Tuesday, 17 June 2014

War of the Trillium 2014

The Fian stands upon the field
To face the noble swords of three
Brave men who will not ever yield
Nor from a challenge ever flee.
The first to draw his blade so keen
Is Rorik with his noble mien
Former champion to a Queen
His worth so easy to be seen.

Next comes Thorulfr, father, squire,
With braided beard and blue white shield,
Whose foes smolder on burning pyre
Who in defeat has rarely kneeled.
Third comes Bjarn from northern hall
Skilled with the sword and mace and maul,
His victories are beyond count
No challenge he can not surmount.

In bloody contest now they meet
Fianna from across the land
Who in fray they must now defeat
To earn the right to join their band.
Strong is the bear, and stronger still,
As more its ranks the people fill,
Strong is the bear, and strong our will,
Who next will face the Fian’s skill?

The White Bear Fian is pleased to announce that Lord Rorik AND THL Thorolfr AND THL Bjarn will be fighting challenges to enter the order on Sunday at War of the Trillium, right before Lord Fulk's tourney.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Photos of THL Hans Thorvaldsson's Challenge

Thanks to THL Eirik Andersen, photos of THL Hans Thorvaldsson's successful challenge can be found starting here.

Fian members THL Tiberius, THLaird Colyne and HE Percival watch THL Hans and THL Rattanicus cross blades.
Photos of his official recognition in baronial court begin here.

Hans standing with his fellow fianna in Septentria court.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Event Report: Pikeman’s Pleasure, June 7, 2014

(In the form of a letter to the members of the White Bear Fian.)

Unto the stalwart fianna, defenders of the lands of Septentria, from their brother-in-arms, THLaird Colyne Stewart, greetings in good faith.

I hope this missive finds you well as you train your bodies and minds the better to protect our barony from any evils that may be so base as to threaten it. May your swords stay sharp, and your eyes vigilant.

This letter is to convey to you the events that occurred not yet a week past, within the Canton of Petrea Thule on the seventeenth anniversary of my marriage. The people of the Thule once again hosted the Pikeman’s Pleasure, where there was much fighting, archery, game playing, shopping and enjoyment of the arts and sciences to be had. As I spent the whole day at the list fields, it is only of those events upon which I can report.

The lists were run by one of our own, THL Tiberius of Warwickshire, who had organized a tournament in which fighters were to pair up and fight three bouts consisting of three passes, with each bout featuring a different set of matched weapons. This meant that each fight consisted of nine passes total. Each win counted as one point, and in subsequent rounds, fighters were to be matched by their point totals, meaning that fighters who were doing well would face each other, while fighters who were not favoured by Ares that day would face each other. As there were over twenty fighters taking part in the tourney, including Her Highness Kaylah, the tourney took a very long time and only two rounds were held. In the end it was declared that Mistress AElfwyn was the overall victor, having accumulated the most points.

With this tourney done, the Fian took to the field to answer the challenge of THL Hans Thorvaldsson, who wished to enter our order. To answer this challenge we elected THL Rattanicus. Hans and Rattanicus were to fight three bouts of three passes, each bout featuring a different weapon form. Hans needed to emerge triumphant in two out of the three passes in two of the bouts to claim membership in the Fian.

For their first bout they chose sword and shield (as I recall). THL Hans fought fiercely, winning the first two passes, rendering the final pass moot. He had won the bout and only needed to win one more.

For their second bout they chose to use two single-handed weapons (which, according to Duchess Adrielle, who was in attendance, “made the bear cry”). Once again, Hans won the first two passes, winning the bout. As he had won the first two bouts, the third was unnecessary, and I was able to announce his success to all those assembled to watch, which included many members of the populace, as well as His Majesty and Their Highnesses.

Later at court, THL Hans was officially welcomed into the Fian by Their Excellencies Grom and Anneke and given the gift of warmth (in the form of sleeping trews emblazoned with white bears).

