Chivalry – Njal Kennimathor Geirsson Virtanen

One of the great benefits of being a wordwright is that I get to write words of praise and recognition for people who are special to me. Sir Colin contacted me with news that Kennimathor Giersson would be elevated to the Order of Chivalry at Birka and invited me to write the words to the scroll Master Ed MacGuyver would create. I leapt at the chance, because Kennimathor is very special to me. He was one of the Eastern Unbelted Champions from my time as bardic champion, a dear friend, and I had the great honor to be his consort for an Eastern Crown Tourney one fall. It was one of my SCA highlights and so to be able to tell his story this way was, in many ways, a gift to me as much as to him.

I wanted to respect his Norse persona and asked Their Majesties if I could write a nontraditional scroll that they would certify rather than sign. I tried to write of Kennimathor as if his knighting was one of the sagas I’ve read, which have blunt narrative and then poetry. I used some common kennings and created others as I needed them. I chose to feature a verse from the Hávamál that has special meaning to me and would resonate with Kennimathor as well.  

I was also given the honored position of speaking for him at his knighting as the representative of the Order of the Laurel. I called attention to that verse as well, and focused on a theme that art requires protectors who will defend it, uphold it, create it, and be inspired by it.

I also got to help name an amazing sword. Ulfgir the Nice (Jamie Lundell) created a sword for the occasion and we worked together to name it. First, Ulfgir asked people about what to name a Norse sword and Ken took the bait and told him “vengence”. I took that and researched Norse weapons names in ancient literature. Master Friderikr helped me clarify some thoughts and I settled on honoring the Norse god of revenge, Víðarr, with the weapon, naming it “Víðursnaturr” or Víðarr’s gift.

The text I created for Sir Kennimathor is below:

Requested to the law rock by King Brion and Anna, the Queen he served, Njal Kennimathor Geirsson Virtanen went to see them. It was Þorri*, the month of men, deep in winter’s grasp. At his approach, the Ring-givers spoke to the people of this oak-limbed warrior, as beautiful and dangerous as winter’s ice. Kennimathor was a son of the northland, raised upon the field of battle. He was rich with kin whose loyalty shone like arm rings.

His skill at eagle-feeding brought notice from the king’s þegns* who said that Kennimathor should be added to their war band. The rulers agreed and gave him a Patent of Arms marked with his sigils: Per saltire sable and argent, two Thor’s hammers inverted and two spears counterchanged. Others brought gifts – a strip of snow-colored leather, a pair of shining spurs, a chain wrought of gold that had been worn by his ancestors, and a fine wool cloak from his kinswomen. His kinsman, Colin, gave him a sword made by Ulfgir who called it Víðursnatur.* When he possessed these things, he was pronounced a member of the Order of Chivalry. His last gifts were stout blows but he returned all save the one given him by King Brion.

An ancient verse was then invoked —

“Then he began to thrive
and wisdom to get.
He grew and well he was.
Each word led him onto another word,
each deed to another deed.”*

Thus was he sent into the world.

Brion and Anna set their marks on all Thing-words at the Birka Marketplace in the Barony of Stonemarche, the outpost where Kennimathor had long served. It was day 28 in the month and the year of the Society was LI.

Their names are signed here, proving that this is true.

—BRION—        —ANNA—

The sword was named Víðursnaturr = Víðarr’s gift, after Víðarr, the Norse god of revenge.
Þorri = The time of late jaunary / early february
þegns = seasoned warriors
hirðmaðr =  follower of a king or earl

  1. Þá nam ek frævask ok fróðr vera
    ok vaxa ok vel hafask,
    orð mér af orði
    orðs leitaði, verk mér af verki
    verks leitaði.

from verse 141 of the Hávamál – The Sayings of Hár -


Antonii Machinevik – Order of the Chivalry

It becomes us, brothers and sisters, to begin the tale of the campaign of Antonii Machinevik, so let us begin.

Antonii, the joyful boaster, had traveled down many roads, but the path he chose, the narrow path of kinghtliness, began with his first dusty steps in the shadow of Mt Eislin. He proved that he could live well, fight well, and die well. He shared many cups with those he took arms against and praised them and their inspiration.

Antonii girded his mind with fortitude, sharpened his heart with manliness, and thus imbued with the spirit of arms, glaive shining, he led brave tygers onto the steppes. Out along the edge of the steppe is always where he burned to be, inspired by his clear view of sky.

