Shannow listened to the others argue; he wasn't fond of having to shout over a disagreement, but his eyebrow raised when the Propaganda Minister suggested a premature vote. As silence fell, the Intelligence Chief spoke:
"Before I speak, may I take a moment to reinforce an important point. We, the Council, represent the combination of the best our Empire has to offer in terms of talent and ability. All of us have been elected by their peers, or proven worthy by the fruits of their efforts; the notable exceptions being the miLady Admiral, who fought for the right to inherit her fathers position and thus proved her suitability. Our function is to lead our nation for it's best interests, and, may I ask, who better?"
"Now, we come to the way in which we may best serve our Empire. The Emperor is old, and the light of his reason, which one led us forward, is now dim, and a replacement must be found. His son, thankfully, is discounted; for nepotism, while allowed, is not a legal requirement. The Brother, on the other hand, is, while brilliant, aware of his brilliance, which is a damning character flaw. He is, moreover, a military man, and in his hands the Empire will begin wars on multiple fronts, for glory rather than need. It will be draining to our resources, upsetting to our people, and, I believe, a dangerous step toward the great wars of the End Times."
His eyes, in his speech, had moved across the room, and on his last point, met those of the Priestess. He paused, then continued, allowing his eyes to move again,
"And so, we come to ask who should take the throne instead. Well, I have no definite answer, but I can offer you a method. What we need is a young man, of modest means but good name, and the breeding and charm that comes best from the Old Houses, those noble bloodlines that have been the veins of our Empire for as long as we remember. His breeding should be good enough to impress the other Houses, yet from one of the houses that, in the upheavals of this modern age, fallen on hard times, so that he will be thankful indeed one ascending to the throne, and modest in his habits afterward."
"He will need to be a charismatic leader. Perhaps we can contrive to have him succeed in battle somewhere, and make a hero of him," he looked to the Lord Commander, "But importantly, he must be popular with the lower classes." He looked then to the Propaganda Minister,
"Most of all, though, he will be someone who will listen when we tell him to. Doubtless he will have good ideas, but our roll will be to guide him in what he really wants for the Empire. We will write the documents and send the commands, and of course his signatures will go upon them, but it will remain our job, as it should be, to safeguard this Empire through to the peace and prosperity it deserves."
He fell silent, and waited for the responses.
Christopher thought on the newly put forward plan before speaking. To him the brother still seemed the best option for a quiet succession with little question. The Emperor found his son unfit and so instead put his brother up. It seemed though that at least some did not share his belief.
"I will be honest and admit my leaning is still for the brother. However, should you find this person of which you speak I would be willing to reconsider the position I take on this. I do have one quality of my own to add, this person must be learned. I do not like the idea of having an emperor who has no will and thought of his own. He should still be able to put forward solutions that are more than simply telling us to handle it. If he is not at least capable of making a decision, I think it impossible to even make the populace believe he can rule them effectively. I am also not fond of grooming someone to be a council puppet, even if it should increase our own status and active power. Unfortunately as it sounds so far this is the plan put forward."
"Yes, I believe an older youth would be better. Not so easily moved, capable of independent thought. One that already bears the marks of the man he will become, and not one that only shows promise."
She closed her eyes for a minute, wishing she could take a nap, but it looked like there were more important, time-consuming things to be discussed. In the upcoming Solis gathering, she would start to try and get the people accustomed to the idea of a new ruler. The crowning of a new emperor would have to be as painless as possible to avoid revolt.
"His age is less important than his ability to give our suggestions due consideration. Of course, his are the decisions, but ours in the expertise on which he draws." Shannow smiled, glad that the idea was being considered. Perhaps this could be a means by which the secession could be resolved with satisfaction for all.
"He should be neither too old and conservative to hear us, nor too young and impulsive to take heed. Of course, there will be a thousand other requirements, and no case will be accepted purely on formulaic basis. Each individual will be considered in council, but I will have my agents begin the investigations immediately."
