The Fourth Book of the Chronicles of Eoforwic
Page 6 of 7
Of Feardubh the musician.
efore this time a man named Feardubh had arrived in Eoforwic. He was mistaken by some to be a Moor, but Kaffa did know him as what is called by those outside Ireland a "black Celt" and took him as one of her own. Feardubh brought to the City a gentle manner, great patience and even greater talents with all manner of musical instruments, from the whimsy of the tin whistle to the great bassoon, which he called the King of Instruments. As befits a King, Feardubh named his bassoon Roynd took it on campaign to Pennsic with him. Feardubh played for all manner of dancing, even for Morris dancing, though he also danced with the Morris-men from time to time. He was well-loved for his generosity with his music. He also wrestled for sport on Market Day sometimes, and while his arms were powerful his laugh was stronger yet. There are occasional legends of a man who actually did not like Feardubh; they are discounted by all as preposterous.
 Roy War-Bassoon, to be precise, named in honour of a dark-eyed southern minstrel famed for songs which set pretty women to crying.
Of the Coronation of King David and Queen Tangwystl
he time came to pass that King Dag I and Queen Ilsa I tired of their duties and would give up the Thrones of the King and Queen of the Middle. It was decided that they would step down and let their heirs ascend the Thrones in far Wolves' Keep, a shire in the farthest southern reaches of the Kingdom, in what would become known for a time as the Oaken Region. The name of the site for Coronation was seen to be fortuitous, for it harkened to the recent reign of the first Prince and Princess of Ealdormere. Well before the appointed day, the fourth day of May in the twenty-sixth year of the Society, many from the North - including several from Eoforwic - began the long pilgrimage to see David become King.
The pilgrims included the indefatigable Baron Menken Brecken from the far Skrael, who with his equally dedicated Baroness Elizabeth Stafford (who had been Princess Tangwystl's champion on the field of battle at Pennsic XIX and had served with honour, being called "Bess the Bold" with good cause) drove from far Skraeling Althing to Wolves' Keep and nearly killed several horses with the effort. It was well known that Menken and Elizabeth loved to travel, but this was their farthest wandering ever. Indeed, none in all the North loved to travel as much as they, save perhaps for the famed dancer Terrence Kirkpatrick and his lady Elizabeth Anderson, who also attended Coronation that May and danced in the afternoon. Terrence had even been known, some time before this, to roll his cart off the highway, kill the horses in harness and then hire new horses and a new cart to continue his journey; this was the measure of his dedication and love of travel in search of dancing. Anyway, many travelled far to see the new King and Queen made. This was indeed notable, for never again would a pilgrimage of such length be possible. A later Crown ceded the southern tip of the Middle, including what was called Wolves' Keep, to the neighbouring Kingdom of Meridies.
This was also the last and greatest pilgrimage made by more than a handful of Eoforings for many years. For various reasons the burghers of the City had lost their taste for travel. Apart from the annual foray in the Debatable Lands, most Eoforings stayed close to home throughout the year. In part this resulted in a loss of prestige and influence for the City on both sides of the Inland Seas.
It should be noted that the day of Coronation was also the day of a horse race in those parts, which is apparently run for a traditional prize of a wreath of roses  . Local folk did speak much of this race and the roads were crowded with fair-goers who would see this race and celebrate. Indeed it was a pleasant day for Coronation, though the grass in those parts was by all accounts green that season and many travellers have described the fields in those parts as blue (which would be a most remarkable thing to see, were it so).
 Thus its local title, the "run for the roses." Race day was an auspicious day for Coronation, for this race is also said to award a victor's crown, the first of three, to the winning rider.
The fourth day of May dawned bright and peaceful, and for a King who would fight a War in the summer David's Coronation transpired very peacefully. Instead of an armed party storming the dais (as many would expect, for such has often been the Midrealm's bloody custom in the past and from time to time such is still seen even today, though our good King Osis experienced no such discord when he received the Crown) a tale was told and Mistress Rhiannon of Wye played her harp as the heir to the Crown entered Court. King Dag and Queen Ilsa saw David crowned King and then retired, leaving King David the Crown to give to Tangwystl. The new Queen came into Court on horseback, with a band of bagpipers and drummers drowning out all other sounds. When the band stopped playing the heiress got off her horse, which was most tall and well accoutered. King David offered his Queen the Crown, which she accepted. There was much rejoicing and, as the chronicler Clarkson's tales confirm, many swore great oaths of fealty to celebrate the Coronation.
