The Æthelmearc Gazette publishes the following missive at the request of their Highnesses.
As most of you know by now, the SCA corporate Board of Directors has chosen to decline the addition of a fourth peerage for Rapier combatants. It had been our intention, if the BoD had passed the proposed MoD, to provide writs to five or six candidates at our Coronation, and task them with developing a ceremony that was fitting with their new station.
The BoD’s rational for this decision was mixed. Some on the BoD wanted the peerage to be “an omnibus” peerage for all things martial not heavy weapon in nature. Others felt that it should just “be included into the order of the Chivalry”. The Board then adjusted our governing documents, Corpora, to remove the obstacles in our laws preventing such action by the Crowns who were so inclined. If only all the practical obstacles could be moved by fiat, there would not be a problem.
Our initial decision upon receiving news of the BoD’s decision was, alright, let’s just knight a fencer or two, and the process will eventually take care of itself. We understand the repercussions of such actions to ourselves and would discuss it with our household members. However, we aren’t sure that a candidate would completely understand the path that lay in front of them. Even if our Order of the Chivalry were to welcome these new members with open arms (which we seriously doubt would be the case), we are confident that the Chivalry of the Known World would not. This would literally tear our Order apart, and trust me when I say by extension, the Kingdom would be torn apart. And, at the end of the day, for what? If we were to make a knight or two, in our opinion, it would be a hollow victory for the Rapier community. We have already gone from our plan of making five or six new Peers, the leading edge of a fine new Order, beloved by all, to one or two who wouldn’t be welcome into the Peerage that was “forced” to induct them. In the reasonable future, it is unlikely that any Monarchs would add more fencers to the Order. We would have created at best two Peers without a home.
It seems then that the only choice open to us is to force the hand of the Board of Directors. We propose creating a de facto peerage for the Rapier community, by Kingdom law and custom equivalent in status to the three Peerages, until such time as the BoD sees fit to correct their oversight. If we treat these new Peers as such, encourage other Kingdoms to follow suit, and get enough of the other Kingdoms to do so, the BoD will be forced to grant these “Peers” true status as Peers.
We plan to task our Kingdom officers with developing a proposal for Kingdom Law, developing Heraldry for the Order, and plan all the other details to make this proposal a reality. We will begin contacting the other Royalty to see if they will join us in forcing the BoD’s hand. For now, until someone more clever and/or more Heraldically inclinded comes up with a better name, we will just title this new Order “The Guardians of Æthelmearc”
As always, we remain in service to Æthelmearc,
Timothy and Gabrielle