Friday, August 7, 2015

A Call to Arms - Mayerling

The View from Valehaven is pleased to announce the start of a new feature series, A Call to Arms, the aim of which is to showcase the different heraldries in the Realms. Every group and many organizations, guilds, and individuals have distinctive and different heraldries, and sometimes the outsider can't help but wonder what those heraldries mean to the people who bear them - what does the heraldry represent? How did it come to be? What is the story behind it? And so started the idea for this series. It is our hope at the View that we can all learn a bit more about each other, our game, and our history along the way. 
[Editor's note: if you are interested in submitting an individual, nation, guild, or group heraldry for the series, please email Jen ( or any other View staff member]


by Carol "Charwindle" Eddy

Image courtesy of Carol Eddy

1) What does this heraldry currently represent?

2) Please describe your heraldry for us.
The Mayerling heraldry consists of a black, double-headed imperial dragon on a red field.  Both heads of the dragon are crowned, surmounted by a third, imperial crown upon a blue ribbon.  The Dragon has two heads, representing the original union of the House of Fae and the Brotherhood of Man, when Dane the Great married Yana Zhenyavich and became the first king of Mayerling.  The two crowns refer to King of Alrasia (human/fae) and King of Eridras (elven), both titles held by the descendents of Dane.  The Imperial Crown represents dominion over the Mayerling Empire as a whole.

The dragon wears the chain of office of the Archknight of the Knights of St. Steven.  In its right claw, it clutches a sword and scepter; in its left, a globus cruciger.  The sovereign orb represents the rule of Mayerling over the entirety of our home plane.  The sword and scepter represent our encouragement of mastery over both sword and sorcery.

The central shield bears the personal arms of Dane's Line: a gold shield belted in red.  On the left, a red unicorn rampant.  On the right, three white dragons on a red band.  The colloquial phrase to describe this coat of arms is “The belt of the Hunter, who chases the unicorn across the night sky.”

The primary color of the Mayerling heraldry is red.  Its secondary colors are black and gold.

3) Give us some background. How did your heraldry come to be? Who or what created it?
This heraldry predates the existence of Mayerling in Realms.  It was created on a whim and entirely by surprise by Sheri (Koshka), who showed it to me (Char) to my utter delight.  We made ourselves tabards, went to the local Ren Faire, and then remembered that boff practice at UConn we attended one summer some seven years before.  Therefore, when we came to the Realms, Mayerling and her heraldry already existed – and came with us.

4) Why was this heraldry chosen to represent you? What is the symbolism behind it? What was the inspiration behind the design?
The heraldry was inspired by my well-known and oft-broadcast love of all things Austrian, and is, essentially, a fantasy iteration of the coat of arms of Cisleithania in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

At our first event, Koskha and I were naturally asked what nation we were from – as we sported this as-yet unseen heraldry.  We looked at each other blankly, having not prepared for this moment in the least, only for us both to declare in simultaneity, “Mayerling!” - and thus it became canon.  It didn't hurt that Mayerling has a powerful historical tradition, which we have done our best to embrace, in addition to existing fully-formed in our shared imagination as a fantastical empire from years past that has long ago fallen into ruin.  We are writers as well, understand, and there is more than one manuscript and tabletop campaign that has rampaged across Mayerling's terrain.  I suppose, in its own way, this heraldry has always existed... and it is we who represent it, rather than the other way around.

At least, that's the way Char sees it.

5) How long has the heraldry been in the game? Has it changed at any time since it was first created?
Mayerling first appeared in 2011, and this is the heraldry we've used from the start.  You will occasionally observe the dragons on a belt favor, sans accoutrements.

6) What do you hope seeing this heraldry means to the rest of the Realms?
“I'm going to get shot.”

In all seriousness:
Mayerling takes a lot of pride in the work of our own hands – in being able to put our minds to any creative/crafting task and not only to succeed, but to make something truly worthy of remembrance.  I am reminded of this questionably laudable tendency every time I try to replicate this ridiculously complicated heraldry on a shield, piece of armor, flag, drawing, letter, cloak...

We're just ordinary, but with a passion.  I hope it inspires people, someway, somehow, to pick up the awl and the paintbrush themselves and give it all a try, for themselves.  That's the beginning and the end of it.  I hope it inspires.

Photo by Matt Norris, courtesy of Carol Eddy

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