Skip to main content

As Our Lives Change From Whatever!

In a small wood-paneled study, cramped between heavy bookcases ladened with dusty moth-eaten volumes, lit by the pale grey light from a solitary window was Alexander Golitsyn, the third considered by a dwindling number of people to be an Emporer. Alexander was sitting at a desk barely big enough to accommodate both his diary and porcelain teapot.
"All my efforts to hold onto anything in life has been like trying to clutch water in my hands. Life is over, yet I go on living. There is no reason left for me to be here. I'm just waiting for my last heartbeat and my last breath."
A knock a the study's door brought Alexander's hand to a halt. He didn't know it when he put the pen down, but this melancholy paragraph was to be the last attempt at poetry he'd ever make.
"Yes? What is it!" Alexander huffed with tobacco chared vocal cords.
"I have an urgent message for the sovereign!" an earnest young man answered through the door.
"Fine, you may enter," Alexander grumbled.
The door opened, and a handsome straight-backed currier hustled into the room, holding a sealed envelope.
"My sovereign,' he bowed his head and handing the envelope to Alexander.
Alexander took it without getting up from his chair.
"Yes, thank you. You're Dismissed," Alexander muttered. The currier bowed again and hurried from the study.  His walk was so rigid it almost seemed like he was goosestepping.
The envelope was sealed with crimson wax stamped with the Maravian coat of arms.
Alexander meticulously and respectfully broke the seal and opened the envelope. The message was a brief one:
"To Emporer Alexander Golitsyn III,
It is my sad duty to report to you that King Maravian rightful heir to the Bargalonian throne and the country's one true king has been called to join the only being in the universe whose word even the mightiest sovereign must obey. We will inform your majesty of funeral arrangements once they have been made.
Your humble and devoted servant
-Arch Bishop Tallyrand"
Alexander dropped the note on his desk, sat back in his chair, and stroked his coarse white beard. It had been less than twenty-four hours ago the former emperor had shared a glass of brandy with the former king. The toast was to the respective thrones they would one day soon occupy again.
Alexander Golitsyn, the former sovereign of a once-mighty empire, was living on the precariously thin line between the long meandering phase of his middle years and the relatively short terminus of life called old age. That he was at a point when even looking in a mirror was a grim reminder of his own mortality wasn't helped by all the memorabilia around meant to remind him of his one sole mission in life, to reclaim the throne of a now nonexistent empire.
It was a mission he'd been failing at for nearly forty years if he hadn't won back his family's throne by this point, then when would it ever happen? That was the question the unblinking eyes of the resplendent men in the portraits that hung in every room of the house seemed to be asking him.
Alexander had many moments like this before. He would give up and slip into a depression then after a bit of time had passed rally again and throw himself back into his work. At least for a while.
There was another knock a the door. "Alex, the Grand Marshal, requests your audience." Alexander's wife, Maria, answered.
"Tell the Marshal I have no need for him, and he should consider himself relieved of his duties!" Alexander huffed.
"Well, he came all this way. Have you not a minute to spare?" Maria asked sweetly.
Grand Marshal Radetzky was the supreme commander of Alexander's nonexistent army. The same army he planned to use to reclaim his empire. Radetzky was ancient indeed. Already middle-aged himself when Alexander was deposed, he could imagine no other life, and like Alexander, he had grown old waiting for what was to be again.
As an old soldier, Radetzky knew a thing or two about raising a man's spirits. After a couple hours and a bottle of vodka, Alexander had regained some of his confidence. He was listening to the Marshal's proposal, something about landing men in canoes bought in Switzerland from a secret bank account in Paris. At least that was the gist Alexander got. By the time Radetzky got to the map, he was too drunk to speak.
"But how can we bring cannons in canoes?" Alexander asked with a vacant grin on his face.
"Easy! We'll drag them behind the canoes. They'll float in the water!" Radetzky insisted.
"Wouldn't the canoes just sink?" Alexander asked.
"No, no, they'll float in the water," Radetzky said as he stumbled into the wall.
There was a knock at the door, and Alexander motioned for the drunk Marshal to keep down the volume.
"Yes, what is it?"
Maria opened the door. She was 39 years old. Quite a bit younger than her husband and about two generations removed from Radetzky. She was quite pretty by and standards. She was slender and well-poised, with light olive skin and ebony curls that hung just above her enchanting green eyes.
"Alex-your highness," she began again. "It is late, and I'm afraid the walls aren't thick enough to keep the noise of your council meeting out of the bedroom. Perhaps it is time to adjourn?"
Radetzky seemed to instantly sober up. He stood in stunned silence, shifting his glace back and forth from his sovereign to his wife.
"You presume to give orders to your Emperor?" Alexander asked menacingly.
"I am sorry, but it is a bit late to be up playing soldier," Maria fired back.
Alexander flinched at the words, and Radetzky was visibly trembling.
"Marshal Radetzky!" Alexander barked.
"Yes, your majesty!" Radetzky snapped to attention. His old knees gave out slightly, but he stopped himself from falling.
"You are dismissed. I'm afraid I must remind my wife how to behave as an empress!"
"Of course, sire!" Radetzsky said. The Marshal gave a final salute and quickly left the room. Alex stared silently until he heard Radetzky's heavy footsteps leave the staircase and go out the door, then the old burst into tears.
"Now now it's ok, shhh," Maria whispered as she cradled her sobbing husband.
Once he was done, Maria helped put him to bed. The drunken Alexander fell flat on his back, mumbling incoherently.
"You know you may not have an empire, but compared to most, your life isn't so bad," Maria whispered.
Alexander's eyes fluttered while the vodka carried him off to sleep and into a new day without any purpose.


