The Pelican Scroll of Gareth Ostwestly

(co-Written with Aneleda Falconbridge)

King William ruled the MidRealm with his Birch-Queen Isolde. After the great Pennsic Wars were fought, They called Gareth Ostwestly to see Them. He was a lendr maðr in Their lands, a sworn king’s man and he held lands for Them to the east of here, called Ayerton. He was a strong and just thane.

Gangly Gareth had found his fealty walking with his wedding-brother in Rokkhealdon, far from the whale-road. Though young, he threw himself into long labor. His skills at managing accounts was well known, as was his brewing. Many an ale-prow he filled and many a soup bowl as well.

Those who know him tell these tales: Once he carried calm Hillary’s ship-fence, Sif’s supporter, as a favor, finely strapped. Deep in the spear din shone that moon of battle, and rightly, he returned it later, to his grey-sky eye-love. He has spent long hours marking the mighty of men, and finding the battle-fire of noble wolf feeders. He was rightly a reeve of midlands region, before he was höfðingi, beside his valkyrie.

Once at battle-harbor, he left the fray, eyes caught by a child in deep distress. He sat silently with her, a disturbed brief-daughter, nameless. Was she a Norn, knowingly testing? Either way, he broke her smile-ban, and a verse was written about him:

Words downturned / Gareth dismissed
Truthful tears / swiftly taken
Banished harm / handed her hopes.
Meet this man / a mind-mirror
Gives council / gold ring givers
Bold beauty / beckons to him
Sweet sunlight / wrapped in great strength.

It has been five bears-nights since he was made a dragon’s heart. To that, William and Isolde add storm-pale feathers of the Pelican and set Their marks on this telling. This is done at the battles of the ágætr kona, in the Shire of Swordcliff, west of Gareth’s holdings. These marks made on the 26th day of the month, being the one hundred and twelfth day of the reign, AS LII.
William Isolde

 

(c) 2017 Drew Nicholson

The Pelican Scroll of Epona Brodin

On Saturday August 26, William and Isolde came to the shire of Swordcliff and presided over perhaps the largest event Midlands has ever had, with over 600 attendees, from seven different kingdoms.
 
In evening court, there were three elevations: Mistress Caroline was elevated to Laurel, and Baroness Epona and Baron Gareth were elevated to Pelican.
 
Below is the scroll text for Epona Brodin, Mistress of the Pelican. It was my honor and privilege to herald Her elevation, and it is my honor to post it now.

Now elevate / excitement’s bride
Glad to alms-gift / goodwill opened
Pleasing friends / Proud of peerage
Audaciously / accepts advancement

One Paw host / Provides pilgrims
plays the path / across the plains
Open gates / offers admittance
Fair friendship / gifted freely

in Known World / Nomad night place
Milled mead-bench / has she managed
give service / Singing seekers
Courtly games / cunning contests

Banners brought / teacher’s bounty
All gifting / easy effort
strong satrap / loyal servant
She the bond / Barony bound

Trusted True / hear the total
Burdens borne / for the bounty
Helping heart / for her homeland
Right ruler / of rugged land

Fierce in fief / She is favored
Gefion’s luck / She loves the land
Mid Monarchs / giving Mind’s worth
Her haven / this Midland hall.

Well William / Isolde willing
rulers Fine / feast on Fealty
great peerage / Good Epona
all now praise / Presented Pel

 

 

(c) 2017 Drew Nicholson

The Pelican Scroll of Duke Valharic

Pennsic always gives us many memories. Sometimes, however, moments are only seen by a few, and deserve being shared with more people.
 
Back in AS 36-37, the MidRealm was ruled by Valharic and Alys. It has been many years since those heady days, and while I remember that reign fondly, both rulers have gone on to do more great things. Earlier this year, Dame Alys was recognized by Their Majesties for her service. On Monday of War Week, Duke Valharic was elevated to the Order of the Pelican.
 
