As with all aspects of my elevation, I wanted to add a Norse flavor to the standard SCA event.
To that end, I added a formal welcome from my Laurel, Mistress Taisiya, when His Majesty Sven and Their Royal Highnesses Conrad and A’isha arrived for the invocation of my vigil. This type of welcome and the offering of mead by the Lady of the house is common in early literary and artistic traditions, and it perfectly established the environment that I wanted..
After the welcome, Sven released me as his squire, which was very emotional (yes, I am about to cry in this picture).
When I became Sven’s squire I researched early Irish tenant relationships and learned that it was common for a tenant to give livestock to a lord as surety for an oath. Once the oath was fulfilled, the livestock was returned to the tenant; if the oath was not fulfilled the livestock was forfeit. I decided to incorporate that aspect in to my squiring, so I gave Sven a string of three (wooden) cows. When Sven released me he stated that while my path has changing since I swore my oath to him, he considers my elevation to the Order of the Laurel as fulfillment of my oath and returned the cows to me.
Next, Taisiya released me as her apprentice, and then the Herald read the vigil invocation.
Thanks to the help of my friend Viscountess Whilja, all of the new garments made for my vigil and elevation are totally hand sewn. In fact, she put aside many of her own projects in order to sew my vigil dress. Thanks Whilja!
I wanted to embrace the tradition of simplicity for the vigil dress, so I chose a fabric of natural wool. However, I did want some depth so I used a diamond twill fabric purchased from Naturtuche (have I mentioned how much I love their fabrics?).
The pattern of the dress is based on preserved textile fragments from Hedeby harbor (evidence for round neckline, inset sleeves, side gores and pieced sleeves) and has parallels to the cut of medieval dresses from Greenland.
My vigil tent was a A-frame style appropriate to the period, and was furnished with a table and several benches, and lit with beeswax candles. For vigil tokens I gave glass lampwork beads.
My vigil book was made by Duchess Anna from the Kingdom of the Outlands, the binding and cover design are based on the St. Cuthbert/Stonyhurst Gospel.
The book table was lit by a Viking Age appropriate oil lamp (a floating wick in a ceramic bowl).
The food for my vigil was cooked on site by Baroness Colette de Montpellier based on recipes from An Early Meal by Daniel Serra and Hanna Tunberg. I greatly appreciate her enthusiasm and willingness to spend the entire day cooking. Everything was delicious – as evidenced by the fact that there were no leftovers 🙂
The menu included:
Roast beef baked in dough, served with berry sauce
Pork loin roll stuffed with pickled kale
Kettle worms (pork and beef sausages)
Pork and wheat berry pottage
Aged cheeses (made by Baroness Ceara ingen Chonaill)
Hazelnut treats with fruit jams (cloudberry and gooseberry jams)