I've told you of crown lists and coronations, I guess there's nothing left to do but sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings.
The end of a reign is a very stately affair in Eastrealm. At their final court, the reigning monarchs call the crown prince and princess before them and the King removes his crown and crowns the new King. The Queen removes her crown which she gives to the new King, who then crowns his Queen. The new monarchs take the throne, the old monarchs take their leave, and the new reign begins. Coming from this background, Isolde and I were not prepared for our first Meridian change of reign.
Our first coronation in Meridies was that of John the Bearkiller II. At that time John Bearkiller was prince to King Orlando Cavalcanti I. The date of coronation had been left to slip, consequently, Orlando had been on the throne far longer than the usual six months.
To emphasize the effect of this exceptionally long reign, His Majesty appeared for his last court in age makeup and grayed hair. During the court, he kept dozing off and had to be nudged awake by his queen and when he addressed the populace he tended to wander and get lost. Finally, Prince John the Bearkiller marched into court and demanded that Orlando give him the crown on the grounds that His Majesty was too senile to rule the Kingdom.
At this, King Orlando took umbrage. He drew his sword, fought with and defeated his heir! At sword point, King Orlando extracted promises from John to be a just and honorable king then collapsed and died from the exertion. John took the crown from the head of his dead "father" and the coronation proceeded. It was at this time that Isolde and I realized what a fun kingdom Meridies is.
When it came time for John the Bearkiller II to leave the throne he was killed by a bear. The new monarch, Sir Francois DuVent, realizing that he might never have come to the throne without the bear’s aid, proclaimed the bruin Lord Bear the Johnkiller.
At the end of his reign, Sir Francois was killed by a poisoned pen when he got involved in a dispute between his two younger "sons", over their inheritance. Sir Francois' heir, Orlando Cavalcanti II, had the dead monarch's body lie in state prior to the coronation. All the mourners commented on how peaceful Francois looked, as if he were merely asleep. This impression was heightened by the corpse’s tendency to snore.
Everything seemed fine at Orlando II's last court, but during a recess, it was announced that Her Majesty had suddenly become ill. Despite the best efforts of the royal physicians, the Queen quickly succumbed to her illness. When court resumed King Orlando appeared in sack cloth and explained that he could no longer rule without his beloved queen by his side. Orlando announced that he was going to retire to a monastery and turned the crown over to his heir, Sir Beorn Collenfehrth.
Not all monarchs die when they leave the throne. For instance, when Verron Wolfgang von Groth and Elspeth Trelawny MacNaughton came to the end of their reign, they announced that they were going on a crusade to free the Holy land. Before departing, they turned the kingdom over to their heirs Sir Phelan Cathaoir-mor and Lady Gilraen Derrilyn.
A recent regicide that sticks in my mind is that of John the Bearkiller V. King John was beset by assassins wearing the livery of many different kingdoms. As the assailants concentrated on the King, Her Majesty slipped up in back of one and neatly gigged him with her dagger. Alas, the assassins prevailed by shear weight of numbers and both King and Queen were slain.
I could not help but think how much we are influenced by Mundania. Here was our king fighting for his very life against a half a dozen assassins and we just sat there watching it as if it were a television show. The medieval thing to do, of course, would have been to rush to our king's aid; but that would have ruined the shtick that had been worked out before hand. I had to content myself with yelling, "Somebody grab them!" as the two surviving assassins made their escape, "spitting" on the bodies of the dead assailants as they were dragged from the hall.