1866-06-06: The Coronation of Jean-Paul
The Coronation of Jean-Paul
Summary: The Procession and Coronation of King Jean-Paul l'Valdan of Couviere.
Date: Juin 6, 1866 IA
Related: The Kingdom of the Faithful
Jean-Paul  Louisa  Cynthia  Solomon  Manfred  James  Cesare  Alina  Gabriel  Michael  Bella  Evelina  Mina  Florencia  Joffrey  Nadine  Elrick  Alysande  Jaren  Thaddeus  Sirrah  

It is, quite literally, a procession unlike any that has been seen before that makes its' way from Aveyron Castle towards the Cathedral of Rovilon. At first glance, it is about what would be expected. The cordon of Blue Cavaliers and l'Valdan troops that protects the parade notwithstanding, the Crown Prince Jean-Paul l'Valdan leads the procession, with his wife, Louisa l'Valdan by his side. Both are resplendent in the colors of House l'Valdan, their finery the best that coin can buy. Jean-Paul is not ordinarily one for quite this level of extravagance, but it isn't every day that you're crowned the King of Couviere. He smiles and waves to the massive throngs of people that line the roads and cheer. Not just the forced cheers expected from subjects towards their liege, but genuine cheers of hope and encouragement for a much-beloved Prince about to become an even more-beloved King. While of course the people of Rovilon make up the bulk of the crowd, there are those that have travelled from Ostvor and Murnord and Lonnaire to witness this event all represented here. It is, truly a momentous day, and the perfect, sunny and ever-so-slightly breezy weather seems tailor made for the occasion.

Behind Prince Jean-Paul rides his children, his siblings and their own families, all clad in l'Valdan colors, save one…though one would forgive if people didn't realize the difference, as blues and whites are shared between the l'Valdan and House Greycen, to whom the former Princess Ariane is wed into, and riding alongside her in similar hues is her husband…Lord Sir Thaddeus Greycen. A Rivanan ducal heir riding in a position of great honor, indeed, but then again, he IS family of a sort now, and word of how he led the Rivanan forces to the Battle of Three Crowns has already begun spreading far and wide. which means the cheers do not diminish in the least at the sight, though of course it's questionable how many people actually realize who Thaddeus is at a glance, given the similar colors. Of note, the Queen Mother Cynthia l'Valdan and the youngest Princess Aliza are not among the Royal Family, but word has spread they were seeing to the final arrangements at the Cathedral.

Behind the wedding party comes the Archduke Manfred l'Faust, flanked by Duke James l'Saigner and Duke Cesare l'Corren. Even the notorious l'Saigner Duke looks like he might threaten to break into a smile. Their various family members follow in another block of riders behind them, and of course the sight of Sir Gabriel l'Corren causes much of the crowd to redouble their cheers, though it also incites no small amount of murmurs among the crowd that he rides beside the l'Saigner heir, Lady Alina, who is clearly heavy with child. No doubt Alina's survival has crushed the dreams of many a Lady of Couviere, since it seems the betrothal is indeed back "on." Also among the party is Gabriel’s brother and the heir to Murnord, Lord Michael l’Corren, and his relatively recent bride Bella, formerly of House Callidus of Venderos, who looks positively thrilled (genuinely) to be part of these proceedings. Archduke l’Faust’s children are also among the party, and of course their respective wives: Evelina l’Faust, Mina l’Saigner, and Florencia l’Corren, who actually look like they’re enjoying a fairly pleasant conversation as they ride along.

But after the Ducal party is when the procession starts to get interesting, as the "honored guests" come next, and riding at the head of that group is none other than the Rose Queen of Rivana, Alysande Tracano, and beside her her famous Champion and betrothed, the Viscount Jaren Cassomir. People crane their necks to get a glimpse of the Rivanan Queen, wanting to see if she is as beautiful as tales claim…they are not disappointed, for the Rivanan Queen's finery rivals the soon-to-be King in every way, though perhaps a few carats less gold here and a couple less gemstones there. Carefully calculated to show that she is not one iota less than the Couvieri rulers, and yet courteous enough not to outshine those to whom this day truly belongs. By comparison, her Champion almost looks drab in Lancer-black, but he cuts a figure that is both imposing and dashing all in one despite that.

Behind the Queen of Rivana comes the interesting assortment of other honored guests, comprising a "who's who" of Couvieri ducal families, foreign dignitaries (including, apparently, the Archbishop Sirrah Lancella, and the eldest trueborn son of Prince Lucius Callidus of Venderos, and others who have distinguished themselves in recent days, battling against the Barbarians of the north, such as Lord Sir Elrick t'Tremaine, Lady Sir Nadine t'Cadri, and the Great Lord Joffrey t'Synclarre, among several others.

The remainder of the guests apparently have already made their own way to the Cathedral, as the procession is capped off with another group of Blue Cavaliers providing rear security, and they follow the deliberately circuitous route to the Cathedral, the cheers of the crowd so deafening that one can barely hear the horns and bells that are sounding over them. It's quite the cacophany, but in all truth most people seem to be all smiles. If one were worried about the safety of such a parade, a glance upward might catch sight of yet more Blue Cavaliers in windows and on rooftops, occasionally interspersed with men with bows and crossbows in leather armor, wearing the black armbands of the Wraiths of Lonnaire. That latter might make people nervous, but for the fact that no ill events occur to mar the day along the parade route.

