Passed October 2020.
|Awards of Rank (Foreign)||1990-06-16 MK Award of the Purple Fret|
|Award of Arms||1988-11-26 MK|
|Award of the Chalice's Crystal||1990-04-14|
August 29, 2015
The Emprise is to be a day of high tournament, heraldry and pageantry. We encourage everyone to come dressed as your persona would if going to an important event. Please bring your personal presences, banners, and shades to help add to the ambiance of the day!
There will be a helm show and procession as well as deeds of arms on the armoured combat, rapier and youth combat lists. Feast will be an intimate affair with special removes.
On August 29, the house ran an event (sponsored by the Canton of Ardchreag) called the Emprise of the Ermine Star. It was a day of high tournament, chivalry and heraldry. Sir Nigel led a team of six other tenans that also included HE Berend and THLaird Colyne against all challengers until honour was satisfied. At court, HE Wencenedl was put on vigil for the Order of the Laurel.A poem I wrote regarding part of the event:
For Helen GreyA second poem written to commemorate the event:
By THLaird Colyne Stewart
Amid the rustling banners bold
A tale is told of Korigan
Who fears no one, the wolf red-black,
Who from his pack will never stray.
For Helen Grey he stood the field
With sword and shield, and heavy axe,
To make me wax on honour bought
With how he fought for Helen Grey.
On August 29, 2015, at the Emprise of the Ermine Star, I fought Lord Korigan in a deed of arms. Part of the rules of the list were that if any part of a fighter other than their foot were to touch the ground, they owed a ransom to their opponent. I fell to the ground, and for my ransom Korigan tasked me to write a poem for his wife, Helen Grey.
Written using the aicill rhyme scheme where the final word of one line rhymes with an internal word in the next rhyme.
The Hart’s TaleThe Sixth Historie of Ard Chreag contains the followiing:
To my belt-sister, Wencenedl of Rokesburg, the first Arrochar apprentice to be invited to join the Order of the Laurel.
At Emprise gathered hushed host
To listen to the heralds’ toast
As king and baron took their seat
And called the Laurels forth to greet
A hart who wore the ermine star
A student come so very far
“Our Cenedl,” the king decreed
“You will from contract now be freed
At future date, once all agreed.”
And smiled on her where she kneed.
She went then from that honoured place
Accompanied by Kerrec Grace
And heard proclaim the gathered crowd
Who shouted forth their joy so loud.
Until at last the day came ‘round
To hear what answer she had found
Again she came to royal ground
Before the northern monarchs crowned.
“Our lands are lacking”, cried the queen,
Before those gathered on the green,
“We must amend this tragic flaw
And so we read this writ as law
And call on Cenedl the doe
Well known to all for skills she shows
With needle, thread and fabric bright
Compel us to take pen and write,
Induct her into order fair,
The dragonfly with braided hair
And be a Laurel of our lands.
So take now from the royal hands 30
Our document that states thereof
How rich you are in regal love.”
She takes the writ from royal glove
And so my sister soars above.
Year: A.S. XLIXThe Seventh Chronicle of Eoforwic mentions the event:
Event Title: Emprise of the Ermine Star
Date: August 29, 2015
Location: Tyrone Community Centre, 2716 Concession Road 7, Bowmanville, Ontario
House Arrochar (sponsored by the Canton of Ardchreag) presents :
Emprise of the Ermine Star
A day of high tournament, heraldry and pageantry.
As Nigel and Adrielle were reigning, they were unable to reprise the Emprise of the Ermine Star they had hosted the previous year, so the City hosted the Emprise of the Wolf and Bear in its stead. Helena, Nicolaa, Daya, Medb, and Willmar had prepared for some weeks ahead of this by painting banners that would be given to participants who exhibited various virtues. When AElfwyn had been put on vigil for the Order of Chivalry, she selected this day to hold her vigil and elevation, so the Emprise was done with the virtues that pertained most to her in mind. She stood vigil in the small chapel within the walls of the church.
By Maister Colyne Stewart, OP
Written during the Year of Plague, October A.S. 55 (2020)
You’ve heard it yelled at court. You’ve heard it thunder across battlefields. It echoes throughout the hallways of the north. Yet, what is “wassail”, and what does it mean?
Let us first look at the act of shouting said word, before we look into the word itself. It is a common practice across the SCA for people to have a cheer that they call out in celebration. Such ritualistic exultations likely date back to the creation of spoken language (with roots in energetic grunts voiced by our ancient Neanderthal ancestors). So it is not surprising to see its use within the SCA. (Indeed, attend a political rally or a sporting event and you will hear modern equivalents.)
The first kingdom in the SCA—the West Kingdom—established the use of the word “Huzzah” as their choice of cheer. According to Merriam Webster, “huzzah” is a cry of acclaim first dated to 1573. Many of the kingdoms that eventually were born out of the West likewise chose to use “huzzah”. Kingdoms descended from the East Kingdom tend to use the word “Vivat” (if cheering an individual) or “Vivant” if cheering a group. (Meaning “live long.”)
