Kingdom of Lochac
Quarterly azure and argent,
on a cross gules a crown
between four mullets of six
points, in canton a
Quarterly azure and argent,
on a cross gules four
mullets of six points and
in canton a laurel wreath
Location: Australia and New Zealand History: The Principality of Lochac started in what is now the Barony of Rowany.
Lochac was named a Crown Principality of the West at West at 12th Night Coronation, January 8, A.S. XVII (1983), by Paul and Rowena.
King James and Queen Verena signed the charter of Lochac at October Crown, A.S. XIX 1984, at which time the rods of state were presented to a representative of Lochac.
The first Viceroy and Vicereine of Lochac were named in January, A.S. XIX (1985) -- James the Sinister and Olwyn Gwallt Coch.
Lochac became a full Principality of the West July 11, A.S. XXII (1987), by the hands of Jade and Anastacia.
Lochac became a Kingdom in July of A.S. XXXVII (2002).
For completeness' sake, the following is a listing of the Crown Princes and Crown Princesses of Lochac, who were also the King and Queen of the West:
|Reign Started||King / Crown Prince||Queen / Crown Princess|
|January 8, XVII (1983)||Paul of Bellatrix||Rowena d'Anjou|
|January 8, XVII (1983)||Thomas the Incomplete||Trista de Cordoba|
|April 30, AS XVII (1983)||Radnor of Guildemar||Esmirelda Dancingstar|
|August 20, AS XVIII (1983)||Rolf the Relentless||Lachlin ni Colin|
|January 7, AS XVIII (1984)||William the Lucky||Joanne of Puffin Cliff|
|May 5, AS XIX (1984)||Ronald Wilmot||Dierdrianna of the Misty Isles|
|August 25, AS XIX (1984)||James Greyhelm||Verena of Laurelin|
|January 5, AS XIX (1985)||Radnor of Guildemar||Grün der Spitzenklöppler|
|May 4, AS XX (1985)||Paul of Bellatrix||Rowena d'Anjou|
|August 24, AS XX (1985)||Michael Hugh Stuart||Iseult nic Elam|
|January 4, AS XX (1986)||James Greyhelm||Verena of Laurelin|
|May 10, AS XXI (1986)||Rolf the Relentless||Lachlin ni Colin|
|August 23, AS XXI (1986)||Stephen of Beckenham||Sariya al Mus'ad|
|January 3, AS XXI (1987)||William the Lucky||Joanne of Puffin Cliff|
|May 2, AS XXII (1987)||Jade of Starfall||Anastacia of Starfall|
A full and accurate listing of Lochac Royalty dating back to the Viceroy and Vicereine titles can be found at the West Kingdom Awards List: Royalty of the Principality of Lochac.
The following is from a recounting of the History of Lochac by Baroness Rowan Perigrynne, one of the founders of the now Kingdom, used with Her Excellency's permission:
Well (deep breath) - it's a long story...
Once upon a time, at the end of my last year of high school, I discovered D&D and started playing at "the blue room" at NSW University. Over the next year I played a lot of games and made a lot of good friends. I often thought it would be fun to do for real and spent ages designing ways to do this without getting hurt. Some of the gamers told me that such a group existed in the USA and I felt most jealous. End of prologue.
I married one of them, Brian Breheny, an American visiting Australia with his family (I was 18, smitten and deaf to good advice). Next summer holidays, we visited his folks, who were staying in Florida at the time. We were there for 3 months and played with the local gamers. Some of them were SCA and Brian started getting interested. By the end of the visit, we were not getting on too well. Just before we came back to Australia, he ended up going to what I now realise was a Crown Tourney while I stayed at home.
When he told me about it, I wished I had gone. He had taken pictures, but the trip through the scans had darkened the film. So I pestered him for every possible detail he could remember. I realised that this was exactly what I had been looking for and if it was in Australia, I'd join immediately if not sooner. A few weeks later I realised that I wanted this badly and the only way to get it was to make it happen here. Brian agreed, I started researching everything I could think of (heraldry, costume, music, armour) and we started enthusing the Blue Room mob. I drew devices, made the first armour (in leather, since I knew how to work that) and Brian (now Bryan d’Ornac) and John Conner started fighting with broomsticks for swords, using motor bike helmets since we had no metalworkers.
One of the gamers told me that some people had tried to start this before a few years ago, but it had failed. They still had some handouts - was I interested? I was thrilled - they gave me a small booklet and a device submission form showing the proposed device of the group. Little did I realise that the handbook was from AS*4* and things had changed a bit since then... I took it all as gospel and wrote frantically to the contact address by then, 13 years out of date).
