BARONY OF SKRAELING ALTHING, EALDORMERE – Local Barony member Launslote du Letch was inducted into the brand new Ordre de l’Escalier Manquant by Her Majesty Ruxandra Zabellyska of Ealdormere. Since he did not have an Award of Arms, Launslote was thrilled with his new status, as he believed inclusion in the order automatically conferred an AoA. The Queen did not disabuse him of the notion.
In an exclusive interview with The SCAllion, Her Majesty said, “We’ve had problems with du Letch for years. He has caused several uncomfortable situations with femme and non-binary members of my kingdom, but his behavior usually does not cross the line into a reportable offense, and when it does, his victims are too traumatized or frightened to report it. Unfortunately, Launslote is a member of Duke Bedyvere Brasenhed’s household and calling out a friend of the Once and Future King is seen as politically problematic for a lot of vulnerable people.”
The Ordre de l’Escalier Manquant is a new award for the Kingdom and does not confer any precedence. Meistari Bosi Englandsfari, the Principal Herald of Ealdormere explained how the award came to be, “Before she was a peer, Ruxandra never received an explicit confirmation from the Kingdom Seneschal as to whether the SCAdian who had attacked her at a camping event had been officially reprimanded or if he faced any repercussions. Because she felt the “business side” of the Society never supported her and due to various other incidents she and I have observed in our 20+ years in the SCA, at her Curia she created this new order, the Ordre de l’Escalier Manquant. The award recipients are receiving appropriate recognition for actions and behaviors below the threshold of action for the ‘business side’, but she has also created a way for others to recognize those who may exhibit problematic behaviors.”
“Marginalized people usually have a way of communicating about bad actors,” Queen Ruxandra said tiredly. “The Kingdom’s policies about secrecy make it hard to protect ourselves. Since they will be listed in the Kingdom OP, I just made it easier to figure out who they are.”
Princess Quiteria Cerrada, the Queen’s heir, seeing the success of the new Order has vowed to create an additional order called the “Ordre de l‘Escalier Cassé” as a step down for the recipients of the previous award. “Let them think they are getting a Grant of Arms,” Princess Quiteria said, “I am tired of creepers being a part and parcel of The Dream.” The Ordre de l’Escalier Cassé comes with a banishment from the presence unless a higher level banishment is currently in force.
BARONY-MARCHE OF DEBATABLE LANDS, ÆTHELMEARC — To a certain group of women in the SCA, status is everything. These women all run in the same circles. Their significant others attend the same tournaments, they attend the same Laurel meetings, and, in the summer, they all head to Pennsic, an event that embodies a complete concentration of SCA power and privilege. This year will be no exception, but the star power of these medieval luminaries will, for the first time, be showcased for the modern world; Pennsic 50 will play host to a Bravo camera crew, there to film a new, exciting series: The Real Duchesses of Pennsic.
The franchise, which follows the supposedly-real housewives from such centers of wealth as Orange County, California, and New York City, takes a look at another privileged group of women known for displaying their big personalities, luxurious garb, and elaborate camps. Among them are the spouses and girlfriends of multiple-tournament winners, shameless rhino-hiders, and knights made good. The cast is varied, but not particularly diverse; they are made up of five attractive, straight, white women from five kingdoms within the Knowne World.
The SCAllion asked. Find out how the other half lives:
Her Grace, Duchess Adolana of Strasbourg, former Queen of Ealdormere
Bio: A two-time queen of the kingdom of Ealdormere in its early days, this formidable dowager is a much beloved institution within the hearts of the loyal populace. Although seemingly graceful and generous during the hot Pennsic days, word has reached The SCAllion that she lets her inner wild-child out to play during the nights.
Tagline: “In the politics of SCA royal peerages, I always win the popular vote.”
Her Grace, Duchess Pierozza Parmesiniof Calontir Bio: Fresh off the progress of her second reign, Duchess Pierozza is known as much for her beauty as her penchant for non-persona garb. She might look Norse, but when it comes to the Pennsic social scene, she embodies the intrigue and glamor of the Italian renaissance.
