Chapter 13; Heirs to the Empire
A fragment from the thirteenth chapter from the unfinished book, The Life Chronicle of Abedi Terik, the Dragon Emperor by Emil Tark, the head librarian of The Imperial Archive.
There is something that had always bothered me. It’s one of those things about the Emperor’s rule that scholars have often wondered about. The Emperor has ruled for hundreds of years; he has had many different imperial concubines. Where are his children? Surely he must have some sometime? Are they secreted away somewhere for their safety? Or could he be infertile? Once this thought invaded my mind, I could think of little else, so I took it upon myself to answer it, once and for all. I started by hunting down the records concerning what few concubines I could remember from my lifetime and working my way backwards from there. It was strange. The Emperor liked to take young, presumably fertile, women from all over the Empire as his concubines. Many consider this is for two reasons. Control, if you have a political enemies child as your bride, they are less likely to cause trouble, and secondly to show that his influence is everywhere. He is watching everywhere. It largely works for him as well. Fear of our imperial sovereign is near absolute. These young girls would be brought to the capital and shown off in a massive wedding ceremony. There would be a day of celebration where many would receive the day off. Expected to attend the grand event if they were able. The Lord Chancellor of the Pyronate would preside over the ceremony and then there would be an enormous feast with the new couple at the head, to be seen by all. Afterwards, they would retire, to consummate their union, one would assume. After a new girl was joined to the Emperor, he would expect her to attend events and functions beside him for a few months, but then they would always fade into the background. He would begin choosing his favourite, or the one he wanted to bestow his favour upon, out of his harem. During these periods, we would see the woman that comprised this imperial group going about other tasks within the palace. Some would be in charge of different parts of his household, different wings of unimportant areas of his control. A couple had even been known to join us within the Imperial Archive from time to time. My research has turned up an incongruity, however. Sometimes they would disappear for extended time periods. Even the women who had somewhat important jobs, like being in charge of the palace servants, would vanish from the public eye. I’ve gone through statements and have found that these periods could be over a year or might be less however, they were always over nine months. Were these maternity leaves of absence? Time alone for them to rest and give birth to imperial heirs in secret and safety, perhaps? It is very difficult to actually prove or disprove any theories about this. Very little information exists to support any schools of thought. None of the current members of the Emperor’s harem are available to answer questions. I dare not even ask for fear of being taken for questioning by the Pyronate.