Having just seen a new pair of monarchs onto the throne, it seems a good time to revisit the curious way that Meridies changes it's kings and queens. As I pointed out in the first Exit the Kings, (Vintage Tale 20), not all Kings die when they leave the throne.
When it came time for Boru I and Caroline I to step down from the throne the royal astrologer came into court and told them that he had just cast the royal horoscope which told him that the end of the reign was at hand. The royal astrologer, who was of Japanese persona, felt that it was dishonorable to bring such dire news to their majesties, so he committed suicide right there in court. There majesties wanting to avoid anyone else committing so desperate an act, turned the kingdom over to their heirs, Gareth and Juliana.
At the final court of Gareth and Juliana, an ambassador from the Empire of the Black Rose requested an audience with his majesty. The ambassador, a rather dark and sinister looking fellow, explained that his master desired to collect all the most valuable jewels of the world. To this end, the ambassador was charged to purchase the most valuable jewel of Meridies; Queen Juliana. The ambassadors' offer was most generous, but Gareth said that the Queen was not for sail at any price.
Upon hearing this the ambassador stated that he was charged that if his emperor could not have the jewel of Meridies no one could, and stabbed Queen Juliana to death! The royal guard immediately hacked down the ambassador where he stood.
At this point, Gareth declared that he would go to the ends of the Earth to find this Emperor of the Black Rose and kill him in single combat. He then turned the kingdom over to his heirs, Boru and Caroline, picked up the prostrate form of the slain Queen, and departed court to the weeping of the populace. The effect was somewhat spoiled by Gateth stopping as he got to the door, turning around, grinning, and saying, "It's been fun."
One of the more elaborate stepping downs that I have seen occurred at the end of the reign of Ailgheanan and Callejas. The final court went as usual, then the action stopped and Baroness Isolde began a narrative of the final day of the reign of Ailgheanan. This neatly removed the always thorny problem of the populace just sitting there while the king was slain, we were all supposed to be viewing something that had already happened.
As the story developed, a emissary form one of the clans that His Majesty had been in strife with over the years approached with words of peace and good will. The emissary bore a striking resemblance to Syr Loric Silvestris. The emissary invited His Majesty to view a great wonder that had been prepared for him.
The kingdom officers advised against this, particularly the kingdom seneschal, Daphne of Colchester. Ailgheanan would keep his own council though, and hoping that the wonder was a keg of beer, agreed to go outside and view it.
The emissary told his majesty that it would be an unfriendly act to wear weapons to view this wonder and persuaded the king to disarm his entourage, again over the objections of Mistress Daphne.
When the court got outside, the emissary revealed that the wonder prepared for Ailgheanan was his death, and the entire entourage was set upon and slain by a group of assassins who bore a strong resemblance to the other members of Clan Gambit. The Kingdom Seneschal died shrieking, "No one ever listens to me!"
Just when it seemed that evil would triumph, the crown prince, Robert Glendon of Auk and his cohort arrived and dispatched the assassins. Prince Robert cradled the dying Ailgheanans head as His Majesty asked, "Why do we believe these evil, non-beer drinking people?"
"Because no one ever listens to Daphne," was the Prince's reply.
Robert promised to be a just and honorable king and keep Meridies safe as His Majesty Ailgheanan breathed his last.
It was, all in all, one of the most memorable exits I have seen.