The Tenth of Ivaris, Sixteen Seventy-Four, The Royal Palace
Oh how I rue the freedoms of the press. I woke this morning not to the vapid machinations of courtiers but to a derogatory article painting the front page of The Fair Clarion. This rag of a newspaper has had the impudence to published the name of Father’s Royal Swain. Words cannot accurately express the fury that is coursing akin to fire through my veins. By iron and flame! This is a violation. The name of Father’s Swain should have only been revealed ten years after both of them had expired. Rupert is a kind man, he has no need for such publicity. I can only hope that he and his family can weather this storm of public interest. Theoretically I could have the source hanged for treason, that is if the Clarion would reveal said sources.
I have insured that the name of Mother’s Swain will not be publicized. It cost a small fortune and was seventeen hours of negotiations but it is done. I have personally burned all but personal correspondence between Swain and Royal. I can only assume that someone had gotten hold of a scrap of correspondence as the only others who knew the names of the Swains are the head of The Royal Guard and the head Archivist. I know that neither of them have revealed the name nor location of the Swain. I have never known a more fiercely loyal pair; I have given them my blessing if they so wish to wed, as my Father did before me. I have even offered to officiate the wedding if they cannot find a priest that is willing. I know of a few priests that look down upon same sex pairings, especially if neither of the pair is a Child of the Starry Heavens. Even fewer stipulate that such pairs must include a Child of Venus.
I have written to Rupert to apologize for this invasion of his privacy and reassured him that he will continue to receive the tax benefits that he has enjoyed since he became Father’s Swain. That is the custom, Father once In jest referred to it as war or hazard pay. The Swain will retain the tax benefits of their position even if the Royal they served dies. I have yet to choose my own Swain, I had thought to choose Rupert’s son, Jake, it is not uncommon for Royal and Swain to have known each other since childhood. Sadly with the media attention they are receiving Jake would most likely be a poor choice. This scandal of sorts has no doubt permanently changed their social standing and would make him a poor Swain.
The Swain’s sole duty is to remind the Royal of the plight of the common man. It is all too common for those of the peerage to forget the common man’s struggles and trials. As they, especially the second and third sons and daughters, tend to dwell in the lap of luxury. Often becoming favored pets and infrequently becoming consorts of courtiers. An interesting thought since Joseph has attempted to foist his sons and daughters upon me, at most I would take one of them for a quiet dalliance. If I had an heir I would do so now, they are quite pretty and I could have a different one in my bed each night.
Having a Swain went in vogue for a short time once Father had chosen one, many of the lords took one from his example. I wish their children followed in their footsteps. The whole idea of a Royal Swain is archaic but Grandfather had taken leave of his senses and had sparked two wars in a bid for land. Wars we are still feeling the shock waves of. To be so disconnected from the people should preclude one from ruling.
The Swain enjoys quite a few privileges. As I said before they enjoy a reduction in their taxes, the reduction could be as little as five percent to twenty percent. Anything more and they would not represent the common man. They correspond regularly with their Royal and act as an advisor. I remember Father sending for Rupert quite frequently when I was a child. I also remember visiting his family. Father, Mother, and I spent a week sequestered with them. I enjoyed it, we were treated like anyone else. We were treated like equals, no one deferred to our wishes. To my five year-old self It was quite a shock but an experience well needed, it helped ensure that I did not end up a spoiled brat. The Swain serves to remind the Royal that we are all mortal, we are all the same.
I must pen a response to the Fair Clarion before I retire. I daren’t think they will print a retraction but one can always hope. Isn’t there a tribal saying, Hope springs eternal from the veins of ones enemies? I should perish the thought, more so since this will enter into the archives after my death.
Evandrus, Son of Iron-Banded Mars, Crown Prince.
The Fair Clarion: A newspaper with a highly regarded standing. The name simply means Beautiful Trumpet.
By Iron and Flame: An exclamation much like a christian might say Jesus Christ.