Tagline: “I’m not just a fighter’s lady with a taste for somewhat appropriative summertime garb – I’m a legend.”
Her Grace, Duchess Sandrine Babiloine of Atenveldt
Bio: A three time queen who has ruled alongside three different kings, Duchess Sandrine causes a stir at every event she attends. It’s rumored that she’s going to be on the lookout for her next King ahead of Atenveldt’s summer crown tournament in late September. She has been overheard saying, “All those other inspirations better lock up their fighters!”
Tagline: “I have a taste for power and power has a taste for me.”
Her Excellency Countess Sile inghen Connoghor of the Outlands
Bio: Although she has only been queen once, Countess Sile runs with the other duchesses on the strength of her rigid control over her kingdom’s Laurel community. Under her influence, the Laurels of the Outlands have admitted only three people to their ranks in the last decade. Though many complaints about the Countess’ sway have emerged over the years, she takes it all in stride and does not let it bother her.
Tagline: “I never feel guilty about preserving our integrity; we don’t let in just anybody. If being a gatekeeper is so wrong, why does it feel so right?”
Her Grace, Duchess Johanna ffeyrmayden of Æthelmearc
Bio: Celebrated as the uncrowned queen of Pennsic since she debuted in the royal role over five years ago. Partying with this duchess at Pennsic is considered to be a sign that a member of the populace has arrived, socially. Always fun, always where the mead is, and always ready to jump into a Bardic circle with original songs, sensation and scandal follow wherever Duchess Johanna goes.
Tagline: “Pennsic is my playground and when evening arrives, I’m the real King of the Castle.”
Although Duchess Adolana was almost certainly recruited due to her connections to other royal peers throughout the Knowne World, the same sense of grace is not usually attributed to the other Duchesses. One can hardly forget about the amateur adult film that was released online following Pennsic 42. Although the performers could not be immediately identified, the Pennsic site and the royal regalia they wore was more than enough to reveal the lackluster performers were then-King Adalbret Clobeloch and his queen, Duchess Sandrine. While Adalbret earned an R&D over the incident, Duchess Sandrine had, by that time, moved on to her current paramour, Duke Thebald Valret, who is said to have exercised his influence to help her evade any society-imposed consequences.
Duchesses Johanna and Pierozza are also no strangers to controversy stirred up at Pennsic. The entire site was inundated with gossip after a seemingly private conversation was leaked. The topic of the leaked gossip was Countess Sile, the duchesses’ remarks on her lower title, her allegedly inauthentic garb, and her inability to admit anybody lacking at least one PhD into her kingdom’s broken branch of the Order of the Laurel. Though news of this gossip mildly offended the Countess, it was their harsh commentary of her oft-performed free-verse poem, entitled “Healing”, that she performs at every bardic circle she comes across, that ended up transforming the countess into the Drama Queen. Duchess Pierozza was overheard to remark, “That poem is not even remotely medieval in subject, language, or form. I’m pretty sure she wrote it in therapy.”
“No shit – and talk about cringy,” Duchess Johanna is said to have responded, “No need for firewood! The fire could be fuelled entirely by second-hand embarrassment. I feel sorry for her.”
Although the two deny it, they are credited with referring to the poem, which lasts for approximately 15 agonizing, soul-crushing minutes, as “the universally recognized death-throes of the bardic circle.”
It is reported that Countess Sile had her revenge when the QR code for Duchess Johanna’s previously private OnlyFans elbow-fetish site was painstakingly painted onto the portajohns. “F*ck with a Laurel, will they?!?” Countess Sile was purportedly heard to mutter, “I can paint detailed, photorealistic QR codes IN MY SLEEP!”
Given the established notoriety these Duchesses have earned at past Pennsic Wars, The SCAllion looks forward to seeing how they plan to top their current reputations.
