Master Christian de Launey. Photo by Dame Katja Orlova.
By Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina (Chris Adler-France)
Christian Amaury de Launey, former Æthelmearc Queen’s Rapier Champion and Rapier Champion of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, was elevated to the Order of Defense at Trimaris’ Crown Tourney on Saturday, May 27, A.S. 52.
Seven Æthelmearcians traveled by car and plane to attend his vigil, play his prize tourney, or speak as a Worthy at his elevation ceremony.
Master Will Parris spoke as one of two MoDs, Countess Elena d’Artois spoke as a Royal Peer, and Mistress Irene von Schmetterling spoke as a member of the Pelican. The words of Duke Syr Malcolm Duncan MacEoghainn were also read as a member of the Chivalry.
Mistress Irene knitted the garters and wove the livery collar, while Master Anais Fenne cast the order medallion. Countess Elena sewed the capelet.
Master Christian is now the 8th MoD of Trimaris.
Master Christian’s MOD collar woven by Mistress Irene von Schmetterling, with a medallion cast by Master Anias Fenne. Photo by Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina.
The Court of King Byron and Queen Ariella on Tuesday of War week saw three peerage elevations along with two Writs for the Laurel.
Duke Timothy of Arindale was elevated to the Order of the Pelican for his work inspiring the martial community.
Duke Timothy listens to his scroll being read.
THLady Alfrun ketta was elevated to the Order of the Laurel for her fiber arts work.
THLady Alfrun laughs at comments by Master Morien MacBain speaking as a Pelican.
Mistress Irene von Schmetterling was inducted into the Order of the Laurel for her sewing, knitting, and fiber arts.
Mistress Irene consents to be made a Laurel.
Sir Ian Kennovan received a Writ for the Laurel for his skill in cooking and crafting sotelties; elevation to occur at Coronation in September.
Sir Ian receives a Writ for the Laurel.
THLady Solveig Throndardottir received a Writ for the Laurel for her work in heraldic research of Japanese names and insignia. Elevation was held in the Clan Yama Kaminari camp on Wednesday of War week.
THLady Solveig bows as Their Majesties announce her Writ for the Laurel.
Also at Pennsic, Don Clewin Kupferhelbelinc was inducted into the Order of Defense after playing the prize on the battlefield.
Don Clewin is made a Master of Defense. Photo by Baron Steffan Wolfgang von Ravensburg.
As previously reported, THLord Kieran MacRae received a Writ for the Laurel on Sunday night at the Debatable Lands Baronial Dinner at Pennsic, elevation to occur at Agincourt in October.
All photos not otherwise attributed are by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.
The Rapier Muster held in the Shire of Silva Vulcani on February 15, A.S. XLIX, drew a crowd of almost 50 fencers to engage in single combat and melees, but many of the attendees were also eagerly awaiting the announcement of the first person in Æthelmearc to be elevated to the new Order of Defense for prowess in rapier.
They were not disappointed, as King Titus and Queen Anna Leigh, with Their Heirs, Timothy and Gabrielle, looking on, called forth Duchess Dorinda Courtenay and requested that she present herself at the Celebration of the Art of Rapier event in Heronter on Friday, May 1, A.S. 50, there to be inducted as Æthelmearc’s Principal of the new Order for fencing prowess.
Duchess Dorinda said she was incredibly honored to be chosen as Æthelmearc’s Principal Master of Defense. “I hope to help start [the Order] off right, and would welcome advice from anyone with ideas on how to set traditions for the new peerage.”
When asked if she had considered what she would like to see in her vigil and elevation ceremony, Her Grace said, “We need to create a new ceremony that fits Æthelmearc traditions, but I would also like to see a ceremony that follows period fencing traditions, possibly like those of the London School of Defense.” One tradition from period practice that she is considering is a test called “Playing the Prize.” In 16th c. English fighting guilds, students who wished to advance were expected to Play the Prize by fighting a series of test bouts against other senior opponents, often facing 60 bouts or more in an afternoon, in what we might call “holding the field.” If she chooses to Play the Prize, Duchess Dorinda said it would be in addition to a traditional vigil.
Duchess Dorinda with a boysenberry pie made in honor of her Writ by Master Urho Waltterinen. Photo by Lady Fiora d’Artusio.
Other items still to be considered include the type of oath a Master of Defense might swear. Regalia and heraldry will be determined by the Board of Directors and the College of Heralds, but Her Grace noted that “Each Kingdom has a unique opportunity to create new traditions.” She also suggested that the Order of Defense was, in part, a creation of the Order of the White Scarf, saying, “We need to honor the traditions and history gifted to us by the White Scarf. At first, there will be very few Masters of Defense. People looking for guidance and teaching from people they respect will still go to the White Scarves for a long time to come.” She hopes the Masters of Defense will work with the White Scarves to maintain good relations between the two orders.
Duchess Dorinda commented that while she, like other members of the fencing community, has been thinking for a while about how the new order should function, she has no firm opinions yet and welcomes advice from the populace. She is excited and honored, and looks forward to hearing from people. Gentles can contact Her Grace at email@example.com.
After court, Æthelmearc’s Rapier Warlord, Don Orlando di Bene del Vinta, ran the fencers through a variety of melee training sessions. He said the day’s goals were to teach people to hear and follow commands, learn to move together, and more generally work on the basic elements of melee fencing.
Initially he divided the fencers into two teams and had them practice close and open formations, advancing together, and engaging their opponents in a line. Don Orlando noted that as they day progressed, participants became more proficient as melee fencers. He pointed out that melee involves a different skillset from tourney fencing.
Later, fencers experimented with techniques for attacking and defending against groups in superior numbers. Initially, Don Orlando had the White Scarves form a small group defending against the rest of the fencers. In later rounds, different groups of fencers had the opportunity to defend against superior numbers. In each case, Don Orlando timed the fights, and as the combatants gained more experience and confidence, the smaller group was defeated in shorter and shorter amounts of time. In the first round, the White Scarves lasted for 27 seconds against roughly two-to-one odds. By their third round, they only lasted 14 seconds.
The final group of melees involved capture the flag battles with unlimited resurrections. The fencers’ goal was control of three “flags,” one at each side’s home base and one midway between the two. Teams received a point for having control of each flag during multiple pre-set time checks by Don Orlando. The purpose of these melees was not only to give combatants experience with the format, but also to help them learn to pace themselves. “In resurrection battles, each fencer needs to manage their personal energy reserves since the battle can last a long time. It’s important to choose carefully when to press and when to be more defensive since they don’t want to burn themselves out,” Don Orlando explained.
Don Orlando indicated that one of the next steps will involve teaching the rapier community more advanced techniques, like how to recognize and exploit opportunities as they arise during a melee. He hopes many fencers can make it to the Melee Madness event in the Barony of Endless Hills at the end of May, or to the Highland River Melees event in the Barony of Highland Foorde, just over the border in Atlantia. Don Orlando said he will be working with the Atlantian rapier marshals to coordinate training of fencers since our kingdoms will be allies at next summer’s Pennsic War.
Don Orlando, Æthelmearc Rapier Warlord. Photo by Arianna.
In addition, the Rapier Warlord said he hopes this Pennsic might include some War Point battles more customized to rapier, as opposed to simply being clones of the heavy battles. One example he gave would be the inclusion of rubber band guns in a rapier battle. He indicated that he and Prince Timothy have already shared these thoughts with the East and Middle Kingdoms.
When asked about the choice of Duchess Dorinda as the Principal of the Order of Defense, Don Orlando enthusiastically replied, “Dorinda is the epitome of what Æthelmearc wants its Order of Defense to look like. She’s not just about prowess, she’s also a well-rounded exemplar of the virtues we espouse. She can marshal a tourney, serve as warlord, or push a broom when the event is over. She’s skilled in the arts, a model of service and comportment – she’s the whole package. Her Grace will be a great ambassador for Æthelmearc’s Order of Defense.”
~ All videos by Arianna of Wynthrope with assistance from Lady Ceindrech verch Elidir.
As promised by Their Majesties, Titus and Anna Leigh, at the Rapier Muster in the Shire of Silva Vulcani today, a Writ of Summons was issued for the first Master of Defense to be made in Æthelmearc.
Duchess Dorinda Courtenay. Photo by Duchess Anna Blackleaf.
Duchess Dorinda Courtenay was called before Their Majesties and instructed to present herself on Friday, May 1st at the Celebration of the Art of Rapier in her home shire of Heronter, there to be elevated by Their Highnesses, Timothy and Gabrielle, as the Principal of Æthelmearc’s Order of Defense and first gentle in our realm to receive a peerage for prowess in rapier.
Her Grace was Æthelmearc’s second Duchess, having first been crowned Queen in March of A.S. XXXIII (1999) and again in September of A.S. XXXV (2000). She is also a Mistress of the Pelican and Laurel, a Companion of the White Scarf, and the 5th Jewel of Æthelmearc. She has served as Kingdom Rapier Marshal, organized fencing at numerous events including Æthelmearc War Practice, and commanded Æthelmearc’s fencers in
Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.
battle at Pennsic as Rapier Warlord. Once the cadet of Don Iago Benitez, as a White Scarf Duchess Dorinda in turn took Mark le Gabler as her cadet until he was inducted into the White Scarf last September. She has also been tireless in her service to the Society, autocratting or assisting with the running of Heronter’s largest annual event, Harvest Raid, for at least a decade; serving her Shire as exchequer; using her scribal skills to create numerous scrolls of great beauty and teaching others to do likewise; and marshaling youth combat as well as adult and youth fencing.
The wording of the writ:
Let all of Aethelmearc rejoice!
Their Majesties Titus Scipio Germanicus, King by Right of Arms, and Anna Leigh, Queen by inspiration have been granted the ability to recognize excellence in the field of Rapier.
If Excellence is the bar, there is none more worthy than Duchess Dorinda.
She has served as Inspiration. She has served as Warlord. She has served as Mentor. She has served as Advisor. We are not just recognizing her for these services, and countless other that she renders, it is how she serves.
She embodies the values that we most want our order to encompass for the Known World to gaze upon.
She is welcoming and gracious, nurturing and supportive, chivalrous and courteous. She is well respected and beloved by all. We would have her nurture the new peerage with the same loving care she has guided our Rapier community with from its very infancy.
We ask that she presents herself at A Celebration of Rapier on May 1st, Anno Societatus 50 in the Shire of Herontir where she will be the guest of honor at a joyous celebration of our new peerage.
Done by our hand, this 15th day of February, Anno Societatus 49