Julian sat silently and recorded while listening to everyone else. The idea of a child ruler did have some appeal to him. Tiberius was just as likely to be plagued by the same infirmities as his brother. If he was appointed he would only be a short term solution before his health began to fail as well, then they could find themselves in this same position if he lapsed into madness as well. A child could be groomed to be a ruler who start and oversee a Golden age for the Empire. A hero for it's citizens. However Julian had no doubt that Roderick also wanted someone he could manipulate, and as the child's advisor he coud easily sway the child. He would have to spend most of his time making sure that didn't happen.
Renard sat back, snacking on the food that was provided. It was then when Roderick spoke out is when he truly listened to every word he spoke. The idea of a young man rang true in his head; of noble birth, a military career if possible for Julian and Christopher to make a hero of.
"You're essentially searching for perfect Emperor I see it?" Renard remarked. "On a much more serious note, I do support your words Lord Shannow. The Empire needs someone strong, not only in physical sense but in the mental, psychological, philosophical, etc. I would only contribute that whoever that candidate be, they must either have very little leadership experience. Hear me out, if said candidate already has been in a leadership role then they already attain a sense of style to their ruling. To build up on what the others have said, we can mold what the new Emperor thinks to what we see as most beneficial to the Empire. I'm not proposing an idiot be put on the throne but neither am I saying a stubborn knave should be put on either."
"I'd also like it if they have a clean criminal record too..." He joked.
"Of course," nodded Shannow, "The suggested candidate must be unimpeachable, obviously. I take it, then, that there are no objections to my commencement of the search?"
As he spoke, he wrote the relevant orders in open language, ready to sign and pass to Daniel.
Morris sighed and listened to the discussion regarding Shannow's idea. Between him and Roderick, it seemed all the suggestions for a new Emperor involved chasing after dreams. There was nothing wrong with hoping for the best, it just seemed a little odd to hear such naive goals from men his own age. "If such an exceptional individual exists, should we not have been aware of him by now? If you truly wish to search for such a person, I will not object to how you utilize your own resources, but I feel Renard said it best by saying we are searching for the perfect Emperor." Morris said as he made a few mental notes to have any men he could spare keep an eye on Shannow's search. If he did turn up the new Emperor, it would be best if Morris could contact the individual and get on good terms with him quickly.
Roderick sits in his chair listening for a while to Julian and Shannow go back and forth.
"You'know Shannow. Nomatter who we put on the throne. Nobody is perfect. And Julian here obviously thinks that anyone who can be swayed by words is imperfect. So we will have to get past that first, eh?. Julian, I must object. You speak of swaying as if it is inherently a bad thing. Infact it is my job as the Royal Advisor to advise Emperors on subjects towards what they think is the best course of action. If the person cannot be swayed, we cannot advice him on anything. And I cant do my job. I think getting somebody with the ability to think for himself is nice, but we should not go looking for a brick wall. An open-minded person if you will."
Roderick waits for people to get attention to him.
"Now I have reasons to believe that you may think my job as useless, but I find the accusations laid against me as unfair. In all the time I've been the royal advisor, disagree with the council's decision or not. I have always brought a clean and clear version to the emperor that he may judge on his own. I find the way that you have been treating me, while somewhat justified by suspicion. To be very uncivil. I think you may have something personal against me, I warn you. As you said before we have the responsibility of the largest empire in the whole known world. You should not get personal feelings in the way of work. I may come from the lower classes of Nobility. But I am the best at what I do, and know. That I always seek the best for the Great Empire, in which I have the honor of serving at the side of many influencial people"
Roderick tones down his voice a little.
"Now, I get the picture that there is general favor in Shannows modified version of my original plan. Know, that I support this aswell. Getting someone on the throne so that the people can see they still have an emperor is important. The people are getting a bit unruly from not having seen one all through summer. Just this morning I had to go through a few letters of concern myself"
"My concern is that an easily moved emperor will listen to anything all too easily. No questions, no hesitations. If you tell a child to move the armies north, do you think he shall question the motive mi'lord? The cost? I am not implying that you have not been a good adviser, but I want to point out you advised a king, not a boy. I agree with the modified plan."
Her voice was small and quiet. Since the second plan seemed to have more support, she felt that her vote or thoughts weren't necessarily warranted.
