The Fifth Book of the Chronicles of Eoforwic
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The Chronicle of Eoforwic of Amaury de Hinton Being the sixth Chronicle of that Royal City
he sixth book of the histories of Eoforwic does here begin. It is said by the sages that six is the number of completion and of perfection, as God did create the world in six days. And yet, others say that there be great affinity between the number six and the Cross, labour, and servitude, as Christ suffered on the sixth day. Fortune’s wheel does ever turn; she raises some low and others high, and Justice is never an easy mistress.
I write these words far from home, in southern lands, remembering those years of change, the joys and sadness mingling to make me long for what was. Too often, my Mistress has come to me to ask me once again to tell a tale of the Royal City like those she has read in books, and finally she charged me to write what I knew down.
Anno Societatis XXX
n the summer of the thirtieth year of the Society, Eoforwic celebrated its twentieth year in great pageantry, as has been told in the Fifth Chronicle of Eoforwic. Gunnar Halfdan of Lund was Lord Mayor of the Royal City for the second time. King Osis sat the throne of the Middle Kingdom with Valthjona, his Queen. At the great Coronet Tourney, Zadok fought well, and Rhys ap Bledri advanced to the final six. In the final bout, Sir Mordain, fighting for his lady AElflaeda bested Lucius Aurelius Varus. Morgan Blackheart authorized, increasing the City Guard by one. But ill stars had shone on the reign of Osis and Valthjona, and they were rarely seen in the same place. It was here where banishment was proclaimed upon three gentles. Mistress Mortraeth and Mistress Rhiannon were banished from the Royal Presence and Master Sylard, from the Realm, by King Osis and Queen Valthjona. There is to this day much disagreement about whether these banishments were deserved or not, and for some time, many in the Principality chose sides in the dispute. As with all banishments, the reasons were not made public to all, but only given to those banished, but word soon travelled that they had much to do with breaking the confidence of the Peerage orders; to wit, Elizabeth Cadfan was told at a private dinner the night before she was to be vigilled by Queen Valthjona for the Order of the Laurel what the Crown intended to do. As with many disputes, each side has points in its favour. While it is true that the bond of trust between a Peerage order and the Crown was overstepped, others argue that in fact these bonds are often stretched when a candidate is due to be vigilled in order that family and friends might be present. Similarly, the King had asked the counsel of members of the Imperium as to what to do, and they had advised him that banishment was appropriate. However, these members were nearing the ends of their terms, and by the time the Imperium considered the banishment, the consensus had changed; now the banishment was seen as inappropriate and it was overturned. No matter what one's stand on the people and issues involved, it is true that the banishments caused an open wound amongst the people of Ealdormere.
The second-level banishment, in particular, forced members of Master Sylard's home canton into having to choose between following the rules and supporting a friend. Emotions ran very, very high and much long-term enmity resulted. While few in Eoforwic were directly effected, and even fewer knew what banishment entailed or what the reasons behind it actually were, one of the banished was Mistress Rhiannon, who had left for England before the banishment was pronounced, and who had many friends and apprentices in the City. Their Majesties subsequently lifted the banishment of
Mistress Mortraeth, and that of Mistress Rhiannon allowed to lapse at the end of the reign because she no longer was a subject of the Middle Kingdom, but that of Sylard was renewed by King Tarquin and Queen Aibhilin, before ultimately being overturned by the Council.
