Saturday, December 6, 2014

Laurel Ceremony for Jhone of Woodcote

Her Majesty: We have now a matter to attend to, concerning our most noble Order of the Laurel.

Herald: Their Majesties call upon the Order of the Laurel.

The Order enters [except for those who will be acting as Wardens, the beadle, or minstrels].

Her Majesty: We would call before us the prospective new companion.

Herald: Their Majesties summon Jhone of Woodcote, apprentice to Mistress Etaoin O'Fearghail of beloved memory.

Jhone enters, accompanied by other apprentices, protégées and students of Etaoin. [They may want to carry a banner depicting Etaoin’s device or other artifacts in her memory.]

His Majesty: Let now the weighing of merit begin.

Two members of the Order of the Laurel (acting as Wardens) shall enter, bearing with them a garland headdress made of laurel leaves and bearing the symbol of the Order of the Laurel. The garland is given to Her Majesty

Her Majesty: This garland represents the skill of the Masters and Mistresses of the Order of the Laurel, and should be placed upon the brows of those most worthy.

The garland is then passed among the members of the Order (starting with the Wardens, who will retire after donning it) who each don it in turn, until it is returned to Her Majesty, who places it upon her own head.

The Wardens then re-enter, bearing a chalice or cup. They are preceded by a Beadle and minstrels who will play a short piece of music. The cup is presented to Her Majesty. The minstrels and the beadle retire to the side.

Her Majesty: This cup symbolizes the fellowship of the Order. May all who drink from it prosper and thrive.

Her Majesty drinks, then passes the cup to the members of the Order. They all take a turn drinking from it, until it is finally returned to Her Majesty.

Her Majesty: Good Order, as you know we meet here today to recognize the talents of Jhone of Woodcote, an exceptional craftsperson. However, first we would hear from those who would speak on Jhone’s behalf.

[Each person Jhone may like to have speak can then do so.]

[Her Majesty will then speak about Etaoin, and remove Jhone’s green belt, placing it into Jhone’s keeping.]

Her Majesty: Jhone, before titles and tokens of esteem are placed upon you, we would hear your oath.

Their Majesties take hold of their sword. Jhone takes a knee before them, placing one hand on the sword of state.

Jhone: I, Jhone Woodcote, do solemnly and sincerely declare that I will be true unto our Sovereign Lady Queen Adrielle the Second and His Majesty Nigel the Second. I will be also true and faithful to the Mistery and Order of the Laurel as well as the Crown of Ealdormere, as much as in me is, keeping love and charity amongst them; Not stirring or moving any occasion of strife or debate, through which the said Mistery, Order, or Kingdom, or any person of the same, may be hindered or hurt. And that I will be in all things lawful; And all the lawful Rules, Statutes, Orders, Ordinances, made and ordained for the good ordering and governing of the same Order or Mistery or Kingdom, or hereafter to the same intent to be made, truly and duly I will remain, perform, obey and support to my power. So swear I.

[If Jhone is going to swear fealty we can add that here, unless it is adequately covered in the oath above.]

His Majesty: We have witnessed your commitment, as have your companions of the Order of the Laurel. Hear now Our words on the matter.

[The herald then reads Jhone’s scroll.]

Her Majesty: Stand now and be recognized forever after as a Mistress of your art.

Her Majesty hands Jhone the cup, and Jhone drinks.

Her Majesty: Receive now your livery, as marks of your new rank.

Her Majesty will then place the garland on Jhone’s head, and she can be given any other items of livery as required or wanted (medallion, cloak, etc).

Her Majesty: Now greet your fellow companions!

Jhone is then led away by her fellow Laurels. The minstrels could play again here if wanted. The beadle should also depart at this point.

Ceremony written by THLaird Colyne Stewart, based on Samuel Gregory’s notes (a member of the Clothworkers Company) on the 'Ancient Ceremony observed on the election of Master and Wardens' (CL/G/MSS/Gregory/3/61 pages 85-85a) and the voting method and oath of a Freeman of the Dyers’ Company (as described in private correspondence between the author and the Dyers).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Starting a Guild in the SCA

By THLaird Colyne Stewart
July 2014 (AS 49)

Recently a friend asked my advice on starting a guild, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject. This article is based on my experiences founding two guilds in the Kingdom of Ealdormere (the Games Guild of Ealdormere and the Ealdormerean Cartographers Guild).

Gauging Interest

One of the first things you should do is see if there is interest in the guild you are proposing. (It’s also a good idea to make sure a similar guild does not already exist in your area.) I suggest posting to A&S and kingdom-related email lists and Facebook groups in your area. Ask people if they’d be interested in joining such a guild.

If people respond positively, you can go ahead and start planning your guild. However, even if no one is initially interested, you can still found a guild with yourself as the sole member. Who knows, as you promote the guild you may dredge up interest where there was none before. When I started the Games Guild there were only three members, but now there are almost 100 members and sister-guilds have sprung up in other kingdoms (most recently in the Principality of Avacal in An Tir).

