Tasran, Imperial Prince, Grand Duke of Elmsfjord, Prince of Trevalion, remained standing in the receiving chambers of the Crown Council. Normally he would be in the chamber, but today he was being presented as the Emperor’s choice for an heir. Tasran and his father were quite sure this was going to be just a formality. It was rare for the council to reject the heir that the emperor suggests. For the approval, the Grand Duke would need three quarters of the council to vote for him. If they rejected is nomination, he would have to wait a year and a day for the emperor to re-nominate him. If the emperor were to die before an heir was confirmed, the council would put forward candidates and then a simple majority would be needed.
Normally the council chambers would be filled with the representatives of the various regents, as it was very rare for all of them to be in the capital at one time, but the Traditions of the Empire demanded that all sitting crowns attend this special session. Emperor Kelech had reached his 65th birthday and as prescribed by the Traditions, he had to nominate his heir. Even at his advancing age, he was still a formidable figure. Dressed in the style of his homeland of Elmsfjord, he wore the regalia of the empire. His crown was made to look like an amalgam of all the crowns of the empire, symbolizing his position as ruler over all. Around his neck was the chain of office, from the front hung thirteen discs, on which was inscribed the names of all of the constituent states in main languages of the empire, Solvestran, elvish, and dwarven. Kelech rose to stand in front of his throne at the head of the council.
“I, Kelech, 3rd of my name, Emperor of Solvestra and sovereign over the 13 kingdoms, on this 15th day of Weyna, in the 1589th year of the Empire, do name my heir apparent as is required of me by the Traditions of the Empire. I name Tasran, Imperial Prince, Grand Duke of Elmsfjord, and Prince of Trevalion as my heir. He is my trueborn son and a man of great honor. It is my will that should I decide to abdicate or should I pass on, that he ascend the throne.”
After the words were said, the doors to the chamber were opened and Tasran is shown in to stand in the open space nearly encircled by his peers. Queen Anyaroa, the ruler of Daynor and the chair of the council rises to her feet.
“The council accepts your nomination Your Imperial Majesty and welcome the Imperial Prince to stand in nomination. “
Kelech hearing those words nods to the chair and then gives his son a quick grin, before departing the chambers. As emperor he has served his role and his presence is not permitted within the chambers during the debates and voting. The doors close behind the emperor as he leaves.
“As is prescribed in the traditions, Prince Tasran, you are granted the right to speak first to this body to present your qualifications for the position. After you speak or choose not to, any members of the council may rise to speak for or against your nomination. Members may ask questions of the prince and he must answer the question to the best of his ability. After discussion and debate is ended, a ballot will be taken to determine whether the nomination is approved or not. All members of this council are sworn to secrecy to the matters of what was discussed in this session. Only with the leave of the Prince may that oath be disavowed.”
She looked around the council and seeing all those present agreeing. She calls the roll to make sure they have all accounted and then turns to look at the prince.
“Your Highness, the floor is yours.”
Tasran smiled and gave a slight bow of his head to Queen, then turns to look along the whole length of the council chamber.
“My esteemed colleagues, I have been nominated by His Imperial Majesty to succeed him on the throne and rule this Empire. I believe that my tenure as the Grand Duke of Elmsfjord has shown I am a capable ruler. And even though the ruling of the Grand Duchy is different than ruling this vast empire, I believe the lessons I’ve learned and the experience I’ve accumulated will be an asset to me in ruling the empire.
“I do not blindly believe that there are not those who will object to my nomination. I know I am relatively young and I know that as a half-elf some will say my extended lifespan will give me too much influence over the empire for too long a time. But I will point to my grandfather, Emperor Osrien, who as a true elf, served as Emperor for some 60 years before abdicating the throne to take the life of a reclusive sage, removing himself entirely from politics. I will not pledge to do the same or similar, but I believe that the weight of this office is such that an extended rule is very unlikely.”
With that he looked to the chair and gave another nod.
“I welcome any questions from this council.”
And with that he walked to a seat that had been brought into the chamber and placed in the center of the well. He poured himself a glass of wine and wondered who would be the first to speak, though he had some ideas.
The first to rise to speak was Aganos, King of Ranorr. That was who Tasran thought would stand first to speak. This would be amusing he thought as the portly man bowed to the rest of the council.
“It isn’t a surprise to any that Ranorr would rise in opposition to the nomination of the Grand Duke to the position of heir apparent. It is no secret that even today, forces loyal to Elmsfjord raid into the lands of my kingdom, willfully stealing goods and killing innocents.
