The Tale of the house, the Norse, Two Tailed Lion, and the Rolling Thunder

Good day everyone.  The one aspect I seem to love about this is that often pairs will come to get their heraldry done, and many times wishing for similar heraldry as their spouses, or something completely different to establish themselves.  Regardless of their choices or yourselves the first thing I tell a client is always “what says this is me”.

That is without a doubt the best indicator of something that makes you feel pride in the heraldry that you are displaying.  This is not a check mark on a score sheet, or achievement unlock, or skill quest complete. This is to tell the society at large.  “This is Me and this is where I am “so take pride in your name, device, badge (however with badges they say “this is mine” right Fionn?)

For today I want to start off with a grand friendly lady, a baroness (but at the time she wasn’t) and I still swear her smile is contagious (laughs).  Lucie Lovegood of Ramisgate came to me inquiring about arms for herself, after looking over the OandA I found her name was registered in 2011, so that makes it easy.  We had a couple of ideas to start off with, she was wishing to have an elk, and a vert background.  However, that conflicted with the outlands populace badge (strike one), next we move on to do a per bend sinister (top right to bottom left) counterchanging for “Per bend sinister vert and argent, a stag springing contourny counterchanged.” However, the client wasn’t sold on it, (remember this has to say “here I am “) (strike two).

It is usually at this time, that the herald and the client have a conference at the mound to discuss strategy.

“Well what if I did this?”

“sounds good however that would cause it to be returned for a metal on metal conflict”

“well mmmm ok how about this?”

“well that clears that issue but we run into another issue of conflicting with at least 3 people I can see “

“wow this is harder than I thought it would be”

“that is why I help get it in all order.”

“well ok how about this?”

“not bad and looking better however if I could suggest add a silver bordure around it and it would look SMASHING!”

“oh I like that”

Another run of conflict checking and then we have a Homerun.  I adore clients like this for they become part of the process, they learn, and are engaged more than “I want a pretty”.

So your excellency I was so pleased you enjoy your “Per bend sinister azure and vert, a stag springing and a bordure argent.”


Next up was a Norse that has become a friend a bit in the last few years.  His sister introduced him to this and he has found his nitch.  His name was the classic “choose from column A” and then “who is your daddy” (Norse Patronymics give me a giggle many a time)

His device was a wee bit tricky.  For if I am not mistaken he had the colors and charges in mind, making it work was not to difficult but proved interesting.  First off he wanted valknut.  In itself cute however it becomes a SFPP (Step for Period Practice) well he has the one so no big deal.  Second he wished to have a raven.  Ok what position would you like your raven.




Would you prefer it displayed? (now caution this would give you your second SFPP and that would be bad.

Close was the winner after him looking it over and picking his (cough) position.  And learned a bit about positions.  Some need to be accurately displayed in the blazon, however what is considering standard positions or default positions like in this ravens case the (close) does not have to be blazoned.

He as well wanted a funky line division.  (yellow and black again ok Charlie Brown I can play this game again), the line division in this case was indented, however not the double I was originally thinking it had to be (silly herald have coffee before heralding).  However, in this case just the one down the middle (looks at it) ok he cracked his device, properly fitting, maybe.  After bouncing a couple of ideas of what to do with the charges I knew we were going to run into issue with the line division and what we could do with it.  Counterchanged for the win!!  Covered all he wished and made it stand out nicely.  So with that being said (cracks knuckles) bidi bobbidi boo.  Here we go “Steinar Bjornsson” “Per pale indented sable and Or, a valknut and a raven counterchanged.”


The next device was a bit of fun to consult, the client wanted a couple of different ideas before we came down with what she was looking for.  She really had her mind set on a beast.  And we tossed around a couple of ideas, nothing was really sticking.  I think she was looking at a sphynx, gryphon, not much I was either finding worked in heraldry.  Or have been every which way including Sunday, which makes it difficult do to the amount of conflicts you run into.  (I swear at one time the SCA had a Gryphon fetish).  Then we ran into a lion queue-forché… ok that worked for those two tales (and as a former F 14 mechanic I had to giggle there) ok just like above how would you like your lion

Just the head?




