The News from Slana
Tulefore City was the hub and the capital of the empire, connecting the lands of the nation’s origin, with the sea that led to their colonies far away. The city stretched out along the coastline that met with the calm seas. In the southern section of the city were the wide landings for the Tuleforian fleet as they arrived and departed. In the vicinity was also a fine shipyard, where the sea craft were born. Further inland were the workshops of the artisans and craftsmen that allowed the city to prosper.
The northern section of city was bordered by the smaller of the two ports, from where the fishermen would depart and later bring in their hauls. The bounty of the sea was sold at the nearby market, where those who worked the land would also be able to bring their harvests for selling or bartering off. Even farther at the tip of the city was the Royal Asterium, one of the schools of magics that trained the talented magi to later serve the kingdom.
Dominating the center of the city was a wide, rocky outcropping that stretched out over the water. Upon it was built the finest castle in all the land, housing the Royal family and those who served them. The great hall was the tallest section of the structure, and above it, the rooms in which those of noble blood dwelled. The southern wing was where the kitchens and storerooms were located, as well as the quarters of the servants and cooks. The towers of the northern wing contained the dungeon, an armory, library, and more rooms for those of power to use, such as those certain magi who were of direct service to the royal family.
Terren, the nephew to the present emperor, Manek, was assigned to the duty of accepting an official arriving from across the sea that day. The wide ship of light-colored wood had been directed into the slip by the skilled dock-hands and held safely in place while the gangplank was lowered to the wooden platform below. Terren stood at a welcoming pose as the hefty, older man came down from the deck, an aide carefully walking behind him.
“Welcome home, Medan.” The young man greeted.
The official glanced at him as he stepped down onto the wooden boards. “Ah, young Terran.” The man sighed. “It feels good to be on solid ground again. How is Manek, and your father as well?”
“In proper health, as always.” Terren took the back of Medan’s hand and led him up the dock to the stone embankment. The nearby flight of stairs carved into the hillside allowed for a shorter passage up to the castle. “We only spotted your ship and the flags you were flying a few hours ago. What news do you wish to bring?”
Medan stood before the first tread of the wide stairway and grimaced. “Best wait for your father to begin discussing of it,” he said with a sigh before beginning the arduous climb. “It shouldn’t… be put… on you to worry about such things.”
Terren bit his lip and continued up after the official, carefully posing himself to catch the man should he happen to fall backward. Their destination was the Castle’s hall, where the Emperor and Prince-Elector were awaiting him.
Emperor Manek Auriline was a profuse man, a lover of the things the forces of the empire would bring back home from the far-away lands. Examples of such beloved tastes were just outside the walls of the city, a farm filled with unique animals, plants, and spices that had been long ago brought on ships from across the seas to be bred and grown for his consumption. When he had arisen to the throne after his mother, Katherine Auriline, passed of old age, one might have considered him a more restrained fellow, albeit still a certain lover of the kitchen’s fare.
Over the years, Manek, and likely the empire overall, had become comfortable with the current state of the expanse of their influence and power. In such a standing, his highness had fallen to a mindset of only the day-to-day passing of time, and likely when his next meal would be provided to him. Soon enough, those in support of his rein had allowed him to pass as a simple figurehead for the kingdom, appearing to pass word onto the people of Tulefore, while others worked behind the scenes. His brother and second in line to the throne, Danus Auriline, had stepped down from military leadership to take on the title of Prince-Elector, and fill in the void in power.
Both men, as well as the servants and guards of the Castle, were awaiting the arrival of the official in the great hall. Manek had taken to one of his snacks sitting upon the armrest of the throne while they awaited the arrival of their unforeseen guest. Danus was marching about the steps in front of his brother when the guard signaled Terren and Medan’s entry through the tall doors.
The young man paraded toward his father and uncle with the official from overseas in tow. “Your Highness, Prince-Elector, I present you Viceroy Medan, coming to us today from across the sea from his home in Slana.”
Danus patted his son on the shoulder and allowed him by his side. “Medan, welcome. You were flying flags of distress, from what the watch told us. What news do you bring from Slana?”
Medan held at his stomach. “Terrible, I say you. They’re revolting.”
“Oh my.” Manek hummed, barely taking time to chew some of the nuts he was midway through consuming. “How are the gardens there fairing?”
Medan pursed his lips. He stepped up before the throne, looking the emperor in the eye, then passing further to the far end of the hall. The window making up the rear wall was made of fine stained glass and looked out upon the deep green waters of the sea. “I remain worried for my friends in the villa there… if they even are able to remain there safely. Even those tame few of the populace may be suffering quite the affair.”
Danus caught sight of the castle guards making questionable glances about. He treaded up behind the Viceroy and took his shoulder. “Come, we shall discuss this in a place we may sit- my office? Are you hungry? As you know, the kitchens always having something going.”
Medan rubbed on his stomach in circular motions. “Ah, yes, wonderful. I’d love to have something not of a rat-infested nature, we didn’t have much time to prepare before we set out. I was just telling your son here of finding it nice back upon solid ground as well.”
Danus nodded in agreement as the words passed his ears. He caught Terren’s eyes with a beckoning look. “I’ll be right after you, Viceroy. Terren, I’d like you to find Silvus? This may become an issue of involving our forces.”