The day he took his office was a bloody and dramatic one. George was reflecting on that day as he sipped a cup of golden beanroot, imported from the shores of the Bean of the Firstlands. He sat in a comfortable cushioned chair with velvet embroidering and golden trimming. He was fond of gold and all the frills. The wood fire burned ancient greenbark logs from the forests of the bullet and lit his office with a cosy amber light, all the while filling the room with a pleasant minty smell. The dim light showed the magnificent furnishings of his office. Crimson carpets from the birrsheeps of New Germany covered his old world oaken floors. A morse ivory couch matched a pair of chairs, all facing his desk. The desk was truly the masterpiece of the room. It was mae of dark Greatwood from the depths of the Endless Forest, carved and machined by the second generation architects with intricate calligraphy and carvings of the Age of the Divide, when the great kingdom was split in two, and then reunited with the heroism of great men. The edges were braced with golden plates from the mines of New United to complete the epic appeal of the piece.
George had done a lot to gain access to this room, to become king of the Newlands. He had stood before old Winthrop Bali on the day of his crowning as king of the firstlands. The old man physically blocked the doorway to the throne room, where the old king sat oblivious, his still impressive physique. The old knight had come from Steloc, in the north, and his look still screamed his origin. He had curled blonde hair, long turned grey from his age, and the grey eyes and cold face of the north. He was massive, with broad shoulders and a wide face, burning with honor and devotion to his cause.
George, on the other hand, was a small man. He had a pointy, weasley face with a thick straight beard that almost made up for it. His hair was combed back, how he wore it back then. Winthrop bore down on him with his unyielding look that told him he knew what was about to happen, yet he still stood his ground. The kinsblood vowed to protect the king as if he was kin, and this man took those vows to heart. George admired his loyalty and devotion, but never yielded the advantage not having the honor that the likes of Kinsblood Bali held so dear.
Despite George’s unthreatening build, he had the upper hand in the standoff. A dozen Golden Men stood by his side alone, though there were many others swarming the Newfort. The castle that governed the country was essentially under George’s control for the first time. The vicious mercenaries had been part of the Firstlands since the capitol itself was built. They wore thick vests all over their bodies that protected them from gunfire, as well as heavy golden plates and helmets hiding every part of them under their armour. They swore to hide their faces and renounce their lives when they entered the Golden Men and they wore enough armour to do so. They were the last mercenary group in the world rich enough to carry guns and only the dozen with George did so. But they used them well and pointed them hard at Winthrop with their steel longswords sheathed to back them up.
They were marching through the narrow halls of the capitol building to reach the throne room when they encountered Ser Winthrop Bali standing guard at the throne room door, wielding a greatsword that could slice a colt morse clean in two. He was furious, he did not seem to have anything to say. He glowered upon george with his cold northern eyes with the fury of a dragonsbrood. He spat at George’s feet before he said, “I know you, lowborn scum. You think you’re so great now because you brought yourself to the king’s chamber with all those noble men, but you’re just the same. You’re the same as you were when you squabbled over muddy bread like the rest of the peasant children. You hide behind silly plots to get what you want and you don’t even fight your own battles. Of course you bought some filthy mercs todo your bidding. You won’t touch the king as long as I’m alive. He’s the royal blood no matter his mental state.”
George had no time for the slow pains of the old man’s blind honor. The king was a blubbering fool, drooling on himself now in the throne room. He had no heirs, the last of his line. Someone had to lead, why not him? He ordered the Golden Men to push through the old knight, but he stood his ground and slashed one of the Golden Men in the head with his greatsword. The mercenary was thrown to the ground, George remembered, but he was hardly hurt. Winthrop had shown his inner fury then. His face turned beet red and he bellowed, “I will not stand by and let you steal the country from the royal families descended from the Great Landers!”
“Very Well.” George stated coldly. “Put down the tired old man. It will be the better for us all.” The Golden Man who had been knocked down stood. He took his order and fired between the eyes of the kinsblood, drawing the attention of the court in the throne room. The Golden men rushed in with the orders George had discussed with them ahead of time. They focused fire on the simple minded monarch on the throne as George stepped over the body of Winthrop Bali and followed the chaos.
“Knock, knock, knock.” Hammered into the office suddenly as the fist slammed frantically on the outside of the door. The loud noise shot him back to the present and out of his head. George sat up in his chair and called, “What is it? Come in if you must.” Charl Sway bust in through the heavy wooden door with a loud clamour. He came in wide-eyed and sweating profusely. He took off his wire framed glasses and wiped them off nervously. His thin brown hair was matted with nervous sweat and he struggled to move the long strands from his face as he approached George. There was undoubtedly something up with the young man, fresh out of university. George wondered what this could be calmly, as this was a naturally nervous man anyhow.
For now, George annoyed his obvious discomfort and anxiety with a friendly enough, “Hello Charl. How is my fine captain doing today?” Charl Sway, being a lowborn five star graduate of Andrew’s University, was the captain of science and technologies in the King’s Chamber. George’s appointee, shaking under a thick layer of denim and rubber safety clothes, sat down in one of his elegant chairs beside him. The calming smell of the greenbark burning and the comfortable chairs must have calmed him for a moment. He made a few attempts at talking but stumbled over his words.
Finally, he began to speak, “W-W-We got a transmission...in the radio laboratory.”
George was startled by this. Radio technology had been lost for centuries and he had only just commissioned Charl to work on recovering the technology. The preppie were getting suspicious of the newspapers, even though all they did was slander him. George said, “I thought we were years away from any kind of breakthrough with interchanging transmissions. The landers only left a few radios, and those are all lost.”
“We were, your grace. We could hardly even power up our prototype when it was intercepted. We think it came from… beyond.”
This threw George back. No one had any contact of outer space since the first generation left the old world, since they had landed on Esher and started their grand kingdom. They thought of it had left a bad taste in the mouths of the people of Esher. The thought of the holy Landers, the first generation, living somewhere other than Esher scared them out of their wits, and George knew it. George asked, “Did it say anything? Was it threatening? What does this mean for the Newlands, Charl, or Esher for that matter?”
Charl stammered, obviously still struck by the fear of the message. “It appears to be human, although an old language, from the old world some in my staff have told me.” Suddenly he shuddered again, as though realizing again what the message said. “ It seemed as though it was a warning.”
George was starting to grow nervous. His stomach started to tingle with anxiety, and he was sweating. “A warning of what, Charl. Of what?”