Randall von Nordlichwald

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Bjornsborg Fall Baronial Court & Investiture, October 1993
Photo by Briony Blåaslagen
Registered Name: Randall von Nordlichwald
Resides: Bjornsborg
Status: Fallen Star
Joined SCA: Prior to 1976
Order of Precedence
Randall von Nordlichwald

Or, two battle axes addorsed sable, hafted proper, between three estoiles of five rays within a bordure vert.

Viscount Randall von Nordlichwald, KSCA

Previously Known As:

Additional Registered Heraldry:


  • Local Offices Held
  • Kingdom Offices Held

Persona History:

Saxon, approximately 1100s.


  • Chivalric combat
  • Collecting weapons
  • Jewelry design
  • Period embalming techniques
  • Storytelling : enjoyed taking funny jokes and transforming them into SCA-appropriate stories, and then performing them.

Timeline of Activity:

Prior Groups:

  • Barony of the Steppes
  • Kingdom of the Outlands
  • Barony of Bryn Gwlad

Populace Provided Information:

Ivarr runamagi

Randall was the first person to hit me with a sword. Broke my glasses. Never got hit that hard again.

Connall MacNaghten

When we had newly joined the Barony, Randall and his lady moved in some time afterwards. We were invited to do gaming and drinking at the Baron's home. We went to the gathering and were having a good time. Various folks were doing various things, and a good time was being had. I had enjoyed a few drinks. A very large, heavily built, 6'7" tall person came over, squatted down directly in front of me, facing away, looking at something. He was there for several moments. I nudged his butt with my foot, surprising him off balance. He was surprised I had dared, and turned to look at me. As I said - He was a great big guy, and I was a fairly little guy. He didn't know what to do. After a moment of silence, he grinned and he offered me a deal: I wouldn't kick him in the butt any more and he wouldn't kick the crap out of me. I always thought I got the better end of the deal, because I got to boot him, and he never got to beat me. We became friends and laughed at that story over the years, and he later became one of the godfathers of my daughter.

Daniel Black-Axe

He was a member of House Wolfstar. I came off the field one day and I remember him saying, "Boss, are you hot?" I said, "yes." He stood between me and the sun and said, "Let me shade you." He did that for the rest of the list. Every time I came off the list field, he was there, blocking the sun.

Duchess Malinda hohen-van Kester

It seems the older I get, the more time I spend reminiscing about the past. I recall a tale of two friends in Ansteorra, back in the mid 1970's, that I'd like to share with you.
Sir Randall von Nordlichwald and Master Torgatai Blackwolf were both members of The Chivalry, and the only two fighters in the Barony of Bjornsborg (San Antonio Texas). Randall, at 6'9", toward over Torgatai at 5'2".
Randall favored using a great sword and I have a Kodak moment stored in the attic of my brain when I witnessed a most unusual fight between the two men when I visited Ansteorra, as Queen of Atenveldt, which at the time included The Principality of Ansteorra.
Randall was Prince of Ansteorra at the time, when I and my entourage arrived in Bjornsborg in a RV, making a Royal Progress through Ansteorra in the Summer of '78. A fighter practice was held during our brief visit there.
Master Torgatai, despite his diminutive size, had grown up in a circus family of acrobats, and his fighting style was one of fluid motion, wearing very minimal armor.
The polar opposite opponents faced each other, and as Randall swung his great sword, Torgatai, with amazing agility, did a back flip around the great sword, which missed him completely, and he tagged the very confused Randall with a clean shot to his helmet.
All the witnesses, myself included, could not believe what we saw! And apparently it was not the first time Torgatai had used that move!
At another fighter practice, Randall got there way ahead of Torgatai, and dug a hole, which he placed his shield over, waiting for Torgatai to show up. When the two fighters squared off to fight each other, Randall clambered quickly into the hole, which thus made him the same height as Torgatai.
I've often wondered what happened to these two amazing examples of Chivalry, and fondly recall those glory days!

Jan w Orzeldom

Reminiscences of Sir Randal von Nordlichwald, Viscount

Some years ago, during an evening of drinking and opinionated conversation (is there any other kind?), Randall gave a pronouncement as to why he rarely attended SCA events anymore. He bemoaned the loss of the “tribal” nature of the group he had joined and loved. This description, given in his trademark forceful manner, made perfect sense to his audience, but may be jarringly odd to more recent SCA generations.

