The tale of the frog and willow, the moth and lizard, and the bear and cups

Good day one in all,

Today I find myself thinking back over the many years I have been working for good of my local group.  Where I registered so many for so many wonderful people.  The time took to set up tools for my province and the complements that I have heard from it.  For me it has always been hard to bring in such praise.  For I do not see my work as exceptional, I do not see my work as anything different than any other herald that takes pride in their job.  Recently I have been called a very good herald.  Well I do what I can and for my clients I do the best that I can.  Am I always on target?  Naaa and there can be times that I find myself unable to help you for your request is to complicated, or I cannot work them within our guidelines, or what is asked is clearly not heraldry, or just failure of myself to encompass all I need to make things work.

Add to all that, and I think of all the Very good heralds the East Kingdom has, im good but I am not in that league.  Who knows for what I do I could be beaten with my own heralds stick and find myself working my way up the hill to take my place among them one day.  This will take time and more work.  However, in the meantime, I do attend to pass on as much as I can for many in my region.

Some have asked about the blue paw favors.  And for me this is a way to recognize those heralds that are doing a great job and need that encouragement to keep on going.  I love handing them out and as my deputy has even made it to her email, really encourages me to help educate, train, and make new heralds.

Speaking of which on today topics:

Duncan MacCowan.   Oh you, you, you wonder delightful student.  Yes, student for after the first real conversations he had shown an interest in heraldry.  I had to do a double take on that one for someone actually looking into heraldry instead of the local group taking a huge step back, or you go to the bathroom at the province, shire, baronial meeting and come out the herald.  Guess what we grab onto that and never let go…. “one of us.”  “one of us.”

So his name came up over a course of many conversations (needless to say that conversation is buried so let us assume that we ran it through fine, check here, there, everywhere and carry on).  His device has a bit of a back story about it.  So this happened to be his first Great northeastern war, as well his first SCA event, well needless to say he got himself into his cups a bit, came stumbling back and needless to say his lady did not like it or so im told lol.  So he was gifted with the nickname of Drunken Bear.  With that he wished to play on that factor.  First we had to talked about heraldic bears vs constructs, see artist license is wonderful, however heralds will always draw, copy, paste, graft, wiggle our nose, with charges so ours will and often does look different than yours.

After we had the bear that he like in the proper position there was a talk to have a couple of them, one maintaining (holding) a cup, where as he is a heavy fighter, another one holding a sword.  After some colleague discussion as the bears sort of leaned slightly bend wise in apparently stages of drunkenness. Come to find out if you’re going to do it, then do it, to make the bears bend wise was to really make them topple into a 45-degree angle.  Ok so upright bears it is, (maybe the night is early and when he knocks over his shield then they can be tipsy) Stage two was to eliminate the bear holding the sword as the cups would dictate the fun night he had for all time, however at first we were looking at two bears one holding a cup, and one without.  To also give the appearance of drinking we divided the shield bendwise and made the bears counter changed from the colors he liked.  Vert, and argent, after another round of discussion the jury came back he would have a greater chance of getting his arms passed with the bears either both holding a cup vs not.  Makes sense if you are back downfield looking at his arms, when one is maintaining a cup and one is not there is not really any distinction (remember heraldry big beautiful and bold).  So we went with both with cups (so they are really in their cups).  Common Duncan belly up to the bar and let me present you with “per bend argent and vert, two bears rampant contourney maintaining chalices counter changed.”


And not after showing him how his name is constructed, how his device came together, how to fill out the form (in a wonderful 13 page set up I must admit) he is still liking the idea of being a book herald.  So let’s get him some clients.

Next I wish to talk about is Brienne Buckland.  This lady came to me and inquiring of getting her name and arms registered.  Name started down as they all do, ok first Brienne, I’ll admit that I went straight to family search and did the search there, I figured that the greater number of results would be greater.  Now when I did the search however I find that Brienne was a surname not a given.  Don’t panic we have a solution for that!  In one of the LOAR letters dated back in 09, Pelican ruled that in some circumstances we can use a surname as a given name.  Document that letter just to cover basis.  (here I have to get off track for a small bit.  A herald friend and premier blue paw, informed me of a wonderful way to bookmark set pages and you can add unique tags to each one, thereby when searching your library if you are looking for a particular ruling in a letter, type in the tag and bingo there you go.  Check out it’s a free service and so worth it.)