This is the scroll text that was read. This text accompanies the gorgeous stained glass window created by Q Phia Sherry, whose work far outshines mine.
 
—————————
 
Come now, all good MidRealm subjects,
See your King and Queen give respect
He stands tall in accomplishment:
His service deeds acknowledgement.
 
Wisdom, a virtue required
For all in peerage attired
He knows what is appropriate
For those who hold matters of state.
 
Bravery is known true by all
Who stand in mail to heed the call
For he has led the Kingdom fair
For Dragon wheeling in the air
 
Justice sustains all that we try
Its service brings our hearts to fly
Incorruptable does he stand
With grace and honor at his hand
 
Self restraint carries him onward
Son of Dragons to us returned
Dignity ever expanding
Our love for him is longstanding
 
Fides exemplifies him now
As he kneels to take MidRealm vow
Duke and Laurel has he been
And now, Valharic, Pelican.
 
—————————
 
(espousing the Roman “virtues”, written in the manner of “Yvain, the Knight of the Lion”, by Chrétien de Troyes, composed between 1175 and 1185.)
 
Text by Andreas Blacwode
Scribed by Gillian de Solis (Christine Wallrich, who will hopefully provide a picture)

The Elevation of Lisabetta von Atzinger

As the Awards Secretary to Their Majesties William and Isolde, I have more duties than just to validate award recommendations and work with the Kingdom Signet to have them completed.  I also help to coordinate courts and one new duty that has grown out of that is that I have begun assisting several new vigilants to various peerages with their elevation ceremonies.  That can be anything from providing the peerage ceremony template, to customizing the template to writing a custom boast for entrance and a custom scroll text.

When Lisabetta von Atzinger was placed on vigil, she reached out to me for the ceremony template, and over the course of conversation, we decided that I’d provide a custom ceremony and scroll text.  The text is below.

The format is called a terza rima, and it’s the form Dante wrote the Divine Comedy in.  More information can be found here, but it reads like a kind of a twisted elizabethan sonnet.

Instead of a retelling of Lisabetta’s persona story or deeds of heroism, I went in a different direction; this is a poetic re-stating of the Admonitions of the Masters of Defence.  It is something that I hope she can look to when the way around is dark, or wounded, or lost, to help her find her way forward.

The Elevation of Lisabetta von Atzinger

Surrender now to honor, all your life:
Let it guide you to what you hold dear,
For it will help to keep you from all strife.

Virtue is the chain that brings you cheer,
constraint that frees you from perceptions base:
A rudder that will help you certain steer.

Mindfulness will help you move with grace,
And keep your weapon fairly sheathed at peace:
For steps in anger cannot be retraced.

The dragon’s love for you will never cease.
A warmth about your heart for all your days,
And you must of that love always increase.

May truth upon your banner be your blaze;
Your word has always been your strongest bond.
Let tales of honesty be your best praise.

Before your foes your armor you must don,
The greatest duty of your station new:
Do not about you let a sword be drawn.

Exclusivity you should eschew:
Share all you know and have with those who need.
The more you offer, more will you accrue.
Like Atlas, stand athwart the earth, and bleed!
A titan for the just and for the right,
On behalf of those, you ever intercede.

Upon the list-field shall you bring your might:
With skill and artistry you wield your blade,
And ever please the Dragon in her sight.

Let not the sweeter virtues you evade.
With power on the field, yet off with grace,
And kindness unto all then be arrayed.

Your homeland is a fair beloved place,
So always be for King and Dragon land,
And love for all the people you embrace.

These admonitions keep you close to hand,
A Master of Defence before Us stands.

 

(c) 2017 Drew Nicholson

The Ceremony for Sir Ulrich

In addition to writing the Boast and Scroll for Sir Ulrich’s, he also asked me to organize and script out his ceremony.  In the MidRealm, the standard Peerage ceremony has someone of the peerage to be awarded to beg the boon, and then speakers, one from each of the other peerages, and sometimes a speaker from the populace.

