Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Stormborn," House Methis, pt. 1, 431 words

In the Golden Empire of Ordal, House Methis has held the reigns of power for over a thousand years. Presiding over House and Empire, Taal is the master of all he surveys. To defy Taal is to defy the Empire. Yet despite that, the Emperor is but one man, and his House but one of many. Defiance of the Empire, even within Methis, is more common than one might suppose.

House Methis’s supremacy comes from its Art. The sign of the Naga is the sign of Longevity, and the greatest of the House are said to be immortal, falling only to wound and disease. Indeed, the Emperor is known to be more than 1500 years old, but looks like a man only just approaching middle age. He is the oldest member of his House, and history says that his ascendance came from a brutal House War against House Cadin in his youth. The elder starborn of Methis fought each other almost as much as they fought the Cadin forces, and were wiped out to a man in the course of the war, leaving Taal at the head of the House. His first act was to consolidate the forces of the fractious, now-deceased Methis leaders, and followed up by making a bloody example of any Cadin he could get his hands upon. Despite the supremacy of Cadin’s Art in war, Methis exacted a violent toll upon them under Taal’s generalship. When the Cadin finally acceded to Methis’s dominance, it was to be only the first of many Houses to fall.

The Art of Longevity gives its bearers the fullness of vision required to manage their extended lives. The most powerful Methis are therefore the most long-ranging planners, finding ways to fill lives so much greater than those of other men – even other starborn. Under Taal’s leadership, Methis embarked on a three century campaign to weaken and dominate each of the High Houses in turn. By the grace of their Art, House Santh was the last to fall, but in the least violent manner, leaving them favored in the eyes of Taal. With the last of the High Houses in line, the Minor Houses ceased all struggling and bowed before the new emperor. Taal has thus spent the last 1200 years amusing himself with the juggling exercise known as politics. Those who knew a time before his rule have been dead and gone for at least 1100 years, meaning he is a central fixture in the minds of his subjects, as constant and immutable as the rising and setting of the sun.

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