pointy-End-In-The-Other Guy”), it’s not that difficult to arrange. By excluding the prompting lines, you speed up the ceremony a bit, and that’s sometimes really nice, especially in courts with multiple ceremonies.

You’ll also note the most important part of making every ceremony different. It is also the part that takes the most time to create. This is my basic structure of what the speakers are told to say: <own words, suggested topic – cool stuff related to the persona here >.

The people chosen to speak are close to the candidates. They love them. They want to put that love and friendship into words. This is not something you can script.

However, you can give them guidance and inspiration. Oddly, it doesn’t take much to make a ceremony feel like it’s from a particular time and place. If most of the speakers reference something of the time and place in the midst of their words, that adds the spice that makes the ceremony taste Norse, Hundred Years War, Pictish, Persian, Japanese, or whatever. I do the research to find relevant prompts, but it is up to the speaker to use any or all of that information. Again, this is a very personal moment and speakers need to have the freedom to show their heart and it only takes most, not all, of the speakers tossing in that spice to flavor the pot.

As I said before, Conna’s focus of interest is Alphonso X. I chose to pull from his Siete Pardidas for the witnesses and, as you’ll see, the Estoria de Espana for the bestowed items. These just felt right. I tend not to overthink things when I’m looking for inspiration, especially in an area where I’m not an expert. If it sounds cool to me, I put it in my notes and see if I can fit it into the ceremony. As a side note, when I’m looking through the texts of the period, I cut and paste out more passages into my notes than I’ll need. Sometimes a passage doesn’t work and needs replaced, or you need another one because there’s an extra speaker or seven. It’s nice to have a little extra just in case.

Anyway, here are the rest of the prompts for the witnesses:

Chivalry (Ariel):   < own words, suggested topicAlphonso X (Siete Pardidas Part II, Title XXI, Law xiii): For although our calling is rude and bloody, as it is concerned with wounds and death; nevertheless, our minds should not refuse to be naturally pleased with things which are beautiful and elegant, and especially when they wear them; for the reason that, on the one hand, they confer joy and comfort upon them, and, on the other, it induces them to perform intrepid deeds of arms, since that they are aware that they will be better known on this account, and that all persons will pay more attention to what they do; therefore cleanliness and elegance are not impediments to the bravery and ferocity which they ought to possess. >

Master of Defense(Ravasz):   < own words, suggested topicAlphonso X (Siete Pardidas Part II, Title XXI, Law iv): It is the duty of peers to protect the Church, the monarchs, and all others. Prudence will enable them to do this to advantage, and without injury, Conna has shown great prudence >

Royal Peer(Lucian):      < own words, suggested topicAlphonso X (Siete Pardidas Part I, Title I, Law xi): The law-maker should love justice and the benefit of all, Conna has supported the Crown >

Populace(Anne):           < own words, suggested topic Alphonso X (Siete Pardidas Part II, Title XXI, Law xiii) A peer should practice purity among themselves and it ought to be manifested in their good qualities and their habits, they should also display it externally in their clothing, and in the tools which they bear, Conna has done so time and again >

Pelican(Owain): < own words, suggested topicAlphonso X (Siete Pardidas Part II, Title X, Int.) All people are necessary, none can be excepted, for all are obliged to live together in order to live properly, be protected, and be supported, Conna has guided all around her >

Issabell:      Mistress Elasait, well have you proven your case.

Damien:     We deem that Mistress Conna must return to you all tokens that show she is your protégé.

< Elasait takes the protégé belt back. Much hugging ensues >

How do I choose which passage goes with which peerage? Again, whatever seems right. I’ll cut and paste and read it, then cut and paste a section to a different spot and so on.

I said before that ceremonies have a basic form and that’s to have speakers of the orders and the items. There’s another type of speaker that might be added, and those are speakers of the chivalric virtues. It is rare for me to write a ceremony that has speakers on the virtues and speakers from the orders and speakers on the things. That’s simply too many speakers, and peerage ceremonies are already long.

I’ll do it, if the candidate specifically requests, because it’s about the candidate, but I’ll advise against it. What I’ll suggest instead is that the speakers of the orders and the speakers of the items be prompted with references to the virtues. Something like, “I am Sir Hits-Things-Hard, and I will speak on Prowess,” and “I am Mistress Makes-Cool-Stuff, I bring the medallion, and I will speak on Courage,” and so on. That way we can have the virtues included, which many candidates want, and yet not have extremely long ceremonies.

