Monday, November 4, 2013

The Book of the Order of Chivalry

The Book of the Order of Chivalry

Translation by Todd H. C. Fischer, 2009-2011, known within the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA) as THLaird Colyne Stewart, valet to Sir Nigel MacFarlane, and student to Adrielle Kerrec, OP, PL, who reigned as the King and Queen of Ealdormere when the project began.

Blessed be the Lady Ealdormere, who looks down on us from the stars, and whose noble heart beats within the breast of all those who dwell in the northlands, and through whose grace I now set my quill to parchment. Blessings also to Their Lupine Majesties, Sir Nigel MacFarlane, and Adrielle Kerrec, who between them represent all three Great Orders of our Society, and to whom I am bound by oath, vow and friendship. For them have I translated this booke which is of great interest to His Majesty, as the honour and nobility of Chivalry is deeply wrought within him.[1]

Here begins the table of contents of this book, entitled the Book of the Order of Chivalry or Knighthood.

12th Night: A Complete Mangling of Bill's Play

12th Night
A Complete Mangling of Bill's Play
by the Septentrian Performing Arts Troupe
This play was first performed at Snowed Inn, Canton of Ardchreag, February AS XXXVI.
The cast for this performance was:
Jennifer of Ardchreag as Femina, a heroine/hero
Gunnar Truthsinger as Imemio, a Baron
Mahault van der Eych as Lacivia, , a Baroness
Wulfgang of Ardchreag as Impudio, another villain
Crispinus Spellar as Conspirato, another villain
Lachlan MacLean as Narrator the First, a narrator
Morgan Blackheart as Narrator the Second, another narrator
Thorfinna gra’feldr as Many Guards, various nobles and a foreigner 
Berend van der Eych as an executioner and a priest
Written and Directed by Colyne Stewart (Yes, he is to blame.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Troll Hunt

Colyne Stewart, April AS XXXVI (2002)
For the April Fool’s TankArd

Every year the inhabitants of the Cliffs gather together to engage in a Troll hunt. Trolls are quite numerous in the wilds of Ardchreag, in the brambles, the marshes, the rocky quarries and the stinking bogs. Trolls grow larger the longer they live, starting out the size of a wolf terrier. The oldest Trolls loom over the heads of men on horseback.

To keep the Troll population at a manageable size, the Chreaggers engaged in a Troll hunt each New Year’s Day. The entire populace gathered at the canton keep, splitting themselves into teams.

Several of the shorter people were made flushers under the leadership of Colyne. The flushers would act as bait, drawing out the Trolls, and leading them back to where the archers waited. These included Raffe Scolemaystre, Ivanna the Oblivious, Iolanda de Albornoz and Emperor Bobo.

If the Troll was too large to be taken down by arrows the fighters of the canton would rush it from either side. Thorfinna gra’feldr, Siegfried Brandbjorn, Volodymyr “Vlad” Blahuciak, Brandt das Lederwerker and many others had sharpened their spears, swords and pikes in anticipation.

Things went exactly as planned, with the Chreaggers bagging twenty-two Trolls in four hours. The only mishap was when Berend van der Eych, the canton’s executioner, cut his hand while lopping off the last Troll’s head. (Some Trolls are strong enough that they will not stay dead unless their heads are removed.) Luckily, Fursto was nearby to patch him up.

Then things went really bad. One of the flushers, Stephen Scrymgeour, interrupted a large troll busily devouring the carcass of a bear. The monster was instantly on its feet and threw Stephen through the air, sending him crashing into an oak. The Troll, easily twice the height of Wulfgang Donnerfaust and three times as wide, strode quickly towards the hunters. The archers loosed shaft after shaft but they broke on the beast’s thick skin.

Gunther Katzkin, Eanor of Amberhall, Siegfried and Vlad rushed the Troll and halted its progress momentarily. But then it caught Gunther up in its giant hand and used him to club his compatriots into unconsciousness.

Brandt and Kenric rallied the remaining fighters around them and rushed the Troll as it chased after the archers. It knocked them aside one after the other and gave voice to a triumphant roar that made the blood of those that heard it run cold.

Then Piero remembered reading once that a Troll’s most vulnerable spot was behind its knees. He shouted this out as the Troll lumbered after him. Thorfinna lashed out with her blade as the beast ran past her, connecting solidly with the back of its left knee. Howling with pain the Troll dropped to the ground and thrashed about while Colyne, Crispinus and Elspeth threw nets about its body. Soon it lay as fully trussed as a Yuletide goose.

The triumphant Chreaggers took the beast back tot heir keep and locked it within a specially made cage, built by Melchior, Brandt, Gunther and Berend. No matter how the Troll raged it could not break free.

And so a great feast was held, the Troll was presented to Their Excellencies of Septentria to do with as they pleased, and all those on the Cliffs had a wondrous New Year’s Day.

Except Stephen. Who is dead.

Missive from the Knight Marshal

Colyne Stewart, AS XXXVI (2003)
For the April Fool’s TankArd

To the fighters of Ardchreag, Greetings,

Our plans to incorporate the flying turtles native to our lands into our fighting force is progressing well. Many test flights have been made, with only a few fatalities. The turtles can fly very swiftly over short distances, or slowly over great. However, once the turtles tire they land and move at a pace slower than their land born relatives. This can be problematic when being chased by knights on horseback.

Feed for the beasts is also a bit problematic, as their number one choice is fresh goblin meat. Goblins are not as numerous in the Cliffs as Trolls or Ogres, and can be hard to find. If on turtleback when they see one however, the turtle becomes unresponsive and will not stop until it has chased down and devoured the beastly thing. Flying turtles will also eat aquatic vegetation, but it must be moist. Turtle Riders must carry a separate bladder of water for the sole purpose of wetting greens before feeding.

In mock battles the turtles handled themselves very well. They have proven quite capable of flying down and grabbing fighters right out of their saddle, as long as their descent is not too steep. Regrettably, Aesop Brown of the Scarlet Bluffs is no longer with us. Even more regrettable is the death of his turtle, who smashed its head into a boulder while swooping after a goblin. The goblin was drawn and quartered for this offense.

Caring for the young flying turtles has been proceeding almost without a problem, under the guidance of the Reptilian Aeronautic Team (or RAT). The young turtles are housed in a domed hut, full of moist sand, with a pool of water in its centre. Perches and treat poles hang from the ceiling. Here the turtles remain until they are three months old, at which time they are the size of large dogs. They are then moved to specially built barns where they will stay unto maturity, at which point they are bigger than horses.

During its youth, the turtle goes through vigorious training where its inborn hostility is curbed (or at least, trained to be unleashed only on certain targets). They get used to being handled and small conscripts (some of Dwarf or Gnome descent) are lucky enough to get to break them in.

Our Flying Turtle Squad was used to good effect in the Ardchreag Rebellion of XXXVI that led to our becoming a Duchy. Soon they will become an integral part of our army.

In Service,

The Knight Marshal

The Knighting of Eirik Andersen

Colyne Stewart, April AS XXXVI (2003)
For the April Fool’s TankArd

It was a stormy day when our Seneschal, now Emperor, Bobo took the field. He was to hold it against all comers as proof that he was worthy to wear the white belt. At first Eirik was confident, his mouth spewing forth ironic barbs and quips. He leaned casually against a column, a sword dangling from his hand, chewing on licorice and talking to the ladies.

Then Colyne, called Meinfretr by the Norse, tapped him on the shoulder and Eirik’s ready grin slipped from his face. He looked in the direction that Colyne was pointing with his thumb, and saw a long line of armoured fighters waiting patiently. They were all looking at him and laughing, some giggling with anticipation, some actually hopping up and down in glee. Siegfried was there, his sword wrapped in a scarf with Eirik’s name written upon it. Sir Berus, the Kingdom Earl Marshal, was also in line, holding an ‘experimental’ great weapon covered with many wicked looking points and claws. (As Berus was found of saying, as Earl Marshal he could pretty much use any thing as a weapon, as long as it was ‘experimental’.) Beyond them stood Sir Evander, most of House Hrogn, the entire populace of Ardchreag and verily many people of the kingdom. Many, in fact, had traveled from kingdoms afar to take part in the mashie-pow.

Grinning, Colyne left Eirik and took his own place in line, fist tightening and relaxing on his hilt. On a noose hanging from his basket hilt was a small stuffed monkey.

When the marshals walked on to the field, Eirik’s nerves failed him. The line numbered over a hundred strong, and he had no wish to let that many folk take a crack at him. He turned to flee but Duchess Eanor was waiting. She grabbed his arm and marched him on to the Lists.

What then followed was a brutal scene unequaled in Ealdormere’s history. Blow after blow rained down on Eirik’s head, limbs and body. Swords, cudgels, maces, axes, spears and even the occasional rubber chicken knocked him to and fro until finally he lay flat on the ground. His shield sat by his side, cracked in three pieces. When he was pulled to his feet again he left behind an imprint that has become a holy relic to all those who worship the wise crack.

As he regained his feet, thankful that his ordeal was over, he saw the giant, Wulfgang Donnerfaust, running to the field. He was waving his sword and shouting that he had just authorized, and was ready for his turn.

Screaming in horror, Eirik ran into the trees. The Emperor of Ardchreag has not been seen in weeks now, and likely won’t reemerge until his Austmannaskelfir Legions have managed to capture Wulfgang. To date, fourteen have perished in the attempt.

The First Annual Miss High Cliffs Competition

Colyne Stewart, April AS XXXVI (2003)
For the April Fool’s TankArd

Yes, the news was true. Too many people on the Cliffs found their lives empty and meaningless without complete strangers thinking they were pretty, so it was agreed to hold the first Ardchreag Beauty Pageant.

The entire populace of the canton gathered along the cliffs one fine spring morning, waiting to see their fellow Chreaggers strut their stuff. They were hoping for a good show, and they weren’t disappointed.

First was Thorfinna, dressed in the hide of a walrus she had ripped off herself. She juggled some throwing axes and wanted to split an apple while it sat on her husband’s head, but Colyne could not be found.

Next was Mahault, clad in Elizabethan garb so extravagant people had to strain their eyes to see her within it. For her performance, she correctly pointed out what period garb everyone in the audience was wearing. You could see by the twinkle in her eye she had noticed many flaws, but she was too kind to point them out.

Iolanda, or should I say Qadachin, was next, draped in her plaid Mongolian tunic. Everyone’s stomach churned as she downed quart after quart of fermented milk, followed by chasers of Green Bison vodka.

Many more followed: The belly dancer Michaela with her hips jingling; Eanor, riding on horseback while reciting corpora; Elisabetta who cooked up a storm; Jean-Margaret; Ivanna; and many more.

Then a mystery contestant walked out on stage. She was a strange looking figure, tall and almost skeletal, with long lanky arms and bony knees. Her hair was red-brown and tied back in a ponytail; her face obscured by a feathered mask. She wore a plain green dress and bug black boots. Slowly, she began to dance and she held everyone’s eyes prisoner. She moved with a grace like no other and completely captivated the audience. When she was done their was thunderous applause. The MC, Duke Sir Finvarr, ridden in especially for the occasion, proclaimed the mystery woman the winner and bade her reveal herself.

With a demur smile she pulled off her face. The audience gasped as they all saw that she was not a she. She was a he. She was Crispinus Spellar, former Ardchreag Chatelaine and now Chronicler of Septentria.

Somewhere in the back Colyne screamed (having flash backs of Ealdormere War Practice and a certain lap dance he had received), thus giving away his hiding place to Thorfinna, who was still carrying an axe and an apple.

As Finvarr crooned, “There he is, Miss High Cliffs,” Crispinus bowed to the crowd, jumped off the stage and got himself a bottle of mead.

“Life is good,” he said, unaware that the female members of the canton were creeping up behind him, fury burning in their eyes for he had profaned the deep and resounding spirituality of a beauty pageant.

After the commotion was over, Crispinus was hung from a crow’s cage at the crossroads in northeast Ardchreag. Small children would throw rocks at him while ghosts and trolls had a good laugh at his expense.

The moral of the story? Beauty pageants are damn stupid.

Excerpt from Garderobes of Ealdormere, by Colyne Stewart

Colyne Stewart, April AS XXXVI (2003)
For the April Fool’s TankArd

The latrines of the northern reaches of our fair kingdom are not as primitive as many of us lowlanders believe. I have visited many of them, and have found them all to be of excellent quality, with the possible exception of one.

I know that many have complained of the facilities of Bonfield, that frozen bowl of the north, but I have found them to be every bit as modern as those that serve at Ealdormere War Practice here in my home canton of Ardchreag. Wooden walls that block most of the wind, a roof (!), and a wooden seat that leaves but few splinters. These are all good things.

However, I feel I must condemn the privies of the little known Shire of Schei├čehaus, which is located north of the Barony of Skraeling Althing. I have been to one event in that snowy realm, which was called Wurstliebe. The latrines consisted of a row of holes in the bottom of a trench running along the back of the event site. There was no shade from the sun which reflected off the snow, blinding the eyes as people tried to aim directly for a hole so as not to soil their shoes. No shade also meant we were drenched by intermittent blasts of ice-cold rain. And, as the main focus of the event was spicy sausage and ale, well, the latrines were always busy, and the lines were long.

Still, I have encountered such primitive conditions here in the south where we deem ourselves more civilised than our northern cousins. I am, as are most, accustomed to the chamber pot, but when at a local Lord’s keep I was asked to
I think that’s enough of that. — The Editor