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[ARMADA] The Strings of Authority

Posted on 17 Apr 2012 @ 4:37pm by Lieutenant JG T'Sara & Lieutenant Commander Brul Unger & Lieutenant Tin Sel Granth
Edited on on 31 May 2012 @ 4:07pm

Mission: Linearity
Location: Atrium, Triumvirate Citadel, Vulcan
Timeline: Daytime, During First Contact with Earth Confederacy

Previously: Arbiter of a New Dawn

The Thallonian Delegate measured S'a'ara with a somewhat arrogant posture. Skarm Sa Wan was a large man, red skin and several tattoos marked his face to show how noble was his lineage. It wasn't his first time being an envoy in the Triumvirate and since the beloved Emperor Si Cwan had passed away and there had been an internal conflict to see who would be the next emperor, his job was now most necessary. He needed to look strong for the Empire. "Milady S'a'ara", Wan said. "Lovely, as always".

"Lord Wan," the Arbiter replied, giving a curt nod to the Thallonian. Of the two other delegates currently pleasant, he was the weaker link, she felt, as his egotistical mind would lead him astray from any true altruism. Certainly, his love for the Thallonian people was absolute, but as was his love in his own person.

Near him, but not close, was the Angosian Delegate, Severian Highert, an old and venerated veteran, whose past made him honorable by all on Angosia. High Leader Danar had fought with him and both respected each other as well shared the vision for Angosia. Severian didn't like the Xenexians or the Thallonians, but they were a necessary evil. Danar said not to trust them, but to keep them close enough, feeding them enough technology without giving away everything. Danar had plans for the future.

Highert gave S'a'ara a respectful bow. "Arbiter. Good to see you", he greeted.

"And you too, Severian," the Xenexian Delegate replied cordially and with a kind smile. "We must have another of our evening debates soon." This one, she thought, is a far finer specimen, and a far finer person. Whilst it was true that Highert's loyalties to Danar were great, his loyalties to the Angosian people and the empire they were building was just as great. Certainly, he would die for the High Leader, but he was also committed to doing the right and honourable thing, when the time came. His could be a great part to play, should Colonel Unger win the right hearts in the coming days.

Highert offered her a thin smile. She appreciated the keen mind of the Arbiter and the fact of King C'leb gave her such power was, at least, a small show of intelligence on the barbarian. "It would be, as always, my pleasure, Arbiter."

With each of the three delegates in their seats, each facing the other in a circle, the appointed Speaker of the Citadel stepped forward. Every one hundred standard days on Vulcan, the race of the Speaker rotated to one of the other leading species of the Armada, and the current one was in fact an Angosian, although his name was unknown to most but the Triumvirate that had allowed his appointment.

"The Delegate for the Thallonian Empire," he announced, his features expressionless as he motioned to Skarm Sa Wan.

Skarm Sa Wan gave both a graceful nod. "Thank you. First and foremost, I am here to tell you that the Empire, despite all the gossip you may have heard, is getting near to selecting the next in line for the crown. The death of Emperor Si Cwan was tragic and unforeseen, but the Empire will live on. Our Goverment still rules its subjects with the same order and justice as always." Wan gave a pause, waiting for his words to sink in. "I ask the Triumvirate members to support the next emperor's bid for the throne when the time comes."

"And who would be the next Emperor of the Thallonians, Lord Wan? Not Milady Kalinda. Emperor Si Cwan had only a small child and as I understand it, you don't have regency laws", asked Highert.

Wan shifted on his chair. "There have been suggestions that Emperor Cwan's cousin, Sor Cwan, would be the next emperor."

Highert seemed alarmed. "Surely, Lord Wan, this suggestion can't be taken seriously. Sor Cwan has been accused by the late Emperor of being a coward and incompetent. Why would the Thallonian Empire take such a man to conduct the goverment and the war?"

Wan became irritated. "Lord Sor Cwan is a honorable and decent Thallonian... I will not see..."

"He would be your puppet," S'a'ara then interjected with a chiding tone to her voice. "A weak and craven man - only just in his adolescence - whom you would point in whatever direction you wish, Lord Wan. We also only have your and your personal cabinet's word on this being Emperor Si Cwan's passing wish. He was not so foolish, so do not dare to make such a suggestion in this chamber." The Arbiter's voice had become sterner and neater as she continued her tirade, but she then reformed her face into one more of kindness.

"The late emperor's love for his sister is well-known, not only in Thallonian space but also across the Armada's realm. If you would love to be king-maker so much, dear Skarm, I would offer an alternative approach." A conniving and voluptuous smile spread across S'a'ara's fleshy lips, moistened by her tongue just seconds before she continued, though she was so quiet to ensure only the other two delegates were in earshot. "Let us make Si Cwan's infant son the next in line to the throne. None in the Armada could refute the claim of the mighty emperor's son, and the Thallonians would dote upon him. Bring this prince into your custody - safe and secure - and the Thallonian Empire would bow before Lord Protector Wan." S'a'ara hoped fervently that Highert would not ruin this plan, cunning enough to catch onto the idea she was forming. The Angosian's words in the next few minutes would determine his position as a player or a piece.