I mean we can have your lion served to you in many different ways.  What is your pleasure.  Well she didn’t like the rampant and didn’t want all paws on the ground, so passant got the vote, even after I copied and paste the second tail into place to make it work, (mental note to self be careful on which window is the primary when doing such a couple of times I sent in chat a couple of “tails” to her on Facebook for a giggle or two (NO Nicol, not like that geez man).

Colors bounced around, where she did want silver, red, and black.  So went back in forth, some looked good some really didn’t (shivers) and then there are some she didn’t see for they were really bad.  Be thankful Vivien trust me.  As we narrow down to our target then the conflict checking came in.  Surprisingly the queue-forché made it even easier to conflict check, so with silver background a red lion, and to add the topping to this Sunday incased in a black border and here we are for Vivien de Valois.  “Argent, a lion queue-forché passant and in base two crescents gules, a bordure sable.”


The first couple I wish to talk about is a wonderful pair, that I met first while shooting archery with them.  They had an interesting concept but was def. married to the “fox” idea do to it being the husband’s totem.  No big I can work with that with not too many difficulties.  First idea was Foxbourgh.  Sounds English “ish” so start searching academy of st Gabriel.  Nope, mmm Sca Heraldry name sections.  Nope.  Oscar, Not here bucko.  OandA, yea right.  Ok so they found a name that is not in known existence that I can see.  Do a couple of more steps and find that the name started out of period so no dice there.  Have a conversation with the clients, and find out that he is Norse, and she has been acquired and then welcomed into his family, then married him… thinking processing…  She really like the name Kathryn or some spelling variation.  Well wait, (runs to Viking answer lady) does a quick peak first for him (remembering the fox idea. Refr in Norse means “fox”.  Bullseye!!! Nailed it step one.  Ok so mister Norse as with everyone in the past “CHOOSE YOUR DADDY” (him covered).  Now for Kathryn.  Well my brain worked hard on this as for many aspects the bridge from her wish of I think it was Irish and Norse ties especially in time frames was making me feel a bit clouded.  So as being married to a Norse.  Mmmm lets pull some magic.  Quick to the SENA!!. Finding out that Old Norse in Appendix C can be combined with English and forgive me I achieved your forms so not sure how the bridge layed out after that as far as dates.  However, what I did know that from previous consultation “Hi Cindy” that Kona meant in Norse wife… Holy total recall Herald.  So we can use his name Refr + Kona = fox’s wife.  After some giggling they were sold. And I give a small explanation that sort of looked like Boris from Goldeneye “Yes, I am invincible!”

Devices were a bit of a trick to put together.  Well let me rephrase that, getting the momentum going became a difficult hurdle, however once the ball started. It was a snowball building as we go.  So First both wanted a fox and a raven in their devices.  First we tried counter change with a displayed raven and a fox rampant reguardant.  To give the impression they were looking at each other.  “see I can add a bit of romance to it.  They wished for the colors of gules and azure, and argent for the metal… processing ok divides the field in half one end gules the other azure, have the charges argent.  Easy right?  First idea didn’t look so hot after I drew it up, so next concept was to divide the field in sinister, have an argent raven displayed on an azure field, and a gules fox, on an argent field.   Ok look that over, something is missing im sure we will hit something…. Wait got it. Add a bordure however where the sinister line goes break it up so the bordure is argent where the field is azure and vice versa.  That actually looks good.  A chat with the clients later proved to like however she wished to have the field one color, and he was looking for black and red (clan colors), ok rethink this, why not change the raven to stop any SFPP kicking us just in case, instead make the raven contourney reguardant.  So mix that into the caldron and we get for him “per bend sable and gules, a raven reguardant and a fox rampant reguardant within a bordure argent” and for her “argent, in bend sinister a raven reguardant sable and a fox rampant reguardant gules, within a bordure azure”.

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Keep not there is some question if this may cause a unity or posture issue, so I will add a post about this if in case that does happen to go into that in detail.