BARONY OF HIGHLAND FOORDE, ATLANTIA – In a moment that stunned the Knowne World, a Laurel has entered and won Crown List in Atlantia with the weapons form of a center-grip shield and three-ring binder of poetry documentation.
Her Highness Isolde, OL, presented herself at the field prior to Crown list and was told that she could both enter and use her documentation as a weapon by the Kingdom Earl Marshal, a giraffe with a 12th century Welsh persona. She then proceeded to wield that documentation flawlessly, coasting undefeated to the finals, where she bested Sir Ourri d’Atainville to become the new heir to Atlantia.
“I don’t even know what happened,” Sir Ourri told us. “How do you just show up one day for your first fight ever, and be allowed on the field with a weapon that looks like a phone book. It’s not in any rules I know.”
One bystander was more excited. “She entered and just cleaned up,” we were told. “Every time ‘lay on’ was called, Her Highness walked up to her opponent and just started beating them over the head with her documentation until they called it. It was beautiful.”
Sir Ourri plans to contest the results based on the nonstandard weapon and unusual authorization, but The SCAllion (and Mistress Isolde) can find no violation of the rules and policy interpretations recently laid down by the Board of Directors and Society Earl Marshal.
Mistress Isolde said of her victory:
Shall I lambast thee on a summer day? With just a binder full of notes and songs? Woulds’t thou prefer a troubadorish lay For me to give thee all of thy kabongs?
Sometimes too hot the poet’s eye doth shine As scorn it heaps upon its fearsome foe So call your shots, man up, and do not whine And by a poet’s rhymings be laid low.
My blows shall rain upon thy helm like rain For nothing is so like itself as rain. And now you find yourself in dreadful pain Since rain,rain, rain, rain, rain is this quatrain.
So long as one can breathe or eyes can see Fall down, you’re dead, at least please take a knee.
The SCAllion shall continue to track Princess Isolde’s upcoming reign with great interest.
BARONY OF SETTMOUR SWAMP, THE EAST — In a move which has been met with surprise and astonishment, the combined peerage orders of the Kingdom of the East have unanimously approved a standard fealty oath for use by all peers throughout the kingdom who wish to swear fealty.
According to sources in-Kingdom, King Báetán mac Fergaile and Queen Coblaith ingen Fechtnaig asked their peerage orders to create a standardised oath in the aftermath of the specialised, incredibly lengthy, fully-documented period oath given to them this weekend by Magistra Ahelissa de Glack. Now known widely as The Oath of Two Score Terms And Twelve, it was 20 minutes long and kept Their Majesties from badly-needed bathroom breaks.
The official form of the new standard oath is recorded in several languages, to enable some flexibility for peers of different cultural personae.
For example, the Latin form of the oath is thus:
Non te dedam Non te deficiam Non vagabor et deseram te Non te lacrimabit Non dicam vale Non mendiar et laedam te
For those peers with Jewish personae, the Hebrew form of the oath reads:
לעולם לא אוותר עלייך לעולם לא אאכזב אותך לעולם לא אתרוצץ סביב ואעזוב אותך לעולם לא אגרום לך לבכות לעולם לא אומר להתראות לעולם לא אספר שקר ואפגע בך
Peers from the Arabic-speaking regions may enjoy this version:
لن أتخلى عن الأمل فيك لن أخذلك لن أركض وأتركك لن أجعلك تبكي لن أقول وداعا لن أقول لك كذبة وأجرحك
The Middle English form of the oath is as follows:
Ich schall relinquishe þe nevere Ich schall faile þe nevere Ich schall rave awei nevere, nor leve þe Ich schall encausen þe wepest nevere Ich schall sprece ileve niminge nevere Ich schall sprece gabbe nevere nor bane þe
Translations in other languages are available from Baroness Theodhild, Brigantia Herald.
Asked to explain the words chosen, Lærifaðir Gunni Stillingr, a member of the Order of Laurel who assisted with the translations explained, “It’s not that strange a move, it’s important that everyone involved knows what the rules are. Fealty is about making a full commitment.”
