Dragon Earl

Chapter Thirteen B: The Long, Long Awaited Coronation Scene Part Two

Author's Notes:

This chapter contains scenes inspired by the Di Catenas Wedding Ceremony in the Darkover Series by Marion Zimmer Bradley. All copyrights remain hers.

Author's Notes Addendum:

If you click on the words in Blue you will get the translation, if you hover over the Elven Speak, a translation will also appear. {Green on AC's Corner Café}

TSL


 

The High King's Confusion Continued

The High King looked at his entourage and all he saw was perplexed looks at the High King for the question he asked. The High Queen decided it was time for them to return to their quarters, as it was nearing the time for them to get dressed and then head to the Celebration. Once in their quarters and they were alone for a few minutes the Queen tried again to educate her mule headed husband.

"Max you can be so dense sometimes, it is readily apparent to me that the Castle Staff heard how you treated Just'. Their Majesties told you how the Earl was loved by the Castle Staff. Now they are showing that love to everyone, especially YOU! Now go get dresses and while you are doing that, you had better come up with a plan to repair the damage you have caused."

The High Queen then left with her attendants to get dressed herself.

Joth and Just's' Quarters

John, and Stephan, had very carefully laid out all clothing on the appropriate beds. That is except for the new clothing that was laid out on John's bed in his quarters. One of the other pages would transfer those at the appropriate time. Everything was moving smoothly, until they went to check on Jonah and D'rryl, they weren't in Jonah's Quarters. However, there was a very dejected Thomaso who had been assigned to help Jonah and D'rryl get dressed. He was also supposed to try and keep those two out of trouble. John abruptly asked Thomaso where his two charges were? Thomaso just started babbling about,

"A Baldric and his family sword, and that he had to wear it to the celebration or his family honour would be ruined."

At least that was what john had gotten out of Thomaso after he had listened to him babble his tale of woe three or four times.

"Thomaso, did Jonah and D'rryl go to get D'rryl's family sword is that what you are trying to tell me?"

The only response that John got was a teary-eyed nod from Thomaso.

"Thomaso, shut up! Now go wash your face, and then get dressed, I will take care of Jonah and D'rryl. They know that if they are late, they will cause big problems. Now Git!"

John then did something that he still wasn't used to doing, however, he didn't have a lot of time. He cleared his mind, took a deep breath, then let it out and then thought clearly and loudly,

'Cris can you please tell Jonah to get his and D'rryl's butts back here yesterday; and if they are lucky, they will be able to sit on said butts at the celebration.'

John then let out the breath he hadn't know that he was holding. He then cleared his mind again and listened very carefully.

Meanwhile in the Elven Ambassador's Quarters:

Jonah and D'rryl had started back to their own quarters when suddenly Jonah came to a complete and abrupt stop; causing D'rryl to nearly run him over. D'rryl walked around the statue that Jonah was impersonating and saw that Jonah's eyes were glazed over. Before D'rryl could ask what was going on Jonah began speaking out loud in a very chagrined and subdued voice,

"Yes Cris, right away Cris, no slacking off, or no flying. Okay Cris tell John we are sorry."

Jonah then opened his eyes and saw that D'rryl was now frozen in place and that his eyes were glazed over, and unlike Jonah his face a slight look of fear on it. Jonah then realized that Cris was talking to D'rryl and it wasn't good. Cris had never spoken directly to D'rryl before.

'D'rryl you were supposed to be protecting Jonah, and keeping him out trouble, not dragging him into it...'

D'rryl tried to respond, however, Cris was having none of that and quickly cut him off, and then continued with his mental tongue-lashing.

Several minutes later which probably felt like hours to D'rryl, Cris finally finished and let the poor youngling loose.

A very somber youngling Elf opened his eyes and looked at Jonah and said,

"We need to get back home as fast as we can, and we had better not get into trouble for a long time. Cris said that if we did, him and 'Goos' were going to play catch and drop with us over and ov..."

Poor D'rryl never got to finish what he was saying as Jonah nearly yanked him off his feet in his hurry to get back to his quarters.

When they got back john was waiting for them and all he said was,

"Get dressed,"

he then turned and walked out without looking back or saying another word.

A very relieved Thomaso helped the two younglings get dressed, however, he didn't know where the rest of Jonah's ceremonial clothing was. All that he had to dress Jonah in was the white underclothing, and a very ornate baldric with two funny looking hooks on it. D'rryl knew what the hooks were for, however, Jonah had nothing to hook them to or so he thought. Just as the three younglings were about at their wits ends, there was a knock on the door and Corporal Logi then entered followed by two pages. Corporal Logi had a certain case in his arms and the pages were carrying a special set of robes and shoes. Jonah got a huge smile when he saw the case, and he completely missed the fact that the pages had brought him a set of robes just like his two daddies.

By the time that everyone was dressed it was time for them to leave for the celebration. It did take them a few minutes longer to get there as they had to adjust to walking in their very ornate and heavy robes.

The Royal Marquee

Since Baron Ilú and his co-conspirators had arranged for the High King and Queen to arrive before the Erewhonese Royalty, the High King and Queen, especially the High King, were a bit surprised to see only the Royalty and Military of the other countries present. The only Erewhonese present were some of the Honour Guards and Baron Ilú who just smiled and indicated to a page to escort the High king and Queen to their seats. The High Queen knew that something was up, so she just nodded and then winked at the Seneschal. She was quietly taking in all of the Forest Green decorations and her smile got even wider, when she got a look at their place settings the proverbial farthing dropped. She whispered to her husband once they had been seated,

"I told you so, your plan had better work, or you will be walking home!"

