"Take a deep breath, grasp your temper firmly in both hands, and read," Filfaeril said sunnily. "And try to understand and remember it, too, because I'll be asking you a question or two about it, later in the day."
"Fee," Azoun asked plaintively, "why are you doing this? Can't I just . . ."
"Go kill something? Wring my neck? Father another --"
"Very good, very good, very good!" the King of all Cormyr said hastily, almost snatching the parchment from under Filfaeril's sweet smile. "Slaver," he added, under his breath.
"Barbarian," she responded fondly, kissing him.
The document resumes:
No action on our part but to forward reports of performance to Master of the Rolls.
Hereafter events vary from visit to visit according to the specifics of the itinerary, but a typical roster appears here, numbered continuously with the preceding steps so as to communicate the usual sequence of happenings. Inquiries to the Clerk of Protocol and Court Heralds as to the arrangement of all of the following steps in a given visit should ensure that major diplomatic disasters are avoided.
This will always involve a ceremony, either on the docks or at a suitable square or waymoot, with fanfares and/or speeches of welcome.
Thereafter will follow a parade and/or escorted procession (parade and/or escorted conveyance to a royal residence).
The amount of pomp and ceremony varies with the visitor's wishes, security concerns, place of arrival (grand procession from the docks of Suzail, yes -- grand procession from the docks to the waiting citadel in the naval base at Marsember, no -- accompinent by honor guard, probably yes).
4. Presentation to the Court
The usually occurs on the same day as Arrival unless travel or health of visiting personages require otherwise. Presentation involves a full, formal court ceremony with speeches, possible exchange of gifts, and welcoming by The Crown.
5. State Feast
The feast is usually held the evening of the same day as the Presentation. All preparations for the feast are the same as for the Presentation, with the addition of the Royal Kitchens and Servers, who must adhere to the itinerary.
6. Protocol Meeting
Usually occurs the during the night or early morning immediately following the State Feast. The ame court officers are involved as in the Presentation, hosting (in private) outland envoys of the visiting personage.
7. Royal Audience
The audience is usually held after highsunfeast on the day following the State Feast. The audience is a relaxed, private discussion between The Crown or Regent and visiting personages.
The evening revel should occur the same day as the Royal Audience when possible, with private in-chamber dining, rest, and bathing for visiting personage between if necessary. Only a select list of guests is invited.
Reception consists of drinks, conversation afoot, and light entertainment (minstrelry in gallery) with the aim of encouraging friendly mingling between visitors and the court.
Filfaeril's arm is sure to be removed from around Azoun's neck momentarily, so let's see what they discover about this mysterious, secret passage in our next installment.
1. The Master of the Rolls is the archivist of the Royal Court (a role performed in the Palace by the Scribes Royal). For an example of such a proclamation, see the opening scene of the short story "The Long Road Home" in The Best of the Realms Book II: The Stories of Ed Greenwood, published by Wizards of the Coast in 2005.
Those unfamiliar with Cormyr are advised that the Royal Palace and the Royal Court are two different buildings in Suzail. The Palace stands in the Royal Gardens, north of the Court, with "Lake Azoun" between them. It sits "behind" the Royal Court, which largely hides it from public view. The Royal Court is a vast, sprawling series of connected buildings where most courtiers work and many live. It is all that most Cormyreans see of what's colloquially known as "the Court," meaning functions where well-dressed folk appear before or socially meet the monarch or court functionaries, or face justice.
2. "Protocol of extreme discretion" can be bluntly translated as "spying." This generally involves full concealment and several disguised watchers with backup and magical oversight from the War Wizard. The sites for functions requiring this protocol are chosen, whenever possible, from among those that have ready access via secret passages, spyholes, and the like.
About the Author
Ed Greenwood is the man who unleashed the Forgotten Realms on an unsuspecting world. He works in libraries, writes fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, and even romance stories (sometimes all in the same novel), but he is still happiest churning out Realmslore, Realmslore, and more Realmslore. There are still a few rooms in his house with space left to pile up papers in . . .
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