Anyway, we have come to the end of the court case portion of the ceremony. The case has been proved to Their Majesties satisfaction, and we move on to the actual elevation portion. You see that in this case, we remind the crowd of the nature of the case by ensuring that Elasait gets that belt back. Hugging will usually ensue when the belts get returned.

I put in the stage direction about the hugging so that everyone involved is reminded to let that happen. We all know it’s going to, but sometimes on stage we get too focused on what comes next so it’s just a mild bit of humor people reading the ceremony see that suggests a break in the moment.

Now we continue to the next portion of the ceremony:

Issabell:      Mistress Elasait, have your claims been fully redressed?

Elasait:       No, Your Majesties. For though I brought suit against her, she is yet dear to me and I would give her gifts for you to bestow that befit her new station.

< Elasait turns to Conna >

Elasait:       Alphonso X said a kingdom consists of three main parts. I give you gifts that you always recall each of them.

Cap(Rosalyn):      < own words, suggested topicAlphonso X (Estoria de España) First, a good kingdom must have a king at its head, let this cap be a reminder that you ever help the king rule wisely >

(Ed. Note:  it’s actually a veil, modify accordingly)

Medallion(Fernando): < own words, suggested topicAlphonso X (Estoria de España) Second, a good kingdom is a body in itself, let this medallion remind you of the traditions of Calontir and the Order of the Pelican>

(Ed. Note: It’s actually a ring)

Cloak(Aoibheann):       < own words, suggested topicAlphonso X (Estoria de España) Third, a good kingdom is served by all its people, who are its arms and legs, let this cloak that covers you be a reminder that you must help all in Calontir as they need >

(Ed. Note: It’s actually a coat, modify accordingly—it’s her laurel coat which has had blood drops added)

Damien:     These are wise words indeed. We would have you remember them, now and forever.

Issabell:      You are accoutered as a Pelican. All claims against you are resolved.

Now, it’s going to come as complete shock but Alphonso X did not, actually, write about Calontir at any point in time. Clearly, a failing on his part. However, I’ve included Calontir references in these item speeches nonetheless. I simply paraphrased Alphonso with a Calontir twist. Again, these notes are there to give the speakers ideas, not exact quotes.

I obviously include the sources, though. One, I feel like I should as a researcher. Two, it’s also important that the speaker can track down the source, if they want, to find out the context. Some speakers do extra research. Some don’t. Doesn’t really matter, you’ve given them something to work with and a route to go if they want more.

As for the specific items, there’s a base list of items which each peerage gets. This base list can be modified and some of the items are optional. For example, I did not want someone to make me a laurel wreath when I was elevated because I would never wear it. Why waste someone’s time and money? There are times as well that a certain type of item doesn’t really fit a persona, so the item becomes something similar, like in Conna’s case a veil instead of a cap. In cases of a second peerage, as in this case, the coat is often modified to reflect the second peerage. These are things that the sponsor arranges and either they tell you the changes ahead of time or, as in this case, edits the ceremony themselves.

Damien:     Accept then from our hands that which your devotion and service have brought you.

< dubbing right shoulder with scepter >

May your skills ever be increased and offered in service to Crown and Kingdom.

Issabell:      < dubbing left shoulder with scepter >

May your courtesy and gentle demeanor ever serve as an inspiration for those who would observe you.

Damien and Issabell: < crossing scepters and dubbing head >

And may your spirit ever follow the goals your heart has set before you.

This is the dubbing, and it’s a basic formula. I rarely change this part, but it is something that could be changed. It might be something that a particular Crown decides to change for all of their peerages, like they change the oath to suit their time and place. However, this is a pretty good set of words and is the standard.

Issabell:      Are you now prepared to swear your oath as a Pelican?

Conna:        I am.

Oath:          Here do I swear fealty to the Crown and Kingdom of Calontir,
And herewith give my solemn oath:
To take you as liege of life and limb and truth and earthly honors.
To defend with all my power the rightful laws and customs,
Of the Crown, the Kingdom, and the Society.
To bear you faith by deed, word, consent, and counsel,
To serve, foster knowledge, and strive ever to be worthy
Of the Pelican.
Against all who love, move, or die,
swear I, Conna ingen Ui Chearbhaill

TRM Confirm Oath: We hear your fealty freely given,
And by Our word confirm
that We Will never sacrifice you needlessly.
We swear to judge your oaths with mercy,
Your words with honor, and your deeds with justice.
We will it and grant it and swear it so,
Damien, King.
Issabell, Queen.