I know the event featured many other stories, from the stellar feast, to the games table, from the archery field to the hall, but those are tales for others to relate.

Now, I beseech you, as noble and loyal fianna, to come to the War of the Trillium as THL Rorik will at this event fight his own challenge for membership among our ranks. If successful, this would make him the thirtieth of our number. Also, I have heard rumours of another who would challenge us, and I will relay more of this once I know more of it.

I have said all I meant to say, and leave you with blessings of the northlands. Written at Colynesburg, on Friday, the 13th day of June, on the occasion of the full moon, in the sixteenth year of our kingdom and the forty-ninth year of our Society.



Sunday, 8 June 2014

A New Member and A New Challenger

Congratulations to THL Hans, who successfully fought his way into the White Bear Fian at Pikeman's Pleasure yesterday!

The Fian is also pleased to announce that Lord Rorik will fight for membership on Sunday at War of the Trillium!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

White Bear Fian Tournament Proclamation, Pikeman’s Pleasure 2014

In honour of our Baron and Baroness, and of Their most glorious liege lords Nigel and Adrielle, and of Nigel and Adrielle’s heirs Siegfried and Ragni, do I, Colyne Stewart, squire, counselor and chancellor, make known to all princes, barons, knights and esquires, without reproach, that for the augmentation and extension of the most noble profession and exercise of arms, the White Bear Fian, of which I am a member, has made it their will and intention to guard and defend a pass d’armes, situated on the great road bisecting our kingdom, on a field in the Canton of Petrea Thule, at the event known as Pikeman’s Pleasure, in the form and manner following.

In the first place, our order will hear and answer a challenge for entry into our said order, by the most worthy Honourable Lord Hans Thorvaldsson. As is the ancient custom, the aforesaid Hans will place his body on the anvil of virtue and will face in battle one member of the White Bear Fian in single combat, with weapon style chosen in consultation between them both, and the aforesaid Hans must then defeat in combat his combatant, who shall be His Excellency Percival de Laroque, in two out of three passes. If victorious, Hans shall be welcomed into the Fian, and will stand with our august company for the remainder of the pas d’armes. If, however, his arm should fail him that day, he will not stand with the order but his challenge shall remain open and he may fight for the honour of entering said order again at a future time. For true failure is only faced by those who discontinue their attempts.

Those princes, barons, knights and esquires, of the rank before mentioned, shall then take their pleasure in performing feats of arms on foot, and may challenge members of the White Bear Fian to single combat, paired combat or group combat as they see fit, to be fought with such weapons and in such a manner as they agree to between them.

Item, if, during these courses, any champion shall touch the ground with his hand or knees, he shall be bounded to present his adversary with a token of whatever value he please.

Item, each champion shall be armed with the accustomed armour for combating in lists.

Item, all noble foreigners shall have sure and loyal passports from my aforesaid sovereign lord.

Item, the aforesaid feats of arms shall be performed on the following day: Saturday, the seventh of June, in the year of our society forty-nine, and shall last for one hour or until honour has been satisfied.

In order that this our intention of performing these deeds of arms in the manner before specified may be men and women fully declared, I have affixed my seal to these presents, and signed with my own hand, this 3rd day of April, in the year AS 48.*


*******

In the modern tongue:

At Pikeman’s Pleasure, held on Saturday, June 7th, and hosted by the Canton of Petrea Thule, the Barony of Septentria’s fighting order (The White Bear Fian) will be holding the field for about an hour, facing all challengers. Before the challenges begin however, THL Hans Thorvaldsson will attempt to win entry into the order by defeating HE Percival de Laroque two out of three times.

During the tournament when everyone is participating, it is requested that everyone bring some kind of small tokens and present one to their opponent should their hands or knees ever touch the ground. These tokens do not need to be extravagant (we’re not trying to keep anyone from participating); we’re just trying to catch some of the atmosphere of the original period tournament this one is being based on. Tokens can be pewter castings, or little leather geegaws, or wooden needle cases, or pin cushions, or dice, or any manner of inexpensive thing. Have no fear, if you have no tokens on the day, you will still be able to participate.

