As many gentles are aware I did not wear my court barons’ coronet very often at events. This is because I did not want to appear that I was trying to impress people with my rank, especially in light of the fact that in Meridies, a court baron has only as much rank as an award of arms. Unfortunately, now that I am a territorial baron I am more or less required wear my coronet all the time. The habit of not wearing the coronet of a court baron did lead to some interesting incidents.
Several months after we were made baron and baroness of the court Isolde and I attended the Saltare Dance Colegium in the Shire of Misty Mere. Since she was an instructor, Isolde had been automatically pre-registered, but as her guest I had to sign in at the troll booth. When I went to register, the troll sitter automatically asked, "Who are you?"
The ball that evening was to have a Shakespearean theme and I was wearing my brown gothic hunting outfit at the time. One of the gentles loitering around troll said, "Isn't it obvious, he's King Henry V."
"Actually," I said, "It's Baron Finn Normansson."
At this, the wag who had called me Henry V became very diffident, apologizing profusely. "Forget it," I said, "I wasn't wearing my coronet and besides if I'm not excessively impressed with my rank so you shouldn't be either."
This habit of going incognito can backfire sometimes. At a Magna Faire in the Barony of Iron Mountain I made the acquaintance of a gentleman who had just moved back to Meridies after living several years in Eastrealm. We had a very pleasant conversation about wine and the differences between Eastrealm and Meridies and then parted.
When it came time for court we both entered the hall wearing a court barons' coronet! So much for fooling people all of the time.
Duchess Ilissa the Nightwatcher once told me an interesting story of stealth nobility: It seems that Duke Kane and Duchess Ilissa arrived at a Pennsic in the small hours of the morning. After driving all day they had only enough energy to set up their tent, unload their van, and collapse.
Just before 8:00 AM that morning the Ilissa was awakened to a peal of thunder. Knowing from previous experience that western Pennsylvania thunder storms can rival a Mississippi frog downer, Her Grace hastily threw on a tunic, which she cinched with a piece of white rope, and started to dash toward the parking lot to close the windows on their van.
About half way to the parking lot Ilissa woke up completely and realized that the site was in bright morning sunshine and the storm was on the far horizon and moving away. Feeling somewhat chagrined Ilissa turned around and began to walk back to her tent. On her way a vision in full Tudor garb appeared from a nearby tent. As she came even with the Mistress in Tudor, the woman said sharply, "You're not a knight!"
Ilissa stopped short and asked, "What?"
"You're not a knight!", the peer repeated, "You have no right to be wearing a white belt!"
"Perhaps," explained Ilissa, "But there is one occasion in the Society when anyone can wear a white belt: in an emergency."
"You have to be the rudest person I've ever met," the woman scolded Ilissa. Then, spotting Ilissas' green sash which had been around the tunic she had thrown on, the peer asked, "Are you an apprentice?"
"Yes," Ilissa replied, all diffidence.
"What is your name?" the woman wanted to know.
"Ilissa," Her Grace replied shyly as if awed by the presence of the peer. After that the woman in Tudor dismissed Ilissa, who returned to her tent.
The bomb that Her Grace had planted went off several months later. According to a Laurel from the eastern end of the Kingdom, he had been attending an event in Atlantia when he made the acquaintance of a non-Meridian peer. The woman told him of a rude apprentice from Meridies she had met at Pennsic, and who identified herself as Ilissa.
"Ilissa?" the Meridian Laurel said, "Oh you must mean Duchess Ilissa."
One can only imagine the scene when the Mistress realized that the lowly apprentice she had scolded at Pennsic that year was really a Royal Peer!