Wan seemed taken by the idea but resisted showing on his face. "First, Arbiter, calling Lord Sor Cwan my 'puppet' is offensive. He has his own mind and vision for the Empire. I would, at best, an advisor." He paused."However, your idea is not without merits.... Only as Councilor Highert said, the Thallonian Empire does not have Regency Laws..."

Highert leaned back on his chair, watching S'a'ara and the expression in Wan's face. A thin smile appeared on the corner of his mouth for a second before he became expressionless again. "Surely, Lord Wan, tradition is good to keep things as they are, but we have to agree that Sor Cwan isn't the one to lead the Thallonian Empire. I know you agree. I don't think anyone would object - except several officers from the Thallonian Military - the introduction of new rules to maintain a noble lineage in power. The late emperor's son, if well taught, could be a great leader. But, that would demand great courage from someone to stand against the most conservative parts of the Thallonian nobles."

Arbiter S'a'ara let her eyes grow wider, and even managed to cause a slight level of moisture to grow within their depths, further creating a glassy and emotional element as the part-Xenexian shifted her body towards the Thallonian. "And who more courageous than you, Lord Wan? You speak with the late loved Emperor Si Cwan; he trusted you to represent an entire empire in these talks. You are a true Thallonian, beloved advisor and friend of your empire's greatest leader; you are the one to lead it... Regent Skarm Sa."

The retainers and household men and women littering the circular seating around the Atrium looked on, some with interest, and others with blank expressions, as expected of servants and supporters, rather than officials. The Citadel was not a place for the nobles of each nation to throw in their lot: that was done only in their own empires, whilst here the Delegates ruled the roost. Whilst it was difficult for most of the discussions to be heard by those gathered, no doubt some were able to discover what was said... and no doubt some would be dead before their tongues began to wag to rival leaders. However, most knew better than to offend their liege lords, ambassadors and, oft-times, friends and family.

Skarm Sa Wan wasn't a fool; but he was, as S'a'ara has asserted, a greedy man with dreams of greatness for himself. The Thallonian seemed perfectly shook by the idea, but as the words were said to him, the greed, the glory seeking that lived inside him finally won. He took a long moment before speaking. "If I were to do this, Councilors... I would need full support from the Triumvirate Members. And no strings attached. I would need to have full freedom to make the decision for the Empire."

"No one here is suggesting otherwise, Lord Wan", Highert replied. "I can speak for High Leader Danar and I know he would approve of you. And, you can be sure that you'll be leading the Empire until the Cwan linage was in age to retun to power. Stability is something the Angosian Empire seeks from their allies. You, sir, are a stabilizing force among your fellow Thallonians."

That made Wan smile for a moment. "I thank you for your kind words, Councilor Highert. And for your support."

"King C'leb would not wish it any other way," S'a'ara added, attempting to sound as decisive as possible. "The King of Xenex understands the need for strength and leadership, as well as the continuation of a brave and noble line of succession and a fine regent to ensure as such." She tried not to dwell on the fact she had already had her own brother, Prince Cl'm'nt, already removed from the equation. Certainly, her royal father may have had no love for his son, but it was the line of succession. And I have broken it, the Arbiter thought silently to herself, knowing this information would not be common knowledge for a while yet. "I shall communicate with His Grace immediately, to convey our deliberations and gain his royal sanction."

"That would be most appreciated, Lady S'a'ara", replied Lord Wan, eyes glistening with greed.

Councilor Highert gave S'a'ara a slight nod. "I'll do the same, informing High Leader Danar of our deliberatinons and I'm sure he will agree with the decisions made here today."

S'a'ara gave a nod. "Then if there is nothing else, preparations must be made. Of the Xenexian vessels serving myself and in orbit of Vulcan, seven are yours to take to secure the Emperor's son." She looked to Highert, hoping deeply he would do something similar. Should this go to plan, there would be far fewer vessels commanding by captains whose loyalty she could not be entirely sure of. Several had already sworn their ships to her, but not all were to be trusted, and certainly not the Angosian ones, as likely as Highert was to side with her.

"I have full control of the ships in orbit of Vulcan and it will fully committed to the Emperor's son security", added Highert.

"You two honor me with your offers. I accept and along with the ships under my control I'll taken then to Thallon to gather my Emperor and secure the Regency", declared Wan, getting up.

The delegates then went their separate ways, each to their respective chambers in the Citadel to make the necessary arrangements for the coming hours. With Skarm Sa Wan having agreed to be a piece in S'a'ara's game, to be Regent or Lord Protector or whatever title he chose, another of the earliest stages of her planned power shift had already taken place, further facilitating the needs of the many.

"Ah, dear Tin Sel," she said airily, looping a slender arm through her steward's as she approached him, "it has been a truly fine day today, for all peoples without a hereditary title before their name." Her friend and servant remained politely silent as they exited the Atrium and into less formal halls. "I think, to keep the mood merry, I would like to hear a story from Veros. Something entertaining and exciting, perhaps."

The Verosian manservant could tell that his mistress was planning something. She had given the most intriguing performance today but he put it aside for now and honoured her wish.

"Well, my lady, let me tell you about a time of great airships and noble Verosian explorers..."

Next: First Bloody Contact

 

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