Communication, Pages and Email Lists

Upon deciding that founding your guild is a good and proper idea, you can then again post to the appropriate A&S and kingdom related email lists and Facebook groups to announce its formation.

Before doing so, you may want to set up a webpage, email list and Facebook group first. That way you can include those links in your announcement, and prospective members can easily find the guild and sign up. (You’ll notice I mention Facebook a lot; and that s because a lot of SCAdians seem to use it, but you can set up groups or pages for your guild on any social medium platforms you desire.)

I believe an email list (I use Yahoo Groups) is essential, since not everyone is comfortable using social media (especially Facebook). You should have a few options for potential guild members to receive information regarding the guild. Whenever I have anything official to say about my guilds, or pose a question to the guilds, I post to the guild website, and the email list and the Facebook group.

Royal Patronage

Since the Royal Consort is traditionally the patron of the Arts and Sciences, it is a politeness to contact them and ask for their support in your endeavour. I did this for both the Games Guild and the Cartographers Guild. If you are planning to have a charter, royal patronage is necessary as the Royals should sign said charter.


Your guild does not need to have a charter, but you’d be missing out on an opportunity to have some fun doing research on and writing a period document. If you do want a charter, it can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. The charter for the Games Guild is extremely simple:

We, Their Most Royal Majesties of Ealdormere, do hereby grant a charter to the Games Guild of Ealdormere to facilitate the spreading of their love of medieval games throughout the land. Signed this, the 3rd day of November, AS XXXVII, in Our Canton of der Welfengau. Aaron Rex. Rustique Regina.

In contrast, the charter for the Cartographers Guild is 529 words long, and is based on PATENT 37th Edward III, dated 15th July 1363, for the Vintners' Company of London. (I have included the full wording at the end of this article as an appendix.)

If you have a charter, you should get it signed by your current King and Queen. The charter for the Games Guild was not read during a court, per my request (as I was still new and shy and didn’t want to be the centre of attention). For the Cartographers Guild I left it up to the King and Queen whether they wanted the charter read out in a court or not (they did).


Some guilds in the SCA pay taxes, while other do not. The Games Guild does not pay taxes, as its charter was so short. While the Cartographers Guild’s charter was longer and therefore could have referred to taxes, the period document I used as my source did not mention taxes, so I did not include information on taxes in the guild’s completed charter.

However, just because your charter does not mention taxes, does not mean your guild cannot pay them if you so choose. This can be done in Court, and is a good way to contribute gifts to your kingdom and raise awareness of your guild. The Royal Horticultural and Herbalism Guild of Ealdormere regularly pays taxes to the crown.

Guild Structure

Your guild can have as much or as little structure as you want. In period guilds were very structured with different levels of mastery and several appointments and positions. If your guild is going to include some kind of structure you (and the other founding members) can set it up any way that you like, but it should be set out in exact detail in your charter to ensure there are no arguments about how things are supposed to work later on.

For the Games Guild, we did not include any structure at all. The only position was the Head of the Guild (we avoided calling it the Guild Master since Master is a restricted title within the SCA). We did not include any provisions on how the leadership of the guild could change. Leadership has changed in the Games Guild twice, and thankfully everyone in the guild was accepting of how it was handled. In both cases, the current Head of the Guild selected their successor. (I was the original Head of the Guild, and when I had to step back for a while, I asked THL Raffe Scholemastre to take over. When I was able to participate more regularly once again, Raffe handed leadership back to me.)

Recognizing that we could have had a problem if other people in the Games Guild had not supported these changes in leadership, when I set up the Cartographers Guild I included clear instructions in our charter on how the guild’s Head would be selected and how it would change:

[The] mistery of Cartographers shall chuse every year a person most sufficient, most expert and most knowing in the same mistery and present them to us or our heirs, or to the baron and baroness of any barony where such mistery of Cartographers is used, and that the said person be sworn in the presence of us, our heirs, or our barons and baronesses, to survey that all manner of maps whatsoever drawn within the realm be accurate and true, and likewise that the same person do correct and amend all defaults found in the exercise of the said mistery, and that they will act as the kingdom’s cartographer, and the head of the Ealdormerean Guild of Cartographers, for no more than one year, unless they be chosen again to be sworn in before us, our heirs, or our barons and baronesses to continue in their task. This choosing shall be done by the members of the said mistery of cartography at the turning of the society year to match the founding of the Guild, and the choosing shall be done by a simple majority vote.

I nominated a member of the guild to be the first Head, but she declined due to time constraints. She in turn nominated me. No one else was nominated and I ended up as the Head of a second guild.


Now, your guild may only be concerned with being a place for people with a common interest to meet and exchange ideas and resources, and there is nothing wrong with that! Alternatively though, your guild can engage in various projects.