Sir David was but the third from North of the Inland Seas to hold the Crown of the Middle. First was Finnvarr, then came Hugo. David was third, and he was the first of the three not to hail from Eoforwic; rather he came from der Welfengau. All three were Septentrians, though, even if Finnvarr's reign pre-dated the proclamation of the Barony.
The day's festivities proceeded with tourneys and merry-making, as befits a Coronation day. During that day many from Septentria came to know a red-haired warrior named Sean of Wolves' Keep. Though the pilgrims were far from Septentria and its capital of
Eoforwic, they met one whose heart was merry and whose arm was strong. From that day forth Sean did wear a red tabard with the Baron of Septentria's white bear badge and did ever fall in amongst the shields of the North when on campaign in the Debatable Lands, as part of the Eoforwic City Militia. Many loved him well, for he was good company, a most honourable man and brave to boot.
That evening came a rare feast and then a torch-lit Court. The feast was notable for several reasons, not least of which was the appearance of a great blight.
It was the desire of the Crown, and in particular of Queen Tangwystl, that the tales of their reign be chronicled by a famed lady named Adrienne Clarkson, well known in all the lands North of the Inland Seas, and her minions. To this end Clarkson's bold chroniclers  travelled south and used infernal devices to record the goings-on of the day, even the solemn moment of Coronation. At night they had no sunlight for their devices to use to record the Coronation feast, so they erected terrible lamps which shone like a thousand torches and made all in the feast-hall squint in pain. They also shoved their infernal devices in people's faces throughout the day and generally acted in a rude and thoughtless way. Many considered them a cabal of boorish churls  and decided they were not welcome, though as the Queen's guests they might come and go as they would, and did so with annoying frequency. Some thought Adrienne Clarkson and her minions would bring publicity to the doings of the society; others saw the publicity was being bought at the cost of much good will, for when the chroniclers' infernal devices came out the populace found an obstacle standing, kneeling and at times walking aimlessly between the people and their Monarchs.
 For convenience known by an acronym, the CBC (for Clarkson's bold chroniclers.)
 Which allowed the use of the same acronym, CBC, one of the few convenient moments in this otherwise tiresome episode.
In the evening court, which was lit by torches and bonfires of a conventional sort, Clarkson's lackeys discovered their infernal devices would not work and there was distinct relief and muted rejoicing from some corners as they faded into the darkness and were gone, at least temporarily.
Two pieces of business of note were conducted in the evening court. The good people of Wolves' Keep were awarded the Purple Fretty for hosting such a splendid event, and no Eoforing present could deny the warmth of their welcome. Also, Horgarth Tyrsson,a dour Viking who had settled in the lands around Ben Dunfirth, was awarded Arms. This award was most unusual in its particulars, for the Crown did detail for Horgarth his elevation to the nobility and listed his life's increased value in terms of silver and cattle, should a foe slay him in a quarrel and "wergild" need to be paid. This increased value of his inert corpse seemed to please Thegn Horgarth right well, but the ways of the Norse are strange.
During the evening court His Excellency Ohan, Khan of the Great Dark Horde and a good friend to the Northlands, came and offered gifts to the new King and Queen. He was made welcome as befit his station, and it was lucky that he was present, for the Northern warrior Ceallac appeared at that moment at the head of a MacGregor war-band, bearing bloody spoils from what was reported to be a border raid by the East Kingdom. High Khan Ohan bade his famed lieutenant, Cian of the Amber Mists, look on Ceallac's booty and Cian identified the spoor thrown at the Queen's feet to be the head of an Eastern warrior of some minor repute  .
 It should be noted that night had fallen, the infernal lamps of the CBC were extinguished, and the torches were far from the dias, so Cian's identification may be suspect.
Faced with such provocation, King David and Queen Tangwystl assembled their nobles and Peers and ordered them hence, bidding them prepare their lands and people for grim War with the East. They also did other business and appointed a Bard of the Middle Kingdom. This was not Lady Ilyana, who became their true bard some weeks later and later became a Mistress of the Laurel for her songs and harping, but another who left the Crown's service soon thereafter and was replaced.
Of various gentlefolk of the City.
bout this time was first seen in Eoforwic a Scotsman named Angus, who would later become Ensign of the White Tower and Marshal of the City. Angus, being a Scot, called himself Angus Albhanni ("Angus the Scot" in the good Gaelic tongue) to distinguish him from any other Scotsman who might be named Angus. In later years his martial endeavours brought Angus to the attention of a local lady named Ysabeau, who found him most comely despite his rough Highland origins.
