Pennants of maroon, navy, and amber wave from atop this richly and colorfully adorned grand pavilion tent erected in a choice glen or copse in proximity to a Dornig market town’s fairgrounds. Although the pavilion’s purpose is to serve as the Grand Imperatrix’s command tent on military expeditions, it has gained far more notoriety serving as Regia Moonthorn’s royal seat for her annual visit to a late-summer fair.
The pavilion’s thick canvas tent is a wonder to behold, bedecked with tassels and small bells, and decorated with scenes of frolicking fey and woodland creatures in colorful and elaborate embroidery. The tent poles themselves are made of the stoutest oak, gilded with gold and silver bands. Anchored and reinforced with magic, no storm has uprooted the tent nor collapsed it. Moreover, it is furnished with beds and coaches, chairs and tables, and appointed with snacks and beverages befitting the occasion—anything her majesty might require to hold court or simply relax with close friends.
The Pavilion’s Secret
But the embroidered canvas of the pavilion covers are sleeves that disguise its true form: that of a tent of a long-ago Nurian mage. Within are purple and cream silks, whisper thin, that serve as tent walls and flaps. At the heart of the oak posts are rods of mithral. Silk cords entwined with mundane hemp secure every fastener.
Its most significant magical enhancement is its attenuation to ley lines. The pavilion amplifies existing ley lines, refocusing them so they can be utilized. This is the principal reason a mage is on hand to supervise selection of the tent site. Even casters who are not trained in the art (in other words, do not possess ley line or Nurian feats) will find that within 400 yards or so of the pavilion, they can make manifest Weak Ley Line Effects. For skilled casters, the effect is amplified, enabling them to tap Strong Ley Line Effects.
Most of the items in the pavilion are not magical. But, a dressing screen, painted with scenes of ships with billowing sails on rolling seas, is one of Regia’s favorite devices. It can act like a rope trick when a command word is spoken, allowing the user to walk into the screen and hide in the extra-dimensional space. The Grand Imperatrix will sometimes hide in the space when she feels the need to eavesdrop on guests she entertains in the pavilion.
A Rustic Retreat
The occasion of a market fair serves as a holiday retreat for Regia and her court. Only a handful of attendants and or beloved relatives stay with her in the pavilion. The 400 or so others of her court must make their own arrangements if they choose to attend. (The fair holiday is good opportunity for them to ask for leave of her majesty so they might see to their own holdings.) Of course, the market town considers it a great honor to host such an event, and the townsfolk turn out for a chance to cheer and greet their monarch.
Regia always takes part in the daily processional. In the past, she would stride freely along the dusty path, greeting townsfolk, accepting bouquets and garlands, and delighting in their honest, forthright answers to her questions. Clearly, these frank, effusive exchanges are a refreshing change from usual discourse with courtiers. Now in her dotage, Regia Moonthorn must ride in a palanquin, but her litter-bearers are instructed to draw close to crowd so she might engage her subjects.
Daily, she holds a brief commoner’s court. She relishes the chance to show magnanimity and resolve disputes between neighbors and their livestock and bestow blessings on couples about to be wed. Even in the most rustic venues, however, genuine accusations against her officials are sometimes voiced, and the imperatrix makes thoughtful and fair judgments on such matters.
She actually spend only a few daylight hours in the pavilion, though the reasons have changed over the years. During her youth and well into maturity, she took part in the sports and activities of the fair, from riding, picnicking, lawn game contests, boating, or shopping in the market itself. These days, she chooses to retire to the manor house of a local lord or even the more modest accommodations of the town’s mayor to enjoy tea and relaxed conversation. Either way, this allows courtiers free use of the pavilion to take their ease, make new acquaintances, play table and cards games, and engage in banter.