Virtue is the gift of inspiration and so moved by his deeds and knightliness, We join him to the Order of the Chivalry.

The sun shines in the sky and Sir Antonii is on Eastern soil. Maidens sing on the rivers, their voices weave across the steppes to the Mists. Countries rejoice, cities are merry.

We, Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde, confirm this tale on the 27th day of January, Anno societatis LLI in Our lands called Stonemarche while holding Court at the Birka Marketplace.

213 words

Text inspiration from “Tale of Igor’s Campaign” (Слово о пълку Игоревѣ.) c. 1200, from the Pskov manuscript, fifteenth cent. Translations referenced were by  J. A. V. Haney and Eric Dahl and Vladimir Nabokov. The structure of the text is loosely styled on the concept of the “bylina” – a traditional East Slavic oral epic narrative poem loosely based on historical fact, greatly embellished with fantasy or hyperbole to create their songs.

Calligraphy and Illumination by Vettorio Antonello; Words by Aneleda Falconbridge

Chivalry Scroll for Anè du Ve

Illumination and Calligraphy by Dutchess Catherline Stanhope.
Illumination and Calligraphy by Dutchess Catherline Stanhope. Photo by Brenden Hill.

Here counsil of the Eastland Quene and Kyng,
Writ with wysdom at their name,
Boldely speake of this fyne thyng
to grant their seruant earned fame.
His motto speaks of the great game,
“Ces’t un gran jou” is wel spake,
Joy in  play does not make corage les,
They that do gret gode shal honor take.
Our kyngdom shal have reste and pes.

See Knyghts of Chivalrie sae wyse
Look to Anè du Vey and fynde
No place in hart for cowardyse.
Wel lyvyng man, with honor kynde,
To the righte weye is neure blynde,
He worschips trouthe at every des.
The good lyvere hath God in mynde,
That mannys counseil maketh pes.

A worthi knyght wol worchip wynne;
He wil not yelde hym though me thret,
But rathere as Malice doth begynne,
Quenche hit at the firste het.
For, and ye lete it growe gret,
Hit brenneth breme as fyre in gres.
Laweles novellerye loke ye lete,
So mowe ye lyve in reste and pes.

Argent, a chevron inverted ploye,
vert in chief a fleur-de-lys inverted purpure,
a chief engrailed vert, borne with joy
by Letters Patent are secure
As writen in the lawen be sure
That bereth the Ordre as it wes
Address him with the title Sir
Let lawe have cours in reste and pes.

With these words Anè du Vey is made a Knight of the Society by the hand of King Darius Aurelius Serpentius and Queen Etheldreda Ivelchyld at their Court in the Province of Malagentia at the Great Northeastern War on July 11, anno sociatis fifty, the feast day of St. Leonitas the Younger.

Words by Aneleda Falconbridge |  Calligraphy and Illumination by Katherine Stanhope | Based on the poem “Truthe, Reste, and Pes”  What Profits a Kingdom (1401) (Bodleian Library Oxford MS Digby 102 fols. 100r-101v) from the text Medieval Institute Publications edited by James. M. Dean. The third verse is directly taken from the original poem without edit. The remainder of the piece is adapted with respect to the original poem’s text and wording.


“C’est un grand jeu” is Anè du Vey’s motto.

Argent, a chevron inverted ploye vert in chief a fleur-de-lys inverted purpure, a chief engrailed vert.
This is the poem which was the inspiration and form.

Truthe, Reste, and Pes
by: James M. Dean (Editor)
from: Medieval English Political Writings  1996


[What Profits a Kingdom (1401)]

(Bodleian Library Oxford MS Digby 102 fols. 100r-101v)



























































































































































































For drede ofte my lippes I steke,For false reportours that trouhte mys-famed. 1Yut Charitee chargeth me to speke

Though trouthe be dred, he nys not ashamed.

Trouthe secheth non hernes ther los is lamed; 2

Trouthe is worschiped at every des.

In that kyngdom ther trouthe is blamed,

God sendes vengeaunce to make trouthe have pes.


Trouthe is messager to ryght,

And ryght is counseille to Justice;

Justice in Goddis stede is dyght. 3

Do evene lawe to fooll and wyse.

Set mesure in evene assise,

The righte weye as lawe ges.

And lawe be kept, folk nyl not ryse.

That kyngdom shal have reste and pes.