The Queen then regained her smile as she glanced around the table nodding at the folks that she knew. She then gave a quick glance at her husband who had begun to perspire as the gravity of his blunders were becoming readily apparent.
When Joth and Just' arrived dressed in the robes out of the Dragon Earl Era followed by Jonah in a similar robe with D'rryl in his High Elven Court Robes he nearly fainted on the spot. He also couldn't miss the That Joth, Jonah, and D'rryl were armed to the proverbial teeth. He was slightly surprised to see D'rryl as he was new to the scene, he had no idea that Jonah had a page and what looked like a bodyguard. The High King's eye was brought back to Just' as he sat down and handed his Mace to the Elven Prince J'ame his new bodyguard. The High King's pallor was becoming very wan as things began adding up in his brain. He was just beginning to recover when he saw Rafe and Angelina enter with Forest Green sashes and the Lennox House Crest instead of their Forte Family Crest. He knew that his goose was totally cooked when The Duchess and her son Duke William entered dressed completely in House Lennox colours not a trace of Campbell colours visible. As predicted, his wife 'whispered' to him,

"I told you so."

Only she also had added sotto voce,

"Idiot."

Her whisper was actually loud enough for those seated around them to hear.

Luckily for the High king, Baron Ilú announced that the Winter Solstice Celebration would begin a dinner in honour of Draconis and the Crown Prince Consort Designate Just' Michael Campbell-Forte, Justiciar Prelate, Baron of Potters Village, Earl of Dragonsholme, Minister of Tolerance and Diversity, and Co-Minister of Education. However, before dinner is served, we will be passing out gifts in honour of this occasion. All of you will be receiving miniature ewers designed and crafted by our newest Master Potter of The Kingdom of Erehwon, Robyn Lennox cousin of his Royal Highness Master Potter of the Kingdom of Erehwon Just' William Campbell-Forte. There were a few moments of absolute silence that wasn't broken until the servants began passing out the miniature ewers that were perfect miniature reproductions of the ewers that were already gracing the tables. However, these ewers were of every colour of the rainbow and every hue in between. The High King thought that he was finally out of the frying pan until two members of Just's' Honour Guard set his and his wife's ewers in front of them. The magnificent creations were covered in a glaze that shifted between a brilliant Emerald Green and a deep and dark Forest Green. The High Queen fully realizing the import behind their gift, kicked her dolt of a husband under the table and whispered again,

"I told you so."

The silence was broken by many oohs and ahhs and toasts to Robyn and Just'.

Before anything else happened, Eduardo and Artur entered and were announced and seated by Baron Ilú himself. Eduardo and Artur were dressed in robes and mitres unseen in decades if not eons. The robes were adorned with Dragons and Suns embroidered with Dragon Gold, gold and orange threads and studded with a multitude of Dragon's Eyes. However, they were both adorned with sashes of Forest Green bordered in Dragon's embroidered with the same threads and studded with Dragon's Eyes as well. The Royal Marquee was absolutely silent at the sight of the two prelates, silence reigned until the two were seated at the Royal Table with Eduardo sitting next to Just' and Artur sitting across from him.

The High King nearly died from apoplexy, however, before he could do that, he was kicked under the table by his wife who then 'whispered' in a voice that could be heard throughout the Royal Marquee,

"It's time now stand up deal with it!"

The High King began to stand up and as he did the Seneschal banged his ceremonial mace on the ground three times and announce in a stentorian voice,

"Ladies and Gentlemen, and Honoured Guests, his Royal Majesty Maximillian, High King of Draconisia!" The words 'Royal Majesty' were uttered in a slightly lower tone of voice.

As Maximilian stood, he was joined by his wife, and Baron Ilú continued his announcement without skipping a beat,

"And her Royal Majesty Elizabet, The High Queen of Draconisia." This time the Seneschal's voice never changed its tone or inflection. Baron Ilú then head bowed to the High King, normally an act of Lèse-majesté, however, in this case the Maximilian wisely ignored the breech of protocol.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, and Honoured Guests, I wish to humbly apologize to the Crown Prince Consort Just', their Royal Majesties King Rafaelo, Queen Angelina, Crown Prince Joth, all of the people of Erehwon. I have been a complete and total idiot in my treatment of Crown Prince Just and his family. I have even failed to follow my own policy of Noblesse oblige Noblesse oblige ("Noblesse oblige is a French expression used in English. It translates as \"nobility obliges\" and denotes the concept that nobility extends beyond mere entitlements and requires the person who holds such a status to fulfill social responsibilities. ") and for that I am truly sorry to all of the folks that I have hurt and offended. My wonderful Queen and wife kept trying to tell me how badly I was screwing up, nevertheless, I blindly and stupidly carried on. I would like to try and make amends and announce that effective immediately that The Crown Prince Consort of Erehwon Just' William Campbell-Forte is now the Duke of Bortini Di Montebello Terre and Lord of The Western Marches of Draconisia. I will perform all of the dubbing and other knightly necessities at a later date. Nonetheless from now on Crown Prince Consort Just' will also be known as Duca Bortini Di Montebello Terre. Crown Prince Consort Just' is now one of the highest nobles in Draconisia. I see that the Queen Mother realizes what I am trying to do..."

