The Occasional Journal for the College of Heralds of Atlantia
Volume 4, Issue 5 -- September/October 2007 (A.S. XLII)
Artwork credit: Maestra Julianna Fiorentini
Unto the heralds of Atlantia, does Mistress Rhiannon, Triton, send greetings!
I hope everyone had a wonderful, heraldic time at Pennsic! I was saddened not to see any great heraldic pictures, but... (sigh...) I'll just save that prize for the heraldic garb competition at 12th Night!
[Editor's note: We DID have a winner -- but read the rest of Triton's message FIRST.]
I have a couple of things to talk about which I consider vitally important and hope you'll take the time to read through carefully.
Court Reports: I have seen a disturbing trend over the past reign and I want to make it clear I'm not pleased and will not allow it to continue. In several instances over the last two reigns, it appeared as if the court herald did not collect the court docket information prior to court in order to prepare their court report. Instead, they relied upon an offer from another party to "get them all the information later". Later came and went; the deadline to report came and went and the info was not forthcoming and the herald couldn't get in touch with the "helpful" party. Now, I've harped and harped about getting a herald's notebook and court prep procedures, so I know you all know what you're supposed to do. And I realize the offer seemed like somebody just being nice and helping you out. However, this has occurred a number of times and even to some very experienced heralds. Let me be crystal clear on your role as court heralds.
It is YOUR sole responsibility to obtain the court docket at least one hour prior to court, copy it into YOUR notebook, make what notations you can regarding original v. promissory scrolls and assemble the information for submission in a court report. You may obtain assistance after the fact regarding modern names, corrected spelling and what not, however, when you close court, you'd better have a copy of the court docket IN YOUR POSSESSION. Do NOT, under any circumstances, allow anyone to tell you that you don't need to copy it down or that they will "get you all the info later". When the report is overdue, it will be your ass on the line, not theirs. Trust me.
Promotions: I've had a couple of people ask me about the pursuivant and senior herald tests and promotion, so I thought I might pass on what I expect to see out of a pursuivant or senior herald candidate.
First of all, the tests should be ready shortly (Mistress Jaelle and I are finalizing the tweaking as we speak), however, the test alone is not the sole determiner as to whether or not you are ready for promotion. Neither is "time served". You can be warranted as a herald for 20 years and if you haven't participated on a larger level than simple local office sitting, then I don't believe you are making the effort needed to display dedication to this craft.
Promotion is based on knowledge level, skill and proficiency of service. In order for me to know you are ready for promotion, I not only will be looking at your scores on the test(s), but also at how you perform your job and your skill as a herald, based upon reports I get from the Golden Dolphin Herald, other senior heralds and/or the Crown or Landed Baronage.
One very strong indicator to me of your readiness for promotion is whether or not you participate regularly as a commentor on the Atlantian ILOI (internal letter of intent). This not only gives us a good idea of your true skill level, but it also helps you better understand the submissions procedure and how submissions are "judged". So, if you have interest in moving up the ladder, may I suggest that you contact Mistress Alisoun (silverdragon AT charleston DOT net) to get set up on the ILOI distribution list and that you make a concerned effort to comment on a regular (at least every 2 months) basis. This is of _utmost_ importance for those seeking capital H status or who aspire to the Golden Dolphin or Triton positions.
I would also recommend participation in kingdom consult tables whenever possible, being available to do vocal heraldry when mass heralds are needed, and taking/participating in classes and online discussions whenever possible. I would like to see more people branching out to teach, but I also want to be sure you know the subject you are teaching before I set you free to do so first. ;-)
So, if you want a promotion, show me you are more than a marking-time herald and that your dedication to heraldry is sincere. It won't just benefit you; it'll benefit your clients and Atlantia too.
Submissions Herald: In July, Mistress Alisoun posted notice of her term ending in January. We haven't even had a small nibble so far. This concerns me greatly, as this is not a matter of her choosing to step down, but rather, of having served the maximum number of years allowed by kingdom law. We need applicants to come forth right away so that we can determine the best candidate(s) for the job and begin training and/or transitioning the office. January will come a lot quicker than you think...
[Editor's note: The Submissions Herald job description is reprinted further down in this issue, in case anyone would like to reread it.]
Classes: If you are needing to fulfill your yearly class requirement and you aren't going to be at University or Unevent, let me know and I'll see about getting a class taught at an event in your area!
Regionals: I keep saying this, but I reckon it bears repeating once more. The regionals are in place to give me an assessment of the skills and knowledge level of the heralds of Atlantia and to provide the heralds within their region with educational tools and resources. Don't let me hear again that someone told a regional they "knew all they needed to know" and turning their back on the offered assistance. And no, children, it wasn't a Senior Herald. All the Senior Heralds are fully committed to our educational program and are one of the "resources" the regionals are relying upon. I can't make it any clearer than this. If you are not cooperating with my regionals, you are not working for me. And I can make that a reality faster than you can blink. Utilize those folks! They exist to HELP you!
In Closing: Remember, I am but a few keystrokes away and your concerns are my concerns. Don't be afraid to let me know what's going on, should you have difficulties in your group, with fulfilling requirements due to modern life, etc. I think you'll find I'm more than willing to help you find a solution that works for both of us.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at Crown and Unevent!
A Word from the Newsletter Editor
Greetings unto all to whom these presents come from Lady Patricia of Trakai!
Mistress Ealdthryth of Humberstone recently demonstrated the old saying, "You won't win if you don't enter!" She was the winner (and, indeed, the only entrant) of Mistress Rhiannon's Heraldic Photo Contest at Pennsic 36. I'm reprinting her winning image here. This colorful "boat" is half of a pair of gates to the encampment of House Full Circle (East Kingdom) along Battle Road. You can see the threatening clouds in the background ... we certainly had our share of rain this Pennsic!
