Click here to return to Main Index.

First Word

It's been a while since we've had a written issue of the Raven Roundtable. So much has gone on, it's hard to know just where to begin. I guess, the most obvious place to begin would be to congratulate Mistress Rhiannon Ui Niall on here elevation into the Order of the Pelican at Atlantian University! That already seems like such a long time ago, it's hard to believe it was just a matter of weeks. Special thanks go to Oshi and Sine for putting on such a fine spread for the hospitality table at Rhiannon's vigil. And the medallion that Giuseppe and Rowan made was to die for! Thanks, you two, for enduring such trauma to get it done (again) in time for the ceremony! (Yes, there's a story there!)...

Mistress Rhiannon will be heading up our Household's Pennsic endeavors again this year and should be in touch with everyone soon. We have a variety of special projects lending themselves towards this summer's War and I hope everyone's getting psyched! I know I am. House Andover and our Aire Faucon guests from last year are once again planning to join us in Just Our Buds and, while it's hard to imagine, I think this summer will be even better!

The House Corvus Website tracks many of our on-going projects and contains the running ideas for not only our Pennsic encampment, but also many other extant projects. I'd like to thank Oshi for tackling the onerous task of helping to keep the pages updated and fine-tuning the existing pages with his coding skills. I learned recently that some other SCA households have copied our HTML code wholesale for the creation of their "own" websites. While it may be true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I find myself saddened at their lack of imagination and creativity. Well, let's just make sure that we keep raising that bar so that, if we must be emulated, we inspire something worthy of being copied! So far, that doesn't seem to be a problem.

I hope all of the Atlantian members of House Corvus are getting geared up for Eldred's and Ealdthryth's event next weekend, Passage to the East: The English Anarchy. For everyone else in Corvus who's interested but can't attend, do check out the website they created for the event at: and see what it's all about!

Speaking of the Honorable Lord Eldred, I'd like to congratulate him for being made a Companion to the Coill's Muse, the Barony of Nottinghill Coill's A&S Order! All of his stunning work for the Atlantian Scribes not only garnered him that honor but he was also featured on the Scribe's website as Scribe of the Month!

It's not too soon to be thinking about this fall's next Mabinogi event. I'll try and get something out to everyone soon and would definitely like to create another website for it like last year's. -- BRAN

Line-Up Change

You'll undoubtedly notice that I've dropped two former House Corvus members off of the membership list on the back page of the Roundtable. Our two newest and, therefore, most inexperienced Corvus members, E. and K., explained that household life, at least for now, may not have been just what they were looking for and wondered if it would be okay to sail free for a while?

But, of course! No one is ever trapped in a household, any household for that matter, but certainly not ours. Being in a household should enhance your SCA experience and not place limitations on it. While there may be certain expectations from all of us in House Corvus, please let me know if yours are ever failing to be met. In many ways, we are still feeling our way through this whole experience and everyone should feel a part of our destiny.

Personally, I can't help but feel that I may have been premature in extending the Household offer. This is not because I have changed my view of E. and K. Quite the contrary. They're an energetic and positive couple who brought a great deal of excitement to Corvus. Still, enthusiasm isn't always enough.

When I first formed house Corvus, I was determined not to repeat some of the mistakes which I had made in my former household. Still, it's hard not to get caught up in my own enthusiasm and occasionally jump the gun a bit.

Originally, we listed potential candidates for House Corvus here in the Roundtable for everyone to discuss. I also instituted a policy that we shouldn't induct anyone who hadn't yet garnered their Award of Arms. The latter was to help us be certain that everyone had enough SCA experience to make an informed choice as to whether or not they truly wanted to be in a household. It also helped to insure that we only inducted people who had already proven that they wanted to make a difference in the SCA through their actions, not their words.

I apologize for abandoning that policy in favor of my own emotional whims. Just because I like someone doesn't necessarily mean they're right for us. More importantly, I don't want all of you to feel like you're not a part of the process. After all, House Corvus is your household, not just Bran's. While I joke about retaining my "veto" power (okay, I'm not really joking), this is neither a dictatorship nor a personality cult dedicated to pursuing my views of what the SCA should or should not be like.

That said, I do think we've managed to put together a wonderful union of people who do share similar views of just how we would like to play in the SCA and what contributions we can make to the Society overall. Like-mindedness need not imply loss of freedom or personal motivation. Right now, I'm proud to say that House Corvus hasn't fallen into that trap which taints so many SCA households. Together, we can keep it that way.

What all this means is, I would like to reinstate the former Roundtable column called "For Your Consideration..." This column featured small listings on people whom I thought would make good additions to House Corvus. It not only offers a buffer for me to pause and reflect rather than directly act, it affords you the opportunity to give me your personal feedback on specific people. Now that we have three Peers in the Household and have to deal with apprentices and protégés, I think it is even more important that we have more of a group consensus as to future members.

Just remember, nothing I say or do here is carved in stone. I'm simply trying to explore some ideas which will protect all of us from future heartache. There is always a thrill to rapid growth in a household and expanding our "power base." But, that's not what we're all about and we need to be careful to avoid the pitfalls so many other households experience.

For Your Consideration...

The following are people whom we have either been actively recruiting or simply been watching recently with interest. Right now, they are Atlantian as they reflect my personal observations here. I anticipate that, in the future, Messer Giuseppe will want to scout potential Trimarian members to House Corvus. Also, between the Birds and Lady Medb (hopefully returning to Minnesota soon!), our northern membership may also suggest potential candidates from either the West or Middle Kingdoms. Certainly, Lord Robert may have his eye on a Meridian or two. We'll just take it slow and see what develops so that all of us feel we're keeping on track with our goals and, more importantly, our personal bonds with each other. For right now, we have...

