Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Back from Northkeep

Drove up to Northkeep Monday night and went to their populace meeting. I didn't get to herald, Kevin said they they had some stuff he wanted to do so I gladly bowed out and let him do his work.

It turns out that he wanted to read the scrolls for two locals who had not been at events to get their awards. One was a thirteen year old who already had her Rising Star. SO how do you build on a rising star with a kid?

Well when they work harder than some adults, you give them an Award of arms. I know that fact will get some people mad, but from everything I've heard, the child in question earned it with every bit the volume and quality of work that I put into my AOA, so I think she deserves it.

The second was a gentlemen who I don't know well at all, but his excellency described him as hard working, but also well traveled and rarely seen, thus making his award that much harder to get to him. But none the less, his AOA was finally handed off there as well, and both people in question returned to their seats with thunderous applause to their credit.

I heard a bunch of news from the all of the officers, most of them were generally working towards getting better places to meet for their respective practices when warmer weather set in.

In the end, it was pritty mellow, most of the really newsworthy stuff will probably be covered in the Blackfeather news.

In the end, the critical thing was that I was there, making sure everyone saw my face and saw that I was in this for the long haul. In the end, that about a third of the reason I'm there.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Back in the trenches...

Today was Queen's champion. And as days go, it was an exceptionally good day for both me and the north of the kingdom.

On personal fronts, I not only heralded a field for the third and fourth rounds of the tournament, but spent the first round teaching the Namron Baronial herald how to list herald. he was no slacker, and within half an hour he had the process down to a science. List heraldry isn't hard, per se, but is tricky, and can get to be a handful if you don't stay on top of it. Wolfgang stayed on top of it, and before long he was on the top of his game all together. For myself, its always good to see someone else pick up the craft, and for Wolfgang, I'm sure he enjoys having the skill down. After the second round, I found him and joked "you know that you now have the second most marketable skill in the SCA, right?"

As for myself, it felt great to be back in the trenches and actually calling a tournament for two rounds. Calling the names, mispronouncing them, doing the salutes, instructing the fighters... you name it. Its in my blood and I am so glad that I had a chance to do it again. I can't let myself get too mixed in with it, I still need to work on managing list heraldry and teaching it, but I certainly will cherish the times I get to call lists fields here and their.

After the tournament ended I went to work on other things, but most notably was spending time talking with Wolfgang about Namron heraldry and maybe getting a chance for me to come in and do some court heraldry. We didn't set anything in stone, it was far, far too early for that, but he sounded happy to talk further about it, and was happy that I was trying to get out and learn more about the court heralds Heraldry.

Also, I spoke at length with Her excellency of Eldern Hills, who was also intrigued about my exploits across the north and my travels to the various baronies. She was very eager to sugest that perhaps I try and attend one or two of their courts during the year. Evidently their herald is well versed in things heraldic, and she said that he would probably be happy to work with me and teach me what he knows. it was all I could do not to try and do backflips after the conversation. This was exactly the type of contact I am tying to establish, and if I become friends with Eldern Hills, that I can truly say that I HAVE worked with all of the baronies of the north.

but lets not get ahead of myself....

On to more general news that is just damn awesome!

The Honorable Lady Therese Maria Giovanni, was finally... after far, far too long a wait, made a member of the white scarfs of Ansteorra.

She did it!

Shes a Friking Dona!


I remember heralding her back when I first started with list heralding, and even back then they were saying that she was well on her way to being a dona. That was over 8 years ago now. I have seen fighters join the SCA and rise to high levels of rank themselves in that same time, and she was still only an Honorable Lady, without the White scarf. Well, now the Dons have finally spoken and Therese's prayers have been answered, as well as the prayers of Northkeep, Mooneschadowe and a lot of the northern Region.

God Bless you, Therese, and good luck!

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Looking back a bit.

A lot of my heralding history is a bit fuzzy by now, blurred by time and the sheer volume of work I have done since then. But I still remember, fondly, my first time as a herald.

It was Mooneschsadowe's Guardian, 1998. On Sunday, the site herald turned his ankle pritty hard, and couldn't walk the site to do the morning heralds, most important;y the announcements for the Rapier tournament Not having anything in particular to do I offered to try and fill in, mostly because I didn't want to see Wulfger do any serious damage to his foot. So, I got the messages, and set to my task.