With no response from the US, I thought we couldn't call ourselves the SCA, so we started out as the SCMA (Society for the Current Middle Ages). Based on the AS4 notes, we started as a Kingdom (that's how it was done then, folks!) - the Kingdom of Cumberland (this being the local county name). Of course this meant we needed a King. The AS4 notes explained that to get a King, you held a tourney. We had two fighters at that point - Brian and John so they had a 'tourney' beside the Blue Room. Since Brian was Seneshal and Marshal (I was the other officers), John had to win, which he did. Hail King John!
I wrote a handbook (basic costume, heraldry, organisation, etc) and the enthusiasm started to rise at the Blue Room, which now incorporated a growing fighter practice. Raymond (now Master Raymond of Annon) started the first suit of mail. We chose persona names. I designed devices for anyone who would sit still. We made more leather armour. I made a crown in brass with fleur-de-lys and a fur lining and a banner of our kingdom device (based on the one from the group which failed). I wrote to the US again, with no reply.
Our first event was planned (October 1980) and was integrated into a local council fair. We had 6 fighters in leather armour with motorbike helms. I made costumes for myself and Brian; others wore whatever they could scrape together or even hired things. I recall Marjorie (now Mistress Madelaine de Bourgogne) and Cary (now Master Hrolf Herfolfsson) walking across the lawn. She wore a dark red and white striped dress and he wore a tunic with his device roughly appliquéd – to our untutored ideas it was prefect. It was a great day - victory to King James! (now Sir James the Sinister). We held more tourneys. I found a class in renaissance dance and joined up. I started a newsletter. We grew.
Then - drum roll - one of the gamers went to WorldCon and brought me back a copy of the Known World Handbook, which was just out (1980). Wow. I felt ecstatic at the amount of information and in despair at my relatively puny efforts. I immediately wrote to the new contact address, enthused wildly at the group and we had our first feast - more costumes (thanks to the KWH) and dancing (thanks to the dance classes) and very bad food. We thought it was amazing.
We recognised we were not a Kingdom but rather - in size - a Barony, so we had another tourney and Torg (now Sir Torold of Hawkhurst) became the Baron of Outremer, since he couldn't be King. My marriage broke up and Brian returned to the USA (where he continued to play). I thought we should join up with the SCA. Some fringe members thought we could do better on our own - it was my first experience of politics.
We did a demo at Tolkon and in a meeting there, decided we would join the SCA, that we were a Barony and (now we understood how things really worked), that I would be the first Baroness. I wrote to the US again. There was a planned coup (which, in my naivety, I did not take seriously), but it never happened. We had weekly meetings, practiced fighting, dancing, heraldry and forsooth speech. We planned and held our first 12th Night (1981) and 120 people came.
Still no word from the US (by that stage I had written over 20 letters), so one day at a Council meeting, we pooled our collective money (we were mostly students still), held our collective breath and called the Steward... Yes, they had heard a rumour about a group in Australia and we must have a dozen or so people by now - enough for a shire - what? 70 people? By the end of the call, we were a March Barony of the SCA directly under the Steward and in search of a Kingdom...
We grew and prospered. One of our number (I think Reynardine of Tara, now Reynardine Delfini) went to Perth, Western Australia and started a shire there (now the Barony of Aneala). We had our first camping event and held a competition for a name for the local group - Rowany - and Australia - Lochac. Brenda from Aneala (now Mistress Bryony of the Bees) met someone from Rowany in Adelaide, South Australia and started another group (now the Barony of Innilgard).
I felt slightly guilty that I had talked so many people into playing this game for my own selfish ends - because I wanted it to play in. I often worried what would happen when they figured this out. It took many years before I really believed that it was real.
We decided to go Kingdom Shopping in earnest, so in 1982 Artos Barefoot Christia Barret and myself set of for the US, armed with a letter of authority to select a Kingdom (my first calligraphic attempt), signed by the officers and populace. We visited the West, Caid, Atenveldt and Ansteorra. We were thrilled by the numbers of people, the costumes and pavillions, the depth of organisation and the courts (first time I'd been to a court I hadn't run, or an event for that matter). I was shocked by the politics, which had no part in my dream. The hospitality was amazing. We tried to learn everything from everyone. Artos spent hours learning fighting with Sir Paul - he doesn't fight, but is still an excellent teacher. I met the Steward (then Aelflaed of Duckford) and we were alike as twins.
