OT: His Imperial Majesty

on April 17, 2011 in Other Tales
Timeline:


Magisterion XIII, By the Arms And Sword of Khersis was seated on a gold-threaded and claw-footed divan that was more comfortable than it looked in one of the more palatial salons of the Palatium. Many of its furnishings were a century or more older than the Imperial Republic of Magisteria itself.

Although black-suited Praetorian Guards were stationed outside the door and behind a concealed panel in the wall, the emperor was alone in the room with a gaunt man whose skin was so translucently pale it had a slightly bluish tinge from the visible veins.

The Emperor of Magisteria had in his possession both the sword and scepter of the realm. He was protected by some of the most potent wards ever cast. His guest, seated in a high-backed chair, was unarmed and had been subjected to some of the most potent negations and dispellings ever cast before being admitted into the imperial presence.

As no servants attended the emperor when he was closeted in a sensitive meeting, the coffee service and more substantial beverages in bottles arranged on the sideboard could be managed by so-called “invisible servants” or “air golems”, which were actually a complex series of verbally triggered spells for manipulating objects.

When the imperial power was not present within the room, the spells would respond to requests from anyone. When the power was present, they would respond only to the person it was vested in. This was one part decorum and one part security protocol. Because the spells had been woven with the idea of a single holder of the supreme office, they failed to obey anyone when both the Emperor and the Empress were present… a quirk that had also affected the previous two officeholders, and the members of the Triumvirate a century and a half before.

The whole arrangement was an academic matter at the moment, as Magisterion’s consumption of both coffee and alcohol was fairly light. He didn’t take either drink unless in the company of someone who did, and the ambassador was a congenital sufferer of what was euphemistically called “the aristocratic disease”.

Needless to say, he did not drink coffee.

“Well,” the emperor said, “I’d say it’s been an auspicious beginning, wouldn’t you?”

“Indeed, Your Majesty,” the gaunt ambassador from the Mother Isles said. “I’m only sorry that her majesty your wife was indisposed. I hope she will be in a better humor for the reception tomorrow night. My wives have been quite interested in a chance to meet the fabled Purple Lady of the Westering Lands.”

“Oh, they don’t really call her that, do they?” Magisterion said. He knew that they did, of course.

“Perhaps only the tabloids do. And my wives, of course, who consume such things as if they were life’s blood itself. Third Wife, in particular, is quite keen on them. A different hairstyle every time I see her.”

“I hesitate to show ignorance…”

“Oh, an emperor is never ignorant,” the dignitary said. “He merely occasionally suffers from the negligence of his advisors.”

“You know, I did not know that,” Magisterion said. “Perhaps I should ask my cabinet why they never told me this?”

“Your Majesty’s swift grasp of the principle is admirable.”

“As you say. But I was not aware that plural marriage was legally recognized in the Mother Isles.”

“It is not, in the general case. The exception is a, ah, hereditary privilege that I enjoy,” he said. “This is one of the more agreeable things about an emperor who enjoys a, how shall we say, prolonged reign… when one outlasts the fads and changing fashions of the centuries, it inclines one to take a broader view with regards to things like tradition. So while ‘progress’ marches on according to the changing tempo of public fancy, we are allowed to quietly enjoy the ways of older and wiser periods.”

Magisterion said nothing to this, though he privately believed that referring to earlier ages as “older and wiser” was much like expecting a man of sixty to defer to the greater maturity of his twenty-year-old self. In dealing with diplomats, it was necessary to be diplomatic.

Lord Reese, of course, wasn’t an ambassador from some little island holding or fiefdom sent to beg for aid from the Imperial Republic, or else he would be meeting with the IRM’s own diplomats. He was a noble peer of the Empire of the Mother Isles, an entity so vast and well-established that it could refer to itself simply as the Empire and, within the human-occupied corners of the world, its meaning would be taken.