Candidate 1 - Comments omitted from online version.
Candidate 2 - Comments omitted from online version.
Candidate 3 - Comments omitted from online version.

Messer Accomplishment

The following excerpt from the Laurel Sovereign of Arms' 26 May 1999 letter constitutes an especial triumph for House Corvus' own Giuseppe. There seemed to be some debate as to whether he could style himself Messer rather than Master, the former title being more appropriate for his persona name and period. Mistress Jaelle of Armida issued this ruling... "In the February cover letter I asked for commentary on the use of Messer as an Italian alternate for Master of the Laurel. After much thought I came to the following conclusion.

Given the pattern of usage in the historical examples, it would appear that Messer would be very appropriate for a non-martial knight-equivalent -- i.e., the equivalent of the SCA's orders of the Laurel and Pelican -- if not simply for the peerage orders in general. The arguments against boil down to two: that Messer could be used historically as a title by knights; and that Messer derives, linguistically, from the element sire (Sir in English), which the SCA has reserved to the Chivalry.

The first argument is weak, and seems based largely on the SCA's preference for a one-to-one correspondence between titles and categories -- i.e., that each reserved title should correspond to one and only one category of rank. Since there is a clear division in the existing reserved titles for peers between martial peerage titles and non-martial peerage titles, some may feel that a reserved title should designate one or the other category, but not both. Unless the SCA has some overriding vital interest in distinguishing at all times in speech between one of the peerage orders and the others, this argument fails. In the absence of an overriding special interest, historical usage should be our guide, and it is difficult to imagine a situation in which the potential use of the same title by both martial and non-martial peers would constitute a danger or hazard.

The second argument is stronger, but relies on an assumption that etymology is destiny... The English form of address Dame has a different meaning and use than Latin domina, and different again from its derivative madame. This set of words provides a clear parallel to the title under consideration... we have a clear precedent that the derivation of a word does not dictate the uses for which we choose to reserve it (or not), but rather we may consider the historic use to which a particular form was put in making our decision. Both Messer and Messire are clearly different words from Sir(e) and are unlikely to be confused with it in use.

Therefore, we are adding Messer to our alternate title list, in the Italian section for use by both Masters of the Laurel and Masters of the Pelican." Congratulations, Giuseppe! I'll change your entries next issue!

Poetry Corner

At the recent Coronation of TRM Stephan and Niobe, a poetry competition was held with the theme, "Niobe: Queen of love and beauty." While I lost that contest (sniff, sniff), I thought I'd share one of the poems I wrote on Her Majesty's behalf. Frankly, it's been so long since a Queen has inspired me to this degree, expect to see more poetry in the future!


She sailed to us from Western Seas,
This breath of spring in tragic guise.
Yet, unlike Ovid's weeping frieze,
In Her bright eyes all beauty lies.
Plunge into this open window!
Swim long laps in Her soothing soul.
Her truth buoys all that do so,
A gentle baptism, making you whole.

What goddess this? You may wonder,
To transform men's hearts with a glance.
Could She be Tantalus' daughter,
Reborn in earthly defiance?
The Queen of Thebes, Amphion's wife,
Mourns still on her Phrygian hill.
And, though hubris did cause her strife,
All mothers must share her pain still.

O, woman's most precious cargo,
When you're lost, how do we endure?
Each fad'd star dimming our tableau,
Be it one or two plus a score.
Fourteen arrows and fourteen slain,
Bitter harvest of bitter seeds sown,
E'en vengeful gods shared her great pain,
Transforming Niobe to stone.

Yet, here, today, centuries split,
I behold Niobe remade,
Her petrified state now all quit,
The point of Atlantian accolade.
O, hear the song this Queen inspires!
Let it soften e'en the hardest heart.
Be you baronies, cantons, shires;
Of this Queen, we all share some part.

We share with Her all that we dream;
One vessel, our hopes to contain,
That She might travel to realms unseen,
Reflect the best of all that remain.
Niobe, some goddess newborn,
The collected Atlantian heart.
Some great Phoenix reborn
The dawn of an exciting new start!

Gods! Gods! Atlantia, rejoice!
For ours is the perfect union!
Divine aspect giv'n human voice:
A sovereign/subject communion.
In form and deed, so far above us,
But, just in reach, like Tantalus.
To Her we pledge our perfect duty.
Our Queen of love and perfect beauty.


Now that we're on the thirty day countdown to the Corvus '99 tour, I've been thinking on just how much we all seem to enjoy traveling. Whether it's road trips to Florida or day-tripping events in Arizona, we certainly get around! Of course, having a household that spans the breadth of America helps.

We've talked quite a bit on the House Corvus e-list about excursions we'd like to make and I really hope we try and firm some of these up into definite plans. Our SCA event schedules are always so complex that planning ahead seems inevitable. Ideally, we can work some of our trips to coincide with our SCA lives. For example, a trip to the Walters Museum or Smithsonian could be added as a Sunday trip on the way home from an event in Storvik. Needless to say, there's never a trip idea that will be convenient for every member in the Household. Time and money constraints affect us all and everyone won't be interested in every suggested detour. Still, I hope we take advantage of our widespread membership to explore not just other parts of our nation, but other personalities in our fraternity.

Let's pursue this more on-line and see if we can't make some more definitive plans. Aside from Easter's SeaWorld trip in Orlando, I'd also like to throw out June 18-20 for a beach weekend on the SC coast. Ostensibly planned as one of my infamous D&D weekends, it might make a good Corvus getaway as well. Keep it in mind!

Last modified on Wednesday, NOvember 26, 2008
Copyright © 1998-99, 2000-09 House Corvus. All rights reserved.
Design and hosting by Bran Trefonnen.