Chapter 108: Autocratic Fate
(Starting this script, the part two has begun……Hurmm…hello)
The huge, heavy, palace doors swung shut, separating the palace grounds from the outside environment. The palace ceiling stretched six meters high, topped with a dome covered in a ruggedly patterned mosaic. The walls were covered in frescoes of famous artists. The simple and unsophisticated design of the palace gave off a dignified feeling.
Black curtains hung over the entire area, giving the palace a mysterious aura. Twenty gold large lamps barely illuminated the palace. Despite the fact that each red candle was thicker than a child’s arm, one could hardly see that the walls had been inlaid with black marble from the candlelight. It was almost like the candle’s flames had been frozen in this dignified place, only the occasional movement of the flames and the dribbling of the wax proved these candles were infact alive.
Servants wearing proper grey palace robes stood quietly in the corner, hiding their faces like ghosts. Unless they was given instructions, they would remain motionless. A round seat of honor was placed in the most noticeable position inside the palace. Its surface was wrapped with layer upon layer of gem opal agate which contrasted with the tall jade white pillar and gold cornerite. It was as gorgeous as the god’s altar. In fact, the way that these assassins treated the seat of honor was as if they were paying homage to a shrine. That was because the man who sat upon this supreme seat was as noble as the gods of this world.
Beside the altar, two gold candles were halfway melted. The soft candlelight shone upon the man who sat on the man who sat upon that altar like seat. His robe was woven using pure gold thread and light green silk. It was extremely soft and luxurious, a blooming iris was sown onto the front, and ever petal was exquisite and delicate. This robe could only be called a work of art. But the man who wore this robe was so… so… dead!
His illuminated face was a disturbing shade of gold, one could see that his skin had faded to a shade of grey. His high cheekbones and sunken cheeks made his face very thin. His cheeks were faintly flushed and his chapped lips were as dry as a desert. His withered and curly hair showed that his vitality was running out. He wore a pure gold crown studded with red, blue and green gemstones, each shining brightly in the candlelight. Looking carefully it seemed as if this man was simply a corpse wearing clothes! His slightly closed eyes were the only sign of life, occasionally flashing like lightning in the night.
The Byzantine Emperor possessed two thirds of the territory, and ruled over tens of millions of people. He was the most holy presence in the empire and the supreme authority of the empire —- Kontos Doran Charos Dave Toronto. His reign of 46 years was the greatest the Byzantine empire had experienced yet. He was recognized as one of the three greatest characters in the history of the Imperial Toronto family. One could say that this emperor deserved his fame.
The emperor was known as the “Lance Lord” due to his name “Kontos” which meant a knight’s lance. Like his name, twenty years ago, his courage, strength and tenacity were just like that of a knight’s lance that refused to held back.
The Lance Lord inherited the throne at the age of nine. But he was unable to rule the lands at that age so his mother acted as his regent. While he was lucky to rule a huge empire, his family was extremely greedy. His uncles monopolized the imperial powers while Kontos was a child, throwing the empire’s government into disarray. His cousin coveted the imperial throne and tried to assassinate Kontos six different times. One time he had bribed a footman to cut the saddle of his horse as he rode past, almost getting trampled in the process. Another he had bribed Kontos’s most trusted courtesan to personally hand him a cup of poison wine after coupling. But in the end. Kontos managed to live through these various schemes and become an adult.
In the year after his adulthood, Kontos used his authority as the heir to the throne to preserve the senate. He gained the support of the military by secretly promising to improve their influence in the government. After he had gained the support he needed, he stabbed his jealous cousin to death over a fake drunken conflict at a feast. Immediately afterwards he carried out a purge of the administration with the support of the soldiers stationed in the city. In three days, the internal conflict had left the city awash with blood. All three of his uncles were scheduled for execution. His mother knelt and begged for mercy on the behalf of her youngest brother. Kantos finally agreed and his youngest uncle was banished from the realm, fleeing far to the east. But while travelling, he was robbed and murdered by bandits– Nobody believed that Kantos played no part in his uncle’s death. Since that day, his mother had vanished inside the internal palace, never leaving until she died five years later, never seeing him again.
While Kontos was known as tenacious, courageous, firm, and indomitable, there was one more trait which he was known for, his cruelty. During his reign, he led the Central Imperial Standing Army to fight with the Odin people twenty times. Even though he was the most important figure in the empire, Kontos was always prepared for a battle, leading huge armies, battling alongside his troops. In an expedition to the North of Odin, he was caught in a snowstorm with his army, where his big toe had become frostbitten. He was forced to amputate it on the spot. He was really like a pikestaff, a knight’s spear or lance, invincible, tenacious, courageous, and cruel!
However he had become old. And just like all other brave, and strong characters, they couldn’t overcome the limits of age. He was no longer strong and nimble, his tall body had suffered from countless illnesses these past two years. Leaving a skeletal frame where his once broad and strong body was. At that moment His Highness, who sat upon the seat of honour gave a weak gesture. He wrinkled his forehead before a deep and distant sigh broke the silence.
“Wise, intelligent, farsighted Calve Hill, I need your wisdom and advice.” The old emperor sighed, his hoarse voice seemed to contain a mix of anger and anxiety. Only a single person kneeled before the emperor at that time.
He too was an old man, his skin faded to the pale yellow of old wax. But his forehead and cheeks were still plump and full. He possessed a straight nose and soft lip lines; he may have been a handsome man when he was young. His cherish eyes were full of wisdom and alertness from his many experiences over the years.
Calve Hill was the Lance Lord’s most trusted partner, acknowledged by the imperial authorities as the “Lance’s Shield”. People couldn’t understand why Calve Hill was the only one to win the Lance Lord’s trust. Their relationship had stood strong for decades without any conflict, and their trust only became stronger as the time wore on. He was the only person who could freely enter and exit the emperor’s chambers and palace without permission. Any demand or request by Calve Hill would be allowed or agreed to by Kontos, but even after so many years, Calve Hill had never abused his privileges.
Every proposal or absurd argument would be seriously considered by King Kontos. It was hard to believe that the man most trusted by the emperor, had never thought of getting a honoured title or administrative title. His official title was only that of an informal royal advisor. However his word carried more weight with the emperor than those of the Empire’s Prime Minister!
Calve Hill was fifty six years old, one year older than the Lance Lord. However when they was young, Calve was known as the most outstanding talent of the Imperial Academy. Almost everyone at the academy, teachers, students, enemies, and friends had to admit that he possessed an extraordinary wisdom and talent when it came to general affairs. He had amazing achievements in each aspect of government, history, art, religion etc. Every policy prediction that he madewould become reality. Every piece of advice that he gave King Kontos would reap the expected results.
But this one person couldn’t get any official position. This was not because of Calve Hill’s humble origins, he was born to a mid level noble family. While his family’s status wasn’t that of a high level noble, it didn’t mean that he couldn’t get an official position in the empire’s administration. Additionally, he had been the emperor’s most trusted friend for nearly thirty years.
It was said that when King Kontos was young, he would often go incognito to sneak into the Imperial Academy and attend classes. It was there where he met Calve Hill, the most talented star of the Imperial Academy. He was astounded by Calve HIll’s wisdom and mischievousness. It went so far that once, Kontos privately said to his friends that he would make Calve Hill his future Prime Minister. But unfortunately, Calve Hill, a genius-to-be of the imperial courts had to forsake his future positions.
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