(This is a series of posts from a class I taught at R.U.M.)
Royalty will need to start preparing for court one to two hours before court. If one or both of them has been fighting, they will want a shower and this will add more time to court-prep. Court preparation includes the movement of The Presence from its daytime location to the place where court will be held. On a few occasions, this location will not change. Usually, however, it does change. Porters are helpful in moving the thrones, rug(s), kneeling cushion, tables, etc. The lead retainers for TRMs should be consulted about placement of thrones and other items for court. The lead retainers will also be setting up items that are specific for court. Some of these items may contain some “secret” information to be revealed at court such as awards or gifts. Please be respectful and don’t share any information about something you may have seen or heard. Let the recipients be surprised. Something you can provide in court that is often a convenience to the court retainers is a table behind the thrones (about 6 to 8 feet behind the thrones). This is a great place to set out the prizes and tokens to be handed out in court. TRM will be signing all the scrolls for court in this preparation time and need to be undisturbed as they work with the heralds to outline the order of business in court. Now is NOT the time to request business be added to the court list.
Court Business and Surprises for the Royalty
All court business should be told to the Court Herald and TRM’s lead retainer as early in the day as possible so that TRMs do not have to rearrange their court list at the last minute. NEVER try to surprise the royalty in Their court. If your group wants to make a grand presentation in court of a very cool gift and you’d really like for it to be a surprise, tell TRMs well before court. They will put on a good show in court for all to see and will praise the efforts of all who contributed. But, DO NOT try to pull off a surprise without bringing them in on it. This has gone badly for some. The Royalty might truly be overjoyed at your generosity and will show their surprise well in court when the presentation is made. If your group thinks it has the coolest thing to give the royalty but the Royalty are shocked and dismayed by it, you don’t want Them to betray that in court for all to see. If They know ahead of time, They can do the right thing and lavish praise upon the presenters during Their court and no one gets their feelings hurt. Surprises also extend to jokes in court. Depending on the personality of the royalty, you will either find yourself witnessing hearty guffaws from the king or a stern talking-to in front of all your friends. Don’t risk it. If you know of anyone who has business with TRMs for court, that business needs to be taken to the court herald sometime early during the day and also communicated to TRM’s chamberlain or lead retainer. If you don’t provide enough information about the business, you may not get to approach them during Their court. The royalty are in control of Their court and don’t want things to happen They aren’t prepared for. It is also possible that there just isn’t time in court for some business. It is perfectly acceptable to conduct some business with royalty privately while They sit in state or to have the business conducted during feast (such as the awarding of prizes from the day’s activities).
Some royalty have set pieces planned for their courts. They may request some props or accommodations be provided by the local group. This might be something silly like, does anyone in your group happen to have a jester hat they can bring to the event. Or, they might ask that all doors to the court be left open (to allow some silly running around to be done). This isn’t common but it can happen. Regarding the actual court shtick, teach your local folks that they are NOT to interject, attempting to ad-lib part of the shtick. The populace are mostly likely not a part of the script. Laughing, cheering, and responses to questions directed at the populace are acceptable. If something bad looks like it is about to happen, it’s most-likely scripted that way and someone else in the script has a way out of it. Here in the Midrealm this isn’t often an issue. There are, however, some personalities in this kingdom who haven’t understood this. If this is your friend, gently get their attention and remind them to just quietly watch the fun show unfolding before them.