Chapter - Emergency Meeting
by, 4-12-12 at 2:31 AM (334 Views)
Seraf-Magister Mecrenval Solboron had finally woken from his sleep. It had been a long journey all the way from the Nebar Province. On his way from Brapsas, Nebar’s capital, the Seraf had more than enough time to analyse the Emperor’s unusual summoning. He had called the Imperial High Council, integrated by the Five Cerubæ̈n and the Four Serafæ̈n as well as the Élyon Saint and the sovereigns, to gather at the Palace immediately. These off-the-schedule meetings were pretty uncommon, since the entire High Council seldom had the need to meet all at once; at least not physically. In fact, the last time those offices had last met on account of government matters, the war had barely ended, the Empire was at its weakest, and the Throne lay vacant. The last time a similar meeting had taken place, a new Emperor had been crowned. Mecrenval, while unknowledgeable of its purpose, was sure something dire was brewing.
He descended the stairs of his cruiser into the Central Laégel Airfield and was greeted by the usual squadrons of ground troops: five thousand Trisagion soldiers, the army of the Serafæ̈n, and three hundred members of the Atalinian Army. Taking a look at his surroundings, Mecrenval noticed there were no traces of the Imperial Family or of the other Serafæ̈n or Cerubæ̈n for that matter.
Suddenly, all of the soldiers, who had been facing Mecrenval, turned in perfect unison. A walkway was formed in between the troops. In the back, the oldest of the Serafæ̈n was able to see an all-too-familiar figure: long, wavy auburn hair, sweet, sparkling amber eyes reminiscent of morning’s first light, and wearing the conventional light blue and golden clothes of the High Seraf-Magister together with House Riánnon’s coat of arms on her cape; it was none other than the leader of the Serafæ̈n.
“Marasia, my goodness, it is you!” he greeted as he walked through the thousands of troops.
“Long time no see, Mecrenval,” responded the younger Magister as she opened her arms to hug her long time friend and most trusted advisor.
“Do you know what is so important to have the Emperor summon all of us in such a hurry? The High Imperial Council hasn’t had a rush meeting like this since the end of the last war, almost one hundred years ago, when the new sovereign was chosen by unanimous clamouring.”
“Barely. I haven’t been able to talk with His Majesty,” responded Marasia as they began walking towards the Imperial Palace. “But I do know it’s heavily related to the Senate so I guess it must be about their recent rejection regarding the reduction and uniformity of taxes.”
“Well of course they were going to reject it!” shouted the taller Seraf, “And any other reform the Emperor proposes for that matter. Ever since the Act of Supreme Democracy was signed twenty years ago, all of Senator Renisel’s actions have been aimed at going against the Crown’s wishes. The Senate most likely intends to hurt the monarchy’s image with the people by impeding any reforms to take place; including this much anticipated one by the lower classes, which was promised to them recently. They kick the people and we have the blame to bear.”
“The Act of Universal Taxes. If that is not approved, the tensions between the higher and lower classes will continue to escalate; not to mention the abuses committed against them. We would be on the brink of an internal rebellion once more.”
Mecrenval nodded assent. “And we can’t do anything because they hold the Emperor on a leash. Any move we make that displeases the Senate and we would be charged with high treason and executed, even when we, together with the Cerubæ̈n and the courts, embody the judicial system. As of today, the Empire belongs in practice to the Imperial Senate, with all its limbs subjected to the Duke of Albeá’s commands and whims.”
“I cannot believe that he, being the hero he is considered as; the last to have held the title of Knight of the Apostle, to act with such incoherence and self-centredness. I’m sure that whatever my uncle has in mind is designed to take power back from the Senate, but how he intends to achieve this, I cannot tell. No matter how much my mind goes over the issue, it seems impossible to bring it to fruition.”
“My, Marasia I’m impressed.”
“I heard you had grown into a great governor and excellent diplomat. Listening to your talk, I can but confirm it.”
“Well, I had the best teacher, didn’t I?” she said, referring to Mecrenval, who replied with a smile.
