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

Pennsic 46 Post 4 of 3

Originally published August 15, 2017.

I was wrong. There’s more. Because there always are, assuredly, other moments I should be remembering, and other people I should be acclaiming. Hengist’s quiet leadership as Brego. Flan’s terrible jokes. Rocco speaking Zuriel’s elevation. The cheers when Lorelei was elevated. Those moments, like so many others, may be someday lost to memory, but not to our lives. They did happen and the effects of them live on in our hearts forever.

There’s one crucial person left to thank, of course. One person who has stood by, even in the face of my bullheaded mistakes, my obstinate insistence on finding reasons to fail, my constant touchstone, guiding me to what’s really important time and again. She’s the foundation I stand on, and the stars in my sky. She has been the wind in my sails and the open harbor at the end of my journeys. While I have followed the King, she has stayed at home, doing all the unsung tasks and taking all the unknown burdens.

Laura, you are the breath in my lungs and the light in my heart. You have supported me through my exaltations and despair. I’m not a great fighter, so I can’t make you queen. I’m not a great artisan, so I cannot make you jewelry or clothes of beauty. I’m a clerk and a soldier. But I’m also a bard, and I can give you word-fame. Someday, that song will come. Until then, here is what I ask:

People. When you thank me for my service, for my fighting, for my art, you should be thanking her, because without her willingness to let me go and write and herald and fight and organize and do everything else that I’ve been able to do, none of it would happen.

So if I’ve touched your life in the SCA in any way. If I’ve written you a scroll, or helped with your event, or heralded you into court, sung with you, taught you, or fought on the line with you, or marshaled for you, or made you laugh or weep with joy or feel whatever magic the SCA has for you…

Please thank her, here, or on her own page, when you’re over at our house, or if you’re lucky enough to see her at an event. She has made it all possible, and she makes it all worthwhile. Without her, I wouldn’t be able to do these things. Without her, I wouldn’t be worthy of doing them. She makes me want to be the man I should be. It’s all because of, and it’s all… for her.

Thank you for reading.

Andreas Blacwode
Baron of the Court of William and Isolde

Pennsic 46 Post 3 of 3

Originally published August 15, 2017.

All right, this is the last of them, I think. It’s also the hardest, because it’s actually about me, and not me doing for others. Before I get to the sappy stuff, I want to thank Ulrich, Bronwen, Astridr, Keena, Halla and Darius for helping to prep drinks and tend the bar. I want to thank the good gentleman who donated beer and mead. I want to thank Maggie, who went into town to buy supplies. And I want to thank all the people who donated coolers so we could be prepare. You were all great, and a boon to the kingdom.

Court was great. As awards secretary, I get to know who is getting what ahead of time. It was a pleasure to be able to scan the crowd, looking for the right people to get their reactions.

Of course, I can’t see my own face most of the time.

I have worked many reigns before, in many different capacities, and I have always tried to not make any assumptions. Service is its own reward, I counseled myself over and over again, and if that’s not enough, well, camping in MidRealm Royal is pretty cool!

I was wholly unprepared for what happened Thursday Night. I was so unprepared, I actually don’t remember much of it. My name was called, I knelt, Lucia sang. I can hear William talking, but I cannot remember what he said. I remember feeling something on my head. I remember Him saying in my ear, “stand up, turn around.” I remember a lot of landed Barons and Baroness shaking my hand. And I remember being mobbed by people when the intermission was called. I remember my face hurt from smiling so much.

It is a great honor I have been given. William of Fairhaven has been my friend and supporter for over twenty years. I am overjoyed to have gotten to know Isolde better, to my great benefit. Her return to the SCA makes me so happy.

It is also a great responsibility. When I finally regained myself the first thing I asked was “what does a Court Baron do?” That is a question I am still asking myself half a week later, and I have asked it of some of you, and I’ll ask it of more over the next few months.

I can never be thankful enough for the opportunities I have been allowed to pursue. I can never be sorry enough for the mistakes I have made and the people I have hurt. My path in the SCA has often been one of struggle and sometimes heartbreak. But now I feel that I have worked hard to leave my past behind me, and I think that I have finally been successful in surrounding myself with friend and supporters who truly care about me, and for that, I am very grateful indeed.

Thank you. I don’t say it often enough. Thank you all.

Pennsic 46 Post 2 of 3

Originally published on August 15, 2017.

This one is important to me. Please read it. And if someone could please tag Valharic for me, I would appreciate it.

5. Heralding. I only did a little bit of heralding, but it was full of memorable moments. A Court Barony for Gavin at Moose Lodge. Valharic’s pelican was very moving – he is beloved by many.

And then came the Knighting of Corvus Aurelius Corvinus. This was not on my list originally, and I pulled the ceremony together less than 24 hours before his elevation. At one point, Duchess Rebecca came to me and asked me to help find a calligrapher for the scroll, which had already been beautifully illuminated. My immediate thought was Estelle, whom I sought out, and she agreed to do the scroll. I then put it out of my mind, confident in her Supreme ability and service.

