(nb: the structure of the crowns has changed since these very, very, very–like they didn’t even have names yet very–early drawings of tove and grey. grey’s helmut redcap is also the redcap that is in their consort crown. tove’s crown should have the redcap triumvirate. but doesn’t because–can we say it again?–really freakin’ early drawing. thank you and goodnight.)
(although, to be honest, i might have reasons and REASONS coming down the line for this too?)
i’m not even kidding, this is like 1000 words of me blaggering on about court structures and how succession works.
because i really want to be frank herbert when i grow up evidently.
i did end up deciding that persis is the narrator–or, rather, she decided.
We should take a moment and meet the players in this revolution of thought and experience, ya know, because otherwise what are we doing here.
Stories are remembered because of the people in them, yeah?
We are all just stories in the end.
So, the Scions—or, at least, the Scions that are important to this story—are Eira Tove, Scion to the Prima Princeps of the Eira Parcel and the Court of Dreams, blood-wielder, bond-mate of the Redcaps Bob, Harry, and Murphy, betrothed to the Scion of the Court of Miracles; Grey Halkyon, Scion to the First Unkindness and the Court of Miracles, knight-trained, bond-mate of the Redcap Otello, betrothed to the Scion of the Court of Dreams—and isn’t that a story in and of itself that we’re totally going to get to along the way—Aedeir Quille, not the Scion of the Court of Nightmare but the actual Principle Flutter who, for some reason, doesn’t seem to spend a great deal of her time in the Court of Nightmares but, rather, spends an inordinate amount of her time in the Court of Dreams training knights and guardians like Grey and overseeing the Scions when they venture into the Euigilans Somnium (Aedeir really just does whatever she wants; it’s kind of inspiring.); and Killian Pius, Scion to the Oppositional Parliament and the Court of Calamities, who is also a blood-wielder and attended to by Mad March Grey.
And, see, that’s the thing. While Tove, Grey, Aedeir, and Killian are potentially the central figures of this tale, they aren’t the only ones nor are they necessarily the most important, but as always, that’s something that will be determined in the discourse later.
The rest of our cast of characters are Zoii Blake, Aedeir’s mysterious friend who seems to live full-time in the Euigilans Somnium; Leif Ione, who is totally not an Assassin in the Court of Dreams, nope; Cassius Frost, who’s a Orpheum, which means that he’s basically a bard or a minstrel, but again, it’s complicated like whoa; Mad March Grey, which who the fuck knows what March is all about; and me, your humble narrator, Persis Gwyn, Court Archivist-in-Training for the Court of Miracles.
(Not that we aren’t Scions of our Houses and Clans and Packs et al., but our families are currently in positions of power that lead to thrones and crowns and things, which, really, most of us are perfectly content about. So, I guess—in the vernacular of the Euigilans Somnium—we are from Minor or Lesser Houses.)
Now, don’t worry your pretty heads about it, I’m not going to do the entire interjecting narrator through the entire thing; I’ll just be popping in and out to add the occasional clarifying bit of information here and there.
Here’s my first clarifying bit of information: the denizens of the Venery habitually have twins. Yep, that means that every single one of the people that we have met has a twin, which makes matters of succession particularly—sticky. And, not just because there isn’t a clear, succinct familial succession—because ruling families change, the Eiras, Halkyons, and Piuses haven’t always been the Firsts of the Venery; although the Quilles are difficult to say about forever, but I’m getting to that.
The Court of Dreams easily side-stepped the entire debacle by requiring that the Scion must be accepted as bond-mate by the triumvirate Redcaps that comprise the Court of Dreams crown—and can stand wearing the weird mix of soft meant and poppies that makes up the rest of it. The joy and ease of the Court of Dreams tending towards various forms of magick.
Although, it has often been contended—especially by the Court of Miracles—that the Redcap triumvirate is entirely problematic because of their potentially coercion in addition to the decimation of their people by various other peoples of the Venery once upon a time. At the very least, there is a question of their autonomy since they have been disembodied and bound to the skulls that are part of the Court of Dreams’ crown.
The Court of Miracles—well, there’s a long, complicated, many tiered testing regiment that the prospective Scions must complete, and then, the one who most adequately succeeded in the tests—and success is measured in a myriad of ways that are so singularly complicated that I may need to write an entire treatise on it because, wow, no—which meant that, in Grey’s case, their very reticence for becoming the Scion made them more qualified. Talk about a sick joke.
The fact that the Scion of the Court of Miracles is often betrothed to the Scion of the Court of Dreams and is expected to wear the Consort Crown which comes equipped with its very own Redcap is particularly a particularly cruel joke on Grey, and really, the Redcap Otello’s placement upon the Consort Crown and the requirement by the Court of Dreams that the Miracle Consort also be accepted as bond-mate to a Redcap was probably the Court of Dreams response to the Court of Miracles’ objections to the Redcap enslavement and decimation.
The Court of Nightmare—well, the Court of Nightmares’ Scion just—is? I mentioned that the Venery has a ridiculously long lifespan? Well, the Court of Nightmares has had Aedeir as their Principle Flutter for a really long time, and because the Court of Nightmares has a tendency towards being double-super-secret about just about everything, there’s no way for some like me, who’s from an outside Court, to know or find out if this appearance of always-an-Aedeir is because this Aedeir has been the Principle Flutter for literally ever or if the name Aedeir passes down with the position.
(Even the Courts have their mysteries, and Thing High Atop the Thing, do I want to get into the Court of Nightmares’ Archives and find out the truth.)
The Court of Calamities decide their Scion rather simply considering what the rest of the Courts go through—which makes a certain amount of sense since the Venery is kind of stuck with these people running the show for several hundred years sometimes—the Court of Calamities decides their Scion through trial-by-combat.
Let’s just say that the Court of Calamities is often minus a potential Scion when things are settled. Lots of potential Scions since the Court of Calamities likes to open up the trial-by-combat to anyone of the correct age—like Hunger Games but without the forced combatant status; unless, you’re a Scion of the currently ruling family, then you’re fucked.
But, there is a certain equity to the entire endeavor.
(The Venery is terribly fond of its old, bloody traditions.)