Of course, for the same reason that Magisterion didn’t question Reese’s judgment as to the maturity of the Empire’s older ways, the representatives of the older empire didn’t refer to themselves as the Empire when dealing with the Imperial Republic. Internally and to the rest of the world, they were the Empire and the Imperium; in dealings between each other, they added qualifiers or used their other names.

The Mother Isles. The Mother City. The old empire.

Magisteria. The Imperial Republic. The new empire.

“Naturally, there will be other opportunities for your lovely brides to make the acquaintance of mine,” Magisterion said. “I believe your embassy posting is open-ended, is it not?”

“Oh, yes,” the ambassador said. “I serve at his majesty’s pleasure, and yours. But my first three wives are only here to see us settled in. The schedule is somewhat ‘up in the air’, as they say, but they’ll be flying back to the isles before the spring to help oversee my estates and business interests there. I tell you, a wife is a wonderful thing for delegating… well, I don’t have to tell you that, I suppose.”

Again, Magisterion said nothing. It was the most diplomatic thing he knew how to say.

He was not yet one hundred, and while he was not frail, he was old. He looked it, too. His two direct predecessors had both shared power with their wives, but they had been tall men who’d died in office before their hair turned white.

Magisterion’s hair was white. His face was tightly-drawn in the way of an old man who has avoided sagging. The slight proportion of dwarven blood that had smoothed his aging process and given him broad shoulders and a healthy constitution even at his advanced age had not left him noticeably shorter, but people looked at an elderly man who relied on his wife differently than they did a younger one who shared the spotlight with her.

He did rely on her, in the same way that his left leg relied upon his right one to get where it was going. He’d never had any intention of ruling alone… he had married his Vera with the idea that she would rule with him.

Shared power seemed like such an obvious thing to him. In the days of the original republican government of the Mother City, there had been two consuls sharing authority. The theory had been that this would keep both honest and stop any one person from seizing absolute power, but there were other advantages, as well. The two consuls could come from different walks of life, have differing skills, bring different perspectives to the role.

The office that later became the emperorship had been created with the idea that in times of strife, a supreme leader who could decide and act with speed was necessary to defend the city.

An empire wasn’t a city, though. The idea that a single person could command the defense of the Imperium was folly. The buck had to stop somewhere, as the elves said, but whether it was one man at the top or a hundred, they could do little more than set a policy and rely on generals to issue orders based on them. Those generals in turn would rely on the discretion and judgment of the officers under them. This was the only way to mount a defense or prosecute a war in the modern world.

Still, most of the world could not truly understand the idea of co-emperors. If he didn’t keep his wife subordinate to him, that meant she was ruling over him, and the implications of that were meant to be unflattering.

The stuffed peacocks of the older empire… men like Lord Reese and the emperor he answered to… seemed to have an especial difficulty when it came to accepting the modern Magisterian way of things. Reese’s coterie of blushless brides were seen as equal to Vera III in rank, because they shared the same title: wife. Any implication by Reese that Vera was Magisterion’s equal was thus implicitly an insult.

Lord Reese sat with the placidity and warmth of the grave, waiting for Magisterion to say something in response.

“I find the best thing to do,” the emperor finally said, “is simply to stay out of her way. She is capable and has a great love for her nation, and she accomplishes more for it doing as she pleases than she could or would if I set her to a specific task.”

“I suppose once you award her the title of ‘Empress’, it would be difficult to discipline her,” Reese said. “Again, I’m fortunate in being able to delegate that. Once I had First Wife trained, I could rely on her to keep the others in line.”

Magisterion again said nothing.

“Now, this is not of course the purpose of my visit,” the ambassador said, “but since I have the privilege of the imperial ear, I would like to say a few words on the matter of Malbus.”

I’ll just bet you would, Magisterion said, but aloud, he merely repeated his most diplomatic reply.

“The matter of Malbusian independence… as it’s being characterized in the press… is really a strictly internal matter of the Mother City,” Reese said carefully. “It is more a matter of reorganization… of clarification, really, of our duties and obligations to each other… than a substantive change in our relationship to Malbus, or our claims in the area.”

