The Bellowing Breeze
THL Njall Olaf Hagerson
The Art of War!
As you are sitting down to read this, no doubt the Yule log is burning in the fireplace and you are looking forward to Twelfth Night. After that, the new tourney season starts and war looms on our Eastern horizon. This month, my thoughts turn to the role of heralds at war. While heraldry isn’t a war point and we won’t have dueling heralds across the field, heralds do play an important role at war.
First off, wars are run on volunteer power. Being a herald at war is one of easier ways to put in your volunteer hours. Most shifts out of Heralds’ Point are done in short blocks of time. Also, doing the camp cries is a good way to see the war site and meet new people. Camp cries are normally done before and after the midday activities, thus leaving you lots of time to do other things at the war. Last, for many baronies and shires, war is a major fundraiser. Besides helping the war to happen, your volunteer hours can earn money for your local group.
Now that I have everyone primed to do camp cries at war, maybe I should tell you how they are done…
Wars are big and crowded affairs that test a herald’s ability to make them selves heard. The war herald must deal with a hundred other site noises while making his/her call. The soft walls of all the tents absorb the sound of a herald’s voice. So with that in mind, here are some suggestions to the war herald.
First, use the site layout to your advantage. Don’t herald while facing a group of tents. Rather, face down the road or aisle. The roads on site will tend to channel your voice, so long as you work with them. If you face into camps, then herald-eating pavilions will absorb your voice.
Second, find out how far your voice can go and still be understood. After you make your first cry, walk down the road asking at camps if they could hear and understand your last announcement. Find the point at which they could hear you, but not understand what you where saying. This is the point to do your second cry. Repeat the cry at this same distance, until your entire area is covered. This will make sure everyone heard you and give you some overlap.
Last, pace yourself and take plenty of fluids. You will need to cry each set of announcements many times. Take your time between cries and each set of announcements to give your voice a chance to rest. While walking to the next location take a sip of water, even if you are not thirsty. Also, while doing a set of announcements, be sure to take time for a couple of breaths between each announcement on the sheet. If you get out of breath, you will start to shout rather then project, and that will strain your voice and shorten your time as an effective herald.
Next month, the tourney season will be in full swing. I have seen a number of new faces taking offices as regional heralds. Next month’s topic will be how to set-up and run the field heraldry at an event.