Queen Reichsha’s Throne Room

The center of Slothjemia’s government five afternoons a week (unless a holiday gets in the way) and all year round is Queen Reichsha’s throne room. Shortly after she has lunch Her Majesty will convene court and sit over all subsequent procedures until it is time for dinner. While this hardly seems a break-neck pace in a crowded schedule it ought to be remembered that few monarchs will hold open court for as many hours during any given year.

There are four doors that lead to this tall, long chamber. The first is the main entrance, a set of double steel doors through which visitors enter and exit which is in the southern wall of the room. Just down the wall from this main entrance is a much smaller steelSlothjemian Royal Court door used by the chamberlains to enter and exit the throne room with a measure of surreptitiousness that using the massive main doors would not allow. This second door is kept locked with a key only the chamberlains carry so that nobody else can use this as a way to sneak into the hall.

The third door is on the eastern wall of the room and it is a single smaller steel door that leads in a rambling sort of way to the Bureaucratic Palace. This is the entry point to the Queen’s Court that the various governmental officials use to come and go. The area directly around this door is somewhat partitioned off from the rest of the room rather like a jury box in a court of law that sits on an elevated stone platform one step up from the floor of the hall, albeit more open and not as restrictive to movement within the area. Chairs and benches are set up here to allow the council to have a measure of comfort during the hours they must spend here. The entire area is cordoned off by an elaborately carved wooden railing that has swinging gates on the three sides to allow passage up to the council box. All senior members of the bureaucratic council sit here while the Queen holds court with front-row seats to the goings on every afternoon and evening.

The fourth entry into this hall is behind the throne itself in the north wall, a steel door covered by a tricolor velvet curtain and with Phantom Legion guards on either side. This door leads to the Royal Residences and nobody except the Queen, her family, and the Phantom Legion use this exit. It is conceivable that Her Majesty or a member of the royal family could invite guests to use this portal, but that would be an extraordinarily odd event. Along the west wall are the huge picture windows that look out over the swamps and beyond that the western alps of the Coreland. Between the windows hang elongated Slothjemian flags done in thick velvet. Dimly glowing continual lights are fitted into five massive chandeliers that run the length of the room. Courtiers, nobles, and other dignitaries that are attending court will stand in the west or east public gallery or sit along the walls in high-backed wooden pews. A single deep red carpet runs the length of the room between the west and east galleries from the double doors of the main entry all the way to the foot of the stairs leading up to the dais where the throne sits. When notable people are being honored by the monarch this hall can be absolutely packed with curious onlookers. The throne sits atop a four-stepped platform so that when seated the Queen can easily see everyone in the room, and most people as a result have to look up to see her. A golden rod marks the place across the red carpet that visitors must not cross unless specifically told to do so by the Queen.

Along the west wall and north of the public gallery is a small section reserved for members of the royal family and their guests to sit. The pews here are identical to the ones along the walls for public use and some members of the Queen’s family will plan ahead to bring a cushion or two to sit on. This is also where the Herzgraf will be unless the Queen has asked him to stand next to her throne (on Her Majesty’s right hand side). The Herzgraf does his best to be present for all court sessions, but military duties might require him to be absent especially when the nation is at war.

Next to the Queen’s throne platform on her right side is a smaller throne used exclusively by the Crown Princess. There are few duties designated publicly to the heir to the throne, but behind the scenes the Queen often gives her eldest daughter things to do and with increasing frequency in order to prepare her for eventual governance. The Crown Princess follows the same rules of etiquette as everyone else and this means sitting quietly for prolonged periods of time waiting for the Queen to call upon her. Behind the Crown Princess’ throne is an area set aside for use by the chamberlains that serve in the throne room. There are tables here that hold items and documents for use by the Queen during the day’s session to cut down on the amount of running about and waiting normally associated with running a country. For instance if the Queen has a number of awards to bestow they will be placed in a particular order on these tables to allow quick and easy access for them to be given quickly and efficiently.

There is a similar area set aside along the east wall north of the council box for use by the chancellors who are assigned to the throne room. They will have coffers of coins for distribution if called upon and there are several desks here where scribes sit and document every edict, conversation, and detail of the session. The scribes of the chancellery will also take down any official correspondence the Queen wishes to dictate during court, such as a written authorization for a supplicant to have something done elsewhere in the empire.

To the Queen’s left at the bottom of the stairs stands the Lord Executioner. He is not always standing still, though, because he has a high stool upon which to sit during those times when there isn’t anyone standing before the Queen. However if there is somebody standing at the gold rod across the carpet then the Lord Executioner will be standing at the ready with his bardiche in both hands. While not an actual guard the Lord Executioner is probably the most imposing armed figure in the room. Sometimes his role is to be intentionally imposing in order to put a person off balance in their dealings with the Queen while other times he is fully prepared to strike down a ne’er-do-well should his Queen but say the word. Not all executions are done in private although there hasn’t been a spontaneous slaying in the throne room for a number of decades.

People interested in visiting the Royal Court should be prepared to either stand for a long while or else bring along a simple three-legged stool to rest on. Most people that spend the bulk of their time here (nobles, legal scholars, or avid fans of royal drama) will move about and chat in respectful whispers with others rather than risk seeming impudent by sitting all the way through a session. For the most part the etiquette involving sharing the pews along the walls works exceptionally well. Women and the elderly are given preference for these seats and everyone is mindful of taking turns to allow the weaker in the room to be able to rest accordingly. The guards posted all around the room rarely get involved with these niceties unless somebody falls asleep and the people nearby get annoyed. Being rudely awakened by a hulking warrior clad in full plate armor and using the handle of a halberd as a truncheon is nobody’s idea of a good time.

Being forcibly removed from the throne room is always an option for the rude and discourteous. Whether the faulty behavior is aimed at the Queen or just some random bystander matters little. Any disapproving glare from a chamberlain is sufficient to have one or more of the Black Guards or Phantom Legionnaires to take action. All other guards in the throne room will as a result be on heightened alert should this amount to being a mere distraction. Once ejected from the hall the chagrined party will be promptly taken into custody and dealt with accordingly.