As part of their preparation to rule, Calontir Kings and Queens create the fealty oaths peerages and populace swear at Coronation. There are some standard oaths that are often chosen, but they can choose whatever they want. Because they’re doing the orders as a group, the oath is specific to the Crown. However, the oath for a peerage ceremony does not have to be the normal one for the reign and I will always look for an oath that matches the persona.

Some Crowns prefer all to swear the same oath. Since this is Their court, the Crowns get to make this choice. Some sponsors and recipients also want to swear the normal oath. Again, if the Crown accepts, that’s the recipient’s choice. However, in my mind this is perhaps the most personal moment in the ceremony for the recipient and I at least offer an oath to match the persona, even if it’s not chosen. In Conna’s case, the oath was close enough to her persona I didn’t change anything. In contrast, when Severin received her Laurel later in that court, I made darn sure she got a Norse oath to swear because it meant a lot more to her than the normal oath of the reign would have.

At this point, though, we’re basically done. Often I’ll put something here where the Crown announces something like, “Calontir, your newest Pelican.” Sometimes that flows well. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the Crown says it whether it’s in the script or not. It’s not terribly important either way. The crowd knows it’s about time to cheer for the recipient, and all they need is some sort of sign when to start.

There is one last thing that’s in the script though:

Read Scroll Text

Another side note. It’s a little tricky for the herald to actually know when to start reading. In general, you need to let the cheering begin to die down before reading. Each second waiting for the right moment tests your patience, especially when Their Majesties are turning to look at you with a look that says, “Read the scroll NOW or I’ll get a woodworker to make stocks and a blacksmith to make locks,” but it’s better if it’s timed right even so.

I always put the scroll text in the ceremony, if I’ve gotten it ahead of time. I have a blank in my template that says:

Scroll Text: If at all possible, put the scroll text in the ceremony. It will help the herald out.

Again, we’re trying to make this a ceremony that is easy to perform. As you can see, there’s little for a herald to do after everyone is called into court until this point, but they must follow along prepared to prompt Their Majesties or a speaker if needed. By adding the scroll text in the ceremony, it makes it easier for the herald to read, or at least it has when I’ve been the herald.

I’m not going to include the scroll text here because I didn’t write it, though I hope that they post it on Facebook or somewhere because it was really good. I also thought Elaisse, Ingeborg, and the performers did a fantastic job singing those portions. It was such a fitting thing for Conna.

Well, there you have it. A blow-by-blow retelling of that miscreant Conna ingen Ui Chearbhaill getting called into court to get her just desserts.

If you have questions about writing a ceremony or would like to volunteer to do so, just drop me a email at rob@robhowell.org and I’ll get you started.

 

 

 

Kingdom A&S Thoughts

Greetings all

Kingdom A&S was, as usual, lots of fun for me. I saw some interesting research, cool work, and was able to encourage some people. That always makes me feel good.

My two favorites were one I judged, a map of the SCA version of the Kansas City area by Hugo von Harlo, and one I didn’t, a fascinating collection and comparison of a variety of fectbuchs by Gawin Keppler. Neither was terribly ground-breaking, but they will increase the fun of our hobby while also providing stepping stones to further research.

The best of what we do in the SCA is academic-level work. Better, in some instances, because often academic work is purely theoretical and until one tries some re-creation archaeology, one can’t be sure the theory works.

Sadly, many academics look down on the SCA. Some of that criticism is justified. As I said, the best of what we do is excellent, but because of the “big-tent” approach the SCA adopted, there’s a huge spectrum of quality. The bottom level is worse than basic, it’s completely wrong. Fortunately, we’ve gradually improved overall so that the bottom level is becoming increasingly rare as anything but a stepping stone to better work.

The SCA is an entry drug to learning medieval archaeology. That’s a good thing. When done well, the SCA and those who went through the SCA and on to even more detailed research have pushed the boundaries of our understanding.

There’s no doubt peer-reviewing and gatekeeping has much value. Consistency can be a good thing, and theoretically those ensure that the bottom level of academic work is of consistent quality.

