Thursday, 13 July 2017

History of Vest Yorvik

At the command of Their Excellencies, Dafydd and Mahhild of Septentria, herein commences the history of the Canton of Vest Yorvik.

In the beginning, the heavens and the earth were created. After many aeons, the Society was formed, in the year .i. A few years after that, the Dream came to the great Inland Seas, and the lands that would become known as Ealdormere, but were first settled under the leadership of the famous hero Finnvarr de Taahe, under the flag of the Midrealm. This colony was named Septentria, and from this tiny kernel grew the wide and prosperous realm of Ealdormere.

At the time of the founding of the Barony of Septentria, a Canton existed in the western part of that land, called Noerlandia, located to the north of the Royal City of Eoforwic. That Canton, once prosperous and thriving, lost population until it was suddenly dissolved.

Some who had dwelt within Noerlandia’s bounds were among the founders of the Canton of Vest Yorvik. The device by which this Canton is known is Argent, a sheaf of arrows inverted, Sable, within a laurel wreath, Vert, and on a chief, Azure, two boars’ heads couped respectant, Or. The arrows denoted the prowess in and enthusiasm of many Canton members for archery. The Canton was founded in the year .xvii. of the Society. Some of its founding members included Viscountess Kaellyn mac Dermott of Leinster, Edmund fitz Tange, Imrahil, and Henry, who would become the first Baron of Skraeling Althing.
     The Canton also boasts a populace badge, to wit: Per fess Azure and Argent, a boar's head caboshed, Or, and a sheaf of arrows inverted, Sable.

It has long been a tradition in this Canton--none can say exactly how long--that at the dark of the year, the Canton members should gather to share food and merriment. It has been the usual custom to meet at the home of the family or member who has most recently moved house, to warm the house at the same time. All participants bring food or drink to share, and there is an election from among the members to award two distinctions which are bestowed annually.
     The Golden Goth is awarded to that neighbour in the Canton who has most contributed to our laughter and merriment. A molded image of a Goth with an axe through his head is the token kept by the winner for one year. Jessica’s Cup is awarded to the person who has most inspired us in the arts and sciences over the year. It was named for Lady Katherine de Harcourt, also known as Jessica de Touraine, who was a member of Vest Yorvik. Jessica was an unsung heroine, a brave lady who stopped to help a fellow traveller on the king’s highway, and in doing so, met with a tragic accident that ended her life. The tradition of the cup is that the recipient may take it to events, and have it refilled by neighbours from the Canton all day long.
     A third award given in the Canton, much more sparingly, is Gawain’s Arrow, given to one who has gone above and beyond in his or her service to the Canton.
     Another old tradition in Vest Yorvik, which has fallen into disuse, was the coffee kitchen that some of the members used to run at Pennsic. It was kept by Francesca (the first recipient of Gawain’s Arrow) and her family.

Near the beginning of the Canton of Vest Yorvik, a great archery shoot was held. About that time, the ceremonial spear of Vest Yorvik was made.

Hear now of how the Prester John did once visit Vest Yorvik, in the fair lands of Septentria.
     Verily, it did come to pass that the illustrious Prester John heard of Septentria, that she was fair and prosperous, a garden of delights, and a desire grew greatly in him to see this place. He set out from his own lands, where he ruled as a wise and just king, and he came east, across the warm sea, and through many weary leagues. Nor did he come alone, but with .ccc. strong men-at-arms, all marching in formation, their armour shining in the sunlight. The noise of their approach was like thunder. Great lords he had .xx. or .xxx., all clad in splendid raiment of silk and cloth-of-gold. They were mounted upon elephants, great animals of prodigious strength, whose footfalls made great craters in the earth as they passed.
     The tallest of them all was a great beast, pure white in colour, and perched upon a splendid seat like a golden throne on the elephant’s neck was Prester John himself. He was tall and straight, and bore himself nobly. On his head he wore a great turban, set with an enormous ruby in the centre. His garb was simple, but elegantly made, a silken alb embroidered with gold on the sleeves and the hem. An hundred camels they brought with them, and as many fine horses, laden with myrrh and spices of the Orient, fine cassia and precious saffron.
     Prester John, an humble and soft-spoken man, for all he was such a great king, requested food and lodging for his large party. He was made heartily welcome, and they stayed for many days. Prester John admired greatly the beauty of the folk of Septentria, and the prowess of the soldiers. He thought that the court was most opulent and the dwellings spacious and well-appointed. Daily he marvelled at some wonder created by the artists and scholars of this land. Finally, Prester John took his leave, sighing with regret, and having the gifts bestowed upon him carefully prepared for transport back to his home. For if none of these treasures survived the journey, he said, folk there would scarcely credit the wonders he had seen in these lands.
     Hardly an eye was dry when Prester John’s caravan disappeared from view, and many hoped that he might return again one day. But if he ever did, from that day to this, I have heard it not.