Popular posts from this blog

Ghosts in the Memories

It was a bright and mild morning. A few billowing white clouds drifted lazily across the ocean blue sky, the gentle sun reflected off the dew coated grass and flowers, giving the world a shimmer. A human stream filled the streets and sidewalks as the city rose to life.
One lonely widower had a different reaction to the beautifully emerging day.
Hibiki closed the shutters on his windows, locked the door, and sat his tired old body into a reclining chair in front of a blaring television. To Hibiki, the day’s crystal sky was a dark omen and a visceral reminder of that horrific moment all those decades ago when a flash of light took away 100,000 people.
Hibiki had been there when it happened. He was a doctor at the time, and while the bomb canceled the workday for most everyone else for people in Hibiki’s line of work, there was an additional layer of hell to endure.
“ my daughter!” Hibiki could hear a woman pleading from the street below. With a trembling hand, he pi…


The fleet of ships that now held what remained of humanity inside their titanium hulls hovered at the edge of space. The mood was somber as everyone waited in a quiet tension pendulating between despair and mind-shattering terror. The powering up of the colossal nuclear engines sent gale force winds ripping across the planet.  This was the beginning of their latest exodus, just another jump on their way to the last.  Human civilization's only hope rested with an asteroid that was hurtling in their direction. The appearance of this interstellar ballistic was heralded as a miracle, and indeed it was their only hope of escaping the world they devoured. When it screamed past the desolated little planet, they would launch themselves at the oncoming cosmic projectile it in a desperate attempt to cling to its jagged surface. It's projected trajectory was set to take it just outside the orbit of a small planet dubbed Toba. An infinitesimal but livable world.  There wasn't enough …

Marshal Anosognosia

Cannon fire was their rooster's caw that morning. The shells exploded among the camps and left row upon row of burning blood-soaked tents. Hundreds of half-dressed soldiers scurried away from the eviscerating plumes of smoke and steel.
The percussions of the bombardment were subtly felt by the diligent Captain Charles Magnus in another camp.  He confirmed the massacre through the lens of his battlefield glasses and hurried off to inform Marshal Anosognosia.
Charles hadn't had much face to face with contact with the highly revered military hero, and he relished the chance to be the one at his side in so perilous a moment.  There was no better career booster than association with the Anosognosia name.
Charles’s diligence could sometimes devolve into simple impulsivity. He brushed past the security detail and burst into the old man’s tent. “Sir forgive me bu-” The Captain's words lodged in his throat.
The eighty-six-year-old nationally renowned the illustrious Marshal Oscar Adlo…