The Gwenllian Cycle is an attempt at a folklore history of Drachenwald. It's mode, for the most part, is Authurian in nature, although styles of individual stories will vary. As with folklore, there are a number of objectives to storytelling:
1) To explain why certain places have certain names. Each story is set in one of the regions of Drachenwald, past or present. It should, in some way, give a reason for the name to exist. This may, or may not, match the reason why the actual Shire chose the actual name.
2) To explain various customs and traditions of society, or in this case, The Society. Some of these are Drachnewald specific (e.g. Lindquistring), others are SCA specific (fighting with sticks). These are often, but not always, morality lessons.
3) To be memorable. A successful story is not one that is read, but one that is told, and retold again. These stories will be counted as successful if they become part of the lore of Drachenald, not by fiat, but by adoption by the populace.
To these ends, as above, each story is set in a region. This can just be part of the title, or it can be part of the story. See below for a list of regions and their literal meaning. Authors are encouraged to use other elements of Drachnewald mythology and explain their names. Why is the Panache called that? Why is the Silver Guard silver?
The Cycle is set in the days of the Principality. It may involve people or Shires that only sprang up during our Kingdom years, but that's OK. Folklore is never consistant.
Albion is the black dragon that is on the arms of Drachenwald. As told when someone is inducted into the Order of Albion he gave succor and support to the first Prince of Drachenwald who established the Principality.
He represents the true spirit of Honor and Chivalry; all we srtive to attain within the society. And The Spirit of Albion is to be invoked in the story as exemplifing these ideals.
Lady Gwenllian, the person
Sir Gwenllian was the first woman to win her coronet in the Society by right of arms. She's a really cool person and currently lives in the East Kingdom. I've chatted with her about The Cycle and she is OK with the idea. Naturally these are fictional exploits and don't resemble what she actually did during her reign, but what she did was enough to warrant being used as a symbol of virtue.
Lady Gwenllian, the character
Lady Gwenllian is a lady on a quest. She is true to the Spirit of Albion and travels the land in search of a Knight to Squire to in order to learn the ways of Chivalry and Honor. Of course the land is fully of villany and treachery and what she actually ends up doing is spreading the Spirit of Albion by her actions. Her birthright is to rule Drachenwald, though she does not know this.
Prince Ivar, the person
There was a Prince Ivar, who was Prince the reign before Gwenllian was Princess. He is not a Viscount though. The Board intervened and removed that privilege. It took me quite a while to find out what he did. People don't talk about it much. I'm not going to repeat it here, as I now agree that it should not be talked about. He doesn't participate in the SCA anymore.
It may seem kind of crass to use him (or anyone real) as a "bad guy". I've talked with several old-timers and most agree that enough time has passed that it is OK to use him as a character in fiction. So my conscience rests easy.
Dark Prince Ivar, the character
Prince Ivar is the bad guy of the cycle. He attained the Coronet of Drachenwald through politics and deception and runs his court through bribery and favoritism. This Cycle is not about him, though. Like Sauron, the Lord of the Rings in The Lord of the Rings, he should remain off stage. Maybe someday someone will write a story of Gwenllian's final confrontation with him and how she wins the throne, but that won't, technically, be part of this cycle.
If a confrontation is needed for a story, and it results in the person being redeemed, a Noble of the Court of Prince Ivar can be used. If a confrontation is needed where the antagonist is not redeemed (defeated or run off) then a Squire of Pince Ivar can be used.
Lindquist, the person
I always knew that the Kingdom level award for Service was The Lindquistring and that it was named for someone called Lindquist. But it took me many years to find out who he was and what he did. Lindquist is actually his mundane name. When they were trying to go Principality, the Board was reluctant. Drachenwald was all military people then with APO addresses. There is no way to tell from an APO address where that person is. So they didn't believe there were enough people in Drachenwald to form a Principality. Lindquist went around and photographed many events, and showed all the pictures to the board and that there was no great overlap of people. That convinced them and they let the Principality form.
It's an inspiring story, but not one that makes for good telling in a period context.
There are many religious elements wrapped up in the Authurial cycle that are integral to the genre. To deal with this, but in an SCA way, Lindquist is promoted to a saint. This allows for hermits dedicated to St. Lindqust, miracles, chapels, and, should it be necessary, a Cathedral. As with St. Lindquist is the patron Saint of all those pursuing chivalric ideals, particularly with regard to service. (Patron Saint of Pelicans?)
Succession in Drachenwald
Historical succession is almost universally through a blood line. Even the Late Roman Empire, who mostly chose their successors, still formally adopted them. It is a bit difficult to stretch such a thing to an SCA context, where we have a new monarch every six months. Consequently in these stories the established method of succession is this:
When the old Prince "feels his time has come", and an honourable Prince will not stay on the throne overlong, he announces a quest. This can be great, or mundane, but is meant to test the spirit of possible successors. When someone completes the quest and in so doing has shown noble spirit, they are proclaimed the successor and a formal abdication and coronation takes places some time following.
SCA combat is non-lethal. We need some form of non-lethal, but noble combat
in these stories. In period one method of fighting in tourneys was "baton
combat" where they took sticks wrapped in aheasive cloth and whacked each other
till one conceded. Sound familiar?