For more information on the White Bear Fian, I would normally ask you to check out the Septentrian webpage, but the links to information on the Fian seem to be dead right now. You can then, instead, contact me privately and I can fill you in on our glorious and renowned history. If you are on Facebook, we do have a page there (www.facebook.com/WhiteBearFian).

If you are interested in trying to challenge for entry into the Fian, please speak to Their Excellencies Septentria.

In service,

THLaird Colyne Stewart, fianna

* Based on the Pas d’armes od Charlemagne’s Tree, 1443, from Enguerrand de Monstrelet’s The Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet, trans. Thomas Johnes, two vols., (London, 1877), Book II, Chapter cclxix-cclxxi.

White Bear Fian: Strong, Proud and Bearing Bears

Laird Colyne Stewart, AS XL (May 2006)

Many people ask just what the White Bear Fian is. The answer, not surprisingly, has changed over time.

In the olden days, when Ealdormere was a Principality of the Middle Kingdom, when very few knights or masters-of-arms called our fair land home, a group of fighters banded together to prove their worth off and on the field. Aedan o Kincora and Kaffa Muirath—the first Baron and second Baroness of Septentria—founded the order, though entry into it was not theirs to grant.

To become a fianna, a challenger must present themselves to Their Excellencies Septentria, and make a formal challenge. They must be found worthy by being courteous and well rounded in pursuits. Candidates were (and are) to be able to handle a bow, show some proficiency at either song, story, dance or chess, and must also show some skill in at least one art or science.

If the baron and baroness deem the challenger worthy, then a time and place will be set for the challenger to face a fianna in combat. To gain entry the challenger must defeat a member of the Fian (chosen by the fianna) in two out of three rounds of armoured combat. If the challenger should fail, they are free to challenge again and again. If they succeed, they are inducted into the Fian and made a fianna.

Originally, the Fian was a way for the fighters of our barony to show their worth. To quote Ceallach Cu Meallain, one of the first fianna:

The Fian came into being by the will of many, and finally expressed by Baron Aedan and Baroness Kaffa that honour and dignity on the field and off, should be recognized and fostered. The political mechanism that chooses higher "Society Awards" like the Dragon's Tooth and even the accolade of Chivalry was not adequately recognizing the talents and qualities of Septentrian fighters, archers and scouts. Something was done to counteract this problem. A group based on the Irish Fiana was born. (Ursus #143)

The first round of challenges was held on a summer day in Eoforwic in either AS 24 (1989) or AS 26 (1991). Sources vary on the subject. The first original five members of the Fian were: Sir David Martin Failsworth, Ceallach Cu Meallain, Duke Sir Finnvarr de Taahe, Alasdair of Raasey and Tai Chin Wu.

The Fian was pledged to uphold the honour of the barony, and of combat in general. Ties to the Fian were to come before any other affiliation. Over time this demand for ultimate loyalty to the barony was to loosen, for several reasons. Some members of the Fian moved out of the barony. Indeed, for some, they had no choice but to leave the barony when part of it became the Barony of Ramshaven in AS 29 (1994). Entry to the Fian was eventually opened to anyone who wanted to challenge for entry, as long as they were still found acceptable by the current Baron and Baroness of Septentria. Indeed, during the reign of Baroness Adrielle Kerrec some members of the Kingdom of Calontir successfully gained entry into the Fian. In AS 32 or 33 (1998) Cynred Broccan and Evander MacLachlan would be the last to gain entry for many years.

The fian faded from view, and was almost forgotten. However, in November AS 38 (2003) at the barony’s 25th Anniversary event, Hlaford Streonwald Wulfesbanna became the first new fianna in six years. He was soon followed by four others who were successful in challenging into the Fian.

It is not easy to spot a member of the White Bear Fian, as there is no badge for the order. Rather, each fianna is encouraged to design their own badge incorporating a white bear as one of the charges.