"Grandson what that apologetic Royal Windbag is trying to say is that the Dukedom of Bortini Di Montebello Terre produces some of the finest Sangiovese in all of Draconis, almost as good as ours, it also produces a fair Porto. Your father and I will be more than glad to help you turn your vineyards into something that you can be proud of." The Duchess then turned to the High King and in a slightly cold tone of voice said,

"It's about time!"

Before the High King could respond his wife smacked him on the back of the head and told him,

"I told you so!"

Elizabet then turned and faced Just' and continued speaking,

"Prince Just' I humbly beseech you to accept my husband's heartfelt apology in the name of the High Kingdom of Draconisia and myself. What my husband also failed to tell you is that the Western Marches that you are now Lord of encompass slightly over a quarter of the High Kingdom of Draconisia. Also, by awarding you those titles my Royal Windbag of a husband has also placed you fourth in the line of succession to the High Kingship! We have finished with our announcements and I believe that we need to start eating before the Chefs create mayhem. Again, Prince Just' our sincerest and most heartfelt apologies for the injuries we have caused you." With that, both Maximilian and Elizabet gave Just' full court bows.

As the High King and Queen regained their places the cheers and toasts of 'Just' and Erehwon Forever' rang throughout the Royal Marquee.

Just' and Joth and the rest of the Royal Family was stunned beyond words by the magnanimity of what the High King and Queen had done to remove the slight to Just's' honour.

Jonah in the infinite wisdom of younglings realized that his Daddy Just' was completely overwhelmed and unable to reply properly. So, he completely broke with protocol and left his seat followed closely by D'rryl and walked down the table to where that High King and Queen were seated and gave them his best full court bow and then announced,

"My Father the Crown Prince Just' would like to say thank you very much for the honours that you have bestowed upon him and our family. I know that he will surely thank you himself as soon as he can." Jonah then bowed again and in complete and total disregard for the niceties of Royal Protocol gave the High Queen a hug and a kiss on the cheek. He and D'rryl then returned to their seats just in time as a cornucopia of amazing foods began to be served.

The Coronation Celebration:

 As soon as the dinner was over, and glasses of glorious Tawny Porto were being served to all in the Royal Marquee a silent signal was given and all of those seated at the Royal Table stood and moved out of the way as the table was swiftly cleared and removed. The seats were efficiently placed in rows and a Royal Dais was brought in with a single throne front and center. The Royal Family of Erehwon took their seats upon the dais with Just' sitting in the throne front and center. He was helped into the throne by Jonah and D'rryl. Once he was seated the Arch Prelate Eduardo and King Rafaelo joined him in the center of the dais. Eduardo standing facing Just' on Just's' right with the King doing the same on his left.

"Relax Just' you have already gone through this once, so don't worry."

Eduardo spoke calmingly to Just' as he could see that Just' still wasn't used to being the center of attention, especially in front of large crowds.

"Don't worry Just', your son Jonah will make sure that his Grandfather doesn't make a mistake and crown you Princess Justine or something like that."

The King's words had the desired effect, the audience chuckled quietly and an ear to ear smile appeared on the face of Just'.

Eduardo and the king then turned and faced the audience and the King began speaking,

"Honoured Guests we are tonight to the Winter Solstice and to honour Draconis, however, more importantly we are here to perform the official Coronation of Just' Michael Campbell, soon to be Just' Michael Campbell-Forte. And yes, before anyone asks, both Eduardo and the Royal Master of Protocol my Grandson Jonah, says that is acceptable to have the Official Coronation before the Official Consortship. That way according to my Grandson, 'They both be of equal rank', now if I can have the Coronet..."

John appeared as if out of nowhere, just as the King was asking for the Coronet. This time, however, John was carrying the Coronet on top of its pillow, its majesty and beauty in full display. John was followed by his brother holding the carrying case draped across his arms. John came to a stop directly in front of King Rafaelo, slightly bent a knee and proffered the pillow with the Coronet to the King. The King reached forward with both hands and carefully removed the Coronet from the pillow. Once he had lifted the Coronet off the pillow, he gave a head bow to John and then Stephan. The two pages took their seats behind the adults on the far back row of seats on the dais. As King Rafaelo was lifting the Coronet from its carrying pillow, The High King Maximilian finally got a good look at the Coronet, with all of his brain cells finally working he realized fully that this was no ordinary Prince and that was no ordinary Coronation. The Coronet that the King Rafaelo was holding was well known in The High Kingdom of Draconisia. Its history was long and storied, the Coronet or more correctly the "Perdido Arrematar" "Perdido Arrematar" (" The Lost Crown")  which was first seen in the High Kingdom of Draconisia when The High King placed it on the head of The Dragon Earl back in the era of the Dragon Lords. If Maximilian had any reservations left about the place that Just' had in the Kingdom Erehwon, they were completely gone now The Perdido Arrematar was even more astounding in person than the illustrations and the copy that resided in his castle. Of course, his wife the High Queen chose that moment to whisper,

"I told you so!"

Only this time she did truly whisper and only he heard her.

Then as if King Rafaelo could hear what Max was thinking he cast Max a very quick glance and gave Max a very small nod of his head. King Rafaelo then turned so that he was facing Just' again, and then raised the Perdido Arrematar into the air over Just's' head, Eduardo then took hold of the other side of the magnificent Coronet. Rafaelo then began to speak,

"With this Crown and by the powers vested in me by the laws of the Kingdom of Erehwon, I hereby officially crown you Prince Just' Michael Campbell of the Kingdom of Erehwon, Earl of Dragonsholme, Baron of Potters Village, Minister of Tolerance and Diversity, and Co-Minister of Education."

