Ladies and gentlemen of the Board, I write to you today regarding the current situation with peerage recognition for rapier combat and other non-rattan martial forms.
The question of where rapier combat belongs in our Society has been an ever-evolving one, and one which has within my relatively short time in the game, reached a boiling point. The proposal developed by the APEC was one which took as its Board-mandated premises (1) that the Chivalry would never accept rapier combatants into its ranks, (2) that a new peerage order was the only solution to move forward, and (3) that rapier was the only combat form worthy of a new peerage. The proposal was short-sighted in trying to address only the current crisis without planning for the future recognition of other combat forms or a change in attitude from the Chivalry, and many people on the APRC said as much, myself included. A majority of you seem to have agreed, as the vote from the January meeting indicates.
Since your decision was handed down last week, the Society has erupted in debate, first over whether your change to Corpora allowed rapier combat through elimination of restrictive language (which many were excited about), and then, when the clarification was published, what should be done. Five things were made clear during the last week:
- There is overwhelming consensus that rapier combat should be recognized now, and it is accepted that other forms are on the way
- There is a mistrust of the Board of Directors imposing its will upon the kingdoms, whether through the creation of a new peerage or forced integration of the Chivalry by decree
- The Chivalry trust the Crown to protect their traditions
- People demand a resolution now
- The discussion is far from over
There is an immediate and inobtrusive path to resolution that the Board recently employed to address the question of same-sex pairs entering Crown. Rather than continue to bar their entry at the Society level, or mandate that they be considered, the Board simply removed the Corporate-level restriction. The Board trusted the Crowns of each kingdom to exercise Their rights and responsibilities as Monarchs to safeguard the traditions of Their kingdom, care for Their people, and wisely exercise Their power to restrict entry into Crown Tournament for any reason or no reason whatsoever. Since the Board trusted the Crowns, some Crowns have allowed same-sex consorts, and some have not. Both decisions were correct for their kingdom culture and those candidates at that time. That decision will evolve as each Crown considers each couple before each Crown Tourney, which is all to the betterment of the game.
From what I understand of Corpora and your recent changes, the only restrictions at the Society level to admitting non-rattan combattants into the Order of Chivalry are a previously little-known policy decision by the Society Seneschal, and possibly the newly added language to Crown Tournament, "Only Chivalric (rattan) combat shall be used for formal tournament lists for royal ranks"). I urge you to take the following steps:
- Revise your recent addition to subsection C, Royal lists, to replace the word "Chivalric" with "armored." This maintains the format required for Royal lists without defining it through use of the name of one of the Orders of Peerage.
- Ask the Society Seneschal to rescind the 1999 policy ruling and all previous policy rulings which restrict all kingdoms to consider only rattan combat for the Order of Chivalry.
- Publish an announcement to all members of the SCA, stating that all restrictions at the Society level have been removed, and that the Board of Directors trusts the Crowns of each kingdom to consult with the peers of each Order and the populace as a whole, consider the culture and traditions of Their realm, and create new peers who will increase the honor and chivalry of Their Orders and Kingdoms, as they have done since the beginning of our Society.
By following the precedent set by the same-sex consort decision, the Board affirms its role as custodians of the business side of the organization, entrusting the Crowns and officers to maintain the game-side customs and traditions as they evolve naturally over time.
In Service to Crown, Kingdom, and Society I remain,
Baron Cormac Mor, Companion of the Pelican
Crescent Principal Herald of Caid
Kevin Rhodes, member #145833
Caid Representative, Additional Peerage Review Committee