Imperium Galactica: Nightfall [Open]


Factbook Addict
Taer Atlos,
Imperial Palace

Grand Admiral Alecto Rian stormed into the private quarters of the Emperor, two stunned Legionaries following behind ordering him to halt. He ignored them, knowing they would not dare harm the supreme commander of the Imperial Starfleet.

Alshanah, the Emperor’s latest consort stepped between him and the door to the bedchamber. “He is not seeing anyone,” she said. While she put on a commanding voice, Rian saw her hands trembled.

“He is dying,” Rian said without slowing down. He would not be stopped. He pushed past the woman, and she gave way without any resistance. Rian was going to see his dearest friend before he passed, no matter the imperial protocol of keeping the Emperor’s illness a secret.

The Emperor, the strongest and mightiest man Rian had ever known, lay frail and gasping for breath in his canopied bed.

“My emperor, I have come,” Rian said, kneeling next to the bed. “I am sorry for breaking protocol.”

Shiram Morghanos turned his head on his pillows to see. His eyes were milky, sunken into his skull. His skin was taught over a fragile looking skeleton as he reached a hand out. “Alecto,” he spoke feebly. “I hoped you’d come. The disease has progressed and the physicians can do nothing to slow it now.”

Rian felt tears welling up in his eyes, seeing his friend in such a state. “I would trade my life if it would save yours,” he wailed. He gripped the Emperor’s hand as tightly as he dared, afraid he could easily hurt him.

Shiram’s hand went limp as he let out a long raspy breath. Rian let go of his hand which fell softly onto the Emperor’s chest. “Don’t say such noble drivel. The Imperium will need you now more than ever.”

He waved Rian closer. The Grand Admiral leaned in until he was nearly touching the Emperor’s face with his nose. “I will soon die,” he whispered, but a new strength had returned to his voice. “I have no living children to pass the Celestial Throne to…” his voice trailed off.

“Why did you not name an heir?” Rian asked.

The Emperor coughed. “They would have murdered them too, just like my children.”


“I know not. If I did I would have wiped them from the galaxy. Now, alas, it is too late. Whoever my enemies are I will never know. But they are the ones who poisoned me. Long I’ve fought it’s effects, but now it will win and I will die.” He grabbed onto Rian’s arm, squeezing hard. “The Imperium will soon tear itself apart as the Noble Houses scheme for the throne. My enemies will likely make their final move. When they reveal themselves, you must avenge me. Promise me.”

Rian gave his friend his promise. The Emperor released his arm and his eyes closed. The Grand Admiral feared he had passed right then, but soon there came labored breathing. Rian stood back up to let his friend rest. He would keep his word to his friend.

He called for Alshanah, the consort. “Tend him well, and when he passes, inform me first or face my wrath, woman.” He then stormed from the bedchamber. There were things to prepare.

Plains of Amalleth

The rains had come late this year. Hiram had worried of a drought which would kill the Rishmaz* and ruin the harvest. Now that the rains had come, he was worried flooding would do that instead.

The Archduke inspected the spillways and canals that criss crossed the plains, and the fields of grain growing across it. His flyer circled low over a place where the spill off threatened to overwhelm the walls of the canal and rush into the surrounding fields.

“There,” he pointed for his engineer to see. “That spot needs reinforcement.”

The engineer nodded, making another mark on the digital map on his display. “That makes thirty-nine total spots,” the engineer said. “I’ve got crews working on the first dozen, but I’m worried a breach will occur before we get them all.”

“I’ll send more of my men to help out,” Hiram said confidently. He was going to do his best to ensure the crop. Rishaz was an important commodity to the local economy, and it grew nowhere else on the planet. “Just have your people show them what to do…”

“Sorry to interrupt,” the flyer pilot said from the cockpit. “You are receiving an important message from the palace, Your Highness.”

“Tell them it can wait,” the Archduke responded irritably.

“They say it's a communication from the Imperial throne.”

Hiram sighed. Of course he’d receive an Imperial communication at a time where his attention was needed elsewhere. He gave the pilot the order to return to the palace, and for the other flyers nearby to continue circling the plains.

By time his flyer touched down at the palace landing pad he was in a sour mood. He hoped whatever the Emperor had to say was worth his time, and not another general admonition of the antics of the Noble Houses.

His Seneschal, Chaob Bashir, met him on the landing pad with an umbrella. “This better be worth my time,” Hiram roared over the rain.

Chaob, holding the umbrella over the Archduke as they hurried to the entrance to the palace responded, “Your cousin has passed away.”

Hiram came to a stop in the middle of the landing pad. He grabbed the Seneschal’s shoulder. “Shiram is dead?”

“The Imperial Palace has informed all the Archduke’s that the Emperor passed from a congenital illness. They will inform the Diet Galactica on the morrow.”

Hiram closed his eyes, a vision of his cousin in his youth rising up from his memories. Shiram had become emperor in his thirties, a rare thing for any emperor to ascend to the throne that young. That had been ninety-four years ago. Hiram hadn’t become Archduke for another forty years after that. They’d been close in their youth, but age and politics had driven a deep wedge between them. The last time they’d spoke, after a session of the Diet Galactica they had gotten into a heated argument that ended with the Emperor threatening to destroy house Drof-Antier, a piece at a time.

As the rain poured down around them, splattering off the ground and soaking the hems of his pants, he stood silently in reverence for a few moments to mourn his cousin’s passing. When he broke the silence it was to ask the most important question. “Did he name an heir?”

The seneschal shook his head. There had been no mention of an heir being named. Hiram turned and continued towards the palace. Once inside, out of the rain he began to pace around the small vestibule just inside the door. The seneschal shook out the umbrella onto the brown tiles and closed it up, dropping it in a holder next to the door.

“The Archduke’s will need to name a Regnier,” Hiram spoke to himself. The Seneschal just stood to the side, his hands clasped in front of him as he waited for the Archduke to finish thinking out loud. “But who to choose? Who from the thousands of nobles to pick? And who to name emperor?”

The Seneschal took the opportunity to interrupt. “Perhaps you, Your Highness,” he said. “You are Shiram’s cousin, a close familial relation that no other Archduke can claim.”

Hiram gave him a dismissive wave of his hand. “It’s a possibility, but that will likely make me the least popular candidate. No, this will cause chaos and confusion. The Imperium may very well tear itself apart over this.” He paced back and forth, muttering names of potential Regnier’s. Chaob noticed a number of them were allied with the Archduke, or would at least be counted on to support his claim to the throne, should he press it. The Seneschal smiled, wondering how many of the other Archdukes were having similar discussions, and naming candidates that were loyal to them.

“I’ve got it,” Hiram said, turning to the Seneschal so fast he stepped back in surprise. “Prepare my delegation. We will travel to Taer Atlos within the hour. With any luck we’ll beat everyone else there. And try to get word to Count Taschal to meet me at the Diet Galactica.”

“Adammar Taschal?” Chaob asked for clarification.

“Indeed,” Hiram responded as he turned and raced from the room. “I’ll need his support.”

*Rishmaz: a type of grain used in the fermentation of strong beverages. It also has medicinal benefits.

Taer Atlos,
In Orbit

Grand Admiral Rian had received word of Shiram’s death an hour before the Diet Galactica did. The consort had at least done as she was commanded. Likely out of fear, but that still worked for him. By time the Diet, and its ministers tried contacting him, he was finished with his preparations.

The orders came through. “You are to prepare to defend Taer Atlos over the coming days,” the message said. He just turned his communicator off and gave the order.

The fleet engaged their transwarp drives, and one by one they flashed away into the starry sky. The massive warships, the carriers, the cruisers, even the smallest corvettes and frigates. Gone. Only the local defense forces remained. Once people on the planet knew they were gone there was panic.

But Rian didn’t care about any chaos he was leaving behind. The Imperial Starfleet was his to command, and he would not let it be a tool of the Diet, or the Noble Houses who would soon be positioning for the throne. All across the Imperium ships abandoned their positions, transwarping away to who knows where.

They had a number of systems, out of the way and little known that they would rendezvous at. But the bulk of the fleet, which had been guarding the Imperial Capital, had it’s on destination.

They arrived in a trinary system, the three giant suns blasting them with solar radiation and tidal forces. Alarms blared on Rian’s command ship as the shields cycled, attempting to compensate. But his people knew what to do and they quickly brought the ship onto a course between the suns, coming out into an area relatively clear of the forces beating against the ship. The rest of the fleet followed.

Rian watched the ship’s sensor readings. He clenched his fists, forcing down his anticipation. He needed to be calm. At last the sensors picked up what he was looking for. A massive space station, riding gently on the eddy of solar forces. It was larger than his fleet combined. Larger than the moon over Taer Atlos, almost 10,000 km across and 20,000 km tall.

“Open a channel,” he commanded. And he waited for a response. It wasn’t long in coming.

“Shiram is dead then?” a cold, raspy voice asked over the comms.

“He was poisoned by an unknown enemy,” Rian responded.

“As is wont to happen when you’re Emperor,” the voice said in an almost jovial tone. “You will come aboard. Alone.”

“I will bring my personal guard,” he retorted.

The voice laughed a raspy humorless rasp. “You will come alone, Grand Admiral. Let’s not play these games today. You do not have the time.” The channel then went silent.

Rian ignored the looks from his bridge crew. Instead he gave command over to his second, and left the bridge. A shuttle was prepared for him and in minutes he was flying across to the station. The doors of it’s massive landing bay opened up like the jaws of a leviathan, and as he flew through he felt like he was being swallowed up.

He brought the shuttle down on the platform that had been cleared for him. A delegation was waiting to meet him. Two of them were human, in stiff black robes. Their lips were tattooed black, and their skin was pale. They had no hair atop their head, nor any eyebrows. The rest of the delegation was a motley gathering of aliens.

Rian wrinkled his nose at the sight of them and addressed the humans. “I am here to see the Solarch.”

He was not answered, but the two humans gestured and he followed where they led. They took a lift, and he was annoyed when the aliens crowded in with him. But he held his head up and would not show any sign of weakness.

The lift arrived and opened onto a long corridor, lit with holographic torches. One of the humans pointed to the large black doors at the far end. He took it to mean that was his destination. They did not follow him. The lift’s doors closed after he got off and he heard it slide away. So he was to go in alone?

There were no doorways off to either side so he marched down the hallway, his boot echoing among the gothic arches. He knew this was all designed to intimidate any visitors. He kept his head up and reached the doors.

He didn’t bother knocking. He was supreme commander of the Imperial Starfleet and he would not knock. He pushed the doors open and marched through.

He was surprised how small the room beyond was. It was maybe fifty paces across and a hundred deep. A single stone chair was placed in the middle of the room, and on it sat an old man. He wore the same stiff black robes as the two others, and his head was also shaved bald. But the caverns around his eyes were tattooed black in addition to his lips, and on his forehead a single tattoo of three interconnected hexagons.

“This will end in blood,” the old man said, his voice the same voice as on the comms before.

“As will all things,” Rian replied. “The Imperium stands on the brink and I will not be a part of its salvation.”

“What then? Will you be its damnation?”

“I will avenge my friend.”

The old man cackled, his voice echoing in the empty chamber. “Will you bathe the starways in blood? Will you enter the galaxy’s heart and squeeze? Your assurances and vows all ring hollow in the emptiness of the universe.”

“I did not come to be mocked,” Rian said through clenched jaw. He took a menacing step forward towards the old man.

“No, you came for easy answers and easier solutions. But the cathedral of Aramay does not offer either. Return to your Grand Patriarch and let him fill your heart with such empty words.”

Rian unclenched his jaw. It would do him no good to be riled up by this old man. He stepped back, taking a deep breath before he spoke again. “I am in need of the brotherhood. They have spies across the galaxy. Whatever they can find out about the ones who killed the Emperor…”

The old man held up his hand and Rian fell silent. “The brotherhood does not come cheap. Can you afford the cost?”

“Name it,” Rian said.

“You are too quick to answer, I think. Our price is a terrible one to pay. But I think you would pay it anyway.” The old man stood from his chair and placed his hands over the symbol tattooed on his forehead. “I will send the brotherhood to search out those you seek. If they find nothing you may go your own way, and I will collect no payment. But if they return with the answers you seek, then we will demand fair compensation. The Celestial Throne, and you upon it, an ally of the Cathedral of Aramay, public and open. Do you agree?”

Rian did not hesitate to answer. “Agreed,” he said solemnly.

Star Wars: The Imperial Suite x Imperial March (Medieval Style)
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Bespia, Quella

It was freezing winter in the sprawling megacity of Bespia.

When snow fell on the heated walkways and streets throughout the city, the flakes sizzled before melting. Banners of House Vane fluttered wildly in the winds. Most citizens were huddled in their warm homes, happy to be sheltered from the elements outside. The Margravess was no different. She sat clutching a blanket made from the fur of some slain beast living on the edge of the galaxy, staring out the window into the empty courtyard of her manor. The trees along the paths had been a beautiful array of reds and oranges and yellows just a few moons prior, but now their branches lay bare.

There was a knock on her door, and her seat whirled around to face it. “Come in,” she permitted, and the door whizzed open. On the other side was a servant, flanked on both sides by manor guards. The guards led him into the room, and the trio halted halfway in.

“Speak,” Mira demanded, and so the servant did.

“There is a message for you from the Imperial Throne.”

The Margravess audibly groaned, leaning her head back. She had little interest in the matters of those half a galaxy away. As much as she wished to colourfully tell the Throne to sod off and let her govern in peace, such an act would probably bring a swift end to her career. The woman nodded, “Very well. What is it?”

The servant’s hand was shaking as he removed his cap, “The Emperor is dead.”

Mira’s face turned from annoyance to severe worry in an instance, “You’re kidding.”

Lowering his head and fearful of an outburst, the servant simply muttered, “No.”

In one swift move, she dropped her blanket and stood, walking swiftly past the trio, “Get Lieutenant Haruss.”

“I believe the Lieutenant is sleeping, Madam,” said one of the guards.

“I don’t care. Wake him and tell him to prepare to travel to Taer Atlos,” the Margravess insisted, putting on her coat by the door.

Soon Margravess Veillon, her Lieutenant, and a small group of guards were taking off from Quella, their ship being escorted by the few available corvettes capable of warping alongside her own. Now waiting for their journey to end, the Margravess and her company waited in silence around a table. Mira was contemplating, visibly worried. She had mostly ignored the politics of the inner Imperium, focusing on the systems which she controlled. This would soon be biting her back. Due to her unfriendliness, she had few friends and even fewer stable allies.

During the walk to the ship, the same servant who had informed her of Shiram’s death had also told her that there was no named heir. Now she had to consider who to support to replace the emperor. A wrong choice could lead to an unfavourable situation: an emperor who hated her.

Her Lieutenant broke the silence, “Will you be vying for the throne, madam?”

She would have laughed if the circumstances were not so serious, “No. I have no interest in running a mess. Besides, my support would be limited. Nobody wants some young renegade from the frontier systems in the most powerful position there is. We are travelling to Taer Atlos to contact a few friends I have in mind. I want to make sure I’m on the right side before I commit my support.”

“Which friends, if I may ask?” the Lieutenant pushed.

The Margravess glanced around at the waiting guards, “I trust you, Haruss, but I will be keeping my hand hidden.”
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TNP’s Greedy Capitalist

The sun’s rays beat down on Sextus and Sulla in the ruined arena. The archaic walls being covered in dense uncouth vegetation. The sand they’re standing on scorching their feet and the interiors of their toes. The sand was a mix of sweat and blood from the hours of hard drilling. This is House Livia.

Sulla’s body was a canvas of scars, cuts, and burns from decades of combat. Despite the Imperium having been at been peace for 94 years, Sulla was a veteran of many battles. Inter-house fighting and combat was regular amongst House Livia with distant cousins, brothers, lieutenants, and minor lords constantly attempting to grab for power, but out of the fighting Sulla alone has emerged victorious. A skilled leader and tactician, Sulla as well was the commander of countless expeditions beyond the Imperium’s borders.

Sextus stood as the imminent heir and successor to his father, Sulla. While not as battled-hardened and forged by war as his father, Sextus was still a very talented and gifted soldier. Since birth all children of House Livia are trained for martial excellence, undergoing years of constant torment and testing the physical, as well as, the mental limitations of the human body.

“Again!” Screamed Sulla as more soldiers flooded into the arena. Sulla and Sextus readied themselves with blades in hand. “Begin!” He shouted.

The first guard lunged at Sulla who quickly parried and acquainted the back of his head with his blunt sword. The next came at Sextus, in quick succession he successfully blocked, tripped, and beat the fallen soldier. As the next soldier took his stance to attack they were interrupted by Sulla’s brother, Pelagius, who served as his chief advisor.

“Sulla, I need speak with you?”

“I already told you not to disturb us.”

“You’ll manage, this is urgent, a message arrived from the Imperial Palace.”

Sulla struck his blade into the ground and pat his son on the back and instructed him to continue as he approached Pelagius. “What is it?”

“The Emperor is dead. He died not too long ago but we need to act fast. The Prince-Electors will be meeting on Taer Atlos to decide who to name Regnier.”

Sulla was stunned. The Emperor had ruled for decades and still, even then his death was not expected. This wasn’t a time for mourning though, Sulla did not care for the Emperor. Long ago, Titus the Great aided House Morghanos in their bid for the Imperial Throne in the civil war and in return House Livia was awarded an Archduchy but that was too long ago. House Livia, and more importantly Sulla chaffed under Shiram’s pacifism. Now was the hour of their victory.

“Was an heir named by Shiram before he passed?”

Pelagius smiled at his brother. “No.”

Sulla smiled back. “Prepare me a ship and our men. We go to Taer Atlos!” He said laughing.


Minister of You
Jabaal, Majun

The sun shone down unrelenting over the palace balcony. It casted it’s orange glow over the pristine tiling and the desert horizons beyond. Despite its harshness, Adham believed it the perfect lighting for his current endeavor. A painting of his dear sister, Nylah. She had volunteered, yet she kept fidgeting. Adham made sure to conceal his annoyance. Flowers were delicate after all.

“How much longer?” she puffed, shifting her weight once more. Keeping a pose was harder than she remembered.

