My Giraffe (Zebra) Call is open!
It was the day past the Autumnal Equinox, and the Emperor wasn’t dead.
The Rothenkill Empire, a wide-spanning mass of bureaucrats, generals, courtiers, financiers, farmers, and clerks, waited with their collective breaths held.
The servants of the Emperor moved slowly and carefully, as if their heads might fall off if they went about their tasks too quickly, or if they said the wrong thing.
Everyone was waiting. Everyone was confused. And almost everyone was worried.
In the Rothenkill Empire, it was said that the Emperors fell with the leaves. And, like leaves, it was known that sometimes, the Emperors needed a little push, a helpful shove.
So where was the shove?
“This is nor normal,” complained the Chief Financier in charge of budgets. “What are we going to do? Someone should do something.”
“Someone has to do something,” complained the Head Bureaucrat in charge of law distribution, re-writing, and deletion.
“Won’t someone do something?” pleaded the General of the Imperial Armies. “He’s starting to give orders that make sense and can’t be ignored! What are we going to do if we can’t ignore him?”
The Emperor, snug on his throne, pretended he could hear none of this. He hadn’t ascended to the Poison Throne by looking or acting particularly bright, after all. None of his predecessors had, either, not in decades, possibly not in centuries.
“The problem is,” muttered a person serving as a handmaiden, “nobody remembers how.” Her grandmother had once helped off three emperors in a row, but that had been when you got a class of emperor that sometimes needed a shove. “And with this one, I’m not going to risk it.”
And the Emperor smiled as the empire – the mass of functionaries that had killed his father, his grandfather, and countless of his various uncles and cousins – began to crumble under its own confusion.
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