Yif suche a tale-tellere were,

To a kyng apayre a mannys name,

The kyng shulde bothe partyes here,

And punysche the fals for defame.

Than fals men wolde ases for blame;

For falshed, body and soule it sles.

Falshed endes ay in shame,

And trouthe, in worschipe and in pes.


Whanne lawe is put fro right assise,

And domes man made by mede,

For fawte of lawe yif comouns rise,

Than is a kyngdom most in drede.

For whanne vengeaunce a comouns lede,

Thei do gret harm er they asses.

There no man other doth mysbede,

That kyngdom shal have reste and pes.


Whan craft riseth agens craft

In burgh, toun, or citée,

They go to lordes whan lawe is laft,

Whoche party may strengere be.

But wyse men the sonere se

By witles wille they gedre pres,

Or lordis medle in foly degré,

Let lawe have cours in reste and pes.


Yit there is the thridde distaunce

Bryngeth a kyngdom in moche noyghe:

Ofte chaunge of governaunce

Of all degré, lowe and hyghe.

A kyng may not al aspie,

Summe telle hym soth, summe telle hym les.

The whete fro the chaff ye tryghe,

So mowe ye leve in reste and pes.


I speke not in specyale

Of oo kyngdom the lawe to telle;

I speke hool in generale

In eche kyngdom the lawe to telle.

Also is writen in the Gospelle

A word that God Hym-selven ches:

Rathere than fighte, a man go selle

On of his clothes, and bighe hym pes.


A worthi knyght wol worchip wynne;

He wil not yelde hym though me thret,

But rathere as Malice doth begynne,

Quenche hit at the firste het.

For, and ye lete it growe gret,

Hit brenneth breme as fyre in gres.

Laweles novellerye loke ye lete,

So mowe ye lyve in reste and pes.


Old speche is spoken yore:

What is a kyngdom tresory?

Bestayle, corn stuffed in store,

Riche comouns, and wyse clergy;

Marchaundes, squyers, chivalry

That wol be redy at a res,

And chevalrous kyng in wittes hyghe,

To lede in were and governe in pes.


Among philosofres wyse

In here bokes men writen fynde

That synne is cause of cowardyse;

Wel lyvyng man, hardy of kynde;

Wikked lyvere, graceles, blynde,

He dredeth deth, the laste mes.

The good lyvere hath God in mynde,

That mannys counseil maketh pes.


What kyng that wol have good name,

He wol be lad by wys counsayle

That love worschip and dreden shame,

And boldely dar fende and assayle.

There wit is, corage may not fayle,

For wysdom nevere worschip les.

Corage in querell doth batayle,

And ende of batayle bygynneth pes.


Defaute of wit maketh long counsayle;

For witteles wordes in ydel spoken.

The more cost, the lesse avayle;

For fawte of wyt, purpos broken.

In evyl soule no grace is stoken,

For wikked soule is graceles.

In good lyvere Goddis wille is loken,

That mannys counsell maketh pes.


To wete yif parlement be wys,

The comoun profit wel it preves.

A kyngdom in comouns lys,

Alle profytes, and alle myscheves.

Lordis wet nevere what comouns greves

Til here rentis bigynne to ses.

There lordis ere, pore comons releves,

And mayntene hem in werre and pes.


Make God youre ful frend;

Do the comaundement that He bede.

Though all the world agen yow wend,

Be God youre frend, ye thar not drede:

For there as God His frendis lede,

He saveth hem bothe on lond and sees.

Who-so fighteth, God doth the dede,

For God is victorie and pes.


What kyngdom werreth hym-self with-ynne

Distroyeth hym-self, and no mo.

With-oute here enemys bygynne

On eche a syde assayle hem so.

The comouns, they wil robbe and slo,

Make fyere, and kyndel stres.

Whan ryches and manhode is wastede and go,

Than drede dryveth to trete pes.


The world is like a fals lemman:

Fayre semblaunt and moche gyle.

Withouten heire dyeth no man,

God is chief Lord of toun and pyle.

God maketh mony heire in a whyle,

For God ressayveth eche reles;

God kan breke hegge and style,

And make an hey wey to pes.


God made lordis governoures

To governe puple in unyté.

The puple, ne ryches, nys not youres:

Al is Goddis, and so be ye.

Eche day ye may youre myrrour se:

Eche man after other deses.

