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Why a Dragonfly?

by Aelfric Frithariksson
Introduction and notes by Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno)
Orignally published in the January 1983, A.S. XVII issue of the Dragonflyre, a publication of the Barony of Vatavia. It was republished in the April, 2000, A.S. XXXIV issue of the Dragonflyre with the following introduction and notes.

At a Birthday Bash a few years back, Her Majesty had called me up in court to ask the above question. After noting surprising as it may seem I was not there, I gave a brief answer. But I knew that there was a better answer. Digging around in the archives, I found the article below. (I do not always know the answer, but I usually know where to find it.)

A few years ago in south Wichita, a small band of friends met to debate the fate of an organization which some of them had introduced to the area. The city, they were told would henceforth be known as V’tavia, after the Voltav, a Czechoslovak river of prodigious lineage; being a contradiction of Voltavia, land of the Voltav, the fabulous homeland of Humpk d’Bohun.

Then began a long discussion of what would serve to represent V’tavia. Of the gentles present: a bearded and stern appearing Humpk d’Bohun, Bellpheobe, (mundanely known as Teddy Stranski), a young, beardless Cire Greymoor el-Akrab, the beauteous Annabelle, (now called Mammara Leone), and a bemused and uncertain new herald, (who did not know enough not to call himself a herald yet), all put forward suggestions, none of which were accepted for reason or another. As the night wore on, ideas became increasingly frivolous, (a garden-slug rampant sticks in my mind), until a dragonfly was suggested, also as a jest. The idea was leapt upon; and as the conference broke up, the young, (and sometimes foolish), pursuivant heard the legendary command: “Handle it!”

So, with the collaboration of all of those named, I undertook to design the Dragonfly banner. Its blazon when I completed it read: “Azure, a laurel wreath Or, bound in base by a ribbon Ermine, two stalks of wheat proper, depending there from, within, a dragonfly (DIPAX ELISA) displayed, Or.” In my mind, (and some of the others agree with me), there are a number of symbolic connections in this device. The background is blue, as are the natural realms of the dragonfly: water and air. The wreath is required by the S.C.A. on all devices submitted for landed territories. Gold was chosen as the color of wealth, of hopeful sunsets, of the fields in harvest. The wheat represents the abundance we enjoy in V’tavia. The final symbol, the ermine ribbon, signifies the fur trade on which our city was founded long ago.

The dragonfly was chosen for a number of reasons. It is common along the rivers and waterways of V’tavia; its very nature ties it to the water. It is seldom at rest, always darting hither an thither though the air: uniting in itself the concept of air and water. I feel that the rivers which flow through our fair city contribute more to the character of the city than any other factor, water; where the dragonfly’s life begins (as did Wichita’s). The restless, never ceasing wind of the plains is also characteristic of V’tavia. It contributes to our health and shapes the economic destiny of our city: this city known as the “Air Capitol” of the world. Air, the natural environment of the dragonfly, is where captures all its prey, mates, and often rests floating on a warm wind. In the water, dragonfly nymphs dominated the minute world of water insects, sometimes even catching and devouring minnows twice its own size. In the air, it preys on every insect pest, destroying them by the thousands. The dragonfly is an apt representation of the strength and courage of V’tavia. Yet, its grace and gossamer shimmering beauty presage the glory of V’tavia and her art’s.

It was one of the most unpleasant duties of my term as pursuivant to announce, several years ago, that this device, of which we were so pleased and proud, had failed to pass the Laurel King of Arms.

Sar Ann informed me, over the holiday season, that Graidhne, the Dragon Herald, contacted Bns. Mammara to tell her that there had been an error. So, it is now my pleasure to inform the populace that the device of V’tavia has passed, and is now legal for use in the Society for Creative Anachronisms, Inc.

Together in the Dream:
Aelfric Frithariksson
(Dragonflyre, January 1983)

 

Note: The problem referred to above was that the device conflicted with Duke Sir Andrew of Seldom Rest. While he had graciously allowed the conflict, the appropriate paperwork was misplaced.

Another Note: As usual at this event I was again asked about the founding date. I arbitrary placed the founding of Vatavia as May 1, 1978 as the true date is forgotten but occurred about that time. On March 8, 1981 the Board of Directors granted baronial status to Vatavia. The first baronial court occurred on April 5, though William and Mammara were not invested as Baron and Baroness till June 13 at the Second Ansterreoa-Middle Kingdom War (better known as the Chigger War). So why is the Bash held in July? The first such event was entitled: “Baron’s Birthday Bash”.

 

Copyright © 1983 - present Aelfric Frithariksson and His Lordship Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno). All rights reserved.

 

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