If you know me, and have heard me herald then you can probably guess what type of job I did. If you don't know me, well, let me just say I put four years of high school choir and projection training into my already rumbling base voice and got what I considered to be satisfactory results.

About a half an hour later, I walked back into the impromptu "command center" the event steward was using, only to be greeted by several people who were looking at me with relatively wide eyes and big grins. One of them said "Ivo, I think we've found you're calling in life."

And thus was Ivo the site herald born.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra

"God Save the King!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Good night for Heraldry

I have to admit that one of the things I really enjoy about being the Deputy Minister of Arts & Sciences for Mooneschadowe is getting really cool teachers in to teach classes. As much as I really do enjoy classes like "t-tunic making", (and I'm not kidding, teaching and learning the basics are as much about getting to know your teacher and classmates as it is learning the skill itself), its really fun when you get someone who has amassed a lot of experience and skill in a field. Not only do they bring a lot of knowledge to the class, but they usually have a lot of good stories.

This was the case today when His Lordship Etienne arrived at Mooneschadowe at my request and taught a class in "advanced court heraldry". To be specific, he steered clear of simply elaborating on what was already known to most heralds, and covered the basic principles needed to survive things that were not typical, scripted and/or planned in a court setting.

The class was great, and as much as I have to confess not entirely knowing what to expect,Etienne did not disappoint. He highlighted a lot of funny stories, and then went into a lot of situations where things could have gone better. On a side note, a lot of the situations were footnoted by comments like "true story...unfortunately".

I did take a lot away from the class, including some principals that may not be black-letter law, but were sound in my mind, and certainty well worth practicing.

1. Heralds never work alone.
There is truth to this, even thought I have not been practicing it at all, I fully plan on correcting this in the future. The point here is a two way process. The primary herald has a backup if he needs it for anything. And the backup--usually a younger and less experienced herald--has the type of front row, hand's on training that is really the only type of effective education for court heraldry. Even on the smallest courts, every opportunity should reasonably be made to extend this experience to a potential student. I did not think of this, and as I myself am pressing to learn, I do not know exactly how I will apply it. But none the less, this is the type of information that I do need to at least be aware of.

2. A Herald's Baton.
This wasn't covered in class, but I spoke with Etienne afterworlds and we talked at length about it. It turns out that at several points in history, the herald had been vested with a staff or baton that served as his instrument of signifying control towards the ends of managing court. Something akin to "passing the feather, and only the person with the feather can talk." But it was evidently a very common thing, and it worked as both a trademark of the herald, and a political tool that let him invoke his authority, and separate himself from it when needed. He pointed out that the tradition stemmed from, or was at least influenced by the protective wooden rolls that were used to carry written orders and commissions for heralds and officers in Rome and Greece. I am hoping to make use of this idea. A small, 24 inch baton would not be hard to make out of existing stock from a lumber store. I want to bore a hole in the bottom that will accept a rolled up piece of paper. It would be extremely formal, but the historical aspect would be awesome. I don't imagine it would be terribly difficult to make the head interchangeable with a modern set of screws and the like. according to Etienne, the nobles colors were usually painted on the head to help denote who you were heralding for. I don't think four heads with the colors of Mooneschadowe, Namron, Wiesenfeuer, and Northkeep would be very hard, and if I was willing to cheat, I bet I could get their devices put on as well... but anyway, I am getting ahead of myself.

3. Herald's power and authority
Etienne summed this up pretty well. As a court herald, you have as much power as the noble you are heralding for is willing to give you. That being said, if the noble is being interrupted and turns to his herald and says "shut him up!", the herald can then turn to the local guard unit, champions and whatnot and say "Get him!"

4. A herald's "resume"
We didn't cover this too much, but evidently their was some type of garment that was worn over the shoulders and had across the neckline the arms of everyone you have heralded for. That way, just by looking at you, someone could see your achievements as a herald. This looks like it will be the most difficult for me to do because it involves sewing, skill and time, all things that work against me in many respects. That and the fact it would requite me making a coat of arms for any group that I have heralded

Their was a lot more, of course, but for me these were what stuck in my mind. As an aspiring herald, this is EXACTLY the type of stuff I am looking for.

