Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Freiherr: For Tannon the Barbarian upon Becoming a Baron of the Court

Maister Colyne Stewart, July AS 52 (2017)


Call-bound Vendel chief | Cousin to Gunderic
Fearful of no flame | fell-handed hunter
He who laughs loudly | Hero of northlands
Ring-son of Teiwaz | Render of shields
Soil-rich Hochadel | Slayer of halgeist
Giant of wolf-runs | Keeper of kings


Wild, the wolf is now silver headed,
A coronet resting on barbarous brow,
Noble its bearing now all must avow,
The tril’um grows where its paw has treaded.

The foes of its king its claws have shredded,
The red of its blood has stained snow and bough,
Wild, the wolf is now silver headed,
A coronet resting on barbarous brow.

Its howl is loved or else it’s dreaded,
The wolf ‘gainst foemen cuts through like a plow,
The king, ancient wisdom, calls for it now,
It comes through fields so recently redded,
Wild, the wolf is now silver headed.


At War of the Trillium 2017, Tannon was made a Baron of the Court of Quillium and Tangwystl. As Tannon is a barbarian, and Quilliam and Tangwystl are having a Tudor reign, I wanted to tell this tale from both viewpoints. For the barbarian point of view I used old German versification (of so similar to Old English and Old Norse versification) which made use of lines divided into hemistichs by a caesura. Alliteration had to occur between the first stressed syllable in each half-line. A footnoted version of the verse is below:

Call-bound[1] Vendel chief[2] | Cousin to Gunderic[3]
Fearful of no flame[4] | fell-handed hunter[5]
He who laughs loudly[6] | Hero of northlands
Ring-son of Teiwaz[7] | Render of shields
Soil-rich[8] Hochadel[9] | Slayer of halgeist[10]
Giant[11] of wolf-runs[12] | Keeper of kings[13]

For the Tudor point of view I settled on a roundel, which was introduced in France in the 13th century but would have been in use in England in the 16th.  The rondel is a fixed poetic form, a variant of the rondeau, that runs on two rhymes. It usually consisted of thirteen lines with a free meter (though often eight or ten syllables) divided into three stanzas (two quatrains and a quintet), with the first two lines of the first stanza serving as a refrain of the second and third stanzas. The rhyme scheme is therefore ABba abAB abbaB with no rhyme words being repeated. Sometimes the term rondel and rondeau were used interchangeably.

[1] Stating that Tannon will always answer his king’s summons.
[2] Tannon is a “barbarian” which is not a term anyone in period would have applied to themselves. I selected to write from the point of view of the Vandals (an old German tribe considered to be barbarians by the Romans).
[3] Gunderic was a king of the Vandal Kingdom. I am implying that Tannon has at least noble blood, which is now recognized as he is a baron.
[4] The Vandals tended to practice cremation, so I am here saying that Tannon does not fear death.
[5] Tannon is a skilled fighter.
[6] Anyone familiar with Tannon is also familiar with his almost ever present smile and laughter.
[7] Teiwaz was a Germanic god of war. I am implying that Tannon is bound to battle.
[8] The king gave Tannon a jar of dirt. Wherever Tannon spreads that soil is to be his domain.
[9] The Hochadel were noble German houses who ruled sovereign states in the Holy Roman Empire, again alluding to Tannon’s nobility.
[10] A halgeist was a mountain spirit (a salt ghost). Implying that Tannon is brave.
[11] Tannon is a tall man.
[12] Ealdormere.
[13] As a bonded noble, Tannon is now a protector of the Crown.

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