The purpose of the SCA's First Tournament was to allow the winner to place a crown on their lady's head and this has carried forward in all tournaments to this day.
Tournament fighters are competing for the glory and honour of the person who inspires them -- their Inspiration.
During the ceremony before every tournament fight, the heralds call on both fighters to honour their Inspiration with the phrase "Salute the one for whom you fight his day".
A consort is generally of the opposite gender to the fighter and can be a romantic partner, a friend, or anyone whom the fighter wishes to honour. Typically, an Inspiration will honour the fighter with a favour. If both members of a couple fight, they can be each others' Inspiration. In Crown Tournament rules, only one fighter may fight for each Inspiration and this practice has been generally applied to all tournaments.
See also: Consort
Subject: Re: [antir-fighters] Honour Inspiration etc.....
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 12:46:43 -0800 (PST)
From: Karen Kidd <[address removed to protect privacy]>
To: Tir Fighters List
Forgive me for giving y'all this story second hand but . . .
Aleyn the Younger told me he didn't understand the idea behind having an inspiration until he fought for his first consort. In those days (those of you who know Aleyn know he has played this game rather a long time), you got your consort when you arrived. Aleyn said he was new to fighting and this idea of an inspiration was rather alien. All she would do is watch him fight, there was no promise at all of anything else. But he had to have a consort. So he chose her from the crowd of ladies and she accepted him politely but with little apparent enthusiasm.
However, just before he went into the eric, he said she lay her hands lightly on his shoulders, looked deeply into his eyes and told him to go in and fight valiantly (or like such words). She did nothing else. But the effect, he said, was instantaneous. He said he felt like he was walking about four feet above the ground, his armor suddenly was weightless and he felt fraggin' invincible. So he went into the eric and got his arse kicked.
K, so he didn't win. But he said, from that moment on, he understood.
I am, however, inclined to think it must be different for each fighter and each consort. Aleyn told me the above well before I watched my own consort fight for me the first time. On that occasion, I tried a variation of the above and . . . nope, didn't work the same way. Quite honestly, I'm not sure how I inspire him (seems to me all I do is stand, watch and send good thoughts his way). He tells me I do inspire him, so I know he understands. And that seems to be enough.
And he inspires me, too.
Y'all take care.
Consort to HL Sgt. Thomas Sinclair
(A "keeper" posting from the Steps, posted Dec 2005.)
> as someone who rarely has inspiration its hard to come up with a lady who wants to be such. if one does?
This, and most of what you say below, I think would be solved quite well by making sure we all spend more time around each other. This is where smaller local groups come in handy. When I first started in the SCA, in Ealdormere, Baronies were usually divided into smaller cantons. These cantons ran events, held meetings and practices. The Baronies also did these things, but far less frequently, and most people considered their canton their home group. Meetings and practices were often held together in the same hall, on the same evening, so we all saw each other on a weekly basis, regardless of our areas of interest.
This was especially useful for fighters looking for inspirations, as most of the fighters then were not romantically attached to anyone. There were probably at least two dozen fighters, so you can imagine how many were inspiration-less. Several of them, however, were at least good enough fighters to enter Coronet (we were still a Principality then), which meant they HAD to have one, at least some of the time. Luckily, since we all spent so much time in each other’s company, most of them didn’t seem to have too much trouble finding someone there to ask who they could be certain would be a decent princess. And also because we all knew each other, it was much easier to be clear as to the exact nature and limit of that relationship. Here, we’ll all just have to get more creative. :)
> she may think its more than just that.. or that's the worry of some of the more comely guys/women on both sides of the equation. asking around for inspiration is like asking around for a date and rejection is not easy for some to deal with
Hmmmmm... yes, it IS rather like asking for a date, isn’t it? If you are asking for specific suggestions, I suppose I can only suggest that when they ask, they make it very clear in the request what they are asking. For instance, if they just need an inspiration for the day, approach the lady, praise whatever it is about that lady they deem inspiring (I’m sure it will be possible to come up with SOMEthing, or else why would they be asking her?) and then tell her that they need an inspiration for *that day’s tourney*, and would she be willing to do them the honour of fighting in her name *that day*.
Essentially, stress the 'that day' part, so it’s clear that next event they may be asking someone else, and she should not feel slighted by that. Or pressured into more of a relationship than she wants, for that matter.
As to who to ask, households are a good source of potential inspiration so long as the household is not entirely made up of fighters and their ladies. If they are, perhaps they could ask the lady of a friend if she knows someone who may be willing, maybe even ask the friend’s lady to approach the potential inspiration first. Or ask a friend in a different household if there are any ladies in his household who may be willing to serve as inspiration.
The local Baroness would probably be helpful too, if the fighter is comfortable asking her for advice. I also know of several squires who have fought for their knight's lady in ordinary tourneys (Champion tourney, tourneys of love, etc.)and even in Crown/Coronet tourneys. I imagine the same could be done with any type of peer the fighter looks to. Or they could fight for their peer's daughter, or a fellow squire/apprentice/protege.
Believe it or not, I don’t think you could fail to find someone. I understand we women outnumber you men in the general SCA population. Many of us do not have partners. Some of us who do, have lords who do not, or cannot fight.
I realize that the above is a situation that can be delicate. Not all men are quite comfortable under those circumstances on either side. If the fighter in question thinks the lady would be a fine inspiration, he can always ask the lady’s lord first to make sure it would not be taken ill by him, and to assure her that no other sort of relationship is being asked for.
If they are especially worried about people thinking there may be something romantic or sexual implied by the request, they may consider asking someone who is clearly not a likely candidate for that sort of relationship with them. A lady of obviously far greater years than the fighter is an idea (I’m thinking 'old enough to be his mother' here). Someone on this thread mentioned fighting for the 3-year-old daughter of a friend. A friend of mine in Ealdormere has been on the thrones 5 times as Prince or King and at least once he fought for a household sister, and another time for one of his squires (they suspended the knight-squire relationship for the duration of their heirship and reign). The last crown tourney he fought in was not for his lady wife either, I think.
I think many fighters would be surprised at how delighted most of us would be to have someone fight for us in a tourney, regardless of what kind of tourney. Most of us rarely, or never get asked. I’ve been playing for 10 years. I have been asked precisely once. He was a household brother who would not fight without an inspiration, so he asked each of his sisters in turn over the course of several tourneys. It was delightful. I know ladies who have been in the SCA much longer than I, who have done much more for the SCA who have NEVER been fought for.
> you have to realize how difficult it can be for a guy to find a lady to fight for. (easier for the lady fighters)there is too much inferred duty to the relationship which is looked upon as very serious by both sides.
There is that. I admit I would be uncomfortable allowing a lord I did not know to fight for me. I have no idea if he is honourable or not, though I usually assume they are until they prove otherwise. Likewise, the fighter has no idea if I am worthy of honour. But that is also a problem that may be solved by going through a friend’s lady, or household. Even if you don’t know the lady so well, there’s someone you know who does. I’m beginning to think an inspiration matchmaker might not be a bad plan. Hmmmmmmmmmm... ;)
> the lack of information and standardization means being an inspiration means different things to each gender.
This is why I like the idea of a tourney where there is a ladies gallery of women willing to be fought for, or one where the fighters must pair up, or be paired up with an artisan or merchant or bard or something. There is no implied relationship beyond that day. And there is also no reflection of honour or dishonour upon each other, beyond that day. The terms of the relationship are clearly laid out ahead of time.
Hope this helps.