To their Royal Majesties Emperor Ioannes and Empress Honig, and to their Highnesses Crown Prince Ryouko’jin and Crown Princess Indrakshi, and to their Excellencies Suuder Il-Khan and Lada Il-Khatun, and most importantly to the beloved populace of the Crown Province of Østgarðr, birthplace of the East, first among equals — greetings!
We come before you, Hlæfdige Alienor Salton and Boaire Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin, to present ourselves as candidates for the viceregal succession.
We have more than twenty-five years of experience working together, first as business partners and then as parents, and we have learned how to weave together our differing perspectives and strengths to accomplish things we could not have done alone. Over the last decade, working together to support the Crown Province and the shared dream of this Society has assumed an increasingly central place in our lives, and we look forward to continuing that service in this new role.
We do not enter into this endeavor lightly; we have been contemplating this prospect for more than three years, and if the populace will have us, we are fully prepared to dedicate the next six years to this effort.
We may not be as elegant as some candidates, or as fierce on the battlefield as others, but we believe we are unmatched in our dedication to the Crown Province and its populace. We have put literally thousands of hours into service to our local branches, the kingdom, and the society at large, and we have demonstrated that when there is a need, we will do the work needed — and make the necessary sacrifices — to ensure the Crown Province’s vitality and success.
The role of the landed baronage is unique within our Society because they are responsible for providing continuity to our local community, helping to preserve and extend the dream for long-time members and newcomers alike.
The most visible aspect of the viceregency is obviously at events and in court, recognizing the accomplishments of the populace, and coordinating the shared experiences that inspire and draw the community together. We know that pageantry and ceremony, combined with ad-hoc schtick and light-hearted shenanigans, blending decades of traditions and creating new ones on the fly, can come together to create moments of wonder that transport us out of our modern lives and into a parallel world that for a time magically intersects our own, like Brigadoon. Fulfilling the ceremonial duties of the viceregency in the Province’s relations to the Kingdom, and our neighboring branches, and to the populace, helps stitch our Society into a single connected tapestry. We eagerly look forward to this opportunity, confident that our experiences as seneschal and court herald have prepared us for this public aspect of the role.
But we also know that the viceregents spend much more of their time handling things behind the scenes. They can find themselves addressing thorny issues and interpersonal disputes and problematic behaviors that weaken our community; at other times they must work with Kingdom and Society to ensure the Province remain in compliance with law and custom — or when necessary, advocate for changes to those rules. During our years of service, we have worked one-on-one with royalty and kingdom officers to handle harassment reports and address major branch-wide problems. We have rewritten the provincial bylaws (now called the charter) and gotten them properly ratified, a project that people had been unsuccessfully attempting to complete for decades. And we have politely (but persistently) provided feedback to Kingdom and Society officers to help clarify or revise policies on a wide range of issues.
Most importantly, the viceregents are uniquely responsible for cultivating the long-term viability of our community and helping it to manifest its shared dream. Unlike officers, who each have distinct areas of responsibility, the viceregents are expected to keep their eyes on the big picture. And unlike royalty, who must care for the entire kingdom but come and go every year, the landed leadership are bound to a specific place and have a longer term that allows them to provide continuity so that the populace may grow and flourish. We care passionately about this goal and are prepared to devote the coming years of our life to achieving it.
We would love to be able to lay out a detailed policy agenda for the coming viceregal term, but as recent events have reminded us, it is difficult to predict what the Province will need most six months from now, let alone six years from now.
It seems clear that the first priority facing the next viceregents will be continuing to guide the Province through the later stages of the pandemic, re-establishing the study drumbeat of local events we had grown accustomed to in years past while continuing to keep the most vulnerable members of our community safe. We will need to integrate the in-person activities that have long been the core of our shared experience with the online engagement that has flourished in the Covid era. Rebuilding our membership by re-engaging long-term participants whom we have not seen while events were suspended, while also maintaining the involvement of newcomers who joined us virtually during that period, will be a challenge that we look forward to helping address.
Moving forward, we want to ensure that everyone who lives in our region and might be interested in joining us knows that they are welcome to do so. This requires continuing our efforts to make our Society visible to the people around us, through social media and local demos and community outreach and word of mouth. Supplementing those efforts with targeted messaging to specific communities such as gamers, larpers, crafters, and history enthusiasts, will allow us to efficiently reach those who are most likely to appreciate our activities.
We must also help newcomers feel at home when they arrive, which may require making adjustments and addressing missing stairs to ensure that people are not put off before they have a chance to experience the dream first hand. Ensuring that the public and established members alike understand that the Society’s expanded scope now encompasses all regions of the world, and encouraging the study and celebration of cultures beyond medieval Europe, will help welcome newcomers from a wider range of backgrounds. We want to continue and strengthen the efforts made in recent years to ensure that events are accessible to a wide range of attendees, and that accommodations are made to allow everyone present to participate as fully as possible. We are eager to help people make connections to others with shared interests to facilitate the education and friendships and adventures that link the community together.
We also look forward to providing support for the Provincial officer corps by encouraging more people to volunteer as event co-stewards and deputy officers, and by providing support for incoming officers who are too often thrown into a new position without much direction as to how to get started. We know that there are members of the populace who have much they could contribute, and who can be set on a path of involvement and service by a supportive atmosphere and an encouraging word from trusted community leaders.
As the pace of in-person happenings picks up again, we want to support local activity and social engagement within each region of the province, from the Great Northern Woods down to the Isle of Staten, so that folks can easily connect and work with their immediate neighbors, without any sense of alienation from the province at large. As one step in this direction, we’d like to establish a practice of Viceregal Visitations, traveling to a different canton or county each month for an informal gathering, to encourage local classes in the arts and sciences, martial practices, educational outings, and other communal activities.
East Kingdom law specifies that the Crown Province is equivalent to a barony, and that the Viceregents are alike unto the baronage, but it strikes us that the unique history and character of our branch make it subtly different than any other. Unlike the coronets of nobility worn by Eastern barons, Østgarðr’s landed leadership is marked by civilian chains of office, and this is the spirit in which we would like to serve: not as governors imposed from above to rule the Province, but as representatives selected from amongst the populace to help the community achieve its own ends, and manifest its own Dream.
You will not find anyone more dedicated to the Crown Province, and should the populace choose to recommend us to their Majesties as your selection for the Viceregency, we look forward to continuing to serve you in this new way.
By our hands at Tyddyn Ystradfflyr on the fourth day before the kalends of February,
— Alienor Salton
— Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin