Chapter 19: The Emperor's Council
Sir Theodore stepped into the Yellow Castle and brushed snow from his traveling cloak. As soon as a lull in the storm had come, he had, per orders, set out for Orion to let the Emperor know what had happened. An aid walked over and inquired as to who he was. Upon learning, the aid showed him to a room, informing the knight that he would get an audience with the Emperor as soon as possible.
Theodore fell into his bed and at once went to sleep. When he awoke the next morning he sought out some food and drink. He arrived at a small room were several officials were being served lunch. The knight sat down at a table and was served some cold meat, bread and wine. He noticed a falcon sitting in a corner. When the servant came to refill his goblet Theodore ask, “Who is that Falcon?”
The servant replied, “He was sent by the Falcon king to try to make peace.”
But before he could inquire further a different servant walked over to him and told him that the Emperor had called a meeting of all the countries representatives that were in the castle at the moment. Sir Theodore rose, noticing out of the corner of his eye that the Black Falcon had also risen.
Karl the Black Falcon ambassador sighed quietly, relaxing himself somewhat in the richly carve mahogany chair. There were several such chairs artfully stretching down the short hall which served as a sort of reception room for the palace. At the end stood two large doors of the same wood, set with carvings filled with gold, depicting important events in LEGOlander history. It was quite impressive really, considering that this portion of the palace had been in shambles less than two months before. Flanking the entrance were two soldiers wearing the colors of the palace guard.
A short time later, the doors opened and another soldier came out. Looking at Karl, he spoke. “The Emperor will see you now. Follow me.”
Getting up, Karl complied and followed the man into the throne room. Like the rest of the place, the walls were a magnificent yellow. In the center there was a throne – vacant. Directly below the elevated platform was a rectangular table with the emperor sitting at its head. Looking up, the man stared deeply into Karl’s eyes for a moment. Unlike the fine features that many LEGOlanders possessed, the emperor’s features seemed as if they were carved from a rock, then weathered by years of trials and setbacks. His hair was gray, tinged with hints of yellow and his voice matched his characteristics perfectly, it was cold, but not harsh with a somewhat subdued LEGOlander accent.
“Please, sit down. I am glad that you have come.”
Karl complied, easing himself into the opposite chair.
The Classic Emperor continued, “You must realize that our countries are still at war. I have received news that Falconis XVIII has died and I do hope matters can be resolved.”
“As do I, your highness. I have brought with me a letter from Dur – our new king, Falconis XIX. They outline the terms we are willing to accept.” Karl caught himself mid-sentence. The LEGOlander ruler did not seem to notice.
“Thank you then. As you undoubtedly noticed, a Forestman dignitary had an audience with me a short time ago. For the sake of convenience, a conference could be scheduled between all the countries that have been affected by this most recent an unfortunate war. It could also resolve some several important points that have been left unsettled.”
“The Falcon nation would be happy to comply.”
“Good. I will summon you when all is ready.”
It was nearly a month later now and not three, but seven representatives sat around the same table. Karl felt uncomfortable and somewhat outweighed. There was himself, representing the Black Falcons, a Forestman ambassador - different from the one he had encountered earlier, Sirion, the Black Knight king, the LEGOlander emperor, a emissary from the Royal Knights, and a representative from the Crusaders who had arrived just the night before. However, to Karl, the most astonishing character there was a higher ranking noble with the Bull crest on his shirt. Karl tightened up inside. This was not was he was expecting a month ago.
Inwardly, Theodore the Royal Knight cursed that he had not had a chance to see the Emperor before. Well, it certainly promised to be an interesting meeting.
Theodore’s opinion of the meeting was shared by Mellaina Phylla, the Forestmen ambassador. She had been sent down by Lord Bjarn literally minutes after Gonderin had returned from his own conference with the Classic Emperor, which had been a lucky move. If she had waited any longer, the snowstorm would have prevented her from traveling south and might have even swallowed her up.
She was honored and pleased by Lord Bjarn’s choice to send her as the Forestmen ambassador, but she knew she was woefully inexperienced. She had risen up the ranks of the Forestmen dizzyingly fast during BloodVaine epic, when her superiors were slaughtered by BloodVaine and the demon Aezezal. This was her first council with other factions, and inwardly she was shaking head to toe. Outwardly, she seem cool and calm.
Mellaina was a master of emotions, and of words. She could debate any topic with any of her friends or fellow councils and almost always win. She only hoped her skill wouldn't abandon her now, when it was so vital.
The Emperor spoke first.
“Delegates, fellow rulers, we have assembled today to bring to a conclusion the catastrophe of this last summer. Every nation has been touched in one way or another. As you very well know, it was BloodVaine who perpetrated all this, aided by those who sought to – take advantage of the situation.”
On the last sentence, the Emperor looked directly at Karl.
“As things stand, we have no room for grudges or trying to push unreasonable demands upon one another. However, I believe there are several terms that should be complied with. First of all, all borders should be put back in their former positions. Secondly, certain duties should be paid by any aggressor. Further details on that can be worked out later. Thirdly, on behalf of my friend here,” the LEGOlander king gestured to the Bull, “an area of land be designated for the Bull faction. That being said, I feel that it is most appropriate for you Karl, to begin your response.”
