The Kingdom of Camran was home to castles and canyons, fields and forests, and many, many adventures. It was also home to a host of folks, all with different talents and strengths:
Hannah, the Healer, nurturing with compassion,
Peter, the Politician, the successful achiever,
Meryl, the Muse, the imaginative artisan,
Siobhan, the Sage, an analytical mind,
Gerald, the Guardian, defending with loyalty,
Philo, the Page, the mirthful adventurer,
William, the Warrior, leading with strength,
Isaac, the Inventor, a conscious catalyst,
And Bartley the Baron, the hero of our tale, whose intellect and integrity provide noble leadership for the villagers, on days just like today…
Bartley the Baron had been waiting for this day for a long time, and he wanted to make sure everything was perfect.
On one evening, each year, the townspeople took time to recognize and revere the work and leadership of the village nobility. Though Camran was a Kingdom by name, the King who lorded over this area was seated within the walls of a neighboring principality, giving his authority to the Baron of Camran to rule over the land and its people. Bartley worked hard to lead with integrity and high standards, and he appreciated the recognition and appreciation of his villagers.
Bartley was in charge of the logistics and seen to the other festivals and events in Camran, so although this event was in his honor, it was no different to any other. His day would be spent making sure that each component of the program was well organized and well prepared. He started by checking in with Hannah, the Healer, who was always quite helpful during events.
Hannah was busy preparing the refreshments for this evening’s festivities when Bartley approached her.
“Hannah!” he greeted her. “How are things coming along?”
“Things are going quite well, Bartley,” said Hannah, smiling. “I think you will be quite pleased with what I have…”
Hannah looked at Bartley, and stopped her sentence short. His eyes were narrowed, focusing on the small buns Hannah was baking.
“What is it, Bartley?” she asked, tentatively.
“Their size, Hannah. They are much too small. No one will be satisfied with such small provisions!”
“Perhaps you’re right,” said Hannah, her voice sounding small. “I’ll remedy this, of course.”
“I’ll look forward to seeing your improved portions,” said Bartley, already moving on towards the courtyard, where Peter and Gerald would be working on seating for the ceremony. He had much to get done today, and there was no time to lose.
Bartley could see, even from a distance, that the seating arrangement was inadequate. He took a deep breath, and did his best to be diplomatic.
“Hello, Bartley!” said Peter, cheerfully. Bartley returned his smile. “I’m quite accomplished in ceremony organization. I’m confident that you’ll be happy with what I have accomplished.”
“We’ve accomplished,” added Gerald, quietly. Gerald seemed less confident.
“You have been working hard, I see,” said Bartley, “but what of this configuration? Do you really think those sitting towards the back will be able to see and hear the program well?”
“We’ve done it this way before,” Gerald started to say.
“I’ll fix it! I’ll do it! It’s no problem at all,” said Peter. “I’m always up for a challenge.”
“Well, you have one right in front of you,” Bartley nodded. “Godspeed, gentlemen. I’ll see you this evening.” Bartley moved on quickly. It seemed that everyone needed his direction today.
As he walked down the path toward the meadow, he was surprised to see Siobhan and Meryl together. He knew Meryl was in charge of the floral décor, but what was Siobhan doing here?
“Bartley!” said Meryl, dancing up to him with an armful of colorful wildflowers. “Won’t these be lovely?”
“Indeed,” said Bartley, knowing Meryl could be trusted with décor, “but what are you doing here, Siobhan? I thought you were crafting a welcome speech?”
“I’ll have plenty of time for that, Bartley. I wanted to make sure Meryl stayed on task, and didn’t disrupt the equilibrium of the meadow flora.”
“That’s not your role today, Siobhan,” said Bartley, evenly, trying not to lose his patience. “The welcome speech. Now.” Siobhan nodded, soundlessly, making her way back to her hut. Bartley left Meryl, gliding from flower to flower, wondering if perhaps Siobhan had a point. He shook his head. There were other things he needed to address, and the afternoon hours were slipping away.
Bartley spotted Philo, the Page, glancing at his reflection in the fountain that flowed in the village square. He did look sharp, indeed.
“Ready to be our Master of Ceremonies tonight, Philo?” asked Bartley. Philo flashed a winning smile.
“More than ready, Bartley,” he said. “With Siobhan speechwriting, how could I go wrong? I was thinking I’d go for a quick jaunt up the countryside to see if I could spot some…”
“You thought you would leave? Now?” said Bartley, hardly believing what he was hearing. “Absolutely not, Philo. What if you were late coming back?”
“A race against time would be an invigorating adventure…” said Philo, his eyes bright.
“Don’t even think about it, Philo,” said Bartley, firmly. “You’ll stay here and prepare.” He shook his head and headed further into the square, not giving Philo a chance to retort. He still had one more stop before he got ready himself.
He realized, as he approached William, the Warrior, and Isaac, the Inventor, that he had never gotten the details on what Isaac was working on. It was a good thing he was checking in with them, now…
“Bartley!” said Isaac, excitedly, “Please, take a look! I’ve crafted a new device. These large, copper plates will surround the stage, amplifying the sound of the speaker and enabling everyone to hear better, and celebrate more fully!”
“And as far as I can tell,” said William, standing at attention, “they will not endanger anyone involved, despite their size.”
Bartley squinted at the plates with a critical eye.
“You’re sure they will be ready for the event? Look at the position of the sun, men. You haven’t much time. They’ll be worthless if they’re not ready.”
“Right you are, right you are,” said Isaac, a bit of panic in his voice. “We’ll work doubletime!”
“That you will,” said Bartley. “I’ll see you soon.”
Filled with anxieties of the unfinished, imperfect business he had observed over the afternoon, Bartley went to change his clothes. He wanted to look his best for the program tonight. He had to trust the villagers that they would complete their tasks up to his standards.
Just hours later, Bartley found himself standing before a crowd of smiling townspeople, their attentive eyes bright with anticipation, ready to listen to the words of the Baron, and recognize his noble leadership.
Bartley looked at the table full of beautiful, untouched refreshments to his left, and the strategically arranged seats occupied by so many attendees. He noticed the bright and beautiful wildflowers that surrounded the stage, and nodded to the enthusiastic (and timely present) Philo, who had delivered quite the eloquent introduction written by Siobhan. He admired the sturdy, innovative plates that amplified his voice. The evening was going splendidly, better than he could have expected, but as he stood, alone, in front of the crowd, he knew that there was one more thing that needed critiquing, correcting. One more thing was not right.
“People of Camran,” said Bartley, confidently, graciously, “I would like to welcome to the stage with me Hannah and Peter, Meryl and Siobhan, William and Philo and Isaac, and of course, Gerald. A leader like myself is nothing without the thoughtful, hardworking people who support him, and fulfill his vision.”
As the others gathered around Bartley on the stage, the crowd roared with appreciation. Amidst the applause, surrounded by the admiring and thankful faces of his friends, Bartley finally felt that everything, at last, was perfect.