Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Our Homeland, Beloved Ealdormere: What is "All-De-Beer" and the "E-Word"?

What is "All-De-Beer" and the "E-Word"?

This history does not concern itself with WHY the Curia Regis of the Midrealrn became upset with the Regions of Ealdorrnere and Northshield in their infancies. All children must crawl before they walk, and so it was that some errors might have been made during that first year of Ealdormere's life. Regardless of why it was done, the Curia Regis of the Middle Kingdom met in secret on March 8, A.S. XX (1986) in the March of Gwyntarion. When this meeting ended, so did the young life of the Region of Ealdormere. Known as "the Proscription", Ealdorrnere was banned for approximately two and a half years. The Decree is also in this collection, as penned by Genevieve du Vent Argent, Midrealm Seneschal of the time.

The new Kingdom law, created that day without any discussion with the Landed Baronage of Ealdorrnere or her Peers or Great Officers, went as follows:

XX - 500 No geographic area other than a group officially recognized by the Kingdom Seneschal may use a name or have a champion.

(All groups currently listed in the Middle Kingdom Collegium Seneschallorum are officially recognized by the Kingdom Seneschal.)

Complete Text of the letter from the Midrealm Curia Regis, proclaiming what was later referred I to as the 'Proscription':

Unto the Gentle People of the Midrealrn,

At the Curia Regis held on March 8, A.S. XX: in the Marche of Gwyntarion, the main topic of discussion was the undesirable effects which have been occurring because of "regionalism" within the Kingdom.

The Crown recognizes that most of what has been done in the attempt to develop "regions" has proceeded from the best of motives. We support any efforts to foster cooperation among groups for the benefit of the Kingdom and the Society. However, events have demonstrated that the development of "regions" with their own names and officials outside the official structure of the Kingdom often leads to results which are detrimental rather than beneficial, regardless of the desire of most people in the "region".

The foremost of these detrimental effects is factionalism. A defined geographical area with its own name creates the impression of a real group, however "unofficial" its promoters profess it to be. The "regional identity" which a name fosters has been misused as well. In the past, it has gone as far as "regional officials" urging the people within their region to devote their talents and energies exclusively to the "region" rather than to benefit the Kingdom as a whole. The second detrimental effect is that of spreading misinformation as to the way the Society and the Kingdom work, and what groups are official. Several newsletters inform their readers that the group is part of the "Region of X" and list the "Regional Officers". Recently, a "regional championship" has caused problems in two separate areas, with the "regional champion" being claimed to possess more power and prerogatives than consistent with Kingdom law and Corpora. The danger in these claims lies to a great extent in the dissension they cause, as officers seeking to uphold Kingdom law must inevitably conflict with those propounding such claims.  Accordingly, a new Kingdom law is now in effect: X - 500 No geographic area other than a group officially recognized by the Kingdom Seneschal may use a name or have a champion. (All groups currently listed in the Middle Kingdom Collegium Seneschallorum are officially recognized by the Kingdom Seneschal.)

Again, please note that We wish to encourage cooperation between groups, especially in forming large fighting units for the Pennsic War. However, this cooperation must be done within the official structure of the Kingdom. For the Midrealm (no signature on the copy)

This new Kingdom law was subsequently printed in the April A.S. XX (1986 C.E.) issue of the Pale, where an additional paragraph appeared near the end.

The possibility of merely defining what a "Region" could or could not do was discussed, however to do so would be to give official status to the "Regions" and it was decided that the dangers of this far outweigh the advantages which would come from the "Regional Identity", increased cooperation within the "Region". The Curia strongly feels that cooperation between groups is possible within the present Official Kingdom structure and that just as much can be I accomplished this way as could be in a "Region" but without the attendant dangers.

This letter was signed by the King and Queen, Alen Elegil and Isabella of Greycliffs. It is ironic that, in the same issue as the Proscription edict was published, an announcement for the "Region of Eldermere [sic] Arts and Sciences Competition" was featured, signed "brought to you by the ravaging arts wolves."

Within days of the Curia Regis decision, Mistress Ragni Dzintara, then-Seneschale of the "Geographic Construct", resigned from her position. It was the darkest period in the history of Ealdormere.

March 1986 Ragni unto the Moot of Ealdormere, Greeting.

My Lords and Ladies,

I enclose some documents which will explain this letter. It is with sadness that I have tendered my resignation to the Kingdom Seneschal.

It has been a pleasure and an honour to work with all of you towards our common goals. Please believe me that it is not my intention to cease that work, but I can no longer serve the Kingdom as Ontario Seneschal.

I find myself at a loss to recommend a successor, and have not done so, because I think it would put that person in a very difficult position between the Curia and the Region. If any of you have any wisdom to offer in this matter, I'm sure the Kingdom Seneschal would be appreciative.

