The Occasional Journal for the College of Heralds of Atlantia
Volume 6, Issue 3 -- May/June 2009 (A.S. XLIV)
Artwork credit: Maestra Julianna Fiorentini
Greetings on this fine May day to all those who serve Atlantia as its heralds!
As you all know, Mistress Alisoun and I have been begging folks to step up to the plate and produce commentary, train for or even, just show an interest in possibly taking on the jobs of Golden Dolphin and Triton when our terms are up. The sound of crickets in the background has been depressingly loud. I know some of you are not ready, and I accept that, just as I know there are senior heralds who are too worn out to consider taking on the jobs. But there are folks out there, who do have the budding skills, and I had hoped, would have the desire to take the next step up the ladder and serve Atlantia and its CoH in this fashion. Whether it’s because you lack the confidence, perceive the job(s) to be too large, or think you don’t have the time, I don’t know. What I do know is, we NEED you. Atlantia NEEDS you. Your fellow heralds NEED you.
Look, folks. EVERYBODY is busy. EVERYBODY has real world stresses. EVERYBODY has stuff they still need to learn. Did you know, that I work ungodly hours as the paralegal in a 3-person law firm, and am the primary person responsible for keeping the job afloat and money coming in? That’s a pile o’stress and worry on a daily basis. Alisoun works at a national monument site, funded by government grants and tourism dollars, where 2 of the ships are sinking and they’re reaching the pay cut/unpaid furlough point. The economy is rough. And the world has become too complicated. We all use the SCA as an escape from that. However, without volunteers doing the work in the SCA, there would be no SCA … no escape.
We’re not the only office having this problem, nor even, the only kingdom. But it’s a matter of attitude and perspective, I think. And I think it’s time we all took a moment to reassess what it is we give back to this game we depend on to be here for us.
I’m not just talking about stepping up to the plate on kingdom offices. I noticed that when a call was put out for voice heralds for Crown, the crickets chirped. And again, when calls were made for Sapphire (a traditionally heraldic heavy event). Personally, when I do the asking, I don’t want to know who ISN’T coming, but if you think you might come, and are willing to donate an hour or two to heraldic activities, then pipe up and say so. It will help us not feel like Atlas, toting the entirety of the heraldic world on our lone shoulders.
There are around 120 heralds on our roster. None of us should suffer alone. We are a family; we are a team. We should be working together and helping each other out, not only with event needs, but with training and education and support.
Shake off those doldrums, folks. There isn’t much you can do to change the real world right this minute, and wallowing in the worry won’t help. So, make a difference where you CAN. Be the best herald you can be, and provide the best service you can. You’d be surprised just how much that will improve your overall outlook, even into the real world troubles which surround us all. Skip the weekly Starbucks latte and donate that money to your local food bank, and every other event (or more, if you want), donate an hour or two to helping the local herald/autocrat with his/her heraldic needs. It’ll make you feel better, it’ll make the local herald/autocrat feel better, and it’ll help improve the world. One effort at a time…
Oh, and on that “when Alisoun and I step down”, see the next letter in this issue…
Mistress Rhiannon ui Neill
Triton Principal Herald
House Corvus, Atlantia
Greetings from Rhiannon ui Neill, Triton Herald, and Alisoun MacCoul of Elphane, Golden Dolphin Herald!
At Twelfth Night in January, 2010, we WILL be stepping down from the offices we currently hold.
Both of us have already served past our initial two-year commitment and, while neither of us is “burned out” or weary of heraldry, it is time to share the fun.
Applications for both offices should include a detailed Society resume, as well as a summary of any real-world skills that may be relevant for either office (e.g., computer skills, experience in staff management, etc.) Applications for Golden Dolphin should be sent to both of us, but applications for Triton need be addressed to Triton alone. The deadline for applications for either office is 15 August, 2009.
The relatively long application period is designed to allow a decision to be made early in Their Highnesses’ reign to facilitate a smooth transition, yet allow plenty of time for you to discuss in detail with either or both of us the duties and rewards of each office, what resources are available to ease the burdens of the office, and what adjustments to the current distribution of responsibilities can be made to fit your particular interests and skills. Both of us are readily available by email and will also be at a number of events, including Pennsic, between now and the application deadline and anyone interested in applying is strongly encouraged to spend some time talking to us before applying.
Basic requirements for both offices are in many respects very similar: a proven history of handling paperwork and hard deadlines, an ability to communicate well verbally and in writing, a willingness to be highly accessible in person, by telephone and through email and enough stability in your real-world life to be able to commit to at least two years of service to the kingdom and its populace. While an interest in heraldry is obviously also a requirement, the other requirements need not be documented through service in a heraldic office: experience in other offices and in the real world can be equally germane.
