The First Book of the Chronicles of Eoforwic
Page 2 of 10
August A.S. VIII (C.E. 1973)
ntil the eighth year of our era, only barbarians dwelt in Septentria; yet the first of our Society to come to this land was a King. In those days, Sir Finnvarr de Taahe was King in the East, and was preparing a great war expedition against the Midrealm. Now Finnvarr had been a native of the North Woods and a knight of the Middle Kingdom before he won his throne, and the prospect of this war -- which was not of his making -- saddened his heart. And so, late in August, he set forth alone to seek the land of his birth, so that he might look upon it before blood stained its soil.
He left the land of Mirkewode and his eastern realm, and rode for North Woods. But he chanced to lose his way, and found himself in a land of sparsely-inhabited meadows, lakes and forests. The people were ignorant of Society ways; nor did they know that they rightfully owed allegiance to the Middle Kingdom. Nevertheless they were courteous to Finnvarr, and he was impressed by the wealth of their land. He came at last to the pleasant town of York, known to some as Toronto, on the lake of Ontario. Now York sat upon a good harbor beneath a hill, and it possessed prosperous merchants and strong walls. It even had a community of scholars and a great library. Finnvarr, who was a lover of learning, was much taken with the town, and decided that here he would settle. He found himself a hold and swore that he would return. And so it came to pass that after fighting Andrew, the Midrealm king, to a bloody stalemate -- this was the second Pennsic War -- King Finnvarr surrendered his throne to his rightful successor, Aonghais, and returned to live in this remote and still-unnamed corner of the Middle Kingdom.
There might be little further to tell, however, if Finnvarr only had come to York. Although this new-made Count swore fealty to King Merowald, and fought in the Midrealm Crown Tourney, he otherwise spent his time in the study of grammar, rhetoric, and history. He did occasionally toy with the thought of founding a barony in this new land. Once he even found a cohort, one Giovanni of Castracerno, another former inhabitant of the East. But Giovanni soon returned to Carolingia, and so naught came of their association.
September A.S. IX (C.E. 1974)
n the fall of year nine, however, a second subject of the Middle Kingdom came to these lands. This was Gillian Olafsdottir of Karrisvik, more commonly known from her Irish family as Gillian d'Uriel. She was already a lady of considerable accomplishment: She had been seneschal of the Northoods, and, as host of the Kingdom Twelfth Night Feast, had been highly honored by King Merowald and Queen Gwendolyn. Yet she loved learning more than anything, and when she heard of the scholars who frequented Toronto, she felt compelled to seek them out. She sailed east until she came to York harbour, and finding the university, was content to stay, even though she was now far from the civilized part of the Middle Kingdom.
Lady Gillian had not been in the town long before she met Finnvarr. Although both were natives of North Woods, and each had seen the other, they had never spoken; for Gillian had joined the Society after Finnvarr had departed for the East. Yet they knew many folk in common, and had much to say to each other on their first meeting. Soon, indeed, they were discussing whether the Society could be brought to the town; soon after that, they resolved to found a shire.
Among the friends that Finnvarr had made in his first year in York were various devotees of ancient legend and prophetic visions. Several of these folk were interested when they heard of Gillian's and Finnvarr's plans. These folk included Elizaveta, an early inhabitant of North Woods recently come to York, James Allen, a student of legendary, Rafe l'Estrange, a traveller and philosopher, Robert Wilson, a storyteller, and Small Janet, a lady of many talents. There was also Jehanne l'Enragee, of whom more later. These were the very earliest members of the shire. They first met at Elizaveta's home. The new members wished to learn more about the new Age of Chivalry, and encouraged Finnvarr to teach the rudiments of fighting and Gillian, the gentler art of dance. At the suggestion of James Allen the group quickly chose the name of Eoforwic, which means both Boar-town and York, for the shire.
The folk of Eoforwic realized from the start that their small shire needed to grow. To this end they planned a public meeting for late November. The members diligently put up wall posters and spread the news by word of mouth, and were rewarded by a large turnout of interested people. As is usual, many did not return. Enough stayed, however, to make Eoforwic a reality.
Of the folk who came to the shire through the meeting, the most important were Miriam of the Trillium Fields and Hugo von Feuerklippe. Miriam was a wise, courteous, and beautiful lady from the South. She was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, particularly in needlework and the dance. She early on took the responsibility for acting as Mistress of Sciences. It was she who embroidered the shire banner.
Hugo, like Miriam a student at the university, joined because he had always been interested in military matters, in chivalry, and in heraldry. More will be said of him later.
Two other folk of consequence were Jehanne l'Engagee and Jowell Toledero de Sampitiqua. Each came to the shire through their acquaintance with other early members of the shire. Jehanne, a student of the law, was interested in chivalric combat from the very first. Fighting for her was a double challenge. Not only did she have to learn the use of sword and shield, but she had to do battle with the Society convention as well; for at that time women were not permitted to fight in the lists. In the course of time, Jehanne's interests widened. She was always a most loyal supporter of Eoforwic.
Jowell Toledero and his brother Lorenzo had met Finnvarr the previous year and had been fascinated by his tales of the Society. Now Lorenzo was oversea, but Jowell appeared, brimming with enthusiasm. He was a many-talented man: He cooked and brewed, made musical instruments and played them, knew something of dance, and soon became a competent fighter and armorer. He was an essential part of the early shire and soon became its first herald.
In these early days, however, the organization of the shire was quite rudimentary. Gillian and Finnvarr, as seneschal and marshal, were Eoforwic's only officers, and for the moment the only tutors in Society customs. The center of their little community was even then the hall of the foreign students in the university quarter. The second public meeting of the shire was held there, and there soon grew up a great friendship between the hall wardens and Eoforwic, which has lasted to this day. The shire folk had much to do. Most had no suitable clothing for court wear, and so set about making appropriate costume. Lady Gillian taught dancing, including several dances then unknown in the Middle Kingdom. Some gentles, James Allen, Rafe, Hugo, Jehanne and Jowell, began to construct armor under Count Finnvarr's direction. There was no shop in Eoforwic at that time, and so only shields and simple armor could be made. This severely hampered Finnvarr's efforts to teach fighting. Indeed, there were only two helms at first. Fortunately, Countess Caellyn and several others from North Woods visited Finnvarr in November, and they brought with them some old helmets no longer needed in that barony.
January A.S. IX (C.E. 1975)
fter Twelfth Night, Eoforwic made plans to host a tournament and feast in the early spring. Finnvarr took the chief responsibility for this first event, and wrote letters announcing it to Midrealm seneschals, and to Thescorre, then the closest shire in the East. Gillian began feast preparations, and secured the co-operation of Jowell in that effort.
February A.S. IX (C.E. 1975)
n this month Elizaveta, Gillian, and Finnvarr convinced Rafe, Jowell and Jehanne to journey with them to their native barony of North Woods to participate in a tourney and feast in the style of the XIIIth century. The Eoforings planned to use the occasion to demonstrate their shire's existence to the rest of the Kingdom. Jowell brought a great iron mace to present to King Dagan on behalf of the shire. Gillian and Finnvarr were ready to perform a long-forgotten dance, the example gai, which the lady had discovered in an old manuscript, and Jowell had practiced the accompaniment. Thus the shire would have the honor of introducing a new dance into the most civilized barony in the realm.
These things actually came to pass. Unfortunately, the most remarkable occurrence of the day was neither of these, but rather Finnvarr's trial for treason. This was a plot of Brusten de Bearsul, who wished to enliven the afternoon with a trial by combat; he perhaps picked Finnvarr as the victim because the Count refused to acknowledge him as his bastard son. Finnvarr was accused of lese majeste. Specifically of ridiculing the King's girth, and was obliged to do battle, while encumbered with many disabilities, against Earl Merowald de Sylveaston. After Finnvarr was defeated, and while he still lay on the field, Earl Aonghais Dubh, his successor as King of the East, sallied out to defend Finnvarr's honor. Aonghais fought many challengers and did such deeds that Finnvarr was pardoned.
That same day Aonghais fought Rafe l'Estrange and Jowell Toledero, who sought to gain admittance to the lists. The earl so overpowered them that they failed in their endeavor. Nevertheless, all the Eoforings thoroughly enjoyed tourney, feast, and revels -- which were exceptional, even for North Woods -- and they returned determined to make their own tourney a fine one in all respects.
To this time fighting practices had been erratic, and taken place in the foreign students' hall, and unsuitable location. Now the fighters began to train weekly in another university hall, one attached to the nameless tavern of the magistri artium.
March A.S. IX (C.E. 1975)
oforwic's first tourney and feast were held on the XVth of March, A.S. IX. Folk from near and far gathered at Emmanuel College to take part. A great company came from North Woods: Sir Thorvald inn Grimmi, Baron of the North Woods and Steward of the Society, Jarl Bearengaer hinn Raudi, the Countesses Caellyn FitzHugh and Gwendolyn Ro Kearsey, as well as such folk as Aldric of Northmark and Elienor of the Nameless Beast. No one from Thescorre appeared, but, surprisingly, people came from two newer Eastern shires. Owain of the Muddled Woad, an imposing warrior and a man talented in many peaceful arts, brought several folk from Eastmere, which stood on the site of Beau Fleuve. Also present were Naverlont Danser and his lady Anika, formerly of Caid, but now the leaders of the shire of Aschental.