We decided that the West was the closest in culture to what we had developed and went home loaded with photos, notes, dance tapes, contacts, ideas and awards - I was admitted to the Order of the Pelican by TRM Paul and Rowena (your Grace, that day still sings in my mind). Artos was granted a Leaf of Merit and Christia her AoA. We were announced as being from the Barony of Rowany and that I was the founding Baroness. I never did have an investiture...
We came back and - in a secret pact - told of only the best of what we had seen and heard. We presented the top standard as normal and our people strove to attain it. As a result, we have levels of costume, calligraphy & illumination, dance and heraldry which surprise those who visit. (The armour has taken a while to catch up - I never was a metalworker...)
The story goes on of course. I could tell you about how all the other groups started, how we received many welcome visits from the West (Mistress Hilary of Serendip, Sir William the Lucky, Master Eric and Mistress Kathe Willig von Mainz were the first), how we got our first *metal* helms, how our first shires grew into baronies in their own right, how we became a Crown Principality (Hilary and I worked that solution out one year at Festival and she promptly applied it to Oertha), how we got our first Knights, our first Laurels, our first Prince and Princess. By the time I stepped down as Lochac Seneshal, we had 28 groups. We've been a Principality for years and plan to become a Kingdom Real Soon Now (tm)...
What a journey - it was a fabulous time to be alive and to remember. Thanks for listening!
The following is a timeline covering some of the primary points in the early history of Lochac, also provided by Rowan Perigrynne, this was written for the Barony of Rowany ...:
Once upon a time….
To quote from “A Handbook for the Society for the Current Middle Ages” written in Nov 1980 by ‘Lady Robyn Breheny’ (now Rowan Perigrynne)…
“The Society came about due to a visit to the States by Sir Brian and his lady Robyn (the current Seneschal and King of Arms respectively), where they encountered the SCA. Members of the D&D group at the Blue Room at NSW Uni had also talked wistfully about ‘real D&D’ where you actually, physically went and adventured. Sire Brian Breheny and Baron John Conner made armour and weapons and fought at the Blue Room. Interest was aroused and the Society was formed in July 1980. The victor of the first Crown List was John Conner, now a Baron in this realm. The first major tournament, the second Crown List, was held on the 25th October 1980 and was won by the current King (at time of press) James Noon of Lancaster.”
This document is a fascinating look at our early history and includes the emblazon of arms of the Kingdom of Cumberland as:
“Quarterly 1 and 4 azure, 2 & 3 argent, a cross gules, the whole charged with the southern cross of the second, bordure of the same.”
It also contains the first list of colours for tassels – an expedient on my part as I could not afford to make real prizes: Gold - Crown list, White – Knighthood, Green – Order of the Laurel, Blue – Shield list, Red – two handed list, Black – quarterstaff and Purple – Open list.
The SCMA was based on a combination of what I had been able to extract out of Brian about the SCA event he went to in the USA (I didn’t go), my own research into medieval stuff (esp heraldry, costume and dance), and an old SCA pamphlet given to me by Shayne McCormack.
This pamphlet – and our original design for the Lochac device – were the only remains of an attempt by someone else to start an SCA group in Sydney a couple of years before. Nothing had come of it, but this pamphlet (written in AS IV) was why we started as a Kingdom – in AS IV there were two Kingsoms – West and East – and you started a new SCA group by forming a Kingdom. So we did. It took us some time to discover that the booklet was already 13 years out of date – which also explained why no-one answered any of my letters asking could we join…
In the absence of any contact from the USA, we went ahead on our own, but called ourselves the SCMA so as not to presume an official connection.
