BARONY-MARCHE OF DEBATABLE LANDS, ÆTHELMEARC — To a certain group of women in the SCA, status is everything. These women all run in the same circles. Their significant others attend the same tournaments, they attend the same Laurel meetings, and, in the summer, they all head to Pennsic, an event that embodies a complete concentration of SCA power and privilege. This year will be no exception, but the star power of these medieval luminaries will, for the first time, be showcased for the modern world; Pennsic 50 will play host to a Bravo camera crew, there to film a new, exciting series: The Real Duchesses of Pennsic.
The franchise, which follows the supposedly-real housewives from such centers of wealth as Orange County, California, and New York City, takes a look at another privileged group of women known for displaying their big personalities, luxurious garb, and elaborate camps. Among them are the spouses and girlfriends of multiple-tournament winners, shameless rhino-hiders, and knights made good. The cast is varied, but not particularly diverse; they are made up of five attractive, straight, white women from five kingdoms within the Knowne World.
The SCAllion asked. Find out how the other half lives:
Her Grace, Duchess Adolana of Strasbourg, former Queen of Ealdormere
Bio: A two-time queen of the kingdom of Ealdormere in its early days, this formidable dowager is a much beloved institution within the hearts of the loyal populace. Although seemingly graceful and generous during the hot Pennsic days, word has reached The SCAllion that she lets her inner wild-child out to play during the nights.
Tagline: “In the politics of SCA royal peerages, I always win the popular vote.”
Her Grace, Duchess Pierozza Parmesini of Calontir
Bio: Fresh off the progress of her second reign, Duchess Pierozza is known as much for her beauty as her penchant for non-persona garb. She might look Norse, but when it comes to the Pennsic social scene, she embodies the intrigue and glamor of the Italian renaissance.
Tagline: “I’m not just a fighter’s lady with a taste for somewhat appropriative summertime garb – I’m a legend.”
Her Grace, Duchess Sandrine Babiloine of Atenveldt
Bio: A three time queen who has ruled alongside three different kings, Duchess Sandrine causes a stir at every event she attends. It’s rumored that she’s going to be on the lookout for her next King ahead of Atenveldt’s summer crown tournament in late September. She has been overheard saying, “All those other inspirations better lock up their fighters!”
Tagline: “I have a taste for power and power has a taste for me.”
Her Excellency Countess Sile inghen Connoghor of the Outlands
Bio: Although she has only been queen once, Countess Sile runs with the other duchesses on the strength of her rigid control over her kingdom’s Laurel community. Under her influence, the Laurels of the Outlands have admitted only three people to their ranks in the last decade. Though many complaints about the Countess’ sway have emerged over the years, she takes it all in stride and does not let it bother her.
Tagline: “I never feel guilty about preserving our integrity; we don’t let in just anybody. If being a gatekeeper is so wrong, why does it feel so right?”
Her Grace, Duchess Johanna ffeyrmayden of Æthelmearc
Bio: Celebrated as the uncrowned queen of Pennsic since she debuted in the royal role over five years ago. Partying with this duchess at Pennsic is considered to be a sign that a member of the populace has arrived, socially. Always fun, always where the mead is, and always ready to jump into a Bardic circle with original songs, sensation and scandal follow wherever Duchess Johanna goes.
Tagline: “Pennsic is my playground and when evening arrives, I’m the real King of the Castle.”
Although Duchess Adolana was almost certainly recruited due to her connections to other royal peers throughout the Knowne World, the same sense of grace is not usually attributed to the other Duchesses. One can hardly forget about the amateur adult film that was released online following Pennsic 42. Although the performers could not be immediately identified, the Pennsic site and the royal regalia they wore was more than enough to reveal the lackluster performers were then-King Adalbret Clobeloch and his queen, Duchess Sandrine. While Adalbret earned an R&D over the incident, Duchess Sandrine had, by that time, moved on to her current paramour, Duke Thebald Valret, who is said to have exercised his influence to help her evade any society-imposed consequences.
Duchesses Johanna and Pierozza are also no strangers to controversy stirred up at Pennsic. The entire site was inundated with gossip after a seemingly private conversation was leaked. The topic of the leaked gossip was Countess Sile, the duchesses’ remarks on her lower title, her allegedly inauthentic garb, and her inability to admit anybody lacking at least one PhD into her kingdom’s broken branch of the Order of the Laurel. Though news of this gossip mildly offended the Countess, it was their harsh commentary of her oft-performed free-verse poem, entitled “Healing”, that she performs at every bardic circle she comes across, that ended up transforming the countess into the Drama Queen. Duchess Pierozza was overheard to remark, “That poem is not even remotely medieval in subject, language, or form. I’m pretty sure she wrote it in therapy.”
“No shit – and talk about cringy,” Duchess Johanna is said to have responded, “No need for firewood! The fire could be fuelled entirely by second-hand embarrassment. I feel sorry for her.”
Although the two deny it, they are credited with referring to the poem, which lasts for approximately 15 agonizing, soul-crushing minutes, as “the universally recognized death-throes of the bardic circle.”
It is reported that Countess Sile had her revenge when the QR code for Duchess Johanna’s previously private OnlyFans elbow-fetish site was painstakingly painted onto the portajohns. “F*ck with a Laurel, will they?!?” Countess Sile was purportedly heard to mutter, “I can paint detailed, photorealistic QR codes IN MY SLEEP!”
Given the established notoriety these Duchesses have earned at past Pennsic Wars, The SCAllion looks forward to seeing how they plan to top their current reputations.