Joachim Courtenay der Marxbruder Order of Defense
Lilies War – 2023
Researched and Written by Saito Takauji
Revisions and Cast by Wulfric
Introduction and Notes:
This ceremony casts the Order of Defense of Calontir in a different role than it normally occupies; that of a sworn brotherhood of Freischoffen or lay judges, members of the fraternity of the Vehmic Court of 14th to 17th century Westphalia. The Vehmic Courts were a mix between vigilante group, secret society, and a holy order; judges who met in secret courts to pass judgment and give sentences ranging from fines to execution. They were not, in their height, true vigilantes—they had Imperial authority and grew out of the free courts of Westphalia.
While maligned later (similar to how the Camera Stellata or Star Chamber was maligned), they were originally institutions of justice. “Princes and nobles were initiated; and in 1429 even the Emperor Sigismund himself became ‘a true and proper Freischöffe of the Holy Roman Empire.’” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., 1911). This initiatic structure is appropriate for a peerage order where a candidate has progressed through instruction in previous orders, and is why the theme of Vehmic courts survived into some forms of Freemasonry.
Thus, a royal induction into a peerage order can be cast as a public meeting of a secretive group with royal patronage, considering the weight of a potential initiate. This fits with the initiatic structure of the courts, as Joachim is not being considered for execution but for elevation. It allows the ceremony to proceed briskly, as befits both a battlefield/tournament elevation. And it allows for the inclusion of the imagery of an executioner’s sword, which is one of Joachim’s favorite styles of sword.
Where a sense of formality and initiation was required, some language was adapted from Freemasonry.
The format of the Vehm has been somewhat modified to reflect the directly Royal structure of a Calontir peerage elevation: The Crown stands in the traditional place of the Freigraf and Stuhlherr, while the first title is standing in for the Order of Defense and the second is the Peer ‘driving’ the elevation.
Freigraf: The chief judge of the Vehmic Court. In period, this position was chosen by the Stuhlherr; here it is being glossed as the representative of the Order of Defense.
Freischoffen: The lay judges of the Vehmic Court; presided over by the Freigraf.
From Man and Woman, From Wind and Sand: An adaptation of the traditional oath attributed to the Vehm – Vor Kind und Wiebe, vor Wind und Sand. This means ‘From woman and child, from wind and sand.’ Adapted here to be more gender neutral.
Stuhlherr: The Chairman of the Court. Normally appointed the Freigraf, but here acting as the one convening the matter – i.e. Joachim’s peer.
Vehmic Court/Holy Vehm: Initiative order of lay judges active in Germany from at least the 13th century, and continuing in some form as late as 1811. The Vehm passed judgments that included execution in the name of the Holy Roman Emperor.
The Holy Vehm, Encyclopedia.com, https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holy-vehm
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Fehmic Court, April 13 2001. https://www.britannica.com/topic/fehmic-court
Vehmic Court, Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehmic_court
|FREIGRAF/DEFENSE WITNESS:||Donald Macdonald|
|CHIVALRY WITNESS:||Duncan Mac Torquil|
|PELICAN WITNESS:||Johann Steinarsson|
|LAUREL WITNESS:||Giraude Benet|
|MOD FREISCHOFFEN/DEFENSE WITNESSES:||Orlando Giovanni, Ravasz Janos, Gawin Kappler, Alan Smyith of Darkdale and Giacomo dalla Fattoria dello Stato|
|ROYAL PEER WITNESS:||Magdalena Vander Meere|
|POPULACE WITNESS:||Robert the Scot and William Douglas|
|CLOAK GIVER:||Tove Briansdohter and Isibil Edvinsdottir|
|COLLAR GIVER:||Alan Smyith of Darkdale|
|SWORD GIVER:||Wulfric Tyrell|
|SHIELD GIVER:||Ravaz Janos|
|LEFT GLOVE GIVER:||HRM Marie le Faivre|
|RIGHT GLOVE:||HRM Agamemnon Platylithodae|
King: In accord with those ancient statutes, we call to ourselves those who defend the realm in name and deed, that they may pass judgment on one who seeks to call themselves a brother of their Order. Let the secret court be opened to the people, and their judges weigh the matters before them with wisdom.
Queen: As was first called between the Three Rivers, and put in place near the Wyvern’s Cliffs. In the spirit of the linden trees and the justice of the forest. Call the swords of the Order of Defense to attend the Konig and Konigin, patron and patroness of their Order, the source from which their judgment flows. And call Sir Wulfric, whom we have appointed Stuhlherr for these proceedings.
Herald: Der Konig und die Konigin command the presence of the Order of Defense to pass judgment, as is their right. And they call before them Sir Wulfric, appointed as their Stuhlherr, chairman of this Court of the Order. The Court of the Order is hereby opened in due and proper forms.
Master Donald, the Order of Defense and Sir Wulfric enter court to attend their Majesties. Sir Wulfric and Master Donald go stage right, the MOD’s go stage left. Wulfric brings a chair with him.
Wulfric: Your Majesties, though I am not a Brother of this admired band, as a Knight of the Society I am a cousin to them; and I ask permission to proceed as Stuhlherr, to propose and oversee the judgment of a candidate for their number.