The Fian still strives for excellence both on the field and off, and is always looking for those who wish to test their mettle. The Fian currently will hold the field at any Septentrian event at which they are given the opportunity, to face any and all who would wish to engage in honourable combat, be it to attempt entry into the Fian, or simply to enjoy the battle.

Sources
“White Bear Fian Draws New Challengers,” Ursus #134, March XXV (1991), likely written by Finngiall en Face of Wyre.

“A Tradition of Excellence,” Ursus #143, Dec AS XXVI (1991), Ceallach Cu Meallain & Aeden o Kincora.

“The Fian Awakens at Feast of the Bear,” Ursus Vol. 8. No. 10 October 2003, Colyne Stewart.

“The Fian Roars Again,” Ursus Vol 9 No 1 Jan 2004, Colyne Stewart.

“The Fian Roars and Baron Fights Fifty,” The Chronicles of Colyne Stewart 2001-2005(2006), Colyne Stewart.


A Tradition of Excellence

From the Ursus #143, Dec AS XXVI

by Ceallach Cu Meallain & Aeden o Kincora

Many months have passed since the founding of the White Bear Fian by our former Baron and Baroness -- Aedan and Kaffa. Few people know any detail about the Fian, indeed, few know that the companionship exists. Unlike many Orders of Awards within the Society, membership in the Fian is not granted or recognized by an act of the sovereign or his representative (i.e. Baron or Baroness).

The Fian came into being by the will of many, and finally expressed by Baron Aedan and Baroness Kaffa that honour and dignity on the field and off, should be recognized and fostered. The political mechanism that chooses higher "Society Awards" like the Dragon's Tooth and even the accolade of Chivalry was not adequately recognizing the talents and qualities of Septentrian fighters, archers and scouts. Something was done to counteract this problem. A group based on the Irish Fiana was born.

The opportunity to challenge the order and become new members of such a fellowship was set up on that fine summer's day two years ago, in Eoforwic. Several Septentrians challenged that day and by the end of the day, five Septentrians won the right of companionship in the White Bear Fian.

First to Battle and first to victory was Sir David Martin Failsworth. Sir David, like all other challengers had been found worthy for many reasons. His fighting skills were legendary; he was the first Prince of Ealdormere. His talents in decorative metalwork and dance displayed his prowess beyond the field. Finally, few could question his dedication to the ideals that strengthen the Society -- service and courtesy.

Second of the companionship was Ceallach Cu Meallain. Although a fighter of average talent, Ceallach can fight an opponent with any weapon, whatever it may be. Ceallach had served many years as a marshal so that others could fight in safety. Brewing and woodworking balanced his activities off the field.

Duke Sir Finnvarr de Taahe followed closely upon entering the Fian. His Grace's accomplishments and service on and off the field in over two decades in the Society are more than most can dream of.

Alasdair of Raasey became the fourth companion upon defeating his knight and master, Duke Finnvarr Alasdair's excellence at many arts is closely rivaled by his deadly assault in combat.

The final fellow of the Companionship of the White Bear Fian to date is Tai Chin Wu. Like his master, Sir David, Tai is an example of courtesy and dedication to many in the Society.    His skill at arms is rewarded by the honour of Sir David's first red belt. Likewise, his skill at leathercraft has been recognized by Master Ricard of Sable Tree. With swords, needles or doumbek, Tai Chin Wu is quite skilled.

This is the fellowship of the White Bear Fian. Many have challenged for entry. If found acceptable as challengers by the current Baron and Baroness of Septentria, they will be met by a member of the Fian upon the field to respond to the challenge.

It has become fashionable to challenge exclusive orders. Membership in this fellowship carries no prize; any reward must be found within yourself. Think not that honour and respect will come to you bearing our insignia. Few will know us; few will understand what we are.

If you choose to challenge, be prepared to prove your worth to your Baron and Baroness. The White Bear will only test your worth upon the field. The final test will be your dedication to the ideals of excellence within the Society.