At virtually the same time Eduardo was also pronouncing,

"I, Eduardo, Arch Prelate of Erehwon, also Crown you Prince Just' Michael Campbell of the Kingdom of Erehwon, and Justiciar Prelate, by the Power and Wishes of Draconis and may she always guide you in your duties and in her Light."

With that the King and the Arch Prelate then placed the Perdido Arrematar on the head of the slightly shaking Just'. Unlike the last time there was no Golden Dragon helping and the Perdido Arrematar did not resize itself again. Nevertheless, there was still a major shock coming as Just' took matters into his own hands, so to speak. He waited until both the King and Arch Prelate lowered their hands and had taken a step back and faced the audience again before he began to speak,

"By the Light and Love of Draconis and by and for my love for the people of Erehwon, I Just' Michael Campbell do hereby swear to follow all the laws of Erehwon and to rule with compassion and humility. I also swear to do everything in my power and in consort with Crown Prince Joth to protect and serve all the people of Erehwon. With the assistance of the Arch Prelate Eduardo, the Imithian Prelate Artur, and the Council of Prelates, I will also protect and honour my flock wherever in Erehwon they may be by the might of my arm and the love of Draconis."

As Just' finished his oath, he stood up and reached his right hand into a pocket of his robe, when he pulled his hand back out, it glistened and glowed because of the massive and ornate ring now on his finger. As he raised his hand in the air to perform a benediction both the Dragon's Eye centerpiece of the ring and of his Coronet blazed wildly their light illuminating all of the Royal Marquee and causing all of the attendees to take a knee in honour of Draconis and The Dragon Lords. The ring of the Dragon Earl was no longer missing. A triumphant Draconic paean and the thrum of the Celestial Harp resonated through the Royal Marquee and throughout the lands of Draconis.


Back at Dragonsholme

Everyone at Dragonsholme was heartily enjoying their own version of the Celebratory Dinner and Celebration of the Winter Solstice when the Castle shook with a triumphant Draconic paean and the thrum of the Celestial Harp. At the same time all of the lights and fountains in the Castle began to function completely.

"Praise Draconis, and the Dragon Earl for he has returned!" Were the words out of the mouths of Margè and the Châtelaine.


Back at The Coronation Celebration:

The Royal Marquee had broken out into a cacophony of sound and people trying to get to the dais to congratulate Just'. However, Eduardo knew that they still had a lot to accomplish, he happened to see King Maximilian begin to rise. Eduardo raised both his hands and prepared to speak, however, before he could begin though everyone quieted down and regained their seats, for some reason he turned and looked at Just' who had risen and held one hand up, and that was all it took to restore order, that was how much he was loved.

In the silence that followed King Maximilian raised his hand and was recognized simultaneously by Baron Ilú and King Rafaelo, as the Seneschal pounded his Ceremonial Mace upon the dais King Rafaelo began speaking to King Maximilian,

"Yes, Maximilian how may we help you?"

"Your Royal Majesties and Eminences, I humbly beseech you to grant me a boon..."

"And what boon would that be, we still have a Consorting ahead of us?" Rafaelo asked his Liege Lord without any of the usual Royal niceties.

"With your permission and cooperation and that of Prince Just', I would like to officially confer his titles upon him now. I had originally planned to do this at a later date, however, I now firmly believe that is the correct time and place..." The High King was interrupted by a screech from Misha as he flew from his perch and landed on the back of Just's' throne. As Misha landed, he looked at King Rafe and gave him a bow of his head as if saying yes.

King Rafaelo returned Misha's bow with one of his own and then turned and faced Maximilian once again.

"King Maximilian since Misha had given his permission, and I know better than to argue with a War Eagle, please join us on the dais and proceed."

As King Maximilian made his way to the dais, King Rafaelo moved over to the other side of Just' to join the Arch Prelate.

The High King took Rafe's place on the dais and turned to face Just', and as he did, he began to speak reverently,

"Prince Just' the Perdido Arrematar's history is tied in with the history of the founding of the High Kingdom of Draconisia as well as with the Dragon Lord's and the first Dragon Earl. The first Dragon Earl was crowned with that very crown and the First among the Dragon Lord's, he was crowned by the very first High King of Draconisia. That simple act led to the peace and prosperity we now have today. You have been honoured above others by your Kingdom, family and Draconis. I sincerely hope that what I am about to do will show all of Erehwon that I truly meant my apology." The High King paused a moment to look Just' directly in the eyes with as much respect and sincerity that he could manage.

"Duke William, may I have the honour of using 'Dark Slayer' 'Dark Slayer' ("Duke Williams sword was originally named 'Bringer of Light' but as his military prowess and fame grew the sword took on even greater prominence. When the Duke was cut off from his men by an ambush of Republicanus Slavers he was forced to fight for his life. By the time the Duke was rescued, there were only three of the ten raiders still standing. The rest were either dead or out of commission. After that, his sword was known as 'Dark Slayer'. ")?"

Luckily for Maximilian he had stopped speaking otherwise his next words would never have been heard.

Duke William slowly stood and then performed a half bow in Max's direction,

"Before I answer that question, I would like to know why?"

"As would I," added Rafaelo.

'There are several reasons, first among them the sword that I am wearing is a ceremonial one only and has no history or significance. Secondly, I am not foolish enough to attempt to draw a weapon near Prince Just'. I really do plan to honour him and since 'Dark Slayer' has already performed that honour once, I would like to use it so it can honour Prince Just' again. Will those reasons suffice?" A surprisingly contrite High King responded to his questioners.