King: We put that question to the Order itself, as they will be strengthened or burdened depending on the wisdom of your question.
Donald: Your Majesty, on behalf of this honorable Order instituted by your ancestors Damien and Issabell, we consent to Sir Wulfric proceeding in this matter.
Wulfric: Then in your Majesties’ names, I ask that the Honorable Lord Joachim Courtenay der Marxbruder be called.
Their Majesties signal consent.
Herald: This Court of Defense summons before them the Honorable Lord Joachim Courtenay der Marxbruder, for judgment to be passed on his worth as an aspirant to become Wissende – a knowing and professed member of this order.
Joachim professes into court with such attendants as he wishes. The attendants peel off and exit the court, while Joachim stays. Wulfric puts down the chair, and Joachim sits upon it.
Wulfric: Your Lordship, you have been summoned to be judged for your worth. You will be judged by the order you wish to join, those other orders which stand judgment for the crown, those who have served the Crown most directly, and the populace. Listen well, for though their words may be brief, their wisdom is deep.
But no one may face their trial while tied to another. If you are to be a peer, you must be judged on your own merits, not mine. What has been done may be undone, but while your time as my squire ends for now, our friendship has no expiration.
Wulfric says anything else he wishes to say to Joachim, and takes back his belt.
Joachim says anything he wishes to Wulfric.
Queen: We stand upon the field of battle, and the spears will soon be called again. Call your witnesses, Freiherr Wulfric, for the time of judgment draws nigh.
Wulfric: As he seeks admission to their Order, I first call witnesses from the Order of Defense. Master Donald MacDonald to stand as Freigraf of the Order, and the sworn members who wish to speak with him.
Donald: Joachim, none can doubt your skill. But as a Wissende of our order, you will be taught our ways; called to the judgment of candidates and aspirants; shown the symbols which allow you to recognize a member; and will be entrusted with the secrets of the order. These you must keep from all those who are not initiated to our mysteries, no matter how dear they are to you. The burden is heavy, the reward for success is more, and you must bear your lot with peer like dignity. But if we doubted your ability, you would not be here. The three swords and the white collar await.
Second Defense Witness: Our symbol is not one blade, but many; so too you must be judged not only by the Freigraf, but by all of those who would be your sworn siblings. Know that you join a small but mighty order; and as we have written our names across the history of the Kingdom, you are called on to do as well.
Third Defense Witness: Three swords on our collars, and a third voice to guide you. You have been told of our secrets, and of our burdens. But let me tell you of the joy of our order: Sworn blades upon the field, facing all who come to battle, and hewing our way out shoulder to shoulder. Sworn to our order you will never stand alone; for we have judged you worthy, and we will always fight beside those of worth.
Defense witnesses speak other words as appropriate.
Wulfric: I next call as a witness my comrade in arms to speak for the Order of Chivalry, alike in dignity to the one you seek. Sir Duncan Mac Torquil will speak for the Chivalry.
Chivalry Witness: Our two orders exist to express the martial arts in the Society, to serve Crown and Kingdom, and to keep safe the people. Both our orders depend upon the sword—sharp in war, heavy in use, and sheathed in peace. You have fought on both our battlefields, and know well the knightly way of attacking as well as the way of defense; never forget that both have their place.
Chivalry witness speaks other words as appropriate.
Wulfric: I call now Mistress Giraude Benet to speak for the next born peerage of the society, and pass judgment on behalf of the Order of the Laurel.
Laurel Witness: Joachim: Defense is an art, and from our ranks the first were made for the study of the blade. Never forget that those lessons that you have learned—for artistry with one thing is artistry with all. Seek that perfection of all things, anHuhHuhd you will have a noble soul indeed.
Laurel witness speaks other words as appropriate.
Wulfric: I ask those who serve the Kingdom most especially to speak now. Master Johann Strienarsson, on behalf of the third born Order of the Pelican, to judge your service.
Pelican Witness: Service is a part of every peerage Order. For you must serve by your judgment and your wisdom. As a marshal on the field, as a trainer of those to come, as one who may be asked to stand for another in a court like this in the future. We have seen you serve, Joachim, and know your service will not cease for the station you have gained.
Pelican witness speaks other words as appropriate.
Wulfric: You must be judged by one who has sat the throne and knows the burden and weight of the crown. Duchess Magdalena Vander Meere will weigh your deeds and your spirit of service to the Kingdom.
Royal Peer: Your order, like all orders, was created because the Crown needed peers to lead, guide, and pass judgment in their name. Without the Orders the burden of the crown would be too heavy, for they cannot be in all places. To stand as a peer, then, you must be one who the Crown can trust to carry that weight with them. Never forget this, and you will never forget your duties as a peer.
Royal Peer speaks other words as appropriate.
Wulfric: And finally you must be judged by a member of the populace. For while you may be called to lead, you must never forget the worth of those who seek that leadership. I ask His Lordship William Douglas and His Lordship Robert the Scot to speak on the judgment of the people.
