Rain brings life to seeds, letting them grow to their full potential. Thus, it seems fitting that Caid’s Crown Tournament and Coronation on Saturday were held under intermittent rain showers. That rain woke the seeds of hope, kindness, and unity that had been planted during the past weeks by many throughout the Kingdom as we began the work of reconnecting and rebuilding.
On Saturday morning, there was no more time for planning, logistics, and what ifs. A curtain time of sorts had come. The people of Caid filled the Royal pavilion, but before the tournament began, we stopped and sang. Led by Thegn Domhnall, we all sang a piece he and his lady had written a decade ago titled “By Our Honor (You Will Know Us).” It was a beautiful reminder that the Kingdom is built on the contributions of many people and their diverse talents. There were not many dry eyes in the audience.
Then the entrants in the tournament knelt before the empty thrones and swore fealty to the Kingdom. Many of the fighters were knights and seasoned warriors, but there were others who had not fought in a Crown Tournament before. They had entered, not only to honor their consorts, but also to show that support for the Kingdom existed in many quarters. I was happy to see such a large number of people step forward, willing to shoulder the burden of being the next monarchs.
On Saturday afternoon, the final blow was struck, and the tournament had a winner. The populace once again crowded into the Royal pavilion against the rain. Her Grace Faizeh fulfilled the charge she had been given six weeks prior as Regent and crowned Wilhelm and Tsyra as our new King and Queen. Normally the victors have three months before Coronation, but They stepped from the tournament field to the thrones with only 30 minutes to wrap Their heads around this new station. They did so with humility, grace, and probably a lot of adrenaline.
The Kingdom once again had monarchs, and Sunday we would do it all again. The Crown Tournament to select Their Heirs is what had originally been scheduled for Saturday, but it got bumped to Sunday.
Most of the 400-plus attendees left shortly after the Coronation court was done. They were either only there for the day or in search of a dry hotel room. But there were some of us who stayed, spending the evening in small groups, sharing food, warmth, and shelter from the rain. Paul discovered that I’d left a piece of our stove in the garage when I’d packed it, but Baroness Colette let us use her stove to heat our dinner (and Baroness Seraphina insisted on again feeding us a warm breakfast in the morning). Utterly exhausted, I bowed out not long after dinner and fell asleep to the happy sounds of distant laughter and gentle rain on the roof of our tent.
By Sunday morning, the rain had stopped, and the clouds were allowing the sun to peek through. Those of us who camped were up early, waiting for the others to return and for the energy to once again flow through the pavilions around the edges of the tournament fields. While we were waiting, Dame Catherine gave me a heart-shaped glass pendant with the populace badge of Caid. Mistress Thea made several of these tokens at the beginning of the Regency and gave them to people who demonstrated the ideals of honor and chivalry. She charged them to pass the tokens along to someone at their next event, hoping that they’d travel far and wide. I am extremely flattered that Catherine chose to give this to me, and I too will pass it along to someone who inspires me.
Before Their Majesties began the tournament to select Their Heirs, they held a brief court. I was called forward and inducted into the order of the Crescent, an award recognizing “outstanding service to the Kingdom.” I was incredibly honored that Their Majesties chose to recognize me, but what really amazed me was the loud applause when my name was announced. Most of the work I do is behind the scenes and intentionally invisible. But to know that there were many people there that day who shouted with joy for me to receive this recognition made my heart truly full.
Despite all of the planning and logistics, Sunday was crazy behind the scenes. It was all of the busyness of a Crown Tournament with all of the bumbling newness that normally happens at the first event after Coronation. Viscountess Lorissa took the helm of the court and guard as Their Majesties’ Chamberlain and figured out many of the logistical details of the new reign. I learned a lot watching her work, and I am so appreciative of the numerous people who came by throughout the day to help with all of the behind the scene tasks – Lady Emma, Little Bit, Her Ladyship Katerina, and Her Ladyship Saran.
The sun had come out, and once again, the final blow of the tournament was struck. Duke Agrippa won the day for Pan Dawid, meaning that in June Caid will welcome its first same-sex monarchs.
Now, with rain, sun, and gentle tending by many caring hands, those seeds of hope, kindness, and unity, can grow and knit us together again, stronger than we were before.