What do I say about my good friend Roana? What can I say that has not been said?
I can say this: she has consistently overcome adversity and heartbreak to succeed. She has consistently been positive and optimistic and evenhanded and fair. She is, to coin a phrase, a flower of MidRealm peerage. When I think about the words that I’m saying, or the things that I am doing, I ask myself what Roana would think. And I hope that she would think that I was worthy. I am lucky to call her mentor and friend.
I actually got the request to write Roana’s pelican text before I started working on any of the other coronation scrolls. I was lucky enough to be part of the conspiracy to prepare everything for her elevation, and thus got a look at her ICOP document. Roana is late 14th century English, and wanted a non-traditional scroll. Thus, of course, Chaucer.
I usually work very quickly. I can sometimes write three or four scroll texts in a day, sometimes two an hour. But I stepped back and really tried to take my time with the scrolls I did for William and Isolde, and this was the one I started with. It was important to me that these texts, that this art really helped people feel the emotions and qualities of the recipients that I wanted to evoke.
And what better way to start than to show us the heart of a bookbinder?
Unto all the people of this Dragon Hall
Do William and Isolde send greetings and call
On all MidRealm Subjects to heed now Their words
Of a peerage not made, but simply conferred.
All who need fine books and all who call for cheer
From young calf to codex and good hops to beer
She came to us from land of purple and gold
But love for the heart of the dragon she holds
Showing her love with the work of her hands
Working to implement all of her plans
Before you, Roana, a Pelican fine
All see her come into her own in her time
Applaud and call hail, for there is no sorrow
Throughout the kingdom and none on the morrow
Shaping the boards from the tree, leaf, branch, and root
Comes together the volume, a sweeting fruit
Lamb skin transforms ‘neath the skudding blade and lime
as work becomes sweet memories given time.
Bookbinder of people, we all are the leaves
Set into signatures, and we believe.
So welcome now Mistress new, in nones of May
As ninety-fifth Dragon Reign begins today
Make hosannahs and huzzahs with all of your zeal!
A Pelican made by Our hand and Our seal!
Photo by Tina Smith.