Despite the unanimous vote, some peers are not entirely on board with the new standard wording. “This is against all the traditions of the East,” complained Baron Estienne Flambard, a long-time Pelican. “But their Majesties know the game, they’re going to play it, and we have to go along. If you ask me how I’m feeling about this whole situation, well, my heart’s been aching since it was announced.”
Master Ricardus de Asteleghe, a Bardic Laurel, was more enthusiastic. “We’ve known this move was coming for so long,” he gushed. “I love it, and I’m not too shy to say it. I never want to give this up.”
Sources close to Theodhild Brigantia report that she spent the day after the announcement staring into the middle distance with a bottle of wine, muttering, “So it’s come to this.”
BARONY OF POLITARCHOPOLIS, LOCHAC – The Crown Prince and Princess of Lochac, Ruodeger Angist and Kiterna de Kaxtone, have stated that they were inspired by the example of King Charles III of England to call for all members of the Kingdom to swear an oath of allegiance at their upcoming coronation. “We thought it would be fun,” said Prince Ruodeger, “and since Charles had already scheduled his Coronation on top of ours, we felt fine about nicking his idea.”
The idea has not been well received, either in the UK or in Lochac. However, it seems likely that more people would be willing to swear such an oath in Lochac than in the UK, since a SCAllion poll suggests that as many as 15 Lochacians said they might consider it, which is a significantly higher number than in the United Kingdom.
The most common response on the poll in both Lochac and the UK was “I’m on smoko, leave me alone.”
The Kingdom of Avacal also has a coronation in May, and The SCAllion asked them to comment. Oddly enough, they didn’t seem to care. The East does not have a coronation in May. The SCAllion did not ask them to comment, but they keep calling and leaving messages on our voicemail saying that the East, too, is on smoko.
Atlantia has recently seen a succession of Crowns all belonging to a single household, with three of the five couples achieving their duchy. We sat down with the original duchess of the household, Her Grace Emmeline Neuburg, OL, to ask her how the household has managed seven consecutive reigns.
The SCAllion: Your Grace, the Neubergs have had seven reigns in a row, and today the seventh steps down from the throne. Duncan and Rhiannon are both members of the household, correct?
Emmeline Neuburg: Yes, they are. Duncan was my late husband’s squire, and Rhiannon is my apprentice.
S: How does it feel to be at the end of a four year run of your household supporting royalty?
EN: I think it has been very helpful to everyone in the household to understand exactly what it means to sit on the thrones before they fight in Crown, because we’ve all been very involved from the beginning. I’m just sorry that Michael passed away last spring and didn’t get to see our plan through.
S: Your plan?
EN: Of course. In many ways, this has been a culmination of both his training methods and my A&S project into appropriate period performance-enhancing supplements.
S: Can you explain further?
EN: I’m a Laurel now, but when Michael and I were first getting serious about Crown Tournament, I hadn’t found where I wanted to focus my research. Now, being a Queen is disruptive to actually getting research done, but after the first time, I decided I wanted to look at the work of women herbalists and midwives. I found one “recipe for soldiers” that I thought looked interesting, and made a batch to enter at Pennsic A&S. Well, Michael, bless his heart, grabbed the wrong bottle just before the field battle. He came back in sucha good mood and not at all tired!
S: So, the effect was to give him more energy?
EN: In so many ways. He’d fought in the front of every battle and said it was like he’d just finished warm ups. Of course, now I didn’t have an entry, but we’d found something worth knowing.
I kept refining the recipe, looking at other similar examples, and he used it before every Crown he fought in and won.
About 5 years ago, his former squires were starting to get really serious about Crown, so he stepped up the household practices and we talked about what it would look like to have a solid bloc of royalty with the same philosophy about reigning and the continuity we could bring. We had also never tried “Duke Juice” on anyone else!
S: This is when you brought the rest of the household in on your secret?