They kept walking and talking about the current situation of the Empire. Theoretically, the Emperor and the Empress were the ultimate authorities in the Holy Laégelian Empire and the Senate’s only purpose was to give advice on important matters, both to the sovereigns and governors. In practice, the Imperial Senate held all the political power, a state of affairs greatly despised by most of the other leaders of the Empire. It remained unknown to most how or why, but during the last twenty years the sovereigns’ authority had diminished in favour of the Senate.
Inside the Imperial Palace, the Emperor had finished narrating the morning events. He had changed into his everyday clothes: a long, white robe with golden patterns sewn at the neck, the sleeves, and chest, a pair of similarly white boots that he wore under the robe, his gloves, and the platinum crown around his forehead.
“How could you do that!? Regelial, are you insane!?” shouted the Empress
“Ysará, please calm yourself.”
“How exactly do you intend me to do that when you’ve left our son out there in the middle of the wilderness to die!?”
Lord Regelial was unable to come up with an answer. Unfortunately for him, Ysará was furious and would take no excuses. As he had already found out, a woman’s wrath can be devastating and difficultly assuaged.
“He is our son, blood of our blood!” the Empress paused for a second, “I don’t even know what I am doing here talking to you.” She opened the door to their balcony, “I’ll go bring Sefiren back. Perhaps it is you who has forgotten what is truly important,” and she leapt into the air and was gone.
Regelial sat on the bed. He couldn’t take Sefiren and Ysará out of his mind. He kept asking himself whether he was doing the right thing; whether he was raising his sons in the rightful manner and whether he had made the right choices years ago. He was so deeply immersed in his thoughts that he wasn’t able to hear the multiple knockings that came from the main door nor did he notice said door being opened and a certain young lady entering her parent’s room.
“Dad, they’re already here.” said As̆.
“Hmm? Oh As̆! I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“The Serafæ̈n and the Cerubæ̈n are already in the Throne Room waiting for mum and you.”
“I’ll be there in a moment.”
“Where’s mum? I thought you were both here,” asked the young Princess
“She’s… gone,” replied the Emperor
“It’s a long story best reserved for when the six of us are together, if at all,” he rose up, “now, if you’ll excuse me, I have more pressing matters to attend to.” He left the room with her daughter inside. After seeing what little blood there was on the clothes on the floor; her head was instantly filled with questions about her mother, her father, and, most importantly, her two brothers.
Since the Imperial Palace was huge and its corridors and staircases were many, it took him several minutes to finally reach the multi-levelled Throne Room. Once he entered, the Serafæ̈n and the Cerubæ̈n turned to face him and did the formal salute. The Emperor simply smiled and made a signal with his hand that allowed them to break their positions.
“My friends, how many times must I tell you that you don’t need to stand on ceremony with me when we’re in private?”
“As our Emperor you deserve all our respect,” replied T̆agabar Drasät of the Cerubæ̈n.
“Thank you Lord T̆agabar. Anyway, let’s head to the Meeting Chamber, we have business to attend to.” And so they parted. The Emperor was at the head, followed by Marasia and Asmerién, and lastly the rest of the governors.
It was basically a huge, high-ceiling, empty room, except for a giant circular table in the middle of the room that had a small hole in the middle; the latest in sphere-based technology developed at the Academy. It allowed for the projection of realistic images across the table or all throughout the room by placing a CommSphere in the middle hole. This privilege, however, was generally reserved only for Lord Regelial and Lady Ysará.
Around the table were the twelve seats. Each one was specifically designated for someone, so the seating order, from left to right was: Regelial, Ysará, Asmerién, T̆agabar, Laciós, Säliriá, Iálenur, Sileán, Aläsir, Mecrenval, and Marasia. The last remaining seat, in between Iálenur and Sileán, was reserved for Élyon Saint Rälef, though he only attended on extremely rare occasions, usually to discuss a matter of religious significance. This particular time there were two empty seats, but the Emperor never made any kind of statement about the Empress’ whereabouts.
They were quick to take their places. For the first time in their lives, they were eager to begin an official meeting. Lord Regelial had never been so secretive about anything, and considering the magnitude of the reunion, curiosity was killing them. He took his blue sphere from the holder in his forearm and inserted it in the table.
“Initiate CommSphere enhanced projection.” He said in a commanding voice.