Also, the class managed to get a lot of people interested, and I think (maybe) we might have another entry level candidate for local voice heralding. I'll have to wait and see, but I think this might just work out well for Mooneschaodwe.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Something to think on.

Don Tivar Moondragon posted something to the kingdom list today that kind of got my gears turning.

"While medieval folks wouldn't have had marshals at wars (or A&S competitions either, for that matter) they certainly had people doing the same things our marshals do at tournaments and melees. (My reading suggests that they were called "heralds" but they were doing the job of the marshals, too.)"

-Tivar Moondragon

So, I guess the basic question is if I should go and get my inspecting marshal's certification. I would never consider marshaling and heralding at the same time, but the ability to walk onto a site and say to the event steward "I can list, court and site herald, as well as Marshal any of the tournaments you need help with." would be an awsome thing. And I do think of myself as at least trying to follow the standards of the late period herald in England.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk

Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra

"God Save the King!"

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A question of my motives

Their is nothing elegant about this post, because what happened to me this week wasn't elegant, or diplomatic, or even nice.

Someone I know, and know very well for that matter, walked up to me and questioned my motives for traveling around the North and attending 3 populace meetings other than my own in Mooneschadowe. He told me that I shouldn't be doing the Blackfeather News podcast because he "thinks its a good idea, but [he doesn't] have any faith in my ability to use good judgment about what belongs and doesn't belong in the show." according to him, all I am going to do is get a bunch of people mad at me because I going to say something online that I shouldn't have. And then to cap it all off, he implied very strongly that the only reason I am trying so hard to become a Golden Staff herald [one, and only one of my stated goals], was so that I could boss people around without actually winning crown. The truth be told, that last part was hinted at, but referenced several long, ongoing discussions we have had over the last year or so, so I stand by my interpretation.

So there you have it. It turns out that I do have at least one skeptic who thinks that I am a impulsive bastard who's just using the baronies as stepping stones for my own personal power quest.

Its not that personal advancement isn't in my mind. It is. I would be a lier and a hypocrite if I didn't admit that right here and now. And yes, I am setting my sights on becoming a Laurel some day, but I have no illusions about how far off that is, or how much work I have ahead of me.


I would like to have thought that maybe I would have been a little further along in my personal quest before I started discovering who were my adversaries and detractors. But alas, I guess their is no good time to learn these things.

To those who know me, you know that my past is not spotless, and my future is indeed ambitious. But you know me, and I leave it to you to decide my merits and my motives. if I haven't shown my true colors to you, than that is my own failing.

And to those of you who don't...

If you're so inclined, I invite you to speak to some of my toughest critics; any of the currents barons and baronesses of Wiesenfeuer, Namron and Northkeep. It is to them that I have dedicated so much over the past months, and they, more than any other, have good reason to be fair, and just in their evaluations of me.

Do I have faults? Absolutely!
But I also have strengths!
And God as my witness, I intend use then to build up my abilities to serve my crown and kingdom.

In service to the dream.
Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Now that's a horse!

Ardennes (horse)

I know its not strictly heraldry, but my wife found this online and sent it to me. Turns out these brutes aren't that tall (5'-4"is considered the upper end of normal) but talk about powerful (up to 2,200 lbs... thats over a ton! ...And do you see any fat on that body?). It also seems they have quite the lineage to them. Documents indicate that they are likely ancestors of roman horse breeds, and evidently Napoleon favored them for his artillery (go figure...). And the really interesting thing is that they are also listed as a riding animal. Granted, its not like riding a Shire or a Percheron draft...but still, I wouldn't want to guess what type of damage one of these things could do if it decided to step on you ;).

But the truth be told, I posted this for two reasons. One, while I don't ride, I am an equine admirer and I think horses are a beautiful example and grace and power. Two, these are ( as I understand it) a highly documentable breed for medieval France, specifically the northern areas from where it gets its name. Also, from what I have read, a combat trained "charger" likely resembled one of these horses more closely than the more modern Morgan, Thoroughbred or Quarter horse.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

What its all about

VOCAL HERALDRY: A General Overview

by Modar Neznanich

If you've never done heraldry, or at least not voice heraldry, then you might not fully understand what it is I'm all fired up about. The above linked article is a pretty good general run down of what it is I do. He leaves out a lot of little stuff, but the concepts are there, and right now thats whats important.