Alice perked up from her chair. A combination of headache and rot-gut had captured her attention through most of the discussion, but she'd caught the main points. And the main contentions. A young man, nearing adulthood but still moldable, would be found and raised to the position of emperor. It was far from inspired but there was little to reasonably object to. No other proposed ruler came through with fewer flaws, and with no one else's bid to support there was only her support to throw behind this bid.
"Personally", she spoke up from her chair, unpainted fingers massaging her temple while a little frozen smile presented itself to the room. "I see no reasonable objection to this plan. The only thing I can say is that it will take some time to review and inspect the children of every noble in the empire. And with that in mind I'd also like to point out that, for the moment, our king is still in authority. It may be appropriate for Lord Roderick to announce an official period of successive council. If the king had died and we were looking for his heir, it would be obvious that the council would have de-facto rulership of the nation until such time as an heir was decided on. I think it's prudnent we move to this state before such times as our king declares another war. Perhaps on fish-merchants this time."
She closed her eyes for a moment, tiredly. "Oh," she interjected, faining excitement but still not openening her eyes "Also, when and where is this party? I must have a little time to prepare."
"For the Third time, Lady Alice. The party is cancelled. Now on to more 'important' matters"
He turns his head to face Julian, lifting his eyebrow a little before standing up to look at Shannow. And then back to Alice.
"You know that I cannot just tell the emperor to crown a random noblemans brat? He himself seems to have forgotten how old he is, I doubt he would be able to remember that his sick. And in that case I doubt that he would give up his crown so willingly, and it would be for the best now that the Emperor is still alive that he crown the new emperor in person. So I might either have to convince him that his sick, or spill it to the public. And even a moments weakness, a short moment. Is enough for the sharks out there to begin showing their teeth. I think an official announcement would be too deadly to bear. We need to find the noblekid, and strike fast. That is, before those who may doubt in loyalty have time to use this de-facto ruling as an excuse to start a small rebellion against us, some riots. Im sure its nothing we cant handle, but we would do better without. What im saying is, I want to avoid an official announcement. The less the potential enemies know, the better. We just have to find the new emperor fast"
The direction of the topic had been nearly dropped, and the Lord Chancellor turned to the old book he brought with him. None were dependant on him speaking, so he added little. Then he heard about the exchange between the Admiral and Vizier. He closed his eyes to assemble the thoughts in his head.
"Then why are we fretting over small problems?" Now wasn't a time to be patient or explanatory; most already know the stakes and just need a verbal shaking. The words came out faster with a tinge of intensity and perturbance. "If for any reason the people in this council are dissatisfied with the Empire's future - for money, power, prestige, or sheer fear of change - then stop complaining about how bad our future is and make a choice!"
He cleared his throat for one more topic to bring up. His voice returning to a calmer slower pace but the intensity only slightly lessened. "As for celebrating the prince's birthday, I see no reason why it needs to be cancelled. Besides. I think most here would welcome an event of pomp and circumstance over another day of headaches."
While the argument continued, Shannow murmurs to his aide, "No reason why there shouldn't be a party. Get in touch with the Admiral, see if we can't have a friendly gathering at the town house"
Daniel nodded, replying equally low, "Perhaps invite some others form the council? Those who approve of a little celebration, of course."
Sharrow allowed himself a smirk of pride, "You read my mind, Daniel," was all he said. By then, it was his turn to reply.
He did not trouble to stand, but he allowed into his voice the resonance he had learned on the cavalry parade ground. Form within his ruined frame, it no longer boomed, but the tone remained, that of one who had led a charge against certain death.
"We have nothing to fear from the rabble rousers and petty rioters. Do you doubt that the Bureau does it job? Besides, should some foreign power raise our people against them, we have the castle, your guards, the hole army. Even if they could raise our people against us, it would be nothing."
"I, too, support the idea of an Interregnum. Let is be known that the Emperor is ill of body rather than mind, and institute Council rule until the succession can be secured."
He paused, then continued softly, "The Emperor needn't even know. Feed him reports of glorious victories, and maybe, in a month, tell the world that he is too weak to rule. He would be peacefully pacified, and we would be free to chose our own sovereign."
"What has the Council to say?"