Youre auncetres arn gon, after shal ye,

To endeles werre or endeless pes.


Eche kyng is sworn to governaunce

To governe Goddis puple in right.

Eche kyng bereth swerd of Goddis vengeaunce

To felle Goddis foon in fight.

And so doth everons honest knyght

That bereth the ordre as it wes;

The plough, the chirche, to mayntene ryght

Are Goddis champyons to kepe the pes.


The world is like a chery fayre,

Ofte chaungeth all his thynges.

Riche, pore, foul, and fayre,

Popes, prelates, and lordynges,

Alle are dedly, and so ben kynges.

Or deth lede yow in his les,

Arraye by tyme youre rekenynges,

And trete with God to gete yow pes.


What bryngeth a kyngdom al above?

Wys counseil and good governaunce.

Eche lord wil other love,

And rule wel labourers sustynaunce.

God maketh for His frendis no destaunce,

For God kan skatre the grete pres.

God for His frendis math ordynaunce,

And governeth hem in werre and pes.


Good lyf is cause of good name;

Good name is worthi to have reveraunce.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Synne is cause of grevaunce.

Eche kyngdom hongeth in Goddis balaunce;

With hym that holdeth, with hym that fles.

Ye have fre wille, chese youre chaunce

To have with God werre or pes.

keep shut(see note)requires

fearful; is not









equal justice



If; will not rebel




harm; man’s








When law is deprived of true justice

judgments; bribery




before; cease







Which; stronger

more quickly see

gather [a] crowd


take [its]


third dissension

great distress



observe; (see note)


wheat; sift

may; live



a single


(see note)



(see note)



gain honor; (see note)

yield; someone threaten


Stop; blow; (see note)


It burns as fiercely as fire in grease

innovation see that you prevent





Cattle; wheat; reserve


Merchants, squires


with keen wits




find written


(see note)


mass (extreme unction); (see note)







ward off







in vain




without grace; (see note)

behavior; locked up



know whether

(see note)



know; oppresses

Until their incomes; cease

show mercy





turn against you

If God is; need not fear

when; leads





wars with itself

itself; no other


each side


fires; ignite straws


fear impels



appearance; guile

heir dies


many heirs

receives; release

hedge; stile





Neither people nor riches are


mirror see


ancestors are





bears [a] sword

slay; foes; (see note)


upholds; was

I.e., the commons



(see note)





Before; untruth

quickly; accounts



i.e., into peace





scatter; mob; (see note)

makes [an] ordinance





(see note)



runs away





Order of the Chivalry for Matthew Moraveous Avdenmork

WHEREAS the man know as Matthew Moraveous Avdenmork has come before Our presence at Our request; and

WHEREAS Matthew Moraveous was a decade hence reborn as one of the the pride of the Azure Tyger, serving her by choice as a sinister defender of the indomitable East, raising his arm to her glory with honor and joy against all challenges; and

WHEREAS he hath, time and again, forsaken all others to hunt the mighty dragon as an Unbelted Champion; and braved and bested,  with brutal exhilaration, the berserkers of the birch isle; and is numbered among the most fearsome band of Tygers Combatant; and

WHEREAS this kinsman of good heart continued to exhibit proper fealty to his beloved and fallen Knight and laudable loyalty to his widow; and has honorable represented his allegiances to Haus Dagon, the Dutchy von Drakenlkaue, his own House of the Crucible, and the Northern Army; and has loving provided for his family with inspirational devotion; and 

WHEREAS We have witnessed that his affection for the martial path has been unwavering, having seen his earnest adherence to martial laws and customs and having noted the prowess and humility evidenced in his behavior; We, Brennan August and Caiolfhionn Augusta, confirm by these letters patent, before all plebians and patricians, that Matthew Moravious Avdenmork is this day joined to an exclusive company, the best consorts of the Domina Orientalis, of whom there is no equal, as a member of the Order of Chivalry, who shall bear his own Arms:


Henceforth, may Matthew Moraveous ever augment the estimable Peerage of the Order of Chivalry with his understanding and promotion of Justice, Mercy, Tolerance, Strength, Prudence, Perseverance, Temperance, Prowess, Humility, Courage, Sacrifice, Loyalty, Truth, Compassion, Courtesy, Grace, Hospitality, Sacrifice, Honor, Gratitude, Franchise, and Love as he continues to serve Our enduring land and its people.