“The more you move, the longer you bake,” Adham responded, his eyes not leaving his canvas. Despite his earnest wish to paint something beautiful, Adham was more than happy to torment his older sister. Wearing heavy red robes in the heat of the day was not pleasant, at least he assumed. His fun was not long lived. A stern voice broke him from his joys.

“Your excellency, there is news from the Imperial Throne,” spoke an elderly man. He kept to the shade of the balcony.

“What is now uncle Iyaad? Is the traverse not producing as much profit as they want?” Adham's eyes still didn’t leave the canvas. They only ever glanced up to his sister to commit the image to memory.

Iyaad looked towards some of the servants awaiting their lord nearby. His scowl was immediately understood and they fled the area.

Iyaad spoke up once more, ”Emperor Shiram is dead.”

Adham’s brush stopped mid stroke. For a moment there was a silence on the balcony. Adham resumed his painting. His sister on the other hand had no intention of keeping still after that. She immediately got up to get a drink from a nearby table. Adham sighed internally.

“Did you hear what I said?” Iyaad said, annoyance now entering his gravelly voice. He now walked forward in front of Adham directly. Adham continued his painting.

“I heard you uncle,” Adham finally replied, ”I take it you want us all to head for Taer Altos post haste?”

Iyaad’s face could not frown any more than it already was. “One day nephew, I won’t be around to manage all of this for you. One day you will have to take interest. Or suffer the same fate as our beloved Emperor.”

Adham’s golden eyes met his uncle’s. “From anyone else that would sound like a threat.”

“Well thank the stars it’s coming from me,” Iyaad retorted. He walked up to Adham, placing a hand on his shoulder. “We must move quickly, you excellency.” With that the man walked off.

Adham put down the brush and looked towards his sister, already on her second glass of wine. “What do you think about all of this, Nylah?”

She didn’t return his gaze, instead gulping the wine before responding, “You’d be walking into a snake’s den.”

Adham chuckled lightly, expressing the first emotion he had all day. “Oh come now, I haven’t been a thorn in anyone’s side. I have no targets on my back.”

“You have something others want. You have plenty of targets on your back. Do not feign ignorance with me brother. I am not uncle.” Nylah poured herself another glass and stared her brother down, “We’re going to Taer Altos.” Despite the blazing sun. Despite the sweat on her face from the heat. Her eyes were icy as ever.

Adham shrugged his shoulders and nodded. Adham would never tell his sister, but he enjoyed it when she tormented him as well.


Lithius House, Gratanite

Alkali is taking a walk through the streets of one of the new towns on Gratanite. Alkali is a relativily young Lithoid, being only 142 years old. He put forth new programs within his territory recently, and is reaping and watching the benefits. A couple human children run past him, while a human watcher(a Lithoids version of babysitter) chases after them. He smiles, he really should be doing this more often. As he makes his way back to his personal ship to make his way home for the night when a transmission is sent to his terminal.

An old Lithoid, probably around 400's shows up, "Sir, there is some importent news and you are needed immedialy at the capital."

Alkali looks at the Lithoid, "If its just some biological children playing harmless pranks then I don't think it needs my attention"

The Lithoid responds again, "Its about the Emperor, I regret to inform you that he has passed away some time ago."

Alkali gains a sullen look on his face, "I understand, get my trasport ready. We shall head to Taer Altos at once. Has the Emperor named an heir?"

"No sir" the Lithoid responded.

Alkali remains is silent again as his transport arrived back at his home "... I understand" Alkali gets out of his transport and prepares for a trip. "Like a volcano before eurption, things will only get worse before they get any better." Alkali says to himself.
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The Lords of Justice

Three lords all meet in Astram Judicial Gathering, the highest courtroom in Astram. Lord Utake of Lumin, Lord Luga of Shad, and Lord Rutak of Balan all come together to decide Astram’s Executive Justice. Astram replaces their Executive Justice once the Emporer dies or when they die. The Executive Justice rules over all of Astram.

The Debate
Utake, Luga, and Rutak all have different people in mind. Utake wants Rega, Luga wants Debis, and Rutak wants Truim. They all step of stage with their candidate. The host, Yucka Luis, asks each a question. “Which House deserves the right to decide the Emporer?” Yugis asks. Truim replies “No house shall deserve it yet, each house will conflict and war over the throne”, Rega says “The people of the Galaxy should vote on it”. Debis quickly buzzes in, Yucka says “Go ahead”, He argues “Whoever has the most people will win the house”. Yugis replies “That is correct, Rega you are at one strike, one more and you’re out, Next question. How have you spent the budget you were given?”. Debis says “I used it to find evidence for my cases and helping my victims get what they deserve.” Truim buzzes “Actually it says here in your Annual Budget Report that you spent most of the money to arrest kids, of which had little to no evidence against”. Yugis asks for the evidence of that. Truim hands it over. “Debis this is true that is one strike. Next question, How have you helped your people?”. Rega says “Installed many Sky hooks and Space Elevators for Cargo, people and stellar craft.” Truim replies “I have installed 5 Dyson spheres, and a stellar engine,” a buzz from Debis pops up “That’s preposterous, I don’t think any star could move.” Yugis replies “Sorry Debis but that’s wrong, Stars can move, that’s two strikes, you may exit the stage.” The room was now in suspense, everyone now thought who might win. Yugis asks “What is your citizen approval rate?” Truim says “Mine is 89%, Power Outages are so unlikely, Crime is down 35% since last year and our relationship to the Imperium has improved.” The final buzz arrives “89%? That is impossible, i only have 54%, over parties and religious differences that will probably never exist.” Yugis replies “Incorrect I have asked my advisor and they say that your 2018 poll was 89%.”

The Aftermath.
Shortly after Debis ends his campaign and drops out. His approval rate dropped from 46% to 28%. To be kicked out of office you must have a 25% or less. People believe that Truim will win the seat. Rega still believes they can win.

The Election
The results came in the next morning. Truim won with 78% of the population of Astram. Rega’s approval Rating dropped to 45%. Truim won the seat and Lord Rutak became the most powerful of the lords. Balan celebrates the victory and Shad falls into sadness. Truim has big responsibilities in the fate of the Imperium.

The Count sighed, slowly walking along the edge of the balcony, his scaly palm traveling over the carved stone waist-high wall, the view nothing short of breathtaking as the thriving city extends down, far away from the palace, thougths circled in the reptiles mind as he leaned down, propping his elbows down on the edge as he reflected, the dark gray, almost black, scales on the top of his head glistening softly as he turned around, holding his hands behind his back as he returned inside the palace, the clasp of his hands only breaking to snag a Bloodfruit from one of the potted bushes on the balcony, which he himself had requested, and even helped install

As he crossed the large doorway to one of the many halls, he pierced the thick skin of the citric like fruit, pulling it appart in two clean halves, meanwhile his train of thought continued

-The... reunion with the front of workers, yes... re-shedule? no... it would be...disrespectful... perhaps move the inauguration of...-

there was a sligth dull thud as he was pulled out of his mind, having bumped against his mesenger, which a momment ago was rushing on search of him, he had fallen flat on his tail, his expresion carrying some worry as he hesitated, yet, before he could speak, Khordus was already leaning down, helping the both, sligtly smaller, and a far bit younger, Red scaled nelidian back up to his feet

-My Sire, i am sincerely sorry!- he began bowing in a respectful manner, before continuing -i bring news...-
-As i would expect- the nobleman nods, as he continued walking, making his way down the corridor as he heard his messenger attentively untill the two closed in on a stairway

-...the Nomurian spacedock wants you. to be on board our newest capital ship during her... maiden voyage...-
-very well... is that all?- Khordus questioned his mesenger, the latter audibly gulping -is that all?- he questioned again, letting some pressure mix in with his usually calm voice

the mesenger shook his head no, taking a deep breath as he slowly relayed the last of the news -My Sire...the Emperor... the Emperor has died...-

as soon as those words reached his mind, the world ground to an agonizing halt; the words bouncing and amplyfing in his conciousness

-The Emperor...dead...dead...dead...Emperor...Dead- it echoed in his mind, as his body kept going forward carelessly, the half eaten Bloodfruit falling from his hand, and rolling down the stairway

the stairway

Khordus was barely able to register the steps taking most of his view, the voice of his mesenger, that sounded so far, yet so close, the stairs getting closer... closer... closer... he´d never realized the marble he stepped on everyday looked so pretty...

-his wounds are not severe.......-as lucky....-
-..... be there? on time?......-
-he can.... i will... -ainkillers a-....... cane, he will move stif-....-atue, but he will make it-



The throne is up for grabs. After the election for Margrave, Questions come about who will become Emporer. Truim is asked daily about it. He eventually gets tired from all of it.

The meeting

“I have called you all here today to address the current situation of the Throne. The question is Run or not. If we do run we could become the throne, but assassination is present here. If we don’t run we can still support someone.” His 2nd highest advisor said “We shouldn’t run. Do you even have an Emporer decided? The chances of them dying are too high!” “That’s bullcrap” said His top advisor. “The chances of death are present but we still can protect the Emporer. Supporting someone will do nothing. Make agreements with the Archdukes before anyone else can. Astram needs to start its legacy today.” “Anyone Else?” He asked. They all shook their heads to say no. “Well then, I will make my decision.”

The next morning
145 cameramen, 345 journalists, and 20 members all stood in the room. It murmured a bit so often. Finally he arrived. Cameras started flashing. Pencils and notebooks were on hand a second they waited for him to start. “This is a Galaxy we are talking about, Billions upon trillions of life is stored inside it. Millions of planets and stars exists too. In the middle are the brightest stars where the Imperium is. The biggest area, military and population. Whoever controls it will be dominant. So much is at stake this election.” As a man walked up on to stage he announced “Astram for Emporer.” The man was Olek Plagen, a man who has traveled the galaxy studying the people all over. He has been a leader in many places in Astram.


Taeyong, Yoseong, House of Wonju

Heels clicked rhythmically against the beautifully painted, glossy concrete floor of Duseonjjae Palace. Rain pounded against windows and sunroofs. It was night in Yoseong's capital city of Taeyong, though the twin moons of the planet that typically shone so bright were covered by dark clouds. The neon signs lining nearly every crowded street in the city made up for the lack of moonlight of course. Yoseong- the center of House Wonju's power wasn't a ecumenopolis like some of the other capital planets, of course, how could it be? House Wonju had been sent to a far off corner of the Galaxy for causing a bit of a.... 'situation' with a former Emperor and the Church in what was still quite recent history. They had to rebuild here. Luckily they retained the power and status that came with being an Archduchy, but certainly Yoseong was no replacement for Bokje, their original seat of power. It wasn't all bad though; Yoseong was right on one of the two mouths of the Trans-Galactic Road. That brought plenty of prosperity with it. Yet the stinging resentment towards that former Emperor, and the rest of the Imperial House, had never subsided. House Wonju had always been viewed as snakes, for their specialty within subterfuge and espionage, and so it only made sense that they had placed their own agent on Taer Atlos, within the military, to monitor the Emperor and other current events. To know information before other Houses. Not to assassinate anyone of course- Wonju would never go that far. Though presumably other Houses had their doubt and would cast stones at Wonju first before all others if the Emperor were to be assassinated.

This is why, when the courier's heels finally stopped clicking in front of Wonju Dae-Soon's personal quarters and she could hear her conversing with the Daegong Bohoja*, her heart sank. Not for sadness, not for sympathy. For fear. House Wonju's agent had reported something terrible not too recently. They suspected that the Emperor had died. For various reason they had come to this conclusion, and Dae-Soon trusted their agent's judgement. She'd be a fool not to. She had hoped that- just for once, he was wrong, but Dae-Soon had thrown thoughts of this being a hoax out the window as soon as she had heard those courier's heels. She turned to her wardrobe to quickly pull from it a traveling jacket and a cloak, before quickly throwing her doors open much to the surprise of her guards. The peppy courier seemed shocked too, but then quickly went to speak and do their job,

"A-Archduchess Wonju! Your majesty I-"

"Save it. I know what you're here to say, your arrival is the only confirmation I need of my suspicions."

"...oh... uh- O-Okay, your majesty, but I don't get paid until I uh... give you the letter." She put a hand behind her head shyly, the other one holding out the lovingly sealed letter.

Dae-Soon turned and stared down at the little lady. She was half her own height- Of course Dae-Soon was quite tall, so that wasn't uncommon. She fetched her round-lensed sunglasses, putting them on slowly as she spoke again, leaning down to yoink the letter from her grip.

"Right. Of course, dear. Ah.. since you are here. Tell my husband that I'll be away in Taer Atlos for... some time. If you deliver this simple message I will make sure to pay you kindly when I return. What's your name, dear? Where are you from?" She said in an artificially sweet manner.

"Yes ma'am! I mean- Yes your majesty.. or...." The courier stammered along

Dae-Soon chuckled, "Your name is 'Yes Ma'am'? Certainly quite exotic but-"

"No sorry I just... I'm really nervous ma'am- your majesty. My name is Hyon Ye-Seul. I'm from Daeyung."

"Daeyung, hm? Well, Hyon Ye-Seul, seeing as how you came so far..." Dae-Soon looked to one of her guards. "Min-Jun. Make sure Miss Hyon here is treated well before she leaves today, hm?" The guard being referenced to simply shook his head without another word. "Miss Hyon I hate to cut this short but really I must leave. Farewell." Dae-Soon ruffled the courier's cap and thus her hair, stood back up straight, then turned to leave again. The courier adjusted her cap and gazed at the Archduchess as she left.

Her steps got quicker as she got further from the courier and her personal quarters, clicks on concrete increasing at a rapid pace. She had already wasted too much time talking to a courier from some backwater on the other side of House Wonju's territory. She tucked the letter into one of her jacket's interior pockets. She had to be careful not to slip as she exited the palace, light snows had started falling recently and black ice was forming all over the city. Just yesterday her husband Yong-Jin had nearly broken one of his ankles after he slipped down the stairs in exterior portion of the garden. She hated to leave him high and dry like this, but the death of the Emperor was a bit more pressing than doting on him for the next week as he recovered from a sprained ankle.

Now normally Dae-Soon would have actually started laughing when she heard the emperor was dead. She should be smiling ear to ear! Instead she had to worry about the other noble houses thinking that one of her agents had poisoned the emperor. What a shitshow this was going to be. She did let out a little chuckle of course- unlike the other Archdukes she held no border with any of them. If they tried anything they'd have to travel to the other end of the galaxy to reach Yoseong. Oh and of course this also opened up a huge window of opportunity. If she could navigate the accusations of assassination and prevent one of the other houses from swiping the Emperor's position then she might have a shot at taking the Celestial Throne. Wouldn't that just be ironic?

She had arrived at the personal hangar. Her pilot was sitting nearby, watching some odd cooking show on the ultrascreen TV. She could smell that someone had been smoking death sticks in here too- that acrid, gasoline-like odor was hard to hide.

"Yejun! Get off your ass, we're going to Taer Atlos." Dae-Soon shouted in a shrill tone, already regretting doing so as she could feel her throat aching.

Yejun turned his head with a raised brow, idly moving to grab his favorite hat before speaking. "...Taer Atlos? Why?"

"Your job isn't to ask questions, it's to fly me where I need to go. Get up. Oh and- I don't care if it's you or one of the other bastards in this hangar, but stop smoking death sticks." She crossed her arms, glaring at Yejun with a scowl.

He squinted, huffed, and then sighed as he wiped crumbs off of himself, "Fine. Fine, alright, whatever, let's go to Taer Atlos then."

*House Wonju's term for 'Archduchal Guard'
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Spire Complex Uur, Moon of Aamun, orbiting Saardil, House Nazdi

The last faint rays of the red dwarf Saardil orbited faded from view, darkening the moonscape, and the stars and nebulae littering the backdrop of space glimmered from outside the crystalline dome at the apex of the spire. This time of year saw the night facing inwards, towards the center of the galaxy, which formed a stark band of pale whites, blues, and pinks studded with brightly winking solar jewels neatly bisecting the skies of Aamun and Saardil. Ayyal sat in the center of the domed room, eyes lightly closed in contemplation. They knew that the sun had left the sky, but did not yet open their eyes to welcome the night, still meditating on some subject outsiders could only guess at. Their robes of office fanned out behind them, primarily colored a dark purple that neared black in hue - though under certain lighting, portions of the robe would phosphoresce in brilliant geometric patterns and writing of some esoteric variety. Three screens rose out of the floor in front of them, displaying various informational panels, both mundane information for governance as well as scripture, from holy writings as well as less sanctioned ones, and a smaller data-slate was laid on their lap, its screen dark and silent.

The tone of a message notification from Ayyal's data-slate caused the Margrave to open their eyes. A courier from the inner systems requested Ayyal's audience, bearing news of great importance. Ayyal replied, beckoning the courier to enter as they stood up, rotating to face the door and gesturing behind them, turning off the screens - none of that was information privy to the eyes of outsiders.

The courier entered the room and bowed, mildly annoying Ayyal. He looked up, taking in the margrave and the room he entered and blinking in mild surprise at the room's simultaneous bareness and grandiosity, "My Lord Nazdi - I bear news from Taer Atlos. Emperor Morghanos has passed. Your presence will be required, as Lord of House Nazdi."

Ayyal did not react, steeling their face carefully, even as hidden as it was by their hood and mask. This news was a shock to the Margrave, and its fallout could be potentially dangerous for House Nazdi; a new Emperor or Regnier might not be so blind - or tolerant, they reminded themselves - towards religious practices not so conformant to the Church. "Very well, courier. I am saddened to hear of this tragedy, and will prepare to leave at once. Stay as long as you need."

The Courier nodded, bowing again - causing Ayyal to roll their eyes - before leaving the room. Ayyal sat back down, turning on the screens once again and opening a channel to the captain of House Nazdi's flagship, The Kilaalmesh.

"Captain Afalyyan, prepare your ship and a small envoy for travel to Taer Atlos and await my arrival. The emperor is dead."
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Fortress of the Scatare Count, in Orbit over Fudasia

The Count's Fortress silently orbited over Fudasia's lush forests and mountains, with the vibrant lights of New Fudasia emanating from the dark side of the planet. The Count looked through his data-pad as he briefed himself on today's matters. The shutters closed however as Count Leo de Seran suddenly received an urgent transmission from one of his secretaries. A holographic display of his secretary showed up on top of his table as he swiped the pad to the left, answering the call.

