A History of Skraeling Althing
Part I Canton of Septentria
When we were very Young
By Viscountess Aelflaeda FitzAlain, 1996.
Second edition, 2020, with a few notes by Colyne Stewart.
This work is dedicated with love to Her excellency Dame Enid Aurelia of the Tin Isles, founding Baroness of Skraeling Althing, on the occasion of her retirement Nov 4th Anno Societatus XXX. Without her, history would have been very different.
"LEPVS HODIE GVNVS CRAS"
A History of Skraeling Althing
Part 1 Canton of Septentria
For many years the vast cold wastelands of the northeastern comer of the Middle Kingdom were inhabited only by barbarians. The Society was founded; the Middle Kingdom was formed; and shires were forming in the lands to the south. All this went unheeded and unheralded by the northern barbarians, who were known to some as skraelings.
And yet there was one place in the midst of this wasteland where the spark of civilization was waiting to be kindled. In a town where three rivers meet, known as Ottawa, the barbarians of the northern lands met in a permanent council known as a parliament or Althing. Despite this sometimes unruly body, there were signs of culture, for the town possessed two universities, several libraries, and a group of people who were waiting for news of the Society's existence to reach them.
The first person to come to the town bearing tidings of civilization to the south was a king, the recently crowned Finnvarr de Taahe. He came just after the new year, in May of AS XII. With him were Lady Gillian d'Uriel, Lady TSivia bas Tamara v' Amberview, Liladrel of Walstead, and the far traveled Bolverk of Momchilavich from the West Kingdom. They came to talk to a small group of people who were known as Osfis, and who had great interest in both ancient legends and prophetic tales of times yet to come. Although much interest was generated in the Society and its ways nothing came of it until Lady TSivia moved to the area a few months later.
In October Finnvarr passed on the crown to Merowald. By this time TSivia had organized a group, all of whose members came from Osfis. A name was chosen, Skraeling Althing, after the local barbarians and their council, for the name appropriately meant "Council of Savages". Enthusiasm was great at first, but soon interest began to wane among some of them as they decided they would rather seek the future than the past. Even some of the names of these original members have been forgotten. The only people who stayed long enough to make a lasting impression were TSivia herself who was first Seneschal, and Pierre de L 'Echarde (later Theuderic of Amberview), at that time her Lord who was the Exchequer, and Starwolf (Moonbeaver) who never became a permanent member, but appeared at meetings and feasts on an irregular basis.
Fortunately several new people appeared over the winter to replace those who had drifted away. Thomas of Linlithgow a travelling fighter from Atlantia (in the East Kingdom) arrived for a year's stay. Enid Aurelia of the Tin Isles, a talented lady who had been founding member and the first Mistress of Arts of Mynydd Seren returned to her native land. Jorunn Sophia a lady of mixed Viking and Byzantine ancestry also joined. Jorunn eventually became the group’s first Herald. At this time regular meetings were held, but there were no organized fighting practices or guilds as yet.
May of AS XIII was an eventful month. At the squires revolt in Northwoods, Septentria was created a barony with the worthy Gillian d'Uriel from Eoforwic invested as Baroness. thus Skraeling Althing became a canton in the new barony, which also contained the cantons of Eoforwic, Noerlanda, and Ben Dunfirth. Also during the month TSivia left the canton to return to Noerlanda, where she soon resumed her former duties as Seneschal. Her successor in the Skraeling was Thomas of Linlithgow.
Enid attended the coronation of Moowulf the First in the barony of Rivenstar, and there she received her AoA from the outgoing King Merowald for her many services to her former shire. Later that month Thomas discovered four young men who were to become the group’s first fighters at a meeting of people interested in military matters. Thus Mordain the Black, Thomas of Nil, Edouard Guillaume Saladar, and David aus Freysa joined the canton. Thomas of Linlithgow assumed the duty of Marshal as well as being Seneschal, for he was the only authorized fighter in the group. Fighting practices began in earnest, although soon after he joined Mordain was sent to the manor of his uncle near Eoforwic, and was not seen again until the autumn.
In the summer the canton began to establish itself. Several new members joined, including
Aelflaeda FitzAlain in June, and Isabeau d' Alienore and Spurius Furius Eruditas in July. Meetings and fighting practices were held in the hovel of the Seneschal. Enid began to publish the Skraeling Althing Chronicle, which at the time was virtually the only Society publication ·to be seen in the area.
