Int. Township/Imperial Palace – Day
Large Banners depicting the three emperors are hanging in the town square and local markets. Several large wagon loads of supplies for the imperial kitchen are making their way from the town to the palace. Inside the imperial palace, giant chalices are filled with the best aged wines to be consumed with all kinds of cheeses and breads. Fresh fruits get cleaned, carved and prepped for the feasting tables.
The finest, fattest cattle from cow to sheep and goat are slaughtered and seasoned prior to roasting. Large fowl are also killed and prepped with intricate processes of stuffing with all kinds of herbs and spices. In other parts of the imperial kitchen servants are preparing the desert pastries and creams. More fresh fruit gets utilized in making garnishes and sauces as well as complimentary dinner beverages. Chefs are pouring on the extra finishing touches to savory dishes known as favorites of the emperors.
Emperor Atrius seated on the balcony above the palace gardens takes refuge from the sun while servants hold umbrellas for his comfort over head. In front of him two soldiers are sparring for his amusement. Rayke is visiting the chamber of his personal harem enjoying a bath with seven of his concubines. Kem is in the imperial library studying the history of Rosemador prior to their arrival in Rosemador with Emperor Kova.
Palace Ext. – Day
General Hagetroth has sent a convoy of soldiers to find out what’s taking General Shumagi and his platoon so long to return from Goldell. No report on the status of their mission has come since their departure.
As a formality he adds extra security to the palace entrance and check points from the township to the palace. Security Leader “Men be on guard! We want no mistakes. Stay vigilant at your posts, check every cart and every wagon entering grounds of the imperial palace! Only authorized persons may enter the palace grounds. The guest list of those expected for the feast is absolute, no exceptions unless approved by me! Is that understood!?” “Yes general” the soldiers reply. General Hagetroth is a tall man. His eyes are cold and ruthless. His build is slender yet well chiseled. He’s highly disciplined, and strict with his soldiers. Little in the way of incompetence is ever tolerated by Hagetroth who is known to kill soldiers failing in their duties at will.
Kova II has entered the generals home and introduced himself as a guest of the general for the “Feast Of The Emperors” and is given free access to all the general’s amenities including his harem. Kova II enjoys several of the now deceased general’s concubines. When he finishes with them he studies the layout of the generals home. He looks at what the general has collected throughout his life from art work to jewelry and fine linens. He begins preparing for his entry into the imperial palace.
Elsewhere in Rosemador
Int. Omatai Residence – Night
Rendu meets with a friend at his home in secret. A friend still loyal to the former Emperor Kova and his trusted right hand Rendu. It’s Rendu’s childhood best friend Omatai. Omatai “We’ve been waiting for this day to come for quite some time. Everything is in order.” In a flash back we see Rendu bending his ear to the lips of the dying emperor Kova. He’s told whom he should see after his death to lay the ground work for insurgents against the soon to come Imperial three.
Rendu visits Omatai and his family and instructs them according to the emperor’s decree that they prepare their emergency forces to go into hiding and operate as the clandestine “imperial scepter”. Imperial scepter groups will operate in service of the emperor and see that his will is carried out long after he’s gone from this world. They train and practice the “Nine Deadly Arts” as taught by Rendu & Rose for the day when the heir to the throne Kova II needs them to take back the empire from the traitors that now occupy the seat that is his.
Goldell was chosen by emperor Kova to be the place that his heir would be kept safe and grow up to come back when ready to claim his rightful seat as Emperor. His mother the Empress Rose, is told by Emperor Kova that he suspects his three lieutenant generals Atrius, Rayke, and Kem have been poisoning him slowly over time through someone in the imperial kitchen staff. The emperor tells Rose “revenge is a dish best served ice cold”.
Int. Imperial Palace – Night
Atrius, Rayke, & Kem are seated on their throne chairs comparing notes on the rumor about a mysterious man known only as “The Son Of Rose”. Atrius “Gentleman it appears that the past has caught up with us. Rayke “And there’s been no word from General Shumagi? Kem “None, we may well presume that he and his men are dead. The reinforcements we sent have not reported back as of yet on the whereabouts of the general and his men. This was Hagetroth’s last report. We must keep security on high alert.” Atrius ” Agreed. I want nothing to interrupt our annual feast.