Also seen at this time were two friends named Travis Greywolf and Mort, who wore black scale armour and thus was called Mort Blackscale by some. Both were merry companions for all and were well-regarded. On the field both were enthusiastic fighters, Mort especially, and were stalwarts of the Eoforwic shieldwall.
Traviss later became enamoured of a lady named Madelaine, and she became enamoured of him, so all was well. She was a lady with a talent for pen and brush. Madelaine became a faithful, though quiet and reserved, supporter of the City and was well-loved,though Travis loved her best of all.
Of Bronwyn, Lothar and their children.
ven though she was no longer Seneschal of Eoforwic, Lady Bronwyn Meredith did have a relapse of the dread Seneschal's Disease about this time and gave birth to Ceara, a sister for Lorraine (who was called Trista when she was a little girl). Bronwyn's husband was Lord Lothar von Wulfing, who lived in Eoforwic. Lothar was a herald of no small repute, and did serve the Baron Septentria in that capacity for many years. He was also an accomplished warrior and horseman. In fact, at Pennsic XVIII or XIX (the record is unclear and memories fade) Lothar was so magnificent in the shieldwall, hewing the Baron's foes left and right and being unstoppable in the advance, that Aeden and Kaffa had no award they could give him worthy of his prowess. They therefore named im the first Hero of Septentria, which distinction has never been given to another. As time passed Lothar and Bronwyn moved with Lorraine and Ceara from Eoforwic to the country, and were seen no more. It was said Lothar took up blacksmithing and barrel coopering in the old village near the ruins of Noerlandia, following in the footsteps of Helmut and Sylard.
Of Septentria's delicate place in the hierarchy of the Midrealm.
aron Gareth Tancred Wilfrith, who was the Seneschal of the Middle Kingdom at the time and was a very wise man to boot (which is very often the case with Kingdom seneschals, though not always as the Kingdom has found to its chagrin), became aware of the size of the Barony of Septentria. Even without Skraeling Althing, Rising Waters and the perverse and unnatural iconoclasts of Starleaf Gate, Septentria was not merely the largest Barony in the Kingdom, it was the largest Barony in all the known world. The ounsellors of the Imperium, who through custom sit together in the far west on an ancient hewn plank called "The Board of Directors", noticed this also. The size of Septentria did not seem to bother the Septentrians (and it caused no concern at all within Eoforwic, which was well content with matters as they stood in the Barony) but it caused Gareth some concern, and he conferred with the King's Curia on this matter. The King's Curia made it clear that Septentria would have to split into two or more smaller Baronies in the foreseeable future, though they did not set a date or otherwise force the issue.
Of Ines who was Ihsan.
here was a lady named Ihsan who settled in Eoforwic. She did sing fine songs and wrote many articles for the Eoforing and the Ursus. She was by inclination an inn-keeper, but in later years found that patrons would not stay in an inn run by an African lady named Ihsan. It was said that "Ihsan", when mispronounced by European tongues, did sound like an Arabic word for "horse", with which beast the lady did not wish to develop constant association or unfortunate comparison. On this misfortune Ihsan blamed he tribulations of her inn. As a result she decided she would purport to be a Portuguese lady named Ines. While her inn ran no better it also ran no worse, and Ines was better pleased with her later name than her former, so she was well content and continued writing apace.
Of the Beginnings of the College of Skeldergate.
bout this time the College of Skeldergate was founded under the sponsorship of the Barony of Septentria, beside the ruins of the long-abandoned Canton of Noerlandia in the shadow of York University. This gallant settlement was led by Lady Ursula, once called Utsi King's-bane by Lothar von Wulfing for an enthusiastic embrace she gave the late King Talymar. Ursula heard word of young folk named Osric and Cualgne who lived near ancient ruins in the North, Ursula remembered the route to the ruins of Noerlandia and brought many new folk she found in those parts to the Society. The College grew under her guidance and the City found its interests well-served by Utsi's efforts in northern suburbia, for its new neighbours were hospitable and co-operative folk.
