The Boy

Tuesday October 21, 2003 @ 03:53 PM (UTC)

← The Emperor

At this, his August Splendour the Emperor Adelmar sat up slightly in his gaudy throne, pushed his crown back so that his hair could be brushed out of his eyes, and studied his guest with some interest. She did not look somber like the servants of the Empire, nor was she flushed with bustle like the people of the City that he sometimes saw. She was different, and, as anyone who has ever been a ten-year-old Emperor holding audiences in a half-built fish-bowl will tell you, different is fascinating.

“Where are you from?” the Ruler of the Perfect Empire asked Isabella.

“Over -”

“She improperly utilized a Phare, my liege,” Wallace the Seneschal said, eyeing Isabella haughtily.

“How’d you do that?” the Marvelous Magnate of All asked Isabella, transfixed.

“It was quite-”

“The mechanisms are designed to be very simple, Sire, in light of the limited capacity of the Phare Keepers.”

Isabella frowned at Wallace, and Adelmar the Mighty looked inclined to agree with her sentiments.

His Imperial lower lip began to bulge, as it were to balance the ominous protrusion of his brow. Returning his majestic gaze to Isabella, he said, “Did you come on a boat?” He immediately swung his head (imperiling the diadem perched thereupon) towards Wallace with a look of Imperial ire, and Wallace immediately found the question quite innocent and below his notice.

“Indeed, Your Majesty,” smiled Isabella, “your chessmen were kind enough to send a ship to transport me.”

Chessmen? Impertinence!” muttered Wallace like an operatic baritone about to launch into a recitative, “Imperial servants sent to investigate…” They ignored him.

“You see, I’ve never been on a boat,” said His Diminutive Excellency, with a touch of wistfulness.

Isabella blinked. “But, Your Regality, you have four or five score in your harbor.”

Wallace, bursting out in stentorian tones, said, “His Exalted Wisdom is quite busy with matters of State, and cannot be bothered to take care of boats that take quite good care of themselves!”

Isabella studied Wallace, who looked like a very unhappy man, and His Superlative Formidability, who looked like a very unhappy boy, and said, “Surely there is nothing more fitting for a potentate to do than to tour the ships of the line?”

“There is nothing for an Emperor to do but direct the construction of his Palace,” sighed the Seneschal as if Isabella were a child pulling his coattails.

Isabella raised an eyebrow, crowding a dozen wrinkles dreadfully, and said, “I see no hammer about his person.”

“Of course not!” declaimed the Seneschal.

Tilting her ear to catch the far-off shouts of men, she added, “I do not see him giving orders.”

“Of course not! The day-to-day matters are the province of far lesser…uh, personages.”

“In that case, he has delegated the real work, and shall now have a pleasure cruise, and I can think of nothing more Imperial.”

The lad sprung from his throne, which gave his golden robes to billow loosely, and grinned at Isabella and at Wallace. “Indeed!” said Adelmar.

“But… Your Supreme and Eternal Incandescence!” Wallace began in tragic tones.

“Now, now, Wallie!” said Adelmar, with a real incandescence in his dusty hazel eyes, “I go where I like, and I do as I please, and you can’t say better than that.”

The Galleon →


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