So a standard knighting would go thusly:

  • A knight begs the boon, usually for their squire.
  • The Order of Chivalry is called up and affirms the decision to elevate the candidate.
  • A Laurel speaks for the candidate’s art or science, a Pelican speaks for the candidate’s service, a Master of Defence speaks for the candidate’s courage, a Royal Peer speaks for the candidate’s nobility, and sometimes a member of the populace speaks for the candidate as well.
  • The knight is presented with a belt, chain, spurs and sword
  • The knight swears their oath of fealty
  • The knight is dubbed and buffeted.

In this case, however, Ulrich wanted something a little bit different.  Instead of having five speakers, he had seven — one for each of the Knightly Virtues.  This spoke more to the feelings he wanted to evoke.    Instead of having the Order affirm his elevation and then have the speakers, he wanted the speakers to present first, and the Order to affirm afterwards.  This had two beneficial effects: first, it makes the speakers’ job more important — for perhaps if the Chivalry doesn’t like what they hear, they will change their mind!  (They don’t.)  But also, it cuts at least in half the amount of time the Order has to kneel.  Another change made was that Ulrich was permitted to turn around and face away from Their Majesties, so that he could see the speakers as they said their words for him.  And lastly, instead of being presented with spurs, Ulrich was given Arm Rings of Gold as a token of his new station, for as a good Danish lord, Arm Rings were a far greater indicator of high estate and nobility.

Most people in the SCA never achieve peerage, and most of those who do never achieve more than one peerage.  I think it’s important to encourage vigilants to seek out and pursue the elevation ceremony they want, even if it means that it runs longer than the standard ceremony.  It’s their special time.  The audience will understand.

Here is the full text of the Ceremony for Sir Ulrich.

The Scroll for Sir Ulrich

Below is the text for Sir Ulrich’s elevation scroll, which has yet to be completed.  I structured it to parallel the Oath of Knighthood, which calls upon Knights to be Prow, to be Reverent and Generous, Shield of the Weak, Obedient to his Liege Lord, Foremost in battle, Courteous at all times, and Champion of the Right and the good.  These are fundamental concepts of Knighthood all across the SCA — but since Ulrich is a Viking half-dane, it needed to fit within a viking epic style.   Because Ulrich was one of Ragvnaldr’s King’s Champion during the last reign, I also worked to tie some of the imagery in with the Lineage of Ragnvaldr I wrote several years ago.

Deeds day ends! / Ended are doings
Bold Battle Children / Baying for gold
See Sir Ulrich / Celestial warrior
Achieve the Accolade / of Aspirations
Prowess profuse / this potent leader
The list field his vigil / his virtue inviolate
Generous giving / of time and gold
Reverent also / respected and relished

The weak are his work / to shield them well
Both with his body / and his Barony
Vocal his voice / Defense his vocation
Promoting the people / He praises them all
Obedient and able / this epic hero
Ragnvaldr reports / of his results
Constellation Captain / Leading the Corps
Black Raven Reapers / Spread his renown

Battle Berserker / Charging the break-line
Defiant half-dane / Destruction he brings
For fair Arabella / he spreads her word fame
And Regal Ragnvaldr / raining down blows
Courtesy constant / honor constrained
Revealing the right / for others he wrangles
Embodied engagement / Ethics robust
Carrying comfort / service incarnate

Righteous and robust / a champion of respect
Though decisions divisive / e’re needed doing
Noble for newcomers / Chivalry never-ending
Exemplified excellence / Now and ever.
Make full mead cups / Praise the Mighty
Ulrich Ulfson / all the honor
Half-Dane done / with red belt duties
New the Knight / And now it begins.

 

The Boast for Sir Ulrich

This past weekend, at the Crown Tournament of William and Isolde, my friend Ulrich Halfdan Ulfsson was elevated to the Order of Chivalry.  I was honored to be asked to write his ceremony and all the poetry that went with it.  This post is specifically about the boast with which he was heralded into court once his Knight, Sir Denewulf, had begged the boon.

