At Yule Ball in the first week of December, their Majesties Ulfr and Caoimhe called their noble Order of the Laurel to attend them, and seek out the next suitable candidate to be invited to vigil.
Obedient to the Crown, the assembled Laurels gathered to them Sir Alaric of Bangor, knight of the West, third of the line of kings of Lochac, who won the crown of Drachenwald by inspiration of his lady wife Mistress Nerissa de Saye, four years ago.
Anyone who has met Sir Alaric, and spoken to him for more than a few minutes, can attest to his great passion for food and cooking - for finding out more about the methods and flavours used by the ancients, particularly attested to by the author Apicius. (On the journey to this event, Sir Alaric explained his plan to assemble and test out a Roman 'pizza oven', based on Pompeiian examples. And we discussed at length the distinction between liquamen and garum - whether indeed there is one, how it is described in period recipes - and efforts to reproduce it or imititate it with modern ingredients.)
In his surprise, Sir Alaric had (uncharacteristically) few words, save to aquiesce to their Majesties command to vigil.
After sitting in counsel with their Majesties and their highnesses of Insulae Draconis, Sir Alaric opened his vigil to anyone who wished to join him in a discussion of peerage, and what it means to be advanced as a peer of the realm - a happy opportunity to talk about topics that are sometimes difficult to approach in everyday discussion.
At the evening's court, His Grace was called into court to hear the words of his friends and peers speak on his behalf.
HE Judith de Northumbria spoke for the companions of the Laurel, of her delight in meeting Sir Alaric and finding in him a man who enjoyed dancing, but who could also speak with such passion and knowledge of food and food preparation - and how his own knowledge had pushed her to further her research in turn. It was her pleasure to name him as her peer.
His Highness Sir Vitus Polonius spoke for the members of the Chivalry. Sir Vitus spoke both of his respect for Sir Alaric's mastery of combat skills, but also his artistry on the field - that he made fighting look graceful, and elegant, a skill that he, Vitus, greatly admired, and confirmed that Alaric was his peer.
Mistress Kiriel de Papillon spoke as a companion of the Pelican, of her many years working together with Sir Alaric in many kitchens, both in Drachenwald and in their shared first homeland of Lochac. She read a letter of fond remembrance from Master Drake Morgan, also of those lands, who described the 'Pelican cooks and the Laurel cooks' who each brought their individual strengths to Society kitchens - the one driving the schedule, quantities and service, the other endeavouring to lift the menus to new heights of ambition, planning and research. She confirmed him as her peer.
HE Judith read another letter from Lochac, this time from Mistress Acacia de Navarre, who confirmed the many, many feasts that Alaric had planned, researched, supervised and cooked in Lochac, and his genius for saving dishes gone wrong, with spectacular and memorable results.
HG Nerissa de Saye, as a lady of the Rose and Sir Alaric's wife, spoke of the rarity of being able to speak for one's husband in a peerage ceremony, and of her pride in his accomplishments.
HE Ursula Sturlasdatter spoke as a member of the populace; she and her husband Baron Clancy had hosted Alaric and Nerissa when they arrived in Drachenwald, and she spoke warmly of their friendship that had grown since that time, and their welcome place at their hearth, table and hearts.
Hearing all these things, their majesties confirmed that they were still intent on elevating Alaric; and he, upon swearing the oath and his fealty to the crown as a Laurel, was invested with the symbols of the order.
Mistress Melisende, first Laurel made in Insulae Draconis last year, was pleased to present a medallion - the medallion given to her from the first princess of Insulae Draconis, Æringunnr Yrsudóttir.
Mistress Nerissa had made a fresh laurel wreath for Sir Alaric, and for those Laurels attending the ceremony, which their Majesties placed on his head.
Nerissa and Judith brought forth the kingdom Laurel cloak of green velvet worked with a gold Laurel wreath, to drape around his shoulders.
And with great acclaim from the populace, their Majesties invited Sir Alaric to be welcomed by his order.
Following the feast, Alaric took time to dance in the Yule Ball; and in this great, bearded man in his 16th c English gown and laurel wreath you might picture a figure from a renaissance fresco, or an italian medal struck to honour the Classical arts.
This is a true account of events at Yule Ball, held in the shire of Flintheath in the first year of the reign of Ulfr and Caoimhe, AS 45.
Genevieve la flechiere
signet, Insulae Draconis