Counties for Jane and Eckehard

Posted by on Monday, April 4th, 2022

Rose and County scroll for Countess jane Alexandria Fitzpatrick: 

Come dance silver sandalled by the sea 
And sing in high and joyous melody
Of She who graced Our thrones with shining mirth,  
As blossoms entwined her path to mark her worth. 

We name her Countess Jane, Beloved of the Sun. 
And rejoice to know her path will wend along.
No bloom may overshadow Our newest Rose’s grace
Blush rose, sweet rose, gentlest rose of all my days.

Cuan Rex and Adelhait Regina do award her the sole and exclusive right to bear arms, by Letters Patent, to wit: Per chevron vert and azure, a chevron Or between three sunflowers proper. Done this second day of April, Anno Societatis LVI at Our Coronation.

Illumination and Calligraphy by Lady Kolfinna Valravn (mka Korrin Villman)
Text by Ollam Lanea, text based on W.B. Yeats “To the Rose Upon the Rood of Time”

County for Count Eckehard Thurn: 

Come near me, while I chant the ancient lays:
Atlantians battling above the bitter waves;
One Crowned, resplendent, strides on laughing-eyed,
And casts down enemy to fall beneath the tide;

But to our people comes peace and wealth untold
As he graces ridge to shore with pearls and gold. 
Now name him Count Eckehard, the sword’s keen blade
And recall his deeds in Atlantia’s book of days. 

So say we, Cuan Rex and Adelhait Regina,
this second day of April, Anno Societatis LVI at Our Coronation.

Text by Lanea, calligraphy and illumination by Kolfinna Valravn

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A Pearl for Nezhka

Posted by on Sunday, February 13th, 2022

When we scored the assignment to make Nezhka’s pearl scroll, we knew dragons needed to be involved, and that no one would be killing any dragons. Honoring the recipients is a huge part of the process for Korrin and for me, and we worked hard to do right by Nezhka. I opted to use Eglamour of Artois, c. 1350 as a text exemplar, beginning with the dragon tale on line 685. Korrin’s beautiful art is here.

 


In Atlantia, as I do tell,
There lives a dragon, fierce and fell,
   Hearken all to what I shall now say:
That fiend is of so great renown
That no one dare go near his town–
   Steering at least seven miles away.
The king called: “Baroness! Find the fiend!
Go now and slay him with thy hand. 
   Defend our people from the grim affray!”
She said, “I have talents greater,
With grace and wit, I shall do better,
   If I fail, the cruel beast may end my days.”

She steeled her heart and away she rode–
She cried her leave of Raven’s Cove. 
     “I shall return with my Muse’s aid; 
My promise is as pure as gold, 
Keep yourselves well, my aerie bold, 
    I must face the dread wyrm unafraid!”
Forth she journeyed to the wyvern’s lair,
And there she found his dealings, dire.
    His victims strewn around the murky glade. 

She wept for grief, then called the beast
To listen to her song of peace.
    Lilting sweet, our Nezhka sang and played. 
The dragon, dumbstruck, quenched his fire,
And turned to hear her strumming lyre
    His anger quickly soothed by her chorale
She sang of grace and love and art
And calmed that beast’s ferocious heart
    Through melody and lyric he was enthralled.
“Dragon, I will play and sing
If you swear to serve our Queen and King.
   If you will guard our borders, I shall be your Skald.”
The Wyrm, so soothed, agreed to the pact
And presented a gem to seal the act
   Thus Baroness Nezhka shall shine when Pearls are called.

Done this 12th day of February AS LVI at Ymir by King Eckehard and Queen Jane
I, Triton Principal Herald, do attest that Nezhka does have sole rights to bear these Arms: Sable, a dragon’s head couped and in chief three compass stars one and two argent.

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A Kraken for Valdimárr

Posted by on Saturday, February 12th, 2022

This man set out for battle at the dawn,
Ringing him, fortified, a wall of shields.
Savagely attacked, seeking slaughter,
Storming, thundering, the sound of the assailants.
Stalwart, astute, strong this man
With stabbing spear and slashing sword
Above the blood tide, he slew the foe.
Wading in strife, blows raining on heads,
In the court the warrior was humble,
Before Valdimárr Broddson great armies groan.