"What's the matter, what is the meaning of such an urgent translator." the Count asked in an inquisitive tone, putting his digital pad away.

"Sir, Emperor Shiram has just passed away, I believe they are requesting the presence of all at the Diet Galactica." the secretary informed the Count, who suddenly became surprised.

"Including the Counts?" Leo shockingly asked.

"It is not required sir, however attendance would most likely reflect greatly on the Frontier Worlds of Scatare, with the attendance of a Count from such a distant house, cut off from the main Imperium." the secretary replied once more.

Count Leo de Seran stroked his beard, pondering the choice he had. While there were tasks to do at home, he trusted the Vice Count, meanwhile he could secure possibly assistance in a world such as Taer Atlos, especially now, filled with the prosperous nobles of the Imperium.

"Inform my pilots to prepare for a warp to Taer Atlos, I would prefer not to keep the others waiting." the Count ordered as he stood up, ending the transmission, before walking out of his office. It would be a long trip, which required the Count to move with haste.

The Count moved through the hallways of the floating Fortress, making his way to his personal shuttle. As he boarded his shuttle, and took a seat, the pilots had already begun their pre-travel checks, as the engines began to roar to life. The shuttle closed the rear door as it began to hover over the designated landing spot for the Count, before moving the ship forwards outside of the hangar. The tiny ship suddenly put its throttle to 70%, beginning its approach to the SIDF Silent Void, a converted colonial transport ship, which was one of the ships in the Scataren fleets that utilized a warp drive. The shuttle began to reduce the rear thrusters to 30 percent, as well as enabling the frontal thrusters in order to reduce the ship's velocity. The shuttle entered the hangar of the transport ship, with the hangar doors closing behind them, before landing on the appropriate spot. The engines began to power down, as the rear door opened once more, with the Count ready to disembark from the shuttle.

Outside, the ship began making adjustments through the on-ship guidance computer, before aligning with Taer Atlos. The engines burned a bright blue, as the ship proceeded to move forwards, before the ship's warp drive ripped a hole in front of it through the empty void, slowly entering.

Suddenly the hole closed, into a tiny infinitesimally small point, as if nothing had happened.


Taer Altos

Mira led the way, opening the heavy door and entering. The trip from Quella had taken the better part of the day, and she hadn’t wasted that time. The Margravess had plotted in her mind, careful in considering who to approach first. While she wasn’t yet sure who would be gunning for the throne, she had some educated guesses. Primarily, Sulla, the leader of House Livia. Mira’s father had been friendly with Sulla, and as his daughter, she had maintained good relations. Considering his proximity to the capital, and his annoyance with the previous Emperor, Mira was expecting him to leap on this opportunity. So she sent a message for them to meet, and managed to find a room near the Diet Galactica that they could use. It was relatively spacious and centred around a large wooden table.

“Search for listeners,” she commanded, and her guards moved swiftly, checking under seats and behind wall decorations for any listening devices. They were unlikely, but she wanted to play it safe.

Sulla had arrived to Taer Altos far earlier than Mira, and so she was expecting him to arrive any minute. As her soldiers finished their search, finding it clear, she took a seat at the far end of the table, reclining and placing her boots on the table as she waited.

Sulla made his way into the conference room, accompanied by his brother and flanked by several armed men loyal to House Livia. While himself and Pelagius did not have their arms or armour on them their men did. There was a dead emperor, a vacancy for the position of Regnier, and it was still up in the air for both who would lead. It was not a time for caution; so while their blades were sheathed and would stay there, there would be no hesitation to draw blood if this was a setup. Leszek was one of Sulla’s greatest allies and friends so concern wasn’t something too much on his mind.

Sulla was less than thrilled with her nonchalant way of conducting herself, boots on the table and all but this is a business meeting and respect was one of many virtues laid out in the Codex of Cyrus for the Pelcaren people to follow.

“What can I do to help the daughter of Leszek?” He said with his arms extended. “I won’t lie, I was glad to hear that you wanted to arrange a meeting, Mira.”

The Margravess removed her boots from the table, sitting up in her chair. Mira looked tired, as though she had not slept during the whole trip. She smiled as the Archduke approached, “I’m glad to see you, Sulla. Please, take a seat. We have much to discuss, and not much time to discuss it.” Once he was sitting, Mira leaned forward, clasping her hands and resting them on the table.

“While I hope you’ll excuse me for rushing the pleasantries, I’d like to get right into it,” she continued, “I assume you already know all about the Emperor- Why else would you be here, after all? Since you’re one of the few noblemen I can trust, I decided to come to you first and inquire about your plans on replacing the Emperor.” Mira already knew it was likely that he would run for the spot, but she didn’t want to assume that he was and throw him off.

Sulla sat back in his chair and rubbed his nonexistent beard. Of course everyone was gathering on Taer Atlos to mourn the dead emperor and scurry in favour with the new one when he was ushered in. But was she playing politics with him? He was truly intrigued. He probably shouldn’t be though, anyone with a brain knew that he was an ambitious man and Mira of all people knew that. He was going to play along though and see what you had to offer.

He smiled. “And what if I said that I am planning on becoming the Emperor? What interest would that particularly have for you?” He was ready to negotiate but more importantly, what did she want?

“There are many benefits of being close to the Emperor,” she responded, “Money, systems, titles. I was cold to Shiram, and it led to me being left out and ignored. I have no personal desire for the throne, but I do want an ally ruling. If I had to choose one, it would be you.”

Mira continued, “So, before I even consider joining you, and before I make any demands, I need you to come out and tell me directly that you will be vying for the throne.”

Sulla decided to entertain her suspicions. “I have every intention of vying for the throne. It is only natural that I feel that I would make the best emperor. A strong devotion to tradition and honour is what we need in times as trying as these. When was the last time we’ve had a new Imperial House? There is a vacuum and we need a strong leader to fill that void. I think I am that leader. I assume you didn’t come here to hear a campaign speech though.”

Mira smiled, “Wonderful.” The Margravess looked to her Lieutenant, who was standing beside her, and whispered something to him as he leaned down. He nodded, and she returned her attention to Sulla, “I see few as qualified as you to lead, but that does not mean there are not any other valid candidates. If I am to stick my neck out and throw my full, enthusiastic support behind you, I have some heavy conditions.”

After hearing no protests from the Archduke, Mira proceeded, “Firstly, and most easily, I need money. Although my systems reside where the Traverse and the Veridian Way meet, we are going through some economic hardships. I need to build ships and infrastructure. The exact amount of money can be discussed, but part of it needs to be paid upfront.”

“Secondly, if you are to reach the throne, I expect some compensation for my haste to side with you in the form of titles and holdings. While I will still bear the role of defending the frontier as a Margrave is expected to do, I wish to be granted the title of Duchess, and to be given a few specific systems I’ve had my eyes on.”

“Finally, in order to shore up my defences, and to ensure the safety of these new systems, I must request control over a new Starfleet, formed mostly my own ships, but also reinforced by some parted from the Imperial Starfleet,” Mira finished. Before Sulla could respond, she added, “I realize this is a lot to ask for, and I understand if you are unable to grant all these things to me, but I will also remind you of our Houses’ close relations in the past, as well as the fact you were the first candidate for Emperor I wished to meet with.”

Sulla smiled at her. She drove a hard bargain but what price was to pay for the throne? Most of her demands were plausible and generic and he was fine with them. Lands, riches, titles, and all the rest of the fun bunch. The one thing though that got his attention was the demand of ships from the Imperial Fleet.

He laughed, “You are your father’s daughter.” But his demeanour quickly became serious. “I am willing to meet you on your demands except one. I am not weakening the Imperial Fleet under any circumstances. If I take the throne, there will be many who oppose me. Many rebellious lords and conspiracists who like to see nothing but my head and my House’s head on a silver platter. I will need to be in the strongest position possible. I hope you can understand.”

“Very well, I understand,” Mira nodded, “That will be enough, but before I declare my support of you, I need to know that you’ll win. Who else do you have on your side? Who do you plan to ask? If I join you, and you lose, it could mean bad things for myself.”

Sulla got up and signalled to Pelagius and his men that it was time to leave, “You’ll find out Madame Margravess,” and left the room.

“Alright,” the Margravess murmured, watching the door close behind the Archduke. One of her soldiers took out a deathstick, and her Lieutenant sat down. Mira stated, “That went about as well as I could have hoped.”

(written and posted with permission of Nog)


Taer Altos
Alkali steps outside of his starship on the capital world of Taer Altos. He is flanked by 10 Lithius House soldiers, Alkali along with the soldiers towering over the humans sent here to greet him. He is not blind to the stares they give him, and the fear as they look at his flanking soldiers.

"May I assume you are Count Alkali of House Lithius?" Alkali notices a man wearing more regal armor standing in the crowd of soldiers.

"That is correct, I came here at the upmost haste after hearing the news." Alkali looks around, not really seeing many other starships, he's one of the first people here, despite the distance from his territory and the capital worlds. "Well, it has been a long while since I last visited the capital, can you lead me to the area the meeting is to take place?"

"Of course sir." The man leads Alkali to a large room with a large table in the center, and leads him to a large chair somewhere in the middle. "This seat here is for you sir, it had to be made larger and with different materials than the others, so someone of your stature and weight can sit there without difficulty or being uncomfortable... If I may ask, are you made completely of stone? All the way through?"

Alkali smiles at the man before answering, "Yes, stone all the way through. Thank you for leading me here, have a good day."

The escort backs away, and heads back to the launch pad, presumably to greet more nobles, counts, dukes, and what not.

Alkali looks around the table, not seeing many people present. 'Guess I'll wait for the meeting to begin', Alkali thought. The Lithius soldiers behind him go back to the wall, were soldiers are required to stand until the meeting officially ends. Their tall figures make them look exactly like statues as they stand at attention, the only hint they are not statues is the occasional movement or the sudden feeling like their eyes are following you.
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Það er alltaf sólríkt í Býkonsviði
Kiel, Holseta

"Where's dad?" Killian asked, looking around the private box as the hover skips raced around the track.

"He stepped out" Aiden muttered. He was too focused on the race to pay the question much mind.

"Mom, do you know where dad went off to?" Killian asked, drawing his mother's attention away from her group of friends.

"What is it honey?" Kylie Rhodes asked.
"Oh your father just went down to the pits. He loves seeing how the skips work."

"You didn't go with him?" Killian asked curiously.

"Your father learnt not to fight that fight a long time ago" Kylie laughed, much to her younger son's confusion.

Aaron made his way through the hallways of the racetrack, eager to get a front row view of the pit crews at work.

"You didn't want the kids to see?" Brodie Fisher, the head of the Margrave's security forces, asked.

"I thought Aiden might be interested" Aaron shrugged, "but he's more into the speed rather than the nuts and bolts."

Brodie nodded.
"Well..." but his voice trailed off. The sounds of the race were loud but the heavy footsteps of someone running were getting closer. He grabbed the Margrave protectively and placed his hand on his sidearm before both Aaron and Brodie sighed in relief. It was just a single guard rushing to catch up to them.

"Your Grace, a message...from Taer Atlos."

Aaron suddenly grew nervous. Things had been quiet in this corner of the galaxy since the end of the Three Fold Path's rebellion. The spectre of the Emperor's own lack of an heir had recently been a growing worry in the back of his mind, but he'd shut it out. Aaron had fought for a hard-won peace in the Emperor's name all of those years ago, and he was keen to enjoy it. News from the Celestial Throne could be nothing but trouble.

"The Emperor has died" the guard said, his own voice shaking.

And there it was. Every worry, every uncertainty that he'd buried and told himself not to worry about, was just dragged back up and exposed to the light. Unless...

"Did the Emperor name an heir before he passed?"

"No Your Grace."

Aaron looked at Brodie.

"We need to head back. My family needs to know I'll be leaving for Taer Altos."

Brodie nodded.

"And I need to send a message to Archduke Drof-Antier. I need to pass along my condolences..."

"Are you sure you don't need the children and I?" Kylie asked as Aaron changed into his ceremonial uniform as Margrave of the Southwest.

"I don't want to spend any longer than I need to love" he replied as tossed his jacket on, adjusting the cuffs.

"We need a Regnier. With any luck we can sort it quickly and get to work holding things together before a succession can be agreed to."

Kylie raised an eyebrow.

"You know it will never be that straightforward."

"No" Aaron replied.
"But I am hopeful that the fear of leaving the Celestial Throne unguarded will motivate the rest of them to act quickly."

Fact was Aaron wasn't sure he could count on that. The Emperor was without heir. Everyone who would be looking to benefit from his death had been planning what they would do for some time.

He cursed himself. He remembered back to his time as a Legionnaire. His time serving the Emperor. This was not the first crisis the Celestial Throne had faced in his lifetime. He'd fought in the last one. And he desperately hoped now- all of these years later- that this wouldn't be another.

"Poor Hiram will have it worse than me, by a long shot" Aaron added.
"The vultures will be circling him in no time if they haven't been already. The faster this is dealt with the better we'll all be. That's what I'm hoping for" he smiled as he finished with his jacket.

Aaron and Kylie left the Margrave's quarters on House Rhodes' flagship. The Iclinga was nearly ready to launch.

"Don't worry" Aaron reassured his wife.

"You know what the capital is like" Kylie replied.
"How can I not worry?"

"Because I'm the one who has to deal with it" he chuckled.
"So let me worry. The both of us worrying will be a mess."

She kissed him gently on the lips, Aaron kissing back before parting.
"I'll be back soon enough" Aaron remarked.

"Just be safe."


"My lady" Brodie remarked, approaching the Margrave and his wife.
"We're nearly ready to head out."

Kylie nodded, smiling at her husband once more before she turned, departing the ship and leaving her husband alone alone with his security detail. His stomach turned with nerves.

The fact was that the Three Fold Path had left an impact. His corner of the galaxy was sleepy, mostly. Mining and industrial towns and agricultural homesteads mostly. And it was those small towns where that religious heresy had taken root.

He was young, barely thirty. Not yet Margrave himself when it happened. He had been serving as a Legionnaire and had been tasked by the Emperor to root out the rebellion.
What had impacted him was how his home- the worlds he'd grown up on- seemed gripped by the then- new heresy. The world had gone mad, it seemed. It was disheartening but motivated him.
The heretical rebellion was crushed. And the chaos and the had dissipated like a fog being burnt up by the sun.

Still...seeing his home gripped by hysteria and fanaticism had left a mark. What he truly wanted was peace. He needed to do what he could to ensure that the succession was decided as quickly and securely as possible.

And that meant finding Hiram. He wasn't just a friend, he was the Emperor's cousin. This made him vulnerable but it also meant that if they could secure enough allies they could find a Regnier and force the Diet and the others into an orderly succession.

"We're ready Your Grace" Brodie informed him.

"I'll be in my study" Aaron replied. He needed to clear his head for what was to come.


Factbook Addict
Taer Atlos,

Faizal Al-Hatan Mulrhaad dropped the ship out of transwarp and the sensors lit up with a thousand ships orbiting the capital world. He had chosen to fly his personal corvette, which was the fastest ship available to House Drof-Antier. His father had merely shrugged it off, knowing his son styled himself a pilot.

Standing over him, Archduke Hiram took a close look at the dots around the planet which signified the positions of starships. “Where is the Imperial Starfleet?” he asked, noticing no dots large enough to be the giant carriers, or even the warships of the fleet. Despite the thousands of dots that were there, the sensors seemed empty compared to normal.

“I’ll see if I can get a com with our senators.”

Hiram nodded at his son, and headed back to his seat. Faizal began the task of raising the senator’s office, dialing in the frequency code that would connect him. It took only a handful of moments before a voice came in on the far end. “Thank the gods, you’ve arrived, Your Highness,” came the panicky voice of Senator Aram Kosu. The fact he had picked up directly instead of a subordinate spoke volumes of the urgency he must have been feeling.

The Archduke responded, “Where is the starfleet, Aram?” he asked.

“They’ve warped away. Not just here, but all over the Imperium. They’ve just left their defenses. No one has seen Grand Admiral Rian.”

“Has anyone else arrived yet?” Hiram asked. Faizal knew his father was hoping to beat everyone else here.

“Not yet, but they won't be far behind.”

“Get to the Diet, Aram, my son will be arriving soon. And when Count Taschal arrives, have him wait for me.” He then cut off the comms and ordered his son to get clearance for a landing.

“You won't be coming to the Diet?” he asked his father as he set about making the request.

“I must pay my respects to the body of my cousin first.” The elder man stood up as the ship headed in for a landing. “I’ll take the flyer in the rear bay. Oh, and Faizal, watch yourself. Things may turn ugly really fast and I will not be the one to bring news of your death to my grandchildren.”

The ship started shaking as it came down into the atmosphere. Without looking up from the controls as he piloted the ship down, Faizal asked, “You think it will turn violent?”

“Not now, but eventually.” And then his father stepped out of the bridge. As the ship dropped down and it’s flight grew smoother he watched on the sensors as his father’s flyer departed and roared away to the south, heading for the imperial palace.

The Diet Galactica was a massive building, seemingly carved from a single white stone. It had numerous towers and palaces atop it. The main structure had towers and domes to house the offices of the senators, all of that atop a half ziggurat where the Diet chamber was located. The landing pad for the Diet hung out over a blue ocean. A bridge connected the landing to a rotunda with a garden and fountain, and a long causeway stretched to the Diet building.

Faizal brought his craft down onto the landing pad, allowing himself a moment of pride as it touched down so gently he barely felt it. He passed the controls over to the house pilot, who would take the ship to the Drof-Antier estate on Taer Atlos, while the lords were busy.

He headed for the rampway of the ship, and found his wife Izarri already waiting for him. “Where is your father?” she asked.

He took her arm and led her down the ramp. Behind them a dozen House guards got into position and marched behind. “He went to pay his respects to the emperor.”

Senator Kosu awaited them as they landed. He was wringing his hands nervously. “A few nobles have recently arrived in the system,” he reported. He then looked around for the Archduke. “Where is your father?” he asked.

Faizal decided he wasn’t going to answer that question again. “The vultures come to circle,” he responded. “It’s to be expected. Has Adammar Taschal arrived?”

“He has yet to contact us.”

