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The Nikirala Court

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  1. ETIKET I VE KORT: “HAUCHMETVAS, COURTSHIP, BETROTHALS, AND MATRIMONY” UKEN VE KRAWN I ROZZ Issued by the QUEEN’S COUNCIL On the 12th day of Joma and Umund of 409 ES Upon delving into the Court’s archives, it was discovered that the Kingdom suffers from a lack of clear rulings and guidelines surrounding the pivotal moments in any respectable lord or ladies’ lives: those being hauchmetvas, betrothals, and marriage. It is the wish of Queen Emma’s council to expand this culture and delve into older Haeseni customs to establish common expectations. Worth noting, since those who do not abide by these rules of etiquette will face ostracisation and expulsion from Court, losing favour among any other respectable nobleman. HAUCHMETVAS Commonly known as “Debutantes”, this event marks the liminal boundary for a young woman as she comes of age. On her 14th nameday, the lady stands on the threshold of adulthood, and thus shall be formally introduced to proper society through a hauchmetvas. Furthermore, the occasion is a prime time for any potential suitors to present themselves, as she takes her first steps into adulthood. EXPECTATIONS OF A HAUCHMETVAS I. Only the firstborn daughter of a peer, or a princess immediately related to the reigning monarch, is expected to have a Hauchmevtas hosted in her honour. Although it is not expressly forbidden to debut as a more distant relative of a peer, doing such would be highly controversial and would forever mark the lady as an undesirable match. These tight societal restrictions retain the prestige that the tradition carries, and any noble patriarch who strays from them shall seem most incapable of arranging suitable marriages for the ladies of his house. II. The debuting lady is required to don the colour red on her special day, a shade to symbolise one who is ready and open to courtship. Any other maiden who wears garments of red to another’s Hauchmevtas does so in poor taste and shall be the subject of much scorn. III. It is unbefitting of a lady whose hand has already been promised to another in youth to be debuted, for the intent of the celebration is to reveal her to potential suitors. In cases where the firstborn daughter of a noble patriarch is betrothed before her 14th nameday, the honour of the Hauchmevtas is instead bestowed upon the eldest of his available daughters. IV. Although the focus of a Hauchmevtas is undoubtably on the debutante herself, it must also commemorate her culture and the stock from which she came. For this reason, it is customary to incorporate elements traditional to the house or people from which the lady hails. This may be accomplished through colours, activities, games, or other culturally significant displays. V. Each Hauchmevtas must be unique to the debutante, for it is a celebration in her honour above all else. Festivities shall be themed toward the interests of the lady, who may demand favourable dress codes, themes of decoration, and cuisine. It is advised that the personal tastes of a lady do not transgress against the customs of her people, as such may convey a sense of selfishness. VI. The Queen’s Council must approve any untraditional Hauchmetvas, which excludes those of the initially stated. While this is not a legal requirement, it shall be expressed plainly that repercussions will be apparent for those who do not garner approval beforehand. TRADITIONS OBSERVED AT A HAUCHMETVAS I. WREATH CEREMONY In the wreath ceremony, the Ladies of the house will present the debutante with a garland, composed of traditional bulbs and flowers especially chosen for their meaning. It shall act as a physical representation of all they wish for her, going forward, to be gifted and treasured on this special day. II. THE FIRST DANCE Accompanied by a male guardian of her choice, be it her father or eldest brother, the debutante is expected to take the first dance of the night. This dance shall be observed by those present before the floor is opened to the couples present and any potential suitors seeking a chance with the lady. III. BURNING OF AGE On the eve of her Hauchmetvas, the family of the debutante and a single close companion shall partake in the traditional Burning of Age. Three symbols representing the youth of the lady shall be taken to a great pyre and burned. She must explain the meaning behind each, before they are ultimately tossed into the flame, symbolising her departure from childhood and onto the next stage in her life. COURTSHIP & BETROTHALS One of the greatest challenges faced by young ladies is securing themselves a betrothal. For if they are not lucky enough to