Skip to main content

Boy Emperor

Palden was born only eleven years ago was but his body a vessel for something infinite.  He was the divine force that powered the quantum machinery of the cosmos in living form. It was proclaimed that behind the child's squinty eyes were the mind of the universe. That's why he was Emperor, a god wearing a man's flesh. The child's slight body was adorned in imperial dress woven from fibers worth many times the lives of the subjects who crafted it. It was a flowing tapestry of gold and jade that incorporated designs to intricate they were almost hypnotic to the human eye.

 The godchild lived in a palace built on the eastern side of the highest summit that loomed over his imperial capital. The monument that would stand long after the demise of this latest mortal incarnation of the EmperorEmperor was a reminder to the people who lived in its shadow he was always watching. Albeit it with vision blurred by a permanent stigmatism.

His official shrine was at the peak of his fortress. In a study sculpted out of wood from the ancient forests. Woodcut from trees that had stood long before the word had ever even been uttered. The deity was trying to refrain from cowering away from the tall, straight frame of his tutor and appointed guardian Lobsang. Lobsang had dominated the halls of imperial power decades before this newest EmperorEmperor had crawled out of his human surrogate.

Lobsang was exalted just as much as the EmperorEmperor but was feared significantly more. It was his iron fist that was being used to condition the temperament and habits of a god. He was lecturing the young ruler on the proper way to stand when receiving an advisor; It was another lesson in projection. The young god spent most of his time learning how to look and act as a god should. His life was devoted to portraying a character, but in reality, he wasn't an idol fit to lead his people, he was a boy wracked with anxiety.  An emperor could never appear weak or vulnerable he had to be self-conscious of every movement and every word.  Years of his life were spent studying the lifespan of the dynasties that lorded over the kingdom, and the most pervasive lesson was even emperors can die. He could hear fragments of the lecture.

"Always maintain eye contact, never let your pupils move. If they are taller than you order them seated."

The words were a meaningless echo to Palden. Each one he understood, but only for an instant before any comprehension was muddled by anxiety. His dim unfocused eyes stared at the sunlit window of his office as he drifted further and further away.

"Palden!" Lobsang snapped.

Palden quickly glanced up at his tutor.

"Is something troubling you, my Emperor?" Lobsang asked.

Palden stared at Lobsang a moment and took a deep breath.

"Lobsang, am I really a god?"

Lobsang glared silently.

"If I am truly a God and the living embodiment of the sun and all the powers of the universe, why do I not have any power over these elements?" Palden asked meekly. "I tried to stop the sun from rising this morning, but I could not even slow its ascension."

"Why did you wish for the sun not to rise?" Aked Lobsang.

"I did not want any lessons today," Palden said with a tone verging on shame.

Lobsang sighed. "Palden, I knew you weren't a God the first time I watched the palace servants clean shit off of you when you were a baby. You are powerful, though, but the cosmos is not where your power lies."

"What do you mean? Then what power do I have if not over the heavens and the earth?" Palden whined.

"You are a symbol of your country and your people. You are their strength and unity. Through you, they act with a single purpose and through you. They march as an army. Without their Emperor they would be scattered, they would leave barbarous lives absent of purpose and devoid of glory. Do you understand Palden?"

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

On the Eve of Extinction

The river was like a massive indigo snake coiling in the shadow of the canyons its eternal flow cut out of the very earth. Somewhere along the watery corridor, settled human life grew out of the muddy banks. The tribe sustained itself on the arterial river, steadily expanding and contracting with the rhythm of its flow like a beating heart. As far as anyone in the tribe knew no other arrangement had ever existed. The river had birthed them, molding sand and clay into flesh, and infusing the husks with its life-giving waters. Life under the desert’s smooth turquoise sky seemed safely stagnant. There was no inkling, no deciphered omens, absolutely no hunch of the approaching cataclysm lurking just out of sight obscured by the landscape’s jagged ridges. Not far from the isolated patchwork of green and brown earth settled by this tribe, the scion of ancient god well into his twilight years was on the cusp of fulfilling his divine purpose. Harmakar was sitting in the dust staring into t

In the Blink of an Eye

 Until now, the gears of history had ground at such a slow pace our perception of it was like a puzzle. The constantly shifting pieces created an eternally changing picture inhabited and shaped by generations. Progress made it possible for the change to arrive in the form of a flash just a millionth of a second long with a blinding light and the pain of flesh-searing fire that burned away the world I knew as if it were covered in lighter fluid. For us, there were no blue skies. Daytime was just when the sun was shining bright enough to penetrate through the acrid black clouds that had consumed the sky and mingled with the distant glow of the burning horizon, painting the atmosphere with blood. For an indeterminate number of hours, maybe as long as a day, it was the only thing I saw. The constant screams became white noise; as I spiraled into death, my perceptions continued to dim until there was nothing left but fear and pain. Every hour the world became dimmer, and I saw everything t

Concubine

 Himari lay in bed on her side, staring at the barren wall with dry scarlet stained eyes resting her head on her small delicate hands. Her spent, and tired body was still as a statue. The royal child left her womb, and everyone followed it to the home of her masters, and he would be raised as one of them, and she would be nothing more than just another subject. This wasn't the only child Himari had given to her imperial lord, but the first boy hadn't lasted a week before dashing his father's hopes for a worthy progeny.  When she was with child, a stupid part of her started to forget how it would inevitably end. Once the golden boy left her womb, what happened to her wouldn't matter much after.  Even after enduring the pain of childbirth, she wouldn't be given the catharsis of cradling the fruits of her labor in her arms. That had been the hardest part the first time. Watching her baby get carried away was just the first shock, though. The little prince had clawed ou