However, that consistency can sometimes create artificial limits. The beauty of Frost’s paths diverging in the woods is that each goes somewhere. There’s not a right path, merely one that makes all the difference.

Kingdom A&S is a yearly reminder of that.

Rob’s Update: Rainy Day Writin’

Week of 9-15 April

Greetings all

It’s been a great week so far, though it’s rainy today. Lots of progress writing. I’m about halfway done with the final pass of the draft of Where Now the Rider, and I’m enjoying the conclusion.

I’m here in Council Bluffs, Iowa this week with my sweetie as I await one of my favorite events, Calontir’s Kingdom Arts & Sciences championship. As a researcher, I often get asked to judge some of the more interesting entries. The entries that don’t fall into normal categories. Not surprisingly, I really enjoy such entries. This year I’ll be judging Japanese rice paper painting, a hand-drawn map, a story written in a variety of styles (sort of like comparing the Seven Samurai and the Magnificent Seven), and an Elizabethan sonnet. I’m excited.

I’ve also been working on my upcoming schedule, and I should have a number of additions to make soon. I’m not sure of all the details, but I do know the rest of 2017 is going to be busy and fun.

Quote of the Week

I’ve been very productive today, which is in some ways odd as I often struggle on rainy days. Maybe I followed John Wooden’s advice.

Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
– John Wooden
News and Works in Progress
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Spotlight

The last time I was at Estrella War in the Phoenix area, I met my evil twin. No really, he’s my twin. It turns out he’s a writer too. Here’s his author page: https://www.amazon.com/Spencer-Pierson/e/B01HCIE04O/

That really is not me.

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works
  • A Lake Most Deep (Edward, Book 1)
  • The Eyes of a Doll (Edward, Book 2)
  • Where Now the Rider (Edward, Book 3) Forthcoming 2017
  • I Am a Wondrous Thing (The Kreisens, Book 1)
  • Brief Is My Flame (The Kreisens, Book 2) Forthcoming 2017
  • None Call Me Mother (The Kreisens, Book 3) Forthcoming 2018

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Mar – Silver Hammer

Greetings all

It’s become apparent that I’m too distracted by something on Sunday nights to regularly add scroll texts, so I’m just going to add them whenever I feel like it.

This particular text was given out last weekend at Calontir’s Crown Tournament. It’s a Silver Hammer for Mar, who lost in the finals to His Highness Damien MacGavin. The Silver Hammer is an award given to people who are skilled craftsmen in things like woodworking, brewing, metalwork, smithing, and such. In Mar’s case it was his crafting of musical instruments and coronets.

One of the most fun aspects of writing scroll texts for me is forcing myself to write in a poetic style that is not my normal style. My normal style, by the way, is Old English alliterative, as shown by the riddle at the end of I Am a Wondrous Thing.

Whenever I am asked to write a text for someone, my first question is, “What is their persona?” In other words, what time and place do they focus on? This tells me what poetic styles I should research in order to write a poem that suits the recipient. Mar’s persona is that of a Varangian, hence his award would come from a Byzantine emperor. So I look around at Byzantine poetic styles and in this case, I chose the 15-syllable iambic Byzantine epic style. Some choices are easier than others. Some are not. This was not.

As a side note, I am often asked why I don’t tend to write scroll texts in a more legal style. After all, these are legal documents. My answer is that legalese is legalese is legalese. The function of legal documents creates a dry structure that transcends time and place. I just think that poetry allows me the option of doing something far cooler than legalese. I can write in legalese, and I have, often enough, but it’s not my preference.

Anyway, back to Mar’s Silver Hammer text. Here it is, with some annotations. Like my annotated snippets, the annotations are indented and italicized.

Mar – Silver Hammer

Arrayed in heartland’s tagma are proud valiant cataphractoi

Tagma is a word meaning elite soldiers, like the Tagma ton Varangoi. Combined with the word cataphract, which is heavy armored cavalry, I’m referring to the chivalry of Calontir.

Ashir its Basileus strong leads spears and swords a-glitter

Its Basilissa Ashland rides beside as falcons soar high

Basileus and Basilissa are the words for Emperor and Empress.

Such that bold topoteretes like Már í Miklagarði,

Topoteretes is a leader in the tagma, again, a reference to him being a knight.