PROTECT US, OH LORD, FROM THE FURY OF THE NORTHMEN!

On comes Ulrich / Into the long-hall
Beloved of Brianna / Un-Belt no more
Hazel eyed hunter / Rises the half-dane
Whither the white belt / Where is gold-chain?
Crossing the coastline / came he to the village
Of Brianna sky-eye / Brought him to love
Smoldering cinders / see ships burned on shore
For Here is the homeland / of Ulrich’s heart
Black Raven reaver / in righteous fury
Stopped Eastern Army / With bold action
He gladly follows / Tyr, god of glory
Learned of the law / lord of the swords
See now the squire / sever his bond
Collar of commitment / returned to comrade
New bond of brotherhood / sought in a boon
New in the knowledge / the accolade, Knight.

Ulrich’s persona story is that as a half-danish viking warrior, he came to Shadowed Stars as a raider, but fell in love with the daughter of a chieftain – Brianna – and burned his ships on the shore as a sign of his devotion to her.  Brianna features twice here: once as Ulrich is her beloved, and once as sky-eye; her eyes are blue.

The Black Raven refers to the Raven Company, the fighting household that Ulrich commands.

In the next post, I’ll talk about the scroll text that I wrote (that has yet to be actually written into a real scroll).

 

 

Perfect Music: Tron Legacy (One in a Series)

There’s no such thing as THE perfect piece of music.  Perfection is contained within inspiration, composition, recording, performance, and audience.

But there are lots of individually perfect pieces of music.  I’ve got a blog, so I’ma talk about some of them.

Now, I’m an original nerd.  I learned to program on a PDP-7, played video games in the arcade and on my Atari 2600, and I cut my SF teeth on Asimov, Clark and Le Guin.  When I was a kid, the original Tron movie came out, and I loved it, so when Disney announced the sequel I was completely on board.

I had heard of Daft Punk, but never paid much attention to what had been described to me as a french band that plays keyboards.

I had no idea.

This is one of the loveliest, most perfect, most uplifting pieces of music I’ve ever heard.  The low brass entrance, the harmonies that build, ever increasing, until the higher brass and woodwinds come in, then the strings lifting over everything else.  It settles, and then at 2:13, the fanfare of the fifth!

Another thirty or so seconds of beauty before the first real electronic instruments come in, so subtle, but supporting everything, and at three minutes, the rush peaks, coming to rest back in the strings, returning to the simple strong themes we started with.  Slowly, we come to rest, in the octave, and it ends there.

There are true reasons for why certain intervals, like fifths and sevenths, evoke physiological responses in some people.  I’m lucky enough to be one of them,  and it’s a better rush than almost anything else I get to do.

The entire Tron: Legacy soundtrack is fantastic, and there are far more “classically Daft Punk” sections, but only this track is so achingly beautiful.

 

A Rondeau for Gulf Wars

As I was heralding at Val Day this past weekend, I realized that while I’d written boasts for everyone processing in, I didn’t have any thing to say while TRM, TRH, etc, were processing out.  I’d just taken a class on Formes Fixe that morning with Mistress Kasha, so I whipped out the class materials, and wrote this rondeau while standing behind the thrones.

To south the Gulf Wars road does lead,
The armies of the Mid grow strong,
And Edmund rides His battle steed
To south the Gulf Wars road does lead,
A growing appetite to feed
Amidst the dragon war band throng
To south the Gulf Wars road does lead,
The armies of the Mid grow strong!

I also wrote this rondeau for Her Majesty during court because She asked me to.  (I set myself up for it, but there you are.)  I made up a little tune, that of course I will never remember, but I definitely sang it for her.

I love the color of a leek
It is so bright and shiny green
And when I chew them they go squeak
I love the color of a leek
In stew or soup my hunger piqued
(This song requested by the Queen)
I love the color of a leek
It is so bright and shiny green.