EN: it wasn’t really a secret, most people just didn’t believe it was a period recipe, or if it was, that it did anything! Getting the correct dosage such that someone gets the benefits but not the side effects has turned out to be a little trickier than we thought, but we experimented first at fighter practices, then events and war. It was at war when their ladies started coming to me too – it let them party half the night and still be up to go to 9am classes or volunteer all day.
At which point, the household got together and decided that we were going to see if we could put together a ruling bloc for long enough to effect real change in Atlantia.
S: What were your goals, then?
EN: Oh, making sure that most of the household got their peerages as soon as possible, and that we had fewer restrictions on the marshal orders. Some minor changes in law and policy- I can’t remember all of them now, we changed them over 3 years ago, and people have become accustomed to the new ways of doing things
S: I take it your entire household is on “Duke Juice”, then?
EN: Yes! At different dosages and concentrations, that’s a lot of what my research has been! I’ve refined the recipe, now it’s about the effects on a wider group! And, really, we wouldn’t have survived four years of always having someone on the thrones without something.
S: So, what’s in your Duke Juice?
EN: I mean, my research is entered in Kingdom A&S tomorrow, so I can tell you that it’s an alcohol extraction of arctic root, Siberian ginseng, hemp, valerian root, rose root, and willow bark. It helps with anxiety, pain, energy, and the ability to get things done! I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the kingdom does with it!
SHIRE OF SILVER KEEP, ARTEMISIA — The populace of the shire of Silver Keep is in a state of turmoil today, following the declaration of war that was issued last night. The recipient of the declaration is not Silver Keep itself, but rather famed geyser, Old Faithful, which is located at Yellowstone National Park, which is also within the borders of the shire. Many members are feeling torn between loyalty to their kingdom and their longstanding affection for the volcanic eruption. According to the original statement of declaration, the purpose of war would be “to demilitarize and denazify Old Faithful and to protect the populace of Artemisia from potential bullying from the spurting menace.”
Reportedly caught unawares, the King and Queen of Artemisia are scrambling to identify the source of the inciting act. Although the declaration appears to have originated from His Majesty’s official email address, the Kingdom Seneschal alleges that the address was hacked and that the call for military action from the fighting community is most likely the work of notorious SCA hacker group, Κανένας. This theory seems unlikely, as Κανένας has committed to uncovering the Board of Directors’ private email server.
Contrary to the Kingdom Seneschal’s public statement, inside sources attribute the bold move to controversial knight, Sir Pavel Radozlaus, and his supporters inside the fighting community. According to insiders, Sir Pavel has long held a grudge against Old Faithful, even going so far as to blame the beloved geyser’s hot spray for the breakdown of his marriage to Boyarina Olga Mikhailovna, who subsequently changed her persona following their divorce, prior to stepping up as Queen two months ago.
“I don’t know why everyone acts like this stupid geyser is so great,” Sir Pavel was heard to say, “They say it erupts around twenty times per day, but I don’t believe it. And just try to convince me that each eruption disgorges as much as 8400 gallons of steamy liquid. All this hype ends up creating all kinds of unreasonable expectations on the rest of us. I should know – it ended my marriage.”
Sir Pavel’s claims contradict Her Majesty’s alleged reason for the split, reported to be: “One word: hygiene.”
These speculations do nothing to comfort the distressed populace of Silver Keep, who are understandably distraught at the threat made towards Old Faithful. The normally laid-back shire has always credited its widespread sense of relaxation to its proximity to the geothermal marvel’s slow, regular throb.
Yellowstone National Park Service spokesperson has released the following statement from the geyser to the media: “Bring it. Ain’t my fault the ladies love my flow.”
BARONY OF CAROLINGIA, EAST KINGDOM – Just a week after East Kingdom Coronation, the reign of King Báetán mac Fergaile and Queen Coblaith ingen Fechtnaig was thrown into turmoil at their Curia, when the King’s squire, Noble Sigelint de Fresia, mistakenly picked up the wrong Dunkin’ Donuts order, grabbing the one intended for the Drag Brunch at the Boston Public Library instead of the one intended for the Crown. King Báetán stopped the Curia during Kingdom Officer reports shouting “Where the hell’s my Dunks?!”
