AKA Aetheflied’s king’s bard post-mortum.

So I did it.

And I just spent the last 15 minutes staring at those 4 words trying to figure out how on earth to follow them up. I should do some discussion on how I feel I did, or what I’d wanted to do and didn’t, or link back to the post I made a year ago about my goals and go over them one by one. Or something.

But honestly?

What I got out of this position was something entirely different than I thought I would. I took risks that I would have never taken otherwise. Partially because if I was going to encourage people to be brave and try something as scary as performing in public I should put my money where my mouth is and try things.

I drove across state lines by myself for the first time ever. Just to go spend the weekend with a bunch of people I only knew from the internet in their house (NOTE: do not do the things I do. If you do I can not be held responsible for your murdernapping). They turned out to be My People in ways that were unexpected and yet needed.

I stopped making excuses and picked up fencing. I was one of my King’s champions, I should fight for him at war. So I did, and found one of the most encouraging (and lovingly snarky and brilliantly witty) communities I’ve ever had the honor to be a part of.

I discovered just how far I should shove myself before I collapsed. And got picked up, dusted off, fed, watered, and covered for, until I had my feet back under me. Some times literally, some times figuratively. Some times by people who’d been complete strangers the week before.

I had people come up to me, on some of my worst days, and tell me they’d started doing something because I’d inspired them to. I met new bards, who performed for the first time, or who started performing again after a long hiatus, because I’d asked for new people to find me so I could pay it forward.

I wrote scrolls, I wrote praise pieces, I wrote phrases immortalized in metal. I got to be part of something big.

Did I do everything I’d wanted? No. I didn’t get Maldon translated, or perform the piece for all the fighting households at War. But I inspired new folks, and other folks to try something new.

So did I succeed? Yes.

Thank you for giving me the chance.

Boast for the Knighting of Sir Magnus Refsson

Make a path for / Magnus Refsson
Ravenous flock / ravens, murder
Feasting in his footsteps/ faithful sword Thane
Dauntless defender / of dragon crown

Honor prizing / oathkeeper he
Weighs full well all / words and dealings.
Swift bright sword of / Ser Nikolai
Fells his foes as a / fox amid hens.

Red company’s / captain titled
Honored well with / order of vanguard
Displaying valor / dragon’s tooth earned.
Now kneels to throne/ knighthood attained.

This is done in Saxon verse which is (to be perfectly honest) not right for Magnus’s persona but it’s right for mine and I was the one speaking it. This was done as a boast to herald him into court. The original version was much less polished, as rough drafts tend to be.

Make clear path for / Magnus Refssen
Ravenously / ravens take to flight
Feasting in his / footsteps. Mighty
Defender of / fierce dragon crown
Swift sure sword of / sage Nikolai
Fells his foes as a/ fox amid hens
About the only line that got kept was the last line of verse 2, because his heraldry is a fox and Refssen is “son of the fox” so that imagery needed to stay. The rest of it? Well, let’s red pen this line by line.
Make clear path for /Magnus Refssen
The biggest issue with this line? The beat pattern makes the alliteration muddy. I needed to keep M as the alliteration since I was using his name as the second half line, which means I was pretty much stuck with Make as the first word. Clear needed to go away since it was another hammer beat and that made this way too front loaded.
Ravenously / ravens take to flight
My laurel has an issue with single word half lines. Which means I needed more words for the first half line. It was also pointed out that the imagery of birds taking flight didn’t work with the next line and we needed to make them land some how.
Feasting in his / footsteps. Mighty
This line is a hot metrical mess. Footsteps wants to be before the half line not after, and while wrapping phrases is a Thing in Saxon poetry the phrase generally starts at either the line break or the start of the second half line.
Defender of / fierce dragon crown
This was ok -ish as far as metrics. But clunky and awkward and really didn’t work well with the first word of the sentence being in the proceeding line.
Swift sure sword of / sage Nikolai
Again not bad, but the “of” wants to be part of the second half line, and using “sage” as a descriptor for someone you have never met and know next to nothing about is always a bit dicey.
Fells his foes as a / fox amid hens.
I love it, it’s perfect, I didn’t change a thing.
Other issues with the rough draft:
It was two lines and a verse too short. This is why we have editors people.