“This has been conveyed to us many times,” Magisterion said.

“Indeed? Well, I do not wish to overstate the case or give the appearance of greater importance than exists… but it must be understood that any overly aggressive act in response to a perceived vacuum created by the appearance of a withdrawal from the island of Malbus of our imperial aegis may be seen by certain factions within the Mother City as a hostile act against our empire.”

“Naturally, we would not want that,” Magisterion said. “We have been at peace for two hundred years.”

“I suppose that seems like an eternity to you,” Reese said.

“Hasn’t it been?” Magisterion said. “Perhaps we should make it one.”

“Peace has been a profitable policy for us to pursue,” Reese said. “Our august emperor has long seen the benefit of having a self-sufficient trading partner across the sea. You know, he has told me in confidence that when he granted the provinces their independence, he saw it as an investment… and one that has paid off a thousandfold.”

“I believe he saw an immediate return in the form of a reduction of the number of his troops killed and ships captured or sunk,” Magisterion said. It was not a diplomatic thing to say, but he was an emperor, too. There were limits to how diplomatic he could reasonably be expected to be.

“Yes, well, there were many different factors behind his decision,” Reese said. “The point I am trying to make is that it would be unfortunate to rock the boat at this point.”

“In any event, you can give my assurances to your monarch that I have no intention of rocking any boats any time soon.”

“Oh, thank you, but I assure you that I speak purely out of a personal interest in seeing the special relationship between our two powers preserved,” Reese said. “His Imperial Majesty the Unnameable One has not empowered me to speak officially on matters pertaining to Malbus. Honestly, I doubt the issue is important enough for him to have even thought much on it.”

Diplomacy was a strange game, Magisterion mused. There were so many things that Reese was evidently not allowed to say. He couldn’t say that his emperor was anxious about what Magisterion might do when they started pulling out of their no-longer-profitable island holdings. He couldn’t even say that the holdings weren’t profitable or that they were pulling out.

In the face of all these things that the man couldn’t say, though, he kept talking.

“Then let us say no more about it, lest you inadvertently overstep your authority in your enthusiasm to further the cause of peace,” Magisterion said.

“Indeed,” Reese said. “Well said, Your Majesty.”

It was well said, wasn’t it? Magisterion thought. He was genuinely proud of that one. He was sure his own diplomatic advisors from the Estate Department could have come up with nothing better. He was equally sure that when they pored over the transcripts later, not a single one would bother to compliment him for it. Instead, they’d focus on Magisterion’s reference to the Old Empire’s defeat in a centuries-old war.

It was their job to worry about things like that, but really, it was possible to worry too much. Peace was a profitable policy because there was nothing to be gained from war. Neither empire stood to gain anything by conquering the other… the initial victory would cost too much, as would the task of maintaining control over a vast and resentful territory on the other side of a wide ocean.

“If there is no other official business to discuss…” Magisterion said.

“We ran that out some time ago, I’m afraid,” Reese said.

“I believe I will release you to settle in, then, while I see to Her Majesty, the Empress,” Magisterion said. He raised a hand, and the double doors at the far end of the room clicked and swung open. “We’ll speak again this afternoon… at the Skirmish match, I believe.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” Reese said. “I understand your players… excuse me, fighters… use phantasmal weapons. It sounds very exciting and modern.”

“I’m sure you will enjoy it.”

Magisterion remained seated as Reese left the room. He caused the doors to close behind him, and then remained alone. He knew his wife needed no looking after… there was no cure for dragons on the brain, or for not wanting to be treated on the same level as some lordling’s concubines. He expected her to show up on her own, by and by, and by and by she did.

“Hello, Gerry,” she said, by way of greeting. It wasn’t anything like the name he’d given up, but in her mind it was the natural nickname for his regnal name. He rose and kissed her on the cheek as she approached. “All alone for the moment?”

