The throne room was empty as the sun rose, basking in the silent light of a new day, but soon the Court would assemble. The representatives from the eight councils would make their yearly needs known to the Empress, and in return she would make demands of each of them.
It was an ancient tradition that even the Empress dare not break.
The Throne was carved from the rare Gold Dragon Marble, it was the only known such example of the rock to exist, and was said to weigh as much as ten castles. It was positioned centrally, with the grand doorway, constructed from the branches of the First-Born Oak, directly in its gaze.
The support columns, four on each side of the chamber, stretched upwards for a quarter mile until they collided with the ceiling - Which was burnt the blackest shade of darkness.
The Empress swayed towards the Throne, her red dress made of a magical silk that clung to her body like water. Her hair was a short, deliberate, yellow. The crown rested atop her head, as naturally positioned as a tree in a forest.
Her blue eyes followed one of the columns up, and up, and up, until the blackness came into her view. She shuddered.
"One should not look at the remnants of evil, Alheri."
She pivoted around, her dress swirling outwards like a hurricane, "and you should not tell an Empress where she should and should not gaze, Lord Synon."
The armour Lord Synon wore was anything but simple. A grass green cloak grew from the shoulders, and the brisk snow white chest plate gleamed with a single emerald buried at its center.
The Lord came from the Sumurad Islands, and his dark skin was evidence of that. The Sumuradie were famous for their skin and eyes, as unlike the other seven council states Sumarad was the only to have people with a more exotic shade, and the only place in all of Aduunka to have people born with green eyes.
"Excuse my words, Empress. I did not mean to offend." His voice was crisp, with a strong Sumurad accent that gave away that this was not his native tongue.
She said nothing, and turned back to look, once again, at the darkness. It left the throne room scarred. Scorching tore across the entire ceiling, one could not look up and not see the marks.
"You say these scorchings are evil, Sumardie, but you are as dark as they are - Does that make you evil too?"She pondered on what she had said, and turned to catch his eye. "Well?"
Synon locked her gaze. "These scorchings were born from evil, Alheri, whereas I was born of man." He took a step further into the room, and it was only now she noticed he was holding a small box.
"You have brought me a gift?"
"It is as much a gift, as you are ugly, Alheri." He bowed, before holding it up for her to take." I am afraid it is a warning."
She reached out for it hesitantly. The Empress grasped it in both hands. "I am not to find some horrid dismemberment in here, am I Lord Synon?" Her words echoed caution.
"I fear what you will find is worse."
She looked down at the box in her hands. It was simple, made from willow wood and twas clearly not meant as a gift. It was held together by a simple latch, which she flicked upwards.
Her fingers coiled around the lid, and lifted it upwards. Her eyes found a note;
"Soon all injustice shall be brought before the eyes of judgement."
She was about to ask the Lord what meaning it had, when she caught sight of the ring that had rested beneath the note. She gasped and dropped the box, the ring falling to freedom on the stone floor with an eerie sound.
It was a heavy, golden ring with detailed engravings on it; "HVE, EE"
"That ring..." She looked at Lord Synon. "Who gave you this?!" Her voice was venomous. "Who?!"
The Lord was stoic despite the fear-filling voice that echoed around him. "Not who, Alheri, what?"
The Empresses eyes widened in realization. "Assemble my Council, Lord Synon." She bent down and picked up the ring, turning it over in her delicate fingers, she slipped it on her middle finger - It was oafishly large for her. She swiftly took it off and pocketed it. "Now, Sumardie! I have a rebel to crush."