Of the Endings of House Eagleshaven.
t was also about this time that Master Sylard tired of the responsibilities of his House. Wulfgar the Healer had wandered, Strigor was in An Tir, Lady Aislinne was on a pilgrimage to the far North doing good deeds for the sick and Ricard was a Laurel and had his own House to see to. Others of House Eagleshaven were prominent in their own lands, Artair and Wilhelm in Avon Araf, Alasdair in Bryniau; they were seldom seen by Sylard's hearth. Also, the outlaw Ealdormere that Sylard had helped nurture during ing Alen's hated proscription had become respectable, a state of affairs that ill suited "the bastard Viking" of the old songs. Finally, Baron Aeden and Baroness Kaffa would hold Septentria no longer, and Eagleshaven's role as Baronial bodyguard was not a duty to the Barony but Sylard's own gift to Aeden and Kaffa.
As was Sylard's wont he acted dramatically when events came to a climax. At the feast in Eoforwic which celebrated the retirement of Aeden and Kaffa (of which more will be said), Sylard stood and dissolved House Eagleshaven, though some say that old swords of Sylard's band later held to his ways, swore no fealty and guarded each other's backs in battle. In years to come Sylard took other apprentices, one being Lady Breanaidh, returned from far An Tir. Another would be Tarver the Pole, whose great gynnes and trebuchets were famed almost as far as they could fling rocks, which was far indeed. This is the same Tarver some scholars call "Tarver Three-Beards", who provided great patronage for the splendid second volume of the History of Eoforwic, copies of which are found in all the great abbey libraries and which this poor text can but emulate. Books and abbeys aside, Sylard's war-band was no more; his declaration of its dissolution was far less a decision than an acknowledgement of what had happened already.
Of the retirement of Aeden and Kaffa.
inally the time came for Aeden and Kaffa to step down as Baron and Baroness Septentria. They had held Septentria in fief from the Crown for ten eventful years, from the day Gillian stepped down as founding Baroness. A Septentrian King, Hugo from Eoforwic, had elevated Aeden and Kaffa; the next Septentrian King, David from der Welfengau, would see their successors elevated.
In their time as Baron and Baroness Aeden and Kaffa had seen their original Barony become two Baronies, then three Baronies within a Principality. Aeden and Kaffa had seen much personal triumph as well; while wearing golden Baronial coronets they had both become Companions of the Laurel and Companions of the Pelican, both honours acclaimed by all who saw the strength of the Northlands and the wisdom of Their Excellencies Septentria. As well as overseeing the Barony Aeden had served as Lord Lieutenant of Ealdormere and sat on the King's Curia. Aeden and Kaffa had led their Barony on campaign for ten consecutive summers, winning for Septentria's red shields a reputation for ferocity and steadiness unsurpassed in all the known world. Many good warriors had earned from them; many artisans had received their wise counsel; many artists had enjoyed their generous patronage. Aeden and Kaffa had good cause to be tired, and much of the joy had gone out of the Society for them through the burden of their duties. Also, Aeden and Ceallac had entered into a findings and leather-trading partnership near the City harbour, within walking distance of the old star-trace fort by the shores of the Inland Sea. For this capital endeavour to flourish Aeden's whole attention would be required. Accordingly, Aeden and Kaffa decided to step down.
Over the proceeding months the populace was polled, and with the people's counsel the Crown decided that Lord Cordigan de Arnot, head of House Faeringold, would become Septentria's new Baron and Lady Diane de Arnot, his Lady-wife, would become Baroness.
While Diane was not well known at that time, Cordigan was well known as a fighter and a singer of songs. Of course all in Eoforwic knew of the Faeringolds, and so it was seen that the new Baron would have a large and enthusiastic (if somewhat inebriated)House to support him.
Their Majesties travelled to the great University in Eoforwic on the eighth day of June, Anno Societatis XXVI and much business was done in the Crown's court that day. Lord Gunther Wahlstadt of Bremen (of whom there is mention already in this volume) was awarded Arms, as was Lord Michele Nicolo Sfortunato da Napoli, a most gracious Eoforing. Lord Nicolo was a most talented musician, well-liked by all, with a sweet singing voice and a dry wit. He was active in the City's affairs and counted among his friends many of the most prominent burghers.
Lady Catriona Gower of York, who later was an apprentice to Master Robert of Two Cliffs, also was awarded Arms. Lady Catriona was a very talented artist and calligrapher and did often provide whimsical sketches to the Ursus and Eoforing, for the amusement of all. She also did dress in a most splendid manner, as well befit a Lady, so the Crown's award was most seemly.