The number of imperial forces on security detail directly in and around the imperial palace number two thousand after security was raised. The number of local citizens in the townships in and around Rosemador is six thousand including men, women and children.
The Next Day – “Feast Of The Emperors”
The morning comes swiftly as rotations of imperial soldiers change their shifts and servants go back and forth tending to the feast hall of the emperors. The entertainment for the days festivities also begin to arrive at the palace check points and are searched for weapons before being allowed entry onto the palace grounds. General Hagetroth along with a platoon of soldiers head towards General Shumagi’s residence to inquire from his staff if they’ve received any word on his return.
Before Hagetroth and his soldiers arrive at General Shumagi’s residence, Kova II makes his exit and heads into the township center mingling amongst the crowds of people walking about their daily routines. Energy in the town and imperial palace is vibrant and on full display as the buzz of excitement for the night festivities and all the preparation of the “Feast Of The Emperors” continues.
General Hagetroth arrives at General Shumagi’s residence and is let in by his head steward. General Hagetroth “Any word from Shumagi? “There has been none my lord. But he did send a guest to stay the night. He left this morning.” General Hagetroth “Who was this guest?” Steward “A young man with an impressive build my lord. His hair was red and orange like a flame. He said his name was…Esoteric my lord and was invited by the general to stay and enjoy his hospitalities for the “Feast Of The Emperors”.
General Hagetroth and his men take a quick glance around the residence before returning to their posts at the imperial palace. Shortly after General Hagetroth and his men arrive back at the imperial palace, word finally reaches them that General Shumagi and all his men are dead. General Hagetroth reports to the emperors. Atrius “You’re absolutely certain of this?” General Hagetroth “Yes my emperors, without any doubt General Shumagi is dead and all of his men. They were impaled in pits hidden in the woods and the general was killed in front of the burning bodies of some of his men. I believe the one responsible is already here in Rosemador and has been inside Shumagi’s home. We are well fortified and ready for any attack my emperors.” Rayke “See to it that you are.”
By nightfall guests of the emperors begin to arrive.
Imperial Palace Ext. Entrance – Night
Lieutenants, generals, high ranking members of the imperial army along with their wives and the local lords of Rosemador begin to make their way into the palace grounds. They are dressed for a festive celebration. Music begins to emanate from within the halls of the palace as musicians play harps, various horns are blown, and violin strings strummed. Once all the guests of the emperors are inside the palace grounds the gates are shut and the celebration commences. Servants from the imperial kitchen number more than fifty. Thirty of these servants are designated exclusively to serve the three emperors needs during the feast. There are one hundred guests in attendance. Half being army captains, lieutenants, and generals and the other half the local lords and wealthy citizens of Rosemador. They’ve all brought their annual duty to be paid to the emperors in person.
One by one the local lords approach the emperors and drop baskets of royalties. Some baskets include fine linens and silks while others have pieces of gold and silver along with precious stones. Imperial soldiers are at their posts inside and outside the palace as the entertainment begins to enter the feast hall once all the duties are received and taken away to the imperial treasury room. The guests take their seats after hailing emperors Atrius, Rayke, and Kem. Servants pour the wines into the glasses of the guests and they all toast to the empire. The kitchen staff begin to circulate to their formation positions and bring in the savory cooked meats to be carved and served. The fatted cows, lambs, goats, and fowls are all brought in one by one by the many servants and positioned carefully onto their places on each of the feasting tables. Plates are prepped and portions of the meats are carved and placed delicately onto plates.
Large serving bowls of steaming cooked rice accompanied by various vegetables are added to the plates. Platters of fresh fruit are also spread evenly throughout the tables. Lamps light the feasting hall in every corridor and there are candles adorning the tables. The feasting tables are large enough to seat fifty persons comfortably along with all the various dishes and wines. The premier feasting table is strictly for the emperors. Atrius sits at the head of the table, while he is flanked on his left and right sides respectively by the other two emperors Rayke to his left and Kem to his right.
Dancers enter the feasting hall. They cartwheel and do serial flips into the feasting hall and proceed to give an elaborate celebratory dance sequence in front of the emperors that brings smiles to the faces of the guests and the emperors. Elsewhere in the palace a shift rotation of soldiers takes place. Omatai is dressed as a soldier and takes a post near the entrance doors to the feasting hall.
