o matter if it is to gain support for a cause of yours, or to express your dissatisfaction about a certain topic, the Royal Court is as far up the chain of power any of us can get - and so it makes sense to know how to approach the court, and what etiquette demands and protocol describes. As a sort of primer, or guide, then I got hold of Serjeant-at-Arms, Sir Darius Agrovane for a sit-down and a talk about how to navigate the shark-infested waters that is The Royal Court. Now, this is going to be a lengthy one, there is a lot of information, and you may think you will never need to know it - that is fair, but maybe it is still better to have a read.. just in case you suddenly find yourself in a fancy room with a circle of politicians ready to jump on you at the slightest mistake or error in decorum.

Introductions:

Let us start out with the introductions. Who is Sir Darius Agrovane, and what does he actually do? Sir Darius Agrovane: I am Sir Darius Agrovane, and I am the Serjeant-at-Arms at the Royal Court. H. Lester: And what does a Serjeant-at-Arms do? Sir Darius Agrovane: Well, as many people may know that have attended some of the busier Court sessions I am responsible for enforcing order and security within all Royal Council Assemblies, and at the request of the Chair, I may eject any member in the Council chamber that is not upholding the order that is demanded of the Royal keep. Though that is not all I do. I'm also responsible for conveying and demonstrating the Royal Council assembly protocols in the event that guests or new council members are in attendance and am there to answer any and all questions on court procedure. H. Lester: So you are the bouncer and tour guide all in one? Sir Darius Agrovane: The bouncer, the lovely lady at the help desk, and hopefully a familiar face that can be approached should anyone have a query and a problem. Remember not every "lovely lady at the help desk" is a woman, Sir Agrovane is an example of this. Even if his luscious long blonde hair might at times confuse you. I then went on to explain that the intention of the talk, and this article, is to make the Court proceedings more available to the common people. Explain some of the terms and the protocols, so while some things might seem dumbed down to some, then to others it might explain things they didn't quite understand. As you, dear reader, will see then there was plenty I myself was in doubt about - and I have been attending the meetings for months. Sir Darius Agrovane: Certainly, with all the procedures and formalities I must admit even I get a little confused at times.

Getting in touch:

H. Lester: With that out of the way - lets us go over the more nitty-gritty. As I understand it, there are three ways to approach the court. In writing, trying to approach a member out in the city, or by showing up to the official meetings on Mondays? Sir Darius Agrovane: Yes, by far the easiest I would say is in writing. All courtiers can be contacted by letter, while some may take longer to respond than others it is much easier than finding us out and about. H. Lester: I have personally been writing my letters to the court registrar, and letting her figure out who they should be given to, does that seem like a good approach you think? Sir Darius Agrovane: If one is not sure who would best receive the letter I would certainly encourage people to go through our Court Registrar, Miss Rowley. She is wonderfully competent with these things, though if you know who you wish to contact then direct is always a good bet. H. Lester: So Miss Rowley if you are unsure, otherwise the court member, or secretary directly.

Formal Structure:

Now it gets a little hairy. Luckily I was able to get an artist to try to sum it all up in a nice little chart. Sir Darius Agrovane: In the Court there are both standardised roles and specialised roles. However, the primary hierarchy encapsulates both of these. We can split the Court into two sections, the executive body, and the legislative body. The executive body is the office of the chancellor and oversees everything. It is comprised of the Lord High Chancellor, the leader of the Court, the Vice Chancellors, and the Secretaries. The Executive is charged with the day-to-day management of the Court.

The executive body:

Lord High Chancellor: Count Didonus L.M. Essington Vice Chancellor: Lady-Justicar Nasias Darkstar Vice Chancellor: Countess Rebecca Wolsey Secretary of War and Military Affairs: Sir Cailen Cadogan Secretary of Internal Affairs: Dame Bridget A. Halliday Secretary of Foreign Affairs and National Intelligence: Magus Kelly Jendrock Secretary of Magic and Education: Lady Aldieth Cloudwhisper Justicar of the Office of Justice: Lady-Justicar Nasias Darkstar

Specially appointed roles:

Serjeant-at-Arms: Sir Darius Agrovane Court Registrar: Magus Zulaiya Rowley Deputy Secretary of Internal Affairs: Earl Michael van Rook Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs: Magus Ehmarilia Victariana
We then paused for a moment to reflect on the official position of the O.O.J - the Office of Justice. While not technically part of the executive branch, as in it is not listed on the official charts - then: Sir Darius Agrovane: It [the office of justice] does however exist within the court as an institution that serves alongside the Court or within the Court. In the order of Hierarchy, it falls under the executive office. As does the Office of the Court registrar. H. Lester: So in theory the chart of the organisation needs a little updating to reflect that? Sir Darius Agrovane: Perhaps. Confused? - I was doing alright until the last bit, I hope someone takes on the task of updating the official organisational charts and maybe even draw in associated organisations and states. Anyway, moving on. H. Lester: One Lord High-Chancellor, two Vice-Chancellors and currently 4 secretaries with each their committee. How are these people selected? Sir Darius Agrovane: The existing executive office at the time, normally the Lord High Chancellor and Vice-Chancellors, nominate an existing member of the Court for the position of secretary which is then voted on in the next Court Council session. H. Lester: And the Lord High Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellors? Sir Darius Agrovane: The High-Chancellor is voted into office by the Royal Court. The High-Chancellor then appoints the Vice-Chancellors. H. Lester: So the High-Chancellor, Serjeant-at-Arms, and delegation heads are voted in by the same protocol as secretaries? Sir Darius Agrovane: Quite, the same is done all throughout the court, except the Vice-Chancellors. Of course, I didn't expect democracy, but there is a lot more voting going on than I expected when it comes to the inner workings of the Court. Perhaps an eye-opener not only for me.