Ok, so we have her first name covered, let’s go over to her surname.  She originally wished to known of Buckland, indicating a locater or place name.  Place names can either be really easy or really complicated, for the trick of them is to locate when they existed in period as a bona fide town or city, as well spelled like how in period.  This can be the complicated part as spellings can change depending on where the town is, and under what rule, etc. etc. etc.  In this particular case I was unable to easy find what she was asking for within the period we play so went to dial a friend and went straight to family search once again.  I could not find of Buckland; however, I could find a surname Buckland.  The client was happy, I was happy, it’s a good thing.

Her device that she was looking into having a willow tree and a frog.  After talking over with her about placement of both, and she indicated line division in a diagonal.  (Spidey sense tingle for see was looking at a per bend), ok then she had an idea of which color (both vert and argent) where she wanted them, and same thing with a willow tree and frog.  But what position mmmm?  Oh wait she had that covered already showing me a necklace she has with a frog displayed (this is to easy) So we get a vert frog, an argent willow on the opposite sides, I swear this is going to easy let’s run the conflict checks.  What do you know not a one?  I like devices like this, sweet and easy and the client loves it (and some of the commenters to.

And with a wave of my herald stick I give you Brienne Buckland and “Per bent Argent and Vert, a frog tergiant and a willow tree couped counterchanged.”


The next Contestant I enjoyed the back story with and putting it together was Mòra Ruadh.  She came to me after her first event and wished to get a name and device registered this one played on the lines of Mothra the Red.  Ok Godzilla.  Alright (cracks knuckles) let’s see what I can find out.  First she did a bit of back work and was looking to something that sounds close if not nailed Mothra direct, she was looking into an Irish background, and the red do to the ease I guess to make her blush.  (and in Malagentia ohhh boy).   Ok as I had a couple of other submissions in works I ran her first regional choice toward her (and see good way to educate another one the steps a herald takes) and she took to Mòra.  Now to add a reddish one, check the dates of her given name check and then run the Annals to find that Ruadh latterly means the red.  So instead of a giant moth, we come to a period similarity that the client enjoys and for the astonishment of a couple of people that swears I can document almost anything, we move on to her device.

Now knowing the fact that Mothra was still going to play into it, I looked into moth charges.  As we started to talk with her she wished to have a moth and a dragon.  With the moth over the dragon, she originally wished to have the dragon look frightened.  (snorts) Godzilla afraid??? certainly you jest.  However what I could do is we all know occasionally that giant beast has to sleep so I had the dragon couchant, so in a laying down passive position, and with a couple of idea thoughts, like cutting it in half fess wise, do a bit of counter changed so the moth was gules, and the dragon would be argent, add a counterchanged border to the mix send it to her and she loved it.  A conflict check later proved no conflicts. (in the theme of creature double feature) so now we give birth the Godzilla, and Mothra in Malagentia with Mòra Ruadh and “Per fess argent and gules, a moth and a dragon couchant, within a bordure counterchanged.”


Upon looking on these stories I am often amazed in the work I am able to help people in my local area, the studies I am constently learning, the trials, the successes, and for some the hick ups as we get people on their colorful way.

On  a personal note, not all ideas are going to be successful, not all ideas are going to be quick and easy.  Alternative not all ideas are going to stick the first few times.  Heralds are not the makers of making things difficult for you, we are tasked with a set of guidelines that may seam biast, really have a place in period times.  Also when some people say that heralds do not do much.  I task them to read the SENA, work on a consult, update an OP, stand in court and read, walk around a site shouting announcements, and believe me we may not fight, or fence, (then again many heralds do that really well to.) however we do our jobs as well and do our best for you each time.  And for one like me, we love it so please bring it on, give me your wish to be Ragnar Drogo, bring on wishing to have a device that will make me color blind, bring on the idea of a household of nightwalkers.  I bet I can find it, document it, and see if I can register it for in the immortal words of Geoffrey Chaucer in Knights Tale, “God I am good!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.