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This is THL Jerusha a'laon, your Virtual Herald.

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Crown Tournament Closing Court - Today was a GOOD day!

Closing court began with the Crowns and Coronets seated at their thrones.  Since HRH Thomas was “unavailable”, as it were, heralding duties were taken over by His Grace, Duke Eduard.  It’s okay, he’s done this before.

Her Majesty pumps her fist in the air and yells, “Go Piggies!”  Truly, a great day for the Barony of Tir Ysgthir, as two out of the three finalists hailed from this Barony.  His Majesty spoke words of praise for the caliber of today’s tournament.  Truly, I can agree with this statement, having witnessed this tournament with my own eyes and seeing the good, clean blows that were dealt and accepted.  His Royal Highness also spoke, thanking the populace and expressing his excitement at being able to serve our wonderful kingdom.

Because this will be the first time that there will be a Crown Prince and Princess at Estrella, Their Majesties presented some regalia that was commissioned in order to ease the burden on Their Highnesses and provide some beautiful works of art for their office.  Lady Valora tou Ayiva, known far and wide for her excellent silk banners, presented a set of silk banners showing the heraldry for the Crown Prince and Princess.  These will be used to designate their encampment at Estrella.  Mistress Cassandra of Kingswear came forth and presented the first of four different types of fighting tunics that will be constructed and included in the Regalia.  These tunics will bear the Crown Prince and Princess’ heraldry as well.  HRH Thomas announced that HRH Illora will be taking the heavy combat field at Estrella.  Thus, all of our Royalty will be defending the Kingdom at Estrella War this year.

Lord Martin de Gras, Corona Herald, came forward and presented tokens of his appreciation to the heralds that assisted him in today’s tournament.  These tokens were in the form of a small stainless steel flasks decorated with a special sticker commemorating the recipient’s role as a Field Herald for this Crown Tournament.  Baron Michaelis, Lord Kedivor, THL Jean Andre, THL Jerusha (Hey, that’s me!  ;) and Master Seamus “Padre” were called forth and recognized for their work in the today’s tournament.  Three cheers were given, and His Majesty took the time to thank all of the staff and officers that help run Crown Tournament.

Their Majesties called forth Luanna of Atenveldt, who is the lady of Sir Ian Nudd, the current Kingdom Earl Marshal.  As she knelt in front of them, they spoke of her service to the kingdom and her efforts as a “spousal deputy” to Sir Nudd, providing him with love and support in his duties.  Their Majesties chose to recognize her as a Lady of Atenveldt and extolled her to continue in her service.

Baron Brian the Pious, the current Warlord, was called forward to speak about the following day’s tournament.  Because of the change in the Estrella War date, His Majesty announced that the winner of tomorrow’s tournament would be known as the Prince’s Warlord and would be invested as Warlord at Coronation.  Brian announced that the tournament would be open to all fighters, Chivalry and non, and asked that fighters come prepared with gauntlets and two handed weapons.

Her Majesty then spoke of the Queen’s Rapier Championship tournament that will be taking place tomorrow as well.  It will be a bear pit style tournament with the top fighters moving forward to a traditional tournament style.  She asked that all Rapier fighters bring their cards.

I would like to stop for a moment to describe the shenanigans that were going on during these announcements were being made.  It seems that Baroness Elizabeth was continuing her quest to fatten up the warriors of the kingdom by constantly tossing Twinkies to his Majesty.  He in turn would toss the Twinkies to Baron Brian, who would then toss them to the crowd.  In addition, there was much witty banter between the Queen, the Herald, and the King.  Suffice it to say, there was a spirit of giddiness and fun that is a joy to see in a court.

Their Majesties call forward Thegn Tighernain the Hound to Their Presence.   They speak of this good man’s service to the Crown and Kingdom through his work as a formal Earl Marshal, Baron, and artisan for the Kingdom.  They recognize his service by making him a Companion of the Beacon of the Desert.

Dame Jennifer Trethyw is called up and thanked for her service as Kingdom Signet for the past two years.  Her successor, Mistress Dairine, is called forth and swears the oath of service to the Kingdom as the newest Kingdom Signet.  Her lord, Sir Jacob, holds the Sword of State as this is done.  Three Cheers were given for both ladies and to the continuation of the Scribal tradition of this great kingdom!

Their Majesties called forth Viscountess Victoria, Baroness Magdalene, and Mistress Tigra and introduced them as the Main Stewards for Estrella War 29.  They will observe at this year’s war and will run it next year.  A solid roar of approval came from the crowd.

Lord Correus Dracontius was called forth.  Their Majesties spoke of his service to the Shire of Granholme, serving as the Seneschal as well as assisting his lady wife with stewarding various events in their Shire.  For his continuing service to the kingdom, he was admitted unto the Light of Atenveldt!

Her Majesty brings forth the Shield of Chivalry, beaning His Majesty over the head with it in the process of getting it out from behind the thrones.  She thanked the outgoing bearer, Master Charles De Lacey, for his tenure and acknowledged his great deeds on the field.  Then, she spoke of the hard decision that she had to make, due to the many acts of chivalry, courtesy and grace that the fighters on the list demonstrated.  She stated that there was no clear winner from the Ladies of the Rose nor could she find consensus with other people she questioned about the tournament.  She said that this was a testimony to the grandness and high character of the day.  She stated that she chose the bearer of the Shield based on their conduct both in the tournament and without.  She spoke of this person’s heart, drive, and willingness to learn.  To the roar of the crowd, she called forward Sayyida Mariyah al-Medinah and invested her as the Bearer of the Shield of Chivalry.

Finally, Their Majesties asked Lady Tatiana Verolini to come forward and demonstrate the new parasol she was commissioned to make.  Based on a period design, the parasol can be folded into a bag that is specially made for it, and the top finial has its own padded box so that it can be protected when not being used.  As she was putting the final finishing touches on the bag, Their Majesties spoke of her artistic prowess and how the beautiful parasol was almost like… a masterwork.

There was about five seconds of silence.  Slowly, Tatiana’s face blanched, and to the overwhelming approval of the populace, Their Majesties called forward the Order of the Laurel!  Dumbfounded, Tatiana sank to her knees as Their Majesties explained that she would be asked a question and her answer would be received at Sunday Court at Estrella War.  She was then yanked up by the excited Laurels around her and was about to be led away when Her Majesty stopped them.  It seems, she was not quite done yet.

A hushed silence fell on the crowd as Her Majesty came forward and started walking out of the pavilion and scanned the area with her hand over her eyes. Indeed, all eyes were on her as she walked up and down the aisle, searching for the next candidate for the Order of the Laurel.  She went back into the pavilion, and made her way to the front row, over to where THL Raven Mayne was sitting with his lady wife, Mistress Turrel.  She took him by the hand and started leading him towards the thrones.  At first, there were small gasps and individual shouts, as the view of the populace was blocked by the assembled Order.  But soon, the word spread like wildfire and the Crowd rose to its feet.  I will unabashedly state that I was jumping up and down for sheer joy and a grin appeared on my face that has yet to leave.  To the most ardent approval of the crowd, Their Majesties asked Raven to contemplate accepting the Order of the Laurel from their hands!  They announced that they wished him to present his masterwork at Coronation and answer the question at that time. 

The candidates were led away and Their Majesties announced that the following morning’s court would begin at 11am.  They then closed their court and the crowd disbursed, running towards the newest candidates as well as preparing for an evening under the stars or back at home. 

Tomorrow is another day, but today was truly a red letter day for this kingdom.  Once again, Craven and Elzbieta have chosen wisely and well in their accolades.  Estrella War will be an event of EPIC proportions!