It was unlike the Count to take so long in following his father’s orders. He hoped the delay was accidental. “Lead the way to the Diet,” Faizal told Kosu.

“But your father…” he began.

“Is not here,” Faizal interrupted. “I am. So please, lead the way, Senator.”

The Imperial Palace

He had expected a cold reception at the palace. It would be understandable that the Imperial household would not want anyone coming to disturb the body of the recently departed Emperor. To the Archduke’s surprise, he was greeted warmly.

“He spoke warmly of you,” the woman who had met him at his arrival replied. She was leading him towards the Emperor’s private chambers down a hallway lined with grand tapestries depicting the noble history of the empire.

“I’d have thought he would be furious at me,” Hiram said. They had butted heads more often than they agreed.

“At times he was,” she admitted.

Hiram measured up the woman, noticing the regal way she carried herself. “You are his consort? Alshanah.”

She smiled warmly at him. “Your Highness has a good memory.”

“I always try to remember my cousin’s loved ones,” he said charmingly. “Have you considered your plans following a new house's ascension to the throne?”

She didn’t seem taken aback by his question and answered in stride. “I’m sure opportunities will come along soon. As my Shiram would say, the vulture’s never stop circling.”

He smiled at his cousin’s wit. “Then I shall be the first vulture. You can have a place on Coarin if you want it.”

“I could do well for myself here,” she argued.

“Indeed. My cousin did not choose empty headed women. And I could use all the skilled people I can.”

They stopped outside the Emperor’s bedchambers. “Are you not going to make your claim for the throne?”

“I haven’t decided yet. There are things to consider.” He turned his attention to the door. “You did not move his body?”

“A preservation field has been set up until such a time as we prepare for his funeral,” she answered. “You may feel a chill within the room. That is the field.”

He nodded his understanding, and she opened the door to let him in. It was dark inside. The curtains had been drawn so only a faint light could enter the room. It was as she said, cold inside. But it was a cold that cut to his bone, even while leaving his skin warm to the touch.

As the door closed behind him he turned on a light next to the bed. He gasped when he saw him. The body so frail, as if nothing much remained but the skeleton. He hadn’t known it was so bad.

He’d heard the report that it was a congenital disease which had gotten him, but Hiram knew foul play when he saw it. It also explained why they hadn’t moved the body yet. Better to delay the public finding out how bad it had been.

He held his cousin’s lifeless hand. So thin and fragile. A poor end for such a willful man. He reminisced about the times when they were younger, before titles and rule. They’d been so close. Almost brothers. Many even thought they were. He regretted the distance that had arisen between them.

Hiram was disturbed from his thoughts by his holocomm chirping in his pocket. He took it out, seeing the messaging code that popped up. It was familiar. Whose?

Then he remembered. He opened it up and the holoscreen showed a picture of Margrave Aaron Rhodes. “Margrave,” Hiram said. “I wasn’t expecting to hear from you.”

The younger man’s face was scrunched up in a worried frown. “I wanted to offer my condolences,” he said. “I hope this isn’t a bad time.”

Hiram looked about the gloomy room, the cold still bearing down on him, his only company the frail remains on the bed.

“As good a time as any,” he responded. “I’m glad you called. Are you on your way to Taer Atlos.”

“I just arrived. Along with everyone else?” The way he said it sounded like a question. He’d never known the Margrave Rhodes to be unbsure. He’s worried about me, Hiram realized.

“As my cousin would say, ‘The vultures will circle’. I can count on you in the days to come?”

Aaron nodded. “I serve the Imperium. And I stand with my friends.”

Hiram acknowledged and finished the call. He got up. It was time to leave. He had to speak to the Diet now. His short list of people he had in mind had just been cut down to one.

The Diet Galactica

The council chamber was in an uproar. Men and women, and alienkind, all talking loudly to be heard. Senators, elected or appointed, stood back and allowed the nobles to lead the discussions.

Count Adammar Taschal all but ran into the chambers, swearing at himself for being late. Of all the times for a transwarp drive to give out. Midway to the most important session of the Diet of his lifetime.

Faizal Al-Hatan Mulrhaad, son and heir of House Drof-Antier met him at the door to the chamber.

“I was worrying about you, Adammar.” The Archduke’s son spoke in a cheerful way, but underneath was a tone of admonishment.

“The gods conspired against me,” Taschal offered.

“Then we may have already lost.” Faizal took the count’s arm firmly and led them to the seating box reared for representatives of the Archduchy of Coarin. “My father will be here soon. Did you retrieve what he asked for?”

Taschal patted his coat pocket. “Indeed. Though I don’t understand its relevance. Is he not going to claim the throne?”

“My father keeps his own council until we need to know.”

They arrived in the seating box and greeted the senators. Izarri, Faizul’s wife grave Taschal a hug. They sat discussing the current situation for some time, as more and more nobles and their entourages poured in. It had been like this for a while. Faizul informed Taschal they’d been here for hours watching nearly every important person in the Imperium arrive. As they were talking the Supreme Chancellor of the Diet stepped up to his podium.

“Order! Order!” the cry went up, the sound amplified by devices around the massive windowless chamber.

A hush fell as nobles and senators took their seats. The Supreme Chancellor looked around the room, staring into silence the last few people who had kept speaking. Once there was silence he cleared his throat and spoke.

“The Emperor…” he paused for effect, “ dead!”

“May he rest forever with the gods!” the response went up from the gathered.

The Supreme Chancellor continued. “We face a possible crisis. The Emperor did not see fit to name an heir. This has not happened in the Imperium, for nearly a thousand years. I want you all to understand the gravity of this situation. A new emperor must be chosen from among the great houses of the Imperium. But first, a Regnier must be chosen while the Electors, our noblest Archduke’s, consider who to name as our next Emperor.”

He paused again, letting the echoes of his voice dissipate. “I shall now open the floor to our noble houses to nominate a Regnier.”

“I have a nomination!” a voice roared out. Archduke Hiram strolled across the chamber, having just arrived. He made his way to the seating box. “I’d like to offer the first candidate for Regnier,” he said as he stepped up to the box’s transmitter. His voice echoed through the chamber. “I believe Aaron Rhodes, Margrave of Holseta.”

The Supreme Chancellor took the name with a nod. “Anyone else?”
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This Post Takes Place Before The Nominations Of Emperors.

Episode 1 - A Somber Beginning (Part 1)

If there was something Antica hated above all else, it was sadness. Not her own of course, her mood rarely interfered in her life, let alone make an appearance. But, the somber of others really wrecked her day.

She had lived long enough to witness opponents wither, monarchs fall, and empires crumble. Her stellar civilization had truly stood the contest of the universe's fate. But no matter the occasion, people felt secure in letting themselves weep. Sorrow, was it? Sorrow was a cancer in the human development, one Antica could only dreamed would be cured.

There was no a better a day than now for Antica to make a score on that cure. Shiram was dead.

A blissful opportunity for power, but served with a collective mourning from the hive mind of the people. There wasn't a holofeed that didn't spew sadness all dawn.

So whilst Antica had to suffer the short-term implications of human emotion, she could soon relieve herself of planetary duties and make her move on the Throne, and with it, the title of Emperor.

2 Days Later (...) Somewhere in Space (...)

"Our informants have gathered us some intel on the movement of our counterparts." Captain Sartiquoie added "the rim does not have a collective answer yet, but the Traverse is down two thousand points as of last night and the Arc is seeing a spawn of pirates infecting the Southern Quadrant, majesty." His voice was distorted by the microphone in his helmet, it made him sound menacing, almost.

The Archduchess pondered in her ivory throne. Staring into the face of the galaxy, the void of space. Although nothing was rendered in detail because the capital shap was heading at the speed of light. It was incomprehensible to most, the vast reaches of the cosmos, but Antica found it fascinating--star-gazing, the commons called it. The particles of light flowing past the ship in streams was richness in this experience for her. Every time she was online the Starboard, it had to be bathed in the lavish lifestyle; every bit royally pampered.

The throne was situated atop a golden dais, which erected from the overseer's balcony. It was more or less a second floor entirely than a balcony to monitor the crew members below. Behind her was the main meeting quarters of the captain and crew managers. A glass panel separated their ramblings from her section of this upper level. The only modes of getting down from the lift was two, wholly glass elevators situated on each side of the dais.

As for the lower level, it was slanted from the elevator landing pads and down. So as to immerse the crew into the gigantic glass panels which wrapped around the face of the ship, some two hundred degrees. A few hundred crewmates sat in ten rows of twenty, which were further separated into groups of ten by a wide path that was created in the middle of the room. The path was slightly uplifted from all the desks and computing. A dormant lighting system bordered each side of the path, in case of emergency.

This was considered one room on the Starboard. The rest of the ship was just as golden. But the heavy investment was paid in full by the lethal elegance of the ship's stature and dominance of its substance and defenses. Not going into too much detail, Antica knew almost forty of the workers below were dedicated to managing the wellbeing of just five turrets that made up the underbelly of the metal beast. To call it titanic would be an understatement. That gave Antica the shadow of a smile.

Antica ended her survey and returned her attention to Sartiquoie. His stature swayed, notifying to Antica that he was aware of her presence. But behind the helmet that shrouded his identity and the armor which masked his skin it was impossible to read his features without the knowledge to do so. Not too mention, he was trained warrior. A combatant one. Especially for an other.

"Tell me again Sarti, you said there wasn't a collective answer from the outer-rim?"

"Yes, your majesty," Sartiquoie responded, not moving an inch. "Your want to know their individual responses?"

"Anything to pass time, yes," Antica proposed, "enlighten me."

His head turned, his facemask rather. The black orb that was his helmet swallowed your vision whole, like you stated into the nebula itself. Only the face of Nika stared back.

"Their responses are as follows: the Vane have sent Margrave Mina of Quelle. Her ambitions are known and do not conflict with our agenda. Other Rim Worlds like Yoesong and Saardil will also be attending same as the Gratanite and the Nelidians."

Antica released an audible sigh. "I suppose everyone is allowed then?" Antica could feel the venom on the word everyone, but it wasn't imperial to let all the Houses come in. Hell, the Imperial Realm barely met for anything anymore. She supposed this event was bigger, seemingly more important, and it offered many possibilities for many people. She could not blame the lust for power, but the invitation to the Counts disregarded what the Empire was forged on.

"It is the knowledge of our informants that all houses will attend, regardless of imperial standing or lack thereof. Demographics have also been disregarded, majesty" his voice crackled, albeit balanced and unshook crackling, but Antica could swear she could see through his metal head. She could see into his soul.

"Would you like to know of the imperial realm?" his metallic voice mustered.

"Charm me," Antica replied.

"Sulla will be there-"

"Oh, how delightful," again unsurprised because power controlled all living creatures, but Antica remembered the thirst for blood had always kept Solios spinning, always. She laughed, actually let herself ponder emotions at the idea of a state under the Solios. They would vent the weak and enter the strong, which Antica strongly concurred. But they would mess it up and the Galactic Imperium would transform into a military circus.

Sarti waited for Antica to stop. "I agree," sarcasm tainted Sarti's response, it was the closest he got to humor.

"Is that all Captain?"

"One more thing," Sartiquoie looked behind his shoulder plate at the Admirals debating in the room behind him, "The Imperial Fleet is missing."


"Yes, your majesty."

"Do we have any estimates?" Antica hadn't traveled to Taer Atlos in a solar wind, or two, but it was not like Rian to up and leave his position, his defense, and more importantly, his duty.

"If I may apply a theory, majesty?"

"Go on," Antica replied.

"The fate of the Empire is already sealed, the Admiral has left to collect compensation. He might have been in a plot to upend-" Sarti paused, or his mic malfunctioned, "a plot murder Shiram."

"Foul play has never been the imperial way, Rian could not," Antica applied. It truly had been years since they last spoke, and not on great terms, but she admired his courage though the dedication to Shiram weakened him, ailed him from becoming more. "You never did tell me what happened to Shiram."

His orb peered directly into Antica's soul when he said, "Our informants, they say the Capital is calling it an ailing disease, a crippling device that broke down the Emperor's immunity."

"Shiram was only in his one hundred twenty's..."

"Exactly, majesty, a man of his age and health would rarely be struck down by a disease," Sartiquoie paused again, "we think it was Rian, because several of our reports say the Emperor, Shiram, was poisoned."

Antica couldn't say she wasn't surprised. Taer Atlos had many outstanding histories with many powerful families, many powerful worlds. However it would be so uncharacteristic, so immature and unseasoned of one of the Imperial's own to murder Shiram. But if it was to be one of her counterparts, that would make for a good story. No one would expect them, because everyone had something to gain from Shiram's death. A headache beckoned. Or maybe, Antica was only conflicted because she damned herself for not thinking of doing the same thing sooner.

"Arrival in one hour," the intercom chimed, "arrival in one hour" it repeated.

Antica loosed a wild breath, her eyes were charged with flames. Long had it been since something so big, but now it was fun. "An hour to Atlos," she exclaimed, standing from her throne. Everyone in the bay looked up and saluted, "May Jayko steer our path of trouble!"

"AND THE WINDS OF ORIDRAN CARRY US PAST THE STARS!" Everyone chimed in unison, and again, and again until the Starboard cleared the last few hexes and into the heart of the Imperial Demesne.
Taer Atlos-Orbit

The RNN Firebird dropped from transwarp in orbit, the gray and white hues under the same ligth that bathed the planet, the engines of the warship humming in low tunes, transfering a sligth vibration to the hull, in the bridge, Count Khordus stood beside the vessel's captain, the Fellow nelidian clad in ceremonious whites, same as the rest of the bridge crew, his own formal clothing a contrast with its darker colors.

-We are here... farewell, and good luck- the captain says, turning to face the nobleman besides him, extending a hand for a shake, Khordus accepting it, as he nods both scalies sharing a brief smile -the Firebird will await your return- finished the captain.

With that, they bid their farewells and the Count was on its way, making his way along the hallways and lifts, making it to the hangars, he walked with a sligh limp, the sound of his cane mixing with his own footsteps, and an intermitent pained hiss, the injuries he sustained back at Nelidia showing through, with him walked one of the men from his security detail, rich brown scales contrasting with an impecable black suit.

-My head of security i asume?- Khordus began, glancing back at his follower, his eyes meeting silver ones
-Yes sir... i am Captain Valk Liren...-
-A Liren hmm...- he says, briefly stopping him, having to look up sligtly to meet the other's gaze -i have heard many good things about your family- he finished, softly patting his shoulder, signaling for them to continue on their way.

Minutes later, The count was boarding his transport to the surface; another disarmed military ship no less; with another 4 nelidians, including the Brown scaled one he had met on the way there -Gentlemen, i put my safety in your hands, you are the best of the best, i thrust you- The black scaled nelidian said with an earnest voice, biting back the pain across his body as his eyes met each of his guards' the four of them nodding solemnly.

Taer Atlos-Diet Galactica-Nobilty Landing Pad

The dropship slowed down, jet blast from the engines kicking up particles, before gracefully touching down, in, the engines powering down with a low whirl, the ramp lowering slowly, and from the ship first emerged the cane wielding Nelidian, Valk Following suit, then the rest of the detail, Khordus and company making their way through the bridge, towards the main building where all the important discussion and meetings would be held, as usual, a thousand thoughts circled around his mind, making the scalie let out a quiet sigh, before steeling his resolve, walking with his head held high.

towards the unknown contained within those walls...


Minister of You
The Diet Galactica

Adham wished his uncle had joined him to what he could only describe as an ornate circus. Instead he was off with a sortie of ships, fretting over pirates in the traverse. Or so he had claimed. Adham had other suspicions. Still, as much as he considered the man a worrier, his firm opinions did influence Adham’s own. Uncle Iyaad would have an entire list of potential allies to suggest for nomination. Plans of action to secure the economic prosperity of House Bilal and the Empire on a greater scale. Adham had no list. No plans. Instead he had his sister. Nylah sat across from the archduke in their seating box, eyes intently taking in all the happenings. Adham noted she had worn one of her finest gowns, veil and all. It’s blue silks flowed like water on her figure. Clearly she was trying to put her best foot forward on what was clearly a turning point in history. Something to tease her about later Adham mused.

Nylah had noticed her younger brother staring and promptly responded with a swift sharp kick to the shin. Her golden eyes pierced his behind her veil. Adham did his best to conceal his pain and laughter. It would not do well to yelp out at such a tragic time.

“Uncle would have your head if he saw you like this,” she whispered, her eyes returning to where discussions were being had.

Adham knew she was right. The old geezer would probably go on a rant about how Adham should be more involved in the assembly back home on Majun. Or how he should maintain relationships with his own cousins. A voice boomed in the chamber bringing Adham back to reality. Nominations had begun.

The Traverse

Iyaad stood on the bridge of the Khulud Almari, a cruiser. It was joined by a handful of other corvettes. They had just warped into a system with some long designation. Orbiting some blue dot adrift in the black. It would have to be renamed eventually, Iyaad thought to himself. Nothing came to mind. Iyaad was a bit distracted. The thought of Adham blundering his way through one of the most important moments in their lifetime was too much for his aging mind. He had left his aloof nephew in his niece's capable hands, but he was afraid that would not be enough. Iyaad sighed.

"Sire," the vessel's captain said, interjecting himself into Iyaad's brooding. "The local baron is inquiring to the purpose of our presence."

"Prepare a shuttle, and tell him he and I are going to have a little talk about what the future holds."
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Armintarik, Capital World of Great House Khor

"Do you understand what I have told you?"

"Yes father." Answered the Archduke's son and daughter in unison.

"Good, I will be off to Taer Atlos immediately. There will be no change to governance while I am away. You will both continue to oversee your assigned systems. Your mother will sit my Throne and mediate any issues that arise between the two of you."

An audible "Ugh" escaped from Azuari, the Archduke's Daughter. "You can trust us, we're not little ones anymore."

Arnu paused for a moment as a moisture welled in his eyes. "You'll always be my little ones." He choked.

"Alright fine fine." Said Minras the Archduke's son. "We won't give her too much grief.

Arnu smiled, and wrapped both his children in one of his signature life squeezing hugs. For the Archduke was great among men. He was tall, and broad in the shoulders, In him and his family was the majesty of those first Humans uplifted by the gods. For despite the cavalier attitude of House Khor, they had stood long as a bulwark on the galaxy's edge. With a sigh he released his children.