“For the moment. You skipped tea with the ambassador’s wives, V.,” he said, using the initial that did refer to the name she’d used before she’d become his Vera. He helped her to a seat on the divan.

“I told you I would,” she reminded him.

“And I told you that you really shouldn’t,” he said. At this point it wasn’t an argument; done was done, and they’d each behaved as they believed they needed to. That they’d disagreed was not a problem in the emperor’s eyes. It was the reason he had an empress.

“I am not a wife,” she said. “I’m your wife, when we’re alone in our hidden mansion, but out here I’m Empress Vera.”

“To me, and to all our subjects and citizens, you are,” he said. “They still see things differently in the motherland. They’re old-fashioned.”

“They’re stagnant. That’s what comes of having an emperor who never dies.”

“To be fair to old Kulrak,” Magisterion said, “he has died once more than most sitting heads of state. Discounting those entombed on their thrones, naturally.”

“I think you’d have a hard time finding a king naturally entombed on his throne outside the radius of a volcano,” Vera said. “And don’t you go thinking you must compete with the bag of bones on that score, husband of mine.”

“Oh?” Magisterion replied, quirking an eyebrow. “Am I your husband even outside our mansion?”

“You’re always my husband,” she said. “But no one will ever hold that against you. Perhaps when we treat with the new governor of Malbus, you should go have tea with her husband or beau while I discuss the weighty matters with her over cigars and brandy?”

“We won’t be treating with her,” he said, shaking his head. “Not in person. We have nothing to do with Malbus and they have nothing to do with us. It would probably empty the island’s coffers to send her here in the first place, and we wouldn’t be able to pay her way back or the hawks in the Mother City would call it foreign aid and claim we were in breach of some treaty or another.”

“So many meetings just to make sure we don’t interfere in the governance of a little scrap of land in the middle of nowhere.”

“Well, the old empire has unpleasant memories of the last time they ceded a little scrap of land, and we’re at the heart of those,” Magisterion said. He really was proud of his once-upstart nation’s victory over the older empire. In addition to his dwarven blood, he shared a small amount of his lineage with the General Magisterion who had secured that victory, an honor that none of the last five people to borrow the name before him could boast. “I don’t blame them for being jumpy. It’s certainly easier than dealing with those outraged potentates from the Shift. Besides, I rather like being begged for assurances from the only other human empire in the world. It sets an attractive precedent for future dealings.”

“Surely they aren’t begging.”

“No, they’re puffing and posturing. But the message is clear: it wouldn’t be worth it to them to defend their remaining interests in Malbus, but they would be embarrassed not to, so they would really rather we didn’t move in when they move out.”

“That isn’t quite the same thing as not being able to defend their interests.”

“No. Their empire is pulling back at the edges, but it’s sound at the core. Don’t make the mistake of thinking otherwise. The day will come when you’re making these judgments on your own.”

“Don’t talk like that.”

“It’s simple fact.”

“But it’s terrible luck to name your successor,” she said.

“Naming my successor? Beautiful woman who is only geographically my wife, I’m predicting a coup,” he said.

“We aren’t in our manor now,” Vera reminded him. “And before you get any ideas, I won’t be hosting a tea for the wives in one of our private parlors. You know what the Praetorians said about that.”

“Yes, yes… even if we must invite the ambassador and his family into our country, we are not to invite them into our home. Unacceptable risk. I was heartbroken to learn that, of course.”

“I can tell when you’ve been diplomatic, dearest,” Vera said. “The sarcasm comes pouring out of you.”


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47 Responses to “OT: His Imperial Majesty”

  1. Potatohead says:

    Wow, first comment.

    I must say, I like the Imperial couple…though it’s just making me more and more curious about the Undying Emperor. Lich? Vampire? Mummy? Something wierder?