In July sixteen Skraelings were able to attend the first Septentrian baronial event in Eoforwic. This was the first event for all of them except Enid and Thomas, and most were very impressed by their first sight of a Society event, especially the fighting and dancing. The rest of Septentria was impressed by this large group of gentles from the north, who presented the new baroness with an icon. Of this sixteen, some were seen only seldom thereafter, and regular attendance at meetings was about ten gentles.
Later that month a picnic was held in a local park. It was here that the first local attempts at armouring appeared, including David's infamous "Two Mercuries and a Volkswagen", which quickly passed into legend. The fighting was followed by dancing, singing and general frolicking.
A small group of Skraelings attended Pennsic VII that year, to witness the defeat of the Eastrealm at the hands of King Moowulf and the Midrealm army. For the large number who did not go Enid had a party at the "Mess Aurelia". Her father and stepmother in House Dragontorr, Jacques d'Outremer and Ruatha Reynard were visiting from Mynydd Seren. Unfortunately Enid had to leave early, since her infamous cousin Salamis of Cyprus arrived and insisted on attending the party. However Salmis partially redeemed herself by dancing with Ruatha for the entertainment of the Skraelings. Soon after dancing Salamis departed and Enid was able to return.
September saw the return of Mordain, and the departure of David to the uncivilized lands between Skraeling Aithing and Eoforwic. Here he tried to form a canton, the short lived Fortress Royal. The group did not survive, but did find a cossack, Stepann Ruthenko who was most interested in the Society especially fighting. Stepann remained long after David departed for other lands.
Later that month the canton held its first event, which was attended by several gentles from Eoforwic, including Baroness Gillian, and Duke Finnvarr. Thomas of Nil, Guillaume, and David authorized, but Mordain was only provisionally authorized. Thomas of Nil killed Thomas of Linlithgow in one of the bouts prompting the remark "they always kill their trainers". The tournament was won by Duke Finnvarr, to nobodies’ surprise. The feast was nearly a disaster, for the cruel lord of the hall which had been rented denied all knowledge of the Society. Fortunately a worthy squire in service to the hall found a small room in the cellars, and granted the cooks use of the kitchen for the afternoon. Enid and her four kitchen serfs managed to produce an excellent feast. Its highlights including Jorunn's salad dressing in which a pearl had been dissolved, the roast chicken Apicius, and Finnvarr's champions portion of turnips, which he accepted most graciously and then passed them on to his Viking man at arms Sylard. The feast was followed by a Baronial Court, at which Ragni presented her young daughter Eanor to be fostered by the Baroness. After court Finnvarr read the story of Cariadoc to the populace, the first of his histories of the Midrealm kings. Later there was dancing, and a post revel at Enid's. The gentles from other parts of the barony returned home with news that the newest canton had shown itself to be a most civilized part of the barony.
Soon after the event a quiet young man from the Black Forest, Durnhardt of Altenau, joined the group. His interests in fighting and arrnouring soon became apparent.
In October Thomas of Linlithgow was awarded arms at Crown Tourney in Northwoods by King Nathan. He was not there to receive them, so Enid accepted on his behalf, for she had journeyed there with Isabeau for that purpose. The tourney was won by Laurelen Darksbane who was knighted along with Alen Elegil the other finalist before the final bout. Other notable events were the knightings of Hugo von Feuerklippe and Corin du Soleil, and AoA's were given to Aedan O’ Kincora and Kaffa Muriath both from Eoforwic.
It was around this time, although the exact date has been lost in the mists of history, that Thomas of Linlithgow first revealed to the populace the (at that time) secret story of the Frou-Frou. This event of humble beginnings, was later to assume great importance as the legend grew. Not long afterwards, the hare was adopted as the symbol of the canton. Enid and Jorunn designed new arms for the canton which incorporated the "holy frou" disguised as a hare salient. These replaced the original somewhat uninspiring design, which had featured an Iroquois coup stick proper as a main charge [as well as other symbols of Canadiana]. The new design was seen by all as a great improvement.
In November all the Skraelings except Durnhardt attended the Henry and Eleanor event in Noerlanda, of which TSivia was autocrat. Here the Skraelings were introduced to cloven fruit. A
court of love was held, and Enid was one of the judges. At the court, Aelflaeda's affection for certain small animals became known, and Sylard earned the name "Mousebane". At court Jorunn
and Enid presented Thomas of Linlithgow, who was soon to leave the canton, with a personal banner which they had embroidered.