Regaining her breath, Azuari spoke. "Father...I know we've talked about this in the past, but will you seek the throne?"

"No, I think not." Replied the Archduke. "To leave you all, and your mother behind. No I couldn't bear it. And what if something should happen to this space while I'm busy playing politics in the capital? No I do not think I could face the ancestors and tell them I traded honor for shinier chair." He took a pause and sat down. "We will endure my children. The coming and going of an Emperor is brief moment in the long history of this house. Do you understand what I have told you?"

"Yes father." Answered the Archduke's son and daughter in Unison."

Taer Atlos, The Imperial Demesne

"Archduke or Emperor, you had better come back to me alive."

The words of his wife echoed in the Archduke's head as his ship approached the Diet Galactica. It had been many years since he had been to the Capital, for he rarely went to the Core Systems unless summoned by the Emperor.

"Always a beautiful sight, ay Sire?" Said his Guard Captain Kardin Lata.

"Always." Replied Arnu. "Still no railing though it looks like. You'd think with as far as we've come as a species we'd be able to fix that."

Kardin laughed. "I think its a metaphor my Lord. An immediate sign that life is always at risk in the Capital."

"You'd best be at the top of your performance then Kardin. Or I swear I'll haunt you from the afterlife."

"It would be odd if you could haunt me from somewhere other than the afterlife." Kardin said looking out the window.

"Oh shut up."

The Diet Galactica

“I believe Aaron Rhodes, Margrave of Holseta.” Shouted Archduke Hiram. The selection took Arnu somewhat by surprise. A Core Lord electing a Margrave from the very edges of the Imperium. He was fine choice of course, and a fine man. He had put down rebellions and seemed to have an even hand of governance, but Arnu would say nothing yet, as he was sure many fine men would be put forward. He was far more interested in seeing all the candidates be announced before adding his own counsel. He leaned to Kardin. "And so it begins. Lets see who thinks they have a dog in the fight."
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Það er alltaf sólríkt í Býkonsviði
The Diet Galactica

Aaron didn't hate the Diet. His wife would say he hated the Diet. His sons would say he hated the Diet. Even Brodie, who sat beside him in his own viewing box, would likely say he hated the Diet.

Again though...they'd all be wrong. The Diet was a very important part of the Imperial infrastructure. Its influence came and went with Emperors who wielded greater or lesser influence themselves, but it was was always essential. It certainly was now. The Emperor was dead. There was no succession. The Diet was the means by which order would be kept, and how this crisis would be solved.
That didn't mean he had suddenly found an affinity for politicians.

He rolled his eyes as the Supreme Chancellor drew out the announcement of the Emperor's death, but only because he was anxious. Everything else was bad enough but...the absence of the Imperial Starfleet was troubling. The Empire was leaderless and the Starfleet vanishes? Leaving the Celestial Throne both empty and defenceless? It was hard for Aaron- a former military man himself- not to suspect that this was part of a grand strategy. Grand Admiral Rian would, at the very least, have to explain himself whenever he resurfaced.

And then Archduke Hiram began to speak.

I’d like to offer the first candidate for Regnier...

Aaron looked on and listened intently. He was here, in part, to make sure that he had people to rely on in the coming maelstrom. He had no idea who Hiram would nominate, but he was no fool. Whoever he picked, Aaron sensed he could support.

I believe Aaron Rhodes, Margrave of Holseta

He couldn't believe what he'd heard. He looked at his friend in amazement before looking over to Brodie, who could only offer a look that read as "why are you asking me?!" before he looked over the Diet. There were the murmurs that came anytime the body discussed something, but then the Supreme Chancellor accepted the nomination. Just like was done. He was a candidate for Regnier...

He'd just spoken to Hiram. Why hadn't he mentioned this? He could have talked him out of it...or at the very least steeled himself.

"What's happening Brodie?" he asked.

"I think it's rather evident, Your Grace."
Aaron just rolled his eyes.

"What's he thinking? We're a border territory. Far from Imperial power. Why does he think I..."

"We keep watch over symbiote space. You protect a part of the borderlands, making you an Imperial protector in a very literal sense. You are a former Legionnaire who served with the Emperor personally. And you put down the Three Fold Heresy, Your Grace. I can think of worse people for the job."

"I..." he breathed heavily. He hated this. He had no idea how many eyes were on him now, but if he looked like he was he stayed steady.

"I have no idea who else will be nominated, but we need to talk to Hiram as soon as we're done here. We're going to have to put together a plan."

"It seems as if the Archduke already has a plan" Brodie mused.

"Well then I need him to tell it to me" Aaron replied, his heart pounding. He looked out over the sea of Imperial politicians. And he began to work out what exactly he had to do, to make this work.

Lord Lore

Eldritch Horror that Plagues Eras Cartography
Andur Throne Room, Station Yventral, Orbit of Andal & Vedar

The aged count sits atop a blue crystallin throne overlooking a vast room full of hundreds of booths each with a circular device situated in each booth. The tired Mekonis sighs deeply before running a hand through his feathery white hair, a trademark of the Andur species. After steeling himself for a moment the Count raises his right fist to signal his chamberlain to start the meeting. One by one eerie white holograms of seated figures appear in booths across the room until 24 in total are spread throughout.

"Lords of the Andur. I have ordered this emergency meeting of the Consolidation to pass along dire news. The Hume Emperor is dead. He's also foolishly left the throne as the prize of political machinations. No Heir."

The hall erupts in murmuring amongst the lords before the elder count raised his right hand, immediately silencing the assembled men of state.

"These next few years will place our people on the knife's edge. The Hume greatly outnumber our kind, and while our technology and economic power may see us protected for a time. In a protracted civil conflict... Our people will perish. Immediately I am enacting contingency plan 724. Repositioning a portion of our core fleets to border patrols, and placing the next three members in the Henreves line under protection. We can not afford for our neighbors to think this is the time to encroach on our territory."

The chamber once again picks up as the Lords of the core Anduran Worlds attempt to protest the perceived weakening of their garrison forces. The Count frustrated rubs his forehead before forcefully holding his right hand up again silencing the room.

"This is not the time for argument. This is not up for debate. It is imperative that the Anduri portray a position of strength while preparing for the worst. This being said, I am putting the Consolidation under the temporary command of the Lord Steward Jenevis while I attend the Diet. While we can not pick the next emperor, our influence can be felt, and with any luck and a lot of hard word we can be among the friends of the next emperor."

The Count looks towards the the back of the room where the chamberlain is standing and raises his left arm before clinching his hand into a fist. The holograms all flash off in an instance as the Count raises to his feet with the aid of a metallic cane.

"If you could Tremond. Tell the kids I am sorry for forcing them into hiding. And tell the Steward. I want him to start working on plans for continuity of civilization.... just encase this all spirals... I want our people to live on."
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North Timistania

RolePlay Moderator
Oduduwa, Capital world of House Oragbade

The great star of Ọlọrun hangs low in the afternoon sky its blazing light covering everything in a burnt orange hue. The sea glitters like a bejewelled cloak as the light of the sun flows across its pristine face. I watch from the beach as my sons grav speeder glides above the water, he is grinning ear to ear as he scythes up and down the shoreline.

“Reckless boy” Mr Oba mutters irritably

“Like his father,” I say with a knowing smirk

We stand on the beach and watch as Oranyan screams with joy, a halcyon moment that will all too soon seem a distant memory. The peace of the day is a stark contrast to the rising tide of fear and rumours that are infecting every corner of the Imperium. The long peace is coming to an end.

“Should I call him in?” Oba asks giving me a sympathetic look

“Not yet, my love, this might be the last moment of childhood the boy gets to enjoy for a long time,” I say sadly

The emperor is dead and without an heir to take his place upon the celestial throne. The news has rippled across the stars reaching the ears of the great houses, the carcass of Shiram’s empire will be torn asunder before the emperor's own body has even had time to cool.

“hmmm, the reports coming in from the demesne are worrying, legions vanishing into thin air and then there's the diet,” Oba says in an ominous tone

“A den of vipers would be less threatening,” I say grimly

The Diet is an ironic name, it will be more like a debauched feast with each of the great houses jostling to tear at the flesh of the vast imperium. The news of the legions vanishing is even more concerning still, without the imperial forces the nobility will have no one to restrain their ambitions.

“It will be alright,” Oba says placing a comforting hand on my shoulder

“I hope so, but have the Balogun* put our forces on high alert just in case,” I say unconvinced

House Oragbade has reigned over the Yoruba reach for forty generations, our prosperity assured by benevolent governance and the wealth of our worlds. When Theodore Oragbade placed the family banner on Oduduwa all those centuries ago he could not have imagined the heights to which his fledgeling house would rise. We Oragbade have risen to the height of Imperial power as Archdukes, but an Interregnum could undo everything.

A sense of fear descends upon me as I realize how precarious things have become, my family is no longer safe. For thirty years I have ruled the Yoruba reach, with Oba at my side and Oranyan safeguarded from the dangers of the wider Imperium, now though we will be pulled into those turbulent waters headfirst.

“My lady... Moremi...we need to prepare; the diet will not wait” Oba says gently

I nod and gaze at my sons smiling face one last time as Oba moves to call him in, I focus on the image with its golden-hued background and commit it to memory. My father always said we must make happy memories to give us strength in dark times, I doubt he expected things to grow as bleak as they are now though. I sigh and turn to gaze at the great flagship that hovers above the afternoon skyline, the Diet awaits.

The Diet Galactica

To the common man the Diet represents the united face, a union of the nobility, church and emperor all gathered for the common good of the Imperium. The reality is far less idealistic, ever-shifting alliances and vendettas define the diet, the only stabilizing force is a strong emperor and their legions. Now though with Shiram dead and his armies retreating to gods know where no such counter remains to the ambitions of the great houses.

Oranyan fidgets with his braids irritably as we watch the unfolding chaos of the diet. As a parent, I had hoped to spare him from the cutthroat politics of Taer Altos for a little longer, but he is my heir and so he must see how the imperium runs for himself. Oba frowns and prods his son giving the boy a stern look.

“Pay attention! It will be you dealing with these mugus* one day!” Oba hisses

Oba has been in a foul mood since we arrived in the demesne, the intrigues of Taer Atlos have always offended my no-nonsense consort. He watches the proceedings with a look of barely contained disgust. Oba has little love for the games the nobles play, his years in the legion hardening him to the callous arithmetic with which the powerful sacrifice the small.

“I believe Aaron Rhodes, Margrave of Holseta.” came the shout from Archduke Hiram

“Now that is an... unorthodox choice," I say surprised by Hiram's nomination

“I served under the Margrave for a time, back when I was in the periphery legions, he's a good man and a better commander,” Oba says suddenly less grumpy

A periphery margrave is not the choice I would have expected from Hiram, house Rhodes has a solid reputation for governance and a long list of military triumphs to their name, but Taer Altos is not the periphery. Separated from his loyal retainers and surrounded by potential intrigues on all sides, I fear the margrave would be swallowed by the treacherous nature of palace life.

“A lion is best left to guard the pride from afar Oba, Taer Altos is a den of scavengers and even a mighty beast can be torn apart if beset by enough Hyena” I say grimly

“Who will you back then mother? Why not yourself?” Oranyan asks suddenly curious

“Because our duty is to our people Ora and because the most dangerous position in the galaxy is that of the regnier” I reply calmly

Let the demesne squabble and feud to their heart's content, I intend to keep my fief firmly separate from the chaos that is about to engulf the Imperium.

“Who will you back then?” Oba asks

“Margrave rhodes will make a fine Strategos when the election of regnier is settled but the celestial throne requires someone with a strong support base "I reply as I rise from my chair

Standing I address the assembly “House Oragbade supports Mira Veillon of House Vane for the position of regnier!” I shout in a loud voice

Sitting I wait to see how the crowds will react, my impression of Mira had always been of a cold and intensely ambitious woman, the sort that would easily take to the intrigues of the demesne. Better to send Margrave vane to the capital than to risk rhodes in that viper pit, I have done my part to preserve the Imperium, now I must plan for the protection of my own realm.

*The Balogun is the supreme commander of House Oragbade's Military Forces

*Mugu translates to "big fool" from Yoruba reach slang
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The Diet Galacica

“I believe Aaron Rhodes, Margrave of Holseta.” came the shout from Archduke Hiram

'seems like proceedings have officially begun. People are beginning nominations', Alkali thought to himself. 'I will have to throw in my lots with someone who I believe is a good leader, but also one who will not degrade the current viewpoints of 'Alien' life. For a good leader is a rightous one.'

Alkali stands up, easily seen from across the room, "House Lithius supports Margrave Truim iual of House Astram" Alkali's loud voice booms around the room. Alkali sits back down, he does notice the glares some nobles and counts send his way, and he returns those glares. He could care less about hopeless rascists.
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Grand Ducal Palace, District 1, Astatine, Duchy of Fensalir.

Receiving the breaking news coming from the Imperium's Capital. Members of Parliament today had gathered in the main building to deliver a minute of silence in honor of the fallen Emperor with flags being held at half-mast on public buildings throughout the country. A small candle can be seen from every window, it is a practice from Fensalirians' belief, that for every candle lit, the fallen is able to take another step closer to the afterlife.

For the Stadtholder though, things aren't looking as peaceful and calm for him. His servants are quickly preparing for him and his wife to Taer Atlos. In just a minute everything has been packed, their cruise ship has just landed on top of the palace. Laakonen and Sjaarda didn't have a chance to say goodbye to their kids.

"So it is true then, Shiram died heirless, why didn't he thought this one through when he was...still alive?" Sjaarda said to Laakonen while boarding the cruiser.

"I don't know, he was always a strange man, but who am I to judge, I've barely talked properly to him." Laakonen replies and looks back at Sjaarda, with the face that tells her it's one of those things she should not be saying out loud in front of the guests.

The distance between Astatine and Taer Atlo
s is quite a long one, compared to other houses' territory, theirs' almost the farthest. They're afraid that they might be several days late to the Diet Galactica. The GE66 fighters can only escort their cruise ship to the border, all signs for gamma rays, supernovas, and other space anomalies are cleared. They are safe to continue.

The journey to Taer Atlos is going to take 3 days, giving the Stadtholder enough time to think about what is going to happen. It isn't the depressing atmosphere of the funeral is what he worrying about, its what comes after that. The Emperor position is opened to nine Archduchies, they'll be fighting for the throne, like animals pretending to be gentlemen. Seeing him struggling inside his own mind, Sjaarda bought him a warm cup of coffee, he felt relieved to see so, having someone besides himself who he can trust gives him warmth.
Four days later
Taer Atlos, Imperial Demesne

A small incident occurred on their way, a small asteroid cloud near Athelharad steered them off course. The cruiser approaches the Diet Galactica. The building he is seeing is vastly different compared to what he had remembered the last time he went here. It seems carved from a single white stone. It has numerous towers and palaces stacked on top of each other. The main structure had towers and domes to house the offices of the senators, all of that atop a half ziggurat where the Diet chamber was located. The landing pad for the Diet hung out over a blue ocean. A bridge connected the landing to a rotunda with a garden and fountain, and a long causeway stretched to the Diet building. The Stadtholder or now the Duke as he now stands on Imperial ground, looks astonished by the city, despite being here numerous times in the past. Instantly, a group of bodyguards escorts him and Sjaarda inside the Diet.

Turns out, he miscalculated the time zones and is now hours early. Upon his arrival inside the Diet, he could see that the senators and nobles are still chatting. They seem to fine and having a good time, but deeply, Laakonen knows that there's more than what meets his eyes. The Imperial Senate is the symbol of "Prosperity through Unity", but its delegates are all infected with a deadly disease, their hunger for power. The Duke's line of thought was interrupted by his Senator, Mrs. Gerritse.

"Oh! Mrs. Gerritsen! You are here...with me...yes! How did you get here so fast?" Laakonen jumped a little bit when his shoulder was taped on.

"I live here my Grand Duke. Listen, I'm going to tell you this as friends, it is going to be a stressful week, I wouldn't blame you if you had forgotten where I live. But I will blame you if you mess this one up. Just for a week, and then everything will go back to normal, you will go back to Astatine eventually." Gerritsen puts her hands on Laakonen's shoulder but immediately retracts her arm, looking around to see if anyone had heard their conversation.

"Thank you, I needed that. Anyway the meeting is about to get started, we should be in our seating box soon."
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Trovan, Capital World of House Valin

With his two bodyguards trailing behind him Archduke Fredrick walked quietly along the palace walls deep in contemplation. His mind thinking of his two young daughters, Amelia and Emma, and how they would survive the cut-throat politics of the Empire. He sighed aloud knowing that eventually, they would become corrupted their innocence destroyed and their lives picked apart by the spiders that surround them. He knew that because of their wealth they would always be targets for young ambitious men. Men who would do anything to get a piece of their fortunes. This is what concerned him, this is what plagued his thoughts day and night. But from out of nowhere the loud voice of a child became ever-present snapping him out of his deep thinking. Looking to see where the noise came from he saw the child whose voice pulled him out of his concentration.

Fredrick called out. "What is wrong my boy?" He said in a strong tone.

"Your Highness, there is news from Taer Altos." The child reached him. He looked no older than fifteen. Fredrick smiled at the boy. "What is the news?" The child with a somber tone said. "Your Highness, The Emperor is dead and the Archdukes have been called to appoint a Regnier."
Fredrick's smile turned to a deep frown."

You must be joking?" The boy shook his head. "No your highness, this is no joke he died earlier today the causes are unknown." Fredrick recovered himself looked at the boy and thanked him.
Turning to his bodyguards he spoke in a serious tone.

"I am going to Taer Altos, have my ship prepared."

"Yes, your highness your will shall be done." Replied the two guards as they bowed and turned to execute his commands.

Fredrick stood again in silent contemplation pondering his next course of action once he arrived on Taer Altos. He thought about the debts the Imperial Government owed to him and how he may go around and collect them. He thought about who the next Emperor would be his mind drifted around but couldn't really think of anyone. His contemplation came to an end and he began to walk. After a few minutes of walking, he reached his chambers. He opened the large wooden doors that led to his bedroom and made his way inside. The room was massive the marble walls shined in the sun and the gold that lined it shimmered brightly. In the corner of the room, a woman was sitting at a make-up table. That woman was his gorgeous wife Cassandra or as he liked to call her Cassie. Cassie's blonde hair shimmered in the sun like the gold on the walls. Her body was perfectly crafted and her personality was just the right fit. He made his way to her and kissed her on the cheek as he quickly walked past her to the closet.

