et some coffee and settle in, this is a long one. This Monday was time for the Royal Court to convene again after their summer break and they did so with a bang. Well. No. It was not a bang. It was boring, pompous, lots of speeches, parading, more speeches, award ceremonies, stuffy clothes, and uniforms. In other words, it was just as it should be. And for those of you unfortunate enough to be too busy to attend (and let’s face it, there cannot be any other reason to avoid this amazing entertainment!) then yours truly was there to witness it all and I'll try to summarize so you not only avoided going, but still get the important bits of information! Want to thank me you say? Coffee, no sugar.

Aaaanndddd we are off!

We start off with the customary visit to the Cathedral. It seems that the PR department of the Royal Court either dropped the ball on this one, or - which is just as likely - the citizens of Stormwind decided not to read the small print of the announcement made of the Royal Court. Either way, initially the selection of people in the Cathedral was rather limited, but as word reached the citizens who had lined up at the Stormwind Keep, thinking that was where the "party" started, and they started showing up in the Cathedral, it quickly filled up nicely. VIPs and normal alike, and besides a single man being told to not be in the centre aisle - as it was meant for the VIP's, then no major drama occurred. That said, I do wish people arranging events like these would keep the press in mind, its often quite difficult getting good pictures without standing in social awkward positions. Especially as a rather large person. Anyway, my bickering aside. Seneschal Andrew Cadwell welcomed everyone to the ceremony, then asked High Priest Caedw Rhael to join him on the steps before the altar. Here the High Priest held a short sermon, on the subject of humanity. Which - in hindsight - seems to be a tad much of a coincidence, I can only conclude that some form of communication about the High Priest's speech and that of Count Essington's same later, was done prior to the event. But more on this later. I have quoted the High Priest's speech here for those who wish to re-read it or missed it on Monday.
Humanity. This word means different things to different people. Some may define it as humans, as a collective. Others may define it as the human nature, the qualities of humans. Other’s still may see it as the qualities of being humane, of compassion, kindness, and benevolence. These past months have seen our fair city of Stormwind, and the peoples of it, attacked and assaulted by those who seek to bring its downfall. But the spirit of Stormwind, and the Alliance, has held fast against these reckless attacks. United, as the Alliance and within the Light, we hold fast. We must now focus on the qualities of being humane. By being compassionate with one another, showing kindness to those less fortunate, and benevolence to those whom deserve it, can we move on towards a higher unity with our Brother’s and Sisters in the Light. Only can we embrace our own inner humanity, and through following the tenants of the Light, can we strive forward for a brighter future. Long Live the King and Blessed be the Light!
After the High-Priest held his brief sermon Count Essington instructed the Serjeant-at-arms of the court, Sir Darius Agrovane to lead the procession of the gathered people from the Cathedral, down the steps, and towards Lion's Rest to pay respect to the late King Varian Wrynn.

Paying our respects

Sir Agrovane skilfully lead the procession through the streets of Stormwind. High-Lord Chancellor, Count Essington was in front and then the court members in order of ranks and importance, ending with a bunch of citizens, and at the very end a group of gnomes who were there to support one of the nominees for the Order of Alexston. Bertel Wobblespring. A quick round of the round-about, with a brief pause at the Wall of Remembrance, and the group headed to the monument for King Varian Wrynn. A few words were said in front of the memorial, but unfortunately I was too far away to hear, I had to pick between an excellent picture, or hearing the words. I really should find out how to clone myself. After that the procession moved on along the canals and over the bridge from Trade District and towards Old Town and the Keep.

The awards

The meeting itself diverged from the usual agenda and only had two things on it. The awards ceremony and the High-Lord Chancellors speech. The awards went first. The Royal Court awards three honours - twice a year. At the start of each of the two political seasons. The following is taken from the official literature of the Royal Court.

Most Honourable Order of Aran

What is the Order of Aran? The Order of Aran is an order created to honour proficient mages of the Alliance, given to civilians of the Alliance, for their innovation in a field of magical research. This medal is a very prestigious award, and only citizens affiliated with magic are eligible for a recommendation. The order is named after Nielas Aran, who was the Court Conjurer of Stormwind, advisor to the throne, and one of the most proficient mages to have lived. He is most renown for his tutorship of the sorcerer Medivh, and perfecting the recipe for conjuring sparkling cider.
There is currently two members inducted into the order of Aran: Magus Luna Delaunay and Magus Cassandra Hawk. There were no new inductions into the Order of Aran this time, either no one made the cut, or there was simply no nominations.

Most Honourable Order of Alexston

What is the Order of Alexston? The Order of Alexston is a decoration created, given to citizens of the Alliance, for eminence in a field of endeavour. This medal is a very prestigious award, and only citizens are eligible for a recommendation. The order is named after Baros Alexston, the city architect of Stormwind. The creator of the famed Lion’s Rest park, alongside the Embassy, and for the repairs of the City as a whole. His long service and his many projects have earned him immortality as a public officer.
The Order of Alexston had 3 members prior to this Monday. Lady Guenhwier Talan and I was awarded the honour last winter, and Dame Bridget A. Halliday was awarded it last month for her work with the Stormwind Census. This Monday we saw two new members for the Order of Alexston, Lady Zulaiya van Rook for her tireless work as a court Secretary (and for actually marrying Earl van Rook?) - and Bertel Wobblespring for his dedication and devotion to the cultural scene of Stormwind through his regular poetry meetings.

