The Contests of Empire Day 379YE
As is well known Empress Richilde was a patron of the arts. The Sun Queen extended this to Empire Day. This day was always supposed to be a celebration of the arts and the contests were part of that. Not only did it encourage ambition in the artists and storytellers of the Empire it also allowed her to gauge the courtiers in court. Those that were desperate for favour would back the best artists, but also would sabotage the artists of their rivals. This way the Empire Day contests allowed her to gain insight into those that would try to gain her favour.
Winning a contest
Each citizen can enter a single contest, which is administered by the imperial civil service. The winner of each contest is the entrant who has gained the most tokens. All the guests at the Queens Head are given one token for each contest. Each token may be given freely to whomever that person thinks is most appropriate to win that particular contest.Each contestant is responsible for collecting the tokens.
This includes Painting, Sculpture, Drawing and Tapestry. Over the years many have wondered why such activities as leather-working or engraving were not included. The reason was simple - The Sun Queen wanted art for arts sake, as an expression of the Empires soul. The Art is traditionally bought to the venue and presented, along with a simple jar, provided by the artist, in front to collect tokens in. The theme for art this year is 'The soul' and the winner will be the artist with the most art tokens in their cup at midnight.
'A poets art is an expression of the empire soul writ in words' or so Empress Richilde once said to the nine when explaining why she acted as a patron of the arts. Poetry as satire or political weapons are often deployed here with many a poet unwittingly crossing lines they regret later. Contestants are expected to 'work the crowd' with wit and verve and perform their poem to other guests during the night. Poets must provide their own cup to collect tokens in, with the winner being the most poetry tokens in their cup at 11.30pm. This year the theme for poets is 'Love story'. Note that the civil service rules for this contest state that entries must be a performed poem and that poets must perform their own poems. A copy of the winning poem will be sent to the Day Realm library along with the normal prize for an Empire day competition.
The time of the Fashion Show will be announced on the night by the civil service. During the show, each entrant will be given 10 seconds to show off their outfit to the watching crowd. Once all entrants have shown their outfits they are all then allowed to collect tokens from the other guests. The winner will be the entrant with the most tokens. This year the theme for the fashion show is 'unvirtuous' and all guests should consider how well the clothing being worn matches that theme before deciding which entrant they should give their token to.
To be a valid entry in this catergory, it must be either a poem or song that satirises one of the following: Nation, current General, Current Cardinal, Current Bourse seat holder, current Archmage, current Grandmaster or current Senator. It may be up to three minutes long and the winning one will be the orator with the most tokens by a set time. The winner will be expected to perform their satire to the guests so that the civil service can time it, and if found to be longer then the next highest number of token will be performed and timed and so on.
Every year a scroll of the winners names are sent to the celestial library along with copies of the winning story and poem. Normally the winning piece of art is displayed for a year in either the Senate or the Civil Service Hub at Anvil. Along with this, there has been a tradition of material prizes, often kept secret until the winners are announced. These awards are eclectic and varied from something as simple as a rock, money or a finely crafted item to the tears of a summer herald forged into an ilium necklace or the first thrushes song of the year captured in an ebony box. All that is known is the prizes are collected over the year by the civil service from some unknown source.