For instance, during the course of the current reign in Ealdormere, the Games Guild is hosting Royal Games Tourneys at as many events as possible on behalf of His Majesty Siegfried (who is a member of said guild). Meanwhile the Cartographers Guild is busy drawing new maps for the kingdom website.

When considering projects for your guild, it is a very good idea to run them by the guild as a whole to see if enough people have the time and energy to complete them. You need to be careful not to take on more than you (and your guild-mates) can handle. Also remember, that the longer the deadline the better. It gives people more time to complete their part of the project.


A great way to get face time with other members of your guild is to have a meeting at one of the kingdom’s larger events, or at A&S themed events. Events you might want to consider having a guild meeting at could include Practicum, Fruits of our Labours, Spring A&S, Fall A&S, Forward into the Past, War of the Trillium and Murder Melee. Of course there are lots of other excellent events you could also meet at, but these tend to be events that draw a lot of people from across the kingdom and therefore have a good chance of having your guild-mates in attendance. I know that the BookBinders Guild of Ealdormere had a lovely meet at FOOL this year (complete with tea and biscuits) and the Cartographers Guild had a very productive meeting at Trillium.

Other options for meetings is to do them online via a service like Skype, or by hosting a themed event. Your guild could coordinate with a local group to host an event dedicated to your art or science. For instance, there was an event in the Barony of Skraeling Althing a year or two ago called Scribal Althing that was dedicated to the scribal arts and drew attendees from across the kingdom as well as from beyond its borders.


I hope this simple article helps anyone interested in starting a guild within the SCA, and I look forward to seeing more guilds grow and prosper in my kingdom and across the knowne world.


Siegfried, by the Grace of Lady Ealdormere, King of Ealdormere, and Ragni, Queen by inspiration, to all to whom these presents shall come greeting.

Know ye that amongst other things ordained in the last Parliament it was for certain causes and purposes in the same Parliament ordained that in Ealdormere it would be good and just for there to exist a righteous company of mapmakers within the kingdom, known as the Ealdormerean Guild of Cartographers, and now it is shown unto us and to our council that the demand for maps of various kinds is extreme and for that the people of the kingdom will be enriched by such a company of the mistery of cartography, we, understanding the aforesaid things, have, by the assent of the Commons and others our council towards maintaining and preserving the said ordinances, ordained the Cartographers who will be enfranchised to draft maps of the baronies, cantons, shires, cities, boroughs and towns of the kingdom, being as accurate to their boundaries and borders as it is possible to be.

We likewise will that no strangers and foreigners shall bring into Ealdormere their own maps of our realm, unless they be a friend of our kingdom and of the Guild Cartographers and that the said artisans of the said mistery of Cartographers shall chuse every year a person most sufficient, most expert and most knowing in the same mistery and present them to us or our heirs, or to the baron and baroness of any barony where such mistery of Cartographers is used, and that the said person be sworn in the presence of us, our heirs, or our barons and baronesses, to survey that all manner of maps whatsoever drawn within the realm be accurate and true, and likewise that the same person do correct and amend all defaults found in the exercise of the said mistery, and that they will act as the kingdom’s cartographer, and the head of the Ealdormerean Guild of Cartographers, for no more than one year, unless they be chosen again to be sworn in before us, our heirs, or our barons and baronesses to continue in their task. This choosing shall be done by the members of the said mistery of cartography at the turning of the society year to match the founding of the Guild, and the choosing shall be done by a simple majority vote.

We will and give licence to the said Artisan Cartographers of Ealdormere that they may buy vellum and parchment, and inks and quills, and travel our lands without let or hindrance in the pursuit of their duty, art and mistry so long as they not impede any subjects of this our kingdom in their own duties.

And we will that the ordinances and subsidies of maps and mapping supplies of all kinds, in all cities, boroughs and towns enfranchised within this realm be firmly kept and preserved in all points to the said Cartographers and their successors always in the form.

In witness whereof we have caused these our Letters to be made Patents. Given at der Welfengau, the twenty-fourth day of May in the forty-ninth year of our society.

Wording by THLaird Colyne Stewart, founder of the Ealdormerean Cartographers Guild, based on PATENT 37th Edward III, dated 15th July 1363, for the Vintners' Company of London.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Athenaeum Hectoris

To encourage the proliferation of the written word within my kingdom (and the Society as a whole), I have launched a new project: the Athenaeum Hectorus. This website will (in time, I hope) become a great resource to those who want to learn to become poets, storytellers, wordsmiths or other producers of the written (and oral) word.

My plan is for the site to house (or link to) resources on how to write in various formats, how to perform, and other such items of interest.

So far I have had writers from several kingdoms allow me to link to or republish their content.

Today I added a new article I wrote about performing in the SCA.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ealdormerean deeds done at Winter War in the East, 2005

Posted to the Legio forums, by Lord Ludwig, 2005

During the weekend of Feb 26th, I went to the Winter War in the East Kingdom, along with my wife Leslie (who patiently drove the RV in seriously crappy winter weather), Sir Evander, Laird Colyne Stewart from Ard Chreag, and two fighters from Bastille du Lac named Ratanicus and Edward dit Lion. I carried a message to the East Kingdom's King Thorson from Her Illustrious Majesty Queen Genevieve, and sent Her the return message. When I offered to tell Their Majesties about the event, They took me up on it. So, I wrote an Epic Style tale about it. They really liked it, and I'll post parts of it here if anyone is interested.

I didn't know until a few days ago that Laird Colyne broke two ribs that day in his last fight, due to the simultaneous landing of two serious spear thrusts to his chest.
My apologies for the funky spacing and such, since this is a cut-and-paste transfer, obviously.

Ratanicus is a recent member of the Legio site.


Ealdormerean deeds done at Winter War in the East

We set out on our journey before the sun had begun to climb into the sky. Our eyes were full of swirling snow as I and my forbearing wife Lady Katherine fared our way. We were soon to meet the redoubtable Knight, Sir Evander and his unfaltering Squire, Laird Colyne Stewart. These two adroit nobles would soon rain steely blows upon the fearsome
warriors of the Eastern Realm.

We continued our wintery course, and were joined by two of Sir Evander's stalwart serjeants, Edward dit Lion and Ratanicus. One would be hard-pressed to find two other footmen more doughty and bold than they.

With our company now numbering six, our contingent travelled towards the Land of the Tiger, the Eastern Kingdom. Keeping a watchful eye for the venturesome troop led by valiant Sir Cennedi, we slipped across the Border Fords, and wound our way to the Winter War. To embolden our hearts, I read the missive sent by Her Majesty to her forces, and our spirits soared at Her inspiring words.

It was with ardent and earnest rejoicing that Sir Evander was greeted by his companions from the East. It was soon apparent to me that there must have been a schism in the East Kingdom. The Eastern Warriors were divided, and forming up on opposite sides of the field. Our side was led by the renowned Baron Conrad, one of the comrades of Sir Evander. With other nobles of high birth and rank, he scanned the field and planned his campaign.

The other side was commanded by the Ruler of the East himself, the indomitable King Thorson. The ground shuddered beneath His mighty tread as he reviewed his warriors.

Donning our armour, grasping our weapons tightly, our company followed puissant Sir Evander, the Captain of the Ealdormerean forces that day. The scarlet-clad Lupine Warriors would soon show their true mettle.

Clutching my polearm, I peered out at the enemy line that faced us, and waited for our signal. The Ealdormerean forces were arrayed on the left flank of the line. We were to counter any outflanking maneuver to that side, and charge forth to outflank them if the opportunity arose.

That opportunity did not come. Obviously, the Eastern Army remembered the might and prowess of the Ealdormereans, and a full quarter of their line turned to engage us, racing to surround us. We fought bravely, but were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of their desperate fury. I saw my companions turning blow after blow away as a forest spears were thrust towards them and a legion of pollaxes began to decend. Alas, I was dispatched by a well-aimed spear, and I fell to the cold ground with only the thoughts of my Kingdom and my dearest wife to comfort me.

I was revived, and went back to regroup with my company. The lines were forming again. The plan of attack was the same, with the Ealdormereans forming the left flank, with the same objectives. We discussed our performance, and vowed to present a more unified front. I glanced at my polearm, wishing that I had more length to it, since it was originally constructed for use in tournament.

The lines met twice more then, with Your loyal troop resisting any attempt to outflank our lines. Each time we clashed, we were able to stand our ground longer before being crushed by sheer weight of numbers. The javelins whistled through the air, falling to the ground behind us, and yet we resisted to the last remnants of our strength.

Our presence there prodded the chagrin of the opposing force, for they knew that we would fall furiously apon their flank if given the smallest chance.

Brave Sir Evander's flashing blade eagerly bit into the helms and hauberks of his enemies, cleaving them in half as their ruined corpses fell. His squire Colyne struck down the foes before him as a smith beats with his hammer- strong, sure, unerring, and unfailing. The two serjeants Edward and Ratanicus pressed ever forward, like waves that
flash and race to the shore, slicing and carving deep rents into Eastern flesh. As for myself, I fought behind my steely barricade of comrades, keeping the East-Realmers back where I could, thrusting my polearm into astonished faces before me.

The lines then broke into a general brawl. I found myself before a shieldman, and closed with him. Entangling his sword with my polearm, I reached for the mace that swung by my side and grasped it firmly. My arm rose and fell, smashing my weapon down towards his helm and hip.

Alas, my mace must have found no solid purchase, and I tasted his sword before falling into a confused heap of the dead and dying.