The Royal City was also distressed because its very good friend, Elizabeth Cadfan, whom all agreed was worthy of a laurel wreath, was placed into limbo for more than two months while the Crown debated her elevation. It is said that she came quite close to declining the honour because of all the pain she had been put through, and only the words of her King eventually convinced her to accept. Although the entire story is not known, it is rumoured that the Queen and King had differing opinions on whether to proceed. All the while, Elizabeth Cadfan had continued her good work on behalf of the Kingdom, and many of Eoforwic spent an hour or two in her company, filing and polishing some of the two thousand thank-you tokens that Their Majesties had commissioned for Pennsic to be distributed to fighters and volunteers.
t War Practice that year, Master Hector, who had been put on vigil for the Order of the Pelican at Murder Melee, was elevated by King Osis. Due to a competing event, no member of the Order of the Pelican arrived to speak on behalf of Hector, so other worthy gentles spoke on his behalf. Some hours before the ceremony, it was discovered that the medallion Hector was supposed to receive was not present. Countess Caitlin, who had great skill at the making of incised metal medallions, undertook to make Hector a medallion in time for the ceremony, and in doing so cut her hand, making the drops of blood on the medallion all too real. This relic was later passed to Baroness Megan of Stonemarche of the East Kingdom, she who runs the Guild of Limners at Pennsic and sells wondrous things from her tiny house.
t the twenty-fourth Pennsic War, Dame Madinia was in charge of the troll booth, as Aedan and Kaffa had done years before, and because of a last-minute emergency, Master Hector assumed the position of one of three autocrats. He had been appointed Constable and presented with a war hammer crafted by Edward the Chaste, and had otherwise planned only to serve as "Master of Disaster" and to support his lady wife as Troll. When he took on the role of autocrat, he passed the hammer over to Sir Mordain, who stepped into the role and served the Coronet with great distinction despite the lack of notice. So busy were Hector and Madinia they that they were barely seen, although Hector found the time to fight a battle or two. Because of especial efforts and friendship between King Osis and King Timothy of the East, this War was not plagued by the personal conflict and enmity between East and Middle that had disturbed the two preceding Wars. Osis distributed Thor's hammers cast by Lady Elizabeth to every Middle Kingdom fighter, charging them to pass them on to someone who had inspired them. Great efforts were made to make the sides more even in the battles, and even though the East triumphed, no one went home unhappy.
This was a somewhat notorious war, as the Tuchux and Vlad (of Vlad’s Pleasure Pavilions) had had an ongoing dispute. Enough concerns had been raised about the Tuchux that King Osis had sent Hector to AEthelmearc war practice to discuss the situation with representatives of the Tuchux and Jarl Haakon Oaktall, the chief of security. The dispute with Vlad’s camp erupted the Thursday night of War week with a physical confrontation that resulted in the police being called, charges being laid, and both camps kicked offsite by the Coopers. The Tuchux would never again camp on Tuchux hill; in subsequent years they camped at the far end of the campground.
Life for the Royal City was more pleasant, although it was not without its challenges. Lord Mayor Gunnar and Alderman Vychata arrived to discover they did not have enough land in their allotted space. Negotiations were held with Duke Talymar to swap spaces, and the camp then had a new place—but one with very few trees. This was a very hot War, and the Cityfolk did suffer greatly. Lord Angus ended up commanding a banner guard in the Friendship Woods battle after the initial commanders were slain, and also served as Scutifer to Baroness Adrielle in the Field Battle. Vychata commanded the City Guard while Angus took on this latter duty. They both helped Ealdormere break through the flanks and menace the Eastern rear, only to be told to return when the Kings ordered both armies to reform. This year saw especial friendship between the City Guard and Rising Waters and Malik, its Baron; with the two forces working together in many battles and as a result discussions were held between Angus, Gunnar, and Malik on how to improve melee fighting. As a result, Eoforwic became an enthusiastic participant in the "Bop ‘til you drop" practices Rising Waters began to host.
Many other Eoforwic fighters fought with de Taahe: Travis, Nicolae, and Siegfried; Eanor and Rhys, who were squires of Mordain, fought with them. Both Nicolae and Siegfried were injured at that Pennsic; Nicolae broke both ankles.
