Chapter 12: The Emperor and the General
Meanwhile, outside of Solomon’s Passage in the ruins of Cariias, General Gulez and a handful of his best, most loyal men found themselves surrounded by the 5th Regiment of the 8th Division of Emperor’s Army. They were now armed with heavy plasma blasters in addition to their edged weapons…an upgrade in weapons ordered by the Emperor because of their failure to capture Hannibal and his team. In the short firefight that followed, all of Gulez’s people were slaughtered and he was captured and bound. Twelve hours later, he found himself before the Emperor in heavy ropes inside the throne room of the Black Fortress.
The Emperor looked down sourly from his throne as several guards and the captain of the squad that had captured him brought Gulez forward. “What have you brought me?” the Emperor hissed. “Who is this worm?”
With all the hate and venom of hell, Gulez snarled, “I’m no worm. I am General Ramone Garcia Gulez!”
“Silence, outlander!” the captain shouted, pummeling Gulez with his armored fist. “You dare to address the Emperor of all mankind? You will die for that insolence!”
The captain drew his sword and was about to strike when the Emperor rose from his throne and said forcefully, “Hold your sword, captain.”
Immediately, the captain bowed and put his sword away, saying, “Yes, my Lord Emperor.”
The Emperor looked down at Gulez with mix of loathing and curiosity. The guards hauled Gulez to his feet as the Emperor stopped at the edge of the dais. A trickle of blood oozed from Gulez’s mouth and he spit as he looked up at the Emperor. “I’ll have your fucking heads for this!” Gulez roared. “I didn’t come here looking for a fight with you. I came in pursuit of the renegade Beowulf and his accursed crew. I’ll have his spine as a trophy!”
The Emperor smiled evilly and ordered, “Release him.”
Immediately, the guards cut him loose and Gulez lashed out at the guard that freed him. Once his hands were free, his arm shot out instantaneously, grabbing the guard that freed him by the throat before he could respond. Gulez raised him off the ground by the neck and he cursed and swore, “No one treats me like this and gets away with it! I’ll break your fucking neck!”
Three other guards moved to restrain Gulez, but the Emperor shouted, “Leave him be!” The Emperor smiled wickedly, getting a perverse sense of pleasure from the spectacle before him. Gulez strangled the guard with one hand, and then snapped the man’s neck before throwing him ten feet. The man landed in a heap, dead. The Emperor clapped and praised Gulez with glee, “Bravo! Bravo! Well done!” He descended the dais to the main floor of the throne room and stood before Gulez, who had been taken back by the praise of his actions. “Do you know who I am?” the Emperor asked, his physical stature towering over Gulez’s seven foot height.
The Emperor’s immediate presence and stature subdued Gulez as he answered coldly, “No, should I?”
The Emperor’s eyes suddenly lit up and his countenance changed. The guards immediately back away as the Black Prince began to manifest through his body. His visage twisted and changed, reflecting the Black Prince’s attributes. “I am Zaros Sar Keleb, Lord of Amacia and Emperor of all mankind,” the Emperor declared icily. “Whether you like it or not, we’re allies. Beowulf is our greatest enemy. He poses a threat to us all that you can’t even begin to fathom. The fact that you have pursued him here after your apparent inability to terminate him as ordered by my operatives on the surface shows that you may still be of use to me. Do you still want his head on a plate?”
A smile crept across Gulez’s face as he hissed, “Yes! He has made a mockery of me too many times. I’ll see him dead and his head mounted on my wall.”
“Well, my friend, I can help you,” the Emperor said. Then to the guards, he said sternly, “Leave us.” The guards immediately bowed and left the throne room. “Now, my friend, let’s talk about Beowulf and his pestilent friends,” the Emperor said, putting his giant hand on Gulez’s shoulder.
Gulez smiled evilly and thought, Finally, I’ve found someone I can use to get my revenge.