The sphere levitated a bit over the table. The room began to transform. First, everything went completely dark. Then, the room was covered by a gentle blue light. The table lowered itself, leaving the sphere suspended on the air in the middle of the room.
“Some of you may not,” the Emperor’s voice echoed across the room, “and some of you may, suspect why have I summoned you here today in such a hurry,” he made a brief pause. “As you’re all well aware of, the Imperial Senate has become a threat to the stability of the Empire.”
The room changed to look like an exact replica of the Senate Chamber. Detailed projections of every senator were there. It looked as if they were in a normal meeting with the Senate.
“The Senate, led by its most prominent members, has achieved full dominance of the Empire,” continued the Emperor. The lights went a little darker and five images were illuminated more than the others. The images were those of the self-appointed leaders of the Imperial Senate, Calyéri, Naésuba, Tlosar, Driasta, and Renisel. “This current situation was made possible thanks to the Act of Supreme Democracy signed almost twenty years ago. Now any movement made by the High Council, including the Crown, has to be approved by the Senate beforehand. Recently, the implementation of a new law, the Act of Universal Taxes, was vetoed initially only by these five persons and the law was rejected by the rest soon thereafter. As a consequence, word has reached my ears that small bands of mercenaries and insurrectionists have began to form wide and across.”
“My lord, if I may”, interrupted Cerub-Magister Iálenur Neásiläe.
At fifteen years, he was the youngest of all the members of the Imperial High Council. He had to take the mantle of Cerub-Magister after his father’s passing two years earlier and was, as such, the less experienced of the lot. His intelligence, on the other hand, was far ahead of his age, and he had had little difficulty in assuming his new role.
The Emperor simply nodded. “It was said that Your Majesty signed the Act of Supreme Democracy in order to achieve a better control over the Empire’s Nine Provinces, the Laégel province excluded, by delegating supreme authority over their corresponding territory to each Senator, taking power away from the provincial governors, the Cerubæ̈n and the Serafæ̈n, and limiting both to their respective provinces’ capitals. This way, there would have been less bureaucracy and the people’s will could have been enforced to a better degree. I doubt that was the main reason behind it; so I decided to investigate further...”
“How dare you doubt His Imperial Majesty, Iálenur?! If the Emperor declared that as the official reason, then there is no other truth but that,” shouted High Seraf Marasia as she violently came to her feet. High Cerubæ̈n Asmerién quickly reacted. Despite the strong friendship that existed between the two of them, the Cerubæ̈n and Serafæ̈n had a long-standing rivalry that dated from centuries ago.
“Who do you think you are to raise your voice at him like that?!” shouted Asmerién, standing and facing Marasia. “You know perfectly well that it is our duty to be aware of all internal movements and that includes the Senate and the Crown.”
“Don’t get over yourself, Asmerién. The sovereigns are beyond any of our offices; we hold no power to open an investigation on them without their consent.”
“Don’t patronise me. Iálenur was only doing his job; you can’t blame him for keeping all of our interests’ in mind.”
“Blame?” said Marasia with a mixture of sarcasm and violence. “When did I do that? I was only warning him on his bold affairs. Simple actions like his in these times could even be held accountable for conspiring.”
“Marasia! Asmerién! Enough! Return to your seats at once!” shouted Lord Ilorsil. Both women did as told. Regelial stood up and began talking anew, his tone now being his normal one. “Lord Iálenur is right,” he sighed, “I do not know what the results of your investigation was, Iálenur, but perhaps now is the best time to divulge its nature myself. The truth is that the document we call the Act of Supreme Democracy is not what has been officially disclosed. Suffice to say it is an object capable of killing me. I’m not going into further details at this moment as it concerns none of you, but after seeing the way in which the Empire is being managed, I’ve decided to take drastic measures and do whatever it takes to retake the full dominance of the Holy Laégelian Empire.”
“Drastic measures? Uncle what do you mean?” asked Marasia. Suddenly the room changed. The images were no longer those of the Senate’s Chamber. It was a three- dimensional map of the world of Asaia that specifically marked the political divisions of each nation. The Emperor faced his niece.
“Marasia, I’m talking about war of course.”
Hope you enjoyed it!