Eckehard Rex and Jane Regina
Call him Kraken and grant him arms
As Ymir lays down his bones for us to stand on
This twelfth day of February, AS LV

Based on verse XIV, Y Gododdin
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/9842/9842-h/9842-h.htm

Design by Bran, calligraphy and Illumination by Kolfinna Valravn.
Words by Lanea

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A Pearl for Ela

Posted by on Sunday, March 28th, 2021

Knowing how much Ela liked the translation of Song of Amergin I did a few years ago, it seemed like a good thing to base an award text on. Bran and Korrin did an amazing job designing and creating the scroll, and I was overjoyed to have a hand in the process.  You can see the images and process videos here

A Pearl for Ela

She is the voice on the wind–the verse–
The scop whose lyre calls us to the hearth,
Her stanzas shaping the land.
Melody’s lift and rhythm’s drop she marks.
Call her untangler of tongues, 
Wrangler of sheep,
Spinner of yarns and tales,
Weaver of cloth and truth,
Embroiderer of silk and story–
Lore-thane.
Who is the scholar at the slate?
The poet with her pen?
The dyer at her vats? 
Students aid and drummer’s muse? 
What more loyal friend to Caedmon and Gawain?
What kinder ally to the wolf and mare?
Who better to be draped in Pearls? 


Ealawynn Maeru, bard and artist, called Ela by her friends,

We recognize as a Companion of the Order of the Pearl,
And grant her arms so blazoned:
Vert, a horse passant contourny Or between three lozenges argent.
Done by Anton Rex and Luned Regina
From Stierbach’s Walls where gates remain secure
This 27th of March, Anno Societatis LV.

Audio 

Calligraphy & Illumination by Lady Korrin Valravn
Design by Bran Mydwynter
Text by Ollam Lanea verch Kerrigan

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Navan Ash

Posted by on Saturday, February 27th, 2021

A new poem grew out of some research into the archaeology of Navan Fort. mythologically known as Emain Macha. 


Navan Ash

Here I sit, thousands of years later
clutching a book of burnt offerings and blood
described by scholars loathe to judge those Gaels
who orchestrated arson for their Sidhe.

I dream bereft Ulaid piling Navan high with logs,
so rare a fuel now on those verdant hills.
They struck their steels and burned it all to ash, 
and perplexed scribblers still balk at their choice.

But as I totter on this cliff of sparking nerve
where joy, and grief, and rage for poison’s seat
jolt through me on and on for that lost home
that failed us age on age, from stone to circuit,
and left but drunken, beaten fosterlings lost
with homes on fire and myths made up of rags;

I have to hope some wise ones saw his rot
And how his evil tainted all their land,
And crumpled, and wept, and bellowed:
“It’s poisoned through–we go.
Leave the gold and gear, gather just our loves
and what will feed the herds and children still.
When the burned king crumbles finally to ash,
we’ll build anew, and beg verdant Ériu ‘stay afloat.’” 

 

Notes: 


From Dying for the Gods: Human Sacrifice in Iron Age and Roman Europe by Miranda Aldhouse Green.  Page 71:

“Certain monuments belonging to Iron Age Britain and Ireland appear to have been subjected to deliberate, probably symbolic, firing. This is what seems to have happened at Navan Fort in Co. Armagh in the early first century BC. Navan is almost certainly to be identified with the royal Ulster site of Emhain Macha, recorded in early Irish historical and mythic texts, such as the Ulster cycle if prose tales, dating to the twelfth century AD in written form, though retaining resonances of earlier, Pre-Christian material.  Archaeological investigations at Navan during the 1970s revealed a curious sequence of events associated with the construction and almost immediate destruction by fire of a great monument (Lynn 1999, 33-57). A multi-ring oaken structure, with a colossal central timber upright, 40 m in diameter — too large for a permanent roof — was erected soon after 95/94 BC (dendrochronological date) when the trees were felled. A carefully built cairn of limestone blocks was then packed inside the wooden structure, forming a radial pattern that respected the timber alignments of the building itself. The stones of the cairn showed some signs of weathering, as though they had, perhaps, been removed from existing monuments rather than freshly quarried for use at Navan. A few human bones, including a clavicle, had been deposited among the cairn stones. The building of the wooden structure and the cairn took a considerable amount of time, effort, and person-power, so the next episode in the site’s history is, on the face of it, inexplicable:  the entire edifice, wooden uprights, the cairn and a layer of red clay placed over the surrounding ditch was apparently deliberately set alight and razed to the ground.  Dudley Waterman, the principal excavator of Navan, found charred twigs and straw which he interpreted as the remnants of heaps of kindling piled up against the outer timber wall to get the fire going. These finds, together with the thoroughness of the destruction, argue for intent. The final incident in this strange sequence of events was the careful construction of an earthen mound, made of soils and turves of various types, probably derived from several different locations and environments.”  