Standing up, the Black Falcon began, “As the ambassador of the Black Falcon nation, I want to start off by expressing our nation’s deepest sympathies over the events of the past few months. As you all know, Falconis XXVIII is dead, and his son, now Falconis XXIX, is reigning. This transfer of power also marks a new course my nation intends to take. With me I have brought up a series of points. First of all, this most recent conflict was not one-sided. The Black Falcon nation did not simply see an opportunity for war an rush headlong into it. The seeds for this conflict go back to nearly nine years ago. Then, in a war that I still disapprove of, the late Falconis XXVIII invaded Bull territory, taking it all in an alarmingly short period of time. Now, during the close of this war, the Black Knights turned, defeated our 2nd fleet in a surprise attack, and took one of our islands to the south. You all cannot deny this. It is all true.”
The rest of the council remained silent.
“In this most recent war,” Karl continued, “we invaded Royal Knight territory because they were at war with us.”
Theodore interrupted, his face somewhat flushed, “And because my land lay between you and the Black Knights. We were convenient for you purposes. Your ruler allied himself with a…”
Suddenly the other members of the council started to talk, arguing amongst one another.
Immediately the six stopped at the sound of the LEGOlander’s commanding voice.
“Please Karl, continue.”
“As I was saying, my nation went through to the Black Knights, fighting a battle that ended in a statistical tie. Now, in my opinion, was Falconis XXVIII right to ally himself with BloodVaine? No. It turned out to be a disastrous move. Were we justified in our actions? Yes. Now, here is my response to your demands sir. In your implied statement about the conflict between our nation and the Royal Knights, the border shall remain as it is. You have regained your capitol and most of your land. My nation is prepared to offer any reasonable settlement in the form of gold, food or both. As for payments, we will be glad to offer any assistance to the Black Knights. Too long have we held grudges against one another. As for the third, the former heart of Bull territory is now clearly Black Falcon land. However, a joint settlement could be agreed between us and the Black Knights to give some of our possessions in the isles for the Bulls. Thank you.”
“Now that we have heard the Falcon representative,” said the Emperor, “who will speak next?”
Sir Theodore stood up, “With your consent Emperor, I wish to make known the opinions of the Royal Knights.”
The Knight/General took a deep breath. He was angry, very angry. The fact that the Black Falcon declared the attack on their country legitimate was bad enough, but the fact that the Falcons had no intention of giving it back made him angrier yet. Only the fact that he had had political training allowed himself to remain calm. Despite the fact that he had always been an noble as well as a knight, he found a sword to be the best solution for many problems. Not so here, here tact and patience were required.
“Fellow representatives and rulers, you have heard the story from the Falcon’s side of view, now hear the Royal Knights’. I will tell you all that has happened since the beginning of the war and after, what we intend to do about the current situation.”
Theodore then launched into a true, if somewhat biased, report of all that had taken place since the Falcons had invaded. He told them about the sacking of Castleton, and the killing (if accidental) of King Kjeld’s father, of the retreat to the isle and southern most part of the country, and later of the raising of the army, of the retake of Orlon and Castleton to the beginning of the snowstorm.
“...and hostilities have stopped for the moment due to the storm.”
He paused. “That lords, is the tale of what has happened. Now I shall tell you of what we intend to do. If the Black Falcons refuse to return the land that is rightfully ours, and if the Emperor and this council will not change their minds, we intend to take back what is ours by force if necessary. Our army is now in a position and is in large enough strength to do just that. Though it may very well be a long and costly affair. We will not surrender our own lands! The people in them are our people, who deserve to be under our rule. If they wish to be under Falcon rule, they may leave the country. But I say this on behave of both King Kjeld and Prince Lego, we WILL have our land back....one way or another. I would advise that our lands be given back freely for both our sakes. As to the Bulls, I can say little, save that they deserve the land they once had. That is all I have to say right now.”
Theodore sat down.
“Thank you, Sir Theodore,” said the Emperor, “who will speak next?”
“I would like to speak next.” Sirion said.
“Go ahead.” the Emperor replied.
“Me and my country men have fought on the battle field to protect our homes. Clearly you have invaded my lands for years, and we to you. But I will not stand here and be told that we must sacrifice our own lands. We have already done so. By giving the Bulls a Island lesser in price. And if we would need any assistance. I would gladly ask of you to restore our burnt fields and comfort those who are starving, and that have lost loved ones in battles against your armies. My people are now plagued with disease and famine. And once was a beautiful capital, now lays in ruins. What say you, of the Black Falcons?”
Everyone took there eyes off of Sirion and looked at Karl. Karl sighed.
“Has your memory grown faint? The disastrous siege of Rathoan was retaliation for your seizure of some of our islands in 1996. That in turn was to avenge the long march of 1985 that ransacked your countryside. The long march was a result of the sea battle in the southern isles that took place in 1979, resulting in near destruction of our 2nd fleet. The list goes on and on. I simply am proposing that in turn for a joint concession of some of our holdings to the south to the Bulls, we will promise to stop hostilities once and for all. We also are offering aid and supplies to repair any damage we might have done. In this way, the Emperor’s three points can be met while at the same time settling an old feud.”
It would be a long meeting.
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