The Spike
The Middle Realm
The God's Plane
The Bard's Corner
Oliver Bernuetz
Richard Fenner
Gian Gero
Martin Laurie
Wesley Quadros
Herald's Cry
Cross Roads

Red Emperors at Work

Takenegi waved his arms and shouted for silence. The conversations and arguments in the crowd slowly quieted as they began to pay attention to the podium. Finally when a moment of silence was reached, Takenegi spoke in his magical tones.

“Alrighty then, to business!”

Several of the crowd raised wine glasses of Celestial Crystal in toast to his words. “To business!” they yelled.

Takenegi frowned. “No, no, that wasn’t a toast. I mean, we have to get to work.” He looked around impatiently. “Where are the Citizen Contentment figures?”

One of the crowd came to the front, carrying a large ledger. He slammed it on the podium, dust stung Takenegis eyes. He opened the book. “Figures are down for this Wane. We have an increase in public fear and a rise in general uncertainty among the nobility. The merchants are being cautious, but continuing business without too much concern.”

Takenegi scowled. “This isn’t good enough.” He looked around the crowded cavern, dug deep into the walls of the Crater. “We want more uncertainty, we need more doubt. Mother demands an increased element of chaos in the Next Stage project and her Worship Flow is currently too even and serene for that to occur. We are behind schedule gentlemen.”

Takenegi cried out above a rising torrent of noise. “We need to see more debauchery!”

Takenegi nodded and the room fell quiet again. “Debauchery, yes, but that is not enough at this stage. According to the statistics, the edge that the Eternal Party gave to the Instilled Chaos Quotient has dropped. We need another catalyst for the Next Stage to commence. Mother is getting insistent.”

“How about a change of Mask?” Takenegi pondered.

“Is that too simple? Takenegi wondered.

“Perhaps a succession war? Maybe if I don’t come back for a few weeks the Solars will rebel?" He considered.

Takenegi checked the ledger and leafed through some of the earlier pages. “Hmm, figures indicate that the Mask changeovers have had a diminishing return for the Next Stage project over the last few Masks. Even the Argenteus Mask is causing less overall friction than we had projected. Statistics indicate the population is becoming inured to change.”

“Okay, okay,’ said Takenegi, “we may have to create a Total Belief Inversion via Imperial disintegration.”

“Will that work?” Takenegi asked? “I mean the White Moon movement is anti-violence and they are an unknown factor? Would the dissolution bring down the Citizen Contentment figures enough? How about the Argrath project?”

Takenegi strode onto the podium and considered. “The Argrath project shows promise. Our work there has led to strong elements of rebellion among the barbarians. However, for them to focus on the Argrath we have installed among them, we need to provide a great victory as a unifying factor. They are barbarians after all and notoriously difficult to get to go in one direction at the same time!” Laughter echoed from the crowd.

The ledger was viewed once more. Takenegi spoke to the waiting audience. “Yes, that seems to be it. We need a barbarian victory of surpassing damage to the Imperial Army and heroic nobility, followed within a couple of years by instantaneous and complete removal of Pivotal Imperial Direction. Once these events have occurred, the population should reach high levels of uncertainty, allowing a serious commitment to the new White Moon faith to grow, putting Mother’s schedule on track again.”

The ledger snapped shut. “Excellent!” said Takenegi. “Gentlemen, you know your tasks. We have a hard road ahead of us and many of us will suffer greatly in the process, but it is for Mother and She Guards Us.”

With a final cheer, the scores of Takenegis filed out of the cavern to continue their work of centuries.


June 20, 2000

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