Within the heart of the Imperial capital is a Grand Cathedral, home to the Church of the Divinities. It stands as a testament to the architectural brilliance of the past although it had been built after the first fall of civilization. Even in that time, such grand structures could be built. Deep within, the Bishops and Archbishops reign and their power is on par with that of the Imperial government.
“It should all be over soon.” One Archbishop nervously said to a group of his peers.
“How long until we receive word of their success?”
“At least a few days, even magical messenger birds can only travel so fast.”
“I won’t be able to relax until we know for sure.”
They continued with their topic of discussion, most feeling anxious and impatient. If the source of the anomaly had been killed, they could finally rejoice, otherwise they could only despair.
Towards the back of the chamber was a raised dais, an altar, and on it was a large sphere with black energy pulsing within. A statue of a woman stood proudly before the sphere and while the Archbishops discussed anxiously, the statue slightly shook. What appeared as stone began to crumble to the floor as if the statue were shedding an outer skin.
As the sound became noticeable, the Archbishops turned their heads towards the source and fell to their knees in worship. They were startled by the sudden change in the statue of one of their beloved Divinities. As the outer shell was shed, the woman that was beneath it began to move, breathing her first in a long time.
“So, the chain has been broken? If not for the disturbance I would still be within my own dominion.” Her voice while beautiful to hear was filled with anger.
She turned to the Archbishops who were prostrating before her, “What have you fools been doing? So much time has passed and yet you still have failed to complete your mission!”
Her anger frightened the Archbishops who could only quake in fear.
“Now that it has come to this, I will have to personally get involved. I can not be careless though. I will lend you one of my servants to aid you, he should be more than sufficient.”
On the raised dais, there was also an elaborate throne which was the most prominent feature of the altar. The Divinity walked over to the throne and sat in it, crossing one leg over the other. She raised her hand and a bright light stretched forth from her hand, blinding the Archbishops.
Once the Archbishops regained their vision, there was another figure standing upon the dais. It was a knight in a strange and magnificent armor. His hair was the color of the sun and on his back was an enormous sword of light.
The knight kneeled before the Divinity and put his fist to his chest, “I am here to fulfill your will, command me.”
“Find the one called Fayde of the Void and kill him. These men will aid you. Use him wisely, he is all I can give you for now.”
Hearing his orders, the knight stood and saluted while the Archbishops dared not move from their positions.
Returning from the old Imperial Capital was difficult with three prisoners in tow. They said nothing the entire voyage and I was too angry to even look at them. We were welcomed on our return by countless Demi-humans who had been made aware that we would be arriving soon. It was difficult pretending as if nothing had happened, as if I had not been betrayed by those I loved. I made due the best I could, I had to, this was the bearing of a king.
Fooling the Demi-humans was a necessity in order to secure my rule over them. This made Allein essential and so I would need to go along with it for now. My feelings were complicated and it wasn’t so simple as just forgiving or not forgiving. It wasn’t as if I suddenly felt nothing towards her and it wasn’t as if I didn’t understand her circumstances but it didn’t change what she did either.
I put on a show for the Demi-humans who were ecstatic to see our return, knowing they were witnessing a new era for their people. I smiled a fake smile, waved my hand and did my best to pretend as if nothing had happened. Accadeas made sure Allein and Nes did their best too. No one noticed the dark clouds forming in my heart nor the unsteadiness in my mind.
Once we returned to my tent, I had Tris returned to the tent with Shar, there were already guards to watch over them but I couldn’t do the same with Allein and Nes which was something of a dilemma. In the end I instructed Fieral to have my servants watch over them and Accadeas offered some of his own Demon-kin as guards. With this we would need to fool the others, but it didn’t seem as if they planned to do anything anyway.
Both Nes and Allein were clearly dejected. I kept the Mark on Allein and I could feel the torment within her which meant her emotions were stronger than what she could control. With those issues settled, I was dressed in my official robes and headed towards the Grand Council tent with Reia and Laila accompanying me.
The ceremony was not yet complete and even though I was now officially the Great Khan, the other Khans would still need to officially declare their fealty. All of the Khans were awaiting us within the tent and as I entered, they all bowed their heads. Each congratulated me in turns and expressed their loyalty and fealty.
“Where is Allein?” Rhaegnar noticed that Allein was missing, he was the closest to her out of the other Khans.
“She is feeling ill from the long journey, she couldn’t be here.” I had already prepared this response.
“That is a shame, I was hoping to see her. Send her my regards.” He smiled and made way for the next Khan.
It continued like this until all the Khans had sworn fealty to me, although I could tell that some weren’t pleased about it.
Rajal was the first to speak once the formalities were over, “it is done. Then, Great Khan, what is it that you will have us do? Fight humans like what the Demon-kin wished to do?” He scoffed, causing some to look at him with anger for his disrespect.
Noticing the glares, he bowed his head and offered an apology.
“I will not have you waste your lives fighting the Empire if that is what you were referring to. That would be a death wish. We are not strong enough to face them… yet.” My words caused some to relax, it seemed that many of them feared I would do just that. The Demi-humans were fearless warriors but that didn’t mean they relished throwing their lives away.
“There is a better way.” That got their attention. Their eyes turned to be expectantly.
“We will go east and we will conquer the Northern Kingdoms, we are in a state of war!”
Their glances became looks of concern once again, they weren’t expecting this and they began to murmur amongst themselves.
“Of course I know it won’t be so simple as that. We can’t fight all of the Northern Kingdoms if they unite as one. However, if we act quickly, we can use the Kingdom’s attack on the Fox-kin as justification for retaliating. We will move swiftly and we will conquer the Kingdom of La’gun before the other kingdoms can act. Once we secure control, they will be forced to recognize our might. I have also made… other preparations. You do not need to be concerned. I promise, that I will make a place where the Demi-humans can live in peace and prosperity…. Alongside humans.”
My words no longer caused murmurs, the Khans and chieftains began shouting openly. “Living alongside humans? Impossible!” Their shouts grew angrier and their movements more violent, but I stood there in complete calm. This was exactly what I had already expected their reactions to be so I was unconcerned.
Accadeas stepped forward and slammed his halberd into the ground and roared, silencing the Khans.
“How dare you show disrespect before the Great Khan!” His voice bellowed across the tent, shocking many.
“I have been declared Martial of the tribal forces and we are in a state of war! Any who show dissent will meet my halberd!” Accadeas glared at all of those around the room and no one spoke out of fear.
Rhaegnar stepped forward, “It is as Accadeas says. We have chosen our Great Khan and given fealty. If war is declared than the martial has the authority to silence dissenters as per tradition.” While his words were calm, I could see the uncertainty on his face.
This was enough for now, there would be plenty of time to change the tribes in the future. I had many plans for just that.
Accadeas stern voice filled the tent one last time, “Prepare your tribes for war! We head east at dawn!”