Pelican Ceremony for Katerinka Lvovicha (that's me!)

My own elevation into the Order of the Pelican. The footnotes have context and additional information regarding some of my stylistic choices. While not as historically-based as some of the other ceremonies I have written, it definitely has the “flavor” that I was going for. 

Most importantly, I got a buffet! 

Written in May 2021  

Over the years, I have guided many people through the Peerage ceremony in Northshield. I have even written some custom ceremonies. One thing I always thought would be neat would be to have a ceremony that is more of a storytime, telling the journey of the person who is being elevated. There are examples of hero’s quest type stories in virtually every culture, from the Greeks to the Chinese to the Norse. I made an attempt to immerse the populace in my story, how I got from where I was to where I am.

I was fortunate that my former Pelican, Count Yehudah, was willing to come out of retirement to herald my ceremony. Dame Bridget was never technically my Peer, but she has always shoved me in the right direction.


Their Majesties invite Dame Bridget ni Cathasaigh, companion of the Order of the Pelican, into their court.


Dame Bridget, Thank you for joining us today. We understand that you have a question for us.


Your Majesties, a few weeks ago, His Excellency Yehudah and I begged a boon of you to invite Katerinka Lvovicha into your Order of the Pelican. She has come a long way from when she started as a wee lass in the wilds of the East.


Ain’t that the truth. We have heard many things of her adventures through the years. Perhaps we need to hear a little more before we can elevate her to this Order.


Your Majesties, I just so happen to have a little story about Katerinka which I can share with you. There are many characters - talking animals, twin knights, and even a wise shrubbery! While a little unconventional, I am confident that it will aid in your decision. What do you think?


We do so enjoy a good story. I think that sounds lovely. We wish for the companions of the order of the Pelican who are present to join us for story time. Herald, call forth the Order.


Their Majesties invite the most illustrious companions of the Order of the Pelican to join their presence.

Order arranges themselves in court


Good companions, thank you for joining us.

Herald, call forth the candidate


Their Majesties summon Katerinka  Lvovicha into their court.

Katerinka proceeds forward alone


Good herald, I believe we were promised a story about this gentle who kneels before us.


Of course. Now let me think, how does it start? Oh yes, just like all good stories… Once upon a time, in a kingdom very far away, there was a young girl. Her name was Katerinka, and she was very loud. She had long heard stories of people who were good, kind, patient, and generous being worthy of great respect. The wisest and best of them were made into knights and defenders or roses and laurels, or bears, or pelicans, and sometimes more than one! She admired these Peers but knew that a loud girl could never be counted among them.

One day, a wise old Pelican, a Tyger of the East[1], saw in her the potential to be numbered among his kind. He said to her, “I was sent on a quest[2], on many quests, to be a better person tomorrow than I was yesterday. I learned how to use my talents for the good of the realm, and you will too. This is your challenge and quitting is not an option.” She asked him how she would know when her quest was done. He said, “you will know it when you see it. Go and be great. And remember: always apologize louder than you fart.[3]” With that, the Pelican- Tyger sent her out to learn what she was capable of.

Days turned to weeks turned to years as she continued on her journey. She had countless adventures across the known world, each time learning something new and passing that knowledge to others. She enjoyed her quest so much that eventually, she forgot she was on one. Being a better version of herself became habit, and the quest passed into legend.

The years wore on as her wordfame continued to grow. Eventually, her quest came to the attention of a bear and a horse. Not just any horse and bear, mind you: these were the sovereigns of the Perpetual Reign[4], King Ciaran and Queen Elis of the Griffin Realm. They were approached by members of their wise advisors, a flock of Pelicans, who implored them to take a closer look at the activities of their subject.

The Horse and Bear set out on a journey of their own to find the people that knew her best. They first came across a pair of twin knights who had first met Katerinka when they were but aspirational squires in their youth[5]. They had heard that these good knights knew well of her chivalrous nature.They first asked Count Katsuo his thoughts. He told them this story:


Ajax will read

What can one say in the pursuit of enlightenment as in all things youth drives us to be better and more then we are. Kat has driven herself in that direction early one first leaving the east and coming to the west known as Northshield. The Griffin Realm would offer her a chance to try heavy combat . In the Early years of our journey together. She would press on to other arenas of interest cultivating an interest in many things such as book heraldry, and loud Heraldry[6], and scribal. It would not stop there as she took to the kingdom being a voice of knowledge and counsel. In times of Defense for the meek and the Mighty alike. With a skill such as this it can be used for ill as well Good. Tempering herself with kindness and a strong morality she has delivered her self to Their Majesties in a fitting fashion that is befit a pelican she exemplifies Franchise. Like a Griffin cry She delivers a Booming Challenge to the sky that we all can hear! This is why she is my Peer.