The lines reformed, and as I did glance to the side I was overjoyed to behold the arrival of valorous Sir Cennedi, accompanied by two of his squires. He had been deceived by a false and confusing map, a cowardly ploy by those who despaired before his renowned prowess. It is well that such a misguided plot failed, as must all that stand against such dauntless courage. Even so, he had been delayed, and had striven to arrive with great swiftness.

With the increased might of our troop, we were even more fearsome on the field. I had been given a long spear by the gracious Baron Conrad, and one of Sir Cennedi's squires held a long polearm. Our company resolved to quickly do some flanking maneuvers of our own! At the onset of the next charge, we drove deeply into their right. The two Knights charged to their right, and a counter-attack was launched against us. I was beset apon by three enemy warriors, and as I strove to thrust into the face of a foe pressing Edward, I was struck down by multiple blows.

All this while, my wife Lady Katherine busied herself by bringing water to the Ealdormerean forces during those lulls when we were regrouping. She was also keeping a keen eye on the movements of the opposing army. It was not long before she discerned that the Eastern King Thorson personally led each flanking thrust. He was going so far as to bend his body and hide behind the line of his men as he moved to the side that the flanking attack would be launched, so as to deceive our commanders. She brought this observation to me, which was then relayed to Sir Cennedi. The honoured Knight then moved to the Commanders, informing them of this new intelligence.

While I was not able to see it myself, my Lady wife reported later that the Commanders kept a close eye on the movements of the Eastern King, keeping adequate forces aside to counter his movements. There were two more engagements, and our army was victorious in those.

The last charge was a shining moment for Ealdormerean forces. More swiftly than ever before, we hastened across the field to our left, then turning sharply and plunging into the back of the enemy line.

Smiting down any enemies as they passed them, the Ealdormerean Company tore into the flank of the enemy line, filling their hearts with dismay. With skill and fortitude worthy of any Ealdormerean, Ratanicus slew King Thorson before the ashen faces of his men.

It was worth noting that the Eastern warriors are savage in melee, even breaking past their own shieldmen with a barbaric lust to smite and crush their enemies. Even so, they attack in force, outnumbering exposed opponents, and as I can well testify, seeking to overwhelm opposing polearms and spears. They have a great many Great weapons, which they wield in groups with practiced and deadly proficiency.

During this break between battles, I had the opportunity to approach King Thorson with the warm greetings sent by Your Graceful Majesty.

Since I have already told of that exchange, I will spare you those details. He struck me as being a very good-natured man, full of lively mirth and robust spirit.

The battle then moved to the bridges. I was disheartened by the lack of spears on our side, but we made plans for "pulse charges". We felt that if we could break through their lines, that we could swiftly slay any opposition.

Those of us with two swords, small shields, greatswords, and shorter polearms waited behind the shieldmen and spears for the command to charge. Our commander was eagerly collecting javelins and hurling them back at the enemy spearmen. Sadly, the command to Charge did not come forth, and as the shieldmen fell, our Squad went forward to fill the gap, where we were quickly speared.

At the second bridge, we once again waited for our signal as the spearmen on both sides did their deadly work. A signal was given, but was only heard by a few, brave Sir Cennedi being one of those. He leapt forward with two others, crashing into the enemy line with great fury, striking down two enemies before falling in front of their shields. Ratanicus was then speared in the leg, and fell to his knees.

Our line had been pushed back, so that I was to his right at the edge of the bridge. He began to shuffle forward on his knees as enemy spears began to be leveled at his face. I leaned forward, slapping down the spears that I could reach with my polearm as he continued to cross the bridge. Brave and resolute, he went beyond the reach of my polearm, and he struggled on tenaciously, fending off the thrusts that pushed and rang against his shield and upraised sword. It was all too soon that his left side became exposed during that onslaught. He was pierced by a cross-thrust, and perished on that bridge.

Another call for a charge came, and I answered, pushing across the bridge with another warrior. We advanced, disrupting the spearmen's attacks. My polearm battered the heads and faces of the opponents before me, until I received a crushing blow on my helm, and stumbling back, toppled, fell, and rolled off the bridge into the water. I cannot say how effective that charge was, although my wife swears that two enemies fell as well.

We moved back onto the third bridge, and this time, we wasted no effort on a half-charge. The entire line moved forward, and broke through the enemy. We swarmed through the gap, and chaos and confusion reigned as enemies struggled and swirled around each other. I found myself face-to-face with Sir Richard, and I began a swift series of smashing blows to his head and shoulders with my choked-up polearm as he tried a glancing blow against my leg. With each strike, he cried out "not dead, not dead"... which puzzled me greatly. Nonetheless, I continued my assault as he fell to his knees with another cry of "not dead..." I felt a sharp rap on my helmet, and retired from the field, although I was unsure of where the shot had come from. To say that the Rules of Engagement were being badly bent would be an understatement, but that is often the nature of war. Shortly thereafter, Sir Richard came over and laughingly said that the first shot I had thrown had been good, and that he had been saying "I'm dead! I'm dead!" as I
continued my flurry of blows. We chuckled together and parted to briefly rest.