Aethelflied Battles Maldon part 5

Wherein our heroin realizes she’s bitten off more than she can chew in the time allotted.

I have to start memorizing. This means that sadly I need to put my own translation aside and work from someone else’s translation of the section I want to perform at Pennsic. Trying to be ok with the feeling that I’ve failed. I am still editing the poetics and word choice in the section I want to do, so it’s not like I’m not trying to make it my own. Life just got busy and I didn’t finish everything I wanted to do.

I am going to resume translating when I get back from Pennsic. I got some lovely textbooks in the mail from a friend of mine last week that’ll help a lot more than the internet has so far. So maybe it’ll go faster/easier when I’m not stressing over the one major event and deadline.

This isn’t giving up or failing. This is pausing. Right. That’s what I need to remember.

Wars of the Roses 2016

Let’s just get this out of the way now and then break this up by day. Roses was Hot. Too hot. Oppressively hot and muggy. Saturday was 95 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity in the mid 80%. Sunday was an almost cool feeling 90 degrees.


I got on site about 10-ish and hung out on the list field with niece until my friend turned up with his adorable not-my-dog that I got to puppysit all day. The rest of the afternoon was spent bouncing between my camp and watching the fighting/fencing until court. Note: due to the heat I was a very scandalous woman and only wore one layer. Also no veil (it’s gone walkabout) and no shoes. Niece of awesome shot a lot of archery in the morning before parking herself in camp under the camp shade with popcicles and water.

Saturday court:

I got to watch three people that have been working to try and teach me to fence get their silver rapier. I choose my teachers well. These were very, very well earned. I also got to watch a local woman, an amazingly talented local woman, get elevated to the order of the Laurel.

The highlight of court for me though?

My husband got his award of arms. Words were done by his teacher (Master Magnus) and are:

At the Flower-Clash, Skarphedinn inn havi was called before Kenric the king and Avelina the queen. A skald was called to speak on the man’s deeds. This is what was said.

of terrible power
crushes our foes,
his fearsome blows
breaking their ranks,
reddening the banks
of Gjöll – the raven

Thunder roars
rankle the boars
to run – a dog
drives through the fog
and the corpse-mud –
cowering from flood,
their hides bear brunt
of Har of the hunt.

Stalwart skilled Skarphedin
stands proud, and skull-laden

This beast of might,
bearing the light
touch of service,
settles the nervous
with gilded voice,
grasping the choice
of peace when force
the plainer recourse.

The wisdom of old –
the ancient gold
breaker’s advice –
to bear as ice
the weight of the world
with words furled –
feeds the rowan
a feast to grow in.

Stalwart skilled Skarphedin
stands humble, grace-laden

These things opposed –
proud-strong battle-oak
by fire disposed
to fulsome smoke –
speak of a man
of spear-knowledge
and knowledge-span
like spear-hall edge.

Praise-fit the ash
of ancient roots
that stands in boots
of Bragi and clash
of wounding-poles,
with winding trunk
that battled and sunk
the bravest of souls.

Stalwart skilled Skarphedin
stands – worthy of honor laden

Then all were called to remember the deeds of Skarphedinn and give him his due honor. It was the Time of Remembrance, fifty-one years after the Settling.

Scroll lovingly made by a very dear friend Katrusha Skomoroh.

Scarps AOA

That is goat hide. She did the calligraphy and illumination herself on goat hide. I love my friends, and our friends love my lord.

Saturday night:

This was the bardic competition. I got to judge. This was my first time judging any sort of competition and I hope that I was fair and in the same ballpark as my other two judges point wise. I got to see some really awesome performances, including several new people. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone who performed.


Spent the day hanging around camp with one notable exception: baronial heavy weapons champion. So the lay out for this was a bar fight. The fighters started out seated on stools around a table, on the tables were “cups” and daggers. When lay on was called the fighter had to grab a weapon (cup, dagger, table or stool legs) and beat everyone else to deal with them in two five minute fights with a mandatory hydration break in the middle. It was a blast to watch.

Beloved husband was fighting. At one point he did a forward roll, grabbed a dagger, and stabbed an opponent in the throat. It was fairly epic.