If I have advised you wrongly or acted in any way against your best interests, I truly crave your parcon: the wellbeing of this region and its people has always been my motivation.

I strongly believe that we have an identity, and that we have just begun to realize it and enjoy it fully. I do not believe that it is a thing that can be legislated away. I do enjoin everyone to act within the laws of the kingdom in any action you feel you need or want to take, on this and all matters.

I have been shaken, saddened, and disillusioned by this action of the Crown and Curia, but I have a lot of faith in the people of Ealdormere to discover a creative and probably anachronistic way of or around it!

I thank you all for your cooperation and support, and remain your servant.


Unto Genevieve du Vent Argent, Seneschal of the Midrealm, from Ragni Dzintari of Amberhall,


My Lady,

It is with regret that I must resign from my position as regional seneschal for Ontario, in response to the action taken by the Curia in the matter of regions at their meeting on March 8, A.S. XX.

I feel sure this will not come as a surprise to vou, since from the day I accepted this office it was with the clearly outlined intention to encourage the people of this Region to take exactly the tack that they have. This has been clear to you from all my correspondence, and as I write this I admit some surprise that knowing this you have not called me to task or even asked me to resign! However.

I have been a seneschal of a local group and of a region, and my firm belief is that the primary role of the seneschal is to facilitate the growth of the group to which he or she is responsible. and to foster independence and individuality among people, because I believe that that is the best way to foster cooperation. It is my belief that I have served the members of the SCA both in Toronto and in Ontario well in this way.

To the best of my ability I have tried to serve the Kingdom as well, given that I think that the Kingdom is well served by having a large number of enthusiastic subjects, playing the Game that we play with imagination and energy. I have tried to do all within the existing laws and customs os the SCA and the Midrealm. This new law I find myself unable to implement.

I do not equate active, independent regions with factionalism. When I took this office, Ontario was quite alienated from the Kingdom, as your predecessor can well vouch. We are no longer thus alienated, and I think that is due to the fact that we feel our identity as equal contributors to the glory of the Kingdom, not as poor stepchildren in a foreign land. That is due in very large part to the specific activities we have taken as a region, i.e. the Moot, the Champion’s Tourney and the emphasis on the Arts associated with that. I believe regional identity can truly add to the Kingdom. Our striving to grow to eventual total autonomy is natural and I sincerely hope, inevitable, though not imminent, and I would hope that the Curia would be far-sighted enough to encourage this aim.

Since my beliefs in these matters are so much at variance with those of the Great Lords of State. I feel I can no longer carry on this task. I regret also that I have no-one to recommend as a successor, because I feel that the people of this region as a whole feel as I do.

I have never been content to see myself as another layer of bureaucracy, and I feel the people of the SCA in Ontario do not need another layer of bureaucracy. Perhaps the administrative region of Ontario does not need to exist at all. It will be much more difficult to uproot the sense of their identity in the people who live here. It doesn't matter what the name is; the regional identity exists.

It is my sincere hope that the Curia come to know this and to value it, if indeed the Kingdom is not to be split and factionalized.

I remain yours in service,


cc.        TRM
            The Great Lords and Ladies of State

This decree banned us from even using the term "Ealdorrnere". Instead, we were the "Geographic Construct for Administrative Purposes Only, of the Area Mundanely Known as Ontario."

Expressions of the very public outrage and woe felt throughout the Region were penned by Mistress Rhiannon of Wye, Dame TSivia bas Tamara v'Amberview, and Master Hector of the Black Height. Euphemisms started to spring up to refer to Ealdorrnere: one was "All-De-Beer" due to its similar sound and the area's fame for both fine home-brewed vintages AND the stalwarts to ingest it. Another was the "E" Word, referring to the name of the officially banned area. The Proscription prompted what might well be the most beautiful piece of historical tale-telling in Ealdorrnere, penned by a grieving Baron Aedan: The Doom of Ealdormere. It is included in this collection by his gracious permission, with illustrations by Aeden and Baroness Caffa.

"The Doorn of Ealdormere" is an original tale, written in response to recent events. Its compositional elements include the idea of a magical person created to fill a lack, as in the story of Bloddewedd from the Mabinogion; the idea of unpleasant consequences from such an act; and the idea of the magical guardian, again from the Mabinogion, where Bran's head is buried at the top of a hill in London, to watch over Britain. Additional elements from Welsh and Irish-traditions are evident in the triple structure of the gifts.

Echoing this structure, but from the Norse or Greek are the Three Sisters, although their response seems more Greek than Norse.

This tale, then, might have been written by an Irish or Welsh monk, 9th or 10th century, who would have access to all these influences.

The storyteller will use the standard repertoire of voice, abetted by alliteration and internal rhyme. Since the tale is short, and the overall tone elegiac, no large variations in delivery will be noted, although the speech of the first Sister allows some characterization.