Populace: Your blade is called to defend the people of Calontir; your shield to protect them. But you are not placed to lord over them, or to grow arrogant in your position in regards to them. But know we have seen your heart; and we, the heart of the Kingdom, would not consent if we had fear of that with you.
Populace speaker speaks other words as appropriate.
Wulfric: Your Majesties. You have appointed this court according to your laws to hear judgment of Joachim Courtenay der Marxbruder. Your judges have advised you, and now you must pass judgment. His fate rests in your hands.
Herald: Joachim Courtenay der Marxbruder, kneel before their Majesties and hear your doom.
King: Joachim, as a huscarl you serve under a double tie to the realm. The third tie is the tightest, the weightiest, and the most burdensome. Is it still your desire to accept it, knowing it is but rarely set aside?
Joachim: It is.
Queen: Joachim, as a Peer your sword is not your own. It belongs to the people, to the Kingdom, and to justice most of all. Is it still your wish to bind yourself by hand and by heart to this Kingdom and this Order?
Joachim: It is.
King: The payment of a peer is labor; and the payment for that labor is more. We guarantee those who stand for us nothing but this. For the third time I ask: Is it still your wish to accept such reward as we guarantee?
Joachim: It is.
Queen: Then we judge you thus: That you are to be made a member of the Order of Defense. By the sword girded to your side, by the collar around your neck, the cloak across your shoulders, and by the pure white glove, we judge you worthy.
The King places his scepter on Joachim’s shoulder.
King: May your skills be ever increased in service to Crown and Kingdom.
The Queen places her scepter on Joachim’s shoulder.
Queen: May your gentle demeanor serve always as an example of courtesy to all who would observe you.
The King and Queen cross their scepters on Joachim’s head.
CROWN (TOGETHER): And may your spirit ever follow the goals your heart sets before you.
King: Naught remains but your oath of office. But know you do not swear it only to Us. You swear it to the Crown, to the people, and yourself; and none shall judge you well if it is taken lightly or broken.
Joachim: I, Joachim Courtenay der Marxbruder, do hereby swear my solemn oath. That I will uphold the highest ideals of my order and bind justice to my heart with chains that cannot be broken. That I will keep the secrets of the order communicated to me as such inviolate, and not communicate them to any person not entitled to them—vor Mann und Frau, vor Sand und Wind. To serve the Crown loyally, the people faithfully, and honor always.
The Crown gives their standard fealty response.
Queen: You were told that you will be known by your sword, your collar, your cloak, and the pure white glove. You will be presented each of these, that all may know your new estate.
Sword Giver (Wulfric): The symbol of your order is the sword; swift in attack, and swifter in defense. But you have chosen for yourself the executioner’s sword, even more potent with meaning. It is designed to deliver justice, tempered with mercy; just in the strike, and merciful in the swiftness. May your blows ever be such; and may this blade shatter in your hands before you ever deliver an unjust blow.
The sword giver speaks other words as appropriate.
The sword is girded onto Joachim.
Collar Giver (Alan): The weight of a collar is a reminder of the burden of peerage. It is white, a color of purity in some cultures, to remind you of your obligations of honor. And it is uniform with those of your order; so that you might be equal to all who have gone before, and identified at a glance by those who need you.
The collar giver speaks other words as appropriate.
The collar is placed on Joachim.
Cloak Giver (Iszy and Tove): The cloak is a symbol of Peerage in Calontir. It too is a uniform, but also a symbol. You cannot assist others if you are wracked with cold; you cannot care for others if you are soaked in rain. Keep your health and courage too, that they may be there when you need them to serve. And may this cloak ever be a reminder of that important lesson.
The cloak giver speaks other words as appropriate.
The cloak is placed on Joachim.
Shield Giver (Ravaz): We are the Order of Defense; and while this term applies to the sword, the shield too is a symbol of defense. For we are not made to be a brotherhood solely of war—the shield symbolizes the peace we must bring to the kingdom, and the peaceable nobles we must be among our people. Bear it always in remembrance of those principles.
The shield giver speaks other words as appropriate.
Queen: And last is for Us. There are two gloves. The left glove is for the hand closest to the heart. It, like the heart, represents love: Your love for your art, for this Kingdom, and its people. Never forget that love and the joy it brings, and your service will never flag.
King: The right glove represents the right hand, which for many is the hand of strength and sure action. It is also, traditionally, the hand of fidelity. With it a foundation may be built, both of stone and of honor with your fellow. If you forget either, your skill will whither and fail you; if you stay strong and true, it never will.
Queen: Together the gloves are symbol of favor, and a symbol of challenge. On the belt, they show that you are made a Peer of this Order. On the ground, they call you to pick it up and rise to the challenge.
The Queen receives the gloves.
The Queen throws the glove on the ground.
Queen: There is a challenge before you, Meister Joachim. Take it and rise to the challenge of a peer of this Kingdom.
Joachim picks it up.
King: Calontir, your newest Master of the Order of Defense.
Queen: Please read the scroll.
As the scroll is read two of the guards walk behind Joachim, between the populus and the court. There they will place a pole upon two polearms forming an arch. As Joachim leaves the court he will walk under the pole, touching it as he walks under, symbolizing his crossing over to his new company.