To the kingdom etc etc etc from your friendly neighbourhood Crux Australis, greetings and felicitations in this most pleasantly chilly time of the year.
Our Laurel King of Arms is not long for that title, having set the date for his retirement very near, but while he carries on he continues to do good work. These are the results of his deliberations for the month of May 2014:
Aoife inghean Chonchobhair. Name.
Avery Goodfellow. Name.
Bella Romana Valori. Name.
Brusi Anderson of the Shetlands. Badge for Housse Descartes. (Fieldless) A griffin Or within and conjoined to an annulet vert.
Diego Alvares. Name and device. Per bend sinister vert and argent, two millrinds counterchanged.
Donnchadh Baillie. Name.
Durant d’Arel. Name.
Durant d’Arel. Alternate name Durant le Blanc.
Edward Cooper. Name.
Elspeth Jamieson. Device. Argent vêtu ployé azure, two serpents erect respectant entwined sable.
Elvira de Luna. Name.
Elysant de Montrose. Name.
Gomez de Crécy. Name.
Götz von Hamelen. Name and device. Sable, a tree blasted and eradicated argent, in base a serpent nowed Or.
Guinevere Winter Marsh. Name and device. Quarterly argent and Or, an elephant statant maintaining atop its back a tower all per pale azure and gules.
Guntrammus of Lestun. Name.
Ilaria da Vale. Name and device. Argent, three cinquefoils azure and an orle vert.
Jonathon de Hadleigh. Device. Per pale gules and Or, in dexter in pale two hawk’s bells argent.
Konrad Hildebrandt. Name and device. Per bend sinister argent and gules, a tower sable and a sword argent.
Leoba of Lecelade. Name.
Lewelyn Penbras. Name.
Marcus Waffenschmied. Device. Or, on a rose gules barbed sable a sallet with bevor reversed argent.
Margarita Rossetti. Name and device. Argent, a mouse rampant sable, a bordure per pale vert and purpure.
Marozia moglie di Basilio Bracciolini. Name.
Ren Raw. Name and device. Per chevron azure and gules, a chevron Or and overall a dragon’s head cabossed argent.
Rosalind Beaufort. Badge. (Fieldless) A closed book palewise irradiated Or.
Rose Papellon. Badge. (Fieldless) In pale a rose conjoined to a heart argent.
Rose Papellon. Badge. (Fieldless) On a rose proper a heart argent.
Signý Hrafnsdóttir. Device change. Per saltire argent and gules, a raven striking and in base three feathers in pile conjoined at the tips sable.
Thomas Loxley. Name and device. Per pale azure and gules, an estoile Or.
Þorgrímr smiðr. Name and device. Sable, two chevronels and on a chief Or three tankards reversed sable.
Tysseley Sirene. Device. Argent, a frauenadler purpure fleshed argent and on a chief doubly-enarched vert plumetty argent a triquetra Or.
Wolff Hebenstreit. Badge. (Fieldless) A wolf rampant contourny within and conjoined to an annulet Or.
That’s forty one items right there! Not a bad bit of work for a “small” kingdom!
On The Different Kinds Of Nice
I got into a discussion with a fellow herald from a far-off kingdom this week that I thought I might share. The comment was made, as it often is, that if we heralds have a client who wants a particular heraldic design or name, and it’s not good heraldry or good historical re-creation, we are honour-bound to remember that we provide a registration service, that the customer is always right, and that the only thing to do is Hold Your Nose And Pass It.
To this I say: poppycock! Tommyrot! Arse pudding on toast!
If someone planned out a houpelande made of camo-print nylon with bright pink highlights and showed it to their local costuming Laurel, I don’t expect the Laurel to agree that the “C” in “SCA” stands for “Creative”. I think the Laurel in question would be rather curt, possibly frank, possibly even (gasp!) direct and forthright in their views. Similarly, a discussion with the King about the possible use of air rifles instead of swords in the Crown Tourney would not, however one might long to see the results, meet with complete royal assent.
I don’t believe Heralds have any more obligation to “hold their nose” and allow the registration of poor quality heraldry. We have a lot of resources at our fingertips to demonstrate what good heraldry looks like, and an obligation to show these to our clients and educate them in good heraldic style.
One example that comes up a lot is what we call heraldic balance. “A thing between two other, dissimilar things” is a lot more common in SCA heraldry than it ever was in period. To a herald, whether educated in the SCA or the 12th century, that looks unbalanced and off-kilter. The heraldic idea of balance is quite precise, and not always what you expect. When you have two lions on your field, for example, modern views of symmetry would have them facing each other, as if in a mirror. Heraldic balance is a bit different, as you’d expect with up to eight hundred years of aesthetic evolution between them and us: to a period herald, the lions are more balanced if they’re both facing the same way. Also, direction plays into it: if an animal is facing the left as you look at it, then it’s moving forward; facing right means it’s retreating. So a lion contourney is a lion that’s running away from a fight; not necessarily a good message to display on your shield!
Heralds learn this stuff, and can impart it to their clients. And a client who doesn’t learn it, either because they’re not listening or their herald is too shy to teach, will end up with heraldry that is not a good recreation of period style. The results are invisible to the novice, but it only takes a little reading before the cases of poor judgement start to leap out at you, making some SCA rolls of arms rather… challenging to look at.
The Kingdom of Lochac has lately been rather good at producing heraldry that is good style, because we’re mostly over the Hold Your Nose And Pass It ideal and we feel it’s better to work with our clients to improve their initial ideas. As a result, our registrations regularly get comments in Laurel’s letters: “Nice device” he says, or “Nice name”. That’s high praise indeed, and we earn it. If we have to choose between being “nice” to our clients and letting them register something without any help or engagement, or putting the extra effort in to guide them in producing something that genuinely is “nice”, then I prefer the latter path, and I’m glad that most heralds in the kingdom seem to agree.
On Travel And Retirement
As always, I welcome comment on this or any other matter, so I’m giving you an extra opportunity for that. With the permission of the relevant authorities, I am extending my warrant, originally slated to end in September this year, to Spring Crown in the first days of November. I will be at Crown in Torlyon with my family, and will do a little Crux business in court before stepping down. I therefore make the following announcements:
First, anyone who feels they can do a good job as Principal Herald in the kingdom of Lochac, stepping up as of November, should contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and state their case. Please CC the kingdom seneschal, email@example.com, to make sure we don’t miss anything. The rumours are true, I do have a volunteer all ready to go, but it would not be proper to just pass the job on without consultation. Throw your hat into the ring and let’s make it interesting! At the very least, you could find yourself with one or other of the Crux Deputy positions, even if you don’t pick up the Tabard Of Speccyness yourself.
Second, because I will be at Crown, I would like to take the opportunity to give out some heraldic promotions. If you know of a herald who deserves a better rank than the roster says they have, please let me know at the same address.
Note that presence at Crown is not required for either appointment as Crux or promotion in rank, so don’t let that be a handicap.
In service, etc etc etc and all that,
: Karl Faustus von Aachen, Crux Australis :