Laris paced back and forth in the Imperial apartments so recently vacated by his cousin. He was dressed in his finest clothes, the Imperial Tailor having outdone herself. His doublet was of the finest blue silk, with silver embroidery, dark hose hung loosely around his legs. He had taken off the Coronation Robe so he could move about more freely. The garment was a gaudy affair, covered in griffin feathers and falling to the floor. It was designed so that the wearer looked as if he had a pair of wings and it was terribly heavy.
He glanced out the window as he passed and looked out over the city. He felt as if he were dreaming. He almost couldn’t believe that this moment had finally come. All his years of planning and preparation were about to pay off. He was to be crowned Emperor.
Nicodemus Darkwater had been hesitant at first, wishing to return to Desanth in order to commune with the Griffin God. But Laris had pressed him, explaining the need for a smooth succession. For a thousand years, the Rychart family had ruled the Empire. Panic would sweep the various principalities if something was not done, he had argued.
Indeed, some of that panic had begun to sweep the city. Laris’s arrival had been greeted with such an upwelling of emotion that Nicodemus had really had no choice but to concede Laris’s point. Normally, a regency would have been granted while the Senate was consulted and each heir was permitted to press their case. But Laris had pointed out that this was the second attack on the Imperial family within the year. Clearly some force was bent on bringing the Empire down. This was no time for uncertainty. The people demanded immediate action.
And so it had appeared. Laris’s seneschal, Yokir, had used his connections in the city to see that several “spontaneous” demonstrations calling for Laris’s coronation had broken out in the hours following the Emperor’s funeral. The High Priest had buckled to the pressure and agreed to coronate Laris the next day. That much time, at least, was necessary to honor the dead.
There was a knock at the door.
“Come,” Laris said.
The door opened and Yokir entered, bowing low and then closing the door behind him. “Good morning Your Majesty,” he said.
Laris smiled at the use of the new title. “Is it time?”
“It is my lord. His Holiness says all is in readiness and your subjects wait to greet you.”
“Then let us not keep them waiting.” Laris strode over to the chair where he had draped the Coronation Robe and Yokir helped him put it on. He fastened the clasp at the neck and settled it on his shoulders. With a final glance in a full length mirror set up for the occasion, he turned to the door and strode out toward his destiny.