The Sword and Crown
Time, seasons, and holidays » The Sword and Crown
The Sword and the Crown is a festival based around a series of physical and mental competitions.
The Sword and Crown was the idea of Roele himself, founder and first emperor of the Anuirean Empire. Roele saw the Sword and Crown as a way of uniting first Anuire, and later the Empire as a whole. His intention was to have a vast contest of skills, both athletics and all the military tourneys that would be expected of the man who would bring civilisation to the scattered peoples of Cerilia at sword-point.
He decreed an open invitation to all those of 'good grace' with the sole exception of his half-brother Raesene (now better known as the Gorgon) who he had named traitor and outcast. To ensure that contestants from distant (and sometimes unpopular) areas of the empire could compete safely Roele decreed that all that travelled to the Sword and Crown "under good grace" were under his protection and could not be harmed or hindered in their passage without his leave.
'Good grace' meant at the time those without malign intentions and who were unarmed, in however even in Roele's lifetime many regents travelled with sizeable numbers of troops, while the need to prove bad intentions by an accuser has often been interpreted as the need for the accused to prove absence of same in more recent times. Since the fall of the empire contestants from outside Anuire have been extremely rare, although on occasion a traveller enters the games.
The Athletics contests and Tourneys are jointly referred to as The Games, once the sole point of the Sword and Crown they are often little more than a backdrop to the diplomacy in modern times.
The Sword and Crown is held every 5 years, and named after Roele's symbols of rulership - his Sword which he had carried into the battle of Deismaar and the Crown forged to symbolise the unification of Anuire.
As the empire matured many of the overtly militaristic events waxed and waned in popularity, while archery has remained a constant jousts and the grand melee have frequently been banned after particularly bloody bouts.
In modern times the athletics and tourneys have often been a mere backdrop to politics - the ritual peace of the Sword and Crown made the event the sole time that all regents could meet and mingle freely and safely, resulting in the single-most important diplomatic event in the Anuirean calendar. Treaties are agreed, alliances forged and broken, and marriages arranged in days during the Sword and Crown rather than the months such events would normally take. Poorer regents in particular find that meetings can be the only time that they can freely converse with their peers.
This freedom to travel and the benefits of the concentration of power from a diplomatic perspective has led to one of the sole points of agreement for every major regent of Anuire, that the peace decreed by Roele must continue. They may not agree who should rule, but all know that the most likely venue for one of them to be acclaimed is at the Sword and Crown.
The regents were originally escorted by priests of Haelyn to ensure good conduct and agreement to the peace of the games, this religious duty (strongly supported by Haelyn, and in later years by Cuiraecen) has given way to a vast theological debate between the fragmented churches of Haelyn which runs parallel to the discourses of the nobles.
This concourse is one of the few times that the church leaders get to talk and debate theology without 'politics' entering the fray, theoretically the concord of the temples can make decrees affecting all followers of Haelyn, the most famous decree is without doubt the recognition of Cuiraecen as the son of Haelyn, and the priests of Cuiraecen are the only non-Haelynites who can speak at the Concord in recognition of this early split.
Priests of other faiths often attend but any concourses of their faith are much lower key than the pomp and splendour of the great concord of Haelyn.
Officially the guilders attend as rulers of landed domains; however in recent year's guilder Kalien of Endier has instituted the practice of "debates of economic theory" which in practice discuss trade tariffs and barriers (including landed regents) and means of circumventing them.
Contestants at the games vary from veteran sportsmen and military heroes to youngsters dreaming of glory. Winning contestants receive fame and often offers of employment, even those who do not win are assured of prestige if they win through the first few rounds.
Of course with all the 'movers and shakers' of Anuire at the event anyone who is anyone also attends, some to seek employment, others to demand redress, etc. The Sword and Crown is the event to find individuals with unusual skills who would otherwise expect their reputation to bring regents to them. A growing tradition is for a large crafts-fair to accompany the Sword and Crown, it was always common for craftsmen to bring the best of their craft for display to the various regents and their peers and nowadays up-and-coming craftsmen often use the Sword and Crown as a chance to win patronage or otherwise prove themselves.
Traditionally the athletics and tourneys were rewarded with prizes of honour only - Roele awarded wreaths of laurel for example. In modern times some regents barely acknowledge the games, others award valuable prizes - Prince Avan awarded a gold arrow to the winner of the archery tourney, a silver chalice to the winner of the grand melee and a red armband rumoured to heal wounds by arcane means to the winner of the joust.
Famous events include the fourth Sword and Crown where the Concord of Haelyn named Roele emperor of Anuire and all Cerilia, this event is the foundation of the belief that the next emperor of Anuire will be named at the Sword and Crown, as no emperor would be truly recognised until acclaimed at the next Sword and Crown.
The Sword and Crown of 975 HC (the first after Michael Roele's death) where Boeruine and Avanil came to blows and stormed out to prepare for war, an event which nearly ended the Games until the two warring sides agreed to accept a peace treaty at the next games.
In recent times the Sword and Crown of 1325, held in Alamie, is notorious and famous in equal measure. Those who see Anuire as held back by its fragmentation declare the effects proof of what the nation can do when united; the goblins see it as the true measure of the blood-thirst concealed by Anuirean courtly manners.
The games were held at a time of tension - the nations of Avanil and Boeruine were again on the verge of war and dozens of military units accompanied the regents to the event, with other regents tying themselves to one side or the other and a great war that would rend Anuire in two seemed inevitable. Tempers flared between supporters of one side or the other and the Patriarch of the Concord (the honorary title given to the eldest priest of Haelyn at the concord) grew furious at the continual duels.
The Patriarch ordered that all such duels be settled by raids on the "barbarous goblins raiding in the north", hoping that either the week's hard ride would cool tempers, or that at least "something constructive would come of this hot-headed tomfoolery". The response however was not, as he expected, that a few hotheads would ride north (or at least kill each other out of sight of everyone else), instead the Duke of Boeruine personally challenged the prince of Avan that his men would return with more goblin heads. The prince accepted the challenge and rode north with a thousand men-at-arms followed by his allies. The proud goblin nation of Ull-kanzar was pulverised, with barely a quarter of the population surviving the ensuring slaughter, nowadays the realm is shattered into warring tribes and is known only as the Five Peaks.
, 05-20-2008 at 03:45 AM|
Last edited by , 08-01-2013 at 10:50 AM
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By Thelandrin in forum MainComments: 0Last Post: 05-16-2007, 02:45 AM