In the Year of our Overlords, 2014, there reigns King B, an allegedly crooked and greedy monarch, risen from the putrid swamps of our fair empire of Esteros. He is said to be evil, more evil even than the Dwarf Queen who ruled in the previous epoch. With a heart so black that he will usher in a new Age of Darkness. (No puns or prejudice intended, just working the trope.)
How did King B acquire enormous wealth and power? First of all, megaliths in King B’s domain are allegedly overpriced. He gets a unit or two in each swanky tower within his realm. He and his clan also allegedly own a large fiefdom elsewhere, though nowhere as big as the one owned by Emperor A and clan.
However, King B is so slimy, his alleged thievery is proving hard to pin down. His properties are under the names of dummies – according to two of the dummies. Who, of course, were happy to be dummies until they got smart.
The quest and the fort
Much of this stuff came to light via the Heroic and Righteous Quest of young and daring King C. One born of his desire to seek truth and justice, don’t you know? Except King C (and his wife and siblings) preside over the kingdom bordering an old fort claimed by King B (and his wife and kids).
(Of course none of them really own the fort as it and the surrounding lands, including King B’s kingdom, belong to the ethereal Purebreds from the ancient era while the commerce inside is controlled by Merchant-Wizards. Bear with me, I’m attempting political economy here.)
Anyway, that fort is important. There are luxe bazaars and taverns in there and very swish digs. Foamy milk flows within its cafés. All this is a huge source of kaching, the universal currency of kings.
King C harbors great bitterness that the fort was taken away from his kingdom after a fierce battle. He and his clan have not given up hope, however. They might still be able to win it back – but only if King B does not become emperor. Because if that happens, not only will they lose the fort forever, King C’s dream of becoming emperor will slip further away from his grasp with Emperor B as a powerful enemy. How frustrating. Already, his sister, Princess C, has emerged as the more credible and popular heir. Who needs rivals from other clans, right?
Princesses of the realm
For example, Princess B made her way into the exulted Upper Chamber last year, and there she now sits with King C and Princess C (and C the Elder before them). There was much gnashing and twittering in the salons and cafés all over the land. How dare Princess B pollute that hallowed ground! What had she done to deserve a seat there? She only studied with serfs. She doesn’t even have the complexion of a real princess! She only got there because of her parent.
Wait. What’s that? Emperor A got in for the same reason and is not very learned himself? Shush! How dare you! Emperor A was schooled by posh monks! He is pure of heart! His mother and father were pure of heart! They fought the Tyrant himself!
What’s that again? King B fought the Tyrant, as well, back when he was a knight allied with Emperor A’s revered parents. Oh, yeah. Whatever.
But Emperor A’s sisters have not forgotten this. In fact, Princess A (also known as Queen of All M, very confusing) has boldly announced that even though her brother favors another successor, she looks kindly upon King B because he has always been there for her clan.
Besides, Princess A and Prince B used to be sweet on each other, remember? King B could have been her father-in-law! The House of A and the House of B almost became the House of AB, united by the merger of blood types.
Hang on, so they’re not really enemies? Work it out, serfs and vassals. We’ve been through this many times.
The future of Esteros
Will King C vanquish King B and throw him into a dungeon? Not likely. Because if he pisses King B off too much, there will be a very messy war. They don’t want that, they’ve got too much to protect.
The worst he can do is damage King B’s popularity among the peasants. This is why he has picked public stoning as his means of attack. Don’t you think that if he had a boulder he would have hurled it by now and crushed King B once and for all? No, he’s been throwing rocks and pebbles.
My guess is that when the smoke clears, King B will emerge a bit bruised but nowhere near a dungeon and King C will probably have exacted something from him. Whether it’s revenge or concessions, who knows?
Will King B surrender and give up his ambition to be emperor? Doubt it. This is one tough bastard – an orphan who made himself king. That’s one hell of a superpower in any mythology that involves ancestry.
Now that King B has his own spawn entrenched and a vast alliance of warlords across the empire, he’s only going to dig in. It will be a long siege, grab a deck chair.
Will Emperor A take King B down then? He’s on some sort of Crusade along the Straight and Narrow Path, right? Surely he’ll see to it that a corrupt successor never takes his throne.
Problem is, his Anointed Successor appears to be, how to put this delicately, an Incompetent Fool. King B has already trounced AS IF once. You think Emperor A wants to be punished for his own misdeeds once King B wipes the floor with AS IF a second time?
All together now: What misdeeds? He is pure of heart! His parents are pure of heart! He is the fountain of all morality!
Shut up, we all need to snap out of the magic spell cast by his sainted mother because the fact is Emperor A distributed billions of public kaching to his friends and allies so that they could, uh, do their work faster. This act was so brazen that the Sacred Cows, este, Supreme Council defied him and slapped it down. Unanimously. Read the scrolls and the SCRA.
So Emperor A is likely to play it safe with King B. In any case, he has Princess A and his sisters as insurance.
Ah, Princess A. One day she might just be Empress A, the third in the succession. She’s had a lot of OJT, too, you know. Why, recently, she even welcomed a foreign king on behalf of her brother. This is a task usually reserved for officials of the empire but she got the role, being uniquely qualified as a gracious and chatty host(ess).
She even brought along her dear friend and factotum, the Keeper of the Magic Mirror. One day, this duo might just end up ruling our empire together. Shudder. Barf. Scream.
Let’s stop kidding ourselves then. This tale will end the same way it has always ended: with you and me truly and royally f&*cked. As ever. The End. – Rappler.com