Beloved husband is now the baronial heavy champion for Concordia. I’m stupidly proud.

Niece shot more  archery and wandered merchants. Niece has found her niche and it is shooting. I’m proud.

Sunday court:

I boasted in the king and queen on about 2 minutes of warning. I’ve never ever heralded before, so that was never wracking. But hopefully I didn’t bobble as badly as I feel like I did and I did a halfway decent job. Note to self: prep an entrance piece and keep in my back pocket just in case I need to do that again.

Remember those three people who got silver rapiers? They were also all honored with the ram’s horn (baronial fencing award). Husband was called up to take his place as heavy weapons champion.

We also got a flash storm and had to suspend court since we were in a giant barn with a tin roof. Guys? I ran around in the rain, because it was a heat break. It was a lovely, wonderful, thing.

Sunday night:

Bossman and I went and performed the piece he wrote for coronation for their majesties since they were a bit busy the day we did it initially. I think they liked it, they paid us in mead and roses. So that was cool.

We wandered back to our camp to an unofficial bardic circle around our tiny fire bowl. It was awesome. There were awesome performers and I was within easy stumbling distance of my bed. I gave out a bunch of my awesome new bard beads.

I also discovered that my request to make accessibility porter a baronial position (and to hold that position) was approved at the last business meeting! It would have been nice to know that *before* told the baron he couldn’t charge me with anything since I’m not his bard, don’t live in his barony, and hold no official baronial position. Which is when they opted to tell me this had happened. I apparently have some face saving to do.

There was this one woman at the circle. She sat there all night, singing along with everything with a very lovely voice. But she never got up herself. I asked her why later, since bardic is something she very clearly enjoys.

The words that came out of her mouth were words I recognized, because they’re things I hear in my head every time I get up to perform.

I’m not good enough.

I can’t follow that.

No one wants to hear me.

I don’t have the right piece for this.

I can’t do this.

I have really bad stage fright.

It scares me.

It was trippy to hear my brain gremlins come out of someone else’s mouth. But? I know how to fight those particular gremlins. I asked her if she honestly didn’t want to perform or if she actually wanted to but talked herself out of it. She wanted to, it was obvious how badly she wanted to. But she had to say it, and admit it to herself that she wanted to, no matter how much the gremlins tried to talk her out of it.

She is my unofficial student now. I’m going to help her get the tools to beat the snot out of those brain gremlins. Because gremlins lie. She’s going to be awesome as soon as she works up the courage to get up and do it. And I’m already super proud of her for admitting she wants to.


Monday was tear down. Nothing exciting happened.

Seven Simple Suggestions for SCA Soothsaying

Why Seven? Because in many cultures seven is an auspicious number, and if you’re going to talk about something like soothsaying? Go full superstition. Also the alliteration makes me happy.

What qualifications do I have to be espousing advice about this type of performance? Almost precisely none. I have done this twice, but this is what people have been asking me to explain, so we’re going to pretend I am vaguely expert shaped here loves.

1. Accept You’re Doing Something Weird And Own It.

Unlike more familiar forms of bardic (singing, story telling, poetry, ect) soothsaying isn’t something that is likely to turn up in most circles. It falls into this weird grey area of performance vs. claiming magic powers. The trick is to have utter confidence in your weird little art form.

There’s a fine line to walk here between hamming it up and taking what you’re doing seriously, and frankly that’s a balance you need to find every time you do this. Lets face it, cutting open a crochet rabbit and pulling out knitted entrails will never be a solemn event. It is hysterical and morbid all at once. Treat your performance with the level of gravitas you want the audience to have toward your prediction. Trust me, they will follow your lead. This is just weird enough that most people want to suspend their disbelief just long enough to see where you’re going with this.

2. Props Are Your Friend.

What separates soothsaying from any other style of performance? What you’re reading. Pick your omens, be they pebbles, water droplets, beans, sticks (all period), tarot (arguable for some parts of period), or if you want to go my route and rip open a fake bunny. Your props are what make you memorable. Use them. Otherwise you’re telling another story or reciting another poem.