Outside the palace walls Kova II approaches dressed in black with a single pinstripe of crimson red on the outerseam of both his pants and his shirt and his head uncovered. He impressively leaps up and scales the eastern wall using his incredible talents. He lands stealthily inside the palace grounds and takes out two soldiers before his presence is noticed. The bodies of the soldiers are dragged and hidden in bushes as Kova II makes his way towards the palace.
The emperors and their guests continue eating and drinking while the entertainment dazzles them with routine after routine. Several beautiful young women from the kitchen wearing light pink colored sheer head covers bring plates of food and place them in front of the seated emperors keeping their heads bowed not making eye contact. Atrius grins as they leave the dishes and return to their places in the feast hall until the next course is ready to be served and the previous course removed. Course after course is served and the guests and emperors are wholeheartedly enjoying the evenings festivities. Desert is served first to the emperors and then to their guests.
The desert is a local favorite that few can make better than those in the imperial kitchen. It’s a rich cake that is soaked throughout with an ice cold cream & sugar base topped with a light whipped crème that is lightly powdered with ground nutmeg and adorned with several pitted cherries on top. The young women bring the cakes to the emperors first before the other servants serve the rest of the guests in the feast hall. Atrius takes his first spoonful of the sumptuously decadent desert into his mouth and closes his eyes as he savors the ice cold crème soaked delicious cake .
Guests marvel at the simplicity and sophistication of the desert from it’s composition to its texture and taste. “My God if there is a better tasting desert than this I’d like to see it” exclaims the wife of a military lieutenant. Atrius devours his portion as do the other two emperors. The entertainment taking a brief rest during the serving of the desert now resume their celebratory dancing. Suddenly, in the middle of the next dance sequence the doors to the feasting hall explode open with pieces of wood flying dramatically into the hall. Some pieces of wood hit guests who are startled by this interruption of festivities.
The dancers stop their routine as Kova II stands in the door way. He makes eye contact with each of the emperors. Guests look on as Kova II enters the hall. He addresses everyone in attendance including the three emperors. “Thieves! Traitors! Robbers of the throne! I bid you all good evening. I was not on the guest list for this evening’s “Feast Of The Emperors” as I imagine it would be improper to say the least, for THIEVES to invite their victims to a celebratory dinner… in honor of the theft they committed. I am here nonetheless and I am your reckoning!
A local lord asks “Young man what are you talking about and who the hell are you to interrupt this celebration in honor of the emperors?” Kova II looks at the local lord and walks over to him. I am he whom you owe your loyalty. I am your Sovereign, I am heir to the throne, I am “The Son Of Rose!” I am the son of Emperor Kova. I am Kova II and I will be taking back all that is rightfully mine! The guests in attendance gasp. Atrius “Over our dead bodies! Imperial guards seize him!! Imperial guards begin rushing into the feast hall and surround Kova II. Rayke signals a guard to summon General Hagetroth. The first guard that tries to put a hand on Kova II meets with a vicious twisting kick to the face that sends him flying. and is tossed like a rag doll into the crowd of guests. Multiple guards try to attack Kova II simultaneously and he handles them with deadly accuracy. Kova II fights the imperial guards using “Lion Meets Tiger & Leopard Stalking Jaguar Under Cheetah”.
The wives as well as some of the lieutenants and local lords begin to flee from the feast hall. Atrius, Rayke, & Kem take this opportunity to exit to their respective chambers within the palace through the rear exit of the feast hall under heavy guard while Kova II battles the imperial soldiers and imperial guardsmen rushing in to defend the emperors. General Hagetroth arrives in the feast hall just in time to see Kova II deliver several crushing blows to imperial guards before tossing them over and into feasting tables spilling food and drink all over. Another guard is now in the grip of Kova II being used as a shield against sword attacks and arrow slings. Kova II moves closer to the rear of the feast hall to give himself more room to size up and counter his opponents who are enveloping the feast hall.
General Hagetroth sends several of his best soldiers to attack Kova II. They manage to land a few blows against a fatiguing Kova II who nonetheless is undaunted by his prospects. He fights with unwavering tenacity and switches his fighting technique to that of that of the “Alligator”. He pulls out his whip and begins to inflict severe injury on the incoming forces. Then a roar goes up and suddenly from within the ranks of the imperial forces Omatai and Rendu emerge. “Now!” Rendu shouts. From within the imperial soldiers ranks soldiers begin to attack one another. General Hagetroth “what is the meaning of this treachery?! Kill the traitors!