be betrothed in youth, they are thrust into the intricacies of courtly life, expected to entertain suitors and find themselves a most suitable match. Opportunities like the festival of Juliyafest, and Lifstala, are engineered to provide ample opportunity. Unions that do not follow the aforementioned courtship and betrothal processes are often treated with scorn in Haeseni society. Scandal often ensues, as the Court speculates as to why the couple rushed through with their marriage, for more often than not the answer is sinful in nature. EXPECTATIONS OF A JULIYAFEST I. While the Haeseni Social Season occurs but once a generation, the Juliyafest celebration serves as a more regular occasion at which the unwed of the Kingdom may mingle, and courtships may bloom. Every four years, or once a Saint’s Month, the traditional year-long period of courting known as the Juliyafest shall take place. To commemorate the Saint Juliya, Patron of mothers and matrimony - those who become engaged, or marry under the light of Saint Juliya, are blessed with luck for their match. II. One grand event, be it a masquerade or a lover’s chase, is to be hosted by the Queen’s Council, unique from the previous year’s affair as to encourage matches that otherwise might not have blossomed. III. Fledgling couples may begin courtship outside of Juliyafest or the Social Season, as no law states otherwise. However, such a relationship will surely be viewed as scandalous, lest it be a dynastic match negotiated by their noble houses. A chaste and patient maiden will surely wait for the proper time and place to entertain suitors, whereas any who do not are surely desperate for a reason. TRADITIONS OBSERVED AT A LIFSTALA I. THE PRESENTATION The presentation marks the opening of the Lifstala, where any and all unwed lords and ladies between their 14th and 25th nameday present themselves to the queen and her grand lady, and make themselves known to prospective suitors. Both bachelors and maidens are expected to wear garbs primarily of the colour red, to signify their desire to court. At the presentation itself, the names of the debutantes and whomever they choose to accompany them; traditionally the patriarch of their house, their father, or an elder brother, shall be called out and the pair must stand before the royal dais. Each debutante will be judged on a number of desirable qualities, and the occasion serves as an opportunity for each lady to showcase their beauty, wit, or intellect. The most impressive maiden of Lifstala shall be dubbed the Ruskan Rose; a most prestigious honour that marks its recipient as the most desirable in all the Kingdom. II. FEATS OF STRENGTH Naturally, lords shall have their chance to shine as well. Tournaments are to be held throughout the land, with suitors engaging in jousts and melees to prove their physical prowess before crowds of onlooking eligible ladies, or patriarchs to impress. Rather than monetary gain, it is customary that the winners are rewarded with a red rose that he might present to any debutante of his choice, thus bestowing his public favour. For those more intellectually inclined, matches of chess and trivia regarding Haeseni culture are traditional options to prove one’s worth. These events are best held early in the Lifstala, so that no lady wastes her precious time on a suitor not worth his salt. III. ST JULIYA’S COMPANIONS Held early in Lifstala proceedings, this day, inspired by the Patron Saint herself, involves couples congregating on picnic blankets, or in the Nikirala gardens. They will be matched in pairs, to allow easy flow of private conversation, before partners are switched and debutantes have the chance to meet another few potential matches. Such an event is chaperoned, so no untoward behaviour occurs. V. EVENTS OF COURTSHIP The bulk of the season’s festivities shall be events where the two sexes may mingle. Traditionally these consist of dances, feasts, and luncheons, though of course it falls upon the Queen’s Council to decide the course of the Lifstala. Even less traditional events play their part…perhaps so-called blinded pairings, where prospective suitors are paired with a lady at random for the better part of the night’s merriments - all in the aim to consolidate alliances, and find a worthy suitor! IV. THE FINAL BALL The Lifstala finds its climax at the final ball, which most consider to be the highlight of the season. Themes vary from Lifstala to Lifstala, but each ball ultimately serves to celebrate the successful courtships of the season. Each new couple is expected to share a dance, accompanied by the finest of music the Dual-Kingdom has to offer. With food and drink abound, as well as the company of all the realm’s finest, it is an