At this time the first Great Executive Shuffle occurred, for both Jorunn and Thomas were leaving at yuletide. Thomas of Nil was chosen as seneschal, Aelflaeda became herald, Guillaume took over the marshalate, and Mordain became MoS [Minister of Scinces] which was a very easy job as there were none who did any sciences at that time. Enid remained MoA [Minister of Arts] and Pierre retained his position as exchequer, however he gave it up a few months later to a new member Magnus Olafson, and left the group for a time.
In December the canton held a small event most notable for the fact that both the autocrats were absent for most of the evening. Out of canton guests were TSivia and Dierdre from Noerlanda, and David who brought two recruits from Fortress Royal. Mordain won the pillow boffing tourney, his first victory on the field of combat. The first Skraeling auction was held, from which no one escaped empty handed. After a seneschals court Thomas of Linlithgow told his two justly infamous tales "There we were nine against a thousand" and "Hans of the Black Forest" much to the dismay of the populace.
Later that month a cry-in party was held at Enid's to mourn the departures of both Thomas who was returning to Atlantia, and Jorunn who was going to the southern parts of the barony to seek an education. The two departing members presented the rest of the canton members with bunny tails. This custom has been continued to the present day, and all regular members eventually receive the Order of the Frou-Frou, or get their piece of tail, as a symbol of canton membership. Also Thomas of Linlithgow was the first male in the canton to wear tights as a birthday present for Enid.
In February the first native household "House Aurelia" was formed by Enid. The first members were Enid, Jorunn, Aelflaeda and Spurius, the "three weird sisters and a marshwiggle".
Later the Mongol branch, David and Mordain, joined as well.
Later that month the canton held its third event, on the theme of Charlemagne. Enid was the autocrat, and Aelflaeda the chief cook. The tournament was won by Aedan O' Kincora. He defeated Mordain, (who was no doubt inspired by wearing Aelflaeda's favour for the first time) in the finals. This saved Mordain from the embarrassment of being a non-novice before being properly authorized. (He was fighting under a day only authorization due to only one warranted marshal being present). Calligraphy and costume contests were held, and a good time was had by all.
In March several Skraeling's attended Noerlanda's Feast of the Bear, where Mordain finally authorized by beating Vlad from Cleftlands (who had come third in the last Crown). There was also a baronial war practice, the first in a long line.
During the spring months, leadership problems became apparent. The seneschal Thomas of Nil, had taken the position only because there had been nobody else either willing or able to hold it. He was unhappy in the office for which he had neither the leadership nor the desire, and which he had reservations about accepting. The power vacuum was filled by Spurius the dour Roman, who became Thomas's deputy, and soon afterwards, seneschal in his own right.
The summer of AS XIV was marked by both gains and losses for the canton. In June Katajan d' Anglet, and the cossack Yusef of South tower, along with his doll-like wife Ivy joined the group. However both Thomas and Guillaume departed for the southern parts of the barony. The marshalate passed to Mordain for the first of many times, and Durnhardt became MoS.
Late in June a large group of Skraelings journeyed to Eoforwic for the Round Tourney.
Here the Skraeling Fools made their first appearance in "One day in a provincial arena". Duke
Cariadoc, the first King of the Middle was there, and he had some kind words to say to the Skraelings about Lord Thomas of Linlithgow, who was back residing in Atlantia. At the evening court King Laurelen presented Enid with the Order of the Purple Fret (back then it was an order [rather than an award]) for her many services to the canton and barony. After this event Mordain was once again sent into exile by his family, but this time for only two months.
Early in August, House Aurelia (without David, but with Pierre), attended the morality play "The Castle of Perseverance" in Eoforwic. Enid who had recently learned the art of finger weaving sold some of her belts at the fair which was held in conjunction with the play. The Skraelings sat under the trees, socialized with the gentles of Eoforwic, and sold lemonade. A talented lady named Searu Dracwyn was also there, selling her artwork. She was not yet acquainted with the Society, and the meeting Society folk renewed her interest in all things medieval, including fighting. At this time Pierre was reborn as the Frankish Theuderic of Amberview, and also discovered an interest in fighting. Mordain, his exile over, returned to the
Late in August a small group of Skraelings attended Pennsic VIII, stopping on the way down at a relative of Thomas of Linlithgow's, where there was a joyous reunion. For the first time Midrealm forces were augmented by native Skraeling warriors: Mordain and David. No doubt these reinforcements were vital in salvaging a draw.