"If the Emperor is to step down it would be best for it to seen as by his own volition. While it will be difficult to get the Emperor to do this, we'd ensure that people will accept the legitimacy of the new ruler. If we have to announce ourselves that the Emperor is unfit to rule and replace him then others will question the legitimacy of this succession, and we will face opposition from those who feel they have a better claim to the thrown. In short, the most important piece is to ensure the Emperor recognizes any new Sovereign, and if possible, steps down personally. That second part will be no easy task given his current state." Julian responded to Shannow's query.
"The subject should also be known to the public before he's crowned, if someone anonymous is put on the throne it will undermine the people's trust. It will be easy enough for my ministry to endear them to the people so long as there is a bit of time." Julian added.
"I will make it known now my preference is still for the brother. I will cast my vote only once a new heir has been put forward by those advising this kind of action. I will not vote to put any plan into motion based on pure chance and hopes alone. So for now I will respectfully decline to vote." Christopher said, passing without signing to anything. He had almost forgotten himself in the chance to find a better ruler. The prince was not ideal in any way, but these people were wanting to put a plan into action in the hope of finding a good candidate, not already having one. He needed to remember even the prince was better than having an empty seat or a puppet of one of the other councilmen on the throne.
"I am still against this course, I am satisfied with our current possible heirs, and this risks leaving us vulnerable. Either Caeron or Tiberius are a better option that risking the Empire, trying to manufacture a sovereign." Julian stated flatly, the current Heir Apparent suited him perfectly. And at least Tiberius couldn't be Roderick's puppet.
"I believe we should hear Shannow out on his choice of Candidate before we dismiss things so lightly Julian, and there is already a risk to the Empire by putting a man in power we barely know. I say we first hear Shannow out, and then search for Candidates, put them up as examples, then call a vote. I would die before I saw a drunk ignorant emperor ruling this great city and the lands surrounding it. And Tiberius is a risk larger than that of the drunktard. He is a firm opposition to the council, putting him in power would essentialy be shooting ourselves in the leg. He seems to fancy himself as a sole ruler, who doesnt need advice from the likes of us, if Tiberius should go into power. We would need some kind of insurance"
Rick stated, looking to Julian and Christopher.
"Know that I am completely against either having drunks or haters of the council on the throne. I would find a hobo living on the street prefferable to either. Because with one we risk loosing our heads on a bad day when somebody tries to get him to stop drinking, with the other we risk loosing our heads on principle, an exaggeration ofcourse. More likely, our jobs, he will not do better than us in our fields of expertise I can assure you. It would carry a larger risk of not being the best for the empire than most candidates"
Rick adjusts his hooded silk hat. Julian was clearly trying to get him off the council by putting madmen on the throne. Whenever it was because of his low birth or because of his position as advisor was still not quite clear.
"Now, will you care to explain who of us, are so incompetent that the Empire will fall to pieces in the few months it would take to get the preparations in place? Because as it is right now we 'dont' have an emperor as persay. If its because you think someone is doing a poor job, it is your duty to come out with it"
Shannow smiled; the Vizir was performing admirably. The choice was now to impeach annother council member, and so earn enemies, or admit that the Emperor was not a vital part of government. He couldn't have put it better himself.
"It is my duty to act in the best interests of this country. I do not believe it in the best interests of the country to agree to the hope of a ruler, and it is the duty of those wanting to find someone other than the brother to find a replacement worthy of the position. I make it clear I wish for the brother to rule for his intelligence and proven capacity as a leader in the colonies as well as his proven ability to think for himself. You wish for me to put my name down on what is essentially a massive question mark. If my unwillingness to trust that such a person that has the qualities desired by this council even exists let alone can be found in an empire this large is somehow infuriating then I apologize for that.
I will not back down from this however, I want a name and a record before I agree. If you wish to convince me that the king's brother is unfit for the throne, those supporting another need more than mere promises. Find your man and allow the council to review him, and then you might have my support. Until then, it is not that anyone on this council is incompetent, it is that your plan is unfinished and unrefined in my opinion." Christopher replied calmly, even as he wanted to jump across the table and hit Rick for trying to force them into a false two-sided choice. The more the man spoke and tried to manipulate and the more Shannow smiled, the less confidence he had in this plan. As he continued to think on their resistance he realized he may have to try and find allies of his own to stand with him should things begin to go south.
