Sofya la Rus' Laureling

Fall A.S. 44 (6817/2009)

Invitation to join the Order

Kingdom A&S, July 18
Canton of Axed Root

The entries at Kingdom A&S In the Kingdom of Calontir, it is customary to surprise the candidate to an Order of Peerage on the occasion of their formal invitation to join the Order.

I was protege to Master Mikhail who was the Royal Herald at our Kingdom A&S competition. He'd recently been having me help him behind the thrones in court (keeping track of scrolls and medallions), but didn't ask for my help with the court that day, and I had been so busy judging and everything else that I hadn't noticed the omission.
I did notice when he slipped on his Pelican Cloak of Estate in the middle of Heralding court. That's when my heart started to pound. I'd seen this sort of maneuver before when Peers "beg a boon"... I knew he only had two associates and I was the only one there, but I couldn't believe it could be for me... it was too soon... and then he was "begging the boon" and the trembling began as I made my way into court.

Talking to Jibra'il Talking to Paul the Leather Guy The Royal Procession Royal Court

Congratulations More Congratulations

After that came some major negotiating to figure out how to get a vigil and elevation into my schedule before the end of the reign of Their Majesties Martino III and Ariel III. My first hope was to do it at my Shire's event, Ages of War, but Their Majesties couldn't be there. My next thought was to do the vigil and elevation at King's Company of Archers, because most of my Shire could be there. However, I was informed that a vigil at a specialized event like KCAT wouldn't have enough peers to be meaningful. The only other full-spectrum events left in the kingdom calender were Tournament of Valor (when I'd promised to teach at KWHSS) and Cattle Raids.
So it was decided to do the vigil at Cattle Raids in Master Mikhail's home barony of Mag Mor, with the elevation at KCAT when a maximum number of my shire could attend. It was important to me to have as many of my Shire there as possible, since I was to be the first Peer to live in the Shire in many years and the first "native Hillian" to ever be made a Peer.

Vigil at Cattle Raids

A fancy Iowa rest stop along I-35 With the 6-hour trip to Mag Mor for Cattle Raids our "Long Fall" began. We left after work on Friday, slept in the car that night in a rest stop on I-80 and arrived at Riverside Park around 9:30am. Just in time to throw on some garb and unpack a few things (vigil lamp, Orthodox chant background music, silk veil to hem) before I was put on vigil around 10:30, just after Roselyn was placed on vigil for the Pelican.

The details of my vigil must remain secret in accordance with our ancient tradition.

The next weekend, I was the Event Steward for Ages of War: the Rus vs. the World - a nice little inter-kingdom event, if I may say so myself. It went well and we didn't even lose money. Ages of War 2009

The third weekend of the "Long Fall" required a 5-hour trip to Lonely Tower to the Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium where I'd promised to teach two brand new classes.

The fourth weekend was King's Company of Archers.

Elevation at King's Company of Archers

King's Company of Archers King's Company of Archers was held at the site of Lilies War, another 6-hour drive for us. This time we had our mundane camper to stay in at the I-35 rest stop on Friday night. When we arrived on site Saturday AM, the initial plan was for court to be in an hour-and-a-half, so we leisurely got the camper situated and changed into garb.

No sooner had we got our "comfy garb" on then we were told that court would be after the next archery shoot! So we quickly got into our court garb and pulled out the props for the procession. I hadn't decided yet how best to wear my brand new hat (made using fabric given to me by Mistress Tatiana Tumanova), but there wasn't time to play around with it now!
While we were lined up for the procession at the back of court, my husband was shocked to hear his name called. He had to go up into court to get his Torse (AoA for Service) for his work on our shire newsletter that was nominated for the Blackfox Award this year. Huzzah!

Sifrid gets his Torse A little chat while the scroll is read

The format of a Peerage ceremony in Calontir is pretty fixed. The only places to individualize are in the procession, the wording of the oath of fealty, and the scroll text. Most people swear a standard oath of fealty, but I took the opportunity to make mine as Russian as possible, based on period Russian loyalty certificates.

This all presented a special challenge to the Herald, HE Baron Michael of Lonely Tower (aka Sir Michael Nymandus von Falkenburg) who had to say my Russian name and read the arcane text of my scroll. He did a really good job.

Russian processions are traditionally led by a cross followed by the appropriate icons and banners. In the medieval Russian coronation ceremony, the claimant to the throne was supported under each arm. Bells were rung to mark all special occasions.

My procession was led by a gorgeous wooden Cross of Calatrava made by my household sister Mistress Tatjana Nikonovna and carried by Lord William Fletcher of Carbery (who went on to win his class in the archery tournament that day). HL Brigida von Muenchen carried my painting of the Virgin Orans and Lady Juliana MacNayre carried an icon of Svataya Sofiya (the Holy Wisdom), my name saint. I was supported by my husband, Lord Sifrid von Eichelborn and Master Mordak Timofeevich Rostovskogo. Master Mordak drove all the way from Ohio to attend the ceremony. He discovered my webpage when I was just a newbie in the Slavic Interest Group and he's been a constant encouragement ever since. So it was very appropriate that he help escort me into court. To bring up the rear of the procession, Lady Royse Meingnes rang a brass bell and Lord Berndt der Kuehne carried the silk banner that Master Mikhail had made for me.

