Oct 4
The coronation

The coronation ceremony came on quickly. It felt like it would be eons before this day would come when my father and I made the first arrangements commissioning decorators, artists, wizards to oversee the solemn event. But now it felt just like a few hours ago and now it is upon us. I was woken early once again to Geoffries’ lyre and we went right back to rehearsing because I walked out of it yesterday. I am in the chapel, walking down the aisle, the orchestra playing that angelic tune for the fifth time. That part of the ceremony never gets old while the walking has run me to the end of my string. I climb the steps up to the altar and then kneel gracefully, bowing my head towards the altar. Unlike yesterday the Archbishop of Canterbury is here performing his duties so that I don’t have to imagine them.
    “And so Jess Christophorus Fens is crowned as dictated by the manifest destiny of Her Greatness the Universe, King and Supreme Ruler of the Kingdom of North America, Caretaker of the Bathikry, Defender of Earth, and Steward of the Universe,” he says.
    He places an imaginary crown on my head and then motions me to rise and I rise as instructed, slowly and rigidly and then turn to face the priest, who hands me the miniature earth and the scepter. I then turn towards the audience and stand in the appointed stance, earth in my left hand and the scepter in my right, both arms at a right angle with the elbows pinned casually to my sides. The boys clap because I got it right this time. I give the ball and scepter back to the priest when a sudden noise, the thud of the doors of the chapel opening, echoes throughout the chamber. 
    I look over because the rehearsal is over, having finally gotten all the positioning and timing right. A pair of large figures swoop under the doorway to get into the chamber. When they stand back upright and at attention in the cubbies, I see that they have devilish faces and wings like a bat. Their bodies are bare and slimy like the skin hasn’t seen sun in decades even though they are mostly naked. Gargoyles. Then walks in a slightly taller figure with a giant orange pumpkin for a head and an intricate black dress embroidered with silver. His cape is constantly billowing as if he is always in a gust of wind or in motion. Although he is tall, his proportions are identical to the average human’s, a much more curious look than I would have imagined, from what I can tell under his layers of black and silver cloth. The man immediately excuses himself upon entering, his voice oddly cheerful despite his gossamer appearance.
    “I apologize everyone for my intrusion, Steward, Earl,” he says with his hands up.
    He looks around with his Jack’o’lantern eyes.
    “Isn’t this room just perfectly fit for this momentous occasion?” he revels.
    The Earl immediately stands up from his pew and approaches him. Reaching his hand out above his head, the Earl vigorously shakes only the bottom of his hand.
    “What an absolutely pleasant surprise, Captain! We expected you yesterday. Are you joining the coronation after all?” he asks. 
    “I was originally detained from coming to the coronation because of my preparations for the gala, so I decided to come early and offer my gifts. Needless to say I was so busy with preparations that I could not even come yesterday, so I come today but I will not be able to remain for the actual ceremony,” Captain responds. 
    Captain bows in my direction.
    “Prince Jess. I don’t believe we have ever met. I am Captain of the Elites, but you may call me Pumpkin Head if it pleases you,” he says.
    “Pleased. Your reputation proceeds you, Captain,” I bow back.
    He claps his gloved hands together in appreciation.
    “That is high praise indeed, future king! May you be the greatest defender of Her Bathikry!” he replies.
    I can already tell why the summit Thursday is going to be not only enjoyable but also incredibly stressful. I know Captain is trying to be kind and considerate, but there is a political undertone in everything he says. Yet it doesn’t seem like he does it to undermine my authority so much as position himself as a significant force. Yet only a truly pleasant personality could get the Earl to welcome him thus.
    “Well I will get right to why I came. I wish to offer you gifts as goodwill towards your ordination,” Captain announces, “I offer the principality of Asteroid Town comprising the Lower Hampton provinces, a prime location on the real estate of the Rebel asteroid field. This annex includes the fruitful asteroids of Bounteous, Clarity and Jaffa and will be an advantageous addition to your kingdom and a true gift of goodwill from the Elites.”
    My father gasps and the Earl looks stunned. I’m confused. Why would that be a good addition to the kingdom? I will be the Steward of the Universe, yes, but the actual property I am responsible for are the regions of North America: the United State, Canada and Mexico. I don’t even have direct rule of the rest of Earth, let alone anywhere in alien space. But I doubt that is why the Steward and the Earl are so shocked. 