event that young Haeseni forever seal in their memories. TRADITIONS OBSERVED IN COURTSHIP AND BETROTHALS I. THE VEREVKA BELT It is a long-standing tradition that, during courtship, the suitor in question must dote upon their counterpart with a shower of gifts. One of which, once a suitor feels most secure in his match, is the creation of the symbolic Verevka. Suitors offer to their lady a belt of ivy and twine, to be presented privately before seeking the permission of the Patriarch of her house for her hand in marriage. The belt must be fashioned of material gathered in nearby woodlands, twisted together by the hands of the suitor and blessed by a priest to be considered a legitimate offering. A simple gift, though valuable both in meaning and to avoid embarrassment on behalf of either party, in formal rejection. If the Verevka is rejected, it serves as a strong indication that the woman does not wish to progress to matrimony. Its knotted form represents the partnership the two share, entwined together much like the ivy into a strong girdle, and reflects the binding vows they will soon swear. The lady may then wear her personal belt, publicly demonstrating her near-marital status. II. BETROTHAL FEAST A betrothal feast shall be held between the two families in the presence of a holy member of the Church. At the end of which, the patriarch of the bride must provide his answer to the groom in the form of a traditional dish. Should the groom find himself served the lok, all is well, and the match has been approved. Erkindelir, however, bodes unhappy news as his request to wed has been refused. If the patriarch’s denial is so extreme, and the man wishes to forbid the suitor from seeing his female companion, the erkindelir will be coated in a spiced cream sauce known as uli. To not consume every meal served is a most grave insult, and the suitor must clean his plate of lok, if he is successful in asking patriarchal approval. The inability to hold down lok is a bad omen for the union-to-be, and serves as the final test for the suitor. For those of the superstitious type, once the lok’s plate is cleaned the bride and groom’s families will smash their plates against floors and walls to banish any lingering malevolent spirits which might impinge upon the match. III. HERZENARY Tradition dictates the dowry, or herzenary, of which can be loosely translated to ‘noble gold’ in Common, is to be paid to the house of superior rank, though many in the Dual-Kingdom have opted to simply pay a bride price in recent years. There is no fixed amount that one must pay, though the price varies with the rank and disposition of the junior partner. The daughter of a King demands more than that of a Baron, and a most pious and well-mannered maiden demands more than that of a sinful boor. Women might find themselves comparing their own bride prices, as it can raise or diminish their social status in unfathomable ways. As pointed out in the recent study “VE EDLERVIK,” penned by Viktor Kortrevich, tradition dictates a man would have to present two sheep, a goat, and four chickens to the family patriarch, in asking for the female companion’s hand. This has since seen fluctuation, where a patriarch tells the suitor a specific herzenary he wishes to see in exchange for a lady of his house; whether monetary or in form of assets. IV. MELDING OF THE TWO HOUSES Once such a union has been accepted by the lady’s patriarch, it is now up to the women of the house to welcome their latest addition with open arms. A tradition, pracised by female relations or the mother-in-law of the bride-to-be, is to embroider the initials of the betrothed into a handkerchief, or stitch an amalgamation of the two house’s crests into fabric to be gifted to the Lady - a symbol of the fusion of the two bloodlines. MATRIMONY Once a lucky lady has found herself betrothed, either by the whims of family patriarchs or by the virtue of true love, she and the man in question must engage in holy matrimony before the eyes of God. Yet this also holds with it it’s traditions and expectations. TRADITIONS AND EXPECTATIONS OF MATRIMONY I. STATUS AND COLOUR CODE To host a large wedding open to all the people of the Kingdom, complete with subsequent festivities and lavish feasts is a privilege reserved for the peerage, their heirs and royal princes and princesses. It is seen as wildly improper for those of lesser status to host such a wedding, though to do so is less frowned upon than other transgressions against tradition. Both the bride and groom are expected to don white, and no others are to wear it on their wedding day. To do so is to become a subject of scorn and disdain among the Haeseni courts, and they shall most likely find themselves