There then came a bridge battle that was very confusing, if the truth be told. It was agreed that if a warrior was killed, be should be revived and join the side that had killed him!

There were men in blue fighting beside men in red, and when a charge was successful none truly knew who was his friend or his foe.

I took my confusion to be a sign to retire from the field. My lady wife insisted that I rest and recover from the battles, and I respected her wise words. My back had received wounds too great to allow me to continue.

The next battle pitched the Peers against the Knowne World. When the sides were arrayed, the Knights faced four enemies apiece. The non-Knights charged, chasing their quarry across the field. Sir Evander held his ground with two Brother Knights before finally falling under the rain of incoming blows. I was unable to see his fate due to the mass of warriors that surrounded them. King Thorson ran around the perimeter of the field, out-pacing most and eventually taking a defensive corner position. Sir Cennedi also hastened around the perimeter, but was slowed by a squad of five foes. He managed to
slay all five as he passed them. Swiftly, he joined the King of the East. The throng of warriors fell on them as a swarm of locusts on the grain. The pair fought bravely, but were slain together, surrounded by a hill of the dead.

There was an "endless resurrection" battle at the last. The large soft blocks that served as our bridge were now spaced out and transformed into lava. A touch of one of those bubbling tools was instant death to any unlucky soul. The lines formed and a general brawl ensued. Again and again the soldiers fell, went back to their line, and began their assault anew. Groups flowed and ebbed like tides, breaking apart as the soldiers were slain, and re-forming in new formations. The Ealdormereans fought on as I watched, bravely engaging their immortal foes without pause. Edward engaged one enemy
several different times, culminating in an intricate and viscious duel. He was eventually bested, yet as his opponent back away and began to rejoice in his hard-fought victory, he toppled into a lava pool. Such is the way of life.

The Ealdormerean forces all fought with great honour, fortitude, and prowess. There was great wonder in the Eastern Realm at the number and skill of the Ealdormereans, and we were given many sincere invitations to return. It should be noted in passing that as we observed the East Realm holding court, we observed the Royal Family and Retainers turning somersaults on those large spongey blocks. We were sore amazed to see such acrobatics during court, but reasoned that it must be an East Kingdom custom of celebration after war.
The journey home was filled with much snow and ice, and our arrival was later than we had anticipated. Regardless, the time was filled with much merriment and telling of tales. It was due to the efforts of my good Lady Wife that we came to be home safely. Save for a bruised knee for Edward and a sore back for me, we were all exhausted but whole.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Achievement of Arms Update

Aaaand another change to my achievement of arms, adding the badge for the Award of the Orion.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Deed of Arms at War of the Trillium

At the conclusion of my deed of arms on Monday, I was approached by Lord Fulk Beauxarmes, my sword-brother and friend. He asked me if I would stand with him as one of three tenans at an emprise he was organizing for this summer. I was deeply honoured, and accepted immediately.

There is a Facebook event for the deed available; below I have pasted the proclamation Lord Fulk had earlier made.

Under the eyes of my Sovereign Lord the King of Ealdormere, Nigel II, and of his gracious Queen, Adrielle II, and also of their Heirs Prince Siegfried and Princess Ragni, do I, Lord Fulk Beauxarmes, give greeting, honour and all joy to those who hath taken up the most noble profession of arms in these northern lands.
For though I am but the most base and lowly of all the warriors of the Northlands, let all know that I be desirous of the advancement of the noble profession of arms, and also of the exaltation of the name and renown of my Lady Wife, the Honourable Lady Urraca de la Mar; and therefore I hath most humbly supplicated and entreated my aforesaid Sovereigns that I might be granted license and permission to perform a deed of arms at the War of the Trilliums, for it should be shame were so many noble warriors to be gathered in one place and no small emprise should come of it. And to this entreaty through their wisdom, mercy and the love of arms hath my most gracious sovereigns right generous assented to, even from such a low creature as myself.

And so, being minded of the most puissant passage of arms of Don Suero de Quiñones, a famous knight of Leon who alongside his friends and companions in ancient days vowed to break three lances each upon a hundred challengers upon the Órbigo Bridge in Castile, let our Passo Honroso be of the form and manner following:

Upon a bridge at the War of the Trilliums shall be three tenans, each armed and armoured as pleases them best; and they shall hold the bridge against all who seek to come against them, either singly one to each or by threes all together, with matched weapons in honourable combat as is the custom of our Society; and they who fight shall discuss and agree upon which weapons shall be matched before their bout begins; and each bout shall last of three stout blows as is the custom; and should through chance or skill a tenan be defeated in honourable combat then shall the challenger take their place upon the bridge as a tenan upon the bridge in turn; and the tenans shall hold the bridge for one hundred bouts all counted for the joy and honour of the profession of arms and the exaltation of those who inspire them; and these three hundred stout blows shall be in remembrance of the lances of Don Suero Él del Passo; and also let there be a place set aside nearby that there may be private challenges as are wont to arise when so many noblemen and warriors do gather together in arms.

And for to make advancement of the profession of arms there shall be no preference of rank nor title, for so that the lowliest squire or man-at-arms might cross swords with the greatest of worldly lords without they be reproached or shamed; and that all who witness know we be not villeins, or routiers, or any such low persons, let all they who gather for this honourable passage of arms make proud display of their badge or heraldry, by shield and surcoat and banner and all the divers means of display, that the fame and honour of those who meet in this Passo Honroso be enhanced; and let each who make challenge of the tenans declare forth their name and style, and the name and style of the one who hath inspired them to do this deed; and so too shall the names and blazons be recorded in a book that their deeds might be remembered forevermore and not fade in the passing of years.

And in attendance upon the Passo Honroso shall be a gallery of good persons and true, and being chiefly ladies; and they shall decide amongst themselves and secretly which of the Great Virtues of Chivalry shall be their touchstone upon this day; and that gallery shall attend most closely upon the combatants upon the bridge; and they shall gather to decide amongst themselves which exemplar of that said Virtue be best displayed upon that field; and among all they shall award unto that single exemplar a riband to bear upon their arm or belt thereafter, that all might know the worth of that good warrior and true; and let the combatants know not which Virtue hath been decided upon, lest they be tempted to neglect any one of the Virtues of Chivalry in favour of any other, but rather let the Virtues be practiced and exalted all.

And by the word of my most modest and gentle wife, the Honorable Lady Urraca de la Mar, let this Passo Honroso be accomplished in the name of all those who give thankless service to the Society, be that service great or small, lest those who make sacrifice of their tasks think they do so unnoticed; but rather by this deed their service shall be honoured of us all, and be given deserved gratitude.

And to add greater faith and security to this letter, I Fulk Beauxarmes, seneschal of the Canton of Petrea Thule, have sealed it with the seal of my arms, written and dated from Petrea Thule upon the Feast of St. Osburga, this 5th day of April in the year AS 49.

New Blog Post About my Deed and Photos

Lord Fulk Beauxarmes has written a blog post about my Deed of Arms, including a comparison of chivalry and courtesy.

Lord Fulk with THL Thorfinna gra'feldr. Photo by Eirik Andersen.

There are at least two photo archives out there of pictures from the event. My lady Thorfinna took over 200 photos on her cellphone, and THL Eirik Andersen (a semi-professional photographer, who is extremely well known in my kingdom for his photos) took over 500.

One side of the Deed's token. Photo by Thorfinna.

Colyne with dagger, against THL Gann, with single sword. Photo by Eirik.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Deed of Colyne Stewart: Part 2

Photo by THL Thorfinna gra'feldr.

Many, many thanks to all those who came out, who did me the honour of crossing blades with me, who came to witness the event, or who assisted in running the deed. Special thanks to His Majesty Ealdormere who acted as the king-of-arms, to Her Majesty Ealdormere who was the inspiration, to Magistra Nicolaa who acted as the deed's herald, THL Jocelyn Cranewell who acted as scribe, and to Anton who served  as my man-at-arms. Just, stout blows were given and received, as were tokens. Honour flowed like water. Though all who took part fought well and good, only one could be awarded the prize--a greave made by my own hand. The judges (TRMs and Nicolaa) declared that the one fighter who had shone brightest with chivalry, courtesy and prowess had been THL Hans Thorvaldsson.

I love this style of fighting, and hope to see more deeds and pas d'armes occur in the future. If you missed this one, there will be at least two coming this summer. One will be hosted by the White Bear Fian at Pikeman's Pleasure, and the other will be hosted by Lord Fulk at the War of the Trillium.

Photo by THL Eirik Andersen.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Favourite SCA Moment

On Facebook, Ealdormere's Queen has asked Her subjects to share their Most Memorable Moment in the SCA. This was my answer

I've seen so many things, and I've been able to do so many things, I otherwise would not to choose just one? I have gained fond acquaintances, good friends, belt-sisters, raven-family, squire-brothers, sword-brothers, peers that truly inspire me...what one interaction with them can sum up the whole?

Was it emerging from my tent at my first ever War Practice (precursor to War of the Trillium) to find an empty camp save for a three year old Adelaide who had likewise risen early, sitting down by the firepit and having a fully fledged conversation with her? This being the same Adelaide I have had the opportunity to see blossom into a wonderful young lady, who once danced the colour purple for me, who loves animals in all shapes and sizes, and who is like a niece to me.

Is it my first Pennsic War, driving down the highway and suddenly seeing the sea of tents appear? Wandering the merchant area later one night and watching a shadow puppet show? Being accosted by street performers, spotting a leper, being winked at by a performer, scouring the stalls for a pennanular broach and finding one in literally the last shop?

Was it the first time I fought in battle at Pennsic War, where I stood with my fellow Isengesethr with Baron Cynred at our head, iron rings on our arms, clashing our shields and raising our voices in songs of glory and homeland?

Was it returning from War and singing Home as we crossed the bridge back into Canada?

Was it going to our first event, in fully researched garb we had made ourselves, and being praised by the Queen and Baroness Gaerwen, who told our canton seneschal we were keepers?

Is it this week, seeing just how many pictures of Gulf Wars feature my fellow Ealdormereans, especially our King and Queen Nigel and Adrielle, showing their nobility, strength at arms and grace?

Was it the pride I felt when first becoming a squire to Sir Evander and the joy it brought (even though that relationship would eventually end)?

Was it the renewed validation, and showing of my triumph over some of my personal demons, when I later took a knee and became Sir Nigel's fourth squire?

Was it when Adrielle took me on as an apprentice, proving to me that I had worth in the fields of the arts and sciences, and making me a member of House Arrochar on both sides of the family?

Was it taking part in the handfasting of my best friends and housemates, Master Berend and HE Mahault, one quiet night in the swamp at the Pennsic War?

It was all of these, it was more than these, it was everything. So much of the good in me has been forged by the people I've met and the experiences I've had in the SCA. To all of you, I give my humble thanks.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Challenge of Colyne Stewart: AS 48

In the name of Ealdormere and of the blessed queen Adrielle, Saint Finnvarr and Saint Gillian, I Colyne Stewart, to exalt my name and honour my fortieth year upon this earth, knowing full well the renown of the prowess of the Ealdormerean fighting force, have, from the date of this present letter, taken a piece of a greave to bear upon my leg until I be delivered from it by an Ealdormerean performing a deed of arms as follows:

First, to enter the lists on foot, each armed as seems best to them, having their dagger and sword upon their body as they wish, and having a pollaxe as well. And this shall be the number of blows for all the different weapons and arms: ten strokes with the pollaxe, without intermission (sans reprendre); and when these ten strokes shall have been performed, and the judge shall say, 'Ho!' we will give ten strokes with the sword without intermission, or parting from each other, or changing our harness. When the judge shall say, 'Ho!' we will take to our daggers in hand, and give ten strokes with them. Should either one lose or drop his weapon, the other will be able to do as he pleases with the one he holds until the judge shall say, 'Ho!'

So shall I meet each fighter who would don harness and meet with me in glorious combat.

And there will be in attendance a gallery, and this gallery will consist of citizens of upstanding moral value. I shall, after consultation with these witnesses, surrender my greave to the fighter deemed most noble and virtuous and preaux.

This deed will occur in the Canton of Ardchreag on the 14th day of April of this year.

To add greater faith and security to this letter, I Colyne Stewart have sealed it with the seal of my arms, written and dated from Colynesburg, Thursday the 30th day of January in the year 48."

Based on “The Challenge of Michel d'Oris: 1400”, Enguerrand de Monstrelet, Chroniques, Book I, chapter ii as translated by Will McLean, 2001.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Relationships in the SCA

Within the SCA I have a number of different and meaningful relationships that have developed over time.

Firstly, I am squired to a knight. With that I gained a number of squire-brothers.

I am also an apprentice, and that garnered me a gaggle of feral belt-sisters.

My knight and laurel are married and have a joint household, but I am also a member of another household, symbolized by the raven. Due to that I have my raven-brothers and -sisters.

This, as anyone who has been in the SCA for any period of time can tell you, is pretty standard.

However, I have one other set of SCA siblings: my sword-brothers. Sometimes, when a fighter truly inspires me (both on and off the field), and we have a bond and I wish we were squire-brothers though we are not, I approach them and ask if they would honour me by being my sword-brother. They are my brothers-in-arms who (aside from my squire-brothers) I would most like to stand with on the field. Over the years I have asked a handful of people to stand so, and all but two have said yes.*

The first of them were His Excellency Berend van der Eych, who at the time was squired to Duke Finnvarr de Taahe (though now both he and I are squired to Sir Nigel). So he is both a squire-brother and a sword-brother, and chiefest of this company.

This was followed by Sir Wat of Sarum (who was not even a squire at the time), THL Amelius Claudius Rattanicus and Lord Edward dit Lyon.

At a non SCA (but SCA related) event this past weekend, I approached another fine noble, and told him how I have come to admire him as he has grown and evolved over the past few years. He is always striving to improve himself and his game, has taken on thankless jobs which he handles with aplomb, and is quite frankly an excellent human being. I asked him to stand as a sword-brother, and he agreed. I am proud to include Lord Fulk Beauxarmes among my band of stalwart friends and comrades.

To symbolize our bond, I give each of my sword-brothers a sword (though it may be miniature in size). Fear not, Fulk; your's will be forth-coming.

* I should add, that the two people who said no were already a raven-brother and -sister and felt no further proof of bond was required.