So deadly foes away full seven hundred paces fear him,

In Calontir’s constellation slight single star afar seem

But Warriors do not make realms whole, as known by rulers wise all

So clever Basileus grand and bright-eyed Basilissa

Bright-eyed here is a reference to Athena, which is totally anachronistic even for Byzantine but I thought it was fun.

Rejoice in Calontir adorned with elegance and honor,

Aflame in golden glories great and gowns in pearls bedecked fine

The rulers Chrysotriklinos well cherish all such treasure

Chrysotriklinos is the grand reception hall of the Great Palace of Constantinople. In this case, it’s a reference to Their Majesties.

Rewarding craftsmen skilled with gold and favors of the purple

In Byzantine times the purple was a reference to the Emperor. It seems to perfect not to use as a phrase for someone in Calontir getting something.

But certain jewels glittering surprise august Sebastoi

Ton Sebaston is a way to refer to the Emperor. In this case, I pluralized it to refer to both of Calontir’s Majesties. Also, the certain jewels is a reference to Mar’s metalwork.

And melodies radiant afloat from strings and woodcraft carved fair

A reference to some musical instruments Mar has made.

The artisan so skilled is known for dire hands sinister strong

Beloved of deathless northern rose and treasure of the falcon

So Calon Autokrators keen, the lords of running horses,

Autokrator is yet another term for Emperor, and lords of running horses is a reference to Their Mongol personas.

To Már í Miklagarði grant the title vestitor proud

Vestitors were officials of the Imperial wardrobe, and later this became a fairly low honorary title. They were also the wardens of the Imperial crown. Seemed like an appropriate Byzantine analogue for the Silver Hammers.

As called in Mar’s far northern home a skillful Silver Hammer.

Before all dignities whether proclaimed or once awarded

Titles in the Byzantine Empire were deemed proclaimed or awarded.

In Basileia ton Rhomaion, They decree forever

The Basileia ton Rhomaion was the Roman Empire.

Gulf Wars 2017 AAR

Shall we entitle this year’s Gulf Wars Gulfcicle? Maybe so. It was definitely the coldest Gulf I’ve been to, at least until Thursday. It was colder than several Estrellas I’ve attended, and those were routinely cold.

I never get cold, but this time I did. I could not get warm it seemed. Some of this was my spot in Drix’s booth, which was covered from sunshine but allowed the wind to come in. At night, I was fine in my bed, but during the days I even had to stop typing periodically because my hands were so cold.

I could have bought a hat, or another, heavier cloak, but I hate to buy things I would rarely use. Even if it’s that cold at Gulf next year, even if I knew it would be, I would not have spent money on something I won’t use until then. I did, however, buy my sweetie two yards of heavy wool to put over my chair.

Sales were not wonderful but not bad at all. I still don’t sell as much at Gulf Wars as I do at Kris Kinder, but sales were definitely up from last year. Of course, last year I did not have the opportunity to sell during the last day, but the pace was greater than it was on the earlier days. Overall, I netted more than enough to pay for site fee and gas to and from the Gulf Wars site. This is progress, especially since many of the sales were to people I’ve never met before.

During the week I was able to make a bunch of progress on Where Now the Rider. I had hoped to finish it while in Biloxi, but it’s trickier than I expected to get this paced right.

I’ve noticed on both Where Now the Rider and I Am a Wondrous Thing that it took me much longer than expected to deal with all the fiddly bits, especially the arrangement of chapters. I think it’s because I’m becoming a better writer and have more complex plots. A Lake Most Deep has a fairly straightforward plot. The Eyes of a Doll is less so, but still not particularly complex. Neither of those required as much time messing with the pacing. I just need to expect this time and adjust my preconceptions.

At this point I have about half of it locked into place, and about another third locked into place relative to a chapter before or behind it. I have about 3.5 chapters more to write to fill in some gaps I’ve found, and then cut some because it’ll be a bit long once those are done. Not much, though, as my editors always find some bloat. Shocking, I know.

I was pleased to have a couple of really good opportunities to sing. This year, the Calontir party was the same night as Moonlight Madness, and so I did not get to attend. I came back from selling and promptly went to bed. However, Thursday and Friday were wonderful. I expected more socializing on Saturday, but only because I did not anticipate getting packed out. However, with help, I was able to be on the road at 8ish and got to a hotel room in Jackson. It was so nice to be able to make it home yesterday, which I might not have been able to do if I’d packed down in the morning.