excluded from the lives of the newly wedded couple. II. CUSTOMS OF THE EVE AND MORNING On the eve of their wedding, brides are encouraged to have slept in a silk or satin nightgown. It is symbolic in nature that it implies a sense of purity or chastity, alongside preserving her natural beauty. On the morning of their wedding day the female relatives of both the bride and groom must unite, no matter what differences they may have had prior. They are to serve as aides to the bride, helping her to prepare for the ceremony itself, as well as any subsequent merriment. The bride might choose to stitch an old piece of fabric into the inside of her dress, to remind her of her past as she steps into her future. Alongside this, to avoid tainting the sincerity and sweetness of her union, the bride is offered small balls of pastry, drizzled with honey the night before. These treats compound prayers that the pair will remain happy and sweet for many years to come. However, a lady may not, under any circumstance, sleep beneath the same roof as a man to whom they are not related by blood. Brides especially must forgo the temptation of living with their soon-to-be husband and, should they wish to maintain their virtue, should not rest anywhere but in their bedchambers on the eve of their wedding. III. SUPERSTITIONS AND GAMES Once the religious ceremony is completed, and the bride and groom proclaimed man and wife, a party will ensue. During which, the newlyweds and guests might choose to partake in old superstitious wives tales, to foretell the fate of their match. a) The rings of both the bride and groom are to be suspended from string. The direction in which they spin is said to prophesize the sex of their first child, with left decreeing that it is a girl and right that it is to be a boy. If they spin in opposing directions the couple is either blessed with twins, or shall be cursed by the sin of adultery. b) For bridesmaids attending to their lady, it is tradition to peel an apple, which they shall throw over their shoulder and onto the ground. The letter which the remains of the fruit skin most resemble is the letter of the initials of their future husband, the more eligible letters the better. If it bears no resemblance to any letter, the bridesmaid is surely destined to remain unwed. c) It is considered particularly bad luck to have one’s wedding during the month of Joma and Umund, as it is the coldest and darkest of the deep winter months, where no crop nor love can grow. d) It has been said that throughout the day of your wedding, “do not change your slippers, or you will change your man.” If one cannot prove loyal to a certain pair of shoes for the evening, then one’s eyes will certainly stray from the marriage bed. e) It is believed the yellow flowers are known to cause infidelity, and that a bride nor a groom should never gift such flowers to one another, and nor should wedding gifts, lest to wish to break up the marriage. f) It is always a good sign when the bride cries during the wedding ceremony, for the cleansing of her eyes shall usher in good luck and a fruitful marriage. SIGNED, Her Royal Majesty, Emma Karenina Barbanov-Bihar, Queen-Consort of Hanseti-Ruska Her Royal Majesty, Annika Anastasija Barbanov-Bihar, Queen-Mother of Hanseti-Ruska, Countess of Reza Her Royal Highness, Anastasya Isabel Baruch, Duchess-Consort of Valwyck, Duchess of Karlsburg, Baroness of Antioch Her Princely Grace, Georgina Sofiya Barclay, Grand Lady of Hanseti-Ruska, Princess-Consort of Sutica, Duchess-Consort of Reinmar Her Grace, Marie Lorraine Ruthern née Ludovar, Lady Chamberlain of Hanseti-Ruska, Duchess-Consort of Vidaus His Excellency, Eirik Matyas Baruch, Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska, Duke of Valwyck, Count of Ayr, Viscount of Voron, Baron of Gant, Laval, and Riveryn ‘The Beast,’ Ser Viktor Josef Baruch, Marian Knight of Hanseti-Ruska
  2. Moda i ve Kort Wzuvar ag Byvca, 4 0 9 E.S KOENAS’ BROOCHES [!] An oil portrait of the Lady Chamberlain and Custodian’s Brooch Dearest Readers, Haeseni fashion has escalated to new heights since the rule of Koenas Annika, and her efforts to encourage the resurgence of Ruskan Fashion. As the newly appointed Mistress of the Wardrobe within the household of Koenas Emma, Her Highness Nikoleta and her assistants shall continue to build upon Annika’s legacy and provide a new revitalization and regulation of fashion standards, breathing in new life to the Haeseni court and exploring our culture. Without further ado, we present Moda i ve Kort: The Brooches of the Queen’s Council. Queen’s Brooches are a new concept, ordered by Her Royal Majesty, for the essential and important members of the court and her Council to be publicly