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:
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