|Feb 1980||Robyn & Brian Breheny (later Rowan Perigrynne and Brian Ornac) return from the USA and are inspired to create the SCA here.|
|July 1980||Group of wargamers at the Blue Room agree to form SCMA. First ‘crown tourney’ – Brian and John Conner (later John of the Marshes) fight, with John the victor and fist ‘King of Cumberland’.|
|25 Oct 1980||2nd ‘Crown tourney’ held at Northside Liesure Centre in association with their medieval Festival. James the Sinister was the new King of Cumberland.|
|Jan 1981||First edition of Runes, “being the newsletter of the Society for the Current Middle Ages”. Written by Robyn and roneoed (doing a DipEd meant access to such gear). Tourneys are planned for February and March, with a ‘crown tourney’ for April.|
|Feb 1981||Runes #2, talking about the ‘Crown Tourney’. Also the first references to the Known World Handbook – brought back from WorldCon by Shayne McCormack (who ran Galaxy Bookshop at the time). Robyn and Brian split up and he went back to the USA.|
|25 April 1981||3rd ‘Crown tourney’ at park in Waverton to find James’ successor. Won by Torg of Hawkhurst, who was crowned as Baron of Cumberland, since we knew by this stage we probably weren’t large enough to be a Kingdom. Our first feast was held at the hall of St Giles church in Greenwich with bad food, good company and some great attempts at costume. Special guests were John Barnard & Fiona Garlick who taught some dancing to the group (I’d started medieval dance classes with them that semester).|
|July 1981||Runes #3, refers to the Championship Tourney set for August. The Champion would retain the title for as long as they could defend it in successive tourneys and was in charge of fighter training! Champions got a ‘peerage’ after 6 months in office (ah, those were the days)…|
|Oct 1981||Tolkon! We held a tourney as part of the event – a great success - and also had a meeting to discuss the future – should we build our own independent SCMA or join with the SCA, which we now knew much more about (thanks to the Known World Handbook)? With the benefit of this new info, we agreed we were not a Kingdom, but a Barony – Rowan would be Baroness. This was followed by a further meeting at the house of Bob and Debbie Ellis (Robert of Stamount and Oriole of the Heights) where a counter-stand by the SCMA group failed to materialise.|
|Nov 1981||Council Meeting at the house of (Hrolf Herjolfssen and Madelaine the Bourgogne) pooled our student dollars and rang Aelflaed of Duckford, the SCA Steward in the USA. We become a March Barony directly under steward until we find a Kingdom to join.|
|Dec 1981(?)||Runes #4 “being the fist edition for the Barony of Outrémer” (photocopied by Selivia). Rowan Perigrynne, Baroness Outrémer lists the decisions made at the recent meetings - we are now a Barony looking to the SCA. Initially we planned to join Caid, because we mistakenly thought a) they were closest, and b) that’s where the SCA had begun.|
|Jan 1982||First 12th Night – a splendid event with 120 people held at the Addison Rd community centre. Many people made their first ever court garb for this event – I made my first red velvet German and a gold and green houppelande for Torg!|
|Mach 1982||Tourney in Kane Cove National Park, including our first Bridge Battle. Note we are still using motorbike helms at this point…|
|April 25th||Swashbuckling Tourney and Baroness’ Birthday Feast. A wonderful event with many fabulous costumes.|
|April 1982||Runes #5 lists the year’s events and news from the USA. We are in correspondence with Caid, and the Steward has arranged for us to receive the newsletters of every SCA Kingdom. The Baronial Council have all joined the SCA and we submit our first batch of devices.|
|June 1982||Runes #6 (now A5 and offset printed). We plan a petition to Caid asking to become part of that Kingdom but discover that we can’t use the name Outremer, we need a name for the region as well as the Barony, and we need a laurel wreath on our device. The Hit Kist of fighters makes it’s first appearance!|
|June 1982||First camping event. Our first 2 real metal helms, made by Raymond of Annon and Torg of Hawkhurst! I invent the Little Rock war as our first taste of group combat. We hold discussions and polls and decide to call the region of Australia “Lochac, being the name Marco Polo gave this land.” The region will continue to use the cross device, with the addition of a laurel wreath in the top left corner. The Barony is named Rowany and we will decide on a device later.|
|July 1982||Balder’s Eve feast. Rowan institutes the Order of the Golden Staple for extraordinary Baronial Service – the first recipients are Cordwainer Christia Barrett and Hrolf Herjoffson. The new Order of the Frantic Falcon for is given to Oriole of the Heights and Alexios Thrakeses.|
|Aug 1982||Runes #7 reports the results of the poll and notes there is an SCA group started in Christchuch, NZ and looking to Atlantia. It also reports that we have had much help from the West Kingdom and that four Ambassadors will travel to the USA to select a Kingdom – Cordwainer Christia Barrett, Artos Barefoot and Rowan Perigrynne. And there is a new shire in Perth – Aneala Scir.|
|Oct 1982||Christia, Artos and Rowan travel to the West and Caid, Rowan continues on to Ansteora and Atenveldt. We discover our Lochac device won’t pass – need to drop the bordure and the 5th star. The ‘baronial conspiracy to commit peerage’ succeeds and Rowan is given a Pelican by King Paul of the West, to be ratified by whichever Kingdom we join.|
|Dec 1982||Runes #9. Report on the USA adventure and plans for the first Rowany Festival at Easter next year. Rowan is Seneschal of Lochac and Hrolf Herjolffsen is first Crux Australis Herald. Innilgard becomes a shire in Adelaide.|
|Jan 1983||12th Night. We have joined the West Kingdom and receive a spate of awards – a Rose Leaf for Cordwainer Christia Battett and AAs for Hrolf Herjolfssen, Hugh Louise de la Lautrin, Blair du Bois, Reynardine of Tara, Anne de Huegutt, Eamon Deime James Hennessy.|
|Feb 1983||Runes #10 (now 24 pages) We become a Crown Principality and recognise those people who were at the very start: Rowan Perigrynne, Brian Ornac (Brian Breheny), John of the Marshes (John Connor), Melusine of Abeswyth (Catherine Connor) and James the Sinister (Jim Noone).|
|April 1983||First Rowany Festival, held at Wilton, and our first visitors from the West – Mistress Hilary of Serendip (Society Steward), Sir William the Lucky, Mistress Kathe Willig von Mainz (West Kingdom Sciences) and Lord Eric Edmundson.|
End of part the first – this should be enough to decide on a date for the Baronial Anniversary!
