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Last edited by Scen on 2008-07-19 04:25:26

The Legend of Ming Wu Jen... 3

By Scen

The messenger found the Emperor attending his guests, the assembled Lords of the Empire, within the Emperor's Quarters of the Palace. Prostrating himself ritually, the messenger relayed the problem and gave him, in order, the Generals' letter, followed by Lord Ming's letter.

Here is what Lord Ming's letter said:

"As you have probably already been made aware, either by my messenger or by the Generals charged with the Imperial Province's protection, we have an alien vessel landed at the Imperial Harbor. All attempts to identify from which port these sailors hail have failed, and the visitors speak no language that any who has encountered them recognizes. Thankfully, they do not appear to be hostile, as I have heard of no reports of violence or weapons drawn.

I cannot disguise from you, my Lord, the excitement within me at the prospect of, for the first time since early in your father's reign decades ago, discovering a new and unfamiliar people. The chance for the growth of our own culture with new contact with other peoples is tremendous -- an argument that I once made before your father, which he acted against in launching the wars of conquest in Beorn and Tro. I know that your time and education in the monasteries of Fa-Bul have given you greater insight into the Will of Heaven, and that you may use this occassion to avoid repeating the mistakes of your Exalted Father.

I have gone personally to the Harbor, and taken your servant Surine, who as you know is a gifted linguist. I am hopeful that we will soon be able to master the new foreigners' tongue so that we can begin commerce and intellectual exchange with these new people, as I had only begun to do when we discovered the Spirit-Folk, the Amazons and the Barbarians. I can predict, however, that others among your advisors -- the High Protector and the Grand General -- do not see things in the same light that I do. They are doubtless in favor of a less inviting, perhaps even a more aggressive, approach at first contact with this new culture, in effect a continuance of the past policies that are now in effect in our battles in the West. I do not believe we can continue to wage war against the entire world, my Lord; from behind the veil of opulence in the Imperial City, I wonder if we can truly appreciate how tenuous our Empire is is we continue down this road.

However, I am not the Son of Heaven. I can only claim so much by way of knowledge or learning, but one thing I can never claim is Heaven's Mandate. That, my Lord, falls only to you, and so the decision of where to proceed from here is in the end a choice that only you may make. So I have arranged to present for you your two alternatives: you may abide the message sent you by the Generals (and dismiss or not whatever slanders they have conjured up against my good name), or you may heed my more considered and less reactionary advice. Should you advance as I can only hope you will, I would ask that you give your order to the High Protector and the Grand General to lead a company of fifty Imperial Honor Guards to the Imperial Harbor for the purposes of protecting the docked alien vessel from any in the Harbor Quarter that might become too curious for their own good. I trust that Lords Zong and Ren will neither expect nor appreciate this assignment to come from their having contacted you; you may choose whether or not it is worth mentioning that I made the request myself. I suspect that they would know it already, anyway.

Should you, however, intend to heed the advice of your Generals, then I will leave the Harbor immediately and allow your Mandate to take effect. Know that in either case I am, as ever, a devoted servant to the Kai."

The Emperor smiled fondly, and afforded himself a laugh, as he read over the Court Astrologer's letter. He then wrote out a hasty response and had the messenger carry it back to the Generals. Within that letter, he asked both Zong Duo and Ren Cang to go with fifty men to guard the docked ship, and accept further orders as given from the Court Astrologer.

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