Jackson Li. Or more properly, Emperor Li. His name had a nice ring to it, I think. Li was a youthful, intelligent man who stepped up to bat when Tolmaeus passed away. He had reformative ideas that excited the people of Te Jaan Song, and his will was as steady and sturdy as an iron horse. Several corrupt individuals had vied for their place on the throne, but Li was influential enough to expose them and derail their campaigns for power.
The people loved Emperor Li. Many were convinced that the Blue Empire had entered a Golden Age after his ascension to the throne. Those who were corrupt in the Supreme Council despised him. Of the twelve members composing the Council, Li ended up replacing seven. But he only did so after approval from the people. He always considered the people first. Some were even audacious enough to crown him “the most selfless man in the Woodland”.
An era of prosperity ensued, and Emperor Li took full advantage of it. He doubled exploration efforts, supported the funding of ambitious scientific research, and kicked into high gear the “Killian Clean-up”. He strengthened the bond with Allem Raush, and even invited Emperor Ambrose down to the Island Provinces for a friendly diplomatic get-together.
Towards the end of Tolmaeus’ reign, Bromid had grown slightly apart from Te Jaan Song. The Bromish felt that the Blue Empire was no longer desirous of their friendship on account of the Red Empire’s timely intercession. Emperor Li, in his amiable greatness, made amends to the Blue Empire’s loyal ally. Bromish leader Czedara (Zay-dahr-ah) Pavlov appreciated Li’s sincerity and claimed “Emperor Li is a man who’s earned his metal!”
From where did this mysterious Jackson Li character arise? No one is quite sure. He claims to have been a middle-ranking soldier in the Killian War, fighting in the last battles of the Island Provinces. He claimed to have fought under General Hau’s command, but to my own memory I never recalled seeing him. It’s possible we never met, but equally possible that he was lying. He had friends who claimed he fought in General Hau’s division, but still no one I recognized. Regardless of his previous whereabouts, it was obvious that he was a natural born Blue. His skin was moderately tan, his hair dark and thick, and he was easily six feet in height. He had shrewd emerald eyes that pierced where ever their master directed them, and his general personality was that of reserved audacity. It seemed that the goddess of leadership had chosen to dip him in a river of invincibility, and there was yet to be found an Achilles’ heel.
For about a year, Emperor Li led a country of pure greatness. Together, he and Emperor Ambrose created a magnificent sphere of influence that spread countless miles across the earth. The greatness of Emperor Li was even spoken of on the Allem Raush home continent, Mischuvia (Mish-yoo-vee-uh). Te Jaan Song became well-known on the foreign continent, and many countries were envious of the seemingly unbreakable alliance between the Red and Blue Empires.
It was truly unthinkable that something undesirable could spring from such a beautiful courtship between Empires. And yet, they say betrayal lies dormant in the hearts of even our closest friends, only waiting to be awakened.
I have no doubt that the people of the Red Empire still feel a twinge of pain when they remember that day. That day when the headlines read: Spy of Te Jaan Song Discovered and Killed in the Capital of Allem Raush.