My only other SCA-like doings at Gulf Wars was judging in the A&S championship. I don’t actually know who won the championship, but I sure think one of the entries I judged could have. The person, I don’t know who yet, did a series of experiments making pigments for scrolls using period materials and techniques. It was fabulous re-creation archaeology. I don’t like giving perfect scores to any entrant, but it was truly amazing work and I was fascinated to read the process.

I’m hoping I can get in better shape that by next year I can add fighting back into my Gulf, without costing me too much shop time. We’ll see.

Overall, Drix’s booth has been an excellent place for me. I was able to work on the book, get a lot of traffic, and have all my needs covered. Miriam, Claudia, and Thyri are fun to work with. I do need to get a more mad tunic. Be afraid, be very afraid.

I came back to home to a busy week, added on to by the fact that my garage door broke while I was gone. I’ve a guy coming to fix it tomorrow, but I’ll just deal with my laundry in a day or so.

For now, though, it’s time to get back to Where Now the Rider.

 

Ashir and Maerwynn’s Preprints

A&S Challenge Day 3. To continue onwards, now I challenge Susan Carroll-Clark to provide examples of some Ealdormerian scroll texts. I think you’ve already been challenged, but I don’t think you did any scrolls texts. In any case, they don’t have to be yours, just some good examples.

I’ve had the pleasure and privilege or writing a great many preprint texts. My favorite set, probably my favorite set of any preprints mine or not, were the ones I wrote for Heath Clifton and Maerwynn Holme. The inspiration for these texts comes from the Cleaves translation of The Secret History of the Mongols (http://altaica.ru/shengl.htm).

My particular favorite is Iren Fyrd 1.

As a side note, if you’re looking at this as a template for writing a set of preprints yourself, I always write 3 Torses now. We give out more of them than the other AoA-level awards. Also, Ashir and Maerwynn ended each scroll with a standard ending, basically the legalese of date and place. You’ll want to make sure you account for that, either in the text or as a standard addendum.

AoA 1
The Qan Ashir has made thieves to beware and made all lies to be in vain.
His Qatan Maerwynn has divided wealth and judged proper judgments.
Now Ashir speaks and Maerwynn judges the fate of person’s name.
They decree that person’s name is a lord/lady of Calontir henceforth
and allow them to display their banner across the lands of this world.

AoA 2

We, Qan and Qatan, Ashir and Maerwynn, have seen that
person’s name has ridden loyally at Our side and
tarried not, at the moment when We were journeying;
journeyed not, at the moment when We were tarrying;
and We decree that your proven nobility shall be known
and bid all in this world to call you a lord/lady forevermore.

AoA 3

We, Ashir Qan and Maerwynn Qatan, have ridden from the heights of Mount Burqan Qaldun to the shores of Tunggelig Stream leading Our people. We have watched Our people hunt the red deer and ride the black horses. We know Our people well and now tell to all of this world that person’s name is truly one of Our Calon Ordu, and shall evermore be known as lord/lady from all of the mountains to all of the rivers.

AoA 4

Ashir Qan and Maerwynn Qatan were feasting beside their golden ger. Their anda approached and gave counsel. These great souls said that person’s name is a person who will never forsake you. These great souls said that person’s name is a person who should be regarded as a companion. Ashir and Maerwynn listened and now decree that person’s name will be forevermore be their companion and a lord/lady of the Falcon Throne.

AoA 5

Ashir Qan said to his Qatan: “I have seen Our people shatter the foe like lightning.”
Maerwynn Qatan said to her Qan: “I have heard Our people call for justice like thunder.”
Ashir Qan said: “person’s name has not been properly rewarded for his/her service to Our Ordu.”
Maerwynn Qatan said: “Then let person’s name be recognized henceforth as a lord/lady of Our Ordu.”

Iren Fyrd 1

You have made Our foemen’s hearts empty.
You have cut out parts of their liver.
You have made their beds become empty.
And you have made an end of their descendants.
For this, We Ashir and Maerwynn, Qan and Qatan
Join your spear to Our ranks of spears
And name person’s name a Fyrdman of Our Calon Ordu.

Iren Fyrd 2

Qatan Maerwynn spoke saying:
“person’s name became a shield for Us on the day of battle. He/she shattered stones when you assaulted the enemy.”
Qan Ashir spoke saying:
“person’s name became a shelter for Us against the enemy. He/she smashed cliffs when I led the charge.”
Together Qan and Qatan spoke saying:
“He/she must be added to Our Order of the Iren Fyrd. From this point forward let him/her bear the bright iron lance in Our service.”