For more details on Lochac history, your best bet is to visit the website for the Kingdom at: http://www.sca.org.au/lochac/
See the Roll of Arms for the Princes and Princesses of Lochac.
This was sent to me (Hirsch) via email via Lady Blodeuwedd, June, 2011:
The Birth of a Kingdom – a personal recollection by Lady Blodeuwedd y Gath.
In June 2002, the Principality of Lochac (Australia) left the West Kingdom (Northern California, Alaska etc) to become a Kingdom in its own right. It was a weekend of tears, high emotion, drama and court after court after court…
For me it was full of moments where I was blinking back tears, but it was also filled with a sense of a new beginning. I felt rather like I did when I was leaving home for the first time. There was a sense of freedom, but also a terrible, inexplicable sense of loss. The West Kingdom will always be there, I will always be welcomed by it, its populace will always be welcomed with open arms by Lochac, but something was changing and it would never be the same again.
The ties between Lochac and the rest of the Kingdom of the West have always been strong. For the last four months or so, the main topic of discussion was about how hard we were going to find it to leave. One matter that came up time after time was that of Fealty. Fealty is something slightly different to each person, but one thing everyone holds in common is that it is based in love and is very hard to break. To quote a friend, changing fealty is like leaving your wife – painful, emotionally expensive and not to be undertaken lightly. And unlike leaving your wife, there is rarely animosity, only pain and regret.
When I first joined the S.C.A. in 1993, I was told that moves were afoot for Lochac to go Kingdom and so I made a decision that I would swear Fealty to the crown that ruled Lochac. For many years, that crown was the West, now it would be the crown of Lochac itself. Because of that early decision, I didn’t have to deal with the problem of changing my loyalties, but for many of my friends, it was agony. Never before had their loyalty to Lochac challenged their loyalty to the West; now they would have to make a choice, to stay in Fealty to the West or be released from their oath of Fealty and swear it again to the Crown of Lochac. For many, this caused agony and heart break, many hours of deep soul searching and a great deal of pain. I was flying to the event with two friends of mine, Catalina and Shona, both of whom were unsure of how they could change their Fealty.
I set off for the event with a sense of disquiet and prepared for a rough time.
The event was held in the Barony of Politarchopolis, mundanely Canberra, the capital city of Australia. The theme of the feast was the Spheres of Heaven. The hall was set up with some stunning decorations. Hours had been spent making banners. The personal devices of every Prince and Princess of Lochac had been printed and were displayed in chronological order. The device of every group in Lochac had also been printed and these were suspended from the ceiling of the hall. The walls were hung with arrasses of blue, white or black, and pinned to these were thousands of stars. Stars also hung from the ceiling, filling the hall with glinting, sparkling gold and silver -a sight to behold.
As we had flown in a day early, I decided that I would lend a hand with setting up the hall. I turned up and asked if there was anything that needed doing. I should have known better.
There are some things that once done, you never want to do again. For example, I never want to play the Horses Bransle for three hours on the harp ever again. I never want to dance the Known World Pavan in a muddy field again. I will never, ever make love in a tent full of armour again. Something else joined that esteemed list that weekend.
I put up stars. Gold wire, three dimensional, Christmas decoration type stars: big ones, little ones, bloody enormous ones. Ones that sparkled with gold glitter, ones with pearls on them, ones with four points and ones with five. All to be threaded and hung from the ceiling, from the wall hangings, from the curtains…
My Christmas tree will definitely have an angel on the top this year.
The next day was the dread Saturday of Coronation itself. I did the usual getting-ready-to-go-to-an-event stuff – tripping over each other as we got dressed; realising that I’d bought the dress that laced up in four places but I’d forgotten to bring any laces and substituting with string; remembering all the things I’d forgotten to bring; finally stumbling out to the car, still trying to lace up my dress properly.
We got to the hall mid-morning and I had no idea of how I would spend the day. I knew I might be called upon to sing at the drop of hat (I was not in the end, for which in retrospect I am grateful) and I knew that I would be reciting my new poem “The Leaving Of The West” (see below -- Hirsch) during one of the courts, so I thought I should make sure I knew it off by heart. Please note – at this point, I was not emotional about it at all....
At some point when I was feeling particularly aimless, Catalina came whipping by. It’s amazing how becoming a lady-in-waiting makes you so much faster. Should we tell the Australian Institute of Sport about this? She mumbled something about "Jade wants you in court as his Torturer". I let her go - I'm not fool enough to stand in the way of a person on an errand for Royalty - but later tracked her down to the Royalty Room to find out exactly what she meant.
I should explain the Torturer bit. At Rowany Festival, over Easter, where the first Crown Tourney of Lochac was
held, I had found Jade (Crown Prince of the West at the time) in the Tavern looking stiff and tired. Catalina
and I promptly began talking to him, quickly progressing to massage. Many and loud were the comments as those
passing watched him being molested by two buxom women in low cut bodices, rubbing his tender bits and extracting
loud moans and groans. Around the time the fifth person made a joke about how hard his life was and how it
must be torture to be him, I joking said
“Does this mean Cat and I get to be Torturers by Royal Appointment?”
He agreed, in a tone of voice that said if at that point I had asked him
“Does this mean Cat and I get to melt down the royal crown to make tiddly-winks?” he still would have said yes. However, he did agree again later, and so we became Jade’s Royally Appointed Torturers. Our motto – “Nolo Cessare. Deus. Nolo Cessare. A Deliciao. Aio.” Translated back into Jade-speak, that’s “Don’t stop, oh god, don’t stop, oh yeah baby.”
But I digress.
So there I was, in the Royalty Room, with various people buzzing about looking busy, trying to find out exactly how Jade planned to have me as his Royal Torturer in Court. The Crowns get heavy and headache inducing, but somehow a scalp massage during Coronation didn’t seem likely.
I was promptly leapt upon and asked if I would wait upon her Majesty, Queen Megan of the West. Much flattered, and quite frankly glad to have something to do, I said yes. So I spent most of the day standing behind Their Western Majesties catching baronial coronets and Principality regalia, and serving water and lemonade, and lots of it.
As this was the last time the West would be able to do so in Lochac, King Jade and Queen Megan took the opportunity to award those people who had served the Society. Many awards were given, too many to mention here, but some moments really got to me.
One of these was when they added six Lochwegians to the West's Roll of Honour and they named Aylwin Greymane. Now, Aylwin was one of the first friends I made in the S.C.A. and to me he is the soul of Chivalry and Honour, a man to be admired, respected and emulated. For him to be recognised in this way, by the ultimate Peers of the West, was a great thing. I gulped and breathed deep as those called came up to the stage. He was not in the hall at the time, so his lady-wife, Ingereth, another great friend, came up in his place. As the Western Herald, Eilis, explained the honour that was being done, Ingereth started sobbing and that was when I lost it. I stood there with tears rolling down my cheeks, not daring to move at all, all my will going into not bawling like a lost calf; I knew if I moved an inch I would lose it completely and have to leave.
During the last court of the West in Lochac, every Principality Officer had to formally resign their post, every landed Baron and Baroness had to step down and hand back their Baronial Coronet and every Peer had to be released from Fealty. It was hard when the Laurels and the Pelicans came up; it was worse when the Knights came forward and took off their chains of Fealty. I stood there with damp eyes, trying very hard not to cry.
The following description comes from the email I sent the day after:
“See the long court. See the King go ‘Blah blah blah’. See the Queen go ‘blah blah blah’. See the Knights look like lost little boys when the King took their chains away. Poor little knights. Don't worry, you will soon be in fealty again. See Herald Catalina cry when looking at Sir Cornelius's face. See Sir Gregory of Lochswan look like a toddler who realises he can't see his mother. See the room go fuzzy as your eyes well up. Bye bye West, bye bye. Yes, very disrespectful, but it's the only way I can cope with thinking about it at the moment.”