Queen Coblaith, who was severely under-caffeinated, noticeably perked up when Noble Sigelint came in with the order. However, several librarians had followed them from Dunks and started shouting that the SCA had stolen their coffee. Order was eventually restored as everyone swapped their coffees, only for Curia to fall into disarray once again when the Queen declared, “There’s a Drag Brunch at the Boston Library? I’m out of here.”
Queen Coblaith, who didn’t bother to change out of garb, eventually came back to Curia with two Dolly Parton impersonators wearing Laurel Wreaths and announced Curia was closed and reopened as Drag Curia. King Báetán tabled the rest of the agenda and agreed to a new agenda focusing on actually getting things done in the East. The first order of business was to contact Dunkin’ Donuts and open talks into a sponsorship deal with the tagline “The East Kingdom Runs on Dunks.”
BARONY OF RHYDDERICH HAEL, ÆTHELMEARC: At Ice Dragon last weekend, people witnessed an unusual and surprising revelation: Laurels were shocked when they came to the sudden realization that mean and nasty commentary during A&S judging wasn’t actually being at all helpful to the artists being judged.
Mistress Anastasia Potter was heard to say: “I just don’t get it. I really thought telling these artists their work was utter garbage was a good thing, you know? It was supposed to be encouragement to do better! I really never understood why people would just burst into tears, or throw their projects in the trash as they stormed out. We’re being helpful, right? Right?”
The matter came to light when several of the participants publicly petitioned the organizers at lunch to exclude Laurels from the judging pools. Her Majesty, to whom the petition was eventually brought, is a member of the Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc (the GoA for Arts and Sciences in the kingdom). She agreed with the petitioners and the judging pools were hastily reconfigured.
“Why can’t people take valid criticism in the spirit it’s meant?” Master Aaron the Bagmaker objected. “When I was an apprentice, being told my art made the judges physically sick and violently angry made me want to make better art! Art is supposed to evoke an emotional reaction. Artisans at these things need to toughen up and take on board the critiques so that one day we will discuss them in the Laurel circle.”
The SCAllion hopes this new understanding regarding A&S judging spreads from here out beyond the borders of the Æthelmearc and can help Laurels of other kingdoms come to the same realization for themselves.
BARONY OF CARRAIG BAN, THE MIDDLE – The Society-wide committee tasked with analyzing and reporting on bullying in the SCA has released its findings. The committee reports that members who have sat thrones at least once are far more likely to be the targets of bullying than those who have not.
“Fast analysis found that there was a high amount of bullying reports across all levels of the Society,” said Count Salvadore di Mozo, committee chair. “The initial data was very concerning, as the numbers themselves were quite high, and we were concerned that we had a Society-wide problem on our hands. It was once we dug a little deeper that we really understood that we had one highly marginalized group of members that were incredibly likely to be victims, and that group is the Royal peers.”
Count Salvadore thanked the committee for digging in and said that the final report was corrected for validity. “Once we dug through all the reports, and threw out the noise you get from reports that were filed frivolously, or are otherwise invalid for our purposes, the percentages tell a different story about who the victims are in the SCA.”
Once the committee had reduced their dataset to eliminate invalid reports, the numbers became nearly reversed. Whereas in the original set of all bullying reports it appeared that only about 11 percent of the members of the populace that reported being bullied were royal peers, after the dataset was adjusted the charts showed that over three-quarters of the bullying complaints accepted as valid by the committee were lodged by Royal peers.
The committee is looking forward to presenting its corrected chart at the next BoD meeting, and Count Salvadore has been nothing but supportive of the committee members: Countess Nichola Wasshebrook, Duke Aeneas Drables, Viscount Diego Martín Carrillo, and Duchess Griselda Mawchlyn.
“We’re very troubled by our findings,” His Excellency concluded. “Most people in the SCA, I think, don’t appreciate that the Royal peers are the real victims here.”
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