Ealdormere is descended from the youngest of the original three kingdoms, tumultuously born of the Dragon of the Middle Kingdom. The Middle chose a cheer that was similar to the West, though different—“Hoobah!” According to Merouda Pendra (Caer Anterth Mawr, Northshield) in a 2006 email archived on Stefan’s Florigelium, the Middle’s use of “hoobah” evolved out of
a couple of venerable and ancient Dukes [sic] trying to encourage some budding belly dancers with shouts of “hubba, hubba!”
This tale is corroborated by the Middle Kingdom’s Wiki, citing two witnesses: Duke Finnvarr de Taahe (who did not participate in the cat-calling), and Duke Merowald de Sylveastan (who did)..
Unlike the descendants of the West and the East, when Ealdormere became first a Territory and then a Kingdom in its own right, the wolf-folk did not elect to keep the cheer of their parent kingdom. (Due to its sexist roots, it is a well and good thing that we did not.) As already mentioned, Ealdormere’s birth was not an easy one (and is remembered as the Time of the Proscription). As noted in The Wolf, the Wilds, and the Will:
When the King of the Dragon Thrones read these letters he felt his kingdom was becoming unstable and crumbling around him and that regionalism was proving detrimental to the kingdom as a whole. Elegil then struck down the idea of regions, by calling his officers (some claim the minimum number of officers necessary) to enact a law, a law which prohibited any geographic area within the kingdom from calling itself a region, or by a regional name, or to choose for itself a champion. This was called the ‘Washroom Curia’ for, as the story goes, the king held the meeting in a privy. (This is disputed by others who say the meeting was held in the king’s kitchens the night before the Passing of the Ice Dragon.) As the king was already planning to attend a different event, the duty to announce this edict to the people of Ealdormere fell to his Prince, Palymar of the Two Baronies, and his Pale Herald, Mistress Graidhne. They brought the northfolk the dire news at Ice Dragon in Rhydderich Hael, in the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, where many Ealdormereans were always in attendance. Though the Middle Kingdom Seneschal, the Countess Genevieve, was also present at the event, she was unable to attend this announcement.
Due to how this matter was handled, it seems only natural that when Ealdormere finally gained its independence and was allowed to acknowledge its individuality that it would choose its own cry of exultation. (It is perhaps interesting to note that as of this writing, the Middle Kingdom Wiki has an entry for “Wassail” that does not mention it being Ealdormere’s cheer.)
The people generally given credit for choosing wassail as Ealdormere’s cheer are Baron Aedan o’Kincora and Baroness Caffa Muirath. In an article written for the Ursus #191 (December 1996), Duke Finnvarr de Taahe said:
For some of the more experienced people of our Principality, Aedan and Caffa were the special people who defined our community. For a decade they were the leading lights of what is now Ealdormere and what was then Septentria…
Aedan would occasionally explain that a crowned head in the Society should show himself as someone who was obviously like his followers, but able to do a little more. The tie between leader and follower should not be one between mighty lord and helpless subject, but a heart–to–heart tie between people who are very similar – who both had great potential to do good…
When we decided to build the Region of Ealdormere, Aedan and Caffa were among the leaders doing their part…
When an unjust edict brought Ealdormere down, they put heart into us so that we did not sink into futile bitterness. When the Crown Principality was created, they were there again, with Aedan as Lord Lieutenant – partnered with Baroness Enid as Lady Lieutenant – to lead the last push to the first Crown Tourney.
Finnvarr’s description of Aedan’s ideal of leadership is completely at odds to perceived events leading to the Proscription. Finnvarr recalls (in an email to the author) that Aedan, attending an event which the Middle Kingdom royalty rarely attended, shouted “Wassail!” instead of “Hoobah!” at court as a form of protest. How often Aedan may have used “wassail” in this way is no longer remembered, however, it can be said (in fact it has been, by me, in The Wolf, the Wilds, and the Will) that:
Aedan left an indelible mark upon the new Principality, a mark that is still with us to this day. For the proclamation of Ealdormere’s new status was made at Pennsic War [A.S. 23, 1998], and Prince Reynard, heir to the throne of the Middle Kingdom, came to Aedan’s camp to celebrate. Aedan, who had been named Lord Lieutenant of Ealdormere, toasted the new Principality with a great “Waeshael!” and this was to become the cheer of the northlands for ever after. Around that same fire another Ealdormerean tradition was begot by Septentrians (or so the story goes). Two Eoforings, being John of Slaughterfield and Alistair Kirk of Inness, toasted Prince Reynard as His Lupine Highness. Forever after, this would be how Ealdormereans referred to their Majesties and Highnesses, as that of Lupine.