Both the martial and the peaceful arts were represented. Two tourneys were fought. The first, a round-robin list of chivalry judged by a panel of ladies, was won by Naverlont, who fought in an odd but effective style. The second tournament was fought in the manner of the Atenveldt Crown Tourneys, and was won by Sir Thorvald. Of the new Eoforwic fighters, only Rafe l'Estrange fought, although Jehanne trained with Jarl Bearengaer. Throughout the day the populace was entertained by troubadours, who competed for a prize. Jowell and Elestron of Tower West from North Woods did so well that they were awarded equal honor.
The tourney was followed by a feast, which met with general approval. Lady Gillian, not content to merely offer food, had each course introduced by a verse. The result was a poem which described Count Finnvarr's migration to the northland and honored him for his role in the founding of Eoforwic. Finnvarr was highly pleased by the compliment from one who had worked equally hard toward the same goal. This evening ended with revelry and dancing enough to satisfy the most ardent.
April A.S. IX (C.E. 1975)
oon after, the shire was fortunate to be visited by the Crown Prince and Princess of the realm, Rolac the Wise and Lindanlorein Droxeen. This unofficial visit was very good for the shirefolk, for they gained an opportunity to meet and converse with royalty. New friendships grew up as a result, and eight folk of Eoforwic braved storm and flood to attend the Coronation of Rolac and Lindanlorein in North Woods. The arms of Eoforwic were displayed for the first time there.
May A.S. X (C.E. 1975)
ith the end of the Society year, both Gillian and Finnvarr left the shire temporarily, Gillian to spend the entire summer in North Woods, Finnvarr for a briefer journey to Atenveldt and the West Kingdom. They were presented with ceremonial urns commemorating their roles in the shire's foundation. Elizaveta, Jehanne, and Jowell became very active members, travelling much in both the East and Middle Kingdoms. At the end of May, Jehanne and Finnvarr travelled to Myrkfaelin and witnessed Earl Aonghais win the Eastern Crown a second time. In July, five members of the shire attended King Rolac's war manoeuvres at Withermoor. In early August Jehanne, Jowell, and Finnvarr made a trip to Eastmere, where all three fought the local warriors. The long-time Society custom had been changed that year, and now it was thought improper to exclude women from the lists. Jehanne had already tried to enter the Midrealm lists at Withermoor and failed. In Eastmere, however, the knight marshal judged both Jehanne and Jowell worthy, and they competed in their first tourney. Also, Jehanne was now an archery marshal, and encouraged the folk of Eoforwic to practice the saggitary art for the upcoming war.
That same summer a few other Northland folk joined the Society. Donalbain MacTague wrote to Eoforwic from Windsor expressing his interest in the revival of chivalry. This was the first tentative beginning of Starleaf Gate. In early August, two people from Bytown, Maureen and Keith Wilson, attended a meeting of Eoforwic. This did not result in the founding of a new shire, however, for Maureen soon moved to Eoforwic.
At this time Rafe brought Penberthy, a former subject of Atenveldt, into the shire. He was a prolific writer, and offered to publish a monthly broadsheet for the people of Eoforwic. This was the beginning of the newsletter Eoforing, which has since grown into the baronial missive, Ursus.
August A.S. X (C.E. 1975)
n this month Eoforwic sallied forth to fight the fourth Pennsic War. The rains and flooding which accompanied this battle are legendary, and were indeed bad enough to chase Jehanne and her companions Elizaveta and Dierdre away from the army's encampment. Jehanne, however, returned the next day to serve as a scout in the main battle.
The small company led by Count Finnvarr, still Eoforwic's only full-fledged warrior, was wiped out by a much larger force of Easterners and their Western mercenaries. Nevertheless, the Midrealm won the war. Also present from Eoforwic were Jowell and Hugo von Feuerklippe. Jowell made manifest his skill in the arts: There was a grand display of and competition in the arts and sciences, called a pentathlon, and Jowell excelled in wood- and metal-working, cooking, singing and instrumental music. The war was Hugo's first Society event. Only recently returned from a long trip oversea, he came ill-prepared for the campaign. Yet he was fascinated by what he saw of chivalric combat and warfare, and from that time he was a Society stalwart.
At the end of Eoforwic's first year the shire was still very small. Yet its people were already recognized for their talents and virtues. King Rolac and Queen Lindanlorein had in fact awarded arms to Jowell Toledero and, at the end of their reign, granted the same honor to Jehanne l'Enragee.
September A.S. X (C.E. 1975)
ady Gillian returned to Eoforwic early this month, to find the shire already planning a second tournament for the XXth day of the month. Finnvarr, the host, had named it the Post-War Reconciliation Tournament, in hopes that warriors of both East and Middle would come to compete and become better acquainted. In the event, no Easterners appeared. There were, however, numerous folk of North Woods there, including Her majesty Lindanlorein, and a few from Cleftlands as well. The tournament, the first to be held in the quadrangle at University College, was most enjoyable.here was a variety of combats. including melees and some very dramatic spear-fighting in the galleries. In he latter, Cirion of the Dark Horde was undefeated.
Others amused themselves with hoodman blind and great-sleeve fighting., I which Annora de Sylveaston excelled. The high point of the day was none of these, but rather the feast. It was a Spanish-Jewish-Moorish banquet cooked by Jowell Toledero. The feasters, including many with long experience in the Society, applauded it as a delicious and worthy meal.
This tournament saw the appearance of Sylard of Eagleshaven. Sylard, a wandering warrior, but also an artist and artificer, rode up to the tourney field just as the fighting had ended for the day. One look was enough to convince him that the Society was one of the things for which he had been searching, and he joined the shire. He became Eoforwic's first Master of Arts, and was always practicing one of them himself, whether calligraphy, painting, costumery, or metalwork. He was an unashamed mercenary, always more interested in profitable warfare than in glory in the lists.
Not long after the tourney a great misfortune overtook the shire. The Sword of Eoforwic, which was in the keeping of Count Finnvarr, was deceitfully stolen by the evil Wizard of the Tower and secreted on the Islands across the harbor from the town. The loss looked to be permanent until Lady Gillian, by Secret means, compelled the Wizard to return the sword if certain conditions were met. The wizards conditions were hard ones. He told the shire it must send forth questors to seek his wizard's lair. If any of the questors survived this search he would relinquish the sword to the most worthy. He also forbade the chief members of the shire from taking part in the quest. Lady Gillian, Count Finnvarr, Lord Jowell, Jehanne, Elizaveta, Miriam, and even Rafe were not to go. The could only find the questors and prepare then for their journey. The recovery of the sword must be accomplished by the shire's least experienced members.
Nothing daunted, Eoforwic rose to the challenge. Eleven hardy questors were found, some of them brand-new to the Society, and on the IVth of October they crossed to the Island in search of the Sword. It was a difficult journey. The questors had to placate the magic birds who guarded the islands by answering riddles, battle with an enchanted knight, subdue an angry boar with song, and wrestle a mer-man. A most dangerous trap was baited with pity. A fair-seeming damsel who begged for a kiss to end her enchantment imprisoned those who granted her that kiss. Those questors could only be freed if others in their party braved a labyrinth and coaxed a talisman from the dwarf therein.
Despite these hazards, all the questors found their way to the wizard's abode. After some time the wizard appeared, incensed at their success. He deceitfully claimed that since all were equally worthy, no one need be given the sword. One of the questors, however, refuted this argument. Igor, Jowell's fosterling, had passed the time gambling with the wizard's apprentice and won a considerable amount of the wizard's money. Thus Igor asserted that he surpassed the others in cunning. The wizard yielded, though without grace, and thus it was nine-year-old Igor who returned the Sword of Eoforwic to Finnvarr. The Count was pleased and bountifully rewarded both his benefactor and his companion Dierdre. The return of the Sword was then celebrated with a most enjoyable feast.
It is noteworthy that among the questors were Tierr and Lilladrel of Walstead, two ladies who lived north of the town of York and were students of a school of the same name. Both were inspired by their experience and returned home full of tales of the Society.
Despite their best efforts the people of Eoforwic added only a few members to their ranks. These included Konrad von Drachenruhe, a serious and systematic man who decided that the best (way) to learn about the Society was to write a guide for other novices; Prisilika the Sensible, later of Caer Anterth Mawr; and Leslie the Fair, a woman whose only interest in the Society was combat -- for which she showed considerable talent. Yet these gains were offset by loses. Several of the original members had already left the shire, soon to be followed by Rafe, Miriam, and James Allen. Even Penberthy, who faithfully continued to publish the Eoforing, was seldom seen.
November A.S. X (C.E. 1975)
evertheless, the shire remained active, and some of its folk travelled to Rivenstar for Crown Tournament, and, in November, to North Woods for the Turkey Tourney. Yet this seemed little enough to Gillian. She saw that most Eoforings were seldom able to travel, and thus had little chance to wear their best clothes and practice their courtly manners. Gillian therefore announced her intention to hold a monthly seneschal's court, not for passing judgement or presenting awards, but to provide a courtly setting for the cultural life of Eoforwic. Her first court was held in this month, and was convened to discuss Castiglione's famous question, what makes the perfect courtier? Another court honored St. Agnes and her Maidens with poetry, and a third was a court of Love. These gatherings soon showed their worth. It was here that Hugo first showed a talent for courtesy, and Lady Jehanne one for French poetry. Such courts became a permanent custom of the shire.
Copyright 1982 Steve Muhlberger