Also at Pennsic, I had the great pleasure to join Master Herveus d'Ormonde for a "heraldic walking tour" of Atlantian encampments, mostly around the Serengeti. Herveus and I were joined by our Kingdom Chirurgeon -- but where were all the rest of you heralds?? (Helping out at Heralds' Point or taking classes, I hope!) More than once we were offered sweet snacks, including some awesome double-chocolate brownies, at the places we visited. Perhaps that will encourage more people to show up next year....
At the Coronation of Their Royal Majesties Logan and Rowan, I was pleased to pass along the Triton staff of office to Mistress Rhiannon. Did you even know that there was a Triton staff of office? As it turned out, Mistress Moira Maureen ua Seamus of the Green Hills, our very first Triton Principal Herald, had such a staff sitting in her attic for many years. When the time came for her this summer to move from her old residence, which had a steep staircase, to a home with no stairs, I was removing some bags of old garb from the attic and unearthed the staff. This staff is a green pole, about 5-foot-6, with green and gold streamers to match the SCA herald's badge of office. Mistress Moira carried it into court at some of Atlantia's first events as an independent kingdom, and I am pleased that it has been returned to service.
As summer turns to fall and the end of the year draws nearer, it's time to think about your yearly obligations as a herald. If you haven't taken at least one class in the past year, do check out the recently posted schedule of the next University of Atlantia session on October 20 in the Barony of Caer Mear. This session's heraldic track has classes for ALL levels, from the ever-popular "Conflict Checking for Beginners" to "How to Write Heraldic Commentary."
Finally, this issue of Heralds' Point features a word-search puzzle on armory. Enjoy! (And if you have any good heraldic puzzles to share, please drop me a line.)
Lady Patricia, Editor
Armory Word-Search Puzzle
Words to search for:
ABATEMENT ACHIEVEMENT ADDORSED
BARRY BEZANT BICORPORATE BOTTANY
CABOSHED CHECKY CHEVRON COMBATTANT CONTOURNEY COUCHANT
PALL PALY PILE
Position Open: Golden Dolphin Herald
Both Kingdom Law and my own inclination dictate that I step down
from the Golden Dolphin office at Twelfth Night in January, 2008, when I shall
have served in that position for four years.
To allow for an orderly transition, anyone interested in serving as Golden Dolphin should apply by 15 September, 2007. Letters of application, including a Society resume and any supporting documentation (e.g., plans for the office, explanations of relevant Society or mundane experience that may not show on your resume, etc.) should be sent either by email or snail mail to Triton and myself at the addresses shown in Acorn.
The Golden Dolphin Herald is responsible for all submissions processing within the Kingdom of Atlantia. Duties include preparation of a monthly Internal Letter of Intent circulated for commentary to internal commenters, a monthly External Letter of Intent to the College of Arms based on internal commentary and monthly responses to external commentary in defence of Atlantian submissions as well as the maintenance of all submissions files. Golden Dolphin or a designated surrogate must also send letters to all submitters notifying them of any acceptance, pend or return by the Golden Dolphin office and/or the Laurel office, post Letters of Acceptance and Return with the same information to the Atlantian Heralds' web page and publish the results of all submissions in the Acorn together with any changes of policy which directly impact submissions processing. Golden Dolphin is also responsible for organizing official kingdom heraldic consultation tables in Atlantia. Some of these duties such as consultation tables and notification letters can be delegated, but the central submissions processing duties may not.
Over the past three and a half years, the average time required for fulfillment of these duties, exclusive of attendance at events to run consultation tables, has typically run between 20 and 40 hours a month. (The high end occurs immediately after Pennsic where Atlantia generally receives >100 submission elements!) Based on experience, delegating the generation of notification letters and some fiscal duties of the office would probably lower that workload by no more than two or three hours a month and might actually increase it as information would have to be prepared and circulated to the relevant deputies.
Logistic requirements for the office include space to accommodate approximate five five-drawer file cabinets, two medium-sized bookshelves' worth of books, sundry boxes of current files and paperwork resources and the office's duplexing copier/scanner. A computer has been a minimum requirement for some years now, but the advent of the OSCAR system and the internal letter of intent system that is now official policy for Atlantia make reliable access to the internet and internet mail essential. I have been using Microsoft Office running on a Windows PC, but appropriate software on a Mac would also work. (If you are interested in the detailed logistics of the office, including the software used, etc., please contact me for technical information.
The knowledge and experience required in an applicant for Golden Dolphin Herald are a bit more difficult to quantify. Absolutely essential is a basic familiarity with book heraldry and the Society's Rules for Submissions and Administrative Handbook. (You cannot adequately evaluate the input from commenters or explain problems with submissions to submitters unless you have that familiarity!
Alisoun, Golden Dolphin
Heraldry is an art as old as Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and as young as the newest submission. I welcome you to join in exploring it with your colleagues, the heralds of Atlantia -- this is your journal. If you have always wanted to write an article that would be read by every Atlantian herald, or if you have a question you would like to ask of all the heralds of Atlantia, send me a message at Patoodle AT aol DOT com! I prefer that any articles or other messages come as plain text (ASCII), as opposed to HTML or some other format. Thank you!
Patricia of Trakai
Herald's Point is the newsletter for the members of the College of Heralds of Atlantia. Herald's Point is not a corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA) and does not delineate SCA policies. Herald's Point does delineate policies specific to the College of Heralds of the Kingdom of Atlantia. Copies of this newsletter are available from: Patricia of Trakai (Patty Daukantas), 7740 Lakecrest Drive, Greenbelt, MD 20770.