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Why we serve

Since becoming a peer, and particularly since becoming a landed baroness, there's often this moment where I go to take action and three or more people leap to stop me. Now, I have accepted that I will often not carry my own things - though this is sometimes difficult. I have accepted that I will often delegate a problem solved that I would have often taken care of myself - though this too is difficult.

But there's a reason that sometimes at the end of feast James and I stealth off to the kitchen to grab pots and towels and dirty dishes. There's a reason sometimes we are found with coronets safely tucked aside as we move tent poles or hold stakes or wield a hammer, or why sometimes we even unload our own thrones from the car when there are hands nearby to help. There is a reason when people say "I want you happy at the event" that my response is always "I want the populace happy. We are here for you."

Understand that it is not because we do not wish assistance. We adore that so many are willing to help us. Never that.
Understand that it s not because we wish to tarnish the image of ourselves as nobility or do harm to the station. Never that.
Understand that it is not because the people around us are incapable. Never that.

It is because we believe, with heart and breath and soul, in noblesse oblige. In the obligation of the nobility to serve the people and the populace. To protect them. To care for them. To stand for them. To right wrongs for them. To adhere to the laws that we live by, even if they are imaginary society laws, so that the Dream we serve is supported by law and right. Noblesse oblige is part of the Arthurian Ideal, not simply the Society Ideal. It is the concept that says Right makes Might, and not the other way around. It is the concept that our nobility, our peers, our leaders, are bound by the same rules and conduct that we hope to inspire in our populace and that not even we are above that. Never, are we above that, from lady to honorable lord to peer to crown. The Dream, The Law, the Service is what makes this just a little more than a game, what makes all of this a little more of an aspiration toward something better that we may never reach but we shall certainly strive toward it.

Sometimes, it can be easy as a noble to fall into the trap of people serving you. It's convenient. It makes your day simpler in a day that is often very busy and very full of scheduled activities, visits to parts of the event to cheer your populace on, meetings you have to attend to keep the nuts and bolts behind the scenes working. This rush is why retainers are so valued, why sometimes the simple act of someone filling your mug or aiming you at the next schedule item is so needed. It can be easy to be complacent and allow that to become your normal.

But then noblesse oblige.

We have to remember that our retainers and our people help us so that we may serve them. We cannot lead without your belief. But nor SHOULD we lead without your belief. We cannot lead without your help but it thus behooves us to return that favor.

So when James and I sneak off to the kitchen, or Duke Ari carries a water keg to a field of fighters, or His Majesty Danial takes the pitchers to serve the tables, or Gunther and Xena and James and I all end up grinning at one another in a kitchen, it is not because we are doing a disservice to our titles or playing at lesser rank. It is not that we are denying people the privlege to help or serve us or the stations we fill. It is because sometimes, my dear and darling and beloved kingdom, we need to physically remember the need to serve you. We need to express our love and care in a way that cannot be done with a crown or a piece of gold or a smile.

We need you to know that we will never, ever, ask you to do what we will not do ourselves. We need to lift a burden from you because it is our duty and oath and our joy.

Always we serve, because we lead.

Comments

  1. Lana, this brought tears to my eyes. Yes, this is why we serve. I hope you don't mind if I share this with my Canton.

    ReplyDelete

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