Then they turned to his twin, Sir Ajax, and asked him for his thoughts as well. He told them this story:

Today I speak as a second of a story. Generosity is the chivalric virtue Katarinka exemplifies to me. I have known her for 15 years even as a young collegiate student. She was generous then. She would transport people to events and practices out of town. Her level of generosity has increased over the years, serving in upper level offices, but never forgetting the small groups and humble beginnings. Encouragement for scribes and heralds. offering classes to improve scribal arts and the herald's knowledge, all skills to be honed. I have had the pleasure to be her staff in past positions and seen her generously brave an ice storm to deliver scrolls[7] when she was signet. Her encouragement to grow knowledge and skills is beyond generous, her advice is invaluable and her ability to remind you of temperance and mercy when they are most needed. These things are why she is my Peer.

Sir Ajax paused then said,


She has learned how two sides of the same blade can serve different purposes. This Seax serves as a reminder that a knife can harm and also protect. Similarly, the sheath is pretty but also serves an important purpose, to protect others from what is within. A Peer must always seek justice, truth tempered with mercy. A Peer must always defend their kingdom, their family, and those who depend upon them. This is the symbol of our faith in her as a peer.



And with that, the twin knights took their leave of the King and Queen.

The Bear and the Horse then sought the wisdom of their next companion, a Master of Defense named Piero. They had heard that he would be able to attest to Katerinka’s courtly graces. He sent them a letter which said,

Mikey will read

Your Majesties, I would ask your forgiveness of my corporeal body not being available for this moment. It is my hope that my spirit will be felt in your presence and found acceptable.

A dear friend of mine spoke of a courtly grace that embodies the highest of our society’s ideals. Baldassarre debated with nobles about this most important trait – sprezzatura. This ability to look at ease with any efforts in the arts or conversation and is thought to be the grandest of achievements.

I am reminded of meeting Katerinka for the first time. A joyous person who delighted in her associations with others of all titles. Her spirit would lift the heaviest of minds and hearts while her intelligence would challenge and assuage preconceived misgivings. I remember smiling to myself as I watched her engage with tenacity and determination.

Shortly thereafter, I came against a situation of significance. Like a large beast lurking around the corner of my imagination – one I was ill prepared for and without weapons to rise against. In that moment, like a warrior angel, Katerinka descended with quill prepared and mind sharpened. I had almost no time to recognize the threat before she plunged into my world and the beast was tamed.

This was her moment – with awesome craft and courageous fortitude she executed her cunning plan. And when the gold leaf had settled, and the pigments of my life had stopped running – She laid out a masterpiece that is my most cherished possession.[8] Never once did I worry. I found myself trusting her with a most precious quest and I harbored no doubts on the outcome.

You see she carries her heart and mind so that all know anything is possible. How could it not be when she lights upon your person and brings a perspective that can only be love for others and skills to compliment. She does this with sprezzatura, a courtly example of grace with ease.

To this end, and without using up the rest of the words in the world, as a premier of our Kingdom’s Order of Defense, Katerinka Lvovicha is my peer.

Always in service, Piero di Salvestro Verrocchi il Magnifico

A coat[9] accompanied the letter with a note pinned to it. It read, “courtly graces can be used at any time to make a situation more bearable, just as this coat can be donned to weather the coldest of days. It can be used for the good of others as well, sheltering them from the ice and snow, just as grace and courtesy can be used to shelter others from difficult situations. A Peer must have the courage to sacrifice for the precepts and people they value. A Peer must have faith in their beliefs. This is the symbol of my faith in her as a peer.”

Mikey GIVES COAT TO TRM and leaves

After some contemplation, The Horse and the Bear journeyed to their garden to see a wise shrubbery, a Laurel named Hrodwyn, called Trollslayer, who was planted by a bridge. They approached her carefully; while neither was a troll, they had heard that she would defend herself and others if danger was sensed. They had no need to worry, as the Trollslayer was glad to see them. They asked the Laurel of her insight into Katerinka’s talents, and their Laurel had much to say:

Rodigan talks

Once she was done, she pulled out a small pouch. She said


Many years ago, Katerinka made me a pouch, very similar to this one[10]. I have worn it proudly for many years and have used it to collect knowledge which I could then give to others. This pouch is for her to collect and distribute her own knowledge a little easier. A Peer must be generous as far as their resources allow.  It is the symbol of my faith in her as a peer.