3. Pick Your Style And Make A MadLibs Outline.

I do poetry when I read the omens. Guys? Composing poems whole cloth on the fly is hard. Really, really, stupidly, hard. Don’t do that to yourself, you’ve got nothing to prove. If you’re doing poems make yourself a handy fill in the blank template and, well, fill in the blanks. You’ve got more wiggle room if your style of delivery is more fluid prose. If you want to read omens in song please tell me, because I want to see that and I owe you a token.

4. Consider Your Audience and Venue.

This really should have been higher on the list, but this is more a default bardic suggestion rather than strictly soothsaying so it gets middle billing. It is not the wisest plan to predict a horrible, conflict filled reign with the brand new king and queen in attendance. The exception here is if they’ve approved it first and are using it as something to play off of. Trust your gut, if the little voice in the back of your head is suggesting this may be a poor prophesy for you to speak, listen to it. Predict something else.

5. Nostradamus Is Famous For A Reason.

Remember kids, specific prophesies have a higher fail rate than vague ones. If you want to build your reputation for being terrifyingly on point? Leave your words open to interpretation.

6. Predict the Predictable.

Both of the prophesies I have given in public were in regards to known events. The first was that Kenric and Avelina would take the throne of the East, easy peasy since I already knew their coronation date. And the second was about war brewing. Pennsic happens every year. If you’re predicting for a summer reign then predicting war is a safe bet, predicting for a winter reign? A reign of glorious peace. Take your local events and use them. Predict the rise of a new champion at the event before a baronial champ is chosen for something, predict a power exchange when an old baron or baroness steps down, ect.

You can predict wild, out there events and take a shot in the dark if you want to. If you’re wrong no one will care. But if you’re right? Welcome to a whole new reputation my dear.

7. Have Fun.

Otherwise what’s the point?

Coronation Poem – Red Pen Post

So a month back I posted a poem. Namely this poem:

“Peace was promised to – proud world King.

But I warn of war – worthy crown.

Soon comes clash of – crimson spears

Drums beat battle cries – blood to stir.

Peace was promised you – Pray, take it!

Power must pass – prince must take 

the eastern throne – through his might

your fair lands remain – fierce and strong.”

When I posted it I’d said it was quick and dirty and there’d be a discussion of why it was wrong later.

Welcome to later.

Things that I did right in this piece basically boil down to the alliteration. Other than that? It’s a bit of a mess. A lovely, not-really-noticeable-by-ear mess, but a mess never the less.

A quick discussion of the main points of Saxon verse:

-There are two half lines in each line. Each half line has four beats. Only the stressed syllable in a given word counts toward your beat count. You can technically cram as many unstressed syllables in as you wanted, but there comes a point when you’re just being obnoxious.

-You can end a thought anywhere in the line/half line you want to. It makes me twitchy to end a thought anywhere but the end of a line or end of a half line, but you can end in the middle if you really wanted to and it would still be correct.

-Alliteration is the backbone upon which you build your piece. Unlike a lot of modern poetry where rhyme scheme is king and alliteration is just a pretty additive, for Saxon verse alliteration is your heartbeat. Alliteration comes from your stressed syllable, which is not always your first one. For example:

Record alliterates with recycle but record alliterates with canon.

Fun fact: vowels always alliterate with each other. Eat alliterates with yes which alliterates with orange. Yeah I don’t get it either, I just know it’s a thing.

-The first stressed syllable (first beat) of your second half line alliterates with one or more words from the first half line. It is the only beat in the second half line to do so. This is therefore the most important word in a single line as it determines the over all alliteration of the line itself.

So now, where did I go wrong? Honestly I made one major, tragic, error, and all other errors stem from that.

I forgot each half line was four beats and defaulted to a 5/3 beat pattern. I also forgot that only the stressed syllables counted toward my beat pattern. What does this mean? It means that I wrote the bastard love child of Saxon and Irish verse that, much like a D&D half orc, fits with neither of the cultures that brought it into being.

Because my beat pattern is wrong, that really really important alliterative word in the second half line is in the wrong place. It should be one beat sooner. And there should be another beat after it. However certain lines also don’t have enough beats because I was counting every syllable as a beat, not just the stressed ones. Remember kids, when writing Saxon verse, only stressed syllables want to beat you.

So how can I fix it? Unfortunately to fix this particular error I’d need to do an entire rewrite. Which I could and should, but I am going to let this stand as an example of what happens when you speed write a form you’re still learning. To quote Ms. Frizzle of Magic Schoolbus fame: Get Messy, Make Mistakes.

Frankly that’s the only way you learn. And I’m learning.

On the Coronation of King Hans

Inspired by lines 20-25 of Beowulf (Chickering translation):


“So ought a young man / in his father’s household

Treasure up the future / by his goods and goodness

By splendid bestowals / so that later in life

His chosen men / stand by him in turn

His retainers serve him /  when war comes.”


My poem:


So ought a young king / inheriting his father’s throne

Give great and wisely of / golden rings and bands.

By bestowals of silver / such to be loved later,

So well chosen men / stand by him in pride

To defend his folk /  fiercely ‘gainst all harm.

High in his halls / Hans knows well this truth,

Needs none to speak / knowingly of gift duty.

Mighty gold ring giver / gifts joyfully of his hoard.


The above was written in roughly 20 minutes from “Got any good words about a Saxon King being a ring giver?” The request came in at 9pm Thursday. The requester was flying out to California at 5am Friday. The requester was very clear that he didn’t need a whole poem, just some phrases or something.

But this is me. Just giving a couple phrases would be halfassing it. And really, what’s a poem but a couple of phrases stuck together in a cohesive manner? This was easier anyhow.

Ultimately this poem was not used. Let this be a lesson to all aspiring bards: if you technically work for and represent someone Get Their Ok FIRST. Either that or don’t be disappointed if your work gets cut.

Coronation Post

Yesterday was East kingdom coronation. It was a day of All. The. Feels. For the last six months our kingdom has followed with love, been led with love, and had love as an example. Our outgoing king and queen devoted so much time, energy, and affection into this kingdom, that it was infectious. They were incredibly beloved as rulers and yes I cried. Watching them give each other their respective ciphers (a high honor given out at personal discretion of the king or queen in thanks of service to them or the kingdom) was incredibly moving.

And I had to follow that.

With a dead bunny.

Thanks shinyboss emeritus, love you too.

So let me back up with the dead bunny. Everyone remembers beastie right? My dead entrail reading rabbit?  Of course you do! Beastie is the thing that will get me wordfame because who even does that?! Me.

So Thursday morning I see a message from upcoming shinyboss. To be fair he’d sent it the night before but I was already asleep. The basic gist was “You can say no because it’s short notice, but wouldn’t it be cool if for B+C’s stepping down you could do some soothsaying?”

Yes, yes it would be cool. Yes, yes it is short notice. Yes, yes I am a crazy person. I wrote an 8 line poem in quick and dirty saxon verse (the metrics are wrong, a discussion of why will be another post):

“Peace was promised to – proud world King.

But I warn of war – worthy crown.

Soon comes clash of – crimson spears

Drums beat battle cries – blood to stir.

Peace was promised you – Pray, take it!

Power must pass – prince must take 

the eastern throne – through his might

your fair lands remain – fierce and strong.”

The intention was to stuff an index card in Beastie and just read it because writing and memorizing and having a poem performance ready in 48 hours is the sort of thing that paid professionals do when they have no other day job. I am not a paid professional. I am, however, a crazy person with an inadvisable amount of coffee. I’m also an improv bard that thrives on this sort of last minute ‘wouldn’t this be awesome’ type of thing.

There was an index card in Beastie, just in case. I didn’t read it. Guys? Do not look to me as an example. Value your stomach lining, drink less coffee, demand reasonable deadlines.

I did my bit, then outgoing shinyboss-in-law called for her own rabbit. I’d made her one and given it to her last week. Seeing her use it made me want to do a tiny little glee dance. But I was supposed to look terrified or something since she “hadn’t liked” my prophesy.

“This means we shall have dinner! And this…! Oh. Um… well. This is awkward.” Best. Line. Ever.

They finished up their final court, released their retainers, their guards, and their champions. They called for Kenric.