Almost as if it was planned young Stephan rose from his seat and reverently let his brother John lay the pillow of the Perdido Arrematar across his arms and then he carefully walked over to where the Lord Mariscal was standing. While he was doing that J'ame silently and like a shadow moved to behind the throne of Just'. King Maximilian observed J'ame out of the corner of his eye, and wisely made no move or sound to acknowledge that he had seen J'ame. The High King's thoughts suddenly kicked into overdrive as separate pieces of information coalesced into a stunning conclusion. 'It seems the Kingdom of Elvandia has obviously upgraded its alliance with the Kingdom of Erehwon. I will have to have a heartfelt chat with Ambassador B'rad about that. I would also like to hear his answer as to why two members of the Elvandia Royal Family and succession are serving as bodyguards to the two Princes, honoured bodyguards yes, nevertheless, still bodyguards.'

While those thoughts were going through the High King's mind, Duke Campbell had obviously decided to acquiesce to the High King's request as he had drawn 'Dark Slayer' and placed it carefully on the pillow carried by Stephan, a very nervous Stephan.

"Stephan, relax you will make my son proud, however, if you do drop my sword though, make sure you move your toes out of the way." William's words at first caused Stephan to nearly do that, however, a small smile appeared on his face and he confidently began walking to give the High King the sword that he was carrying with pride.

"King Maximilian, you may have the use of 'Dark Slayer' as you will honour my family and our Kingdom." William gave a much fuller bow this time.

"Prince Just' please remain seated, and when I am doing spouted all of the required mumbo jumbo, please say I do, or I Swear. This will be over very quickly. Nothing you will be swearing to will conflict or infringe upon your oaths to King Rafaelo, and the Kingdom of Erehwon. Will that work for you?" King Maximilian's change of tone and attitude surprised the majority of the audience. However, those that had known the High King for a while were glad to see the Max that they knew finally showing up.

"I believe so your Majesty, and I am sure that my son Jonah won't let me swear to anything that I shouldn't." Jonah knew better than to answer his dad at this time, nevertheless, Just' was answered by Misha's loud chirp and a slight chuckle by Jonah.

Before Max could continue Just's' eyes glazed over slightly and a look of complete contentment overtook his face.

'Just' you can trust Max, he has finally realized that you, like Jonah are mine, he won't dare cross me or Elizabet will be on his throne in a wingbeat. Always remember that you are always in the protection of my wings. Now tell Max, I said to get the show on the road and to quit shilly-shallying around.'

A surprised Just' did as he was ordered as soon as his eyes unglazed,

"Your Royal Majesty, Draconis in her infinite wisdom said and I quote 'Get the show on the road and quit shilly-shallying around!'"

The audience was sitting there in total silence and disbelief at Just's words and they all expected the High King to literally blow a fuse.

However, Max fooled them all he looked up at the roof of the Royal Marquee and said,

"Yes, your Almighty One, your humble servant hears and obeys."

Both Eduardo and Artur developed a sudden coughing fit, in reality they were trying to cover up their laughter. From outside the Marquee, Draconic trumpeting was heard that seemingly resembled laughter.

Maximilian simply ignored everything that was going on around him and began speaking to Just' again,

"Prince Just' of Erehwon do you swear fealty to the High Kingdom of Draconisia, and do you promise to uphold all of its laws, will you protect and succor the inhabitants of the lands that you will govern?"

"I swear by the light that is Draconis." Just's' reply caused Max to take a step back as he wasn't expecting to hear the oath of The Dragon Lords in this day and age. Nevertheless, he continued on with his agenda, he then turned to face Stephan who was about ready to drop 'Dark Slayer', as the King removed the sword from the pillow Stephan gave out a slight sigh of relief, and to his utter surprise Maximillian winked at him before facing Just' again.

As Maximilian was performing the age-old ritual of dubbing Just' he was also making an announcement,

"With this sword I anoint you Prince Just' Michael Campbell-Forte of Erehwon as Just' Michael Campbell-Forte Prince of Draconisia, Duke of Bortini Di Montebello Terre and Lord of The Western Marches of Draconisia." With those words the High King returned 'Dark Slayer' to Stephan and the pillow,

"Thank you, Stephan, please return that magnificent weapon to Duke William with my thanks."

Stephan's wits started to leave at the unexpected praise, however, Cris had been keeping an 'eye' on him sent him a little bit of strength,

"At once your Royal Majesty," Stephan then headed back to where Duke Campbell was waiting.

Once, William had replaced his sword in its scabbard he whispered to Stephan,

"Well done son, Just' will be very pleased and proud of you."

"Prince Just' I have noticed that you aren't wearing a sword as the rest of your entourage is, as a Noble of two Kingdoms you are more than entitled to wearing one. If you don't mind, I and My Kingdom would like the honour of commissioning one for..."