Long ago, a great competition was held, the first of its kind in Ealdormere, to display the finest work of the kingdom’s artisans. The artisans had to display great breadth in their talents, completing five different projects representing different crafts. This took place in the village of Caledon East.

In the year of the Society .xxiv., the Canton of Vest Yorvik and the Royal City of Eoforwic jointly hosted the Investiture of Their Serene Highnesses Palymar & Katherine as Prince and Princess of Ealdormere. On that day, some of the denizens of Vest Yorvik received honours: Ricard of Sable Tree was Laurelled; THL Heather McDormand received a Purple Fret, given for service to the Midrealm. The Pennsic Scouts received a Fretty (group Fret).

A.S. .xxv. Michel d’Arques and Kaellyn mac Dermott of Leinster, both members of Vest Yorvik, became Prince & Princess of Ealdormere.
     Lady Katrina de Touraine, who had been Principality seneschal for several years, was named a Pelican.
     Lady Aislinne of Alainmoor became a Master Chirurgeon.

Aedan na Kincora and Caffa Muirath stood down as Baron & Baroness of Septentria, after a reign of ten years, in the year .xxvi. Theirs was the second baronial reign in Septentria.

A. S. .xxvi. Leek Feast (Ealdormere Coronet Tourney):
     Master Ricard of Sable Tree from Vest Yorvik was made a Pelican

Also in this year, at Pennsic War .xxi., there was a small incident which later proved a great boon to the Kingdom. THL Ziegfried Gunter von Weaselberg had made merry a bit too heartily, and required to be helped back to his tent (ably assisted by THL Aislinne of Alainmoor). A cart was brought to convey him, but he was unsteady on his feet. After taking two steps to the left, and then a step to the right, he fell flat on his back in the cart. As he lay sprawled there, gazing up at the heavens, he was moved to remark, “Look at all the pretty stars!” Overhearing this, a young Lord Cinaed mec Donnachy took his advice, and took note of the stars, that they were fair and wonderful to behold, and began earnestly to study them, becoming one of the foremost experts in Astrology of Ealdormere.

A.S. xxvii. Doors (cloth cover for site door) appeared.
     The famous tavern “The Suckling Pig” first appeared.
     The first Orangeville demo (of .iii.) was held.

The people of Vest Yorvik took part in the Rainbow Festival (Mississauga), demonstrating our arts and sports. Another demonstration was held on the property of Farmer Chudleigh. Also, around this time, a household called “Martha” was founded. Its motto was “One nut too many”.

Some wonderful revels took place during the time of Baron Cordigan and Baroness Diane, to wit, A.S. .xxvi-xxviii. There was a 12th Night with a Baronial moot. Here the people of Vest Yorvik gifted to the Baron & Baroness some fine bearskin slippers. Another revel, which took place on the road that runs by the Inland Sea, was held in the style of old Byzantium. Delicacies from Byzantium were served, and there was dancing in the Byzantine style.

A.S. .xxix. THL Ziegfried Gunter von Weaselberg I & Lady Joleicia of Litchfield became Prince & Princess of Ealdormere.
     Lady Katherine de Harcourt (aka Jessica de Touraine—for whom Jessica's Cup is named) died.
     At Pennsic, Gunter & Mencken Brechen were knighted on the field at Pennsic, just before the field battle;
     Ealdormere was 5 years old.

A.S. .xxx. Ealdormere became an independent Kingdom, under King David the Greater and Queen Elina de Braose.

A.S. .xxx. Prince Roak III and Moria the Black had their coronation in a broken hall on Truscott Street. Lady Aislinne of Alainmoor cooked the feast, and the site tokens were live tulips in natural fibre bags.

A.S. .xxxi. Viscountess Kaellyn mac Dermott of Leinster was made a Pelican.

