Postfest V, Part II: The Royal Hunt
Date: Tue, August 09, 2005
Topic: Peoples & Culture
The sound of the horns and the baying of the hounds signal the start of the hunt. But his is no ordinary chase. The king has taken the field with his nobles attendant upon him!
The Royal Hunt
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Date: Varies (Usually in late summer or early autumn)
Location: Flanaess wide
The Royal Hunt is the premier occasion when the kings and high nobles of the Flanaess take to the field in pursuit of game. In this endeavor they are traditionally accompanied by their greatest vassals. The Royal Hunt brings together the highest levels of the aristocracy within a land. While the event is social, it is also political, but in an informal manner. There is a hierarchy of the hunt that gives prestige to those performing certain functions for the sovereign or most closely accompanying him when the game is pursued and taken. The greatest prestige, however, occurs with the “breaking of the game,” the division of the carcass of the slain quarry. The sovereign determines the recipients of these marks of royal favor, although often working through the persons of his Forrester, Huntsman or Master of Hounds. Up and coming young nobles, not the immediate recipient of the royal favor, may hope to distinguish themselves during the hunt. This is a close thing, however, for one must stand out without overshadowing or diminishing one’s betters in the eyes of the king and in front of the assembled peerage.
At the conclusion of the Royal Hunt, the Hunter’s Ball is held, hosted again by the sovereign. Dress is in colors of greens, browns and yellows - hues of a hunting theme. Dancing proceeds a feast founded on the catch of the day’s hunt. The nobility is seated in strict order of precedence. It is a great honor to be singled out for seating above one’s station. A seat at the high table with the king and the great nobles is the ultimate accolade. Being politically astute, most sovereigns will not themselves extend such invitation but will have the queen or a princess or prince royal make the invitation. Of course, the invitees must be upon their best behavior for they will dine in the company of the great peers and be privy to their conversations. Making a good impression may be more than a matter of politesse; it may be a matter of survival, particularly in lands were politics are cutthroat on any occasion.
Failure to attend the Royal Hunt and the Hunter’s Ball thereafter, without a very good reason, is a slight upon the host sovereign. As host, the sovereign pays for the entire affair, which is a not inconsiderable expense when housing, food and entertainment are considered. Attendance is not explicitly mandatory but it is expected. The Royal Hunt and Hunter’s Ball allow the sovereign to exercise social dominance by a grand display of largesse. In this way, it serves the same purpose as, but in the reverse, of the Royal Progress, which imposes the sovereign’s presence and the costs of such upon the nobility he or she chooses to visit.