The office of Triton Herald also requires enough general knowledge of court, field and book heraldry, protocol and precedence to supervise the work of specialists in those fields, a basic understanding of the interactions of the heraldic community with other offices and the populace and a demonstrated ability to supervise the work of others and to manage ongoing projects. It is perhaps important to note that, while many Tritons have traveled widely and frequently heralded royal courts, neither travel nor a talent for court heraldry is actually a requirement of the office and most of the ceremonial duties of the office can be effectively delegated to others.
The Golden Dolphin office obviously requires a somewhat deeper knowledge of book heraldry and familiarity with the Society’s technical and administrative rules. It also requires a more focused ability to manage repetitive project timelines in order to guarantee that the monthly submissions processing cycle, including notification of submitters, functions smoothly. Again, a successful Golden Dolphin Herald need not be the kingdom’s best book herald, but does need to have or acquire enough knowledge to make sound decisions based on the advice of others. It is also possible to delegate certain of the duties currently performed by Golden Dolphin and we are actively looking at ways to do this to lighten the load for future holders of the office.
The bottom line is that, while you do have to make certain commitments and may need to pick up additional skills to meet all your responsibilities, you do not have to be “Super Herald” to serve as either Triton or Golden Dolphin. So think about your options, talk to either or both of us and consider how best you can serve!
Rhiannon and Alisoun
A Word from the Newsletter Editor
Greetings unto all to whom these presents come from Lady Patricia of Trakai!
We're coming up on two big events with lots of heraldic needs: Sapphire Joust in May and Novice Tourney/Challenge of the Heart in June. As you know from the Atlantian Heralds mailing list, Lord Gorm of Berra has been heavily recruiting voice heralds for Sapphire. I would like to put in a plug for Novice/Challenge (June 19-21) as well (see Mistress Rhiannon's note on VOLUNTEERISM above). The Baronies of Storvik and Dun Carraig are combining two traditional events into one, so there will be multiple fighting contests in multiple styles. Plus, it's a Royal Progress event, so you know there will be a LOT of court stuff happening. Their Excellencies of Storvik want a consult table, too. We could have 350 or 400 people showing up. So, we need help! Please contact me to join in the fun.
Lady Patricia, Editor
Soundings of the Conch: On the Importance of Seconds
By Master Donal Mac Ruiseart, Conch Herald
The court herald has many functions: Organizer, announcer, master-of-ceremonies, cheerleader, and sometimes entertainer. But overarching all of those functions is the duty to maintain proper decorum and dignity.
Recently there have been several incidents where something went wrong, or didn’t go quite right, in a Court as a result of an error, omission, or difficulty with the Court herald.
Standing there in front of an audience that can number in dozens, scores, or hundreds can be a daunting situation, especially if you are all alone. Having a helper can be a great boon in such a situation, hence the Atlantian College of Heralds’ policy of “seconds.”
So, just what is a second?
A second is a backup, an assistant, a sidekick. The duties of a second vary with the occasion and the person being seconded, but these are some of the things a second ought to be ready to do:
• Make sure that the herald has a drinking vessel handy, and if necessary pass it to him/her when needed.
• Assist the herald in arranging the documents to be read.
• Keep track of the court agenda and annotate it as to who actually got their awards and who was “pended” or had the award given to an agent. The herald should be doing this too. If you both have notes, it’s less likely that something will “drop through a crack.”
• Hand documents to the herald to be read. Assist in holding any documents that are of extremely large size.
• Quietly prompt the herald as to what agenda item is next.
• Take messages from the herald or the Royals to people in the Court or from people in the Court to the herald.
• Assist the herald in leading cheers, with your own voice and gestures.
• Be ready to step in if the herald is either incapacitated or called into court. The incapacitation might be temporary, but if your herald suddenly has an attack of dry throat or starts coughing or sneezing, it’s much better if someone can keep the proceedings under way while the herald recovers.
• Read one or two documents during the Court. This is good practice for the second and a valuable respite for the herald.
This list may seem daunting, but most of the time the second’s role is just to be ready to help out, while adding to the dignity of the occasion simply by their presence. The second should wear a tabard, if one is available.
The second is not merely an assistant, though; but a student. The aim of anyone who does heralding should be to become competent and confident enough to herald a Court oneself. With that in mind, the second should pay attention to the way things are done in the court, especially what the herald is doing or saying, and might offer feedback after the Court.
The herald should enquire before the Court begins if the second wants to read a document or two. This can give valuable experience and gives the second the moral support of having another (usually experienced) herald standing by. It also gives the herald a respite, which can be useful in the case of a long Court. Having a chance to rest the voice, even briefly, is a great boon to a herald.
When a call is put out for seconds, or a herald approaches you to ask you to “second” him or her, take up the challenge! You will find it educational, satisfying, and hopefully, enjoyable.
Point of Fact
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
This is Herald's Point, 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 the Editor: Patricia of Trakai (Patty Daukantas), 7740 Lakecrest Drive, Greenbelt, MD 20770.
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