Boga Fyrd 1

Qan Ashir spoke saying:
“Who then shot the arrow so as to break the back of my enemy?”
Qatan Maerwynn spoke saying:
“My Qan, it was person’s name who shot the arrow from the mountain.”
Together Qan and Qatan spoke saying:
“He/she is worthy among Our clan. Let him/her be given a quiver of bright arrows and placed within the ranks of Our Boga Fyrd that Our kinsmen shall be shielded.”

Boga Fyrd 2

Drawing his/her bow, person’s name has released his angyu’a arrow so as to pierce ten foes who are beyond the mountains and steppes.
Drawing his/her bow, person’s name has released his keyibur arrow so as to pierce twenty foes nine hundred alda away.
Qan Ashir and Qatan Maerwynn decree that such a man/woman of the falcon lands must from this day forward be a companion of Their Order of the Boga Fyrd.

Eo-fyrd 1
As Ashir Qan and Maerwynn Qatan rode leading Their ordu into war
They spied one who rode the black horse even if their cheeks were pierced
They spied one whose standard flew in the wind even if their black blood flowed
They spied one who had a mouth full of fury and lungs full of heart
So Ashir Qan and Maerwynn Qatan spooke after leading Their ordu into war
Person’s name rode swiftly against the foe, fearing no harm
We would now call person’s name one of Our külü’üd,
Stalwarts who are called in the far Western tongue eo-fyrd.

Eo-fyrd 2
Ashir Qan spoke saying: “My elder khevtuul who guarded me by night, what say you.”
The khevtuul spoke saying: “Person’s name has stood long in the cold which makes one shiver.”
Maerwynn Qatan spoke saying: “My vigilant torguud who guarded me by day, what say you.”
The torguud spoke saying: “Person’s name has faced the willow-bark quivers of our foes.”
Together khevtuul and torguud spoke saying: “Person’s name took no rest while guarding Your throne.”
Together Ashir Qan and Maerwynn Qatan spoke saying: “Then, Our guardians, We now enlist him/her into Our kheshig, Our eo-fyrd, to protect Us until Erkhii Mergen shoots the seventh sun.

Torse 1

In the swift warfare, person’s name did not suffer Qan Ashir to spend the night empty in a night of rain.
In the face of Our enemy, person’s name did not suffer Qatan Maerwynn to spend the night without broth.
In the striking of Our lances, person’s name did not suffer Our people to be wanting of the fire that was red.
Hence, We shall not suffer any longer that the deeds of person’s name not be recognized and call the soaring falcon to deliver him/her the mantled Torse of purple and gold.

Torse 2

At the moment when Qatan Maerwynn was wearing a dell of gold thread, person’s name was tending to her black horses.
At the moment when Qan Ashir was eating the meat of the red deer, person’s name was pitching his ger.
At the moment when the people of the Qan and Qatan needed help, person’s name was there.
Hence, at this moment, the Qan and Qatan decree that under the sun and moon person’s name is a companion of Their Torse.

Swan 1

Even as seeing Mother Sun when the clouds become clear,
Even as finding the water of the river when the ice becomes clear,
Ashir Qan and Maerwynn Qatan have seen the beauty of person’s name’s art become clear,
And forevermore decree that the golden grace of this Calon Swan to all become clear.

Swan 2

Ashir Qan said to his Qatan: “Certain thoughts have entered my dreams in the black night.”
Maerwynn Qatan said to her Qan: “Certain thoughts have disturbed me in the bright day.”
Ashir Qan said: “person’s name has woven golden cloth to warm Our royal persons.”
Maerwynn Qatan said: “person’s name has sung silver songs to warm Our royal souls.”
Ashir Qan said: “Then let Us call him/her by the name that he/she has earned.”
And Maerwynn Qatan said: “Then we shall call person’s name a Golden Calon Swan.”

Mallet 1

From the time when the brown Earth was only the size of a clod,
From the time when the sea and rivers were only size of a stream,
We have needed wisdom to enrich this land for which We have fought
And have enriched those who fought for wisdom with their dreams.
Now We, Ashir and Maerwynn, Qan and Qatan, in heartlands we have trod
Bestow Leather Mallet to person’s name as token of Our esteem.