    Current score: 0
  2. Silverai says:

    “he emperor was alone in the room with a gaunt man whose skin was so translucently pale gaunt it had a slightly bluish tinge from the visible veins”

    Double gaunt.

    “an honor that none of the last five people to borrow the name before him could not boast.. ”
    none of them could not boast? So they all could? possible either the none or the not should not be there. Also, double period.

    Lastly, wow, my first typo report! Also, yay for fabulous authors! That Friday fundraising double totally had me donating an extra $5 on top of my subscription, just too tempting not to.

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  3. Gray says:

    Cute!

    Reminds me of my own monarch, who I’m told goes by the pet name ‘cabbage’.

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  4. drudge says:

    I like how the two stories merge towards the end, very nice.

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  5. John says:

    Vampires, Potatohead. The bit at the end about not inviting them in pins down the sort of undead we’re talking about. I guess it could be something homebrew, but when would AE do that? 😉

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    • Potatohead says:

      Ooh, excellent catch there. I was hoping for a lich myself, but you’re right, the Unnamable must be a vampire (or at least, this nobleman representing him is).

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    • It pins down the sort of undead that Magisterion is talking to, but it doesn’t say anything about the emperor the ambassador represents. Vera’s comment is more on the mark there.

      Current score: 1
      • Potatohead says:

        Phooie, Speculation foiled again. Reading Vera’s comment, though…”bag of bones”, plus the bit about dying more than most heads of state says he’s died at least once. My money is back on lich, or at least the MUverse analogue to a lich. Mummy would be more Egyptian in style, and the Mother Isles are a Britain-equivalent as far as I can determine.

        Current score: 1
      • Arakano says:

        My money is on lich, too. And hey, ever since Vecna, the idea of a Lich ruler with vampire lieutenants is a classic… 😉

        Current score: 0
  6. Alyxe Barron says:

    Heyla

    VERY nice but one problem… “an honor that none of the last five people to borrow the name before him could not boast..”

    That should likely be either “an honor that none of the last five people to borrow the name before him could boast..” or “an honor that the last five people to borrow the name before him could not boast..”

    Still… I loved Gerry and V. -g-

    -r

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  7. Um the Muse says:

    Thank you. This helped a lot in understanding two of the human nations. Are these really the only two of note at this time? Or are there “undiscovered” ones as well?

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    • Are these really the only two of note at this time? Or are there “undiscovered” ones as well?

      These are the only two human empires. In our terms, they’re the superpowers.

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  8. DaManRando says:

    ““To be fair to old Kulrak,” Magisterion said, “he has died once more than most sitting heads of state. Discounting those entombed on their thrones, naturally.””

    Upon reading this my inner 40k player suddenly screamed out “All hail the God emperor of mankind, may he forever sit upon his golden throne upon holy terra”….. well before I beat said inner 40k player down with a stick, but thats more a personal issue, that being said nice OT there Lexi

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    • Calia says:

      Upon reading this my inner 40k player suddenly screamed out “All hail the God emperor of mankind, may he forever sit upon his golden throne upon holy terra”
      Haha, me too! Especially because I just re-read through the GG Omnibuses 🙂

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      • Luke Licens says:

        But if he’s a vampire, wouldn’t it be more like ‘BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!’

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        • Calia says:

          BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
          SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE
          AND MILK FOR THE KHORNEFLAKES
          😉

          Current score: 1
          • Marx says:

            As a khorne-junkie, I just laughed out loud and was beating with the flat of my hand on the table – yes, I found the last line THAT funny 😀

            Current score: 1
  9. rumrunner says:

    Y’know, in the pace of things, I sometimes forget what a jaw-dropping spectrum of voices you’ve got spread around in them ol’ brainmeats a yorn. This shift to a giant goddamning palace-shit thing helped remind me.

    OOK, ETC

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  10. Kaila says:

    “I can tell when you’ve been diplomatic, dearest,” Vera said. “The sarcasm comes pouring out of you.”

    Love it.

    Your dialogue, is, as always, made of awesome.

