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On May 1, Anno Societatis 50, Æthelmearc saw the birth of a new peerage as Duchess Dorinda Courtenay was made the first Æthelmearc Mistress of Defense.

Photo by Steffan Wolfgang von Ravensburg

Photo by Steffan Wolfgang von Ravensburg

At an event beginning in the early afternoon, she met all challengers to prove herself worthy, as commanded by Their Majesties:

“BE IT KNOWN to all that profess arms that We, Timothy and Gabrielle, by right of Arms, King and Queen of Sylvan Æthelmearc,  do honor and invite all to whom these words come – that We commend Dorinda Courtenay, Member of the Order of the White Scarf, Duchess of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, and Vigilant for the Society’s Order of Defense to play her Master’s Prize against all who might wield the Rapier in its subtile mysterie at these weapons, viz:

Duchess Dorinda playing the tossing game.  photo by Ysabeau Tiercelin

Duchess Dorinda playing the tossing game.
photo by Ysabeau Tiercelin

rapier, rapier and dagger, rapier and parry item, case of rapier or longsword. Each Gentle being offered three passes of their choice. We would also provide gaming challenges for those who are not able to meet Her Grace on the rapier listfield. These words are to give notice that Our said Vigilant will be present beginning at 3:00 p.m. on the First day of May, at the appropriately entitled ‘Celebration of the Art of the Rapier’ to perform and do her utter most for the achievement and bearing away of the prize.”

Duchess Dorinda did indeed meet all comers, to the satisfaction of Their Majesties. There was much fencing, and then the populace repaired to a wondrous sideboard prepared by THL Ian dor3Kennoven, with the centerpiece being a sugar paste rapier with escarbuncle guard.

Their Majesties processed into court and addressed the populace. King Timothy proclaimed, “From the day We won Crown, We had hoped the Board would make this decision, the right decision, and We are thrilled to be able to do this today.”

A video of the entire elevation can be seen here:

The oath, based on the London School of Defense Masters Oaths:

I, Dorinda Courtenay, do swear to be true to my Kingdom, to be a loyal subject to my Crown, and to serve my Queen with life and property.

I pledge to work with other Masters to further the rapier community, and to refrain from teaching suspect peoples including murderers, thieves, drunkards and quarrelers.

I promise that in any game, prize or play at weapons to give true judgement without favor or hatred, and to be merciful when I have the upper hand except in self-defense or in service to the Crown.

I pledge to give aid, strength and help to all masters, provosts and scholars, and to consult all Masters to advance others so that this Order, the fencing community, and the Kingdom may prosper.

Thus I do swear.

The cheers that rose in Court were soon to be echoed around the Known World as many Kingdoms created their first Masters and Mistresses of Defense and a new peerage was born in the Society.


Duchess Dorinda with her scroll. photo by Ysabeau Tiercelin


Above, THL Fiora d’Artusio, Don William Parris (Gazette Fencing Editor) and Mistress Irene von Schmetterling at the event. Don William said “In a historic time, with worthies being chosen all over the Society, Æthelmearc set a high bar with Her Grace, Dorinda.”

The scroll was illuminated by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin and calligraphed by Duchess Liadain ni Dheirdre Chaomhanaigh with wordsmithing by THL Ursula of Rouen, Duchess Liadain and Kameshima Zentaro Umakai.