Their Majesties then walked to another part of their garden to talk to a Rose named Gwen. Gwen had once served as they were now serving and they thought that she would be able to speak to Katerinka’s nobility. Gwen contemplated their request and then said,


Gwen produced from her hands a red bag. She said,


Not all nobility comes in the form of knowledge. Sometimes it comes in the form of a timely gift, a recognition of excellence in others. This strand of beads represents these gifts, to be gifted at the right time. This is the symbol of my faith in her as a peer.



While percolating on who they would speak with next, the horse and the bear received a letter from a member of their populace, a scribe named Amary. Amary had known Katerinka for many years, they knew, and would certainly be able to tell them a little more about her. Amary’s letter said,


Greetings to their Majesties and all assembled.  My name is Amary, and I have known Kat for some years now.  Early on in our acquaintance, it was a cold Northshield winter, and I was spending it taking award assignments, as one does.  I was sketching out some work when I received bad news.  I contacted Kat, who was Signet at the time, and said I was very sorry but I wasn't sure whether the award would be done.  I wasn't sure in whether I would instead need to travel to say goodbye to a loved one.  Kat reassured me that it would be fine, urged me to get in touch if there was anything she could do, and in a pinch finished the award herself to make sure the recipient was honored as planned.  No one else knew anything had been amiss.

Peerages are strange beasts in our hobby, given for many reasons yet treated as equivalent in precedence.  Everyone has opinions on what qualities make a peer, and so although the populace representative is asked to speak on that point, I cannot presume to answer this request fully.  What I can say is that I have never known Kat's heart to be in the wrong place.  Everything she does comes from a place of love for a world dreamed up and built over fifty-odd years of weekend days like this one.  I have every hope that as she continues to grow and learn in this next stage, her heart will be an asset to that world.  I wish her very well.

With the letter came a medallion and a note. The note said, “this medallion is heavy[11], as is the burden of being a Peer. Sometimes a peer needs to take on the jobs of others to ensure that things get done and people get the compassion and care they need. The weight of the medallion will be a reminder to always do right, even when it’s hard. A Peer must remain loyal to the people and the ideals they choose to live by. This is a symbol of my faith in her as a peer.”


It was at this time that their herald decided to speak. You see, not only was their herald a herald who had trained Katerinka, he was also a pelican, a former royal like their majesties, and a Beare like Her Majesty. He was recognized as a Beare many years ago for his wisdom and guidance, and he felt called to speak on his former protege’s behalf. He said,


The Beares of Northshield represent the Spirit of Northshield.

The Spirit of Northshield is not a static or stationary thing. It’s a restless spirit, always questing, always questioning, always reaching, always striving. To embody the spirit of Northshield is to work constantly to improve, but also to work always to encourage others to reach a little further, to surprise and delight themselves with what they can do today that they didn’t know how to do yesterday, and then encourage them to think what they will learn tomorrow.

This is the spirit I saw in Katerinka when I first met her, not long after she came to these lands, and it remains undiminished.

He then pulled out a banner[13] and said,

Just as a banner springs to action at the slightest breeze, so too must a Pelican come to life when help is needed. Banners are also taken on long quests to mark the passing of time. This includes this journey which Katerinka has undertaken over lo, these many years. A Peer recognizes that true nobility arises from the journey, not the destination[14]. This banner is a symbol of my faith in her as a peer.

Mikey hands banner to TRM.

The bear and horse retired to their throne room to think and contemplate what they had heard. Katerinka certainly had the faith and support of many people, but did she have support of the order? They decided to ask to find out.


Good Pelicans, having heard what we heard, is it your opinion that Katerinka is worthy of elevation into the Order of the Pelican?




Now, your Majesties, I hope you found that a satisfying tale so far. However, you should know that this is a Choose Your Own Adventure story[15]. How would you like to proceed?


Let’s ask Katerinka. You have heard the words of your companions. Now know this: Seek to do what is right for the sake of being right, not for personal gain. Do not restrict your exploration to a small world. Continue moving along on your journey as stagnation is death[16]. Knowing all this, do you desire to accept elevation into this order?


I do!


Will you pledge to continue to uphold the honor of this Order?


I will!