Physical elements will reflect the ritualistic nature of the story.

Interpretative elements: the storyteller hopes to use all his tools here to make the audience cry. This tale is intended to be a tearjerker. If it doesn't at least dampen your eye, it didn't work.

Integration: as above

Audience interaction: as above

The Doom of Ealdormere by Aeden o Kincora

Many tales are told of the young hero Ealdormere, but the strangest tale told is the tale of her birth; for they say that she did not come to be in the usual way, but that this was the way of it:

The wise and mighty of the land desired to draw together the people, to make their land strong and glorious. For this they needed a hero, yet none was in evidence, and the omens foretold none to be soon born. Thus they resolved to create their own.

They drew her spirit and flesh from the land itself, from its wide skies and waters, from its forests and fields, and from its hard, enduring stone and soft, fertile earth. Each woman and man of them gave of their own strength, and at length a perfect infant lay before them.

All the people were called to her naming, and from the highest lord to the lowest churl they came. Not only the people, but also the hare, the wolf, and the bear came to represent the beasts of field and forest. Then each gave a gift that suited their means. The hare gave her cunning and fleetness of foot, the wolf gave his unstinting loyalty, and the bear gave his slow wisdom and great strength.

But while the people rejoiced, the first of the Three who sit by the well and work the loom of the World called to her sisters, saying, "Look, here is a hank laid ready for spinning that I never carded. Someone is joggling our elbows." Then they grew angry, and cast about for the mischiefmaker.

At length they noticed the people celebrating, and marked the newborn babe. The youngest of the Three said, "Here are those who would make themselves our equals. Sisters, let us teach them a lesson. I see that they are giving gifts. Let us each give a gift also, and gifts that they shall rue."

Thus it came about that Ealdormere received three bright gifts and three dark gifts all on the same day.

The first bright gift that the wise and mighty gave was a good mind and a steady hand, that she might be a great artisan; the first dark gift that the Three gave was this: Though she might create great wonders, yet nothing she did would outlast her.

The second gift was a strong back and a keen eye, that she might be a great archer; the second dark gift the Three gave was this: However true her shafts might fly, they would never diminish the number of her enemies.

The third gift the wise and mighty gave was a glad heart and a generous hand, that she might always have friends; the last and bitterest dark gift was this: Though she might have a multitude of friends, yet none would stand by her in her hour of extremity.

This is the tale of her birth and many more are told of her youth; how when she could barely walk she had grown too large for any house, and that while still a maid she had followed her King to war and done valiant deeds.

They tell how her people loved her, for she was not haughty, but noble and worshipful; and her honour was bright like a mirror, wherein they saw their own honour reflected bright.

Of her end no one knows the true tale, but only that on a day in that season when the hint of Spring first raises hopes and the fast following frost dashes them, word came from the king that Ealdormere was no more.

Some say that in her youthful rashness, she sounded her challenge before the gates of the bright gods themselves and was cast down in ruin; but one among the gods took pity on her brave heart and her beauty and raised her to the heavens. They say that on a winter night, when the clear sky brings biting frost, you can see her high in the southern sky, her sword at her side, guarding the borders of the land that she loves.

Others say that she was not slain at all, but laid under an enchantment of sleep, wherein she does not age, and at their hour of greatest need she shall awake and lead her people.

However true these tales may be we cannot know, but we do know that one thing is true. Before Ealdormere left, she drew forth her secret heart, and breaking it into a multitude of pieces, she gave a bit to each of her people to safeguard. And whenever a person is moved to speak of Ealdormere, and whenever the listeners are moved by what they hear, it is one piece of her secret heart that speaks, and the others listen.

(Copyright M. Jenne 1991)

The unfortunate harbinger of this ill news was HRH of the Midrealm, Prince Palyrnar of the Two Baronies. He called together all the Ealdorrnereans he could find at an Eastrealm event, Ice Dragon in the Rhydderich Hael, and sadly passed on the news from the Curia. It is, then, only fitting that the Midrealrn King to preside over Ealdorrnere's first Crown Tournament was none other than King Palymar, with his gracious Queen, Aislinn. It was as much a joy for Him to preside over such a glorious moment as it was for Ealdorrnere to have Him as the Midrealrn King to recognise our new royalty. Efforts were made to keep spirits up, despite the Kingdom ban. The next year a tournament was held to choose the "Champion of the Two Shires and the Barony" (also called the "Collar I Tournament" in this collection of texts), which was won by John of Slaughterfield for his lady, Dea Carlisle. In this collection is a photo of Lord John standing guard at combined Baronial courts at Pennsic, wearing a tabard of a sword supported by a silver Hare and a silver Bear.

Requirements for Admission to the Collar Tourney List

1. The prospective Champion and Consort must be residents of the region for at least six months prior to the Tourney.

2. The prospective Champion and Consort shall both hold current memberships to the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., which shall not lapse during their stands of duty.

3. The prospective Champion and Consort shall be armigerous. If one or both are not, they may present in a baronial court a petition signed by twelve known sponsors who will vouch for the courtesy and chivalry of the individuals. If neither is armigerous, two separate petitions must be submitted.

4. All prospective fighters in the List must declare their intentions 1n a baronial court. This year, the last court prior to the Tourney will be held at the Regional Arts and Sciences Pentathelon.

5. The prospective Champion and Consort shall each submit at least one entry for judging in the Regional Arts and Sciences Pentathelon. No minimum mark will be set, but the submission must be of reasonable intent insofar as it is' a researched entry and follows the criteria set out in the Mid-Realm Arts and Sciences Handbook. In cases of dispute, the Consort of Ealdormere shall be the final arbiter, as it is part of the Consort's Oath to uphold the Arts and Sciences.

6. The prospective Champion and Consort shall attend (but not necessarily together) a minimum of four events excluding Pennsic in the year prior to the Tourney. In this way, the region is assured of gaining a Champion and .Consort willing and able to travel to execute their duties and privileges and who are known to the Populace. There will be no platform for recording this; individuals are on their honour to comply.

7. During the Collar Tourney, all rules of the List which apply to the Middle Kingdom Crown Tourney shall hold true for the Collar Tourney, including the restriction of shields to a length of 26 inches. This rule may be waived on the day at the discretion of the Champion in extraordinary cases. In cases of dispute, the Champion shall be the final arbiter, as it is part of the Champion's Oath to uphold chivalrous fighting.

8. The final round of the Tourney shall be a best-two-out-of three format, and no weapons-form may be employed more than twice in this round. This is in accordance with the colloquial rules of the Mid-Realm Crown Tourney, and encourages fighters to become versatile.

9. Letters of intent to fight in the Collar Tourney shall be supplied to the Champion and Consort at least two  months prior to the tourney.

10. No individual may enter the Collar Tourney immediately following a stand of duty as either Champion or Consort. At least one Collar Tourney must pass before such individuals enter the List again.

Duties and Privileges of the Champion and Consort of Ealdormere

1. The Champion and Consort shall take part in the Grand Moots which are called by the Regional Seneschal.

2. It was designated prior to the First Collar Tourney that the Champion and Consort shall be accorded free dining privileges at feasts within the Region, similar to the privileges of the representatives of the Crown.

3. When travelling outside the Region, the Champion and Consort should act with decorum as they are public representatives of Ealdormere.

4. In the same vein, it is the privilege of the Champion and Consort to proudly display the regalia of their offices as they see fit, and they should guard against unbecoming behavior while publicly bearing or wearing the regalia. It is also their duty to maintain the regalia for the year that it is their possession.

5. As part of the positions of Champion and Consort, both individuals should travel as widely as possible in the Region. As they become cognizant of the activities and achievements of the citizens of Ealdormere, they will be better prepared to make recommendations to the Crown regarding awards and Crown List.

6. As part of promoting our region, it shall be a duty of the Champion and Consort to make conscientious recommendations to the Crown regarding awards.

7. It is the privilege of the Champion, joined by the Consort where possible, to lead the Ealdormere troops and archers in the Points at Pennsic War. The Champion shall be regarded as a regional war-captain during his/her stay of duty, and may take part in war council, but shall rank no higher than the other august and long-standing members.

8. A part of the Oath sworn by the Champion binds him/her to uphold chivalrous fighting during his/her stay of duty, and s/he may promote and encourage this as s/he sees fit.

9. A part of the Oath sworn by the Consort binds him/her to uphold participation in the arts and sciences during his/her stay in office, and s/he may promote and encourage these as s/he sees fit.

10. The Champion and Consort may not hold a Court, but shall have the privilege of being accorded honourable places in the courts of the representatives of the Crown of the Region.

11. It is the privilege and duty of the Champion to preside in a martial manner at the Collar Tourney where his/her successor is chosen, to ensure that chivalry is employed in the quest for the Champion's successor.

12. Likewise, the Consort should be prepared to aid the autocrat of the Regional Arts and Sciences Pentathelon (and the autocrats of similar local competitions) in any way, in support of the Regional aims of the arts and sciences.

13. It is the responsibility of the Champion and Consort to accept letters of intent for the Collar Tourney, to correlate the List and to make public the List for the Tourney at least one month prior to the date of the Tourney. It is the duty of the Consort to issue official invitations to all those on the List.

14. Subsequent to the Tourney, it is the privilege of the Champion and Consort to accept the Oaths from the winner of the Tourney and his/her partner on behalf of the people, to bestow the Collars on the new Champion and Consort, and to aid the new Champion and Consort in taking up their positions.

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