Finally, all that had to be done was done. There were no more awards to be given. There was no one left to come forward and be released from their service to the West. Lochac had been let go. In silence, the King and Queen walked out of Court alone. As Eilis announced the leaving of Their Majesties Jade and Megan, King and Queen of the West, Prince and Princess of Lochac, Baron and Baroness of Rowany, Innilgard, Riverhaven, Stormhold, Ynys Fawr, Aneala, Politarchopolis and St Florians, she finally began crying. And Catalina began crying. And everyone else began crying. Lots of hugs, lots of comforting, lots of wailing. A Soggy of Heralds.
We eventually followed them to the Royalty room. There sat three shaking women in a row - Megan, Eilis and Cat. Wee Brucie had that look on his face which said - one of them is going to faint and they're all too emotional too pay this least bit of attention to what I'm telling them. Why do I have to be the only Chirurgeon present?
Before the King and Queen of Lochac could be crowned and Lochac officially become a kingdom, all the laws of the new kingdom had to be read aloud. The Heralds had formed a group and managed to read them out in the fastest, the silliest and the least boring ways they could think of. There was the speed read, no breath, recite until blue in the face version, there was the Gregorian chant version, the three part harmony version, the high and squeaky version from one of the butchest men I know, the silly accented version (cod-French, I believe, although it was hard to tell) and the version done to the melody of a popular Queen song, complete with a back-seat compliment of head banging heralds.
After that, the next Court was the actual Coronation itself. With ceremony, music, fanfare and high drama, King Jade of the West crowned Sir Alfar the First King of Lochac. King Alfar, with love in his eyes, then crowned his lady, Elspeth, as his Queen. As I watched, I couldn’t help smiling. She made a lovely, regal Queen, but I remembered Elspeth when we went to University together: as the crown was placed on her head, I remembered when she was my frantic, flying College Seneschale; as she stood in dignity before her populace, I remembered the first time she got drunk; as the populace shouted cheers of jubilation, I remembered that she wasn’t just the first Queen of Lochac, she was the first person to welcome me to the Society on my very first day at Adelaide University. Some moments have a perfect, personal poetry. That was one of them
After that, the West court didn’t have any more business, so we just sat back - well, Jade and Megan did. The rest of us stood behind their thrones. Ah, but the retinue of the West Kingdom! Wee Bruce, Carius and myself, some of the most irreverent people in the Kingdom, with Catalina, Eilis, Portia and Gregory, all determined to have fun, and Jade and Megan were both relieved that their part was over. Needless to say that we had enjoyed ourselves and as the day wore on and the Courts grew longer and longer, the fun, teasing, witty and highly disrespectful comments from behind the thrones grew more and more hard to keep a straight face through. Especially when the crowd up in the gallery started doing Mexican Waves during the Huzzahs. I was so glad I had the excuse of filling goblets for Their Western Majesties so I could duck down behind the throne to have hysterics. I had teeth marks on my knuckle still showing Sunday morning from where I'd bitten it to stop myself laughing too loudly. If it wasn’t Bruce or Carius cracking jokes, it was Jade and Eilis making pithy remarks. Not to mention the events of the Courts themselves.
One of Lochac’s best musicians, Fionbhar, had been made King Alfar and Queen Elspeth’s Skald. The Kingdom of
Eaoldomere had sent representatives with a poem written for Lochac, and they set a challenge to write music for
it. King Alfar, deciding to make use of his retinue, pointed out his newly made Skald and said:
“I’m sure he will be able to provide suitable music at some point soon.”
"Certainly, your Majesty. Would you like to hear it?"
The hall cracked up as, taking the words, he sang it to his new tune. Those of us behind the thrones got to hear the best aside of the night, as King Jade muttered "THIS is why I'm making him my Squire!"
The weekend has a lot of moments that will stay fresh in my memory for a very long time, but the one that affected me personally the most was when I lost it for the second time. During Lochac Crown's First Court, I was called upon to recite the poem I had written for the occasion. I was fine all the way through until I got to the last verse when I looked up at Jade and saw that his eyes were brimming with tears. I just managed to gasp out the final line before I burst into tears myself and went to hide behind the throne, Jade holding my hand until I recomposed myself. I've never had such a response to one of my works before. So many people said that I had caught exactly how they felt about the whole thing. One person wanted it tattooed on his chest, another wanted it engraved in stone, and I lost count of the number of people who wanted copies. I thought I couldn't get more overwhelmed by the response - until Eilis and Megan said that they wanted it read at Purgatorio so the West could here how Lochac felt at leaving them. It's strange - you would think that this kind of response would make a person proud, but it's actually very humbling.