Eoforwic saw a former citizen at last given her due when Ragni Dzintara was made a Pelican. It is said that her name was brought up for the first time by Duke Finnvarr at the great Meeting of that Order at Pennsic, and so stunned were the members that she was not one of them that they recommended to the Crown that she be elevated immediately; and the Crown concurred. Also, Thanin and Alasdair, husband and wife and members of House de Taahe, were both elevated to the Order of the Laurel. And Foote the Potter, who had foisted the Salmon of Knowledge upon the stunned City at the 20th Anniversary celebration, was made a Baron of Court, along with his gentle and forgiving wife, Grainne du Bois. Also, Prince Roak appointed Albrecht Stampher his Rapier Champion, after many recommendations.
ith the cooler days of autumn, as was usual, the burghers of the City gathered in the Guild Hall at Michaelmas to elect their Mayor and Sheriff. For Mayor, Gaerwen of Trafford, Angus Albahni, and Ysabeau Herbier de Vauvert all stood; while for Sheriff, the candidates were Mercedes Heloise d’Abelard, Albrecht Stampher, and Raimon of Lower Lorraine. Graft was particularly rampant this year, as many of the burghers had prospered of recent and eager to gain influence and standing by backing candidates. In a close vote, Gaerwen narrowly defeated Angus, despite the wealth of some of Angus' backers; while Albrecht owed his narrow defeat of Mercedes to a sizable block vote that ultimately led him to victory.
In this month, Eoforwic hosted, along with Skeldergate, the Tournament of Queens. Originally, it was designed as a birthday celebration and chance to authorize for Birstan of Tall Hills, Eoforwic's longest-standing fighter in training, but he was unable to do so because of an injury; indeed, his interests had turned elsewhere and soon he would depart for the great University in the western part of Ealdormere. His sister, Austrechild von Mondsee, served as steward for the event, and the College of Skeldergate contributed funds and volunteers.
This event also saw the Investiture of Mordain and AElflaeda. It had been noticed that in Court that morning that Prince Roak and Princess Tarkwyn were grey of hair and long of tooth, as were their entourage. Indeed, Roak repeatedly forgot that he had granted a Golden Otter to Rhys ap Bledri, calling him into court some four times. Austrechild was also granted a Golden Otter, and Finnvarr de Taahe and Marian of Heatherdale inducted into the Order of the Bee. King Osis also lifted the banishment of Mistress Mortraeth
For the day’s festivities, two "queens", White and Red (Aidan Greylock and Anthea Talbot Lovatte, who would soon be no longer seen about the City) sought their lost brother Honour by holding a great Tourney in the challenge style, with the combatants splitting into two teams. And Viscount Roak appeared, suddenly looking much younger, and prevailed in the lists. This event was also the site of one of several Middle Kingdom Melee Championship tourneys.
It had finally been made known that at this event, Elizabeth Cadfan would at last be elevated to the Order of the Laurel, and the people of the city decided that they would pool their resources and present the lady with a Big Chest, overflowing with the bounty of the City, and make her an honourary citizen of the Royal Burgh, as she dwelt outside the walls. These gifts she received with much gratitude.
The City received an especial honour that evening when King Osis held Court: the Award of the Purple Fretty, for its ability to work together as a group. Indeed, the scroll specifically called Eoforwic a Royal City, and the wise realized that King Osis had again confirmed its special status, originally granted in the Great Charter of Cariadoc.
Many citizens and friends of the City were recognized that evening: Mercedes and Raffe Scholemayster with Purple Frets; Gwendoline Rosamund (a lady who had recently moved to the City and who was apprenticed to Dame Madinia), Pankratz Pugge (the great conjurer who was apprenticed jointly to Master Hector, Dame Madinia, and Master Aaron faheud Swiftrunner), and Nicolaa de Bracton with Willows, and Viscountess Kaellyn, Syr Menken, and Brand with Dragon's Hearts. Brand's similarity with his saintly namesake had been recognized by Roak and Tarkwyn earlier in the day with his induction, along with Mistress Etaoin, into the Friendship of the Trillium, Ealdormere's highest honour. Finally came the Laurelling of Elizabeth Cadfan, which caused many hankies to be brought forth. At this event, Nicolaa de Bracton assumed the office of Principality Chronicler on an interim basis. She promptly left for England for three weeks.