In the autumn Guillaume returned, and there was much rejoicing. Tsvetan Arinson, soon to be noted for his efforts in dancing, joined the group, as well as a lady called Myfannwy de Levere who appeared at events and meetings irregularly. David, still residing in Fortress Royal was seen more and more infrequently.
In November the first annual Feast of the Hare was held in honour of the canton totem animal. Aelflaeda and Spurius were the autocrats, while Enid ruled the kitchen. The tourney was won by Sir Hugo, while Ragni won the best representation of a dragon with a costume for her daughter Eanor. At the feast Sir Hugo was given a birthday cake in the shape of a castle, and Durnhardt inflicted the first (and last) ice cream coney on the populace. Theuderic then revealed the secret of the Holy Frou to the rest of Septentria.
Later that month Durnhardt and Mordain travelled to Eoforwic to attend a fighting seminar given by the legendary (even then) Duke Paul of Bellatrix. This they found very educational in more ways than just fighting technique.
The rest of the winter was fairly quiet. Galen Ciallmhar, a wandering but taciturn minstrel from the barony of Lions Gate joined the canton soon after Christmas. At this time the group was beginning to feel its isolation very strongly. Travel was difficult and hazardous once the snows set in, and it was believed that Skraelings did not have enough influence in Septentrian affairs. There was even talk of forrning an independent shire. Jorunn and Spurius made the journey to Twelfth Night in Eoforwic to discuss the problem with baroness Gillian. She reassured them that Skraeling Althing was not forgotten, and that she would do what she could to make the distant canton more involved in baronial affairs. Thus the secessionist mutterings were quelled.
In February Mordain and Spurius travelled to Rhyderric Hael for an event there. Mordain came third in one of the tourneys, and was beginning to be noticed by fighters outside the barony. No other events were attended until March, when everybody attended the first Clancy Day in StarleafGate. At court King Alen presented AoA's to Jorunn, Aelflaeda and Spurius. Mordain was squired to Duke Finnvarr, and Jorunn became the Baronial herald for Septentria.
The group's first musical ensemble, the Skraeling Wait first performed here. Later Enid, Aelflaeda and Durnhardt danced the Shamrock Morris, which Enid had choreographed.
The first April fool's issue of the chronicle appeared in April (naturally). In it the poetry of the hitherto unassuming Eofric of Soest was first seen. His lyrical and haunting ballads of mice, springbok and botulism so impressed the populace that he was created canton poet, on the condition that only write on request. Sadly to this date there have been no further masterpieces requested.
At the coronation of Talymar and Valmai in May of AS XV, Mordain received his AoA (for fighting, oddly enough). Unfortunately he was not there to receive it, and was not even aware of the fact that he was armigerous until he read the honours list in the Pale [the Middle Kingdom newsletter] a few months later.
Also in May TSivia left Noerlanda and returned to the Skraeling after a two year absence.
She led a small contingent (Theuderic, Aelflaeda, Mordain and Spurius) to Northwoods for its
Decennial. Mordain fought well, losing to Duke Dagan in the semi-finals after having beaten Count Alen and Sir Elestron among others, and earning himself a toast at the feast. The following month, Mordain was created Baronial Champion at the first event in the new canton of Afon Araf This was the first event that Thora Peregrine (later Anne Grey), a Viking lady whom Aelflaeda had dragged in (literally) attended.
In June a large company of Skrae1ings attended the East Meets West event in Eoforwic.
Enid's Bunny Bransle was performed here as an entry for the baronial arts pentathalon. This first pentathalon was won by Enid, with TSivia and Ragni tying for second place. Many Skraels placed well in the various categories, almost dominating the competition. Spurius showed that he had no small talent in embroidery and calligraphy. At the feast Salamis danced for the populace, and Enid's poem about men in tights as read, to everybody's amusement, to be followed by Duke Finnvarr and Sir Hugo placing their gartered legs in her lap. Dumhardt's (or rather his cousin T. S. Altenau' s) impassioned poem "The Love Song of the Skraeling Althing Armourer's Guild" was read out by Theuderic, who did the work great justice in his delivery. The canton of Afon Araf presented Baroness Gillian with a coronet after a very long musical prelude.
