Administrator's Note: The account below is used with permission of Mistress Clare RosMuire St. John. The introduction is by Mistress Tessa of the Gardens. If you have something to add please add it as a comment below this accounting rather than editing their words.
by Tessa of the Gardens
The sword “Friendbringer” is remembered and described by one of the founding members of the “Region” of Ansteorra in the 1970s when a part of the greater Kingdom of Atenveldt, before the Principality era and certainly before Kingdom status. Mistress Clare RosMuire St. John began her SCA participation in Bjornsborg where she played for many year. She now resides in Bryn Gwlad. Clare is a Mistress of the Pelican and Mistress of the Laurel. Sir Michael of Moria and Master Ioseph of Locksley are some of the giants of Atenveldt upon whose shoulders we fledgling Ansteorrans stood.
by Clare RosMuire St. John
Friendbringer was one of the early traditions of Atenveldt that made its way to Ansteorra. It was a sword that was unique in that it was always to remain sheathed and never to be drawn, to symbolize peace and friendship among strong people, particularly newcomers who served the land proudly. Friendbringer (says the history of it) “knows no territorial bonds, household alliances, branch loyalties or any such restrictions. Friendbringer is a personal acknowledgment, man to man, of a relative newcomer’s dedication and contribution to the Spirit of the SCA.” Originally, Friendbringer was owned and christened by Michael of Moria (KSCA, Baron Atenveldt and former Kingdom Seneschal of Atenveldt) and was sheathed in a scabbard with a baldric (inscribed with MOIA in the Irish tongue), given to Michael by Master Joseph of Locksley, OL (and then Laurel King of Arms) in token of:
- 1. Michael’s newness to the SCA, and
- 2. Michael’s dedication to the ideals of the SCA, above politics or his own personal advancement.
For the same reasons, Michael presented the Sword to his squire, Curlew of Drogheda, with the charge to seek out another man who satisfied the same conditions, or return Friendbringer to Michael within six months.
Curlew was unsuccessful in his search and returned the blade to Michael at the Firebird Festival in the Barony of Atenveldt (Phoenix, Arizona). At this same festival, Michael presented the blade to Lord Myrddyn ap Rhys, Baron Stargate. Approximately eight months later, Myrddin presented the sword to Lord Ross of Prenez Gard also of Stargate.
Having secured permission from Michael to hold the blade longer than the six month span, Lord Ross passed the sword to Aren of Rivenhorn (who later became a Laurel) at his first opportunity, the Tournament of the Lost Lake held in Bjornsborg. At the River Revel, also held in Bjornsborg, Aren passed the sword to Orm Skjoldbidig (who also became a Laurel later), with the charge to find a man to fulfill the traditional conditions of stewardship. At the following Twelfth Night held in the Barony of the Steppes, Orm passed the Sword to Brother Lupus of the Order of St. Ethelbert of the Wolf, with a wish that he would seek to serve the Sword well. Brother Lupus lived in the Steppes. Friendbringer was presented to Tessa of the Gardens (later Companion of the Pelican, Viscountess, Countess, Lion), at Steppes Warlord in May of A.S XII. She was the first woman to become Steward of the Sword. She presented the Sword to Lord Kubric Spelldragon, who became Principality Seneschal. After that there was a vague rumor that Friendbringer left Ansteorra and wandered to Meridies. If anyone hears of it or finds any additional information, I’d love to hear it.
The Oath of Friendbringer:
You, as bearer of Friendbringer, bear the following charge:
- 1. Whenever someone asks about the Sword, he is to be told the full story of its history.
- 2. While he bears Friendbringer, a man is under bond to establish and adhere to his own personal code of honor and chivalry.
- 3. The bearer of Friendbringer must seek out an appropriate successor, or return the Sword to Michael at the end of six months.
Mistress Clare RosMuire St. John
Friendbringer's Physical Appearance
When asked to describe Friendbringer, Countess Tessa of the Gardens did so thusly: "The ancient Friendbringer sword was/is an unadorned munitions grade double-edged broadsword borne in a hand-stitched brown leather scabbard carried across my back by a baldric across my chest with the sword draped at my back. Seldom did I draw it out of the scabbard, but in doing so, admired the beauty of the plainness of the blade, pommel, and cross guard quillons.
When seated at table, I placed the scabbarded sword and the length of baldric attached, lengthwise on the table, taking up more than my allotted seating area across. The leather baldric was engraved with the letters MOIA.
To this day, I have a Kirby Wise sword of the 1970s era, in scabbard (but not on a baldric) which I often find reminiscent of Friendbringer.
In evacuating hurricanes as we in Coastal Ansteorra are known to do (of all the swords we own), we are certain to pack the Kirby Wise with us, in part for its similarity to my old Friend.
I found the highest quality of Friendbringer to be her ability to bind friends together rather than sever. Being steward of Friendbringer in my earliest days was an extremely humbling experience."
Mistress Nerak la Tisserande added, "Friendbringer drug the ground when Tessa wore it by her side. Original sheath will show this wear."
The Reappearance of Friendbringer
On July 27, 2021, Mistress Hendrika van Sitteren posted a link to this wiki page on the Kingdom Facebook Group, asking about Friendbringer, and what it looked like. As a result of the conversations being held, Baroness Philippa Rookhaven reached out to Zubeydah to report, "I just saw the Wiki page about Friendbringer. I knew that Sir William of Weir, my husband, had been a holder of the sword when he was a newcomer. He was not listed as a holder, so I suggested that he look at the wiki listing to add when he had it, who gave it to him, and who he passed it to. As of this evening he can't remember those details (Maybe he will later). Anyway, what he did realize is that he has it in his possession. He found it and brought it downstairs. What we think happened is that the person he gave it to decided not to play any more and gave it back to him. He had completely forgotten he had it." Excited dialogue flew back and forth between the two, as well as Tessa of the Gardens. A plan was formed for Friendbringer to be restored to the world once more, to be delivered into Tessa's hands, that she might process with it during her Elevation to the Order of the Laurel.
At Bordermarch Yule, December 18, 2021, Friendbringer was entrusted to the care of Ewen Blackpool.
Comment by Robert Fitzmorgan
Below is an excerpt from the August XIV issue of the Black Star telling of the Coronation of Willow I as Queen of Ansteorra on July 14, 1979. the quote is from Vargskol Halfblood, Kingdom Chronicler.
"Roderick Levellance passed the sword Friendbringer to Stefan Galvanyzed,"