Will you increase your labors and talents nobly as befits one of your rank, And seek to extend your talents and abilities throughout the Society?


 I will!


Will you teach and assist any dependents you may have to serve as you have served?


 I will!


Herald,  read the scroll.

Declare to all the Griffin folk

We Ciaran and Eli’s now say

That for her words and for her work

To peerage estate we will raise

Katerinka Lvovicha

For words woven and spoken and penned

Pelican order will welcome

Let all of our people attend

Scroll by ouyang yingzhao, text by Margaret malise

Now swear your fealty[17]:

I shall swear that I shall faithfully to your power serve our Sovereign Nobles, the King and Queen, most excellent Majesties of the kingdom of Northshield, In good faith, I shall to my service not only keep their Majesty’s peace amongst their people but also support by my actions the Griffin realm. I shall defend their Majesties garrisons, dominions, people, and subjects of this realm against all rebels and enemies. I shall certify their Majesties clearly and expressly thereof, and I shall give my true and faithful council for the benefit of the Crown and Kingdom, and of their majesties council I shall not disclose. In this realm, I swear that I shall faithfully serve and do the extent of my power these things, for the good of the realm and in service to the Crown.

Thus swear I, Katerinka Lvovicha.


We accept your offer of service and leadership And will rely on you to advise us wisely. As you serve and guide Northshield with honor and charity, We will act toward you respectively in all things, Protecting you with our aid and rewarding you with Our love. But may all your strength fail And the world turn against Any who should break their solemn oath.


Katerinka, this is not the end of your story. It is, in fact, just the beginning. Take from our hands these symbols of your Order so all can recognize your service as we have acknowledged it today.

Get dressed VERY FAST


Teach our stories to our children[18]. Here's one to start with: *insert buffet here*[19]

For Dame Katerinka, companion of the Order of the Pelican, vivant!

[1] Master William of Monmouth, called Liam St. Liam, was a dear friend of mine who passed from this world far too soon. I knew him since before I knew what the SCA was, and he was one of the very first peers in my life.

[2] Liam was known for being sent on quests by the Crowns of the East. One time, he needed to have a beer with someone from every kingdom in the known world.

[3] True Liam-ism. I can’t make this stuff up.

[4] The Pandemic Crowns, coronated Spring of 2020 and stepped down Fall 2021

[5] At my very first fighter practice in Northshield, even! It was important to me to have both of them speak for me as they are both dear and close friends.

[6] Very loud heraldry.

[7] The origin of “if you die in South Dakota, you die in real life.” The 3 hour trip took 8.

[8] More info and pictures of his scroll and text here:

[9] Hand-dyed, handwoven wool, lined with linen and orange/pink shot silk, trimmed with black silk and blue/purple shot silk, with a bit of silk tablet weaving on the cuffs and a large amount of silk whipcording. Pelican embroidery is silk-on-silk with a Pelican of my own design. Completely handsewn. My goal was to look like the sunset threw up on me and I succeeded in every way possible.

[10] It was one of my very first forays into embroidery - I made Hrodwyn a little anglo-saxon ring pouch as a scroll for her AoA service award. She still wears it, and mine is made from the second hoop in the set I bought to make hers. She also sewed the majority of it for me.

[11] It is, in fact, very heavy. The medallion is solid bronze and the beads are all lampworked by Adalia Solario out of Castel Rouge.

[12] There was actual growling. I was thrilled beyond measure <3

[13] Made by my dearest Countess Laurel Gwen just for me. It was a Spite Banner which makes it all the better. It has my red lion, a pelican, a herald badge, our Legwife badge, and the kingdom populace badge. It hangs in my front entry way. I had tied it to my calligraphy pen spear for the ceremony which was a stroke of genius if I do say so myself.

[14] In the interest of making this ceremony somewhat less bulky, I chose to have the speakers read the admonishments in the course of their words, rather than having them recited.

[15] Life is a choose-your-own-adventure story.

[16] One of my favorite sayings.

[17] Based off of  the oath of the Lord Deputy, sworn to Queen Elizabeth I, 1587-ish, more info at

[18] One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite sons, Shield My Kinsmen, aka The Northshield National Anthem, by Wyndreth.

[19] I have long championed the use of buffets in Peerage ceremonies other than the martial ones and was pleased that Her Majesty was willing to punch me in the chest.


Oath based off of the oath of the Lord Deputy, sworn to Queen Elizabeth I, 1587-ish, more info at