The Lady Andrea Eulenberg von Kufstein was also awarded Arms that day. She was not an Eoforing and was very shy, but she was destined to achieve great glory in Ealdormere along with her husband, Sir Bealdgar Thorbeornsson, who was awarded a Purple Fret in the same court. Sir Bealdgar did try to refuse this honour, but the King bade the populace voice its opinions and the populace did cry their gratitude to brave, brave Sir Bealdgar for his many deeds of generosity, and Sir Bealdgar did acquiece to the popular will.
Lord Aelfwyne the Wanderer was also awarded a Purple Fret in this court and all agreed that never had such an award been more well-earned than this, for alfwyne's great generosity of spirit never lagged nor failed, even when his Baron and Baroness were readying themselves for retirement.
Lord Garwig der Waffenschmidt also received a Purple Fret to mark service, devotion and generosity shown through both his craft as a mail-maker  and in sundry duties and tasks. He was not an Eoforing, but he was a fine and gracious gentleman none the less, a chirurgeon and generous to a fault.
 And surely well-blessed by the intercession of Saint Brand, patron of all armourers and mail-makers.
Lady Anthea Talbot Lovatt was inducted into the Order of the Willow in this court; she was a most delightful and interesting Lady with great knowledge of fashion and fabric and also of lapidary. She enlivened doings in the City with her quick wit and good cheer, and was a ready source of all the best gossip (of the purest sort, complete with whimsical embellishments but bereft of all malice). All agreed that she would make a valuable addition to the Order and her induction was due recognition for her varied accomplishments.
Lady Bronwyn Meredith Kirk, once Seneschal of Eoforwic and long-time Seneschal of Septentria, also was recognized for service. In her case the Crown saw fit to make her a member of the Order of the Dragon's Heart, the just reward for a stalwart servant of the Crown's Baron, Baroness and Barony.
At the close of court Aeden o Kincora and Kaffa Muraith retired from their Baronial duties. King David and Queen Tangwystl presented them with the silver coronets of a Baron and Baroness of their Court, as befits those who have held land in fief. There was much rejoicing among the Faeringolds at the succession to the Baronial seat, while in the City there was drear mourning. Aeden's and Kaffa's harper, Mistress Rhiannon, wrote them a eulogy and threatened to snip the strings of her harp, burn its frame and scatter the ashes upon herself as a sign of her grief (or so some say), even though they were still alive.
Cordigan thus became the second Baron of Septentria and Diane the third Baroness. They were the first to hold the Barony from a place other than Eoforwic, and the seat of the Barony would shift from the Royal City to the incipient canton of Petrea Thule.
After this time Aeden and Kaffa were seldom seen in Eoforwic; worn out and embittered by ten years of travel, hard work and petty politics, they let themselves fade from prominence. With this passed their leadership of their House, Teacht Ceartha Mor, though their sworn men remained active in the City and Lord Fredrick and Mistress Tamarra assumed the mantle of responsibility for that House, though in a much more subdued fashion than had been the case in the past. The last and greatest of old Eoforwic's houses had begun its graceful decline.
In retrospect of the day of the retirement of the second Baroness and first Baron of Septentria.
ith Aeden's and Kaffa's retirement passed a remarkable era in the history of Eoforwic. When Gillian stepped down Eoforwic was by far the strongest of all the cantons, the artistic, administrative and martial centre of all the Society North of the InlandSeas. When Aeden and Kaffa stepped down, Septentria was but one of three Baronies within Ealdormere, and it was understood that Septentria would be split yet again in the foreseeable future.
A reputation for great martial prowess had shifted from Eoforwic; there was no Knight in the City, for Graf Sir Hugo had long since left the City and wise old Duke Sir Finnvarr had moved farther North. There were fighters of promise, but they sought advanced training in der Welfengau from Sir David or in Afon Araf from Sir Bealdgar. The great Eoforing fighting Houses had faded and the City Militia had no regular practice site when it rained or snowed.
The days of Eoforwic's artisans taking the Ice Dragon arts pentathlon by storm had passed, too. There were many capable artists and crafts-workers in the City, but the dominance of Mistress Caitlin, Mistress Mortraeth, Master Sylard, Mistress Tamarra andtheir ilk was past.
Eoforwic, in envy or pride, may have once been called the centre of the universe. These words were no longer heard, save as empty boasting by the ignorant or as sarcasm by the unkind. The first age of the City was past; a new age was dawning.
Copyright Arthur McLean 1995.