    Current score: 0
  11. Speight says:

    These last few OTs have made me curious about the broader geography and geopolitics going on here. As a cartophile, I’m wondering where all these places are, and what is in between that we haven’t been told of yet.

    Also, who have we met from the Mother Isles? Just Dan and clan? I vaguely remember them being mentioned earlier in the story, but I forget the context.

    I wonder if the incident with Leda make it all the way to the Emperor’s notice, or if there are other diplomatic issues between the Imperium and the Shift.

    A few typos:

    It was their job to worry about things like that, but really, it was possible to worry so much.

    Is an “only” missing here? Either “only so much” or “only possible” looks like it could work.

    . . . using the iniital that did refer to the name she’d used . . .

    A couple letters transposed in “initial”

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    • Rin says:

      Also possible, perhaps what you intended was “worry too much”, rather than “worry so much”?

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    • tigr says:

      And two more typos: “possesion” and “deailngs”.

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  12. Mouselord says:

    Just want to point out that you linked this from your blog, but it isn’t on the story feed. Fortunately, I compulsively check both.

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  13. Readaholic says:

    Congenital sufferer of “the aristocratic disease”?
    Does that mean that vampires can have children, or that the ambassador was “reborn” as a vampire?

    Current score: 0
    • K-Li says:

      Think of it as a recognized genetic (or genetic-analogue, due to the failure of science to work in this milieu) condition which worsens as the generations of too much inbreeding go on. The Hapsburg chin would be a good example of the type.

      Current score: 0
  14. Vee says:

    This is the closest we’ve come to a passive man/ assertive woman relationship dynamic.

    Current score: 0
    • Vee says:

      Which is sad for me because I really have a thing for passive men.

      Current score: 1
    • Elisa says:

      I get what you’re saying but I consider Mackenzie/Ian at least somewhat on that spectrum. She seems to be the one in charge there even if she is the bottom sexually. Ian just seems to go with the flow more.

      Current score: 0
      • Vee says:

        Ah, but I like to see men on the bottom in all ways…
        =)

        Current score: 1
  15. Wascally Wabbit says:

    Hi, long time reader, first time commenter.

    I have to ask: in More Mu chapter 11, we get the story of a Mother Islands general who was unpersoned after causing an orc invasion. This story (and I think it appears somewhere else as well) refers to The Unnamable Emperor XXIII and otherwise makes it sound like the Old Empire had a long line of mortal emperors all without names.

    Is this a retcon, or did they have human emperors before ending up with a immoral whatever-he-is?

    Current score: 0
    • had a long line of mortal emperors all without names.

      They do, but not as long as the numerals might lead you to believe. The earliest ones weren’t unnameable in their lifetimes.

      Is this a retcon, or did they have human emperors before ending up with a immor[t]al whatever-he-is?

      No, and in the sense that you mean it, no. They have a long and still extant line of human emperors.

      Current score: 0
  16. Lili says:

    Fascinating glimpse into the realpolitik of your Universe.
    Characters are as ever delightful.
    Brava!!!

    Current score: 0
  17. Vouyer says:

    It would be interesting to see a map of the known land, from different perspectives. Something that showed what the various human empires believe is there area, the different dwarven areas, the different dragon areas, if the gods divy it up differently, etc.

    Current score: 0
    • imaginedechoes says:

      I too would be curious to see a picture of what AE has in her head. In terms of land-masses, it would look like a distorted or exact version of our world map. Where the borders would be, where the elves would be, where the shires are, et cetera… that would be interesting to see.

      Current score: 0
  18. Angnor says:

    Great story. I love the political bits and a view of the larger workings. I can’t wait to see what exactly we’re dealing with in the immortal ruler(s) of the mother isle.