Who can become a courtier?:

H. Lester: That leads us to the next question. What does it take to join the Royal Court? Sir Darius Agrovane: Much like any job the Royal Court looks for candidates that can offer the Kingdom something and play their roles well. Should you have a particular proficiency with sustainable urban planning and wish to make a difference in the city by cleaning up the canal water, arrange an interview and see what happens. H. Lester: So it is not limited to nobles or ambassadors? Sir Darius Agrovane: It is not, we have plenty of roles that can be filled. I personally joined as a Knight of the Court, some others were inducted as Magus' and others Court officials, who often exist to provide the court with specialised advice that applies to their particular field. Such as culture, general policy, intelligence-... the list goes on. Knight, Magus, Ambassador, Official, and Noble are the base titles given to official members of the Royal Court after they have completed a short period of candidacy. Though Ambassadors and Officials do not have voting rights unless the vote concerns their specialised subject and the Chair deems it appropriate. H. Lester: So even a common journalist could join? Sir Darius Agrovane: Well, Mister Hardhy. If you joined for example as a specialist in marketing or public relations to inform us on how we should present our information and decisions better to the public you may make it up in the Keep. Though we naturally have strict security measures, meaning we can't accept people with criminal backgrounds, and the candidacy process isn't for everyone. We do expect for one to be inducted into the court that they work hard to show us what they can do. H. Lester: I'll pass, it would make it difficult for me to be unbiased in my coverage of the Royal Court, but it is good to know it is not as exclusive as I thought. So to my surprise, even a common man can eventually rise through the ranks in the court and make a career out of it. You just need to be able to convince the court that you have the knowledge, or expertise which can benefit them or the Kingdom. I like the idea of seeing more civilians joining the court, it does tend to lean heavily towards mages and martial people, whereas civic experts seem a bit far between.

The weekly meetings:

H. Lester: Alright, that got us through most of the stuff about the organisation as such - how about we look closer at how the public meetings on Mondays are done? Sir Darius Agrovane: My lovely weekly speech. Though I repeat it every week there is often a moment where an unfortunate soul steps forward at the wrong time or addresses the Chair while out-of-order. Though the procedure is not -too- confusing at all when you get down to it. I'll go through my speech now, more condensed and bullet-pointed for you readers. H. Lester: Excellent. Sir Darius Agrovane: Court Council takes place in the throne room, every Monday evening, at 8.30, unless directed otherwise by the Chair. Members of the Court stand in the blue octagon on one of the diamond tiles to indicate they are participating in the session. That does mean we ask any members of the public to stand behind the line so voting is clear to see. The Council then follows a set agenda which can be modified at the start when the Chair opens the floor to which Council members may step forward to add something to the agenda. Sir Darius Agrovane: After that, any Candidates that have proven themselves to the court and are worthy of joining are inducted as Council members. And then we move onto Petitioners, where the Chair opens the floor again and anyone may step forward to be recognized. This means clearly stepping forward, inside of the blue octagon, and waiting there until the Chair recognises that you wish to speak, when they do so you step into the center and speak your piece. H. Lester: So it is sorta the same as before, just for people who are not in the court? Sir Darius Agrovane: Quite, anyone may step forward when the floor is open for petitions to be presented. H. Lester: And stepping forwards means going into the.. circle? Sir Darius Agrovane: Yes, this makes it clear to the Chair that you wish to be recognised. Right, in front of where the Court members stand. Correct, once recognised the petitioner moves to the center so all can see and hear them, and they say their piece. If it's actually an issue the court can work with, it can then either be added to the agenda that day for debate or delegated to the relevant committee for them to deliberate on. If the Chair deems such to be appropriate, of course. In the case of the latter, the petitioner is often closely involved in the process H. Lester: Mm, so you could end up waiting weeks or months? Sir Darius Agrovane: Each petition is unique and takes different lengths to be deliberated on and debated. However, any new petitions placed on an executive branch are often turned into writing and motions within the week to then be debated in the next Council session if it has not already been sorted. H. Lester: Would one, potentially, be better off petitioning directly to a court member, and try to convince them to handle it on your behalf? Sir Darius Agrovane: If one wishes to do that, it is an avenue they can take. However, it is more than likely that this Court member will put your petition in writing and present it themselves if they believe its worthy of debate as that is what the Court is there for, to offer a wide range of opinions and scrutinize the petition so we may reach the best possible outcome, and of course have the input of the public, should they wish to ask questions or join the debate. Before submitting a petition I would of course recommend talking to a member of the Court first. Even if you wish to run the petition by a member of the Court ten minutes before we start it so that we can tell you whether it would be better to have it in writing and wait, or to submit it that day. Though naturally, I encourage anyone comfortable enough to stand before us and submit their own if they so wish. H. Lester: After that, what is next? Sir Darius Agrovane: After petitions often come certain Motions added to the agenda by Courtiers. Yesterday [15/3] for example we had the Economic Policy Initiative on Pandaren Trade that was added to the agenda prior to the meeting. Then comes anything that has been added to the agenda through petitions, unless the Chair decides he wishes to hear secretary reports or if the petition threatens to have a lengthy debate. After that comes Secretary Reports, and then any further points of debate before closing. Secretary reports are reports made by the four (currently) secretaries about the work they have been doing in their commitees. H. Lester: Any further points? what might that be? Sir Darius Agrovane: Anything that has been decided might lead to a lengthy debate. Or anything within Secretary Reports that requires debate. H. Lester: Alright. That certainly cleared up a lot. H. Lester: So the advice is to talk to a court member before making a petition, even if it's technically not needed? Sir Darius Agrovane: Yes, though we invite anyone to make a petition about anything. It may be best to run it past someone so we don't have a wave of petitions about the canal water being too green, or smaller issues that can be sorted out without the need for a petition. Though we enjoy hearing from the public and debating their petitions, so if you have a matter you wish to raise we do invite anyone to raise it. H. Lester: I admit I have personally thought of it a few times, asking questions Id like answers to - but I find it is better done directly, rather than making a big show of it. At least my take on the Monday meetings is that it is more about being seen, and forcing the court to act to something. That may be more needed for others, than for me, I have a.. platform already Sir Darius Agrovane: I must say, both avenues do work. If you wish to be seen and heard then naturally take center stage at our Monday council sessions. However, it often yields the same result to send us a letter or come find us for a meeting to discuss your issue outside of the Monday meetings. Even more so the latter if you don't wish to stand before a crowd or simply find yourself busy on a Monday evening.