If you know heraldry, just skip this. Its meant for those who don't know the basics.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A first step.....

Change is always hard for me, especially when I am changing something that I have set on motion. But none the less, change was an inevitable thing that I knew I had to face.

I have been the primary 'court' and voice herald for Mooneschadowe for well over three years now, it may even be as much as four or five, but I don't remember that far back. After speaking with some other herald-type figures in the province yesterday, I really had to agree with the crux of what they were saying.

Bottom line, its time I move on. I have learned everything Mooneschadowe's populace meetings have to teach me. Its time for new people to come in and take my role so I can move on and learn more. I'm not terribly happy about the part where I have to quit heralding Mooneschadowe's pop meetings, but its the price I have to pay for pursuing my goals.

I'll still retain my deputyship, their are few in the north that can keep up with me in road heraldry, and I need to get back into list heraldry more regularly. Their used to be a time when I was as well known on the rapier field as most of the fighters, but those were different times. If I want to be like that again, Ill have to work twice as hard for about half the return...but I know its worth it.

The good news is that this will free me up in both time and responsibility to pursue other heraldic avenues. Namely court heraldry in the Baronies.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Agenda

For some reason, most people seem to assume the word agenda is synonymous with underhanded, covert and dishonest. The truth be told, none of these are automatically true. As a mater of fact, Agendas are how most successful people manage to keep track of their objectives and goals in highly complicated situation, like life.

So, here is my agenda, or at least the first draft of it.

1-Train and maintain contact with at least 8 list heralds and 4 site heralds in the north.
2-Teach my List heralding and Site heralding classes to each of the three northern most baronies.
3-Herald at least some of the populace meetings for each of the four northernmost groups (Mooneschadowe, Northkeep, Namron, and Wiesenfeuer).
4-Talk with the Northern Regional herald about increasing Voice Herald training in the north.
5-Speak with as many court heralds in the north as possible, see if I can arrange classes about court heraldry for both myself and others.
6-Herald, or backup herald as many courts as I can, with focus on northern events like Triumph, Protectorate, Baronial and Castilin.

I'm sure it will change, these things always do, but as it stand right now, that's my hit list.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Monday, January 14, 2008

The begining...

I guess if you are the dramatic type, you might call this the opening chapter, and as I am a writer, I guess I would call myself a dramatic type.

I sat down tonight (actually I was doing the dishes) and talked with
my wife about our six month plan. Mine includes a lot of things, but not the least of which is a lot of heraldry.

I never really thought about it before today in specifics, but when I was talking to a friend, I was able to put to words why I am so eager to learn court heraldry. For me, the scene of a person commanding the actions of the court, calling out awards with authority and organizing the madness that is a court's components is what takes me back and makes me think I am in the halls of Westminster or Buckingham palace, hearing the orders and business of a real noble or crown. The ability to take the roles of MC and Parliamentarian and combine them to their root core of a court herald and to be one of the "men of Business" within a Court of Ansteor
ra... that is what lets me live the dream.

At the moment, the most I have done is herald a local level Baronial populace meeting, but that is still a lot more than I had going for me a year ago. My best experience was and still is heralding a Mooneschadowe Populace meeting, which are held Court style. I have also heralded three or four Baronial courts/Populace meetings for Northkeep, as well as a last minute help-out situation with Namron. Still trying to get my feet in the door with Wiesenfeuer, but they have a pretty tight ship and a good officer corp, so its not like they "need" me anyway.

On other fronts, I am puhing ahead hard to teach List heralding and Site heralding to anyone who wants to learn. The truth of the matter is that as far as SCA skills go, these two in combination make an entry level play the most marketable person in terms of what he can do. List heralding is always in demand at any of the north's major events, and Site heralding is always in demand...period. I have a pritty good class down, I just need more students. When i taught it at Winterkingdom I got good reviews from the three peo
ple who attended. But I need more, and right now I'm looking for students.

I have an agenda, and right now that is to get heraldry in the north to a p
oint where it is both a respected skill and a well documented and well taught trade and craft.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"