In July Baroness Gillian visited the canton to teach a dance class. This was followed by a party at Spurius' where everyone had a good time in spite of the amount of saffron in the fine cakes.
Pennsic IX was attended by a small group of Skraelings. There were three fighters: Mordain, who was chosen for the unbelted champions battle, Dumhardt and Theuderic, while Tsvetan scouted. This was a hard fought war, but the Midrealm won, taking the unbelted champions battle, the field battle, and the archery by a single point.
The autumn of AS XV saw many arrivals and departures. Thomas of Nil returned from the
southern parts of the barony. Mordain was once again sent into exile by his family, this time to the distant principality of An Tir, where he used the opportunity to improve his fighting skills. This was a longer exile than before and he did not return until spring. Two new members joined the group: Nain d'Islandia, a talented musician who introduced harping to the area, and Ellesair el Musifer, a tall young man with a great interest in fighting. On Mordain's departure Dumhardt
became marshal and Yusef MoS.
The month of October was a turning point for the group. By the end of the month everything had changed radically. It all began conventionally enough, with a small group of Skraelings (Aelflaeda, Galen, Eofric, Guillaume, Dumhardt and Spurius) attending the coronation of Laurelen the Second in Cleftlands. Here Dumhardt and Theuderic were given their AoA's, and a good time was had by all. Later in the month tensions in the group reached a boiling point.
For a long time there had been some problems with Spurius as seneschal, and it was felt that he was not doing his job effectively. These shortcomings were compounded by his dealings with the female members of House Aurelia. For much of the autumn Enid refused to attend meetings, and these meetings were usually chaotic with very little being accomplished in a very long time. Towards the end of the month, Spurius resigned as seneschal, and from house Aurelia to the relief of all. He continued to attend events in other parts of the barony for a time, but eventually he faded from sight. The seneschalate was taken up by Thora, who had recently been made deputy, and she soon restored order to the group. Eofric became exchequer, as Magnus had not been seen at meetings for a time. On Hallowe'en a party was held at Enid's at which the changes were discussed and agreed on. There seemed to be a feeling of reduced tension and rather more alcohol was consumed than usual.
Despite the turmoil in the canton the second annual Feast of the Hare, held in November, was a great success. Originally Spurius was to have been autocrat, with Aelflaeda cooking the feast. However after Spurius' departure Aelflaeda acted in both capacities, with help from the rest of the group. The event was the largest held by the canton up to that date. It was honoured for the first time by the presence of royalty, with Prince Hugo and Princess Caitlin having travelled up from Eoforwic to attend their first event as heirs to the Midrealm. Lord Caelwulf Longstrider from Starleaf Gate also attended acting as vicar for baroness Gillian, who had recently left Septentria for her native barony of Northwoods. Both the novice and open tourneys were won by Durnhardt, who defeated Prince Hugo in the finals. The feast went very well, with the entire canton helping in the cooking and the serving. After the feast a court was held at which several gifts were presented to the new royalty, including a mood meter for Prince Hugo, and a pineapple of some strange foreign substance for Princess Caitlin. Also at this court the group presented a play which had be written by Galen and Enid. Enid was the narrator Ellen a Dale, Galen was the evil Sheriff, with Katajan as Mrs. Sheriff, Yusef (when he remembered his lines) was Robin Hood, with Aelflaeda as Maid Marion and Ivy as Little Red Riding Hood. Lord Torbin of Amberhall who did not really like mushrooms, took the part of Will Scarlet, and Randolph the Red Nosed Rabbit played himself. This tasteful drama was well received by the populace. The post-revel after the event is remembered as being somewhat infamous.
December was another busy month. Katajan held a tree trimming party, and Tsvetan held a Christmas party which included sleigh rides. Guillaume left quite suddenly and returned to his family in the southern parts of the barony, where he was to remain for a long time. A large group of Skraelings attended the St. Nicholas event in Afon Araf the feast was a merry one with plenty of mead, wine and cinnamon sticks to be had. A group of Skraelings won the quest for the mitre of St. Nicholas. In addition it was at this event that Thomas and Jorunn officially announced their engagement and declared they would marry in May. On the journey home Jorunn's lady mother served the Skraelings a hearty feast in her kitchen which was appreciated by all.
This was a time when the canton was probably more closely knit than it ever had been before or since. The personal and political problems which had beset the group earlier in the year ended with the departure of Spurius, and it was still small enough to be more or less united. It was in the months to come that the group was to grow quite rapidly, and change from a small canton to a group large enough to consider being an independent barony.