For Randall, persona was lived, not acted. It wasn’t staged repartee for an audience. And that hallmark style stood out in every memory I have of him.

The first big out-of-town event that I attended was the Second Warlord of the Steppes, held at Camp Burnet near Grapevine Lake. Having arrived at zero dark thirty, I arose to see Sir Koris, who had camped in the middle of the broad sunlit field. He was practicing axe throwing with a double-bitted tree-felling axe. The dead tree (that lasted a few years) gave an echoing “thunk” as the axe head buried itself in it. Koris would retrieve his axe and pace off the distance for his next throw. He was very consistent at getting the axe to make one or two revolutions in the air before sticking in the tree. Getting three turns in the air was escaping him.

A tall man was also watching the practice session. In those days it was customary to introduce yourself “in persona” to people you didn’t know. Randall greeted me with what I later came to understand was his customary aloof, courtly reserve. I gave him no reason to display his intimidating glower (come to think of it, I don’t think he ever used it on me personally). Randall won second place in the tournament that day.

Randal didn’t mind being intimidating – and he could hardly help it, as tall as he was. Looming over people was just a form of communication. It wasn’t necessarily a prelude to violence. He also had a distinct flair for the dramatic. One example is his pledge to his new baron during a feast in Pais Cumbre (later Bryn Gwlad), just after Bjornsborg had become a barony with Erazimiersz Waspaniewski as baron.

At that point, Randall was a knight – he had been knighted at a crown tournament in Phoenix. Much was made of him there, especially by the ladies who gave him an honor that ceremoniously involved “the threefold kiss” (the last kiss was on the thigh). He relocated to Atenveldt proper, into what became the Outlands, and returned after a year or three, married to Lady Constance Vacillations of the Rhododendron.

In those times feasts were usually arranged with a central open area where things happened. Into this space Randal strode, demanding attention with his presence, not bothering with a herald. He declared that the baron was the king’s man though whom his fealty ran. Turning to the hall, he glowered and in a menacing voice stated “I serve this man!” Turning back to the new baron, drawing a knife, he cut his left forearm. I forget if he squeezed blood into a vessel or onto a cloth (maybe it was both, to stop the bleeding). Then, of course, he presented it to the baron. Erazimiersz did not receive it in the spirit it was offered – he said “EWWW that’s disgusting!” with an exaggerated expression, pushed away the pledge, and turned his face aside as it was removed.

Randall did seem to have a problem with men who were taller than him, though. At six foot seven or so, this was blessedly rare. One of those taller men was my squire, Michael of Kendal, who was also not prone to backing down.

This brings me to the story shared by Lord Leon Dunne, bowman. I was baron of Bjornsborg at this point. My baroness, Alexandra Tatianna Feodorovna of Novgorod, I assume with the input from the women of the Neskaya Council, of which she was a member, would come up with often awkward “fun” ideas (and equally often not let me in on them in advance). One such “fun idea” was a “Beard Tax”, a la Peter the Great, which she announced at a court event. Dragomyr the Cossack, a massive fellow, came forward and stood ready with a big pair of shears and I think calipers. Alexandra got some of her desired silliness from Leon Dunne stuffing his full beard into his mouth. Vicsount Randall however, pulled out a small cigarette lighter and ignited his beard. Michael of Kendal quickly rushed the head table and slapped out the flames. Randall, I assume not liking his face slapped, leapt to his feet, only to find he couldn’t menacingly glower down on Lord Michael. Michael, outraged by the dangerous stunt, leaned in and met the steady gaze. I was actually about to physically intervene when a lady spoke up, perhaps Viscountess Constance, and several ladies gently parted them. This is how clashes were usually handled in those days.

A last personal vignette, that may explain the tribal aspect mentioned above. Atenveldt and Utanwayard (pronounced Outlands) loved to stage bridge fights. When I was baron, Bjornsborg took well-prepared contingents to wars and major events to the west of our lands.

On one such expedition, a long bridge was to be defended by Utanwayard and allies. Bjornsborg received the honor of leading the attack. The usual style at the time was, shields in front, spears behind, and poke at each other a lot. The wisdom of the day was that bridge fights are meatgrinders and you slowly feed people into it until one side survives. As anybody who knows me will tell you, that was not my style.

