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Runestone Elevation "Scroll"

I was commissioned to produce an elevation scroll for a dear friend who was to be elevated to the Companionate of the Pelican. There were a number of complications inherent in this project. The incipient Mistress Solveig had made the Norwegian Viking period her area of study. The Norse Vikings had been very un-cooperative, all in all. They didn't have Peers, per se. They didn't have Pelicans, and as such, they had no elevation scrolls. Some colleagues on the Medieval Sawdust mailing list suggested a Runestone. So we looked at that. Three tons. We pictured the Herald trying to lift it to read it at court. Not a pretty sight. (Actually, they tend to run a couple of hundred pounds. But three tons makes a better story . . .)How about a miniature one? Still sixty pounds. Okay. Wood. Wood will work.

We selected basswood, because it is a new-world cousin to lindenwood, the famous shield material of the Norse period. It has a similar color, grain pattern, and carves easily. Further, I could find a piece large enough that wouldn't utterly blow the budget.

The design comes from a picture stone found on Gotland that I fondly call the "Plan AheaD" stone, because of the partial figure-eight link at 2 o'clock. The original had no runes, but did have the jagged bottom, and two fields. The upper field had a holmgang, or duel in progress, the middle had a ship lined with round shields. I decided to break out the third section to give the Crowns a place to sign and seal the scroll. The text is in old norse and was written and transliterated into a Viking-era futhark by Mistress Brynhildr of Ansteorra. The lady with the drop spindle was based on a sixth century "Valkyrie" amulet gilded with silver and found in Sweden. The Valkyrie was rather grim, so I took the mead horn out of her hand, replaced it with a drop-spindle, and gave her a grin.

The "scroll" is made of a single piece of basswood, planed smooth on one side. The back remains as it came from the mill. I did the layout in pencil, mostly freehand. I used a grid to transfer the border from the "Plan AheaD stone" and then ruled lines to sketch out the runes. All of the voids were hand-cut using gouges and chisels. I used a set of scrapers for final smoothing.

After the elevation ceremony I was asked to chisel the Royal Seals and Signatures in the same futhark that I had used for the rest of the piece. That done, I then sealed it with three coats of boiled linseed oil. The last coat had a little walnut pigment in it to try to get the runes to stand out a little better.

The text reads:

Vit Ailgheanan ok Áshildr
adhalbornir thenglar
konugr ok kona
konungdóms Meridiei
hrosum hér
heidharkoni gódhri.
Hygg, heimr allr
hvé höldum í heidhri
stóran skörung
Sólveigu gullinbladh.
Heidhrum vit hana
hér sem hvar
sem pelíkana prúdhan
ok prísverdhugan,
samtignarmann
stadhar allar
í Meridiei
ok á Midhgardhi öllum
A hon nú allar
æ ruligar virdhingar
samtímis allar
slíku skuldi
sem Pelíkanar okkar
at réttu halda
Nennum vit thessu
Á neytum degi
frá sessum okkar
á Stíganda Steini.

X:IX:XXXIX

We, Ailgheanan and Ashildr,
nobly-born rulers
King and Queen
Of the kingdom of Meridies
praise here
a good woman of honor.
Hearken, all the world
how We hold in honor
the noble and great leader
Solveig Goldenleaf.
We publish her praise
here and everywhere
as a proud
and praiseworthy Pelican,
a Peer of Our Realm
in all places
in Meridies
and throughout Midgaard.
She now possesses
the honor and glory
and at the same time
the duties and obligations
which our Pelicans
rightfully own.
We proclaim this
on a suitable day
(I appear to be missing the last two lines of the translation.)

 

E-mail: mcnutt -at- pobox.com