In Our Homeland, Beloved Ealdormere, by Dame TSivia bas Tamara v’Amberview, she includes the announcement sent by Aedan and Enid to the peoples of the north telling these glad tiding, which they concluded by saying “Wasshael!”
You ask, but what does it mean? “Wes þú hál” (also spelled “wassail” and “wasshael”) is an Anglo-Saxon phrase meaning “be in good health.” (In Old English it is "wæs hál".) In an email to the author, Dame Enid Aurelia of the Tin Isles, recalls:
My memory is that Mistress Caffa, Baroness Septentria, proposed it. There were so many early period SCA personas, it fit to have an Anglo Saxon toast (the correct response to “Waeshael” is “Drink Hael!”, as she also taught us.)
Indeed, “wassail” is a kind of toast, which would have been practiced in 12th century England (with roots leading much farther back) that would have included the raising of tankard and glass, the making of well wishes, and rowdy comaradherie.
We see, then, that the cheer is an SCA tradition going back to the early days. We see that Ealdormere chose a unique cheer, as a sign of independence and individuality. We see that the chosen cheer has roots in Anglo-Saxon times, as many of the founders of Ealdormere had early period personas. However, there may have been another reason Aedan and Caffa chose this particular word with its Anglo-Saxon roots. If we turn again to my book:
Though the idea of Ealdormere was now an outlawed thing, still it lived on in the hearts of all the north folk, especially in those who lived in Septentria. Both Aedan and Caffa helped keep the people’s hearts and hopes alive, in the belief that eventually, Ealdormere would be free and recognized. Indeed, Lord Alistair Kirk of Inness points out that this proscription helped formalize the animal totem of Ealdormere. For the term “wolf’s head” means outlaw, and many in the north were proud to be wolf’s heads.
According to Merriam Webster, wolf’s-head is an archaic term for outlawry and for an outlaw derived from
Middle English wolfesheved, from Old English wulfeshēafod, interjection used in wolf-hunting and in pursuing an outlaw, literally, head of a wolf, from wulfes (genitive of wulf wolf) + hēafod head
Did Aedan and Caffa purposely choose a cheer with Anglo-Saxon roots to coincide with the rebellious nature of the wolf imagery being used at the time? Or is this connection a coincidence or flight of fancy of this author? Perhaps some future chronicler will find out for sure.
Boucher, Elyse C. (Merouda Pendry). E-mail dated Sat, 22 Jul 2006 collected in “SCA-cheers-msg.” Stefan’s Florilegium, 15 Nov. 2008. http://www.florilegium.org/files/STORIES/SCA-cheers-msg.html. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
Bulman, Jennifer (Enid Aurelia of the Tin Isles). “Re: Wassail.” Message to Todd H. C. Fischer (Colyne Stewart). 25 Sep. 2020. E-mail.
Fellmeth, Aaron X. and Maurice Horwitz. “Caput lupinum,” Guide to Latin in International Law, Oxford University Press, 2009.
“Hoobah.” MiddleWiki, Middle Kingdom, 24 Oct. 2020, http://middlewiki.midrealm.org/index.php/Hoobah. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
“Huzzah.”, Merriam-Webster, nd. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/huzzah. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
“Inter-Kingdom Anthropology.” An Tir Wiki, Kingdom of An Tir, http://antir.sca.wiki/index.php?title=Inter-Kingdom_Anthropology. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
“Manners Around Court and Other Places.” East Kingdom Wiki, East Kingdom, last updated 11 May 2009, https://wiki.eastkingdom.org/index.php?title=Manners_Around_Court_and_Other_Places. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
Muhlberger, Steven (Finnvarr de Taahe). “Baron Aedan and Baroness Caffa,” Ursus #191, Dec. 1996.
Ibid. “Re: Wassail.” Message to Todd H. C. Fischer (Colyne Stewart). 1 Oct. 2020. E-mail.
Rabinovitch, Shelley TSIVIA (TSivia bas Tamara v’Amberview). Our Homeland, Beloved Ealdormere, privately printed, 1998.
“Vivat.”, Merriam-Webster, nd. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vivat. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
“Wassail.” Cunnan, Kingdom of Lochac, last updated 14 Jan. 2008. https://cunnan.lochac.sca.org/index.php/Wassail. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
“Wassail.”, Merriam-Webster, nd. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wassail. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
“Wassail.” MiddleWiki, Middle Kingdom, last updated 12 Nov. 2018. http://middlewiki.midrealm.org/index.php/Wassail. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
“Wolf's-head.”, Merriam-Webster, nd. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wolf%27s-head. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
This important event happened during the modern year 1999, in which my lady and I are were in the middle of moving our estate from the Barony of Septentria to the Barony of Skraeling Althing. As such, I did not document it at the time, and am making up for that oversight now.