Committee work:

H. Lester: What about committee meetings? I believe some of them are open to the public? Sir Darius Agrovane: Yes, some are and some aren't for obvious reasons. If you hear about a committee meeting and wish to attend do ask whether it is open to the public or not first. Though the open ones are often advertised in Secretary Reports every Monday. H. Lester: Is there a public calendar somewhere? Sir Darius Agrovane: I would have to find out for you, if there is not I'm sure we can endeavour to make one. I don't believe there are many strictly open to the public committee sessions, so they wouldn't be very full. H. Lester: My reason for asking is that when plotting a meeting into such a calendar, one could put in a little flag about whether it was open to the public or not Sir Darius Agrovane: It's not a bad idea.

Final words:

H. Lester: Do you know how many members the court currently has? Sir Darius Agrovane: Oh dear, let me think a moment. And he did. Sir Darius Agrovane: I believe it's just under thirty, excluding Candidates. H. Lester: I don't suppose there is an official list somewhere with names and a short bio? Sir Darius Agrovane: If there is, I can send it to your office. Perhaps the Royal Court ledger would suffice, it holds all of the signatures of each courtier after they swear the oath of office. H. Lester: That sounds dense, If you need it turned into a nice little booklet, then I am sure The Lion's Roar can assist, for a fee of course. Sir Darius Agrovane: For the benefit of the reader, such a list could be produced so everyone knows who we are if they wish to approach us. I'll make sure to look into this list, maybe even with an area of expertise for each court member so potential petitioners know which court members might be good to reach out to when it comes to their specific issue. H. Lester: Is there anything else you wish to add or clarify? Sir Darius Agrovane: Yes, if anyone has any questions about court proceedings or anything to do with the court. Look for the Knight with the golden ponytail, I'm happy to help.

Word list:

Secretary: A member of the court responsible for the management of a particular department of government. Commitee: A group of people - often members of the court, but external experts or people with a vested interest in a particular matter can also be in it. They work on specific issues and then hand their recommendations over to the court for ratification in case of new laws, or further intricate debate. Registrar: Clerk. Record-keeper. In charge of correspondence in and out of the court, keeping minutes, publishing official proclamations, and keeping records of official documents. In the context of the Royal Court - NOT a Secretary. See Secretary. Justicar: The chief judicial officer in the Kingdom, in charge of the Office of Justice. Courtier: A person who is often in attendance at the court of a king or other royal personage. Legislative body/Executive office: The Royal Court is divided into two layers, the Executive office who handles day to day-to-day operations of the court, and the Legislative body, which attends the weekly meetings, votes, and debates matters as needed. They also appoint members to the Executive office, barring a few exceptions. Simplified, The Legislative part of the Royal Court makes the laws, the Executive part administers the laws. Delegation heads: The person, or persons in charge of a delegation. This is often for a diplomatic mission of some form or military campaign. The Chair: The person leading a meeting. At the council, this is usually the Lord High Chancellor or in his absence one of the Vice-Chancellors. But it can also be used to describe the Secretary at a committee meeting. See Secretary.