Location: The Emperor's Private Conference Room, Golden Castle, Orion.
lemon_squeezer2 wrote:The room was dead with silence. Everyone was too surprised to speak as Karl walked from the room and shut the doors quite loudly behind him.
Constantius met with Karl privately that night.
Karl arrived shortly after sundown, passed through the gates and the silent Cavaliers standing guard at the doors, and into the richly furnished audience chamber. Emperor Constantius VII sat behind his desk, bent over a piece of parchment. Two stern and silent Cavaliers stood behind him. Karl's footsteps echoed off the stone floor. The only other sound was the crackling of the fireplace.
Karl bowed when he reached the deak. Constantius looked up, and gestured for him to sit.
"You are aware, are you not," he said slowly, once Karl was seated, "that prior to BloodVaine's slaughter of my family, I was among the most senior diplomats in the Imperial Corps. I have served as ambassador in Castleton, Falconis City, Drullen Bell. I had acted as Imperial Envoy in dozens of dangerous situations. I had travelled to many capitals as the Emperor's representative, to approve the coronation of kings and leaders. I am an experienced diplomat, and I have to say that I am very disappointed in your outburst this morning."
Karl opened his mouth to speak, but Constantius gestured to him to be silent. The Emperor was not done speaking.
"You are an eloquent man, but a conference such as this is not a mob of peasants or soldiers, to be swayed by moving speeches. We are behind closed doors, and it is reason that will decide the course that we take, not emotion.
"Furthermore, I might point out as an experienced diplomat to a younger one, and not as Emperor, that some of the charges you made were most impolitic, as well as incorrect. In particular, I refer to your reference to me as 'some world policeman, expecting all other sovereign nations to bend to your will.' Quite apart from insulting your host, it so happens that is exactly the role which the Emperor of Orion has been accustomed to play. Obviously, it is impolitic and impossible to actually enforce international order on most occasions, and only rarely can a nation be said to truly overstep its sovereign boundaries. However, in events of international dispute, the Emperor is the final arbiter. This is not a presumption on the part of myself or my predecessors, but a historic law grounded in tradition, and treaties. Treaties ratified by every nation, saving only the Fright Knights, and in the case of your own people, signed by Falconis IV, and still in valid law. Do not forget that it was Imperial approval that allowed for the creation of the Falcon, and other, kingdoms in the dim years of the early C.C. era."
Karl nodded. The Emperor, legally speaking, was right. But the interpretation of those treaties led to some debate as to the actual extent of the Emperor's role.
"As a side note," continued Constantius. "I find it highly amusing that you accuse me of representing an 'idealistic democracy'. Idealistic I may be, but as the reigning heir of an ancient house, sitting on the oldest and most powerful throne in all Dametreos, and wielding absolute power within my own dominions, I do not think that it is proper that you should call me democratic. Democracy is the rule of the mob, and is a description much more close to the situation in Falconis City than in Orion.
"I will be making my final decision at the conference tomorrow. In all likelihood, you will not be pleased with its contents. Neither will your superiors in the Falcon's Spire. However, I suggest that you accept them as such. While it is true that the Empire is still weak from BloodVaine's assault, the Black Falcons are currently engaged in a deadlocked war with our closest allies, the Royal Knights. The Black Knights are looking for blood, and the influence of the Emperor can still rally the other nations to a single cause, especially as most of those nations bear a grievance towards your people for their part in the recent war.
"However, I would like to mention, confidentially, that the Empire does not wish to fight the Falcons, and their alliance would be highly valued, and the terms I will set forth will not be so bad as to be humiliating or crippling."
Once again, Karl moved as if to speak, but the Emperor waved him silent.
"One other thing," he said. "Although my network of spies is nowhere as extensive as those run by the Wolfpack, I do have at my access certain magical devices, as well as a spy network not unadmirable, and these have brought to my attention certain changes in the atmosphere at Falconis City. I would look out for your own career, lest you fall with the current regime. Even now, the Marquis d'Durlass is poised to fall, and perhaps the young Falconis XXIX with him. In the time to follow, you might find it wise to build friendships with those in other lands.
"You are dismissed."
Constantius turned back to the parchment before him, and Karl rose, bowed, and walked out of the room under the watchful eye of the Cavaliers, still not having said a word. The Emperor's message was clear: be cautious and not over-greedy. But more importantly, the die had been cast, and the Emperor would be making a pronouncment the following day. Good or bad, SOMETHING was about to be done. Then Karl could move on and deal with it.
But the news of Falconis City was troubling, if true.