honored. Each design, differing from one another, indicates the status and importance of their role within the courts - designs which span from those on the Queen’s Council, to the Koenas herself. These pins are to be gifted by the Queen: traditionally an inauguration to join her council, or as recognition and reward for hard work. One may wear it anywhere and everywhere, especially at formal events hosted by the Council. It functions as an unofficial order of the Courts distinguished. ---------------✰--------------- The Brooches ---------------✰--------------- Koenas Donned the “Koenas’ Brooch”, this intricately designed piece is made up of an gold design, with diamond inlays. The centerpiece is opal and a string of three pearls dangle from the lower-left corner to signify her as the head of the Queen’s Council and the Courts. As per tradition, the brooch is pinned on the left side of her garments. Furthermore, the Koenas might elect to wear a purple sash, therefore fashioning the pin to the material for her Council Meetings. Grand Lady, Custodian, and Lady Chamberlain The Grand Lady, Custodian, and Chamberlain make up the major positions in the courts, and function as the Queen’s Inner Council, reporting to the Monarch herself. Each has earned their spot and in turn, receive a slightly different brooch to indicate their hard work and dedication. They don a golden pin with a ruby inlay and- for the Grand Lady, a string of two pearls that dangle from the left corner of the piece. For the Custodian and Lady Chamberlain, it is just the one pearl. Again, these pins are traditionally worn on the left side of a courtier’s torso. Recognized Lords & Ladies of the Council Recognized lords and ladies on the council are those who, while they do not make up the Inner Council of Grand Lady, Palace Custodian, or Chamberlain, they are still honored by the Queen, and wear an emerald brooch. The emerald stone is surrounded by a laced golden border, with a singular pearl attached to the lower-left corner. These brooches are, likewise, expected to traditionally be worn on the left side. Examples of who might be honored could span from any who hold a position in the Council or wider Courts: from Court Governess to Mistress of the Robes, or a lord or lady simply being gifted one by the Koenas, for their recent hard work or breakthrough study. There is much flexibility in that regard, and it is the Koenas who will present such an award. The Queen’s Council These brooches are worn by all other members of the Council, to recognise their importance and purpose serving the Koenas. A plain golden band that surrounds a sapphire, these brooches are too worn traditionally on the left-hand side. By wearing such pins with pride, it shows a unified front - the sapphire brooch symbolises the Council outwardly to the rest of the city, and distinguishes its members from the rest. Signed, Her Royal Majesty, Emma Karenina, Queen-Consort of Hanseti-Ruska Her Highness, Nikoleta Barbara Morovar Mistress of the Wardrobe
  3. THE QUEEN’S COUNCIL OF HANSETI-RUSKA PRESENTS… A unique showcase of beauty: “GARMENTS OF THE NIKIRALA AUCTION” On the 16th day of Gronna and Droba of 408 ES VA VE EDLERVIK, With the submission of many Haeseni gowns and headpieces over the last saint’s week, each tailored with a careful hand, beads and pearls sewn into perfect place, the Nikirala sees it fit to hold the presentation and auction thereafter of these masterpieces. Proceeds will go to both seamstress and funding the Queen’s Council’s future endeavours. So come along, bid, and support these individual artists as well as the larger Courts. Our auction is designed to celebrate our fashion culture, one that is continually being explored and expanded within the current Queen Emma’s council. From explosions of colour, to intricate beading and elaborate kokoshniks, there will certainly be a piece to anyone’s liking. Illustrations of some of the gowns and accessories are depicted below. Each of which will be modelled by the Queen’s Wards, and other volunteered courtiers! SKINS “Hot Mamej” “Winter Wonderland” “Sunflower Fields” “Mourning in Style” “Ruskan Red Youth” “Pink Prodigy” “Festival of Crows” “Traditional Red” “Ruskan Furs” “Green with Envy” “Apple Pie” KOKOSHNIKS & HEADDRESSES “Grandiose Green” “A Colourful Display” “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” “The Greenest Grandeur” “Mourning Headwear” “Pearlescence” “Ivory and Blue” “Fit for a Countess” “Strawberry Sherbet” “The Robin Egg Kokoshnik” “The Rose of Reinmar Kokoshnik” JEWELLERY “The Komitas Emerald Ring” “The Herzen Sapphire Livery Collier” OOC Auction Times!! Nikirala Prikaz 5pm EST Saturday 15th
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