Time for performance number two. Kenric (new shinyboss) had requested something Saxon for his processional from my laurel and bardic Aunt a few months ago. Said laurel wrote a poem of how Kenric won crown tourney in the style of Battle of Maldon. I’m  not posting the words, since they aren’t mine and I haven’t asked permission to. But when Grim posts them somewhere I’ll include a link. We performed the poem in alternating verses, Grim started, I joined him ect. Auntie Aife played harp for us. It worked beautifully if I do say so myself. I’m proud of us.

Kenric and Avelina were crowned and suspended court in order to sit in state to accept oaths.

Performance number three. Last Sunday I had the brilliant idea to recite my oath of fealty in Old English, because, again, I’m an over caffeinated crazy person. I decided not to memorize it because finding, translating, and memorizing, a one minute piece in a foreign language that I’m still not comfortable with was beyond the abilities of even my coffee pot. Auntie Aife lent me a wax tablet that I could press a copy of my oath into.

Fealty oath (edited by Wendy Hennequin with really helpful pronunciation guide and recording provided to me by  Molly Eskridge. Thank you ladies, I owe you one.)

Be Beag-gifa Drihten þe þeos meaht-healle halig healdeþ, ic Kenrice ond Aveline

wylle beon rihtu ond treowe, ond ealle þe lufien wylle lufian ond ealle

þe forescynien wylle forescynian, be æ Eallwealdendes ond diht worulde. Ne nylle ic

mið worde or dæde, don þe mislicien, swa swa mec wurþien swa ic earne ond þas

annese wurþien à uncer forewearde þa ic hiera gewille gecierrede ond swa sægd in



By the Ring-Giver Lord whom this might-hall holds holy, I will be to Kenric and

Avelina right and faithful, and love all they love and shun all they shun, by laws of the

All-Wielder, and the order of the world. Nor will I with will or deed, do that which

displeases them, so as they will honor me as I earn, and they honor this agreement,

when I to their will submitted and said so in court.

I read it, I am proud I got through it, I think they liked it. I think they may like it more after they get a look at the translation rather than just getting the Old English version. But I forgot to include the modern english version in the wax tablet yesterday and didn’t have it memorized.

After doing that I finally got to go get water and eat something. Dayboard was AMAZING. Everything I tried was really really tasty and I want recipes.

To open the second half of Kenric and Avelina’s first court the Queen’s bard and I read the roll of kings (as is traditional). I am thankful and blessed that my counterpart is a herald and so had a copy of the phonetic roll of kings. Even with this beautifully prepared guide I still bobbled a couple names. Trying not to feel bad about that. I’ll get them right in 6 months when I have to do this again.

The rest of the afternoon is a bit of a blur. I ran out of ability to deal with people about halfway through their majesties sitting in state and spent the rest of the day in low grade panic and hyper-vigilance because, well, PTSD and anxiety, and 600 other people around me. I don’t think it was obvious but then again I wouldn’t know what I looked like from the outside.

Random Highlights:

  • I was given an award of appreciation for my help with weaving trim for cloaks for their outgoing majesties. I now have a lovely pendant that gets to live with the rest of Aethelflied’s bling and will be worn with pride. This was utterly unexpected and the effort to not cry was herculean.
  • I am now the proud owner of a large cardboard box of fiber toys. I haven’t had a chance to fully go through these new treasures yet as I had to send them home with a friend due to car packing tetris.  But I’ve got a box loom now, and books, and STUFF!
  • I also now have a large bag of weaving yarn. I’ve got gods only know how many yards of dyable weaving wool and some cones and some skeins of linen. I haven’t gone through it all yet since it went home with my laurel for a precautionary freezing. Because wool moths suck and you only need to get them once to be over cautious with every other new wool you get.
  • New shinyboss announced his intent to bling me out. Because I am a saxon woman. And he has bling he wants to make but can not wear because he is not a woman. I am 100% ok with being a saxon doll and pointing out to anyone who stands still long enough that my king made me a thing.

Here’s to six months of Saxon Shenanigans.