“It was the same Grand Duke that instigated the Last War, causing untold loss of life, property, and gold to this empire; all at the expense of gaining land. I have no questions for you. I have no respect for you and I encourage my fellow council members to vote no on this nomination. Let us tell our good Emperor that while we respect his right to nominate, he must pick someone more deserving, more qualified for the position.”
With that, the man sat back down. Some of the council members were speechless while a few others softly applauded. The Grand Duke looked around to see who was doing what. He wasn’t surprised. Queen Anyaroa rose and nodded to the King of Ranorr and then looked around.
“I rise not as the head of this council, but as the sovereign of my lands, the mother to my people. It is known that Daynor has had some bad dealings with the Grand Duchy and our merchant ships have sometimes come under attack by the ships of Elmsfjord. I offer no disrespect to Grand Duke Tasran, but I also urge my fellows of this council to reject his nomination. He is not ready yet to guide this empire. Not ready to give up the warlike ways he has shown the last several years. In the name of peace we must say no.”
She sat back down and closed her eyes for a moment. She was not known to make such confrontational statements in any capacity, but this was a very important matter. Tasran was again not surprised at her speaking against him.
The next to rise was the King of Trevalion, Orthesin, and more directly cousin to Tasran. The elf cut a slim figure, with a regal bearing to him. His hair was long and worked within the length were several jeweled hair pins that look like leaves and flowers.
“I know there are those with reasons to speak against my cousin, but I also know there are some here who are compelled to speak for him. I doubt any would be surprised to hear me speak on his behalf, to encourage others to make his nomination official.”
He paused and looked amongst the peer of the council.
“I wish I could, but his behavior during the Last War cannot be excused. While the forces of the empire worked to free lands of Ranorr that had been invaded by the goblins, Tasran ordered his troops to move deeper into T’Neth Dranor. To gain more land for the Grand Duchy, to selfishly expand his territory. Only near the end of the conflict did you turn your forces towards the rest of the empire to help in overwhelming the enemy and forcing a peace. Cousin, you should not sit the imperial throne.”
He sat back down and Tasran wondered if his face showed the shock that he was feeling in his mind. He had counted on his own cousin to support him. This was not going as he had expected. His count was now off. He needed three-quarters of the council to support him and the margin was tight as it was.
9 more members of the council stood and spoke and it was very clear that he wasn’t going to be confirmed. The vote was called and there were only 3 votes for him. The Principality of Talvek, which borders the Grand Duchy, the Archonate of Penrillion and Traverse, and the City-State of Orst.
Tasran listened as the council’s vote was recorded and the notice sent to the emperor. He stood and slowly walked from his seat in the center of the council well and exited the chamber. Once the doors closed behind him his temper flared up like a raging fire and he quickly made his way to his chambers.
Still burning with rage, the prince was sitting at his desk when his father came to his chambers. The emperor entered and went to his son.
“Tasran, I am so sorry about the council’s vote. You have a year to garner better feelings amongst the council and I can name you again.”
Tasran looked up to his father and shook his head. “There will be no garnering of good will father. There will be no making friends with those who stood against me this day. I am studying the Traditions of the Empire to see what recourse I might have.”
Those words struck Kelech and he looked down at the tomes on the desk. “And what sort of recourse are you looking for? The Traditions are clear on this matter. The process is in place and was followed.”
“What about secession father?” Tasran said with bitterness in his mouth. “What if the Grand Duchy left and became a state of its own again?”
Kelech shook his head. “The Traditions say that no state once admitted to the empire may leave except upon the vote of the council, a unanimous vote. If a state tries to leave without that vote, the emperor is commanded to use all powers available to bring that realm back into communion with the council and the leader of that state is executed for treason against the empire.”
Tasran chuckled. “So…if I were to declare Elmsfjord independent, you would have to come after me and if you were to catch me you would have to kill me? Could you do that father? Could you see me die for treason?”
Kelech stared at his son. “You play at a dangerous game Tasran. If you did that, I would be forced to. I’ve been way more lenient with your actions in the past than I would have been if another state had done those acts. Do not push those limits my son.”
Tasran sighed and looked down at the tome in front of him. “I am unable to leave the empire. I am unwanted by my peers to be emperor. To me it sounds like my realm is no longer valued, no longer respected. As the Grand Duke of Elmsfjord, I am forced to enact an embargo against any and all travelers, merchants, and ships under the flag of any realm save mine, those of Penrillion and Traverse, Talvek, and Orst. The Consortium will have to speak with me before any of their merchants may enter.”
With that he stood up and walked around to his father. He embraced him and then sighed. “I am sorry father…I have to do this.”
Kelech sighed and shook his head, but there were no words. His son handed over a scroll which Kelech basically knew meant that this was the official proclamation of embargo. He shook his head and as his son left, he departed as well and headed to the council chambers to deliver the news.