From the lands held by Thunder, a Viking came to me and wishing to get his name finally registered and device started.  Alright, and wait, he did the work for me already?  Bonus, well let’s go it over.  With Norse you have to be tricky for many of the characters they would use tend to look different in English, vs Norse.  For example, “Þ” That thing right there.  At first glance or even quick glance you swear it was just a T and go searching in the wrong spot, however this is how many Norse did a quick “TH”.  So after some conversations with the client with Geirr Bassi (I swear if you’re a herald and do not have this book I have to wonder how many Norse you have in your region for it’s the bomb).  And Viking answer lady. The pieces of this started forming, to Become Hróarr Þórsson.

His device proved to be not as difficult as I was anticipating.  Originally the client was looking into having just a color line division as Norse being one of those that did not really use heraldry.  Ok in general but the college will find one issue or another.  As well he was looking to use a vegvasir.  As one that has never seen it I had to inquire.  (see image below).


This is a Norse compass. And after hearing the appeal with the client I looked into it with help of colleges.  This was found to be in use outside the time frame we play in so that wasn’t going to work.  Drawing on the previous Thunder Members I have worked with I showed him the representation of the wheel in heraldry,

a-stags-antlers-in-annulo-each-conjoined-to-itself-small and got a “that is sexy right there” ok nailed that part.  The client was partial to vert and azure being represented of the land and ocean.  (former sailor can so agree with that) and Vikings need ships so a drakkar.  Now how to keep this as being labeled as landscaping heraldry.  Landscaping is when you see a device as a picture.  Like sun rising over a mountain side type setting.  So make the wheel and the drakkar similar in size and split the per fess wavy between the azure and vert.  Now the big trick is to offer the client the difference between silver and gold charges.  Client goes with silver and that kept it from crossing into landscaping.  So my brother it was a pleasure to create “Per fess wavy vert and azure, a stag’s antler in annulo conjoined to itself and a drakkar argent”


Households can come in many shapes in forms and sizes.  I can almost guarantee that no two will ever be similar.  For working in heraldry with a collective can be as simple as “we like this concept” look it over “yep that will work let me do it up” or “we like this concept” look it over “looks good however you will run into issues getting registered so let me see what I can do”

Now let me say, Households get the same rules in name and badge submissions as do personal name and other armory.  Also add to that, a household armory gets no distinction and if conflicts with someone’s personal heraldry it can and often does get returned.

So in this case a former herald led the leg work out, the name came together nice.  However, recall a rule about not linking to an actual figure.  So in this house’s case they wanted to be the Priory of St John.  John apparently being the founder of the Hospitaliers.  Ok first step check to see if I can use him.  Uhhh no, can’t do it, nope nope nope.  Ok strike that, go to Oscar.  And find entries that have been registered (confirmed on the OandA) with st john in it.  Sweet. Grab that reference for one it is a precedent, and two it saves time.  Look up Priory while I am there and see an entry that “Priory as the designator indicating a named residence (religious house as noted in the Middle English Dictionary). Recent precedent indicates that households based on Abbey are allowed” (well that has to be the easiest name ever created.

The device at first was hitting style issues, color on color issues, and screamed to me needed work before even conflict checking.  Talking with the client we worked it to have a Patriarchal cross with a fourchy ends.  Further research showed with many heralds on face book pages (I want to note this that both those groups are wonderful and 98% of those heralds will be the ones commenting on the devices and names in process so a heads up saves you months of aggravation, and there by the client as well).  That the cross seamed confusing to heralds with the fourchy and the patriarchal combined.  Simple way to clear this would be to make the ends strait and confirmed that if the client wishes to change this as a “artistic license” after the fact go for it. Last part of it, is a long standing wish for many here in the north.  A long time ago the Northern Army was born, and with it came a badge that (as of this date) finally got the permission to conflict with someone in the mid so is in process.  Well part of it is a mullet of 4 points, with the southern point elongated.  So after a few of these went into work.  The Higher up heralds mentioned that they are confusing that with a comet and made a ruling to that nature.  Well isn’t that interesting.  So with that knowledge if they put that in class with comets, why not change that and the blazon to comets and then artist license yet again.  So Bob’s your Uncle

“Gules a patriarchal cross argent, in chief argent three comets sable” for the Priory of St John.


Whew well here you go for now and stay tuned cause the next ones are well needless to say funny stories behind them.

Yours in Service to the dream


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