Most Honourable Order of Lothar

What is the Order of Lothar? The Order of Lothar is a reward given to military personnel of the Alliance, for bravery on the field of honour. This medal is a very prestigious award, and only serving military personnel are eligible for a recommendation. Sir Anduin Lothar, the Lion of Azeroth, was one of the greatest commanders humanity ever had to offer. His heroic death at the steps of Blackrock Mountains, rallied the Alliance of Lordaeron to ultimately reign victorious over the Horde. Together with his exceptional prowess as both a warrior and a tactician.
This order had 3 members prior to Monday. Lady-Justica Nasias Darkstar, Captain Haywood Floyd and Sir Lorthentus Theodore. We saw a new member of the Order of Lothar, were Lieutenant Commander Matthew Preston can now add another decoration to his already numerous. His work as Captain of Echo is hard and unforgiving, yet he keeps doing it and for this, he also got a ribbon. Next ceremony is expected to be in about half a year.

The future

After the awards, the Chair - Count Essington, gave the floor to the High Lord Chancellor, aka, Count Essington. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he gave himself permission to speak. Isn’t it grand? anyway, here is his opening speech, with my commentary.
Count Essington: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to tonight's State Opening of the Court Council. While I am well aware that you all attend out of sheer curiousity to its content, I shall endeavour to have you return to the warm evening sun as quickly as possible. During its last session the Court focussed on matters of Safety and Security. In the wake of the horrible abduction of our beloved King, we were faced with the need and necessity to focus on protecting our Realm. These efforts cultimated in many a successful project which were discussed during the State Closing, but most importantly there was the Kingdom Census. It is from the information we obtained and the coming challenges that have arisen that the Executive has selected a new focus for the coming semester: Humanity.
Remember how I mentioned that the subject of the High-Priest's sermon seemed coordinated with the Royal Court? well this was the reason. This is also the place where I’d like to point out that the public (and this includes The Lion's Roar) has yet to see any hints of the results of the census. Hopefully with the appointment of a new Secretary for Internal Affairs (Dame Bridget has retired) this may be one of the first matters the new Secretary handles. The Lion's Roar has already applied for access to the data so we can dig through it on behalf of you dear reader. Anyway, back to the speech.
High-Lord Chancellor, Count Essington: Humanity, touches upon several important questions and subjects in our policies and duties. It touches upon the most crucial difference between what seperates us as the Alliance from the Horde: our values, principles and value of life, our appreciation of values, order, dignity and honour.
This lead to quite a few angry and surprised stares, especially from the non-humans in attendance. One can only assume they thought the High-Lord Chancellor's use of the word Humanity refered to the race. The Count seemed to have come to the same conclusion so he commented on this.
High-Lord Chancellor, Count Essington: Before the angry stares culminate in wrong conclusions: humanity is a virtue, not a racial policy. The question of humanity is further relevant in addressing a renewed focus by the Court with respect to the management of the provinces of the Human Kingdoms. The Kingdom Census has shown a diversified spread of the peoples of the Realm, which information is relevant in the management of the Realm. Due consideration, time and commitment will be given to reviewing the obtained information and how the Court can use such in the management of the Realm. The Court of the Kingdom of Stormwind, as the principle Human Nation, has a further obligation to intensify and bolster the relations between the races and the other human Kingdoms. There can be no doubt that only through furthering the inter-human and inter-alliance bonds that the interests of the Realm can be progressed. And yes: humanity also means that the Court recognises its obligation to its people, be it in Stormwind, in the provinces or throughout the Alliance. The Court will not neglect its duties to invest in stability, to care for its friends and allies, to protect and uplift its peoples as we all search and work for the return of our esteemed King. It is with Humanity, that the Court will further Humanity, to protect Humanity. The implementation of this policy target will be subject of the Secretary's presentation next week.
So, while there is a promise and a declaration that friends and allies will not be forgotten, then it also clearly holds a promise to focus on our own Kingdom. The Kingdom of Stormwind. To some this might come as a shock and seem very nationalistic but at the end of the day, then the Court of Stormwind is primarily a body meant to rule and focus on Stormwind. That does not mean exclusively doing so, and this is what I hear the Count say: "We will focus on Stormwind and her citizens, but we won't forget rest of you." What that exactly means in effect - well that is the real question, and one we will just have to wait and see.
High-Lord Chancellor, Count Essington: In this light, the Executive will conclude with a final announcement. In wake of the resignation by Dame Bridget Halliday as Secretary for Internal Affairs, the Executive nominates as Secretary for Internal Affairs: Lord Michael van Rook, Earl of Valenbard and current Deputy-Secretary for Internal Affairs. His nomination will also be subject of debate next week. On behalf of the Court, I thank you all for your presence, attention and consideration tonight. The concrete policy proposals shall be discussed next week. This concludes the State Opening and the Sixty-Eighth Court Council. Council stands adjourned till Monday next week, half past the eighth bell.
I can't say the nomination of Earl van Rook for the vacant position of Secretary of Internal Affairs comes as a great shock, in fact, it was quite expected. Here as the Lion's Roar we are quite looking forward to seeing what - should he be appointed - Earl van Rook can bring to the table as Secretary of Internal Affairs, a branch of the Royal Court which in the past has had to deal with everything from the Census, to trash-cans on the street to corrupt guards. Whether you liked Dame Halliday or not, then it is some big boots to fill for whoever gets appointed. And with that, we made it to the end. This year’s second political season is in session, Light help us all.