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09 December 2011 @ 12:42 am
Why awards in Northshield rock  
This is one of those posts I have been meaning to write for awhile, but keep putting off. Having received one of these awards this past weekend, I am moved to expound on why awards in Northshield rock.

In many Kingdoms, there is a structure to the awards - Award of Arms/Basic Level, Grant of Arms/Intermediate Level, and Patent of Arms/Advanced Level - and you generally proceed up the ladder as you grow in your chosen art/science/service/activity and obtain a higher "rank" at each level. In Northshield, there is a set of awards that fall outside this structure and confer no actual increase in rank. That said, they are considered prestigious awards and hella cool to receive. Many of them date back to the Principality years but were considered important enough to Northshield culture that they were brought into the Kingdom. Here they are:

The Crwth (pronounced Krooth, for you non-Welshmen) - In Northshield, we greatly value our Bards and this award recognizes excellence in any of the performing arts.

Great Bear - This is a recognition for those gentles who exemplify what it is to be Northshield. Sort of a "lifetime achievement" award for being full of awesome. It can only be given once per reign. This is one of the "new" non-armigerous awards, having been begun during the second Kingdom Reign.

Venerable Griffin - an award recognizing 25 years of continuous activity in a martial community, this is another newer award for older people. For those of you not familiar with the SCA, it is widely remarked that armored combat is an old man's sport - the young guys may be fast as the dickens, but it's not uncommon for guys in their 40s or better to win major tourneys based on practice, experience, and craftiness. Of all the SCA awards, I am least likely to get this one, having not the stamina, foolishness, or dedication to a martial art to pull this off... unless they are going to continue allowing Live Steel at the Barrier at Rose Tourneys...

Hearthstead - An award for groups (SCA branches or other groups) who exemplify hospitality. In a Kingdom where the running joke is "Welcome to Northshield, have you eaten yet?" that's saying something.

Cyphers - A personal thank you from the King and/or Queen

Nordbandr - The Northshield website says it is "The award will be bestowed upon gentles who have committed those heroic and specific deeds of valor, courtesy, or prowess in the arts martial and which have increased the renown and reputation of Northshield. This award is for individual deeds as opposed to constant performance." Or, as it is often summed up, the award for spectacular hot-dogging in front of the Crown. ;)

Pyxis - ah, one of my favorite! - for excellence in researching/promoting/maintaining an authentic appearance. (AKA Nerd Squad. :D We even have a gang sign!) We try to gleefully, geekily promote authenticity and research.

Saltire - this is the one I just had the honor to receive. It is essentially for teaching and traveling widely and benefiting the Kingdom through your efforts. Essentially a mighty uber-teacher. Some of my favorite folks are in the Order and I am excited to have joined them. 

Scroll of Honor - a big thank you from the kingdom to gentles and groups not otherwise fitting into an award. There actually is a scroll to which new entrants are added and which appears at important courts.

So, yeah, while "precedence" is all nice and stuff, I think some of these "bragging rights only" events are the coolest we have. :D
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
zandoriazandoria on December 9th, 2011 07:34 am (UTC)
I hadn't realized that you were given a Saltire. Congratulations! This is uber wonderful news indeed!
eithni: jumpingeithni on December 9th, 2011 07:39 am (UTC)
Thanks! I was thrilled too!
Gwynethgwyneth1362 on December 9th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC)
Yay! Both for the Saltire, and because I agree. :-)
Uncle Mikeybelmikey on December 9th, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
I spent a lot of time lobbying to keep those awards (well, the ones that carried over from the Principality) exactly the way they were for exactly the reasons you describe :-)
Doug Hulick / Simon Morcar: rapier kitswords_and_pens on December 10th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC)
Yes. I'm a very big fan of prestige awards, where the entire merit of the award is what it had come to stand for. No leaning on the OP, no worrying about where it is on the ladder: it's simply cool because of what it says, both about what the kingdom values, and the people who hold it and have therefore helped define why it means so much in the first place.

Also: congratulations! :)
DameJ: at Green Dragondamej on December 11th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
Congratulations. It is well-deserved.