Members of the “Imperial Scepter” reveal themselves and strip off their respective cover. They start to even the odds for Kova II as they fight against the imperial soldiers using several of the “Nine Deadly Arts” they were taught in secret through Rose, Rendu and Omatai. General Hagetroth throws off his jacket and prepares himself to battle the insurgent forces. Imperial guards now form a blockade between Kova II and the three chambers of the emperors.
A figure begins to walk casually and calmly through the fray taking place in the feast hall. From the ground up we notice soft shoes and pants covered by a long flowing outer jacket with a large red rose on the upper back. A head cover comes off and the face of the former empress Rose is revealed. She walks towards the General who has taken a defensive stance behind several of his own personal guards. When he sees her General Hagetroth thinks this woman has made an unfortunate mistake and his pompous attitude causes him to laugh at her presence.
The guards for the general Hagetroth attempt to stop the empress from approaching. Rose dispatches the guards with a lethal quickness that takes the general by surprise. “Who are you might I ask?” Rose stares at the general. “I am the last face you shall see alive”. General Hagetroth scoffs and laughs. He and Rose now engage each other in combat. Hagetroth takes his stance and begins to battle Rose utilizing his skills in “Mad Elephant Meets Black Rhino”. Rose targets the joints of her larger adversary using the speed and stealth of the deadly arts “Crane” and “Humming Bird”. General Hagetroth charges at Rose who sidesteps him and trips him into a table. He now pulls out a curved sword that has an exaggerated arc and attempts to slice and impale the empress.
Rose sustains a wound to one of her arms but she shrugs it off and continues to battle with the general. In a series of strikes and counters between them, Rose manages to kick the curved sword out of the generals grasp and get her legs around his neck. She begins to exert great pressure trying to cut off air to his windpipe. The general feverishly attempts to break the hold around his neck and manages to pull a dagger from his waist band and stabs Rose in the leg causing her to scream and release her grip on the general. The two stagger around each other trying to gain an advantage. The general charges into Rose and the two crash to the ground with the general throwing blows from on top of her which she surreptitiously avoids with head and leg movements out of the way of the general’s strikes. Rose scissor kicks her way back up to her feet landing a combination of kicks as does. General Hagetroth throws his whip and captures the ankle of Rose yanking her footing from under her and dragging her towards him. Rose struggles to break free and is getting closer and closer to the General whose grin is as wide as a Chesire cat. Rose flashes a smile in return as she delivers a shockingly quick jab with her fingertips to the side of the general’s neck.
General Hagetroth’s eyes become big and begin to swell as they start to turn red. The vein in his neck begins to bulge and he can’t speak. He stands exactly where he is, trembling and Rose turns and walks away from the general. He takes a step forward as if to go after her and his head explodes. His body drops to the ground and Rose makes her way to the feast hall doors.
She motions beckoning someone to come. Twelve men and women dressd as imperial guards enter the hall and follow Rose towards the entrance to the three chambers blocked by the imperial guard of the three emperors. The ongoing melee between the “imperial scepter” and the imperial soldiers of the three emperors continues both inside and out of the palace walls as more troops arrive to fight on behalf of the emperors. Rendu and Omatai battle with the imperial guards of Rayke, while Kova II battles the imperial guards of Kem. Rose and her twelve approach the central wing and begin to attack the imperial guards for Atrius.
In moments all of the imperial guards for the three emperors are engaged and killed with deadly accuracy. Kova II reunites with Rendu, Omatai, and his mother Rose. The twelve warriors who accompany Empress Rose tell Kova II that they are the “Ghost Blue Council” comprised of loyal servants to the throne of emperor Kova I. They have waited and trained in secret and kept the plans of the former emperor hidden from even their closest friends and family out of fear that the spies and servants of the current three emperors would find out. One of the council members addresses Kova II. “The time has come young emperor for you to take your place from this den of wolves and snakes. We shall be your witnesses. The final battles are yours to face alone. We will ensure that none interfere on the behalf of the current emperors.
To be continued…The Son Of Rose: The Ghost Blue Council
All images are the property of http://www.frozenropephotography.com (c) 2016. All rights reserved.
Image/Photo Credits – Steve Dzaba