We would like to thank our Ombudsman, Baron David of Caithness, for calling on Monday night, assuring us that the BoD was feverishly working towards a solution to the current crisis. We took great comfort in his comment that the BoD had decided to rework their peerage proposal in such a way as to include the other marshal aspects of our Society that do not currently fall under the umbrella of Rattan combat. We were further comforted and greatly surprised with his assurance that this adjusted proposal wouldn’t have to go through a lengthy process of evaluation, and would, in all probability, be ready for consideration at the April BoD meeting, which I (Timothy) look forward to attending.
Given that this solution may or may not be possible, we would like to take the time to offer our opinion regarding the current turmoil that is dividing our Society. The time to assess blame or mistakes is another day. For now, we need to determine some way to salvage what members we may retain from the chaos that surrounds us.
Whatever solution the BoD devises needs to be done rapidly. Our Society has been hemorrhaging members for years, and this tumultuous situation seems to be greatly increasing the pace of these losses. Exploratory committees and focus groups are not what is needed right now. Within the bounds prescribed by Corpora, we need action by the BoD with all possible haste.
We put forth that a minimum item in any possible solution that you design is that the Rapier community, a growing, thriving part of our Society must have a legitimate path towards a Peerage. Not a “service to the rapier community” Pelican, not a “research into the art of historical fencing” Laurel. In our opinion, explaining that a path to a Peerage already exists based on these two existing routes is a cop-out.
Based in part on the conversation on January 19 with Baron David, it seems that at least one of the BoD members voted against the Rapier Peerage proposal because it did not include a path for other pursuits such as Archery, Equestrian, Thrown Weapon and other martial activities. This should not be a problem. We have always favored erring on the side of giving one too many cookies out, rather than too few. It seems reasonable that if these martial arts are pursued to a level of excellence worthy of a Peerage, then why not combine them into the same category, whatever name it is assigned.
The second consideration is to determine where it should be included. Perhaps this is the most tragic part of the current debate. Whether by design or incompetence, the misinformation that was shared with the populace after the BoD meeting on Saturday January 17th has dramatically divided our Society. Prior to last Saturday’s meeting, hardly anyone was anticipating the option of including the Fencers into the Order of the Chivalry. Most were expecting that they were to be granted a separate Peerage unique to their endeavors. We know several couples in our Kingdom who are actually on opposite sides of this issue. In one couples case, BOTH of them have strongly implied they will take their ball and go home if the other side “wins”. I am sure that this is not a unique situation and extends to other Kingdoms. Opinions also vary greatly from those who we consider our family and close friends.
So what to do? We start with addressing the concept of a Rapier-only peerage. I (Timothy) love fencing. I am not very good at it, but I have had an absolute blast as I continue to grow in this new pursuit. The Rapier fighters have a sense of community that doesn’t really exist in the Heavy fighting world. As much as both Rapier and Heavy compete on the battlefield and on the list field, it just isn’t the same. I can’t really explain why, it just isn’t. If you also consider the additional martial aspects of each pursuit, it makes even less sense to add Rapier to the Chivalry. And aside from the historical differences between the two pursuits, you are asking a community with nearly fifty years of history to change on a dime. That seems a bitter pill to swallow. Personally, I can accept this change, but I am afraid that many of my brothers could not. I greatly fear the repercussions. Surely you have noticed the vitriol expressed over the last few days, and it does not just come from the Knights. For every, “I’ll turn my belt in if they knight a Fencer” comment, I read “the Knights need to get over themselves and suck it up” from a Laurel or a Pelican. That sentiment will not go away if you choose to add Fencers to the Chivalry, and until such time as this wound heals, there will be Kings who simply will not make a Rapier Knight. To us, that seems a tragic, if unintended result.
It seems to us that the best possible and only realistic solution is to create a new Peerage. Call it what you will (if it is Masters of Defense, no time will be wasted creating a name, heraldry etc.) and voila, the issue is settled, and we can all get back to studying Machiavelli, rather than emulating him.
Whatever you do, please do it with all possible haste, we don’t want to be sitting the throne while the Society we love and cherish crumbles down around our shoulders.
As always, we remain in service to Æthelmearc and the Society,
Prince Timothy and Princess Gabrielle