"Vizier, do not lecture me on my duty, I know it well." Julian said, his voice dismissive but full of contempt. " The fact that you don't seem to see the consequence of replacing our Emperor who mind you, is still loved and respected by his subjects, and feared by his enemies. With a child with no connection to the previous ruler besides being appointed by them. Our enemies will see this a chance to strike at us, rebels will see this as a chance as well. If you don't think having a child ruler will weaken us just think, how will it looks if just days after forsaking his own son for a new heir, the Emperor steps down because he is too sick to rule. People will question if the Emperor was in his right mind when he chose the child, that will cast doubt on this ruler.
"The Council is powerful, but Acherus needs a monarch to lead it. Someone who can rally us and guide us on the path forwards. Without a ruler we are too divided to forge a path, but the monarch unites us and gives us a single purpose. Not just the council but the entire Empire. It is only because of the respect and fear that our current Emperor commands, that the Council has been able to keep control.
"The Prince Caeron will have his father's legacy, that alone will provide him the people's trust and respect. And while he may be a drunk, and an ass, do not forget that Caeron has been breed to rule. He has learned from the brightest minds in the academy, and has been taught by his father, a man who's greatness can not be contested. While you might dislike him personally, I still have faith that our Emperor would not have chosen Caeron in the first place, if he did not believe his son was able to lead the Empire."
"No then if you wish me to name names, and 'come out with it' you obviously have the perceptive capacity of a slug if you need me to say this out loud for you to be sure. It should be obvious who I see as weakest link in this plan, it's you. This plan is an obvious power play, despite what you have said, you have offered no way to guarantee that this child would not be yours to manipulate. You would be the closest to him at all times, and you can not be trusted to to not abuse that proximity. You are also using your personal impression and emotion to decide Imperial affairs. You may dislike Tiberius and the Prince, but it is your duty to put aside what you feel and make objective decisions for the good of the Empire. You seem to believe you can simply make a better ruler, and I see this as a sign of gross over-confidence. You are not willing to see how your plan could fail, so therefore it will never succeed."
"Acherus has no ruler, if you wish to mislead the people by holding the current emperor on his position so that the council may rule with him as a puppet you are the one who are betraying the very trust he has vested in you Julian. The people are growing weary of not see'ing a ruler. They will notice his condition soon, and when they do we will be faced with the very problems that you fear. The prince might have had hired the best minds of the land to lecture him, but if you were in a position as mine you would know that he has not ever listened. Since a young age he has had things he considered more important. From the very second he grew a single hair on his chin, women and drink were a larger concern. You wish for the empire, millions of people, to follow lies. The Emperor chose his son by default, i bet my hat that if he could see his brat now. He would choose again"
Rick took up a handkercheif drying his face.
"Know that your disrespect will get you nothing Julian. I have fought to get where I am today. And my plans was for competent fools such as yourself to rule the empire as we do now. My sole duty is to the empire, and your lies shall fall out deaf ears. Because those who have taken their time to consider the proposal will see that nothing will change from now for the first years, and when the boy grows up he will be a fit emperor to take over where we left off with the other. You also proved my concerns right, that all your arguement was based in is biased upon personal feelings that you are letting get in way of your opinions. You say that my emotions are getting in the way of my plans. Look at yourself"
Rick stands up, speaking loud and clear.
"You accuse me of powergrabbing. When in reality, what you are supporting right now. Is giving us a choice between a drunk boy with a famous father or letting a mad emperor stay on the throne because of his former well-meant actions. And a military genius with a famous brother. I would at any times prefer to have experts in all fields rule this fine empire, while a capable emperor shall be raised to be worthy of the great responsibility that you take so lightly. I warn you, your emotions are clearly clouding your judgement. I suggest you get some rest, you clearly need it. Also, think things through before you accuse a loyal servant of the empire of treason. You clearly dont know how to argue for it"
Rick sits down and looks to the councilmembers around him.