Eventually, of course the procession reaches the Cathedral, and there the Archbishop of Murnord, Solomon Fisher greets them and welcomes them into the Cathedral. The various guests file in and take their (reserved) seats in the standing-room-only audience, before the Archbishop calls the assembly to quiet, offering a brief blessing for the days events. And then the unusual happening starts…as the Archbishop steps aside, and the Queen Mother Cynthia l'Valdan takes his place, giving the man's hand a brief squeeze and smiling somewhat wanly to him before she moves to the center of the dais, and begins to speak in a clear, firm voice:

"A king has fallen. A king who gave the last full measure of devotion to his land and his people, that they would live on where he could not. We will not soon forget King Maris l'Valdan, my husband and my love."

Cynthia smiles more brightly now, "But today we welcome a new King. Today my son may claim his birthright, but the burden of a crown is a heavy one. The responsibility of power weighs heavy on the heart of all who wield it with wisdom and compassion. It often requires great sacrifice of us. So I ask now, of my son, the man who would be king: Will you take up this burden?" Her eyes travel to the entryway of the Cathedral, where Jean-Paul and Louisa stand side-by-side.

Jean-Paul's expression is somber, but he nods his head slightly, his voice not wavering when he replies, "I will."

Cynthia returns the nod, "Then step forward, Prince Jean-Paul l'Valdan, and speak the oaths."

Jean-Paul and Louisa move down the center aisle at a measured pace, neither hurried nor slow. As they reach the bottom of the dais, they pause, and both turn about, with Jean-Paul standing tall, while Louisa steps aside for a moment. The Crown Prince's voice fills the chamber as he speaks words that have been imprinted upon him virtually from the moment he was able to understand and speak them.

"I, Prince Jean-Paul l'Valdan, do hereby swear that I will protect the Kingdom of Couviere and its' people to the last breath if necessary, as my father did before me." That last bit isn't part of the oath, but Jean-Paul seems intent on honoring his father here today. "I swear that in exchange for their loyal service, I will keep faith with my vassals and that we all may share in our Kingdom's bounty. I swear that I will rule with wisdom and that I will honor those that have come before me by respecting the laws and traditions of our land. I will bring swift justice where it is needed and bestow mercy where it is deserved. Let all of Couviere know that mine is now the hand that will shelter them from the storm and uplift them when they have fallen. Let all beyond Couviere know that these lands are now under my protection, and to assault any of Couviere is as an assault upon my own person, and will be avenged tenfold." Provocative language, or at least it would be were it not a standard part of the coronation. Rivana's words are not so terribly different. "But let them also know that despite past differences, we welcome the prospect of peace for all, and so long as it is to the benefit of my people, my vassals, and my Kingdom, it is a goal I will pursue with equal diligence."

That brings a murmur to the crowd, ever-so-briefly, as those are most certainly not a part of the usual coronation oaths. The murmur fades quickly (as the realization that it's a minor breach of etiquette dawns), and Jean-Paul concludes, "All this I swear in the name of my proud forefathers and mothers, in sight of my people, the honored guests of many lands, and the One God." That too will have tongues wagging later…traditionally the One God is named first, not last, but there's no sign in Jean-Pauls tone or demeanor that suggests the altered order is anything other than deliberate.

Cynthia turns to the Archbishop Solomon Fisher, who bears a pillow holding aloft the Crown Of Couviere…a rather splendid thing, all-told, as well as a golden scepter. The Queen lifts it, and moves to place it carefully upon her son's brow as he faces the crowd. Then the Scepter is placed in his hand, and Cynthia speaks again:

"Your oath is heard and accepted. I hereby name you the rightful King of Couviere, long may you reign!" And with that she curtseys deeply, signifying that the authority of the crown has been rightfully passed. This produces several moments of rather restrained applause, as those assembled know the ceremony isn't quite over yet. Jean-Paul turns to his side, and a young boy steps forward, just old enough to be a page, and Jean-Paul carefully places the scepter in the young fellow's hands, noting his eldest son as his heir even as he gives the boy a smile and playfully ruffles his hair a bit. He then turns back to Cynthia, who has straightened and retrieved another cusion, bearing yet another crown. This time Jean-Paul picks it up and turns to Louisa, who curtseys deeply and does not rise, though she turns her eyes to meet Jean-Paul's as he speaks.

"My father knew well that a King cannot rule without a strong queen by his side. When I was a boy, I thought there could surely be none so strong as my own mother. And then I was wed to you, and my perspective was changed…perhaps after a few bruises…figurative or otherwise…" Jean-Paul grins ever-so-impishly as a chuckle comes from the crowd. This too is different from the normally quite rigid and staid ceremony…but also well in keeping with the Prince's character. "Louisa l'Valdan, will you accept the Queen's Crown of Couviere? Will you freely offer your strength and wisdom to aid me in shouldering the burden of rule? Will you raise our sons and daughters that they too will be ready to accept whatever burdens become theirs in time? Will you sit in my stead when needed and speak with my voice when you must, knowing that the needs of the Kingdom must come before the needs of our hearts?"

"I will." Louisa replies, her own voice resolute, and Jean-Paul places the crown upon her head. He takes her hand and helps her to her feet, and then steps in and gives her a kiss on each cheek, followed by an "off-script" one to her lips that lingers long enough to just border on inappropriate, but leaves the Queen ever-so-slightly flushed when it's broken, despite the bright smile that remains on her face.

"Your Queen!" Jean-Paul announces, and Cynthia follows up just a half-moment after:

"Long may they reign!"

And that, of course, is when the real cheering is permitted, with the Cathedral roaring with the crowd's approval (feigned and/or genuine alike), for several moments, before it quiets and Jean-Paul, having retrieved the scepter, responds:

"And now, my friends, my family, my loyal vassals and my honored guests…let us go celebrate."


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