I write to report the happy news that on Friday at Crown tourney their Majesties Thorvaldr and Timoe invited Lady Ailitha de Ainwyk to sit her vigil to consider joining the order of the Laurel, and asked for her reply at court the next day.
She was counselled by many til well past midnight, though those who were entering the tournament were given priority to speak first, then seek their beds.
A lovely large room was set aside for the vigil, up a set of spiral stairs and quiet compared to the hall, ideal for thoughtful contemplation, with space for guests to wait their turn to counsel. On Saturday, once the tournament was complete and the heirs of the kingdom invested, Lady Ailitha was called into court.
To counsel their Majesties, several nobles stepped forward to speak of her virtues.
Sir Gilliam Blackhorn spoke as a knight, addressing this lady's passion for her art, and her enthusiasm to share it. He had once spoken to Ailitha, of perhaps, maybe, learning more of the calligrapher's art, and she was quick to encourage and support him, though he insisted he had no especial skill of his own. He considered her his peer.
Mistress Bridget Greywolf, Ailitha's Laurel, spoke, telling the story of how she'd begun teaching Ailitha years before Bridget herself was a Laurel. Ailitha told her she was waiting - waiting for the time that Bridget would be recognised as Laurel, so Ailitha in turn could be Bridget's apprentice. So on the day Bridget was elevated by Maxilian and Marguerite, Ailitha became that apprentice, a 'dark side minion'.
In their time together Ailitha has mastered not just one style of calligraphy and illumination, but many, as well as gilding.
Bridget spoke of this journey together - where the stated purpose was for Bridget to teach Ailitha, but where she felt Ailitha was the teacher herself. Bridget considered her a peer.
Master Bertrik van Triecht spoke as companion of the Pelican of Ailitha's service: that to him, the scribal arts had so much service, whereby you gave of your skill of art, and gave it away so freely. He said it is irritating, really, to see so much hard work given so generously. And that there was no question that Ailitha's art was service, and that she was his peer.
Duchess Cecilia Jonsdotter spoke of Ailitha's courtesy: of the kind, thoughtful and helpful person she is, that she is always quick to thank others for their help and so gracious in helping others. She has known Ailitha to be a peer for some time and was glad to recognise her so today.
HE Æiríkr Hårfagre, companion of the order of Defense, stood to speak for Lady Ailitha. He spoke of how happy he was: to be the first companion of a new order to speak as a peer for an elevation. When he knew he'd be asked to speak, he'd consulted the order to ask what qualities their order should seek in a peer. Among others the qualities included grace, finesse and skill, and he could say that Ailitha bore all these qualities and that she was indeed, his peer.
To represent the populace, Lady Swanhilde von Bärenau stood and spoke from the heart, in German, to their Majesties and to the assembled nobles, of Ailitha's virtues and how she knew the candidate. I'd be very grateful if any German speaker heard Lady Swanhilde and can tell of her thoughts.
Hearing all these statements their Majesties were prepared to elevate Ailitha, and she confirmed she was willing to accept the accolade, and swore fealty to the king and queen taking hands with them, as HM Thorvaldr took his knight's chain and wrapped it in his hand to solemnise the oath.
Mistress Bridget and Master Harold von Auerbach, Bridget's own Laurel, brought out the kingdom Laurel cloak worn by its previous members; Bridget had prepared a Laurel circlet for Ailitha, and brought her own medallion.
Together Bridget and Harold had crafted a magnificent scroll celebrating Ailitha's skill and knowledge of the arts of gilding and limning, that I expect will be available for all to see before long, though there is no substitute for seeing the original in person.
With these solemn rites complete, their Majesties bade Mistress Ailitha rise and greet the members of her new order, and the populace raised a great and heartfelt cheer.
What a joy to witness this happy day. Your servant
Genevieve la flechiere