The Awesome of Nov. 21st

(Things I find when going back through the draft post folder)

Baron/Duke Orlando Cavalcanti asked me to write up the details of my vigil and elevation for his historical records. The below is that write-up, with extra info. Later, maybe next week, I’ll have a post about my thoughts on the vigil and elevation that’s been baking for the last two months and I’m still wrestling with.


My Vigil

Friday night I sat vigil. First, we had to get the vigil tent up. Unfortunately, the ridge pole had been left at home. So my vigil started with making a twenty-four foot long ridge pole. Because the tent is massive:

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I spent the night in vigil until the sun came up. When I was thinking years ago about what I’d want to do for my vigil that seemed like a good idea, so I followed through with it. Many, many friends made it happen.

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My quiet contemplation included many congratulations, many touching words, sickle fighting, and cutting Miguel’s hair off.

Raph did it, I only watched

Being of a somewhat populist bent, I went by first come, first serve, and ended up getting to speak to a number of newer fencers as a result. As newer fencers they felt they didn’t have much to say beyond “congratulations”, so I engaged them with questions – what did they hope the SCA would be, and where would they like Meridian rapier to go? I feel part of my job is to make those hopes a reality (where they won’t hurt Meridies or the Society). This is where we coined an alternate meaning of the phrase “To Jimmy your vigil”.

My Prize

At 10 am the next morning (after an hour and a half of sleep), I held the field against all comers, which turned out to be somewhere around 40 fencers. The all-night vigil did not seem like such a great idea then.

It took apparently far longer than I realized (I was guessing an hour). It was not artful. It was animal hindbrain making much kill happen. The record was something approximating 30-1-10. Not sure about the other numbers, but sure about the 1.

Ella set a different sort of challenge: I had been told my words had the power to lift spirits (btw, Vigil Bingo now includes “People will tell you your words can crush souls, but they can also life spirits!”). She called Toki over and challenged me to lift her spirits. Nobody will admit to tears.

 

My Outift

…was pimptacular.  Check it:12289625_10154340723297786_6001209642322188882_n

 

I’ve put the thanks about elsewhere. The seamstress who made the suit wrote up her part of the process here:

English Suit 1564

And here it is with the collar (and a couple other features):

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My Elevation

I entered through a sword arch of rapier fighters. As mentioned, I have a populist bent, and the Order of Defense would not exist without a strong rapier community actively contributing to the SCA. I wanted them to have some role in the ceremony, so I asked them to take part in mine in this way because there would have been no peerage for me to receive without all the fencers. I went with the sword arch because they couldn’t all fit in the space in front of the thrones. Also, because sword arch.

Matthias sang “L’Homme Arme”, a 15th century song which was incorporated into many Mass settings through the 16th century. It’s lyrics translate roughly to:

The armed man should be feared.

Everywhere it has been proclaimed

That each man shall arm himself

With a coat of iron mail.

The armed man should be feared.

I’ve always liked it as a marching song.

I processed under a banner made and held aloft by my dear friend, Rowan. It included, along with the flag of Meridies and my arms, the badges of Atlantia and the two baronies I have lived in, my household, and my awards, a history of my career in the SCA. Behind her followed my Student, Toki Ima, with the sword I would receive in the ceremony, and behind her one of my former students, holding aloft my rapier helmet plumed with black and white ostrich feathers.

My lady escorted me, followed by my household and members of my foster household, della Civetta.

My Worthies represented traditions and views from both the kingdom of my “birth” (Atlantia) and my new home, Meridies.

Originally, I was to have two Pelicans speak for me, one from each kingdom – Master Ximon could not make it, and sent his words with Master Nikulai, a friend from my first day in the SCA.

Sir Ragnarr Ribcracker of Atlantia and Sir Aidan of Meridies spoke on behalf of the chivalry.

My wife’s apprentice sister, Maestra Livia Zanna, was originally planned to speak as my Laurel, but could not make it, and her words were read by Baroness Mistress Adela.

Master Morgan Ironheart spoke as my MOD.

In Atlantia, the Ladies of the Rose are considered a peerage unto themselves. They are part of a “Worthies” ceremony, have a tournament dedicated to them each year (the Golden Rose), and are highly revered and a little feared (Atlantian Roses are the big guns called in to solve a problem, especially one of personalities). Atlantian fencers are taught they fight for the queen, and so Roses have a special place in my heart (I also have roses on my MOD collar for that reason). Countess Kari had been hoping to speak for me, but family obligations called her away. Her words were ready by Countess Emelyne, who also provided her own words.  Duchess Gwen had been planning to read for Countess Kari, but could not attend the event.

I chose for my Royal Peer Duke Thomas. Unfortunately, in our communications, I thought I had let him know this. I had not. Luckily, he extemporized beautifully.

I was then presented with my Master of the Order of Defense cloak, then with the Sword, which have generally been the “extra” pieces of regalia.

For the Sword, I chose a Spadone, an Italian two handed sword. My student, Toki Ima, presented the sword and read these words: “This is a Spadone, the sword of a master. It is the tool by which students are instructed and disciplined. Use it and teach well.”

In 16th century Spain and Italy, Spadones (Montantes in Spain) were the mark of a Master in a school. Visiting masters would be given a place to sit and a Spadone. The Masters’ portraits in the frontice pieces of a number of manuals show them with their great sword, including my favorite master, Nicoletto Giganti:

This frontice piece was also the inspiration for my MOD scroll.

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I actually had to borrow my Spadone from a friend; there’s a ten-month backlog for the manufacturer I was hoping to buy one from.

At that point I took the oath of fealty and they placed the collar on me. The oath of fealty was a moment of amusement for me. I had been diligently working to memorize it, and had done so, but was so choked up it was taking me a moment to get the words out. The herald started prompting me, so I held up a finger at him to ask his patience. He didn’t notice, so he and I ended up saying it simultaneously.

My collar has across the back “CERTO”, my motto. It means “I strive”, or “I struggle,” or “I fight.” These three things encapsulate my entire journey to this peerage. The collar also has rosette studs decorating it. These are three-fold: my 16th century persona is an Elizabethan, they represent the Tudor rose; as mentioned, the fencers of my birth kingdom, Atlantia, has a devotion to the Roses that I will never lose; my peer’s heraldry features a rose, and my apprentice belt had the same rosettes on it – they remind me of my lineage and those who helped me reach this day.

I then received the Last Unanswered Challenge from Her Majesty – she delivered a slap with a pair of white gloves, which carry her arms. I will cherish these as a sign of her favor, and a reminder of the duty she laid upon me.

Here there was a slight hiccup – the MOD were supposed to be summoned into court, and I was supposed to take the Master of Defense oath. That was forgotten. I snuck it in at the next MOD elevation.

5 comments to The Awesome of Nov. 21st

  • Tibbie Crosier

    Excellent post, demonstrating your worthiness. Thank you very much for thinking of the non-peer rapier fighters, the newer fighters, and your student, as well as all those who inspired and guided you in two kingdoms. Thank you as well for all the historical detail you put into your ceremony, clothing, and accoutrements.

    This question may be answered in your future post about your thoughts around the elevation, but do you see yourself as having made a journey from “me” to “we” in becoming a peer? That is, perhaps in the past you focused on increasing your own excellence but now you feel responsible for increasing the excellence of the rapier fighters in your kingdom.

  • Gawin

    Is the scroll another one of Letia’s?

  • Hawke

    Among other things, I’m a huge fan of the ‘first come, first serve’ style of vigils ( with the singular exception of sitting royalty ). I’ve had friends sit vigil that I gave up on after three hours, because I just kept getting rank-bumped.

    Our first three MoDs all did the same thing, and while there were a small handful of pissy peers, almost everyone else appreciated it.

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