"In the years I served with the emperor. I earned not only his trust, but his friendship. It pains me to have to argue against his family, and it pains me to have to defend myself against the accusations laid against me based on little but superstition. I would not see his son on the throne as someone, if not myself. Then someone else. Would make friends with him and sway the weakwilled brat. I would not see his brother on the throne, because if he doesnt ignore us. He will dismantle us as soon as he gets the power. I know because I have been in the palace for a long time. I would not let the emperor stay on the throne. For every day he sits there? His presence pains me further. For he is only a shell of his former self, and the fact that he still has this shell. Would turn you to abuse the very last thing he has?."
He picks up the handkerchief stuffing it in his pocket.
"I would not allow it, to tell the truth. I do not know if he can still somehow see what goes on theese days. But if he could he would want the council to find someone worthy to succeed him. Someone who would neither remove the council he himself was enough fond of to keep around, and listen to its advice. And someone who's very foundation would not be based on the legacy of his father. He would want us to find someone who would work for what is the best for our empire. He would want us to search for someone 'we' found to be up to this backbreaking task"
Rodericks gaze meets Julian.
"Can I find one? Truth is, I do not know. But what I do know is, that I will try. And whatever insults you might throw my way, I am not gonna stop. I respect your decisions. Christopher, Julian. Although they are against what I wanted, I cannot fault you as I have had little evidence of where to find this new ruler, and little evidence that I would not turn him into a so called puppet to grab power. However, as my father used to say. You should keep on fighting for what you believe in, even if you stand alone. So nomatter how many would support me, even if I will stand here on my own. I will keep on fighting for what I believe is for the best of the Great Empire in which I have had the honor of serving. For now, and with the right emperor. For many years to come"
In the end his eyes meets the flag on the wall.
"Forgive me, if you found my words offensive. Julian. I do not believe that we should fight, I want to find a common ground. In the end, even if I would fight for what I believed in. And argue my case till the end, if the majority goes against me I will bow to it. For it is what I have been taught. If you are sure the brother will not stand against the council, then I applaud you, because I have, no matter how much I looked. Not found any evidence to support this"
Once more returning to IIB shorthand, Shannow jotted another note in his papers:
Minister of Lies seems to suffer from short temper + chronic rage. Caused by strife in private life/hidden sympathies/underlying motive? -> Investigate (Spymaster?)
Out loud, he spoke briefly and coldly, "I am told you have great skill in manipulating opinions, Julian. Therefore, it pains me to see that you are not capable of keeping a civil tongue in your head. I suggest that you retire from this meeting until you can recover your temper"
"Indeed, we might all benefit from a break. Those for a short recess?"
"Indeed, it seems there are broken codes of civility and conduct today. Perhaps a recess is in order so that cooler heads might prevail." Christopher responded with an imperceptible glance towards the Head Adviser as he stood up. His voice was calm and even even as he himself wanted nothing more than to storm out of the building. He was, however, a general and needed to show more decorum and respect than that if he wished to lead by example.
"Hopefully we might all come back and remember the respect we are all afforded by our positions on this council and its purpose. Even if we should disagree with one another."
"I agree with a short recess." was all that Gennadiy said in the matter. "When we return, there are some commentaries that need to be shared." he took a quill provided by the council and proceeded to write on the back of his academy reports.
Shannow nodded, and dragged himself to his feet. Limping toward the exit, he signaled to Captain Evans, who waited respectfully for a chance to speak to Spymaster and Admiral. The Chief, on the other hand, looked to the Vizir, waiting to catch his attention and so earn a private conversation.
Julian heard everyone moving for the recess, he agreed, he needed time to check with the other members, " Recess would be good, but allow me to make some clarifications first." He said, " I have not and never have, suggested that we continue to rule in place of the Emperor. In fact that has been the opposite of my point, we need to return to a state which is lead by an Emperor as soon as possible, an Emperor who can lead us. Not one who will need years to be groomed to the point where he can take over. Such a thing requires time, something we do not have.. Also I hardly see how I have been the one acting emotional in this meeting. I have not used slander or insults to prove my point, nor raised my voice. You accuse me of lying but I am speaking more honestly now then I have in a long time."
" You have claimed the Prince and Tiberius are unfit to rule, but all you are using to support your argument is slander, you've offered no proof of either Tiberius being a 'military nut', or of Caeron being lax in his studies." With that Julian took a final sip of wine, before collecting his papers, and leaving the Council chambers.
