A place for Drachenwald's scribes to hang out, learn, discuss and critique each others work.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

An indenture for Genevieve and Sela

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Indenture on the slope

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Indenture after cutting.
A3 pergamenata, oak gall ink, metal nib pens.

Text reads:

This indenture being made between Genevieve la flechiere, Viscountess of Insulae Draconis and peer by letters patent on the one part and Lady Sela de la Rosa on the other part, testifies that the said Lady Sela shall stand in service to the said viscountess for peace and for war for the term of one year and one day following the date of this document.
The Lady Sela having the estate of pursuivant, and being retained with the said viscountess of the ancient house of Sylveaston for the said term by indenture without fraud or evil device, shall be accorded all the customary rights and privileges, vis of livery, maintenance, counsel, instruction, advancement and defense against unjust harm.
Whensoever the viscountess shall command Lady Sela to give any message to person of whatever state, condition, or degree they be of within the same, Lady Sela shall do it as honorably and truly as will and reason can serve, always keeping to herself secret for any manner motion, save to such persons as she be commanded to utter her charge unto.
The lady Sela shall commit to learning the secrets and mysteries of her office, to be every day more cunning than others in the office of arms, so as she may be better furnished to teach others, and execute with more wisdom and more eloquence such charges as her lady, or of her realm any noble person shall lay unto her by the virtue of the office.
She shall dispose herself to be discreet and sober in her appearance; to be not too busy in language, ready to commend and loth to blame, and diligent in service.
She shall promise to forsake all vices, and take to all virtues, and to be no common goer to taverns, the which might cause unvirtuousness and unclean language, and she be neither a dice player nor a gambler, and that she flee places of debate and unhonest places, and the company of knavish men and women unhonest.
Should the Lady Sela be in any error or found in any detestable crime, as soon as Viscountess Genevieve knows it she must admonish the lady Sela charitably that she may gain from it.
Done before noble witnesses this 10 Kalends of All SaintsAS 51, at the fall althing.
This indenture is for Genevieve as Pelican (and Rouge Maunche extraordinary, though I completely forgot to include it as a title) and Sela as a dependent, with Sela taking the role of pursuivant (novice herald) for the house.

I'd previously written up the first indenture I made for Aodh and me with him taking the role of dalta  ('student of the bard'). This text was in turn modelled on one assembled by Visc Robert de Canterbury for Sir Vitus to use with his squires.

Since then, I've seen more examples of original indentures, and noted that they were not signed, but had CIROGRAPHUM written through the area that was indented and cut apart. So I did likewise for Sela's indenture.

The text follows Aodh's closely for its initial conditions, and then identifies some specific tasks for Sela as pursuivant. These tasks are taken from late-medieval heralds' oaths.

The original heralds' oaths require different commitments from different levels of office. If you think of heralds as public servants, in modern terms you'd expect different job descriptions or 'terms and conditions' for a school-leaver starting in the public service, a middle manager, and a department head.

I particularly liked the emphasis on leadership and teaching for the department head; the diligence and discretion and good reputation required of the middle rank; and the humility, obedience and 'don't be a smartass'-ness for the pursuivant.

I used text from all three 'levels' of herald (king at arms, herald and pursuivant), choosing the phrases that were most apt for Sela's role. And I could not leave out the injunctions to flee places of debate, avoid dice and gambling, and low company - that's really the best part.

With the indenture, I provided her livery: a belt woven for her (yellow with red borders, following the model of red squires' belt with yellow borders used in House Sylveastan), 3 ells of good cloth (wool) and 2 ells of linen for veils and headdresses.

I calligraphed this work after not scribing for some months, and I felt rusty. I struggled to get the line spacing right. Changing pens for the second half helped a lot, resulting in a larger space at the bottom of the page than the top.

Aside from those technical issues, I'm happy with the result, and was very happy holding the ceremony at the Althing in Ireland.

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