Aethelflied’s Oath of Fealty

Next weekend in coronation. Oaths of fealty are a thing, therefore I’m writing one. Here is the source speech I’m working with (edited to add Kenric and Avelina’s names and replace ‘he/him’ with ‘they/them’):

By the Lord before whom this sanctuary is holy, I will to Kenric and Avelina. be true and faithful, and love all which they love and shun all which they shun, according to the laws of God and the order of the world. Nor will I ever with will or action, through word or deed, do anything which is unpleasing to them, on condition that they will hold to me as I shall deserve it, and that they will perform everything as it was in our agreement when I submitted myself to them and chose their will.

The above is from from Liberman: Gesetze der Angelsachsen, p. 404. I have only found the citation, not the actual source. However I only have a week to do this, memorize it, and have it ready to say before the thrones. Now, I could just memorize that. But this is me we’re talking about. Nope, I’ve translated it into this (because I can’t find the above in the original language, only the modern translation):

Be segncyning æt hwa Þes heall gesegene sy, ic æt Kenric ond Avelina béo riht und trewrædenn, ond bróðorlufe à hie bróðorlufe ond forescyne à hie forescynaþ be æbebodu Eallwealdend ond diht eorðe. Nà æt ic mið gewill or dæde, geond ciwde or dæde, ácumendlicnes se hie geunblissaþ ágitaþ gelác, on árædnesse æt hie se eaht mec swà ic earne, ond æt hie se ábygest à uncer forewearde Þa ic hie gewill ábýge ond gecenne.

Literal translation of the above:

By ring-giving generous lord that to this mighty-hall holds holy, I will Kenric and Avelina be right and faithful, and love all they love and shun all they shun, by laws of all-knowning all-mighty God, and order earth. No will I with will or deed, spoken word or deed, anything that they unhappy find will-do, on agreement that they will honor me in how I earn, and that they will all our agreement/understanding honor, when I their will submitted and chose/declared in court.

This is the goal anyway. I still have to send this to someone who actually knows what they’re doing with Old English (I do not, yet). I am probably butchering it. But I’ll take a butchered attempt over having no plan at all. We’ll see if I memorize it or if I’m up there reading off a card.

Court as Performance Art

Yesterday (Mudthaw) was the first event that I spent the whole day as King’s Bard. I started the day out tired, cranky, out of the ability to people, and feeling like I didn’t know anyone. I did know people, don’t get me wrong, but this wasn’t an event I’d ever been to before, I had nothing assigned other than standing in court at the end of the day, and this was the first time that I wasn’t able to just tag along behind either Grim, Aife, or Toki. Nope. When people were stopping me to talk, they were stopping me. Which is a whole other kind of surreal. But not what I’m here to write about today.

No, I here to talk about my elementary school music teacher, Mr. Bordinaro. Trust me I’m going somewhere with this. Mr. Bordinaro introduced me to the idea of performance; though I didn’t realize it at the time. He spent a month, every year, teaching us Phantom of the Opera. Some of my fondest elementary school memories are listening to this animated Italian man explaining what was happening during Point of No Return, or explaining the Phantom’s first appearance. I’ve forgotten what the question was that led him to make a specific comment, but the comment itself stuck with me:

“It doesn’t matter if the Phantom’s exhausted, has done this 80 times already, or really doesn’t want to. The people in the audience aren’t, and haven’t. So he goes out and flips his cape just as dramatically as if it were his first time doing it. The audience deserves no less.”

Welcome to Aethelflied’s philosophy on standing in court.

Yesterday I was tired, cranky, anti-social, and having a mid to bad pain day with my back. I had my cane. All I wanted was to find a corner and  hide in it or go back to bed. Court rolled around and I really really didn’t want to.

But I’m not standing up there for me. I’m not standing behind the thrones just to look pretty and make sure everyone sees and knows my face. I’m up there for the effect having people behind the thrones gives the populous. Yes I could complain about it, skip it, glare daggers about having to go, ect. But those people who come to court? Don’t deserve that. They didn’t wake me up at 2am or take a bat to my spine. The people who get called up to get well deserved awards don’t deserve to have their moment with someone sighing and checking their watch.

For me court is a performance. My part is little, I’m not overly fond of it (standing for more than 10 minutes at a time without moving hurts, and I’m an introvert that doesn’t like being started at) but this is still the part I took and agreed to, which means I need to go out and do it and look like there’s no where else I’d rather be.

The audience deserves no less from me.