Everyone in the procession was from our Shire of Heraldshill, except for Master Mordak, of course.



    Within the fellowship of the Society, three orders of great merit have been created to honor those who have excelled in arms and chivalry, in arts and sciences, and in service to the realm.

    A member of each of these three orders is one whose skills are freely manifested and willingly taught. One whose efforts on behalf of others are unstinting and whom above all is an example of courtesy and grace.

    The Order of Chivalry honors martial achievements; the members of the Order are the swords of the Crown.

    The Order of the Pelican honors those who have distinguished themselves by their exemplary service to the Society.

    In the third year of the Society, there was called into being the second great order of Peerage: The Ancient and Honorable Order of the Laurel, to recognize those skilled in Arts and Sciences who create works of value and beauty.

    It is the privilege of the Crown to elevate into this order such persons as Their Majesties see fit.

    Therefore, the Crown now calls into their presence the Masters and Mistresses of The Ancient and Honorable Order of the Laurel here present:


(the order of the laurel should assemble.)


    At the most recent Kingdom Arts and Sciences, Sofya Iakovleva Kliucheneva was offered admittance into the Order of the Laurel. Good Masters and Mistresses, has the candidate been properly prepared as fits the customs of Our Kingdom?


    Your Majesties, at the recent Cattle Raids, held in my homelands of Mag Mor, Sofya has stood vigil, and been properly prepared as a candidate of this esteemed Order.

King: Then call forth the candidate.

Herald: The Crown now calls Sofya Iakovleva Kliucheneva into Their court.

(Candidate and entourage should process into court Cross/Icons/banners/attendants/bell ringers/etc..)

Procession into court Lord William with the cross HL Brigida and Lady Juliana with icons Lord Sifrid, me and Master Mordak A bow


    Knowing of your selfless devotion to Calontir and the Society,

    We are minded this day to recognize you as a Mistress of the Ancient and Honorable Order of the Laurel. Have you been freed of all bonds that might impede this elevation?

Mikhail releasing me Sofya: No, Your Majesty.

Mikhail: (own words about release and return of belt and return to Crown)

King: With these things done, hear now what it means to be a Laurel.


    Know that to be a Laurel is to be sworn to the service of the Society, Forgoing personal glory for the goals of greater scope, Striving always for the betterment and beauty of our Society.

Chivalry (Sir Angus of Blackmore): (own words)

Laurel (Master Mordak): (own words)

Pelican (Master Mikhail): (own words)

Royal Peer (Countess Jane): (own words)

Populace (Lady Royse): (own words)


    This is not a choice to be made lightly. Having reflected upon what will be expected of you, Are you willing to accept this accolade from our hands, and be admitted into the Ancient and Honorable Order of the Laurel?

Sofya: Yes.

(Initial plan was to take the oath upon the Sword of State with the pommel, a Cross of Calontir, to be kissed at each affirmation in the medieval Russian manner, but we were worried that this would look too religious.)

Swearing to be a Laurel King: Sofya, do you swear that you will honor and defend the Crown and Kingdom of Calontir?

Sofya: I will

Queen: Do you swear that you will conduct yourself in all matters as befits a peer, continuing to practice the virtues of chivalry, nobility, and personal integrity?

Sofya: I will

King: That you will further you knowledge of the ways of the arts and sciences, and give aid to others in this endeavor always maintaining a level of participation that does not sacrifice the well-being or health of yourself or of the undertaking at hand?

Sofya: I will

Queen: That you will be courteous and honor all peers of the realm and all others whom you shall have dealings?

Sofya: I will

(Sword may be put away)

The Laurel Medallion by HE Sorcha King:

    Therefore it is proper that you, Whom having long and loyally served Crown and Kingdom, be recognized as a Mistress of the ancient and honorable order of the Laurel.

    Bring forth the medallion (made by HE Sorcha of Lonely Tower).


    Take from Our hands this medallion, which bears the symbol of the Order: A laurel wreath,
    For in ancient times was the symbol of the champions, Adorned upon the head so that all would know of their great worth and merit.
    Wear it always with honor.
    Wear it always with humility.

The Laurel Wreath by Master Mikhail and Mistress Tatjana King: Bring forth the wreath (cast by Master Mikhail using a mold made by Mistress Tatjana).

Master Thorkell: (own words)

Queen: Bring forth the cloak (made by Mistress Vasilla with fabric from Mistress Tatjana).

Bedecked as a Laurel Vasilla: (own words)


    Your Majesties, Sofya has been bedecked as befits a peer of Your realm, and has heard the wise words of counsel from her peers. As my last act as her sponsor into this august order, I ask that You exercise Your word and bestow the peerage at this time.