    “Furthermore, this annex includes the employ of the famed black artisans of Rebel, who have taught the art of black magic since before magic was founded by your human kingdoms. This is an excellent asset for your new rule, Jess. They were in my very employ until we encountered your superior nonlethal magicks and they sought to continue their experimentations unhindered by the rest of my kingdom. I have reason to believe this is an area in which you have experience,” he continues.
    Now I am more confused than before. Me? Black magic? My expertise is in levitation, not the dark arts. 
    “Once again I apologize for the intrusion and for the length of my visit. Judge my actions once you see how this year’s gala exceed every year before it in grandeur! Please excuse me,” he bows.
    With that Captain exits out the door backwards, still bowing so he doesn’t bump his head, followed by his gargoyle guard.

I’m sitting in the salon next to the Earl as they announce the dignitaries attending the ceremony. I honestly didn’t know there was so much royalty. I am just glad that there are levels of officers so that I don’t have to keep track of all of them in order to rule effectively. Thank goodness my father is Steward, the operating officer of the kingdom. He will carry out my will regardless of whether I know all the details because he does.
    “Duke Luke and Duchess Leah of Maine!”
    I turn to see a radiant couple enter the chapel doors. 
    “There go my future inlaws,” I say to the Earl.
    “A pleasant couple to be sure. They are by no means a frightful addition to your family, if I may say so, Your Highness. My inlaws are . . . anything but noteworthy,” he shivers.
    “King Arthur and Queen Luana of Brazil! King Igor of the Soviets! Queen Mary the Second of England!” the announcer continues.
    “I thought you were ruler of England?” I ask the Earl.
    “England has always had a monarch, but the crown’s power was diminished many years ago by constitutional trends, so she is the official ruler and I am like your father, a steward. But unlike your father, the Queen gives me few orders. She more often than not gives me requests and has a lot of popularity with the people,” he explains. 
    I nod. Interesting.
    “You’ll get to meet many of the attendees at Captain’s summit and banquet, though it is the ones who participate in the games that you ought to get to know. The active monarchs are the actors in the everchanging political frontier of the Universe. Most of the attendees here will participate in the feast and perhaps a round of cards, but nothing like the duels or the races. Maybe King Igor of the Soviets because he is younger and definitely expect Prince Hugh of Ireland to try his hand at everything,” he explains. 
    As the announcements become staggered and I hear the cheerful conversations of the dignitaries in the chapel, the Earl stands up, bows and takes his place in the chapel and in the conversations. The Steward enters.
    “Nervous?” he asks.
    I don’t feel nervous right now but I have that sickly feeling of knowing that as soon as I get up off the couch I will have a pit in my stomach. 
    “I will be,” I reply, “This is supposed to be a little painful isn’t it?”
    “I reckon. But if there is anyone who can make ruling in the most powerful position in the Universe as a youth look easy, he’s you,” he encourages.
    I get up and give him a hug, which he returns willingly.
    “When I enter the orchestra knows they should start playing,” he says.
    He leaves and motions for the servants to take their positions at the doors, which they close behind him. I walk over. Geoffries appears and gives the dress a lastminute press. 
    “Elegan’, elegant, Your Majesty! Rap’t to see ya! Rap’t to ‘ea’en, truly!” he exclaims. 
    I give him a pat on the shoulder as he sheds a tear. A flurry of instruments more powerful than before sounds just beyond the doors. The servants open them up quickly and I walk through them. Everyone is staring at me. I try not to notice. I walk purposefully up to the altar and the archbishop pronounces me king. It feels so surreal as the actual crown lands softly on my head. It was such a large, grandiose thing when I saw it sitting on the cushion, but now it is on my head. I turn over and grasp the earth and scepter like I practiced, but this time I feel oddly conscious of the significance. The earth is truly a miniature showing the cloud patterns as they float across the surface and the colorful lights of the half still in darkness. The scepter is a symbol of power only because it mimics the look of a weapon. Now I am a military power as much as a peaceful influence.
    I turn toward the pews of faces to thunderous applause. The Steward stands up and bows.
    “Hail King Jess!” he shouts.
    Some stand up and bow as others continue to clap and then they switch until they are a body unified in praise and honor. I am excited, but I can’t help but feel completely terrified. Not terrified of them, the Universe or my position, but terrified of myself. I am worried about what this power will do to my head.