Regional Herald's Article:

What Happens After You Send in a Heraldic Submission?

Coblaith Mhuimhneach
Orbis Herald

You research your name, painstakingly draw your device, and put together a big, healthy submission packet to hand off to your branch herald. Then you wait. And wait. And wait some more. After a year or more, somebody says, "Congratulations!" or, "Sorry, bad news..." But what was going on in the mean time?

The registration process is obscure and mysterious to most submitters, and the reason it takes so long even more so. But it's really no big secret; just a long, involved process designed to ensure nothing is registered that shouldn't be.

First, when you give your branch herald your paperwork, (s)he goes over it and discusses with you any difficulties (s)he can see. This is your chance to correct anything that should be corrected before the waiting starts. Since problems that are identified later in the process will typically add months to the time it takes to get your submissions through to registration, this is a very important step. Once you've got the packet the way you want it, your branch herald forwards it to Asterisk Herald.

Asterisk Herald extracts certain information from your submission form (the name documentation summary, mention of any permissions to conflict you might have, details on the period and gender you want your name to reflect, the blazon you submitted for your armory, etc.) and adds them to an Internal Letter of Intent. This letter contains information on other submissions from around the kingdom, and is made available online in a couple of different formats and forwarded to Obelisk Herald for incorporation into the Ansteorran Gazette. If your packet gets to Asterisk before the 15th of the month, it will be in the next month's letter. If it arrives after, it will most likely go into the one after that.

The Internal Letter of Intent is considered by heralds within the Kingdom of Ansteorra and elsewhere. Their goal is to determine whether your items follow all of the Rules for Submissions. Several factors are taken into account, among them the degree of similarity between your items and items already protected by the College of Arms and the historical plausibility of your name and/or the period style of your armory. Suggestions may be made about improvements you could make. Additional citations may be submitted. Questions may be asked and answered. And the fine points of naming patterns and grammar in the language of your name or distinctive stylistic patterns in armory from your region (if that's relevant) may be discussed. The commentary period lasts until the 20th of the month following the one in which the letter was published. When it ends, Retarius Pursuivant gathers together comments made online, by e-mail, and on paper as Internal Collated Commentary.

A decision meeting is scheduled, usually in the month following that in which the commentary period ended. The ranking submissions heralds in the kingdom get together, go over the Internal Collated Commentary, hash out any problems that were identified, and decide whether your submission (and each of the others in the letter) needs to be returned for more work or is solid enough to be sent on to the sovereigns at arms. This decision is published (along with the Internal Collated Commentary that contributed to it) in the following month's Ansteorran Gazette, and the reasons for any returns are specified. If your submission is returned, you will also be sent a letter of notification by Arbalest Pursuivant.

If the kingdom decision is favorable, Bordure Herald will add your submission to a new document - a Letter of Intent. It will contain a refined version of the information that was in the Internal Letter of Intent, with any additional comments or citations considered relevant to the question of registration. The Letter of Intent will be made available to experienced heralds all over the Known World, who will have at least three months to comment on its contents. The process is very similar to in-kingdom commentary, but the pool of commenting heralds is different. It is made up of the members of the S.C.A. College of Arms, all of whom are experienced consultation heralds hand-picked for their expertise.

A decision meeting is scheduled, and your submission (along with others in Letters of Intent from several kingdoms) is considered by the sovereigns at arms. They make a final decision as to whether your items will be registered. The rulings made at the decision meeting are written up, with explanations for any returns as well as for any new precedents that might have been set. That write-up goes through two complete rounds of proofreading by several individuals including the sovereigns at arms and their staff - a process that may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. When everyone is convinced that there are no errors in the way things are worded, the information is released as a Letter of Acceptances and Returns. Obelisk Herald adds information on the dispensation of items submitted through Ansteorra in the next month's Ansteorran Gazette and Arbalest Pursuivant sends letters of notification to those who submitted them.

And there you have it: The marvelous journey of the heraldic submission. You can follow much of it online, or find out from your herald where in the process your items are at any given time. If you have questions about any of it, your branch herald can help you with those, too.

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