As soon as the arguing stopped Aimee stood up, collecting her staff and quickly making an exit. She sunk into the closest chair outside of the room and let everything float around in her head for a while.
We do need a ruler. I see no reason why Tiberius would dismantle the Council: one cannot rule an empire as massive as ours without help. I don't think a new ruler can be chosen immediately... most emperors have had some experience. Simply being the best and brightest does not mean one will be a good leader.
The High Priest or Priestess were watched from birth until about 10 or 12 years of age. They were taught how to behave, how to think, what to think. They became very predictable, which wouldn't be the case here, especially if they were going to consider a random noble child who did good in his classes.
She made a mental note to visit the ailing king later and offer a sacrifice for him. Hopefully he would be in one of his better moods. Maybe she would be able to see the prince too, and maybe try to see if he would make any sort of a replacement at all.
Insomnia wasn't a problem she wanted to deal with, and with the small recess, she took a nap. And I haven't even brought up the letter yet...
Morris remained seated for awhile as the rest of the council left for recess. Having already said his piece on the matter, Morris had felt no need to try to get a word in between Julian and Roderick. Instead he had been content to observe and plot his next move. It seemed as though this issue would divide the council, Roderick and Shannow pushing for a new heir while Christopher and Julian were firmly against it. So what would be the best move for Morris? Though he didn't like the idea of ousting the Emperor and his heir, he could handle that so long as it benefited him. But putting himself on the losing side wouldn't do either.
Perhaps it would be best to speak with those whose opinions were still unknown. The more he knew about where the lines were drawn, the easier his decision would be. Finally, he rose from his chair and made to leave the chambers and see who he could talk to.
Roderick sighed. It felt like this was gonna be a long day, he had to convince Julian and Christopher that no-one in the royal family was fit to take over. And he had to figure out a way to do so without breaking any of their personal codes.
He looked to Shannow and saw the man trying to get his attention, he stood up and walked over to the Chief of IIB. Rubbing his eyes, he had not been getting much sleep, and he likely would not get much more.
"I guess you want to talk to me Shannow? Can this wait? I think I need to make sure tensions do not rise further in the council, I would not like this issue to drive a wedge inbetween us who are supposed to rule an empire. Smalltime squabbels such as this can in worse cases end up causing unwanted feelings thats gonna affect decisions which in turn can harm the empire. I need to make sure this wont happend so I will have to talk to them before something bad happends, but first I believe I should send message to the spouse that im gonna be running a little late today"
He picks up a small parchment and scribbles down some notes before passing it to a courier who runs along.
"I had hoped to discuss policy," says Shannow, his face suddenly unreadable behind his scars, "But if you must attend family matters... I understand."
Meanwhile, his aide moved smoothly to Morris' elbow, "MiLord Shannow sends his regards," he began, softly, "He wonders if you might be interested in a little cooperation between our two organisations..."
"I can take five minutes I guess" He looks to the courier running off. "What about policy?"
Aaron stood up from his seat at the council table, surprisingly he hadn't needed to add his voice to the sheer lunacy that was being suggested in it. Oh Rick, you would think after all your years serving our humble Emperor on this council of traitors and backstabbers, you would learn a bit of tact. Hell, with the nonsense he was spouting, it might be enough to actually warrant something happening. Aaron chuckled under his breath as he thought this. At the rate these things were going, the empire would be plunged into chaos at the moment the emperor finally died.
"Ah, Lord Commander," Aaron called as he saw Christopher rising to leave. "I was hoping to talk to you for a minute, would you care to have a quick drink with me?"
"If you wish, I have time to spare Master of Coin." Christopher said before walking over to the other.
"Any particular place you had in mind for us to speak?" he asked.
Morris paused at the door as he noticed Shannow's assistant, Captain Evans, heading his way. He was not at all surprised to hear that Shannow wanted his cooperation. The two intelligence networks working together would be quite a force indeed. Although, the idea that the two would ever trust each other was absurd. Still, it couldn't hurt to hear Shannow out. "I am interested enough to at least hear him out. You may continue, Captain Evans. I am listening."