"What's the rush Freddie Poo?" She said is a sweet and loving tone. Fredrick gave no answer Cassie got up from her make-up stand and walked into the closet and put her arms around Fredrick hugging him from behind.

"What is wrong Fredrick, it's not like you to ignore me?" Fredrick turning to her said.

"Shriram is dead, And I have been summoned to Taer Altos to choose the new Regnier." Cassandra unclasped her arms and gasped.

"I can't believe it. How did he die?" Fredrick shook his head. "I'm not sure, but for now I can't worry about that I must pack for my trip." A few hours later the Archduke had finished his packing and headed to the landing platform Cassie, Amelia, and Emma followed along with his honor guard. As they reached the platform a small shuttle was ready to pick Fredrick up and take him to his ship the "Violet Rose". As he reaches the shuttles entrance his family came to him. Running with open arms Emma and Amelia embraced their father. They were beautiful girls just like their mother. Amelia the eldest and child was twenty years old while intelligent she would prefer to party amongst the elite class than study and focus on her schooling while Emma her sixteen-year-old counterpart, on the other hand, was more focused on her studies and schooling. They both wore brilliant violet dresses, tiara's crowing their heads. Fredrick had always treated them as princesses spoiling them and making their lives easy and carefree. Amelia looked at her father and smiled.

"Father." She said. "I wish you the best on your travels and hope you will be safe while in the capital.

Fredrick laughed. "Ha, I will be fine. But it is you I am worried about." He said in a soft tone. He turned to his other daughter with a more serious look on his face.

"You can't keep sneaking out of the palace." He said. "I know what you did last week with Elias." She quickly replied.

"How did you...?" She replied confused. "I'm your father I know everything my daughter doing... everything." Amelia looked down and blushed then scurried away.

Emma confused not paying attention to the conversation looked at her father. "Take care of your sister for me while I'm gone, sweetie?" He smiled.

The still confused sister awkwardly smiled and replied. "Ok, dad."

Hugged him one more time and went after her sister. Cassandra was the last one he had to say goodbye to. She approached him smiling warmly like she always did she approached his and kissed him on the lips and whispered in his ear. "I love you." Fredrick whispered back "I love you too."

Fredrick turned to face the shuttle he could see his honor guard was already onboard and he could also see that they had already packed his things. He walked up the shuttle platform and into the ship he sat down next to two of his most trusted honor guards and fastened himself into his seat preparing for departure. He sat and thought for a minute about the future to come but he decided to rest. So he closed his eyes as the shuttle took off and headed to the "Violet Rose."
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The Diet Galactica, Taer Altos

The Diet depressed the Margravess. From her viewing box, Mira watched the nobles and senators fruitlessly talk over each other, accomplishing little other than frustrating themselves. Lieutenant Haruss was sitting beside her, having brought a notepad with the intention to write down significant points of interest throughout the session for later study. All he had gathered so far was the word ‘Chatter’.

Of course, the Margravess was not surprised when the Supreme Chancellor announced the Emperor’s death to the Diet. Regaining interest now that things were in motion, she joined the call out, “May he rest forever with the gods!”

Soon came one of the most important decisions, bar the choice of the Emperor itself. The Regnier could wield significant power while they served, possibly capable of swaying the voting nobles in their choice for Emperor. As the first Noble, from House Rhodes, was nominated, she began to consider who to put forward. Mira had spent some time on the trip from Quella thinking about Regnier, but that took a back seat to more prevalent matters.

Mira decided to simply wait and see the nominees. Much to her surprise, she almost immediately heard her name called out by the Archduchess of House Oragbade. After the first moment of shock, she nearly let her head fall into her hands, but she steeled herself. For the next few moments, the eyes of hundreds of senators and nobles would be on her, and she could not allow them to see her startled. The Margravess stared intensely with seemingly black eyes across the Diet at the Archduchess, holding a clenched jaw and an outwardly neutral face. Once the Supreme Chancellor had accepted the nomination and moved on, Mira broke eye contact, leaning to the Lieutenant, who seemed as shocked as she was.

“What in the gods’ name was that? I haven’t even spoken to her in ages, and she’s calling for me to be Regnier?” Mira spoke under her breath, distraught. Haruss slightly shook his head, “I’m not sure, Madam. But I ask you to not cast away this nomination so swiftly. Perhaps we weren’t thinking of all the possibilities. It’s still unlikely, but if you do become Regnier, it could mean great things for our future.”

The Margravess scoffed, “I’m aware of the possibilities… I just wasn’t prepared. This was out of nowhere. I’ll need to speak to Archduchess Oragbade as soon as possible.”

The Lieutenant nodded and noted. The Margravess sighed and straightened.

Mira had hoped she would be home quickly, but this changed things. There could be no Emperor for weeks, even months, as long as stalemate remained. Once the Margrave from House Astram had been nominated, she spoke again to Haruss.

“We’re going to be here for a while.”


The Diet Galactica, Taer Altos

"Margraves, Margraves, and more Margraves." Chuckled Kardin. "They seem to be in fashion." He said leaning towards Arnu.

The Archduke shook his head. "Not the best idea."

Kardin raised his eyebrows. "You think so?"

"Margraves have better things to do than play this game. You don't remove the Commander from the formation before the fight." Arnu said grimly. "We'll have to change the direction."

"What way should the wind be blowing?" Kardin asked.

"Towards a Duke I think. A bit more rank to keep the Imperial Bureaucrats in line. I would like to keep the nomination in our area however." Said Arnu.

"Well that only leaves one choice." Kardin said looking across the room at his mark. "Duke Laakkonen Lissange of House Fensalir. The Trade Lord."

"Indeed. He's a good choice I think. His position on the intersection of Tryan's Arc and the Trans-Galactic Road gives him a vested interest in maintaining peace."

"Right." Said Kardin. "War would be bad for his business."

The Archduke nodded, and brought his great fist down upon the table drawing the attention of the room. He stood and walked to the floor’s center. His heavy footfalls were the only sound in the now silent hall. "The House of Khor puts forward Duke Laakkonen Lissange of House Fensalir to be Regnier of the Imperium!" He said sternly, turning the face all the assembled Nobles. He locked eyes with the previously chosen Margraves. Hoping they understood the role they would likely play in the coming days. He gave a curt nod to the Supreme Chancellor, and returned to his seat.

Kardin leaned in again to the Archduke. "So much for watching and waiting ay?"

"Back to back nominations from Core Lords had to be answered Kardin...It was too much." Arnu laughed

"Oh I agree." Replied the Guard Captain. "I'm just surprised is all."

The Archduke let out of laugh. "You always have so much faith in me, old friend."

"Always your Highness. Always."
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The Diet Galactica, Taer Atlos, Imperial Demesne.

Now seated inside the Diet, the Duke could hear the Senators and Nobles talking loudly to be heard. Languages from all the men, women, extraterrestrial kinds can be heard. Laakonen selected a quieter discussion path, he only engaged in the debate if he or his House is mentioned. The "civilized" conversation went on for a good minute or two, and then one of the Senators believed to have been shouting for a while took a step back, and left his Nobleman to speak. All the other senators saw so, and have finally come to an agreement. The Nobles should lead the discussion until all things are settled.

The debate continues, now calmer and a bit more, civilized. Then, arrives the Supreme Chancellor of the Imperium. Immediately, the room filled with silence, everyone but the Chancellor take their seats without being asked to. The only thing heard next was his footsteps while walking to his podium. It wasn't his title that makes people fear him, nor his past. But in fact, it is nothing, the lack of information about his past caused assumptions and theories have built the man's reputation. The Supreme Chancellor looked around the room, staring into silence the last few people who had kept speaking.

The Emperor…” he paused for effect, “ dead!” The Chancellor cleared his throat then spoke once there was silence.

May he rest forever with the gods!” the response went up from the gathered.

The Supreme Chancellor went on. “We face a possible crisis. The Emperor did not see fit to name an heir. This has not happened in the Imperium, for nearly a thousand years. I want you all to understand the gravity of this situation. A new emperor must be chosen from among the great houses of the Imperium. But first, a Regnier must be chosen while the Electors, our noblest Archduke’s, consider who to name as our next Emperor.”

He paused again, letting the echoes of his voice dissipate. “I shall now open the floor to our noble houses to nominate a Regnier.”

From the other side of the room, a voice finally broke the silence the Chancellor caused. "I have a nomination!", "I have a nomination!", the voice roared out. It was Archduke Hiram, House Drof-Antier's Leader. He calmly walks toward his seating box, it seems that he had just arrived. “I’d like to offer the first candidate for Regnier,” he said as he stepped up to the box’s transmitter. His voice echoed through the chamber. “I believe Aaron Rhodes, Margrave of Holseta.

The Supreme Chancellor took the name with a nod. “Anyone else?

Once again, the conversation between the nobles continued. Unlike most others, the Duke sat down in silence, watching the debate and nominations, spiraling in his mind are candidates for the Imperium's Regniers.

"My Duke, have you made a decision on who to nominate, we're one of the Electors after all." Seeing the Duke stroking his stubble thinking, Senator Gerritsen whispered to Laakonen.

"I'm not sure Gerritsen. But from the looks of it, House Rhodes is receiving great support from the other Electors and Houses." Laakonen turns to his senator for a split second and then back to the Diet.

Suddenly, from across the Diet, someone pounded their table, drawing the attention of the entire room. The person stood up and walked to the floor’s center. His heavy footfalls were the only sound in the now silent hall. "The House of Khor puts forward Duke Laakkonen Lissange of House Fensalir to be Regnier of the Imperium!" The man said sternly, turning the face all the assembled Nobles. It was Archduke Kardin from House Khor, the Duchy's neighbor. He gave a curt nod to the Supreme Chancellor, and returned to his seat. It was a surprising scene for the Duke, no one in a hundred years has nominated the House Fensalir for any position. The Duke blame the House's Founding Fathers for their lack of diplomacy with other Houses in the past.

With plenty of time to make a proper decision, the Duke made up his mind with who to choose. He stood up and walks down to the Diet's center platform. Leaning towards the podium's microphone, he spoke.

"The House of Fensalir hereby nominates for the Margrave of Holseta, Aaron Rhodes, to be Regnier of the Imperium."

The Supreme Chancellor nodded.
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Taer Altos, Diet Galactica
Alkali was silent, he was thinking of the present situation. Now that he thought in depth, this just did not make much sense. Last time he was aware, the Emperor was strong as an Ox, but now he lays dead. The Navy of the Imperium and the commander in charge of the navy has also vanished as well. These events do not make much sense at all. Especially in this current situation where the navy should be present and massed, prepared for potential enemy incursion as the Emperor has died, and the nobles have all met up here. Its the perfect time to strike for a coup-d'etat... Alkali immediatly pulls out a transmission unit, and contacts his fleet.

"Fleet Commander, I want you to station our forces on High Alert." Alkali tells the fleet commander imemdiatly after the channel opens.

"Si-, wha-, why!?" the commander says back.

"I am suspecting something big is about to happen, very likely that it is bad. Put the fleet on high alert... and watch every armed ship coming in and out of our territory." Alkali responds.

"Uhh, yes sir!" the commander replies, saluting even though its audio only.

Alkali hangs up, and cancels the trasmission. He sits back, trying to relax as the meeting continues on. He does not like this situation. Not one bit.

Gratanite Orbit
"Get those observation posts up and running! Put the fleets on high alert! Get me a cigar! and get this Titan powered up!" a Lithoid Fleet Commander, whos name is Ruth Lithius yells.

For a moment everything is silent, you could hear a pin drop from a mile away if you listened hard enough.

Then suddenly movement can be seen from all accross the bridge as fleets are contacted, reactors brought online, engines powered up, weapons prepared and fleet formations outside the Titan begins. A dozen other Titan warships could be seen powering up in the far distance, their dreadnought, cruiser, destroyer, and corvette escorts forming up around them. Reports from other systems that their resting fleets are doing the same. The fleets of House Lithius have powered up and are officially on high alert.
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Khordus was quiet, he had been so for nearly all the meeting, exploring with eyes only as repitian pupils expand and contract, he filed his claws to hide his actions, as well as getting in a more diplomatic mindset, he guessed that soon enough the deals and handshakes would begin, and the hand he would offer shouldnt be so... agressive

he knows, he knows he is most likely being judged, why? because of his teeth? his claws? scales? he sighs softly then, pocketing his file as he glances around sligtly more visibly now, his jaw fully closed and one arm over the other, his hand figeting with his chin, as his natural frown became present
he felt out of place here in the diet

like an alien, well like the alien he is, but for him it beceame just so much more aparent while surrounded by other nobles, nobles so similar to each other, but not himself

for now he just watched, analyzing; making scrapping and rebuilding decisions for himself and himself only, considering and weighing his options


Argentia, Domains of the Prince-Bishopric of Doden

Challion VII, Prince-Bishop of Doden was assembling the contents of the next day's meeting with his lower clergy. As he preferred to work without distractions, there were no news sources, nor other distractions in his quiet study that day. As he was finishing his opening speech for the meeting, he heard footsteps outside his door, which then turned into frantic knocking.
Lifting his head, he almost had an annoyed look on his face, as he calmly walked over to the door, and opened it. Behind it stood a young Deacon, Albert.

"What is it my son?" Challion asked

"My father, the Emperor... is dead." Albert replied sharply.

Challion's face went from annoyed, to slightly worried. There was now a power vacuum, which would have to be filled, quickly.

"Would you be so kind, and inform everyone that tomorrow's meeting is off. I'm going to the capital." Challion ordered

"Yes, father." the Deacon replied.

"Please also tell my Admiral to prepare the Yacht, and a gunboat for the journey, quickly! Time is of the essence!"

The deacon quickly ran off to do what he was ordered. Challion rapidly assembled some baggage, and ran for the hastily readied yacht, clambering aboard, and setting off.

The Diet Galactica, Taer Altos, Imperial Capital

Challion remained largely quiet for most of the session, scoffing at several points.

"The House of Doden nominates Margrave Aaron Rhodes for the position of Regnier." He finally spoke up.

This was not the most surprising pronouncement he had ever made. To him, House Rhodes were great servants of the Gods, and having crushed a heretic rebellion, their loyalty to the church was unquestionable, their piety seemingly strong. He hoped, that perhaps this would curry some favour with the upcoming Government.

"Hopefully they're good to us" he said, to himself.
The Diet Galactica, Taer Altos

After arriving on the Planet's surface Fredrick made his way with his honor guard to the Diet. He entered the building his entrance was large and powerful as he and his guards marched through the entrance drawing the eyes of the people in the lobby. As he made his way to his box he could see the senators, representatives, and nobles in the midst of conversation a conversation which seemed to be about the current candidates for Regnier. He heard one name that struck out in particular.

"Aaron Rhodes, where had he heard that before?"

He thought to himself. After a few moments of thinking he remembered. He was the Margrave that crushed a heretic revolt not too long ago. After a few more moments of walking, he entered his box and told his honor guards to stay outside. He sat down in a large leather chair that overlooked the diet floor. As he sat he contemplated the different candidates he saw before him, many of whom he saw as only greed power grabbers who have no intention of keeping the Empire stable. But there was one he saw that could do real good. So from his box, he stood up to declare.

"House Valin seconds the motion to elect Aaron Rhodes, Regnier of the Empire."

Fredrick watches as some cheer and others boo it does not matter to him. He only wants what's best for the Empire and his family. And he will do anything to keep them safe.
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From Bene Coula, it was said that you could see the heart of the galaxy in full. There was some truth to this of course. Only a thousand parsecs away from it was the Nuage d'Ouridrant and within, the mystical Cœur d'Ouridrant. For over a thousand years, the agents of the House Hyntagenet held this galactic jewel as a fiercely guarded religious sanctuary and principal ground for scientific research. The cosmic scatterings and collisions brought about by the sheer force of the singularity within the galactic core were extremely vibrant and beautiful, and gave Bene Coula its name, a deviation of Bien Coloré that came from a thousand years of mimicry. It was the Vidame of the Dominion of House Hyntagenet who controlled this planet directly. From his colourful seat of power, the Vidame commanded an immense dominion of agriculturally splendid planets. Bene IX was the crown jewel among those. A few distant parsecs from the capital world, Bene IX was the acropolis of farmland. Its food exports to the homes residing within House Hyntagenet's control could not be challenged by any single other planet, and its surpluses went flowing for lightyears through Raol and Tyran's Arc.

But stagnation was always inevitable. It was no secret of course that the Vidame Heuralt Hyntagenet was once the so-called "lover" of the Emperor Shiram IV. And being the ancient, shameful ex-favourite of he who was next to The God-King, Herault found himself totally submerged in the theatrics and scandals of his court. Herault's dominion was now at a standstill and this fact enraged him severely. There needed to be some way out. Some new path to heightening the flow of grain, embellishing the art of statecraft. After all, it was he who held the "Heart of Oridran". To his loyal, yet often scornful court, he led the way for the future of the House.

And suddenly, there it was! Herault's moment. His way out.

"He has died." A man reveals.
"Qui? Qui est mort, Seigneur?" Herault calls out.
"He who is known as Emperor Shiram IV.

Herault turned his head from the countless economic reports at his hands. He dropped his stylus onto the marble ink-tray next to him.

"Shiramette..." He muttered, "So that's why you've been hiding..."

Herault rose from the stone desk and moved quickly over to the window which faced the courtyard. The green plain beyond was fringed by the poly-chromatic star-clouds of night. As the sun—Bene Coula Prime—descended below the valley, the artistic majesty of the stars above began to make their way in to the heavens. Herault let his head drop for a moment as he reclined against the window, he himself did not know whether he was afflicted by sadness or whether he was merely troubled by the news. Aside from that, Herault could not help but remember those gracious moments from so long ago with Shiram. It was indeed so long ago that it would not be unwise to assume some had forgotten it.