Monday afternoon came and afternoon Court approached. I asked the Signet to see the scroll so that I could read the gloss.

there is no gloss.

Oh, I said. Can I look at the scroll to see what it says?

you can look at the scroll, but we don’t know what it says.


Estelle, friend of my heart, Laurel of the Middle Kingdom and an extraordinary scribe… Had calligraphied the scroll in Latin.

I was severely nonplussed. Latin? But that’s not English! Latin? LATIN?

Be not afraid, gentle readers. I shook my head several times to clear it, remembered my training, and got to work.

Mostly, Latin is pronounced like it’s spelled. Thankfully, Estelle had used a very bold, clear font and I could read it. I mouthed the words as I went, until I got to… VII.

How do you pronounce Roman Numerals???

You use Google translate. Of course.

One more moment of this tale to relate, my friends. A moment that will stay with me the rest of my life. A moment that I thought would be the absolute highlight of my war.

Every knight swears fealty. Corvus had chosen to be a knight, not a Master. King William asked if he was ready to swear his oath.

Most vigilantes these days have time to memorize their paths. But Crow had not. As Herald, my job was to help prompt him. I knelt beside him, quietly reading the words of the oath for him to repeat.

I hear swear fealty and do homage
I here swear fealty and do homage, he repeated.

To the Crown of the middle kingdom.
To the Crown of the middle kingdom. But this time, two other Knights repeated the oath with him.

To ever be a good knight and true.
To ever be a good knight and true, a half dozen of the Knights spoke.

Reverent and generous.
Reverent and generous, most of them said.

Shield of the weak.
Shield of the weak, Crow swore, and every knight in under the tent swore with him.

I doubt anyone was paying attention to me at that moment right there. It wasn’t my show, it wasn’t my elevation, and I am a loyal servant of the Crown, clerk and Herald.

But I cannot speak falsely – at that moment, I felt like a knight. I was nearly overcome. I wept. But I forged forward, and the oath was finished. I stood and was able to turn around and compose myself, to watch Corvus dubbed, and then take the buffet. I felt chills about my whole body. I’m feeling them now.

I read the scroll in Latin without stumbling. I suspended the court.

And Corvus was now Sir Corvus.

I was honored to work on Ragnvaldr & Arabella’s staff when Corvus was one of Ragnvaldr’s Heavy Champions, and I’m very very proud of him.

Pennsic 46 Post 1 of 3

Originally published August 15, 2017.

Even just tracking the highlights, there’s too much to do in one post. There will probably be three of these, and I’ll space em out.

1. Talking with friends. I had very good, fruitful conversations with many people, including William, Isolde, Arabella, Zygmunt, Eliane, Aneleda (on the phone), Maggie, Fergus, Estelle, Ulrich, Phil, Phil, Diana, Gareth, Hillary, Finnguala, Halla, Alan, and more. And almost every night (except the night I forgot) I talked to Laura and recounted the day.

2. Singing. I didn’t get much in, and I lost my voice for a few days, but the three hour workshop with Bardic Storm was fantastic, and signing at the Enchanted Ground for the first time in 27 years in the SCA was really cool.

3. Fencing. So many people know of my love for Queen Tangwystl, who ruled the MidRealm over 25 years ago. Saturday evening, I sang for Her, and begged to be allowed to fight with Ealdormere’s rapier forces, because the last time She was Queen, I was not authorized. Tuesday morning I suited up with Ealdormere’s rapier forces and helped the Mid-Ealdormere-East alliance take the rapier field battles. Later that day, I begged my King to give those forces the Dragon’s Teeth for their Valor and prowess.

4. Fighting. I fought with the Midlands, and on one of the bridges, I was armed, and was left with my spear in my left hand. Sir Vargas urged me to take his short sword, which I did. I stood on the right side of the bridge, waiting for my moment – which came when Njal led a column charge from the left side. While all attention was on those warriors, I leapt out into the space between the lines and attacked my opponents with 1.5 feet of deadly, stubby steel! I got in five or six blows before being pincushioned, and, all of us laughing uproariously, my opponents helped me up, and I retired the field. Ten years ago, I never would have done anything like that. Laster in the woods, I fought with Midlands and then the King, and had a great time fighting across from the Chux and down that line. Fencer fighting spear = face-thrust face thrust face thrust!

More later.

Fight or Die.

Nazis cannot be reasoned with. Nazis cannot be reconciled with. Nazis cannot be compromised with. The only thing to do with Nazis is to burn them out, root and branch. They MUST be opposed. They MUST be defeated. They MUST be destroyed.

My grandfather on my father’s side knew this, fighting in WWII. My grandfather on my mother’s side knew this, because most of his family died in concentration camps. I know this because I paid attention to them.

I stand against them. I will ALWAYS stand against them. If that takes violence on my part, so be it. My friends, my family, and my country deserve and demand no less.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled scroll texts, Pennsic musings, and obsessive self-analysis.

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)