King: Accept from Our Hand that which your skills and devotion has brought to you.

King: May your skills ever be increased and offered in service to Calontir and the Society.

Queen: May your comportment ever serve as an example of gentle courtesy and humility.

Crown: And may your spirit forever follow after the goals your heart has set before you.

King: We would be pleased to accept your fealty at this time.

Sofya: Welcoming by the Order

    So I, Sofya la Rus, yesm' beat my brow to the one right Sovereign and keeper of the Calon land and to Lord Calontir the Great to serve them throughout my life.

    And my good to the Society and its ideals and laws to want of nothing; and wherever from whomever I will hear of good or of evil of my Sovereign, and about our Kingdom of Calontir of good or of evil, it is for me to speak for them truthfully, by this my sealed certificate, without duplicity.

    I will according to time teach whoever is capable to whatever skill God gives them to thrive, to support the Arts and Sciences of the Calontir lands,

    And by this my certificate if to think or to consider or to be evil or unworthy before the people then will not be on me the favor of God and of his ascended Mother, and of all Saints; and my Lord and Sovereign must to me for my fault in punishment be unrestricted.

    And with firmness of action, I, Sofya la Rus, to my Ospadaryu Velikii Knyaz Martino and Velikaya Knyaginya Ariel kiss esmi the honest and life-giving cross, and give esmi myself with my certificate after signature and after seal of the clerk of all Calontir.

Crown: We do accept your fealty freely given, and swear never to sacrifice you needlessly, to reward fealty with love, service with honor, and oath breaking with vengeance. So swear We Martino, King, and Ariel, Queen.

King: Arise, Mistress Sofya

The Scroll by HL Rolf Hobart Let the scroll be read, so that all may know of this.

    So I, gosudar’ knyaz velikii Martino keeper of the Calontir land in my rule, and I, gosudarynia knyaginia velikaya Ariel of all Calontir on all days with our subjects oversee any items they make and what any handwork they do and who does well.

    And you, Sofya Iakovleva Kliucheneva, have both the sovereigns' favor and of all boyars, and with good people you associate and with many foreigners you have great trade and friendship. According to the Evangelist if one in small things is true then must go to greater ones. So we have granted to Sofya Iakovleva boyarstvo.

    We give esmi to her to Bolshoe Sinoye Lake with the little pools, that she herself cleared. And no other shall enter those lakes, nor clear them. But who will clear those lakes in spite of our certificate or who will go in them to fish, will receive from us punishment

    Into hospitals visit and alms as much as required give them, and to all needy if it is possible to help them and any who is sorrowful and poor and needy... and according to time teach whoever is capable to whatever skill God gives them to thrive.

    And herself to children and household shall teach not to lie, not to slander, not to envy, not to offend, not to malign, with others not to quarrel, not to judge, not to ridicule, not to remember evil, not be angry with anyone, to superiors to be obedient and meek, to equals loving, to inferiors and wretched welcoming and kind, so that with everyone will relate without a lot of fuss and trouble.

    The velikii knyaz and knyagynia to fear and serve faithfully and false words by no means speak before them but with humility the truth answering to them as to God himself, and in everything obeying them. And all who speak to the velikii knyaz and to the velikaya knyagynia and to any great lord with slander or with cunning or with lies will the Lord ruin.

    Bowing to the populace Disobedience and evil deeds will bring punishment from the righteous anger of God, sending sorrows and disease, bone aches, swelling and tumors, and stone in the kidneys, and deafness, and blindness, and through both lower passages bleeding and pus, and cough, and headache, and tremors. Sometimes from the velikii knyaz’s anger to seize one’s estate, and even execution without mercy and death in disgrace, and from judges fines and torture in order that to the good would be honor and to the wicked punishment and therefore all by that learn.

    And we, gospoda Martino and Ariel of all Calontir, give esmi to this certificate after signature and sealed up this authentic certificate by our seal.

    And to the certificate the grand prince and the grand princess ordered their clerks hands to apply and to this certificate clerk hand applied, and directory clerk hand applied.

    And such is given award certificate in Loch Smythe in the month of September the 12th day, of the year 6817, A.S. 44.

Queen: Good Laurels, please escort your newest member from our court.

Procession from court Procession from court

Video of Ceremony - Part A

Video of Ceremony - Part B

A pack of Russian Laurels A pack of Russian Laurels goofing off a little


After the elevation, the "pack of Russian Laurels" escaped to a fabric store to celebrate appropriately and got back in plenty of time to attend the archery potluck. It was a fun time to bond, especially valuable since we all live so far away from each other, especially Mordak.

Mikhail's Turkish tent (my vigil tent at Cattle Raids), Mordak's little tent and our Scamp The Scamp with my new banner

Oh, and to finish out the "Long Fall," a week after KCAT my husband and I left for our long-awaited triennial pilgrimage to Gettysburg, PA.

Maybe next weekend we'll stay home... Or maybe not. "On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again..."

Send comments and questions to
Return to Home Page.