We advanced in what would appear to be the usual style until a bit outside of weapons reach. They expected us to stop and start fencing with polearms. Instead, we threw cross blocks and diagonal rushes. When they were well and truly out of their comfort zone, I said “follow me” and plowed into the right side of their line.

It’s common for individuals to “berserk” when they get tired or bored and crash into the opponents ranks, sometimes quite deeply, only to be swarmed by the rear ranks. In Bjornsborg, though, such berserkers were often readily followed. I penetrated and disrupted the rear ranks and was fully supported. To my right was a gap and the edge of the bridge. At my rear, support. To my left: the enemy.

We pressed them to the left and they either fell off the bridge or, packed in, had no room to properly wield their weapons. They were braced for head-on but not from the side. Picture a plow share pushing dirt to the left as it “plows ahead.” The fighting men of Bjornsborg didn’t just watch me die heroically, they joined in with a will. When men like Randall von Nordlichwald, Godwin Aelfrickson, Riccardo di Pisa, and Michael of Kendal push people in close confines, they get moved.

To the credit of their leaders, the opponents didn’t just feed more dirt into the plow. Their remaining reserves hit us after we cleared the end of the bridge. But for the rest of the event, Outlandish nobles were coming up to me and saying “Jan, that was a great charge!” Years later, I heard Randall tell this story from his point of view. He slipped from a mundane retelling into “ …and then I saw Jan foolishly run at the shield wall alone, then I thought… how much do I love this man…he’s worth dying with!” To this day, I take this as a monumental compliment. These are not the words of a sportsman telling how he “kicked ass.” This was a Germanic nobleman describing decisions in battle. Notice he said, dying “with,” not “for.” Yes, dear reader, with his shortcomings and quirks, I sincerely hope Randall will deign to visit me when I next find the pathways that lead to my favorite estate in Mazovia, under the forest.

Notable Contributions or Accomplishments:

Non-Armigerous Awards and Recognitions:

A white fabric belt, embroidered by Tessa of the Gardens who writes: "I sewed and embroidered on this white belt way back when he was first knighted. He and Simonn were buddies, and we always enjoyed each other’s company. It was not a linen belt, but some fabric I had on hand. Glad to see this picture. Pitiful stitches, they were, yet made with all the respect. Rain, Wind, and Fire.- he would sing an old song with me, "The Rain is Tess, the Fire is Joe, and they call the wind Maria..." so those are shown on the belt."

Trivia and Stories

  • In the photo above, the tunic he is wearing was made and embroidered by Haldana Jensdottir, who no longer resides in Kingdom.
  • Known far and wide for eschewing leg armor and fighting completely bare-legged, for as long as he was permitted to do so by Corpora.
  • Received and wore only on the most special occasions, a white fabric sash/belt embroidered by Tessa of the Gardens with a sword (for Knighthood), and flames, wind and rain (for the lyrics of "They Call The Wind Maria").
The Story of the Donut Eating Contest

(As provided by Briony Blåaslagen and Connall MacNaghten)
At Elfsea Defender, during the Second reign of Seamus of the Cats and Karlanna of Applecross Woods, AS AXXII (September 1987), there were Culture Campgrounds. Camerinus was heading up the Roman camp. Randall was over in the Saxon camp. Everyone was gathered in front of Briony's tent in the Viking camp. There was some discussion about favorite foods, and Camerinus said he loved small powdered donuts. Randall proclaimed that he loved them even more. Camerius boasted that he surely could eat more than Randall could. Thus, the challenge was offered and accepted! Haldana made sure there were ample donuts the next morning. At breakfast, they faced off to see who could cram the most donuts into their mouth - and keep them there!! Both shoved two dry, powdered donuts into their mouths. Then they added another. And another. Four donuts. Then five, lips straining to encompass them. Then Randall managed one more, to break the tie. Once proclaimed victorious, they had a further challenge - They couldn't eject the donuts from their mouths as they were crammed in too tightly, and they couldn't swallow, as their mouths were so dry from the powdered sugar. Eventually they did so, and the tale was oft told at breakfast campfires as a lesson in humor and moderation.


Mundane Information:

Was a theatre major in college. Would do performances at local malls as Captain America, in conjunction with Ronald of Evergreen, who portrayed the Green Goblin.

Special Needs:

In Case of Court: