Caid - What if?
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"Caid - What if?" by Lachlan of Cromarty
Those who are avid science-fiction connoisseurs are familiar with the idea of "alternate realities"; that at every turning point in history, instead of one path, all possible paths are chosen. Our reality lies along one path, and we have "alternate selves" living in other, parallel universes.
Assuming such alternate realities exist, what do our alternate selves, enjoying the SCA in Southern California, call our home kingdom?
Undeniably, one alternate Caid is called, simply, "The Kingdom of the West". It is not too difficult to imagine a reality where the early baronies of Southern California had not desired to be an independent principality (at least, we who were not there at the time can imagine it). They would not have met at the Angels Tournament, October 1973 to discuss the matter. They would not have declared their unity as "The Principality of CAID" in April 1974. To paraphrase a comment on the American Revolutionary War, "If it weren't for the rebels, we'd be speaking 'Westie' right now!"
Interestingly enough, another possibility is that some of our alternate selves live in "The Kingdom of the Angels." As we have all been reminded recently, the Barony of the Angels was one of the very first baronies in the SCA. At the time of its creation, the SCA was struggling to define the entity called "a barony" and give it purpose. Some of the founders of the Angels believed, correctly, that creating a barony in the region was a step towards eventually becoming a principality and then a kingdom. However some believed, incorrectly, that the group would retain its identity upon becoming a principality. This mindset is illustrated by a document in the College of Herald's file for Angels -- a hand-written letter from Sarkanyi Gero to "His Excellency, The Lord Laurel, King at Arms" with a design for the first baronial arms. These were Argent, three seraphim proper. The letter continues, "Should this be acceptable and should the Barony become a kingdom, the crown can be placed in the middle with the lower seraph's wings folded down a bit to make room."
The founders could not have predicted that, long before the region would become a principality, the barony would be split into four. Even assuming that original plan had been remembered by this point, surely it would have been accepted by very few. When it came time to select a principality name, a different approach was tried... We learn the following from an annotation by William the Lucky found in "The History of Caid, A.S.VIII":
- Ah, yes, the naming of Caid ...
- There were four very proud, and very independent, baronies in the south of the kingdom. When An Tir became a Principality, nothing would do but they become one also. First (and aliments last) problem agree on a name. Each barony had a suggestion ... and would accept nothing else -- certainly not any suggestion from one of the other baronies.
Surely, had one of these suggestions been favored by the baronies at large, it would have been selected. We can imagine that four alternate-reality principalities were spawned by these suggestions.
But what were the names considered? The kingdom file includes three letters on the subject. The first is from Bevin Fraser of Sterling acting as seneschal of the Barony of the Angels to Karina of the Far West, Vesper Principal Herald of the West. It states:
- We have narrowed the likely names for the new Principality down to four...
- - Sunderland – English: Sundered land
- - Pacifica
- - Bitternland – German: Shaking land
- - Cibola – Spanish: legendary seven cities of gold
- Personally, I am only fond of the first, and Pacifica turns my stomach (sounds so commercial), but that is only my opinion.
Of course, typifying the division in this era, Karina had a different favorite. Her reply (dated March 13, 1974) states:
- Thank you for consulting us about the matter of the name of the new Principality. We do not like Sunderland very much. Pacifica would probably not be a very good idea, since the name is associated by many with the Pacifica Foundation (WBAI, KFFA and KPFK), and the Pacific Ocean covers a lot more coast than just your area. (If your idea was a pacifistic one, I wish you luck.) Bitternland may mean 'shaking land' in German but the first word makes one think of that clever wading beard that is soogood [sic] at camouflage. ... We like Cibola and you almost have seven cities already.
But before this advice could be followed, the big turning point took place -- one which is now part of the lore of this, our reality -- a meeting was held to resolve the dispute over the name. It was noted that the initials of the four baronies, in precedence order, spelled "A.C.I.D." While that acronym was generally considered inappropriate, an effort was made to discover what other words could be spelled with those letters. An Arabic dictionary offered the "Moorish-Spanish" word "Caid," meaning, "fortress, citadel, or castle". Bevin (now Principality Seneschal) wrote in reply to Karina:
- ...at the Tournament of Union held in the Barony of Dreiburgen April 20-21, the people of the new Principality acclaimed the name "Caid" for their choice ... His Majesty King Andrew of the West approved of the name and stated that it was acceptable so long as the College of Heralds has no objection.
And thus, the matter was settled!
Surely this was a tumultuous time in our history, full of debate and dispute. But in the end, a solution was found which honored and satisfied all the people of the region. This noble compromise helped create a unity and a peaceful reality enjoyed by us all. The familiar cry rings out across this realm:
Long live the Angels, no... Sunderland, no... Pacifica, no... Bitternland, no... Cibola, no...
Long Live CAID!
- I was not an eye witness to these events. Having pieced together the story from old records, I may have made an error or two. I hope you enjoyed the narrative, and pray you forgive my mistakes.
- In subsequent research I have discovered that Master Boncueur was responsible for finding the word "Caid", and thus gave the kingdom its name.