n October, Tarquin and Aibhilin ascended to the Dragon Thrones, and at their Coronation, Elizabeth Mortimer was placed on vigil for the Order of the Chivalry. Eoforwic, as in many years past, participated in the U of T Day event. Leila Brophy, a young and enthusiastic lady, came to Eoforwic as a result of this event.
ovember saw the end of an era. Henry and Enid stepped down as Baron and Baroness of Skraeling Althing, and the days of the Vipper Baron passed into history. They were succeeded by James and Xristinia. In this month, there were many baronial disputes. There was a contentious bridge battle between Septentria and Skraeling Althing, won by the Skraelings. At Scotchtoberfest, Baron Ieuan of Septentria had gotten Prince Mordain to grant him the land around Horseshoe Falls, with the taxes to go to Ramshaven. But as it was discovered that this land by right belonged to Rising Waters and Rhyderrich Hael, and so in December Mordain reversed the edict—and ordered Ieaun to be silent in Principality Court. At Wassail, held in the style of Outremer with the feast served in Eastern style while reclining on the floor, the great Moot of the people was held, and many issues concerning the future of Ealdormere were discussed. Soon, it would be known that the quest for Kingdom status was beginning in earnest..
s January winds blew, so too did winds of coming changes. As Ealdormere had matured as a Principality, her people began to talk in earnest about what would be needed to advance to Kingdom status. Master Hector, hearing this talk, published an article in the Tidings about what would be needed to take such a step. However, these discussions were temporarily pre-empted by the decision by the Council of Elders to impose a fee on all those who had not paid the necessary tax to the city of Milpitas for the right to call oneself a citizen of the Society. In past years, said tax had always been optional. Now the Elders sought to penalize those who did not pay the tax with a fee collected at every gathering of the Society. This decision caused a great deal of discussion amongst the populace, and great confusion as to how it would be implemented, especially given the differing value of coin between Ealdormere and those lands to the South.
While debate raged, the tiff amongst the barons escalated. At the great Twelfth Night festivities in Caer Draeth, where Gaerwen and Etian reigned as Queen and King of Fools, and Foote appeared with a giant wooden spoon, Baron Ieuan was heralded into Court as "He who keeps the peace of Ealdormere" and Baroness Adrielle as "She who speaks with the voice of the Bear." Forward came the Baron and Baroness of the Rhydderich Hael to present a letter from their Prince and Princess complaining that Septentria had claimed their land. The Prince and Princess of AEthelmearc, as was their right in the lands over which they claimed dominion, imposed taxes, to be payable at the great Tournament known as Ice Dragon. These were to include a song about friendship, a champions’ bout at Ice Dragon, food, chocolate, and scotch. And if the debt were not honoured, it would turned over to the Guild Fannucci, and it was well known that neither Ieuan nor Adrielle had a "Get out of Fannucci Free" Card."
Far to the west, a new Territorial Principality was created from the lands of the Middle that had given birth to Calontir—now a kingdom—and Ealdormere. This was the Principality of Northshield, and with Prince Mordain and Princess AElflaeda in attendance, Sir Dafydd won the tourney for his lady Gwynedd, and they were invested as the first of the line of Northshield.
oon it became time for Mordain and AElflaeda to find Regents who might act if they were to pass on prematurely and their children still be minors. Many from Eoforwic were well represented in the tournament. Richard Larmer fought for Ysabeau, Hereward for Lady Anthea, Zadok for Gwendoline, Nicolae for Sybille, and Etian for Madinia. Of Etian, more will be said presently. The finals were contested between Duke Finnvarr, fighting for his lady, Mistress Ragni, and Viscount Roak, fighting for his household sister, Baroness Moria the Black. For the third time, Roak was victorious in the Coronet lists, and so he and Moria were invested as "regents."