Whatever else the High King was going to say was cut-off of by the image of a rotating 'Flaming Sword' 'Flaming Sword' ("Kyle had finally roughed out a new design for the hinges and headed to the bin with the rough stock he needed. As he passed the Blast Furnace, he had fired up a motion inside caught his eye and he stopped and looked inside the furnace; what he saw nearly stopped his heart. Floating inside the furnace and rotating slowly was the \"Flaming Sword\" of his dream or at least its image. Kyle was mesmerized by the beauty and workmanship of the sword; for what he saw was the object of his dreams the masterwork of all masterworks. If he could create something like that, Kyle would be a Master Artisan of Master Artisan's. The sword he was looking at resembled swords made eons ago by Elves, The Dragon Lords or the very mysterious and little known \"Olde Folke\". As Kyle stood there staring at the sword, more and more details became apparent just as he turned to grab something to write with, he felt another presence in the room with him. He turned to his right very slowly and there stood his old boss and partner just as if he had never died. Kyle felt his body quiver and his knees begin to buckle when he heard these words in his head;<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">'Peace Kyle, I am only here to do the bidding of Draconis she needs you to finish a project I was working on for her, and now I know who is destined for that sword. Please follow me and I will explain everything as we walk.' Justin's grandfather, Michael or at least his shade spoke to Kyle in his mind and then he started walking away without waiting for a reply. For more on the 'Flaming Sword' read <u><a href=\"https:\/\/storylover.us\/?t=CWYSqpOrX84UHClI\">Potters Village<\/a><\/u>") The audience sat there in stunned admiration of the magnificent sword that was rotating in mid-air. Several of those on the dais were whispering among themselves, "the dream sword, the sword of the dream, and some Draconis.'

The High King recovered quickly,

"It seems that the honour of commissioning your sword has been usurped by Draconis, Prince Just' you truly do live in the light of Draconis, may you and your’s have long and healthy lives." With that Maximilian gave Just' a full court bow and then with a head bow to Eduardo and Artur, he regained his seat. As Maximilian took his seat the image disappeared.

"Like a Rose by A1."

And as I look into your eyes
I see an angel in disguise
Sent from God above
For me to love
To hold and idolize

And as I hold your body near
I'll see this month through to a year
And then forever on
'Til life is gone
I'll keep your loving near

And now I've finally found my way
To lead me down this lonely road
All I have to do
Is follow you
To lighten off my load

You treat me like a rose
You give me room to grow
You shone the light of love on me
And gave me air so I can breathe
You open doors that close
In a world where anything goes
You give me strength so I stand tall
Within this bed of earth
Just like a rose

And when I feel like hope is gone
You give me strength to carry on
Each time I look at you
There's something new
To keep our loving strong

I hear you whisper in my ear
All of the words I long to hear
Of how you'll always be
Here next to me
To wipe away my tears

And now I've finally found my way
To lead me down this lonely road
All I have to do is follow you
To lighten off my load

You treat me like a rose
You give me room to grow
You shone the light of love on me
And gave me air so I can breathe
You open doors that close
In a world where anything goes
You give me strength so I stand tall
Within this bed of earth
Just like a rose

And though the seasons change
Our love remains the same
You face the thunder
When the sunshine turns to rain
Just like a rose

You treat me like a rose
You give me room to grow
You shone the light of love on me
And gave me air so I can breathe
You open doors that close
In a world where anything goes
You give me strength so I stand tall
Within this bed of earth
Just like a rose

You give me strength, so I stand tall
Within this bed of earth
Just like a rose...

Like A Rose © By A1

The Consorting Celebration:

Eduardo took advantage of the distraction of the High King taking his seat and leaned over and quietly asked Just',

"Are you prepared to proceed with the 'Official' Consorting Ceremony?"

Just' cheekily replied trying to recover his confidence,

"I will let you do all of the work this time, that is you and Draconis."

The reply from Prince Just' brought a smile to Eduardo's craggy face.

Eduardo then nodded to the Seneschal, Baron Ilú then pounded his mace on the floor the requisite three times, and then announced,

"The 'Official' Consorting Ceremony will now begin, your silence and decorum, is requested." The Royal Marquee became as still as the water of a pond on a calm Spring day.

While the Baron was making his announcement, Eduardo had motioned Joth forward and had asked Just' to stand. Just's' throne was quickly moved out of the way.

Joth and Just' stood near each other near the center of the dais facing Eduardo, who had donned his Mitre. Artur then joined Eduardo carrying some coloured ribbons in a pouch, the ribbons sticking out slightly from the mouth of the pouch.

Eduardo began the ceremony,

"Prince Joth please stand close to your Consort, so your shoulders are touching. Now give me your right hand and Prince Just' give me your left hand." Eduardo, then took both hands gently in his own and then said,

"Prelate Artur, is going to step behind you and place a fist between your touching shoulders, please move apart just enough so that his fist isn't touching either of you. Now, I am going to separate your hands slightly as well."

Eduardo then took a step back, and then looked directly into each Prince's eyes, and then asked,

"Prince Joth and Prince Just' you stand before us and Draconis to be joined forever in Consortship. If you say, 'I Will', I will perform the symbolic binding and then you will proclaim your vows. Do you Prince Joth wish to be consorted with Prince Just', forever in the eyes of Draconis, and for as long as you two shall live? Will you care, honour, love, and protect him until you are in the arms of Draconis. Will you care, and love your son Jonah for the same time?  You may answer now Prince Joth."

Joth answers,

"I will, by the light and the love that is Draconis."

"Prince Just' do you also wish to be consorted with Prince Joth, forever in the eyes of Draconis, and for as long as you two shall live? Will you care, honour, love, and protect him until you are in the arms of Draconis. Will you care, and love your son Jonah for the same time?  You may answer now Prince Just'?"

Just' answers "I will by the light and the love that is Draconis, and by the spirits of my ancestors."