"As a Duke of the Empire, they are expecting your appearance before the Diet of the Galaxy. On Taer Altos."
"Yes... I see... They want a Regnier... Well, I will not share my ambitions oh so close to Shiramette's death, Seigneur. You know more than those other fools of the court how much I want—no, need this."
"Oui, Le Vidame." He replied.
"You know what I would do to have this."
"I age too, you know. I age quickly... The Imperial Throne may fit within this space between now and my own sudden death."

Herault gasped at his own thoughts.

"Bene Coula, Capital of the Imperium." He whispered.
"Seigneur Le Vidame," The man said, "Your starship has already been prepared. The notice was urgent."

Herault turned to the Seigneur who stood there dutifully. Upon looking upon him, the Vidame let go of the window and began to walk over to him with a devilish smile. Approaching the Seigneur, Herault placed his fingers below his chin and held up his face.

"Wait for me when I come back, Chéri." He muttered.

As if suddenly losing that lustful character, Herault dropped his hands and averted his gaze, walking neatly around the man who was very good at hiding his veritable grin. The man followed Herault out of the office, quickly parting for someplace else in the court. The Vidame stormed through the doors of the hallway and paced himself quickly to match the rapid tone of his circumstances. There was no time to waste when there was a cold throne.

"Messieurs, je quitte tôt pour Taer Altos!" He announced.

— • —


True to his word, Herault Hyntagenet remained mostly silent for the duration of the session. He did not want to attract vulgar amounts of attention to himself, nor did he wish to embarrass himself by making some sort of campaign for the Imperial Throne. Herault could let the position of Regnier go, because there was another position more important than it.

"This Aaron Rhodes character sure is popular around here hmm? I bet it's the way he's wearing that tunic. It's all the rage among prying eyes nowadays." Herault giggled to the Chamberlain.

Chamberlain Rollant was the unaffected and hard-headed political companion of the Vidame on every public and political affair. Yet the two never tended to get along. Herault and Rollant were even seen as enemies among the court in their younger years, constantly abandoning one another until sheer necessity for their interaction came about. And even in the necessity of politics, the two were a treacherous game to work with. Though what amazed some was that Herault never terminated the Chamberlain. There was a brief scandal wherein the Vidame forced Rollant to sleep on the marble steps outside the palace, but it was not a prelude to his
mis-au-porte. In older age, Rollant was still extremely unwilling to share a presence with the Vidame, but Herault had now loosened up upon him, using him as a platform to humour himself. Anyone who witnessed the relationship would be stunned to find that they were members of a prestigious public office.

"Maybe you should pay attention, Mon Seigneur."
"Oh, I have my ears peeled, Rollant... Wait... Is that how you say that expression?"
"Eyes Peeled, Mon Seigneur."
"What a helpful man, I like a helpful man... Anyways, I say we boost this poor, foolish Margrave to the position."
"I expected you'd say something stupid like that." The Chamberlain giggled.
"You know, Chamberlain, If I get the throne, it will be customary for you to kiss my signet ring."
"I'd would kiss a neutron star before kissing you, Le Vidame."
"Oh! Well watch what you say, Monsieur, because I can make that happen very, very quickly."

Rollant quieted now, although he had heard this same sort of threat a million times, it was more a command for him to be quiet than a true commination of death.

"Messieurs et Mesdames de la Diète, in confidence of this young Margrave's pursuit, The Duke of House Hyntagenet commends House Rhodes for the position of Regnier."

The Vidame proceeded to sit down and returned to his company with Rollant.

"Poor, poor Margrave. He's a pretty thing but he does not know what he is getting into at all."
"You never know, Herault, the man could be a skillful leader. These Margraves—I hear grow—splendid realms isolated from the pressure and stigma of the other houses."

Herault chose not to reply to that comment. He was aware that at any moment, his ambitions could backfire upon him. But there was no use to arguing about it, he relied to a considerable degree upon on his faith to steer the stars into his pocket.

— • —


Nuage d'Ouridrant — "The Cloud of Oridran", a cloud of celestial phenomena and dust that surrounds the galactic core and nearby solar systems
Cœur d'Ouridrant — "The Heart of Oridran", a large structure at the galactic core that consists of a supermassive black hole and nearby pools of solar material
"The God-King" — Reference to Oridran, God King of the Piathan pantheon
Mis-au-porte — "Put to the door", Fired, terminated
Le Vidame — Full title: "Le Vidame; Duke, Sol-Baron of Bene Coula", the official title of the head of House Hyntagenet
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Inner Level, Aflovind

“So, the Emperor’s dead.” Archduke At Delluusk said, leaning back in his throne and audibly yawning at the nervous servants surrounding him. He played with a knife, jabbing at the air in three swift motions. At was onboard the Magnificent, an enormous dreadnought which served as the sole jewel of House Eburtkol’s Imperial Navy. It was encrusted in shining diamonds mined from the farthest reaches of the House’s vast territories, likely having used slaves to complete such a marvelous project. At turned to Balent, the admiral of his fleet. Her dark hair lazily slung above her shoulders, covering parts of her sleek, olive-green uniform. “Chart a course for Taer Atlos. And send out a call to muster whatever fleet we can. I will not set foot off Aflovind if my utmost security is not guaranteed. Recall them to HQ once we leave House Eburtkol space if you must.”

He noticed an unbothered look on her face, as though it had no emotion; something which irritated him. At couldn’t stand when he couldn’t read the people around him. It made him feel weak when he wasn’t in control. “It’s turbulent times, eh? The Emperor's dead. Good riddance, if you ask me. Couldn’t stand that man”

“It will be done, Archduke.” Balent sighed. He grinned with malice, slightly annoyed by her neutrality. He ascended from his throne and marched down the dozen steps which led up to it.

"Be on your way now. I'm sure you have duties to fulfill."

Balent promptly nodded, forcing a smile. She stormed out of the room, her black heels echoing throughout the halls. The Archduke felt the entire room shudder as the ship’s thrusters ignited with blue flames. It felt powerful, as if the strength was coursing through his veins. The Magnificent hovered above the city below, its enormous shadows descended upon the intertwining avenues like a veil of darkness. At twisted to face the enormous, curved window in his room, which overlooked the cityscape. The Magnificent’s golden hull reflected in the crystal pools of water lining the palace, sparkling under the light of two suns. He smiled at the thought of seeing his awe-filled subjects in the urban chasms, watching the two-kilometer dreadnought dwarf the domed skyscrapers with marvel.

“Archduke, preparing to jump.” A nearby servant informed him. At smirked, looking through the window as the metropolis slowly faded away and the ship accelerated into the void. All of the buildings turned to mere blurs, replaced with the twinkle of billions of stars.

Diet Galactica, Taer Atlos


At muttered to himself in frustration, his head aching from the arguing of the other Archdukes, Dukes and Margraves. The Diet Galactica was nothing more than a room filled with squabbling local rulers wrestling for control of the entire empire. Galactic politics was not something the Archduke was ultimately interested in, for his humble Archduchy saw no benefit in participating. It was too much of a commitment for a man like him. Aflovind already faced enough issues from criminal syndicates carving out territories of the underworld and the lack of law enforcement for most of the residents, coupled with the seasonal peasant or slave revolt on fringe colonies. House Eburtkol was simply too overstretched and too corrupt to be able to govern the vast stretch of territory that was under their jurisdiction. Of course, when the time came and the Emperor passed, At Delluusk would have to indulge himself in politics.

"May he rest.. peacefully." At cried out from his seat, only to be drowned out by the constant bickering. All sorts of delegates had arrived to this session from every corner of the galaxy; Aaron Rhodes, Margrave of Holseta, Archduchess Antica, and others. In fact, At wasn't sure if he was high on spice again or if he really saw a talking rock sitting across the hall from him. Frankly, he would see little use to it. The Supreme Chancellor would make a speech about the need to appoint a Regnier to run the Imperium while elections went down and one by one, each House would cast their nomination.

"I'd like to nominate Leo de Seran of House Scatare for the position of Regnier." He arose from his seat, gesturing his hand at the general direction of where Leo was sitting before collapsing back down. It would soon be time for At to begin to scheme once again, as observing the chaotic session today truly showcased the divisons of the Imperium. As it turns out, he could benefit from this.


"In The Diet Of The Beast"
Episode 1 - A Somber Beginning (Part 2)
The Diet was louder than she expected; much louder than memory entailed. The legislative block had always been a cesspool for the worst of rivalries to start, the place of conflicts to seed. Always, a few bright newcomers would come along to try and achieve their idealistic promises to bright and beautiful futures. Most attempts were crushed in five minutes, always by the overbearing spawn that was the Senate. Most Senators, the ones that stayed in power at least, were groomed by lobbyists, employed by monopolies—not like Antica could blame them, she owned some herself—but, it amounted guesses as to why the public still respected the body or even cared at all. The image painted by the media could only be conjured if the lens they used to film this circus was blessed with the magical ability to make everything it tapes, the opposite. If only reality were that simple, Antica swallowed the hopefulness and with it, her care for the Council.

She let herself sink into her chair and placed her feet on the ledge of the transmitter box, closed her eyes, and waited for the Diet to begin. The Senators were still talking over each other up until—

The blasting of a prerecorded applause! So thunderous, so booming! Right on queue, Antica smirked, which could only meant, the accompanying mangling of trumpets! And horns! Then, the butchering of the galactic anthem, until glassy silence fell. The opening ceremony was always bad, but anything to shut up the diplomats was better.Then the lights dimmed.

Seconds of darkness sucked the tension out of the room, possibly because rivals could no longer accurately spit at rivals. After approximately ten breaths, a flashing orb surfaced in the absolute center of the arena. It was the only light in a sea of darkness. The star in the abyss. A flicker in the shadow's essence. It was only five feet in diameter, but grew bigger with each post. Antica remembered this part of the ceremony and opted to close her eyes. Out of nowhere, the orb swallowed itself like a black hole into the smallest dot of light and exploded. A storm of snow innocently peppered the lower platforms and temporarily blinded the Senate. Finally, the source of true intent was revealed. Two metal doors creaked opened outwards like an ancient cabinet case, at the bottom of the building to reveal the head of a gigantic arrow, or pillar—the tower. The tower rose out of the cavern higher and higher and higher, committing to a slow spiraling motion before slowing to a stop about midway into the building's altitude. Which was also the exact location of where the orb floated just moments before. The tower shed its spear head to reveal the Supreme Chancellor.

The Senate blew on giving a warm welcome, but the pinch of applause that sprinkled his reveal was as warm a welcome as anyone would get, let alone deserve in the Diet. Antica bit her lip, but suppressed the cringe as the Chancellor, the liveliest soul in the room whipped his head out of his chest and smiled like goof. He made impressionable finger guns and flashed the charm that had accompanied his many years in show business up until a career in politics. A career which flagged one of the most stagnant eras the Empire had ever seen.

“Ladies and gents! I think it is best to dive right into things, considering such a lovely discourse you all shared,” he over-sold it on the smile but she didn't expect much from a man nearing his nineties who had purple hair and baggy drapes. Aside from his clothing, the Chancellor was a thin man, his arms were flaked with aging spots and his fingers were long and thin. His eyes were glassy, much like his hued hair. His face was a worn bag that once might have belonged to a handsome man no less, but now much better represented the decline of the Empire. Antica wondered if it was heretical to use the Chancellor as a symbol for the Empire's descent.

“Good, no applause, you guys are all business here?” The room answered with a mute, but interpretative “no”. “Very well, I shall, begin.” The Chancellor gripped his podiums tighty, before beginning, “the reason as to why you were due for the Capital this sad and somber week is none other than to commemorate our beloved Emperor.” The chancellor let his head drop which rallied a surprising "awe” from some parts of the stands. “'Awe' indeed, ladies and gentlemen!” The Chancellor called back, he shook his head hysterically, eyes shut, and then halted. “The Emperor—” he paused, “is dead!”

The chamber exploded. Senators screamed and bellowed, dukes and royals pounced, while archdukes and duchesses exchanged glances and were confronted by truths; one of them would have to possess the role as Emperor. Antica turned only to the warrior king, Sulla looked like a sword had impaled his chest, but Antica knew it was not from the shock. No, it was the shock that Solios could control Tael Atlos. The idea pained Antica too.

The Chancellor did not wait to continue, “We face an impossible crisis. The Emperor did not see fit to name an heir. This has not happened in the Imperium for nearly a thousand years! I want you all to understand the gravity of this situation!” The Chancellor rolled his hands into fists and shook them at the crowd as to add more effect. “A new emperor must be chosen from among the great houses of the Imperium. First, a Regnier must be chosen while the Electors, our noblest Archduke’s, consider who to name as our next Emperor.”

For moments Antica let it get to her, the lust, the feel, the taste. The sensation made her throb. The throne, it was right there. Only within an arm's reach. No—this was wrong. Easy, too easy. The brief nod of the other Archdukes and Duchesses on her left and right affirmed their collective suspicions. She hated bureaucracy, she hated nobility, and she despised the Senate, but she was respectful of the cast of Archdukes and Duchesses, they were more or less her family. The closest thing she had to family, at least. More of an association, rather.

“I have a nomination!” a familiar voice roared. Antica looked over her shoulder, surely enough, to her right was Archduke Hiram strolling down the hall into his seating box, the automatic door to which closed behind him. He stood before his chair, and his son, Antica realized. “I’d like to offer the first candidate for Regnier,” he said, balancing gulps of air with speaking, he stepped closer to the box’s transmitter. His voice echoed through the stadium, like the Chancellor's before. “I believe Aaron Rhodes, Margrave of Holseta is the best suited, that will be all.” His grin was wild, but he carefully sat down and sagged in his throne.

Wait—a Magrave? Magrave of Holseta? The entire Chamber picked up on the strange endorsement, the room suffered in a collective headache, before speeding to make competing statements.

“Now it would only be FAIR!” the Chancellor exclaimed to the point of his microphone shrieking, “It would be fair if—actually I have to admit, this microphone is growing on me and it is available for 30% off at the Talon Corporation—but, it would only be fair if we follow the established hierarchy so everyone has a turn. That said, any other nominations?”

“House Oragbade supports Mira Veillon of House Vane for the position of regnier!”—what the hell?—this was starting to become interesting. Two Magraves for Regnier? As the first two Nominees? This was enough to warrant that Antica take her feet off the platform and listen to where the conversation was headed. The blunt of the reaction to the nomination of House Vane was positive, not enthusiastic, just positive. Antica spied House Vane's box two levels below her own, Mira's face told too much, gave it all away.

In that moment, Antica knew neither Oragbade nor Veillon would be emperor—just like that—two enemies off the board. Oragbade was unpredictable, Mira was not hungry enough for power. Antica looked back over to her left, she could safely mark off Hiram, too. He was nestled in his mind, but thinking with his heart. His outlook was for the betterment of the Empire, for the betterment of its people. Like Mira, he quenched his thirst for power long ago, his selflessness would guarantee he would not be Emperor. Emotions only made you pawns in the Diet, to be consumed in the stomach of the beast. Antica would protect them in her Empire.

“This is ludicrous! This absurd!” everyone loaded their attention into the lower commons where the voice was heard. House Raverdoin. A problematic hold in the center of the Empire, their politics were fine—mostly—but, their Duke was a raging twot. “Since when is the Empire allowing alien scum to control our Cabinets?! This is exactly what will destroy our Empire! They started the fire, the fire! We will all burn! We will all burn!” Antica laughed, the stands booed. But, for a second the Cabinet waned, as if to consider what Raverdoin said was true. His skull was as thick as his gut, but no one knew what illness Shiram had.

As if echoing her thought another spoke up, “He has a point,” same level, different house. “Why are we nominating borderlands, have we truly become this desperate? Do we know what really happened to Shiram?”

“May he rest in peace,” At said, barely loud enough for Antica, whom sat just two platforms left of him. The Diet exploded. Just like the beginning, but this time Antica was sure the Politicians were actually spitting on each other.

“Order,” the Chancellor attempted, to no prevail, “I said, ORDER!” Again, that sound which made ears want to bleed, like the drums of your ears were being poked by needles, stung by wasps, and tickled by knives. “I guess we are every bit lively,” the Chancellor laughed, fake-laughed, “I wanted to clarify Shiram died of an illness, a terminal illness. An illness so bad and so misunderstood. There is no need to bring his suffering into these doors,” gestured to the many entrances into the Domed building, “There is no need, I assure you.” The trembling in his voice intentional, the quaking was an act... “So—so, if no one else has a nomination we may proceed to—”

“House Lithius supports Margrave Truim Iual of House Astram.” Yet another unorthodox choice, the heat in the room swelled, but no outburst was called upon.

“The House of Khor puts forward Duke Laakkonen Lissange of House Fensalir to be Regnier of the Imperium!”
Fensalir, a better decision Antica supposed, the idea of the spice conglomerate as Regnier... she was definitely open to the possibility if it meant a role in the spice trade.

“House Fensalir! Your response?” The Chancellor cooed.

“The House of Fensalir hereby supports the motion for Margrave of Holseta, Aaron Rhodes, to be Regnier of the Imperium.” Antica made an audible sigh. Not just because of the Fensalir's stupid decision, but the monsoon of laughter that followed. It was unruly. Uncivil. Not imperial. But, she could not deny that she too, lost her ambition for this council not the Empire.

“The House of Doden nominates Margrave Aaron Rhodes for the position of Regnier.” By the gods, Antica would have a word with them after this if Oridran wasn't spinning in his grave.

“House Valin will also support the motion to elect Aaron Rhodes, Regnier of the Empire,” Fredrick exclaimed. The commons booed and booed and booed. The fourth vote had been cast signifying the start of a majority coalition.

