You've begun asking questions about the Dark Horde. We want to answer those
questions. We believe that the path we have chosen is the best path for us,
and would welcome anyone who wants to follow it with us. However, we are honor
bound to be sure that your knowledge of us is complete before you make such a
move, and that the union is not formed under mistaken or false assumptions
that may later tear us asunder. The proper time to correct a mistake is
before, not after it is made. Some questions frequently asked by others
may be in your mind, too.
NO! The Dark Horde has passed thru many lands (and many times) in it's
many generations of wandering the continent, and in so doing has acquired
many new members. The rights of the individual are sacred to us, and the
traditions of many peoples and cultures have been preserved in the father to
son (and mother to daughter) lines, with no stigma attached to those who are
not of Mongol heritage. We are concerned about the quality not the
quantity of our members, and accept members without regard to race,
creed, color, sex, social class, or century of origin.
NO, on two levels: In period Medieval terms, we have long enjoyed a nomadic
existence, and have no desire to take land we cannot and do not wish to hold.
Most of our ancestors joined the Horde as an alternative to stagnating in one
land or culture, seeking instead the freedom and adventure of eternal
wandering and exploration.
On a level of the Current Middle Ages of the SCA, the Western Europeans are
the mainstay of the SCA, and provide the foil against which we exercise. If
all those swearing allegance to the Kingdoms either quit or joined the Horde,
the entire format of the Society would be changed, not for the better, and the
original Dream lost forever. More importantly, if we embarrass, demean or in
any other way drag down the Kingdoms, we will in all likelihood be dragged
down with them. Our goal is to elevate the existing structure by providing
competition. We seek to improve, not destroy.
Just as there is another side to a coin, so there is another side to the
happy, carefree-outlaw image which we project. Because of the fraternal
structure of the Horde, not only do we rally to one another, but we must be
careful to protect one another. In the mundane world, anyone who is
"different" has a hard time. In the SCA, we are the different ones ... for more
reasons than just being non-Western European.
Because we project an image of unanimity, whatever one brother does is
taken to be stereotypical of the Horde as a whole. This simply means that each
Hordesman must be on his best behaviour at all times; if one slips or
blunders, the entire Horde is tarred with that brush....and there are those
who watch us carefully, waiting for just such a slip or breach of etiquette.
Well....they both talk about honor a lot, so it can't be that.
They also talk about Brotherhood a lot, so it can't be that either.
They both have bureaucracies (pfphth!) -more and more as time goes on-, so
there's no difference there.
Vague, general terms such as "honor," "brotherhood," "democracy" and the
like are not very good for describing practical differences anyway, because
each of us has his or her own definition of the terms, many times
incompatible with many others'. So ..... we're back to the question;
pragmatically speaking, "What is the difference between the Horde and
The Kingdoms are based on a generic western European medieval court
situation, landbound, culturebound, not readily able (or, in far too many cases,
willing) to interact with or incorporate members of outlying cultures - the
Norse, the Samurai, Romani, Islam and other odds 'n' ends.
The Horde is based on an early nomadic culture which stressed independence,
mobility, flexibility, and a frantic desire to keep basically incompatible
clans busy killing outsiders rather than each other. Although in their own way
almost as culturebound as the Europeans, they did not insist that conquered
peoples adopt their culture, but allowed them to retain their own. They
observed, and learned from, these cultures.
One major surface difference between us and them is the way
in which our respective leaders are chosen. In each Kingdom, the reigning
Monarch and his or her Consort are selected at a Crown Tourney by "right of
arms" ..... in other words, whoever is the biggest, baddest sumbich in the
valley that day gets to rule the Kingdom for six months or so. In the Horde,
the KaKhan is selected annually by vote of the Kuraltai - where all
Hordesmen have voice and vote. In this, each group pretty much follows their
own historical interests and leanings.
"Know, O Seeker, that to ride with the Dark Horde is an honor and a burden ..... such a burden
that even the strongest might quail on feeling its weight. Few are called ..... and fewer are chosen."