"Now that you have both confirmed that you wish to continue with the Consorting Ceremony, and Ceremonial Symbolic Binding. Both of you please make a fist with your thumbs facing upwards. In my hands, I hold two ribbons one of Maroon representing Joth, and the House of Forte. The other of Forest Green, representing Just' and the House of Lennox. Although, Prince Just' is now a Campbell by adoption he is still of the House of Lennox. I will now place the two ribbons together, the Maroon one on top, and the Forest Green one on the bottom. The position is irrelevant, as you will soon see. Prince Joth please raise your right thumb, and when I place the ribbon on your fist please lower your thumb to grasp the ribbon, with the Maroon one on top."

Eduardo placed the ribbons as he had described. Prince Joth then closed his thumb over the ribbons as instructed.

"Prince Just' please raise your left thumb, and when I lay the ribbons across your fist please lower your thumb grasping the ribbons with the Forest Green one on top."

Just' raised his left thumb waiting for the ribbons.

Eduardo then took hold of the ribbons trailing from Prince Joth's hand and then passed them under Prince Just's' and then over the top of his fist with the Forest Green one on top. Just' dutifully lowered his thumb securing the ribbons and preventing them from moving. Eduardo then looped the ribbons under and over Joth's fist, and then repeated the same motion with Just's' fist. He repeated the pattern until he came to the ends of the ribbons, which he carefully slid under Just's' thumb. The resulting creation resembled the number eight laid on its side. 

1 Image Courtesy of Zarek Dragon ©2018

"As you can see, the two Princes are bound together forever in the eyes of Draconis, by her symbol for eternity. Prince Joth and Prince Just' please repeat your vows."

With that Eduardo transferred the eyes of all in attendance from himself to Joth & Just'.

 

Play Me by Neil Diamond

She was morning, and I was night time
I one day woke up
To find him lying beside my bed
I softly said "Come take me"
For I've been lonely in need of someone
As though I'd done someone wrong somewhere
But I don't know where, I don't know where
Come lately

You are the sun, I am the moon
You are the words, I am the tune
Play me

Song he sang to me
Song he brang to me
Words that rang in me
Rhyme that sprang from me
Warmed the night, and what was right
Became me

You are the sun, I am the moon
You are the words, I am the tune
Play me


And so it was that I came to travel
Upon a road that was thorned and narrow
Another place, another grace
Would save me

You are the sun, I am the moon
You are the words, I am the tune
Play me
You are the sun, I am the moon
You are the words, I am the tune
Play me......

© Neil Diamond Moods 1972, Revised by TSL 2018

As Eduardo stepped aside Joth and Just' turned and looked deep into each other's eyes communing on a level not experienced by many couples. They both nodded at each other and then Joth as the elder began to speak,

"After many hours of heartfelt discussion Just' and I have decided not to proclaim new vows here tonight."

"The vows that we gave the other day came from deep within our heart and souls. Our son Jonah reminded us, ah quite forcibly for such a youngling, that it is our ceremony and we can proclaim whatever vows that we will." Just' picked up right where Joth left off.

"Just' Campbell, will you do me the honour of becoming my Consort to stand at my side to rule with me and in my place? Will you share all that I have to offer, and allow me to spend the rest of my life with you, all and evermore? If you say yes, I pledge you my heart, my soul everlasting on the Wings of Draconis." Joth finished his plea for love, and then stared into the eyes and heart of his soulmate.

"It would be my honour to serve with you as your consort, and to share your life for as long as the Light of Draconis wills it. You are the light of my life, the heart to my soul, and without you, there would be no stars in the sky. To share your life will be worth anything life may throw at us. I pledge my heart and soul to you as you have offered yours to me. Cariad, Mo Shíorghrá, Tá m'anam is mo chroí istigh ionat."Cariad, Mo Shíorghrá, Tá m'anam is mo chroí istigh ionat." (" Beloved, My Soulmate (Eternal Love) My heart and my soul are in you\/yours") Just' finished his reply, and then pulled Joth into such a loving kiss that no one that saw them could doubt how much they loved each other.

They broke apart a bit unwillingly at a slight cough from Eduardo,

"Princes please hold hands, Artur please take Just's' left hand, while I will take Joth's right hand."

As soon as everyone had complied with Eduardo's request, they all bowed and the three Prelates simultaneously spoke,

"This Consortship is now sealed and blessed and under the Eyes of Draconis, and the laws of the Kingdom of Erehwon..." The three Prelates paused for just a second as King Maximilian nodding his head caught their eyes. "and the High Kingdom is Official."

As soon as that pronouncement was made chaos reigned and the celebration truly began. The next several days were insane for all of those involved, with meetings, Royal Luncheons and Dinners, leave taking ceremonies and what not. Poor Jonah and D'rryl the only time they saw Joth and or Just' was in the morning at Breakfast, as they had both been pressed into duty as Pages of Presence and escorts for the families of the Foreign Dignitaries as they were preparing to leave. Rebekah and Mathilda had declared with the help of Cook, that Breakfast was Family only, no outsiders. The only exception to that rule was Ambassador B'rad as he was related to both J'ame, and D'rryl. However, even he had to abide by the iron-clad rule of "No Royal Business of any kind"!

It was a midweek breakfast of only the close family as the last of the guests that were not permanent residents of the Castle had left. Breakfast that morning was a lively affair out on the balcony, Jonah had trained D'rryl well, perhaps a bit to well. After Just' had caught him trying to steal his 'Cinmon Crumbles' and a Joth Bar, once too often Jonah and D'rryl were forbidden to sit next to Just'. In fact, there was usually one if not two people between Just' and either, Jonah or D'rryl. Just' was still sitting in the large chair at the head of the table nearest the kitchen. Every time, that Just' tried to sit somewhere different, someone came up with a reason why not. Just' wouldn't give up until the morning that Cook laid down the law,

"Just' my dear that seat is yours, it is the closest to the kitchen which makes it far easier for me or the rest of the kitchen staff when we decide that you need spoiling."