The activities of Skraeling Althing did not cease with the arrival of the winter snows. A hardy group ventured to Septentrian Twelfth Night in Eoforwic. Enid was chosen Queen of Fools and picked Nain as her consort. Their asinine majesties kept everybody busy, by among other things having all announcements of dishes sung in, by having everyone at feast say something nice about bunnies, and by periodically having everybody run around the feast tables. After this rather rowdy feast there was a serious court, at which Aedan O' Kincora and Kaffa Muriath were officially declared vicars of Septentria. It was well known that they would soon succeed Gillian as baron and baroness.
Later that month Enid, Aelflaeda, Tsvetan and Theuderic made an extremely hazardous journey to Northwoods through a winter storm for Kingdom Twelfth Night. TSivia travelled to Andelcrag for the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in February, where she was given a long overdue Purple Fret for her many services by King Laurelen.
Within the Skraeling activities continued. The South Tower (known to some as "Soused Tower") Armouring Guild began meeting regularly, and was doing a great amount of work.
Elleasair in particular took up making mail with great enthusiasm. Dance practice and embroidery guild were also very active that winter. During this time the first annual "Black Tower Party" was held by the canton women. It was held so that the ladies could prove their masculinity, and a good time was had by all. The nature of the proceedings are kept secret so they cannot be herein revealed (although some say they involve very small mice and large frying pans).
There were some new people who joined at that time; Heironymous di Cavano (later
Thorgrimmr) a fiddler from Sicily, Dameon of Tor Draco, and two others who did not remain long Fergus and Robin.
The major undertaking of the winter was an ambitious project suggested by Tsvetan. He felt that there were enough talented people in the group to do a full scale play, with music and dancing. There was some opposition to the scale of what was being planned, but with some pressure the play went ahead. The talents of the group were expanded by a musical consort who offered to play background music for the play, and a drama group who asked to perform a short bawdy "play within a play". Rehearsals were often tense, but there were no casualties, and some of them were even enjoyable. The play known as "An Evening at Castle Althing" written by Enid and Tsvetan, was presented on April the 4th, and it was a great success. Some of the members of the audience were not even friends or relatives. The entire canton participated with Enid and Tsvetan as Lady and Lord of Castle Althing; Ivy and Yusef as the visiting Baron and Baroness; Galen as Father Arbeau; and the rest of the group singing and dancing. Enid, TSivia and Nain sang solos. All in all it was a most worthwhile venture, although it did consume most of the creative energies of the group that winter.
Again a large number of Skraelings travelled to Starleaf Gate for Clancy Day. Mordain returned from Lions Gate for the event, although his journey was not easy. A surprise at this event was the appearance of Theuderic, who had earlier declared he had no time for the Society and would henceforth apply himself to his studies. With him were six young fighters who were part of the new canton of Dubhras which he had recently founded. The Septentrian poet laureate competition was held that day, and was won by Thora who was most skilled in the Shakespearian sonnet form. Durnhardt and Mordain fought in the tourney, with Mordain coming third. It was at this event that Clancy Longstrider, the MoS for Starleaf Gate was given his award of paws by King Laurelen. Also Henry ofLinlithgow, a resident of Eoforwic who was a good friend to many Skraelings received his AoA.
The new year opened most auspiciously. On the fir day of May, Jorunn and Thomas were handfasted under a willow tree by a lake. There was much rejoicing. The following week almost the entire canton attended the coronation of Hugo and Caitlin in Eoforwic. This was a joyful event, for many worthy Skraeling folk were rewarded by the new royalty. TSivia was given a Willow. Thora, Katajaln, Galen, Eofric and Yusef were given their AoA's. Nain whose musical talents were becoming widely noticed was made Royal Harper. Enid acted as lady-in-waiting to the new queen at the coronation ceremony and other times in her reign. Mordain returned permanently from his exile in Lions Gate, none the worse for his experiences. A group of enthusiastic young men appeared at this event who, it appeared lived in Skraeling lands, but had never heard of the Society's existence there. Not all of them remained in the canton, but Linden and Renwick (who was later to bring his young brother Pieter of the High Hills) stayed in the group.
