Seas of Crimson (2)

The King:

Nestled in the green blanket that was Kononia Bay like a small child, there was a great city, a cluster of many buildings surrounding a magnificent palace and surrounded by a mighty stone wall. Everywhere, marble columns stood erect and statues praised Zeus and Olympus for Dorotia’s prosperity. For the city was called Dorotia, the northernmost city in the kingdom of Hanalia. There, the quarry rang with the noise of labor, the vast forests were silent and peaceful, the fields were golden and voraciously being harvested, the vast city itself bustled with activity, and the harbor was bustling with the comings and goings of ships with soldiers, travelers, and goods to distant islands at the edge of the map.

In the shadows of the vast, cold, marble palace at the center of the city, Emperor Caniro, the ruler of Dorotia, bowed his head in thought as he sat atop his golden throne. A table lay in front of him. His hands splayed out across a map of his area of the ocean, and he would move little pieces around the map then, with a grunt of disapproval, would put them back and move them to a new position. A man in a navy blue cloak entered the large throne room and bowed before the emperor.

            “My lord, there is great news from our northern sector.”

The emperor looked up and gestured for the man to go on.

Slyly smiling, the blue-robed man continued. “Our miners in the mountain have sent word of something incredible. We have found a huge deposit of something extremely rare and hugely valuable in our mines. It is something legendary, something that will change our lives. It is something of what value I am sure cannot be known.”

Growing slightly agitated, the emperor demanded, “Well, what is it then?”

“My lord, our miners have discovered arlaenm in the stone.”

            Emperor Caniro looked up with wide eyes from the tactical map. An old ruler with very light brown, wrinkly skin and a beard that could have been easily mistaken for sheep’s wool, a platinum crown encrusted with aquamarines atop his head, Emperor Caniro considered his advisor’s statement with pleasant surprise, turning slowly into a laugh that filled the room with a merry atmosphere that had not existed around the aging king for many years.

“Do you know what this means, my son?” he asked.

The man in the blue robes nodded, a grin crossing his lips. “Yes, father. Shall I call forth a meeting in the square?"

Emperor Caniro fingered the heaviest ring on his little finger. "Yes. Alert the city guards; everyone must be there at precisely noon."

The emperor's son bowed and left the room. The emperor simply sat motionless for the long wait until the meeting, staring hungrily at the map and all its little pieces. As noon approached, the emperor reached into the folds of his robe, bringing out a new piece onto the board. It was a carved cylinder of purplish-black metal, meticulously formed in the shape of a tower. Before night came the rest of that day, the shadow coming from the tower would spread across nearly all of the map; but at that moment the sun entered the room from only the opening in the ceiling. As Emperor Caniro strode from his throne to the city square, there was no shadow yet.

The End

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