And that was that, while Just' was in good shape and getting better every day, he was still a few pounds underweight and the Royal Kitchen kept a War Eagle eye on him. He was getting lots and lots of fresh air and plenty of exercise, he and Cris were still bonding, and they went flying at least twice a day. Or rather Jonah went flying on Cris and took Just' along for the ride. Cris loved Jonah as much as Gus did, so Jonah never lacked for a ride. It took D'rryl a few days to get used to flying on a dragon, if it wasn't for the fact that John took him aside and told him how scared that he was when he first started flying and then both Cris and Gus showed him how quick they were in the air, and how fast they could catch something that was dropped from their backs. Soon D'rryl was either flying 'Goos' or Cris by himself or as a passenger with Jonah or John.

That morning Just' heard a young voice singing a song as he went about his chores. When Just' heard that voice he remembered Brion and the rest of his friends in Potters Village. He started to feel sorry for himself and a little blackness began to creep into his thoughts. That stopped very quickly though as a tornado like munchkin quickly wrapped him in a loving hug. He also felt warmth and love pouring into him from his links with Cris and Joth.

"Daddy Just' you miss Brion, and Mama Nina, don't you?"

"Daddy Jot, we gotta take Daddy Jut to Potters Village, can we go tomorrow? Pwus we gotta fix that snake Patrl or waddever his name is. Can we go, huh Daddy?"

Jonah turned on the Puppy Dog eyes, meanwhile poor D'rryl had no idea what the problem was or who they were talking about. J'ame pulled the youngling Elf off to the side to explain what was going on.

"Joth, hun, can we really go and see Brion? I miss him and his wonderful voice and really miss teaching him to sing. And Yes Son, I miss his hugs and Mam Nina's hugs as well."

J'ame hearing Just's' question nodded yes to Joth, and he Lance, John, and Stephan and D'rryl headed out to arrange everything.

As J'ame and headed out to get things arranged for the next day, Eduardo and Artur came out on the balcony dressed in their everyday brown monk's robes. As everyone started to stand, Eduardo waved them back down and then stated,

"We are only Eduardo and Artur, we are here as family not Clerics. Two little birds and two big birds started talking to me while I was trying enjoy my morning cup of Dragon's Gold Tea." Eduardo stopped talking and mock glared at Misha and Paladin as they were perched on the balcony railing. He then gave a quick glance at the sky, but, neither Cris nor Gus were in sight.

"I understand that Just' you are planning to visit Potters Village and visit with Brion and your friends. I think that is a wonderful idea for both you and the villagers. I have one small request, would you mind if I sent someone along as temporary Cleric to replace my father, oh and one more little request, please wear your Justiciar Prelate Robes and bring your Mace, I want you to deal with that viper as you see fit. With you wearing your robes and carrying your Mace you will have all of the authority you need? Will that be possible?"

Just' got an absolutely incredulous look on his face at Eduardo's words,

"You want me to deal with Patoral for you with your authority? Are you sure that is what you want?" Just' had to ask his ecclesiastical mentor.

"My son, there is no one I would rather have deal with that viper, you were one of the ones most affected by his crimes, so you should be the one to deal out his punishment. Plus, I know you, even with all the pain that he has caused you and your friends you will give him Justice and Not Revenge. Am I right?" Eduardo calmly turned Just's' questions back on him.

"Yes, Eduardo I can do nothing else that is the way that my mother and your father Tomaso trained me. To do anything else would dishonour their memory. So, who will be travelling with us and staying at Potters Village?"

"You will find out on the morrow when you leave." Was all the answer that Eduardo would give. When Just' tried to ask Cris, he thought that he had sent his question to Gus instead as the answer he got was,

'Que Sera, Sera!'


To Be Continued

Dragon GifAuthor's Note:

We finally have reached the end of the long-awaited Coronation/ Consorting Celebration, I hope that I have exceeded your expectations with this chapter. The end of the is chapter is not a Cliffhanger, it is just an unanswered question, that is my story and I am sticking to it. That question and several others will be answered in Chapter Fourteen of Dragon Earl, that chapter will be the first of the combined chapters as it will be Chapter Five of Potters Village as well. All future chapters of Potters Village will be included in the future chapters of Dragon Earl. What about Brion, what is going to happen to the viper, will Jonah become King. Stay tuned for those answers and many, many more.

As always please let me know what you thought of this chapter and of the story overall by emailing me at The Story Lover.

TSL

Dragon GifMidwest Editor's Notes:

I have been waiting for this for hundreds of years. (courtesy of Firesign Theater) At least it seems like hundreds of years. I have said many times that TSL doesn't have characters in his stories, he has people. He makes us feel as if his people are part of our family. We love them all, well, maybe not all. I mean there is a certain viper, I'm not all that fond of, after all.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

Dragon GifFlorida Editor's Notes:

Finally, they are consorts!! I think that is one of the longest engagements in gay history! I know I would have liked to be a fly on the wall of their bedroom that night! but then I’m a perverted old fool. I’m looking forward to the visit to Potter’s Village now, how long will I have to wait?  Art

Dragon GifEast Coast Editor's Notes:

Hopefully Coming Soon

Dragon GifThe Pompous Windbag's Notes:

I will let 'Goos' post his notes later.