A.S. .xxxii.
     Septentrian baronial court was held at Lady Aislinne of Alainmoor & Lord William MacDonald of Balnagowan's personal encampment at the Pennsic War.
     Ziegfried Gunter von Weaselberg and Morgon le Faye were Prince and Princess.
     The Barony of Septentria received our taxes. Ieuan McKellmore stepped down as Baron, throwing his arm ring into Cooper's Lake; Adrielle Kerrec remained as Baroness.

In the year .xxxii., the members of the Canton enshrined the history of Vest Yorvik in a long scroll, many armspans long. The figures were drawn by THL Aislinne of Alainmoor, and painted by the Canton members. The history depicted on the scroll was compiled by Aislinne and the Lady Gytha.

     The lord John Patrick was supposed to present the history tapestry, but fell suddenly ill; Aislinne replaced him at the last minute, both in court and on the scroll.

A.S. .xxxiii. Osis & Caitlynn's Coronation was held, hosted by a coalition of Their Majesties’ Cantons: Vest Yorvik & Eoforwic & Skeldergate & Bryniau Twynnog.

November, A.S. .xxxix. Bad in Plaid I was held, at which THL Aislinne of Alainmoor was the chief cook. It was a typical revel, but with contests in who could wear the most plaid objects, who could wear the most garish plaid, and so on. Master Hector of the Black Height carried the honours in those contests. In the next .ii. years, Bad in Plaid was held .ii. more times, and the chief cooks were Lady Eleanor of Huntingdon and the lady Petra. At the third one, THL Aislinne became a member of the Order of the Crucible.

A.S. .xli. Lord Cinaed mec Donnachy and Lady Violetta da Parma returned to Ealdormere, settling in the Canton of Vest Yorvik.

September A.S. .xlii. A Volley of Arrows, a great festival of archery contests was held in this year. The event stewards were Lady Orlaith Fraser and the lady Petra, and the feast was prepared by THL Aislinne of Alainmoor. In the following year, a second Volley was thrown, with Lady Orlaith alone as event steward, and the feast was prepared by Lady Eleanor of Huntingdon.

January, A.S. .xlii. A baronial court kneeling pillow was presented at 12th Night to Their Excellencies Percival de la Rocque and Christiana Macnamara, who came from Vest Yorvik. This was a special project, wherein the Canton members sheared a sheep (THL Aislinne of Alainmoor, the lady Petra), processed and hand-dyed the wool in cochineal (Lady Eleanor of Huntingdon, THL Aislinne, Lady Bridget of Vest Yorvik and Eoforwic), and sewed together the pieces of the pillow (Lady Violetta da Parma). Lady Bridget did most of weaving with some assistance by other Canton members. The pillow is decorated with the badges of the various Cantons, each contributing their own badge. Every single member of the Canton of Vest Yorvik participated in the embroidery of the Vest Yorvik badge, including a small girl of two years & a dog.

January A.S. .xlv. The first great feast was held at the church of St. Paul. The chief cook was THL Aislinne of Alainmoor. The guests were sent away full of homely, tasty dishes to comfort the palate., and vowed to return the following year.

February A.S. .xlv. Lady Orlaith Fraser received the Bear’s Heart from Their Excellencies of Septentria.

January A.S. .xlvi. The second great feast (of .iv.) was held at the church of St. Paul. The theme was Tudor England, and the chief cook was Lady Eleanor of Huntingdon.

The most recent time that Step Spritely sponsored by Vest Yorvik as a Canton was the last one held at Trinity Church in February in the year .xlvi. THL Emma Dansmeyla gave her successful disputatio there, and was inducted into the Order of the Laurel, and is now known as Mistress Emma Danskona. The delicious feast was prepared under the direction of Lady Orlaith Fraser and Lady Eleanor of Huntingdon. Due to the presence of so many gentles at Mistress Emma’s Laurelling, Step Spritely saw a record attendance that year.

January A.S. .xlvii. The third feast (of .iv.) was held at St. Paul’s.
     The chief cook was Lady Orlaith Fraser. The theme was the Italian Renaissance.

November A.S. .xlvii. The Kingdom Arts & Sciences Fair was held in Burlington. Much money was raised, swelling the coffers of the Kingdom. The event steward was Lady Violetta da Parma, and the chief cook was THL Aislinne of Alainmoor , with every dish a subtlety.
     Lady Roselyne de l’Estrangere & Lord Daniele da Padova both competed in the Pentathlon; Helena da Padova sang with them. Roselyne found her heraldic voice that day, as well.

October A.S. .xlviii. THL Roselyne de l’Estrangere became Seneschale, succeeding fra Guillaume di San Marino. There was excellent turnout for the election.

January A.S. .xlviii. The final feast (of .iv.) was held at St. Paul's.
     The chief cook was Lord Daniele da Padola, directing a sumptuous Persian feast. Prizes were donated by THL Aislinne of Alainmoor (necklace of glass beads), THL Heather McDorman of Dormanswell (mice dolls in garb), and Lady Roselyne de l’Estrangere and Lord Daniele da Padola (Magnificat scroll with goldwork). Sir Siegfried Brandboern, but lately returned from the Crusades, was the gracious host of the feast. THL Darius the Dancer came to dance. THL Aislinne of Alainmoor came to dine, instead of to cook, for a change.

September A.S. .xlix. Coronation of Trumbrand III and Kaylah III on the grounds of the fair at Brampton.
    The chief steward was fra Guillaume di San Marino, the chief cook THL Aislinne of Alainmoor. The feast was served in 2 courses: recipes from 13th c. England for outgoing the monarchs Sigfried and Ragni (Duke Finvarr was much taken with the Great Pye!) and then Mongolian dishes for Their Majesties Trumbrand and Kaylah.

From September of A. S. .xlix. through June A.S. .l., Vest Yorvik met at Port Credit High School.

August-September .l. (Civic Holiday weekend, Labour Day weekend). Fairs were held at Unionville, in which our people of Vest Yorvik participated, to the profit of the Canton. Some skilled musicians were hired for one day--friends of Lady Orlaith Fraser. Friendly folk of Eoforwic came to join us, including Lord Willmar Grimsdyke and Lady Orlaith from Eoforwic. It was feared afterwards that Lord Willmar had taken great hurt from his efforts. The days were exceedingly warm at the end of that summer, and Willmar had a wound that reopened, and was troublesome to make heal.

September A.S. .l., On a fortunate day, Vest Yorvik began to meet at St. Francis of Assisi Church; fight practices began the following spring, held jointly with Monadh. THL Daniele da Padova and Lord Alexander the Blue of Monadh were the marshalls.

Feb. A.S. .xlvii. This was the way that the annual Step Spritely revel came to be held at the church of St. Francis of Assisi. The church of St. Paul, where the great annual feasts had been held, was destroyed, and the parishioners scattered. But at the final feast, a representative from the parish of St. Francis of Asissi asked fra Guillaume di San Marino to help them establish a similar feast in their parish. In return for this, the dance revel, looking for new premises, would be held at St. Francis.
     But the first instance when it was held at this church was a time of great struggle. Due to the impenetrable ways of this world, a kind lady had recently died, and her funeral had to be held on the same day as the great dance revel. The parishioners of the church were as thoughtful and accommodating to our needs as they could be, but they needed our support that day, as well. The time of our event was delayed. We began in quiet, so as to disturb the obsequies as little as possible. Our people dressed in sober weeds, not changing into their festival finery until later in the day.
     Because the revel was delayed, the noontime repast was as well. Although hot and cold drinks were provided all day for the guests, no food was planned until the midday meal. Therefore, Lady Roselyne de l’Estrangere, the event steward, wished to have some cakes purchased to allay the guests’ famine. She searched high and low for one to do the errand--but this one was hanging banners, and that one preparing the welcome table to greet the guests. This one was moving tables and chairs and that one preparing the drinks against the coming of the guests. What to do? She reproached herself, “Be not too nice to go and fetch the things thyself! Thou art the only one idle, and shall the others be taken from their work to do this office? Go thou thyself to the baker’s, only two streets’ distance away--it is the work of only a few minutes, and what could possibly go amiss in so short a time?”
     So saying, Lady Roselyne did take upon herself to hop over the snowdrifts and order some cakes from the baker. She did not tarry, but there were several customers, and the whole errand took, perhaps, the time to hard-cook two lots of eggs. But when she returned, lo, what did she see? There was a detachment of soldiers, in their long, red wain, such as are called when a house is on fire. There was a small company of barber-surgeons with their litter, as if to carry away wounded. There were two wains from the local constabulary, and a third coming up to the door! What could have happened here, in so short a time? Was anyone hurt? Were any in danger or trouble? Did it involve our own good folk, or was it the parishioners of the church who were afflicted?
     It was Lord Duncan Gabha MacLachlan MacLeod whom Roselyne met first, and he reported that it was a lady of the parish who had been taken suddenly and seriously ill, but who had managed to stop her wain in a safe place right in front of the church. No sooner had Roselyne left for the baker’s, but one had come racing down the hall, calling for a medic or a barber-surgeon to revive the lady. Two of our folk, who knew something of physick, went to help, and it was Fra Guillaume di San Marino who was able to revive the lady until the barber-surgeons could relieve him, and bring the lady to a physician. The doctors were fortunately able to save her, thanks to the quick action of Brother Guillaume, a very present help in time of trouble. As of this writing, the lady still lives, though she has gone away.
     Some of those attending the revel found it strange to be holding a feast where there was also a funeral, but all rallied when they became aware of the extra fortitude that was needed on that day. All the folk, the SCAdians and the Anglicans, stood shoulder to shoulder that day, to deflect the burning arrows of Fate. Our people of Vest Yorvik and the dance & music community have been on a very friendly footing with the people of St. Francis parish from that time. Amen. Since that fateful year, three more Step Spritely revels have been held in that hall, with the participation of many members of Vest Yorvik.
     At Step Spritely, in February, A.S. .xlviii., Lady Roselyne and Lord Daniele da Padova were made companions of the Order of the Crucible, by the hand of Queen Adrielle, second of that name. The Queen had attended without King Nigel, who was called elsewhere, and she valiantly kept us company that day, despite being ill with a terrible cold, for which she is remembered most kindly.

This is how the good people of the Society came to show our wares at the semi-annual Creativ Festival. The increase of our Kingdom being not what we would have it, and always desiring to attract more good folk to our doings, Lady Orlaith Fraser of Vest Yorvik suggested that we maintain a booth at the Creativ Festival. She spoke with those who manage that fair, and organized a party from Ealdormere to teach classes, and speak to the public who came. The first festival we attended was the one held in April A.S. .xlvi., and we kept our arrangement with them at .ii. shows per year, in April and October, for .iii. years. Many folk met with us there, and we had the opportunity to share our passions and talk to them about our arts and sciences and crafts, and some few may even have joined us. Some of the teachers at the last one of these, in October, A.S. .xlviii., were Maestro Piero di Paxiti da Vincenza, THL Roselyne de l’Estrangere and Lady Orlaith Fraser.

2 May A.S. .xlix. Dafydd & Mahhild took the Septentrian high seats; THL Roselyne de l’Estrangere took office as their Pursuivant.

Fall A. S. .li. The people of Vest Yorvik called to our neighbours, and went traveling on a pilgrimage, following along the river, and telling stories and singing songs to beguile the time. It was agreed that this should be done again soon, but no date has been set.

Here is a list of the baronial tax obligations prescribed for the past several years by Their Excellencies of Septentria, and how their Canton of Vest Yorvik has faithfully fulfilled them.
     Taxes for A.S. .xlv. 12th Night: the history of Noerlandia 
     Taxes for A.S. .xlviii. 12th Night: silk banner from each Canton, to represent the Barony's might at Pennsic). The Vest Yorvik banner was proudly displayed, as our Baron and Baroness took the field.
     Taxes for A.S. .xlix. 12th Night: largesse items. Vest Yorvik’s people made games and spice kits for the Baron and Baroness to gift to worthy gentles.
     Taxes for A.S. .l. 12th Night: largesse items (cookie moulds, spice kits, cookies, sundry items) + gift basket for incoming B & B. The basket from Vest Yorvik included a fine cheese from Normandy, in honour of Her Excellency Mahhild, who was born there, and leeks, honouring His Excellency Dafydd, who came from Wales.
     Taxes for A.S. .li. 12th Night: this history. It is late, and meagre, but the Canton members are still working on it.
     Taxes for A.S. .lii. 12th Night: a list of all the new things that Canton members have tried this year.

We have faithfully kept a log book, and devoutly hope the harvest in January will be even more bountiful than usual.

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