Mallet 2

These truths are recognized in all lands where the falcon soars:
Qatan Maerwynn needs those to make the golden bridles for her black horse,
Qan Ashir needs those to make the shining steel for his gleaming arrows.
Thus We name person’s name as one of the craftsmen of Our Calon Ordu
And bestow the symbol of the Leather Mallet as a sign of Our will.

Jorunn’s Baronial Text

Day 2 of the A&S challenge. First, I’m going to nominate Fernando Rodriguez de Falcon. Again, I’d like to see some scroll texts. In Fernando’s case, one in particular.

Today’s text is one of my favorite ever because of the challenge. This is Juli Kupperman‘s court baronage. It was not a scroll, but rather a law-ring made by Darren Jennings and Heather Green Jennings and what that meant for me is that I was limited to 250 characters or less.

Yes, that means this is essentially a phone text-length scroll text.

But I cheated. Here’s the version on the ring itself:

Before gallowslord I Tyrsring say that ᚨ beyond praise and I Freyjassmile heartlands goldbreakers for the ᚱ of ᛃ lordᚹ wailing wind and moonslove as ᚠgiver to seas grant the ᛟ warded by Gunnsᛖ with ᛒ and ᛇ against ᚻneed for her hearth until godsdoom according to peoples law Carved by Baldursguard and Sifslightgift

You’ll notice a lot of runes in there. Interestingly, the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons gave runes not only a letter value, but also a word value. Occasionally, they would flip back and forth using both types of values in the same document. So here’s the expanded version using the word values of the runes:

Before gallow’s lord, I Tyr’s-ring say that, Anton, beyond praise, and Isabeau, Freyja’s-smile, heartland’s gold-breakers, for the riding of Jorunn: lord-joy, wailing wind and moon’s-love, as wealth-giver to seas, grant the estate warded by Gunn’s-steed, with birch and yew against hail’s-need for her hearth until gods’ doom according to people’s law. Carved by Baldur’s-guard and Sif’s-lightgift.

By the way, Reimond is etymologically derived from “protector of wisdom” and Mirabel is etymologically derived from “uncommon beauty.” Apt for both of them, I think. Hence the two kennings at the end.

You get to figure out the other kennings yourself

Erich Hlodowechssun’s Chivalry Scroll

Over on Facebook, there’s been a post examples of you artwork meme. I thought I had made my Dodge roll, but I just barely missed. I I’ve been nominated for the 5 day art challenge by Juliana della Rena so here’s day 1. Get ready for some scroll texts, people, especially since I hope John Kostisin will put some of his texts amongst his 5 day challenge.

This is one I did that was, well, let’s just say, given as a backlog scroll. A back, back, back, backlog scroll. Written at the behest of Elasait Beaty-Schraer for Erich Schraer.

When the sky jewel sailed two score times
Since the maker of lists made a home for dreams
Calontir’s cyning and cwen called this proud son before them
An acorn that grew amidst a forest of falcons

A seedling of the heartland hailing from high oak’s hall
His roots were planted in the land he first plowed
Suðri’s shield warding against Surt’s sword
There he first became a feeder of ravens
Hastening on sea-steeds over swan-roads

He sought sword-storms and showers of spears
In eastern fields filled with shady trees
He defended dragons and defeated tigers
And proud warlords watched wondering at his courage
Naming him one of falcon’s first feared spear-wielders

Striking blows for freedom and striking for the land
He helped the heartland become a home for princes of legend
Bold ring-breakers bearing storm-cleavers
Gave him shining gifts of gold and steel
And forevermore he holds the falcon’s twelfth axe

Not only girded with steel, but also with Grimnir’s gifts,
His prowess and poetry served princes in war and peace
As they forged a kingdom from the bones of far firewyrms
Then his cold steel glistened in Calontir’s golden halls
Still he stands fiercely fighting to defend the king’s land

Wielding wound-hoes in western sands
Under the watchful eye of Arvak and Alsvid’s guide
Thus, We, Asgeirr and Miriam, wielders of scepter and sword,
Calontir’s fifth cyning and cwen
Call Erich Hlodowechssun, this ender of eagle’s hunger,

To kneel before Us and this day we make him a knight
This fifteenth of Hreðmonað, in the third year of falcon’s flight
Read in the halls of smælbera and runungspreca