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Reflections on Coronation
Reflections on the Coronation of Stephan and Niobe
On as fine a day as one might hope for the last day of winter ere it became
spring, a goodly company gathered in Caer Mear, one of Atlantia's oldest
Baronies, to witness the close of the reign of Their Majesties Anton and
Luned, and the commencement of the reign of Their Majesties Stephan and Niobe.
The usual confusion attended our own making ready, but in due course we
entered the hall for Anton and Luned's last Court.
Many indeed are the courts I have witnessed, but I cannot recall when last
there was one in so noble a hall as this, with a tall vaulted ceiling and
heraldic banners hanging from the walls. Anton and Luned held their final
Court with dignity and grace, creating several Peers, bestowing awards, and
dismissing their royal retainers before thanking the Kingdom for the support
and loyalty they had felt during their time on the thrones. Then, in accord
with the custom frequently practiced, they called the Four Principals (of the
Chivalry, the Laurel, the Pelican, and the Rose) forth to safeguard the royal
regalia and divested themselves of it, exiting the hall in ducal estate, with
the quiet and easy dignity which has aye been their way. I salute them and
wish them well.
There was a musical interlude as the Populace awaited the arrival of Their
Royal Highnesses. Then, accompanied by music which I believe was composed for
the occasion, Stephan and Niobe entered the hall. Accepting the bows of all
with quiet grace, they arrived at the front of the hall and, according to
custom, assumed the marks of their new rank, Stephan first donning his own
crown, then crowning Niobe, and so took possession of their Realm. Then came
some of the most inspiring words I have heard from the mouth of royals, as
Their Majesties pledged their loyalty to the Kingdom and to the very ideals of
chivalry and courtesy. Twice, ere they accepted the service of their Guard
and of their Champion, Their Majesties asked the consorts of those chosen if
it was their will to have their consorts in royal service. This was an act of
courtesy I had never before seen. Their Majesties' style is quite different
from Anton and Luned's. It is interesting to see the contrast.
Soon after, there was martial exercise aplenty in the Lists and on the archery
ground. Never at an event smaller than a War have I seen so extensive an
archery setup as I saw as I stood on the brow of the hill where stood the
tourney area and looked over the archery ground, whereon were erected many
courses in which the archers might test their skill. The Lists were set up in
noble form, surrounded by fine pavilions adorned with all manner of fine
furnishing and trappings of gentle hospitality. First came the light-weapons
exercises, wherein some score of the practitioners of that nimble art showed
their skill and daring for the entertainment of Their Majesties and all who
observed. At one point, a melee drew to a close with six or seven standing on
one side, and but one on the other; I regret I do not recall his name.
Bravely and with great spirit did this gentle face his many opponents ere he
was trapped and pincushioned. His spirit so impressed Her Majesty that she
singled him out for praise, calling on him to choose from among the other side
to face in single combat.
Then the heavy fighters took the field (by "heavy", I refer to their style of
fighting rather than their own dimensions, though despite what the King said
about the relative size of Ansteorran and Atlantian knights, some of our
knights yield neither in size nor skill to those of any other kingdom).
The tourney was in the form of a pas d'armes, in which challenges are issued
and the contestants acknowledge blows verbally to an agreed-upon number of
good blows, unless they chose to fight a outrance, in which case wounds were
retained . . . including those which would be fatal or disabling.
On one side of the lists were ranged fighters representing the "Nine
Worthies", warriors and leaders of legendary proportions from the Bible (Judas
Maccabeus, Joshua, and King David), classical times (Alexander the Great,
Hector of Troy, and Julius Caesar), and the chivalric tradition (Geoffrey de
Bouillon, Charlemagne, and Arthur). Each had a second, so near a score stood
on the western side of the barrier, and on the other stood near two score
challengers. In melee, in single combat, in two on two and three on three
these brave and noble warriors met over the barrier or in open lists, or in a
few instances, in a unique contest wherein two fighters grasped the barrier
with their shield hand and traded blows until three good ones were struck or
until one let go the barrier. One pair kept letting go simultaneously; the
instinct to raise a shield is strong!
To my knowledge, there were but few matches fought a outrance, and one of
these resulted in a dramatic scene wherein a fighter fell in the Lists and was
ceremonially carried out. Another fought the final melee on his knees,
retaining the wound he had sustained in another a outrance match.
At the end of the final melee, the Queen called all the fighters to her and
addressed them in the gentlest words, to the effect that at the beginning
there were the nine worthies and that the line between them and their
opponents became less and less distinct as the day went on until at the end,
all who took the Lists were accounted worthies. Long Live the Queen!
First Court was conducted in the List field, with Their Majesties flanked by
all the Landed Baronage of the Kingdom seated in state. Again Their Majesties
showed their courtesy and His Majesty especially showed his quick wit and
ready humor, engaging in some agile verbal sparring with a representative of
the Kingdom of Ansteorra concerning the size and skill of their and Atlantia's
warriors and the skill of their and our brewers. Also with grace and
generosity did His Majesty give prizes and gifts to those he accounted worthy.
Long Live the King!
My recollections end with that Court, for I was not able to remain for the
>From what I saw and heard, my earlier impressions of the gentility and
nobility of Their Majesties are confirmed and reinforced, and my admiration
for Their Graces Anton and Luned continues. As an Atlantian from her earliest
days as a Principality, I have aye been proud to wear the colours of Atlantia,
but it is with with especial pride and pleasure that I wore them during the
last reign and will wear them during this reign.
Vivat rex, vivat regina!
~Donal Mac Ruiseart
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