King Tarquin of the Middle was in attendance to witness these deeds, and heard tale of another deed of bravery. In Court, he presented Etian au Naval with the Award of the Dragon’s Tooth. This award is normally granted for battlefield bravery, but the circumstances this time were somewhat different: Etian had been sent by Lord James Douglas, who was tapster for the day, to procure more potables for the guests. When Etian had arrived at the shop where such things were sold, he discovered a highwayman in the act of making off with the merchant's profits. Lord Etian did chase down the highwayman and recover the money, injuring his arm in the process. The King did hear of this bravery and thus rewarded Etian.
Baroness Rhianwen of the Barony of V'tavia in far Calontir brought gifts to Their Highnesses: thirty marvelous tabards bearing the badge of Ealdormere to clothe the fighters of the Principality. And there is a tale here. Years ago, when Calontir had been but a region, their fighters had banded together and adopted matching tabards in time of war. As Calontir grew to Principality and then to Kingdom, their splendid tabards of purple emblazoned with gold falcons grew to be famous, particularly after Master Pavel built the Shield Wall into an institution known throughout the Society. Calontir had once been a Principality of the Middle, too, and eagerly extended friendship to its younger sister Ealdormere. Long had the red tabards of Septentria and Skraeling, and more recently, Rising Waters, signified the presence of Ealdormere on the field. Now perhaps an army might take shape, much as had happened in Calontir, and wear tabards of Ealdormere. Baroness Rhianwen had met many good folk of Ealdormere when they had journeyed south to Lilies War, amongst them Duke Finnvarr, Richard Larmer, and Hereward, and henceforth would be seen in Ealdormere from time to time, wearing her dragonfly coronet, and these and other Ealdormerians would likewise travel from time to time to Calontir, bringing greetings and friendship.
In the same Court was Morgan Blackheart awarded Arms, for her great service as bar wench and Minister of Children, and Marian of Heatherdale received a Purple Fret. Mistress Ragni was the first (and only) recipient of a special award of " "Me and the Prince are Like That" (fingers crossed). King Tarquin also bestowed three other awards of significance. Long ago, when Baron Aedan and Baroness Enid had held the titles of "Lord and Lady Lieutenant of Ealdormere" and been charged with guiding the Crown Principality of Ealdormere to the status of full Territorial Principality, they had been promised Grants of Arms when their long labours were finally at an end. These Grants had never been given. King Tarquin rectified this error, which had endured for six years. The other award of note was the knighting of Baroness Elizabeth Mortimer—after Countess Fern de Foret, only the second woman to be knighted in the Middle Kingdom. The King permitted Mordain, whose squire Elizabeth had been, to hold the sword when she was dubbed, and all Ealdormere rejoiced that a woman of such prowess had been found in their midst.
s the winter wore on, Nicolaa, busy with her duties as Principality Chronicler, passed the duties of Principality Marshal of Fence on to Cerdic Weyfare. Also, Austrechild took up the duties of Principality Signet. Eoforwic busied itself with the running of the first Northern War College, held within the confines of the University of Toronto. Sir William of Fairhaven brought his library of visual tales of Pennsics past so that others could view and analyze them, and also taught about unit fighting. A distinguished guest by the name of John Thompson from the Mackenzie Institute for Strategic Studies taught on the principles of warfare. Master Hector also collected writings on combat from many authors and published them, where they influenced many a fighter for years.
About this time, the Ealdormere Laws Committee, with Duke Finnvarr as advisor, began to meet to begin to draft the laws that would form the basis of the future Kingdom. Madinia and Rhys were among the members. Rhys, who was known for his fine mead, had also recently started a brewers’ guild.
The charter for what would become the White Wolf Fian was also first drafted around this time. This had grown from discussions (some held in the Eoforwic pub) about how to form a challenge order similar to the White Bear Fian for fighters. Artisans would propose a project—something that would challenge them to extend their abilities—and have one year to complete it. Once complete, the project would be presented to the Princess and the populace. This would not be an award, and completing the project would give no rank or precedence.
n a snowy day in early March, the guilds of Ealdormere gathered in Pont-y-Saeth for Guild Day. Guilds were becoming more and more popular, and the various organized guilds, including needleworkers, fibre arts, brewers, and metalworkers, sponsored displays and classes. Here did Dame Sarra Graeham beg a boon, and Nicolaa de Bracton was placed on vigil for the Order of the Laurel by Princess AElflaeda, who had travelled south especially for that purpose. The Crown had decided to do this nearly two months before, at Kingdom Twelfth Night, but there had been no opportune event in the meantime (Coronet being too busy), and the Laurels of Ealdormere were kept guessing as to when it would happen. An amusing thing happened in that time. Countess Caitlin had promised to teach Nicolaa to make a circlet, and had suggested that Willow leaves might make a pleasing motif with which to decorate it. Nicolaa concurred, as she had been made a Companion of the Order of the Willow recently, and Countess Caitlin helped her cut them out. When the circlet was complete, she wore it to Guild Day, and several Laurels commented that the Willow leaves bore a striking resemblance to Laurel leaves, which Nicolaa, not wishing to offend, denied vociferously, not knowing, of course, what was in store (although she had guessed something might be afoot because her husband, Gunthar, had suddenly decided to attend the event; the last time that had happened, she had been awarded Arms; but had thought it might be a surprise birthday party).
rand Thorwaldsson had recently wed his lady, Brianna, and in celebration invited many guests to a wedding feast (dubbed the Feast of the Immaculate Chequey) later that same month, including several from Eoforwic. A brief kerfuffle was caused here when a very pregnant Dame Cadfan appeared, supported by several ladies, claiming that Brand had been busy plowing other fields. Contrite, he was forgiven by his lady and promised to do better next time. The feast itself, prepared by Lord Cameron, was remembered as one of the best in Ealdormerian history, the dishes all being tasty and appearing quickly. It was here that news first reached the ears of the people that in far Drachenwald, Edouard Beausoliel had triumphed in Crown Tourney and would rule at War alongside his lady Eanor. Both were, of course, originally of the City of Eoforwic.
any traveled south to the great festival of the Passing of the Ice Dragon in the Rhydderich Hael. Ines de Freytis, who held the position of Bard of Ealdormere had written a song to fulfill the challenge presented by Their Serene Highnesses of AEthelmearc at Twelfth Night. The song, "Fleuve des Larmes," was a beautiful tale of solidarity in the face of great loss, and was inspired by a tragic accident in Ansteorra. Somewhere in the midst of the schtick, things went badly awry. What transpired is not often spoken of, but suffice it to say that somehow the silly, contrived conflict was misconstrued as a real one. A number of statements were issued afterwards to clarify that somehow the conflict had been misconstrued, and that no one was truly angry at anyone else.
n April, with Mercedes as autocrat, Gaerwen as Troll, Ysabeau coordinating the potluck and Nicolaa, the merchants, Eoforwic hosted the annual Arts and Sciences fair at St. Bridget's Church. Although not a success financially (the A&S fair seldom is), it did succeed in all other respects. There were, due to the efforts of Countess Caitlin, plenty of qualified judges this year, each of whom was rewarded with a white rose. There were also plenty of entrants, both in the bean count and the actual competition. Dona Mercedes received a first place for her knitted stockings, and Anastasia won the bean count for her beadwork. The pentathlon was won by Lady Caitrin of Chalcewell, from Vest Yorvik.
ater that same month, many from Eoforwic traveled to Vest Yorvik for the investiture of Moria and Roak, with Their Majesties of the Middle, Tarquin and Aibhilin, once again in attendance. It was known, however, that Mordain and AElflaeda already had heirs—their young children—so Roak and Moria had been styled regents. A friar (a certain "Justinian the Pure") came before Mordain and AElflaeda while they sat in Court, preaching Crusade. Mordain and AElflaeda decided to go, but needed money. The friar offered gold, in exchange for a document—or mortgage— deeding ownership of Ealdormere. Mordain and AElflaeda then dismissed all their court officers and made to leave. Roak and Moria approached, and asked that Ealdormere not be given over to the Church, but to them for safekeeping. (The mortgage would resurface nearly two years later…but that is a story for another time). Before departing, AElflaeda awarded Eoin o Beirne the Princess' Favour; Edward the Chaste received a Bee, and Lothar von Eofowic was awarded arms. (Lothar was probably best known for a rather disturbing All Hallows’ Eve disguise involving a long coat and a rather strategically placed beer can). Master Hector also stepped down as Constable. Later, in Roak and Moria’s first court, Mordain was appointed to succeed him.
Moria and Roak were familiar to many as long-term Ealdormerians, but their Khazar culture was less well-known. Their reign would do much to spread knowledge about this culture, and their investituture, which was based on sources describing the investiture of a leader of the Khazars. Roak was throttled by a silk scarf and forced to tell how long he would reign. It was Khazar custom to kill their ruler at the end of this period. But for now, things were joyful. Eoforwic presented trillium tabards to Moria and Roak by the City. Lady Mayor Gaerwen had been doing much to raise funds by holding raffles and sales, and these were one of the gifts that resulted.
It was at this event that the Salmon of Knowledge at last swam back upstream to its master, Baron Foote. It seems that the Salmon had been busy seeing the sights of Eoforwic, sometimes being seen on Queen St., and his keepers felt that body piercing and tattoos couldn't be to far off. He'd also been busy spawning in the rivers of the City, and several women appeared with swollen bellies to that effect. The City's men demanded that the big fish was a bad influence and thus should return home and spread his knowledge elsewhere, and thus did he return to Foote.
At this event Nicolaa sat her vigil, although she actually sat very little of it. When Their Majesties that morning also placed Rosina del Bosco Chiaro on vigil for elevation to the Laurelate, Nicolaa opened her vigil to her canton sister. Fine Riesling wine and strawberries, amongst other delicacies, had been procured for the vigil, although Nicolaa, being difficult to tie down in one place for any length of time, ended up giving most of it away.
Rosina had come to the City from the East Kingdom where she had been awarded arms and inducted into the Order of the Troubadours. For four years she had taught dance in Eoforwic, Skeldergate, and Ardchreag with great enthusiasm, but nowhere was she noticed so much as at Pennsic, where she discoursed on the Balli, which are a type of dance practiced by the Italians. These classes brought her much fame, and her own Laurel, Master Sion, judged that she knew more than he did. And thus it was her first Middle Kingdom award came to be her Laurel.
The people of the City had, without Nicolaa's knowledge, taken a collection to purchase for her a fine gift--a silver and garnet brooch. Likewise, they had taken up a collection for Rosina, although they were not told ahead of time who the second Laurel would be, and Dame Madinia and Master Hector had bought her silk of Laurel green, which Nicolaa later sewed into an Italian gown.
Lady Nicolaa was raised to the Laurelate in the manner of University masters, with Duke Finnvarr advising on the path of Peerage, and immediately thereafter Lady Rosina was elevated as well. Finally was Baron Menken Brechen made a Pelican, with twenty-odd people testifying to his great service, ending each account with "this, Menken has done"--which had been taken up as a refrain by the crowd at that point.
This was a day of many visitors and portents. From Calontir came King Crystopher and Juan Macias, long squire to Finnvarr, amongst others. As the day progressed, the skies darkened and crackled with lightening, and Master Sylard, making the trek south from Monadh, witnessed a twister storm along the way. These heralded a time of great preparation and change for Ealdormere, as it began in earnest to take the steps towards becoming a Kingdom.
© Copyright 2005, Susan Carroll-Clark. All rights reserved.