Order of Defense

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The Order of Defense is a Society-wide order. It is one of the four major peerages. Holders of this award are recognized for significant skills in rapier and/or cut and thrust combat.

Awarded by the Crown, the order bestows a Patent of Arms and the members are titled "Master" or "Mistress" or other ethnic or linguistic variation. In addition, they are entitled to wear a badge of (tinctureless) three rapiers in pall inverted tips crossed, on a white livery collar. Because this peerage was newly created in 2015, a common term for associates has not yet evolved in the Society. In the Avacal, the Masters of Defense have taken to calling their associates "Provosts" as that seems to be the most commonly used term, and marking them with a red livery collar.

The badge of the Order.

A listing of the on the Avacal Heraldic website.

The question has come up in conversations why the Masters of Defense have been swearing fealty to the Crown with their swords like they do, with the hilts presented to Their Majesties (usually the Queen) and the tips to their chests? I’ll attempt to give background on how this came to be.

When the Order of Defense was being created in Avacal the first three that were put on vigil (Rodrigo, William and Raoul) were charged by Their Majesties Albrecht and Nasheeta to prepare our ceremonies keeping in mind that we would be building the traditions of a new order. We discussed between ourselves and with the Crown ideas about what we would like to become part of the ceremony and how it would fit in with existing traditions.

One distinction we wanted to make for the Order of Defense is that it is a martial order. Like the Chivalry, it is skill on the field of combat that defines our peerage. As such we felt it would be symbolic of that martial nature to incorporate the swearing of oaths on our blades into our ceremony. King Albrecht pointed out that there is an important distinction with Knights in that they are required by Corpora to be in fealty to the Crown. Therefore their fealty is perpetual so there never is a time when they are not entitled to be armed before Their Majesties. Masters of Defense do not have that requirement (similar to Masters of Arms, Pelicans and Laurels) and therefore when a new King and Queen are crowned initially, the MoDs are not in fealty.

So the question was how can we incorporate the swearing of fealty on our blades while addressing the issue of not being in fealty when the blade is drawn? It was agreed that when the MoDs approach to swear fealty, they will present the hilts of their swords to the Crown. This allows us the symbol of the blade to establish the 'sword culture' of the order while ensuring no 'threat' of a weapon wielded in the presence of the Crown. It also serves as a distinction between the ring of steel the Knights present on swearing fealty.

I'm sure I am missing some of the nuances of the discussion at the time. Their Graces can correct me on any errors or omissions I have made. They worked very hard at the time to ensure that the new peerage would be started on strong ground with symbols and traditions that would establish it as a martial peerage order while honouring the traditions of the existing peerage orders and the distinct differences that are part of knighthood.