Finally the whole thing was done. Sitting down afterwards, all I could see was drained faces. It was a long day, full of conflicting emotions and everyone needed to crash and recover. We retired to Cornelius and Morwynna's and it was one of the quietest post-revels I've been to. Everyone just wanted to sit and digest, drink wine and relax, unwind and do nothing emotional at all. Most simply fell asleep, worn out by the drama of the day.
The next morning we gathered in the park; fighters fought, merchants merchanted, singers sang, rapiers … well, perhaps not.
If I succeeded as a Bard in making Jade cry, Cat outdid me by rendering him speechless. We were waiting on
Queen Megan as she did the rounds of the merchants. At one point, Catalina went off with Countess Portia to make
coffee. Whilst she was away, we came to the swords, and King Jade found a Viking Broadsword. We watched him
play with it, lust after it, try it on, discover it was the perfect size for him, play with it some more. It was
like watching a married man trying to work out if he can resist the sexy sixteen year old trying to seduce him.
He got the price, hummed, hawed, said he'd need to think about. Later on, when he was off doing Knightly things,
Cat reappeared and we told her about the sword. My description was
"Jade's been seduced by a sword and is trying to work out if he's ready to commit to a long term relationship."
The long and the short of it was, Catalina loves the West desperately, and Jade has always been very dear to her. So I took her back to the swordsmiths, she decided she could afford it, and so she bought it for him. She also bought a beautiful axe as a token for the Axemen, the fighting household of which she is the Patroness, and a pretty dagger for herself.
When Jade eventually got back from the Chivalry meeting, I forced him to sit down to let me loosen up his shoulders and asked him if he was going to buy the sword. I managed not to smile when he pouted and told me rather grumpily that someone else had bought it. Megan and Eilis muttered that they’d had the devil’s own time persuading him not to buy another one. Cat had borrowed my cloak to wrap the weapons up in, so as I was now getting cold, she had the perfect excuse to fetch it and the weapons to show off.
There was Jade, sitting in a chair getting his stiff shoulders rubbed as she showed him the stuff she bought;
the axe, which he liked, the dagger, which he liked, and then she put the sword he had lost his heart to in his
lap. He just stared at it and didn't say a word because what could he say? She had bought HIS sword and he couldn't
swear and curse in front of her. We all stood in a little silent circle as he stared at it, not able to understand
it until she finally said
"It's for you".
Jade sat speechless with astonishment, not able to take it in that she was giving him his perfect sword. Another one of those poetically perfect moments in time.
Catalina and I were booked on the last flight to Melbourne Sunday night. As we sat in Gregory’s living room at the post-revel, laughing when the pizza company rang back to confirm that yes, he really had ordered thirty-two pizzas, part of me wanted to stay forever. I know that Catalina would have been happy to stay the night and take a plane on Monday, but I had to get back to Melbourne. We dragged ourselves away from the post revel and made a mad dash for the airport and the plane home. The flight back was quiet as we sat in quiet contemplation, thinking about those moments most precious to us.
As Cat and I walked out into Melbourne Airport late Sunday night, she said
"Were we really here only three days ago?"
As I said then, there was a lot of history crammed into those three days.
© Anwyn Davies, 2002.
The Leaving of the West
Children grow and leave their home,
Birds fly from the nest,
Small groups into Kingdoms grow,
Thus Lochac leaves the West.
Our feet upon this path have trod
For many a change of moon;
For some the journey was too long,
For some it's far too soon.
Silken banners newly sewn,
Newly forged two crowns,
New thrones are carved, new courts are made,
And new ways must be found.
Our King and Queen sit on their throne,
In grace and glory they,
New words of Fealty to hear -
Yet these are hard to say
For Fealty is hard to move,
And some love lasts forever,
And Loyalty is hard to break,
And heart-strings tough to sever.
So when we toast our King and Queen,
The Stewards, and the rest,
Forgive me if, when "Lochac" we cry,
My heart still whispers "West".
© Anwyn Davies, May 2002.
Description of the history of this branch is a summary from the small amount of information available, by Hirsch von Henford. Location information is from the back of The Page.
The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).