    Current score: 0
  19. Tyrius says:

    First off, I love the diplomatic dialogue. In my RP group I’ve never been able to do any type of diplomacy that doesn’t involve a loaded firearm, a battlefleet, or on one rather memorable occasion unlit napalm and a match… Kudos 😀

    Second off, I think in
    “It wasn’t anything like the name he’d given up, but in her mind it was the natural nickname for his -regnal- name” that you’ve added another N in regal.

    Current score: 0
    • Nope. A regnal name would, ideally, also be regal, but it’s the name a monarch reigns under. For instance, as immortalized in the film The King’s Speech Prince Albert, the Duke of York, took the regnal name of George when he unexpectedly ascended to the throne, as King Albert had been “retired” by Edward VII.

      Current score: 0
  20. Lunaroki says:

    Typo Report

    Well by this point I only see one typo that hasn’t been corrected or at least reported.

    When the power was present, they would respond only the person it was vested in.

    Seems to me there’s a “to” missing after “only”.

    Current score: 0
  21. p says:

    Sounds like the emperor is a lich, and maybe a lech, what with Dracula’s harem.

    Current score: 0
  22. carson says:

    typo:
    “he iniital that did refer to the name she’d used before she’d become his Vera”

    initial.

    Current score: 0
  23. MistyCat says:

    I’ve enjoyed very much throughout these stories the technology crossovers such as MUland cellphones, and their Internet.

    In this chapter, I’d very much like to have seen casual, offhand mention of the “technology” used to produce the transcripts which were pored over later.

    On another note, “the aristocratic disease” means simply “gout” to me.

    Thanks for publishing, AE.

    Current score: 0
  24. Okay is it just me, or was part of this a repeat from the last one? Was this one from Gerry’s POV and the other from Vera’s, but overlapping? Cuz that’d make sense…

    Anyway, lich emperors FTW!

    Current score: 0
  25. Longform says:

    “Well,” the emperor said, “I think it’s been an auspicious beginning, wouldn’t you?”

    should be “I’d say it’s been an auspicious beginning, wouldn’t you?”
    or
    “I think it’s been an auspicious beginning, don’t you?” or “I think it’s been an auspicious beginning, wouldn’t you say so?”
    In current form the tenses are a titch off.

    Current score: 0
  26. Janus says:

    “When the power was present, they would respond only the person it was vested in.” only to?

    “I’ll just bet you would, Magisterion said, but aloud, he merely repeated his most diplomatic reply.” Magisterion thought?

    Current score: 0
  27. pedestrian says:

    the ambassador was a congenital sufferer of what was euphemistically called “the aristocratic disease”.

    My hypothesis would be that this is vampirism? Three wives being another literary/film meme clue?

    throughout 19th century literature, dying gracefully of a wasting disease {usually tuberculosis} was considered a fashionably upper-class affection. Many years ago, I read “The Pearl”, which is a collection of English Victorian pornography. And a number of the characters were slowly dying while enjoying various sexually deviant acts.

    When HIV & AIDS become public knowledge and to my awareness, I thought back to that book. While I no longer had a copy of it, what I did remember was the symptoms of “aristocratic languor” seemed to match up with late 1980’s known symptoms of HIV/AIDS.

    Of course the mostly likely culprit was still tuberculous. But I wondered, the British had been exploring tropical regions for centuries. As we hypothesize today, that the underlying source of the disease was from careless human consumption of undercooked bushmeat.

    It would not be far fetch to speculate the possibility that there had been previous exposure. If much more limited compared to today’s global epidemic.

    LEGAL WARNING: “The Pearl” for anyone who wishes to acquire a copy of this book. It contains graphic descriptions of pederasty and sexual exploitation of children. The Classical use of the term seduction, today we would judge as rape. Children and other victims of economic/class/race/addiction exploitation are unable to give any consent. This is why I refuse to use prostitutes.

    As a historical artifact it has its place but if it were up to me it would be under lock and key and only available to AI analysis. I would certainly not trust any man who deliberately obtained a copy for enjoyment. This is the sort issue that makes me wistful for the re-legalization of dueling.

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