“Silence. Silence!” The Chancellor called, even his punk personality couldn't flex forever. But, like a child fearful of punishments, like a kid knowing of consequence, the chamber ended up in silent. It was a silhouette to Antica's ears, partly because no more votes could be cast in favor of Aaron Rhodes, whom had spent the past hour relishing in his box transmitter, rotting with what Antica assumed was a personal guard. She pitied the man for not having enough guts to trust his own body to defend himself. “I'm glad you are all getting along, I am sure Margrave Aaron is having a stellar time.” The Chancellor made a dramatic wink as if looking into a camera, “but before we vote, all archdukes need to say something, I would like to hear from—”

“From me I presume?” Antica enthralled the Cabinet with her towering rise. She let the attention simmer, then allocating eyes to her dress of choice, which was the shade of midnight, but translucent like galactic dust. Thin enough to answer some mysteries, but keep others hidden. It draped over both shoulders into a cape that rolled onto the floor. The front was dusted with a glitter of ebony. The cape adorned patterns in silver lining which intermingled like vines, outlining the crest of House Arcdothien, the dragon. It was an elegant costume, which allowed her body to breath, it's fabrics were a mystery and it's tale all but history, but she knew it was the right choice to make an impression. Antica invited viewers to her lips which were also, painted black. Her eyeliner, black. The crown atop her head, obsidian. Like a widow, like a venom, like the hum of shadows. The
Nightling. Maybe it was a little excessive, Antica considered, she searched for any care in her heart and could not find one.

“Wow, I would say I'm surprised but Aldika's cold weather only let's one's imagination loose. That is a beautiful gown, almost as beautiful as you, your highness,” the Chancellor dipped his head in a meager bow.

“I prefer the term Majesty,” Antica replied, words as thick as the glaciers on her home world, “but your compliments never cease to impress a woman Chancellor.” He beamed back in response.

“Very well. In House Arcdothien, we have a tradition, the obligation to duty in life and death,” Antica began, remembering to inflect on each word, dance on each syllable. “My duty as Archduchess is to ensure the security and continuing stability of our Galactic Realm. The demesne of which capabilities we have only just begun. Our galaxy borders hundreds of parallel entities and my job, is to affirm our superiority. Let my swoon castrate the weaknesses of our Empire and cast down the blaze on our enemies. But, how to delete the cancer? Fortunately, only some cells are strong enough to survive.” Antica thrust her fist down on the podium, “Spies fly around us! We have been infiltrated and ransacked! The Arc hasn't grown in four score, the Trans-Galactic Road might as well be the ancient spice trade, and the Traverse has all but collapsed!
Where is the anger? Where is your fight? We sit here like cattle and relief under Taer Altos' eyes? The Emperor is dead, this should be the time as any to elect the powerful and cure ourselves of the detrimental, the sores. When I look at this room I see people, smugglers, thieves, crooks, namely cowards. People who have too long bowed to the institution. The institution is what failed us. By Oridran, we are the Imperium Galactica. The blood of god slayers pulses in our veins. What if I could give it all back? I can give it all back, but only if you all have cured your judgement. It is time to recharge for our apex. For we have only arrived on the summit and can barely touch the stars.” Antica drew on a long breath to collect the remaining nuggets of attention before proceeding, “For Regnier, we require a bold leader. A man of much talents. Too few can dual the duties of leader and warrior like this one. If we expect to uproot the rebellious and heretical, we can only pray the best of leadership entrance us—it already has.” Again, Antica morphed her face into a smile, the essence of her beauty made such expressions both easy and acceptable. “I am casting my allegiance to Aaron, of House Rhodes. In return,” Antica lifted her block on emotions, for then, just for a second, “I expect his endorsement for me as Empress of the Imperium Galactica. May Jayko clear our path from destruction!”

The entire chamber vibrated, in unison, “AND THE WINDS OF ORIDRAN CARRY US PAST THE STARS!”

This post has been rendered void due to numerous infractions including godmodding and using another RPers character without their permission. Further infractions will result in removal from this RP and setting

~TNP RP Moderation Team
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The Diet Galactica, Taer Atlos

Ayyal could not remember the last time they had come to the heart of the empire. They could not help but feel uncomfortable, with the Church's presence so explicit here, an organization that the House Nazdi so carefully steered clear of. It was not as if they rejected the teachings of the church in totality, but their unorthodox scriptures and understanding of the cycle of the universe would certainly not be welcomed by the Grand Patriarch, or even the more outspoken break-away sects still worshiping the Piathans. Still, they sat quietly, paying attention to the goings-on.

The Margrave idly glanced over at the delegation of fellow galactic northerners, House Vane. Margravess Veillon seemed just as enthused to be at the heart of the empire as Ayyal did, though likely for vastly different reasons. Still, a pang of empathy curled their lips into a wry smile at the shared discomfort over imperial politics. Ayyal turned their gaze back to the floor of the Diet in time for the Supreme Chancellor to officially announce the Emperor's death. They echoed the refrain of the other members of the diet, though those paying close attention could not say whether the word escaped Ayyal's lips or if they merely mouthed them.

What greatly surprised Ayyal, though outwardly only expressed in a raised eyebrow, were the nominations of their fellow Margraves - Veillon and Rhodes. Margrave Rhodes, perhaps, shared some popularity amongst the rest of the Imperium for their status as war heroes, but still: a border polity out in the very southern fringes of the Imperium, rather than some bigwig in the galactic core? An odd choice to be sure. More confusing, however, was the nomination of Margravess Veillon. She was on the younger side, and from Ayyal's understanding a bit of a maverick, too. Ayyal was unsure if she could trust either, though there was no open hostility. The Margrave would have to speak to them without revealing their hand, it would appear.

Ayyal rarely expressed outward emotion, but the tirade of the Archduchess of the House Arcdothien made them roll their eyes, sighing. Demagogues all acted the same, they found. Whether Ayyal had to enforce their strength on some secessionist Sol-Baron who thought themselves a prophet of Oridran, or listen to some populist Inyaari* in Saardil's legislature, their demands and ranting always shared the same language, the same thought processes. Ayyal hoped Rhodes would be smart enough to refrain from supporting someone who might be such a blight on the stability of the galaxy, but they could not be sure.

Only time would tell.

*Inyaari - an elected representative of a planet, moon or major region of the two within a system's legislature, within the territory of House Nazdi.
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The Diet Galactica, Taer Altos

Arnu and Kardin sat mostly in silence as the Diet continued. Things were going business as usual for the most part. Not the even the polite rejection of House Fensalir had bothered them much. Every Archduke was expected to make a nomination regardless of viability and in the long run the gesture would likely increase friendly ties between the houses. At any rate it meant that Arnu's vote was now free, and that put him back into a very careful position. The nominations went on, Rhodes, and Rhodes again.

"Rhodes it is eh?" Asked Kardin.

"Almost certainly at this point." Responded the Archduke. "Not a bad choice by any means I suppose."

Kardin let out a grumble. "You know Sir I just get the feeling that all the Archduke's are doing this because they think putting a middling noble on the throne will make him prone to manipulation. There's no way the Dukes and Archdukes will take orders from him lying down. Even if he is the Regnier."

Arnu smiled. "Good, you're catching on."

"I feel like you should have brought Minras, and Auzuari. Said Kardin. "They could learn a thing or two here your Highness."

"I agree, but the need for them in Armintarik was greater. With the instability on the border it was just too risky to take them away." Arnu said softly.

Kardin grumbled again. "So...are we going to listen Regnier Rhodes?"

"As far as its necessary. His time in the seat will be a blink." Said the Archduke.

"Well." Started Kardin. "Unless he becomes the Emperor that is."

Arnu leaned his head on his hand. "I can think of worse candidates."
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Lord Lore

Eldritch Horror that Plagues Eras Cartography
Galactica Diet, Taer Altos, Imperial Demense

The Elderly Count of the Anduri quietly sat in this section of the Diet with a small team of advisers. Listening to the chatter of the nobles around the room. As the nominations start to be announced by the other houses his advisors set up the projectors. Aaron of Holseta, Mira of Quella, Truim of Cosma, and Laakkonen of Astatine. Four small holographic likenesses sat stood in front of him. He read his way through the supporting document's his Senatorial Staff had prepared on some of the nobles in attendance.

"There is no point in us going through the trouble of nominating, a non-hume showing a blatant endorsement could be detrimental to any candidate's chances among the Core Sector's Nobles."

Mekonis mused as he set down the datapad one of the younger aides had handed him. He looked around the commotion of the Diet before returning his attention to his Staff.

"What do we really know of the current people in the running. I am familiar with Truim. One of the Hume Lords on our border. We obviously can't throw our support behind him. Friendly now for the most part, but we can not take the chance as Regier or Jayko forbit Emperor might try to expand his house into our stars."

A Female Anduri spoke up.

"Mira and Aaron are both Marcher Lords. You should be vaguely aware of Quella a planet on the intersection of the Traverse and Verdant Way on the opposite end of Core Worlds from the Consolidation. On the opposite end of the Core Worlds sits the Fensalir of Astatine, a Ducal house, we know little of their intentions or ploys. But, Further down the TGR we find Rhodes of Holseta, another one of the Marcher Lords. Fairly tolerant of of the Non-Humes by our records, and an impressive military record by all account."

Mekonis leaned forward turning off the turning off the miniature hologram projector one at a time until Aaron Rhodes was left.

"I believe the higher Dukes and ArchDukes thinks they can gain some influence by pushing for one of the Border Lords to manipulate. But, with enough support from the low nobles.... with some favor by the Fates.... he might break free and stand on his own. We might not be able to push our agenda officially. We can always throw our support in when it might be required."
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Pro Deo et Patria
Luwiyn, Capital world of House Storingeen

Quick running was heard on the top floors of the Resortia*. It was a house servant with a message in his hand, containing the patch that even the fiercest guardsman couldn't stop, the symbol of the Diet Galactia. He quickly rushed into the personal quarters of the Duchess. In the middle of a meeting, Akad and Freja could only watch as the fatigued servant rushed into the room with his message. The Emperor was dead. The Diet Galactica called.

Freja looked upon the servant with both shock and anger. Her fists fist clenched under the desk. Her father's ally was dead and the Diet -the institution she hated- was called. She and Akad began to worry.

"Brother, you stay here. If something goes wrong my husband will need you." said Freja as she stoop up. She then sent a message on her comms device saying, "Get me Commandant Riizan and prepare my ship."

As his sister was about to rush out of the room all he could do is ask "So what are you going to do now?"

"Going to Taer Atlos to find some answers." said the Duchess as she burst out of the room.

Heading to the top landing pad of the palace, she was welcomed with the beautiful view of the oceans of Luwyin and Vinhelm, the centre of nobility and government for the planet and the duchy. As Freja began to walk on the pad, Duchess gestured his personal guard and boarded her personal transport.

The Diet Galactica, Taer Atlos, Imperial Demesne

Even the sight of some nobles and their agendas disgusted Freja. After the announcement of the death of the Emperor, although several prayers went out, Freja could feel the tension in the air. She was surprised when Emperor's cousin, Archduke Hiram nominated Aaron Rhodes as Regnier of the Imperium.

"Interesting" she murmured "The warrior margrave. I'd rather select him as Strategos not Regnier."

"Your highness does know they served together." added Riizan

"I do very well know Commandant, but does a border margrave have the patience to deal with greedy nobles trying to grab the throne the second its possible." said Freja with a sight and continued "All I hope for is Hiram getting out of this session alive. I'll need to talk to him after nomination."

It seemed that Aaron Rhodes was the preferred choice of both core lords and the even the church, with Prince-Bishop Challion agreeing with the nomination.

Luwiyn, Capital world of House Storingeen

Akad was quick to act after his sister left the duchy. He went to the Immpera* to meet with OSEC commissioners. OSEC -being the security and secret police of House Storingeen- was extremely vital to keeping order within house territory. Akad was dropped off by of of the VIP landing pads of the tall black building that was the Immpera.

As he and his right hand, Special Officer Haakon Skyberg was entering the main meeting room of the building, the council which he just called got the information about the Emperor.

Akad began the council with and everyday prayer that is given before every meeting. To the surprise of many, now instead of giving it to Ollurran, -Patron of the Office of Security- Akad said the prayer to the God-Queen herself.

As they were saying their thanks to Sathor, a large explosion was heard on one of the landing pads. The tower went on full lockdown. Mixed groups of security officers and guardsmen accompanied by loud sirens were on every corridor. Akad went to investigate himself. Stepping on the landing pad, all he could find was destruction. The scraps and parts of a Vigorous-class Dropship, decimated. Dead bodies of his personal SpecOps team.

Interestingly, this was the same dropship that was scheduled to transport Akad himself to the meeting. It looked like the Quadrants* were up to something again.

*Resortia: The name of the Ducal Palace on Luwyin
*Immpera: The headquarters building of the Office of Security (OSEC)
*Quadrants: Luwyin's largest crime syndicate
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Factbook Addict
Diet Galactica

The Supreme Chancellor quietly took the names of the nominations. It was a strange bunch. Some names were shocking, some understandable choices, and others would have made his eyes roll if he wasn’t so well trained in keeping his face expressionless when necessary.

The nominations seemed to have died down, with the gathered nobles once again whispering and murmuring among themselves. They were likely already scheming and plotting how to use the situation to their advantage. He didn’t bother wondering about their plans. The Noble Houses played their own games. He would ride the storm out as best he could

Once again he called for order, silencing the chatter. He glowered at the nobles, as if his sour face could make them behave. He doubted even one of them felt put off, but he enjoyed pretending he could scare them.

He read out the names of those nominated:
“Duke Laakkonen Lissange Fensilar
Margrave Aaron Rhodes
Margrave Truim Iual Astram
Margravess Mira Veillon Vane
Count Leo de Seran Scatare.

“These five have been nominated. The Diet will adjourn for a recess. This recess will last until such a time that the prince-electors and ducal-electors will meet and make a final decision on who shall take up the duties of Regnier in the interregnum.”

A gong was then struck, ending the current session.

Cathedral of Aramay,
Unknown System

Alecto Rian gripped the arm of his chair as his command carrier vibrated violently, another wave of solar energy slamming into his ship. It only lasted a few seconds before it passed, and he loosened his grip again.

“The Arradesh and the Phantom are reporting increased stress on their ships,” his first officer, Commander Altain Vis reported to him after they had run their own damage check.

He read over the report and passed it back to her. He sighed. “Alright, looks like we need to send the majority of our fleet to a different rendezvous point.”

“And us, sir?” she asked.

Rian pretended not to notice the frustration in her voice. “We’ll stay, along with the Dreadnoughts. They seem to be handling the stresses for the moment. The rest of the fleet can head towards rendezvous nine.”

She nodded, barking his orders to the communications station so it would be relayed to the fleet.

He noticed she was staring at him. “Something on your mind, Commander?”

“Permission to speak freely?” she asked.

He glanced around to make sure no one was close by. “Go ahead.”

“Why are we here, sir? I mean, what do we need these cultists for?”

He leaned back in his seat, steepling his fingers. “Before the emperor passed he informed me he had been poisoned.”

Her eyes went wide in shock. Rian continued, “as much as I find these...cultists...distasteful, they can, I hope, point me towards the culprits.”

Altain Vis stepped closer, lowering her voice. “Do you have any idea who it was.”

“No,” he stated. “But it could be anyone. The great houses, the lesser houses, the church. Anyone.”

“Could it also be them?” she asked, cocking her head towards the hull as if to point towards the cathedral.

“That’s also a possibility, but unlikely. Shiram effectively reigned in the church for the last 90 years. His death has left things in the balance for them as well.” He had already considered the Cathedral’s involvement. But he knew that theory wouldn’t pan out. He suspected the archdukes. All of them could be in on it, but his money was on either House Wonju (they had a shady history of such things) or House Drof-Antier. Hiram, after all, had the strongest claim to the throne. His and the emperor’s mother had been sisters.

He lowered his voice to an almost growl. His words came out with a strength and conviction when he spoke next. “I will find the ones responsible, and make them pay. And then, I will claim the Celestial Throne and bring an end to the petty squabbling of the so-called noble houses.”

Hiram dismissed his son to return to their estate on the capital world, and he kissed his daughter-in-law’s hand as he bid them farewell. Now was the time of vipers and it was best his household went to their strongholds.

Adammar Tascal has passed his package to the Archduke and then left for Coarin. Hiram was now alone, aside from his few guards. He hoped to find Aaron Rhodes to speak with before he met with the other electors. The Margrave was likely in shock about his nomination and Hiram wanted to assure him that he wasn’t throwing him to the wolves without a plan.

He saw the Margrave Rhodes speaking with among a group and he headed towards him. It was then that the Archduchess Wonju Dae-Soon passed a few paces before him. He changed his direction to catch up with her. This would be most important.

“Archduchess Wonju!” He called, bringing her entourage to a stop.

“Archduke Drof-Antier,” she responded politely.

He stepped closer, her people backing far enough away to allow them to speak. “I wish to speak with you before we meet with the electors,” he said sincerely. “Perhaps in my Consulate’s Office?”

She looked directly at him, likely mulling over the possibility of a trap. Hiram hopes his house’s reputation for fair play would convince her he meant no ill.

She nodded. “Very well.”

He lead the way, his guards fanning out around them to clear a path. He decided not to speak. He wouldn’t know what to speak about. Certainly not his cousin. The Wonjus had never cared for the House Morghanos. He didn’t even bother to try to read her intentions. She would likely be adept at keeping her thoughts from affecting her actions, even minutely.

The crosses the bridge to the park and reception area, making a left and descending the stairs to the consulate. He let them into the offices for the Archduchy of Coarin, where he brought her into his office (one he seldom used) and took the package out of his pocket. He didn’t unwrap it, just set it down on his desk.

He decided he’d cut right to the point. “I have no intention of laying claim to the Celestial Throne,” he said. He had expected some sort of reaction from her, but neither a nod nor a look of surprise. What a wily house, he thought. “Don’t mistake me, the thought of wielding the power of to reshape the Imperium into a better society is tempting. But I see a conflict brewing if I should reach for it. Better for me and my family to remain in our positions and help support a new Imperial House.”

“And who would you support?” she asked.

Hiram finally opened the package, carefully removing the object from within. A round golden seal with the emblem of House Wonju.

“This was seized by the Emperor when he attempted to destroy your house. If you remember, my grandfather stood behind your house, calling the charges false. When the Emperor Amril III ordered this seal destroyed, my grandfather instead had it spirited away to be kept safe in our vaults.”

He handed the seal to her. She took it, staring intently at it, tracing the emblem’s outline.

Hiram continued. “I am asking for your support when it comes time to back Margrave Rhodes as Regnier. In exchange, I will put my support behind your house if you should make a bid for the Celestial Throne. Not immediately, but when the time comes, you will have my vote.”

OOC: written with Andrenne’s permission
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