Chapter 4: Zahariel (part 1)Mature

Kaileana sat on the red velvet throne in the imperial throne room. It was a large rectangular shaped room with a semi cylindrical glass ceiling running down the middle which turned to stone and got progressively thicker. Six twenty metre tall marble pillars on either side supported above the tilled floor. A member of her Iron  Guard stood vigilant between each pillar. The throne was on a slightly raised platform. Behind her a banner hung twenty metres long and two wide boasting the imperial flag. On the opposite end of the throne room where the ceiling lowered vertically there was a map of the known world with its various kingdoms,countries and empires. The Serenton empire represented a healthy dark red percentage of it.

Today she wore a sleeveless dark blue dress that came down to her ankles  and up to her shoulders, tied with a gold sash. Her hair was loose today which came down to her shoulders and was raided with several gems.She wore two clockwork devices which covered her hands and forearms. Each had four claws that moved in response to her fingers. Her symbols of office. Each was covered in a layer of gold but was actually made from aluminium. She enjoyed slowly moving a finger and watching the little gears move in response, and with more power.  She leaned forward, her chin resting on her fist so it only touched cold metal. Not bored but enough to tell those who came before her not to.

The man presently in front of her was a withered man in his late fifties she guessed. his skin was wrinkled at his eyes and mouth and was lightly freckled. He held his leather duster hat held in his hands out of respect. He wore a brown long coat. He came from Arakesh, a small country bordering north of the eastern desert.

"So the komunnite will not buy your produce anymore?"she asked. "Fraid so, your majesty" he replied with the twang associated with natives from Arakash. "Wont trade or nothin, and they've gone self sufficient and nationalist, just about no one can move in or out anymore and they've ceased trade with plenty of their neighbours". Kaileana perked up slightly at that. "I had not realised things had gotten that bad" she said sympathetically.

The Komunnite kingdom had always been a fascist state, but never this extreme. Arakash bordered right with them. "And what would your people request in return?" she inquired. "Medicine mostly, our climate can be quite arid and we cannot grow a great variety of plants to make it ourselves. They also supplied us with weapons to keep the marauders at bay". "Marauders?" Kaileana asked. "I believe you call them barbarians, your majesty" he answered.

"I do not see why we cannot come to an arrangement " she said, flashing a diplomatic smile. "I must consult my military advisers first you understand, the Komunnite are not very friendly with us. The man gave a flamboyant bow, arm swinging. "Divines bless you your majesty" He said, before turning on his heel and walking out the double door entrance to the throne room.

"Divines?" Kaileana asked Hargreave. He stood next to her in a scarlet suit. "Arakash has seen the Cosmoainian faith take hold in recent years"he replied "And how industrialised is the Komunnite now, they only had trains and muskets when i was a child. "They are not as advanced or industrialised as us, but they have made significant leaps since then your majesty" he said . Kaileana  nodded thoughtfully. " I would have liked to place military bases in Arakash but given this news, I would rather see what the Komunnite is planning, things are tense enough between us as it it" "Indeed your majesty, I believe the only reason we have not seen war s because our borders do not actually touch" Hargreave said. "It will be inevitable" she sighed she detested the thought of having to go to war. It was so wasteful, so pointless

At that moment Anderson walked in through a passage to her left.  He smiled at her as he entered and she returned the gesture. She had actually got him to stop saying "Your majesty" last night. It had just been Kaileana and Terrance as they talked into the night. They had talked about many things. Her coping with being empress, the tales his brother told him from the places he went trading, Life for her growing up in the sky district which was still being built at the time. t had only been considered officially finished when she was nineteen, though it was occasionally added to.  Maybe her message was starting to get across to him

"You finished the new posting arrangements already?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.He replied "Indeed your  majesty, I expect district reports every two hours". As of now specialized guard units were posted on rooftops. If the assassins ever tried there in future, it would not be ideal."Please stay for a while then" she said. He stood at her left side.

She pressed a small button on the under side of the thrones right armrest. Another man in a scarlet suit, John came in. He looked very anxious. "Your majesty may I present to you a man who will only refer to himself as Zahariel, he is reluctant to say who he represents only that he has information of great value". He hurried out just as Zahariel walked in.

He wore a black cloak with a hood that completely concealed his face. He made no sound as he walked up the tiled floor towards her. She noticed several of her Iron Guard growing uneasy and she did  not blame them. There was something dark about this man. He stopped at the slightly reddish tiles metre before her where all visitors were supposed to stop. Someone accustomed to imperial ways then Kaileana realised.

He gave a deep bow. "Your majesty" he  said in a deep croaky voice. Kaileana wore a mask of calm, she would not be intimidated at the very heart of her empire."Show me your face,I will not speak with a man who hides like this" she ordered. Silence. "I said remove your hood Zahariel" she spoke, with a hint of anger. He began to laugh weakly,  a dry coughing sound like sandpaper sheets rubbing off each other. Anderson went for his pistol. "Relax Honoured Commander" Zahariel said raising a hand.

He slowly reached up with both hands and removed his hood. Underneath was a slightly pale face, wrinkled at the corners of her mouth and eyes. His scale was bald and covered inn intricate tattoos. His iris' glowed a dark emerald green. Both Anderson and Hargreave flinched slightly at this but Kaileana fought to remain unfazed. "Now, what information do you bring before he she inquired. Zahariel smiled and then replied "I know how to find the assassins you are looking for"

The End

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