This We set with Our Names on the eighth day of August, Anno Sociatatis XLIX, on the battlefield of the Great Pennsic War in the sylvan Kingdom of Aethelmearc.

consilio et animis *

Emperor Brennan August        Empress Caiolfhionn Augusta
*(by wisdom and courage)

Chivalry Scroll for Sir Brennan

Calligraphy and Illumination by Sir Cullen MacKinnon
Calligraphy and Illumination by Sir Cullen MacKinnon

Hear hall-men                     of brave Brennan,
Bring him before                 bear-armed blade-brood.

To his Kyng,                         kneeled at calling.
Fearless fought,                   that MacFergus.
Born of sword                      the warrior traveled
All he met                             allowed great praise.
All respected                        regent, peasant
king, queen, kin,                  bard, and brothers.

Girded guardian                 great in actions
Family-fierce,                      esteem is earned
at the haudin,                      by the barmkin,
dirk is ready                         for the realm.

Boldly boast                        I of Brennan.

Solid stood                           valorous tyger
Honored for                         great courtesy
Keen combat                       keeps his kinship
Champion                            of strong chieftains
Weighty work                     bore his body,
Answered he                       when courage called.
From loyalty,                      swore his mentor,
Deft desire                          gave him promise,
Well-refined                       tenacity.


Rare treasure                    find in this man.
Of the hoards                    in the war-chest
Poets see                            none so golden,
Nor liege lords,                nor great ladies
None rich as                      ring-bright Brennan.

Heed the wolves’               silver howling
In the night                        calling kinsmen.
Chivalry                              now come, gather
For your pack                    needs this voice.
All ages shall                      bear in mem’ry
Regal day of                       elevation.
No blood spilled                yet red was shed
Bound by belt                    bled in whiteness
Noble gold                          inspired proudly,
Simple chain                     now marks man’s measure.
This is his                           arrhae splendor,
Raise the quaich               drink his honor.
All within                           say now Slàinte.

With his hand                    Kenric oath-signed
Blessed it too                      Avelina.
Promised arms                   patent lettered
Sable,                                    two wolf’s heads
couped close                        respectant argent,
a base checky                      sable, argent
augmented                           a sinister
Or a tyger                             passant azure.

On the day                            of crown contest
Fighting day                         to name their Heirs.
Fitting day                            for such acclaim.
Brothers stood                     for Sir Brennan.

Samhain pass’d                   by one sun rise
We have mark’d                 ending summer,
Two-years ‘till                     half-century
In history                              of Society
In long-hall                         Carolingian.
Remember                           great ones gathered
Where you were                 as Brennan rose
Knelt a soldier                    and a squire-man
Stood a son                          of Chivalry.

To the stones                        may it be told.
Swear to truth                      all have seen it.

Swear do we                        Eastern chieftains.
Kenric  Kyng                       Avelina Cwene



 This is the text of the Scroll of Chivalry for Sir Brennan MacFeargus, who I am proud to call friend. When I was King’s Bard, he bore the burden of protecting me from grievous harm on the field (“You may die, but you won’t die-die,” I remember him saying.) It was he who helped tape the purple and gold banner to my spear. It was he who helped arrange all manner of things. Since then he, and his lady, have become part of my SCA family.

I read this in the morning, and after Brennan was knighted, I hugged him and said, “Brother, I am so happy that this morning I am reading your words as you are knighted, and tonight I will see you become Prince of the East.” He laughed…..then.

We all laughed later through our cheering as Sir Brennan became Prince of the East that same day and made his beautiful wife, my friend Caoilfhionn, Princess of the East.

Reading back, the scroll does have this prophetic sound to it. Weren’t bards considered magical in some Celtic cultures? (grin!)

Rock. Star. Day.

(arrhae  – 13 silver coins given to the minister or priest by the groom as part of the wedding ceremony. In any situation something given to bind a bargain between parties. Haudin – home, house, holding. Quaich  ~ ancient drinking cup with two handles and used with both hands. Slàinte ~ (slawn-cha), health, salvation; barmkin  ~ a Medieval defensive enclosure found around smaller castles, tower houses, pele towers, and bastle houses in Scotland. As well as the residence, outbuildings were also included, plus a place to protect livestock during cattle raids. From the Roman barbican, meaning an outer fortification of a city or castle. Kirkhope and Smailholm are castles on the Scotttish borders that had a barmekin. )