About this time the members of the canton decided that it was ready to petition for baronial status. In this they had the full support of the rest of Septentria, who recognized that if the northern lands were ever to be a principality there must be more than one barony. There was much discussion about whether the group was ready for such a step, led by Yusef who played devil’s advocate. However the decision was made unanimously to go ahead, and Enid was chosen as first Baroness, as was fitting.
In the latter part of the month several Skraelings travelled to Starleaf Gate for Crown Tournament. For the first time Skraeling fighters were taking part. Mordain who fought for Aelflaeda, and Durnhardt who fought for Thora, who was his lady at that time. Both fought well with Mordain reaching the quarter finals. The eventual victor was Moonwulf who defeated Talymar in the finals.
In June Thora and Katajan hosted a Feast of Love in honour of the recent marriage of Jorunn and Thomas. Mordain won the tourney, and Durnhardt won the research paper competition. The feast was a merry one with all the dishes being aphrodisiacs. The head table led the merriment with various challenges involving bread balls and other comestibles.
Later that month the canton of Afon Araf held an event known as the "Feast to Celebrate the Pacification of Northwoods". This was a somewhat controversial event in the canton, for it involved a war with Northwoods, Septentria's closest friend. When Baroness Gillian left Septentrian lands she declared it her intention to annex the lands of Baron Thorvald of Northwoods, a decision it was hoped would lead to a friendly war. This news was received with enthusiasm in most areas but there were some in Skraeling Althing and elsewhere who disliked the thought of fighting against their ancient friends and allies. Some unfortunate feelings were raised while this issue was being debated, but no permanent damage was done. Most of the Skraelings did not attend but Mordain (who needed no excuse to fight), Aelflaeda, Nain and Enid were present. As it turned out only four Northwoods fighters turned up but they combined forces with Septentria to repel an invasion of Easterners and mercenary rogues.
That evening there was an impressive torch-lit royal court where King Hugo and Queen Caitlin presented Nain with an AoA for his musical talents. Then Gillian resigned as Baroness Septentria and was given a silver coronet made by the queen herself as a mark of her new rank as Court Baroness. Aedan and Kaffa were then invested with gold coronets as the new Baron and Baroness Septentria, to much rejoicing. Their first action as Baron and Baroness was to distribute the wealth of the Septentrian lands to representatives of the cantons of the barony. This generous action had its catch however in that a portion of the fruits of this wealth had to be presented to Their Excellencies as taxes at Souwe'en. Mordain and Aelflaeda were entrusted with the cow and bull to begin building up the Skraeling herds, a task they took most seriously. Also Nain was appointed Baronial Harper to the new court.
After a busy spring and early summer, the rest of the summer was quite quiet. A small contingent of Skraelings went to Pennsic X where it rained incessantly. Mordain was the only Skraeling fighter that year, but he acquitted himself well, killing the King of the East in the champions battle (really a combined Septentrian effort). The war however was the Midrealms first loss ever (King Hugo's army being vastly outnumbered by the Eastern forces and their allies).
Eoforwic held an event in late August in honour of the Queens birthday. This was an amusing event for few nobles were present apart from the queen. The peasantry ruled the day and the tournament was fought with some interesting weapons including; mops, frying pans, rocks, skittles, spades, blankets and bunnies florentine. All of this led to the event having its own special PASE. After a desert revel a royal court was held at which Ivy and the absent Guillaume received their AoA's.
Skraeling Althing was far away from most of the Middle Kingdom, apart from the other Septentrian groups, but it was fairly close to several groups in the East Kingdom. The Barony of
Mountain Freehold was especially close, however up until the autumn of AS XVI there had been little contact between the groups, as kingdom boundaries formed a strong barrier. Nonetheless it was decided to seek out these neighbours, and a small group including TSivia, Mordain, Aelflaeda, Thomas, Ivy, Yusef, Heironymous and Elleasair attended an event in Mountain Freehold. They were quite impressed by what they saw, the site though primitive was a copy of a medieval village, situated halfway up a mountainside. There was an interesting and tiring quest, which involved climbing up and down the hillside several times. There were several melees, and Elleasair authorized to fight although he was not yet old enough to fight in the Middle. The outdoor feast was excellent, with more than enough left over for breakfast. The Skrae1ings who at times felt slightly alien as they were in a foreign kingdom where they knew no one, stayed together in a group most of the time. One evening they were sitting together in a small hut watching a candle which had been placed on Mordain's helm (as there were no candlesticks) bum down. A passing Easterner walked in on this domestic scene and asked, "How many Skrae1ings does it take to put a candle on a helm?" His answer was "Nine, one to put the candle on and eight to share the experience". This amused the group who rather enjoyed being noted for their clannishness.