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Ragnarr’s belated AOA

Posted by on Saturday, October 10th, 2020

Sometimes the world falls apart and things get left behind.  That happened quite some time ago when some friends died unexpectedly, so Korrin and I decided to help pick up one little piece and try to make something kind and beautiful together for someone we adore.  

Audio

O for a bounding sea, that would crash 
Its frothing waves on shores that grace a realm
Built of sand and water and flimsy dreaming hope.
See the dais, draped in silks and ermine
With thrones of gilded oak and polished shell.
Here sits Queen Muirgen, grace and beauty wreathed
Beside the Dread King Kane, in raven cloaked.
All nobles to behold the joyous scene
When still they walked among us in their youth!
Then call the warlike Ragnarr, who himself
Assumes a bat-like grace; and at his heels,
Leash’d in like hounds, should kindness, wit, and prowess
Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,
The wan, exhausted spirits that have dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
Such sweet reflection: can this vellum hold
The memories of an age, a kingdom bright, 
These greying locks recast as ebony
And prospect now fulfilled–then still but wish. 
Or may we cram within these stilted lines
Upon this ink stained scroll the very crowd
That did rejoice the day Ragnarr was made lord?

Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen,
Your bending bard hath recalled the story,
In little room confining aging friends,
Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.
Small time, but in that small most greatly lived
This star of Atlantia: Fortune graced his sword;
By which the land’s best reigns may be achieved,
And of it left his loved ones over-awed.
Ragnarr, wise, Black hammer on his shield
Of court and tourney did this Duke succeed;
Which oft our tales hath told; and, for their sake,
In your fair minds let this acceptance take.

Lord Ragnarr Blackhammer: Grant him arms to wit Per pale gules and sable, a lion rampant Or charged on the shoulder with a hammer sable.
On this 16th day of October Anno Societatis XXVIII (A.S. 28/1993)

Verum Est

Rex Kane I, Regina Muirgen I
May they rest in peace. 

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Recordings Inbound

Posted by on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

Here we are, stuck at home during a pandemic.  Far from ideal, that.  I can’t fix anything major, but I can share a little bit of art and hopefully help you pass some time.  

Unwaith: a Welsh poem by Elin ap Hywel, translated by Robert Minhinnick

An Crann/The Quince by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, translated by Paul Muldoon.  

More soon.  

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Scéla Muicce Meicc Da Thó

Posted by on Monday, March 2nd, 2020

The last year has been an absolute whirlwind.  Acting as one of the royal bards, and planning and hosting my elevation to the Order of the Laurel and Alherin’s to the Chivalry was intense and wonderful, but didn’t leave a great deal of time for writing or recording the costuming projects that took up so much of my time.  But I did embark on a project that was interesting and has been well received.  

I’ve been asked several times to document and explain the translation process.  That’s a layered, complex task.  I decided to do it by documenting my own translation process and then teaching a class on how I do what I do, and what tips I have for other translators.  I didn’t want to use something super short like Dan do Amergin, because it seemed too brief to elucidate the entire slog that is translating an epic.  And I didn’t want to use something terrible depressing like the Exile of the Sons of Usnech (the piece from which we take the story of Deirdre of the Sorrows) because it’s just too sad. Instead,  I revived a literal translation I had done as a student and began building it into a performance piece.    Scéla Muicce Meicc Da Thó/The Story of Mac DaTho’s Pig is a funny, strange story about a hosteler who owns two of the best magical animals in Ireland–a magical giant boar and a magical hound named Elvis.  It’s funny, scatological, strange, and not terribly sad. 

The inaugural class session seems to have gone well.  I will teach it again at Gulf Wars in a couple of weeks, and I hope it will be well received.  I’m still honing the work down to a performance piece, but that always takes time.  The packet is here, and likely to keep changing.  My goal is to have a finished work that will display the weird tone of the original, engage audiences, and be worth memorizing and foisting upon audiences.  I’ll know I succeeded if people ask for it at circles.  Fingers crossed. 

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Birdsong–A Blogger’s Silent Poetry Reading

Posted by on Friday, February 1st, 2019

This year, I celebrate Imbolc with a new song of my own. 

Birdsong

Spoken introduction
Recording of Birdsong

The Raven’s eye sees everything,
From winter’s death to birth of spring,
He favors neither slave nor king
But Bran’s own blessed singers.
Broad wings beat the air in flight
As life and death war through the night
And Raven oversees the fight
Between light and the darkness

 

Each bird a feather on the wing
Of Clanne Preachain
Each call a verse that we can sing
Sing out Clanne Preachain

 

The Osprey flies along the coast
She’ll stoop and strike a shining host
And Tethra’s kine will pay the cost
To feed her clamoring nestmates.
Her keen eye spies the sparkling prey
Her talons grasp, her pinions splay
She fights the water’s drowning spray
And calls out in her triumph

 

The War Crow flies among the spears,
A harbinger of widow’s tears.
She drives our Warband past their fear
To feats of strength and glory.
The battlefield is her domain.
Her children feast upon the slain.
For every death is Corvid’s gain.
Badb Catha claims her portion.

 

Golden Eagle–first of birds
The fire’s breath, the birth of words.
He carved bright stars to light the Earth
From stone beneath his talons.
Guardian of Yggdrassil.
Embodiment of Zeus’s will.
Broadest wing and strongest quill,
Let Eagle soar the highest.

 

The Jackdaw is a canny rake
Who’ll snatch a coin for glimmer’s sake,
And study every move you make
With eyes of shining silver.
The clattering will dive and roll,
And nest upon a wind-swept knoll,
A family of prattling coal,
Who feasts on stolen spoils.

 

The Goshawk is the tundra’s queen,
Perched within her bower green,
Her scarlet eyes and talons keen
Will terrify her quarry.
The falconer’s beloved friend,
The hound’s helpmate, the rabbit’s end.
The circling flight and steep descent
Make Goshawk Noblest hunter

 

Magpies sing a thousand songs,
And gather up in chattering throngs:
The folkmoot counts up all the wrongs
Against our piebald kinfolk.
One for sorrow, two for mirth,
The witches’ friend through death and birth,
A charm of Magpies knows their worth
And guards their fallen family.

 

The footnoted version, complete with sources to untangle the dense allusions, is here

 

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Lightning Round

Posted by on Thursday, January 31st, 2019

I’ve been working away on dozens of little projects, and then a million things happened at once.  I’m still processing. 
I wrote a new song, and I love it.  It started out on a very different path than it eventually carved for itself.  
I went to an event most of my closest friends don’t attend. And then, strangely, many of them were there with me. 
I competed in arguably the most prestigious regional Bardic competition and a friend and I won together.  We began plotting a year of shenanigans. 
And then I was given a writ to contemplate joining the Order of the Laurel at Gulf Wars in March. My dear friend Sinn did the calligraphy on beautiful vellum.  

I never thought I would wind up in this position.  I’ve operated on very strange paths throughout my time in the SCA, and while I haven’t actively spurned notice, I also haven’t sought it often.  I want to sing and research and study and teach and make things, and I want to spend time with my friends and help out when I can. 

So now I’m rushing to finish piles of projects by early March so We can go throw a giant party and I can take on a major new volunteer job.  Weird.  It’s weird.  

More importantly, it’s astoundingly touching.  An invitation to join this Order came because many many people spoke on my behalf, took notes on my work and spoke in my favor in hushed discussions.  Once it was clear that it was happening, my friends came together to witness the announcement and speak publicly on my behalf.  And then offers to assist in the next steps flooded in.  In just a few days I was given completely tangible proof that people care about this weird work I do, and they love my art, and they think I am a good teacher and can help steer the arts community in a good direction.  I’m flabbergasted. Truly. 

The song, which will continue to grow, is coming.   

 

 

 

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