Whose stall is this, anyway?

With the exception of the degradation performance piece and the topic paper, all of my submissions will feature elements of heraldic display, which in Pentathlon have traditionally been SCA armory. As I want to make sure that these pieces are legitimately used, I intend to keep with this tradition as I create the armorial display and various elements for a stall.

But whose stall? I’m admittedly a bit selfish, so I wanted at least some of the elements to bear my own arms. Normally this would be easy: banner, helm/crest/mantling, misericord, and stall plate in my arms. Oh, but the stall plate…

See, the SCA has few examples of seats that are vacated and filled, like the stalls of a knightly order like the Garter. The most obvious ones are Royal and Baronial thrones, but for my purposes they either pass too quickly (in Caid we’re on our 78th set of Royals) or too slowly. In any case, I’ve not sat in either type of throne, so for my purposes this option was clearly out.

For a peer or associate with a substantial lineage, of which there are a fair number in our game, such a stall would be not only a fun project, but also an awesome heirloom. Imagine “the seat of Sir X, which was passed on to his squire Sir X, who in turn presented it to his squire Sir X, who bestowed it to me, his squire Sir X. And now, at your vigil, I present it to you, my own squire, to sit in contemplation of your impending elevation.” Alas, I was not any peer’s associate prior to my elevation, which would make my stall rather bare, boring, and self-serving.

It first occurred to me when I was still Crescent Principal Herald that Caid’s Greater Officers act similarly to the Order of the Garter; there are a limited number of us, only one person holds any particular position at a given point, and we meet regularly at chapters (Privy Council aka the kingdom business meeting, held twice a year the day after Crown Tournament). I was the fourteenth Crescent Principal Herald, and most of my predecessors are my friends (and so is my successor). 15 plates is a bit daunting, but only three of them would be entered into Pentathlon for judging, with the rest being used purely for display purposes on Sunday, to be given out as gifts later.

So it was decided: this stall would be the stall of Crescent Principal Herald. Plates would be made for the 14 previous holders, a misericord would be made for the herald who “commissioned” the stall, and a full set of heraldic display, including banner, crest and mantling, and stall plate, would be made for the current Crescent Principal Herald.

And this would have been great, had I acted on the plan and completed the project for 2017. However, my successor, Paul fitz Denis, plans to step down in 2018 after a successful three-year tenure, leaving me with the question: who will replace him? Fortunately for me, all but two of these projects can be worked through to (near) completion, and the rest can at least be researched prior to the new Crescent being named.

In the meantime, it was announced that I will be stepping up in June as Wreath King of Arms. In looking at the history of the position, I noticed that two previous Wreaths were also previous Crescents (namely Zenobia Naphthali and Jeanne Marie Lacroix). So this project might morph a bit before the end, and I might have pinpointed which three stall plates I plan to enter for competition…

Pentathlon spoilers abound – read at your own risk

This is Cormac Mór’s Pentathlon project blog, documenting entries for Caid’s Pentathlon Arts and Sciences Competition in 2019. If you are a potential judge for Pentathlon, or otherwise want to go into Pentathlon with a fresh eye, please avoid this blog.

For those who choose to stay, thank you for sharing this journey with me. I’ve been dreaming of this project list for a long time, and I’m looking forward to its execution.