The autumn saw several new faces, and the departure of some old ones. Durnhardt was seen less and less frequently, as was Eofriic. Renwick departed but his younger brother Pieter of the High Hills arrived. Femaliya Fyederovna of Noergate moved from that shire to Skrae1ing Althing, and a young man with considerable culinary skills named Jouvenal joined the group. Tsvetan left the Skrae1ing to seek his fortune in the southern areas of Septentria, and soon founded the canton of Der Welfengau of which he was first seneschal.
With the departure of Eofric and Durnhardt there were again changes in the executive. Dameon became exchequer, and Mordain ("The Eternal Marshal") once again took up the duties of the marshalate.
In October Enid made the long journey to Rivenstar for the coronation of Moonwulf the Second and Takaya. Here she was made a member of the Order of the Willow by Queen Takaya, a richly deserved award.
Several Skraelings attended the Souwe' en event in Afon Araf. On the journey down some stopped off in Eoforwic to attend a party at Duke Finnvarr's held in honour of the tenth anniversary of his knighting. The two man melee tourney was won by Finnvarr and Mordain (although Hugo claimed the team was stacked). A baronial court was held after the feast at which taxes were collected. Unfortunately there had been problems with the Skraeling herds as their breeding had been constantly hampered by the number of rabbits, who would keep jumping over the fences. Thus the only offspring that Mordain and Aelflaeda were able to return to Aedan and Kaffa was a cow with very long rabbit ears. Still this was received graciously by Their Excellencies.
The third annual Feast of the Hare was held in November. Again it was hosted by Thora and Katajan, but this time Katajan cooked the feast. She also brought along her mother, Eleanor d' Anglet, whose culinary skills as well as those of the hostess made her a welcome addition to the canton. The theme of the event was maritime and this was reflected in the feast, which featured a number of seafood dishes; and the tourney, which featured ship melees (including sharks). The baronial arts pentathlon was also partly judged at this event, and almost half the entrants were from Skraeling Althing. The winner was Thora with Nain coming second. The open tourney was won by Mordain, and the novice tourney by Edmund Fitztonge from West Yorvik.
The embroidery guild was active that winter, and most of its energies were directed towards the production of a tapestry for a competition to be judged at Baronial Twelfth Night. Everybody in the guild and many others worked on this ambitious project, which depicted the creation of the first hare, who was guarding the entrance to the Skraeling warren. Every longstanding member of the canton had an embroidered roundel which showed something which he had contributed to the group, or something which symbolized them. The best part of the tapestry was the large and very realistic reclining rabbit, made by a newer canton member named Lyanna of Northlake. Her place in group history is assured.
Several Skraelings once again braved the treacherous weather to travel to Baronial Twelfth Night in the new canton of Rising Waters. A good time was had by all, and many participated in the pillow boiling tourney, dancing, and various other peaceful pursuits. the bunny tapestry won the competition, but it was the only completed entry. Heironymous played his fiddle and Nain on his harp, both were well received. The Skraelings were hosted by the extremely hospitable Byron, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The journey home however was even worse than the journey down, and several steeds were unable to stay on the road during the blizzard.
Later in January the engagement of Aelflaeda and Mordain was announced. The marriage however was not to take place for some time.
The third Clancy Day was well attended by Skraelings. This was a good thing as it turned out. The tourney was not won by Mordain (who was tired of head table anyway), but by Hugo who continued the tradition of counts winning the tourney. King Moonwulf did some most impressive fighting defeating a string of challenger while he used only a single sword. For Skraeling Althing the most important part came at evening court. Several AoA's were given to worthy Septentrian gentles, and Aelflaeda was given her Purple Fret, much to her surprise. Then the canton was called up and told that its application for baronial status had been approved. Enid Aurelia went forward to be invested with her coronet by King Moonwulf (he used Aedan's as none had yet been prepared for Enid). There was great rejoicing that night, both in Starleaf Gate and back in Skraeling Althing, and there was little sleep to be had in the rooms in which the Skraelings (and friends) were staying.
Thus from small beginnings the canton had grown in four years to baronial size. The history does not end there however, for many even greater deeds were to be done by the new barony and its members in the years to come. This is not the place for those tales, they will be told in their own time.