Old Regalia For A New Empress
“Must I wear this ridiculous costume?” opined the young Empress Omega. Her servant Alexis responded in a patient and careful manner. “It has been the tradition of your ancestors for millennia, your august Grace.” Omega looked dubiously at her regalia and muttered “well, I would have expected something more elaborate.”
The young Omega had in mind the many-layered gown she had worn at the funeral of her father, the Emperor Omero of Nerina. A month had passed since then and the time for mourning was over. Now Omega had a new challenge to face – her coronation. The prodigy with a sage-like memory was confident that she could do and say all the right things that custom demanded. What concerned her right now, however, was the Trappings of Coronation.
Alexis had an answer to the words that had slipped from the royal lips. “The Trappings of Coronation are most elaborate, your Grace. There is the ruby-studded gold circlet, the chalcedony collar, the citrine bracelets, the emerald-encrusted copper rings, the sapphire-spangled silver belt, the amethyst-adorned iron anklets…” If the loyal and long-serving attendant had more to say it was cut short by the new monarch.
“All those trinkets are wonderfully intricate but once you look past the finery what I will be wearing tomorrow is basically a short, white hemp kilt.”
“It is the kilt that your father wore, and his mother before him, and her father before her, and so on back to the days of the legendary Oryan.”
“Yes, loyal Alexis, but in the days of Oryan the subjects of the Empire were little more than naked savages. Since then clothes have become the fashion and yet, on this one day of my life I’m expected to stand before the assembled throng in next to nothing.”
“Your father the immortal Omero wore the very same attire with confidence and aplomb.”
The Empress Omega looked at her servant for a long moment.
“Must I say it Alexis?”
“Must you say what your Grace?”
“My father, now enjoying the riches of the Afterlife, never had bosoms like these!”
“Your Grace has bosoms worthy of admiration.”
“That is what concerns me. Everyone from the Ambassador of Farport to the local street sweepers will be admiring my orbs. I can just imagine them asking each another if they’d gotten a good look at the dugs of the new Empress!”
“I think you exaggerate, your Grace. The coronation is an event of utmost decorum and every subject understands that. Custom dictates that nobody discuss the dress or manners of those newly ascended to the throne.”
“Well I suppose... but they’ll be thinking it!”
“Your Grace is perceptive.”
Omega stared arrows at Alexis and then sat pondering for a moment, as she looked in her mirror.
“So is there nothing I can add to the Trappings of Coronation?”
“This set of items has been the same for scores upon scores of generations. It is traditional, your Grace.”
“As a child I was told that I would be more powerful than the grand sire of the Narmans, who is just one member of a council dominated by republican rulers. Likewise I was informed that in Rovnara the warrior-king must share power with his sorceress-queen and that, in contrast, I would hold power alone. And yet what do I find holding me back at every turn but the ghosts of tradition!”
“Tradition has served the Empire well your Grace.”
“And yet fashions have changed since we all wore kilts like this. I wonder whether I could insist that all attending the event go in only underthings.”
“But your Grace it would be presumptuous of the populous to even consider dressing in the same manner as the Empress.”
“Fine! You have advised me well, as always, my devoted Alexis.”
“Thank you your Grace. I think you will find that the ceremony feels just as natural as does attending, say, the royal bathhouse with your personal retinue.”
The Empress looked deflated but then her eyes sparkled and she looked back at her servant.
“Indeed Alexis, indeed. I wonder now if you can go and fetch for me the royal cosmeticians – all the royal cosmeticians. I want my flesh to do justice to these wonderful gem stones and I think some pigmentation will help in that regard.”
“Of course your Grace.”
* * * * *
The following day the Sun shone over the wide harbour of Nerina City. A crowd gathered in the Imperial Square to look upon their new Empress. There they saw Omega standing far above, on a platform extending from an upper level of the Eternal Palace. Her subjects were impressed with what they saw – a woman who seemed to be covered all over in scintillating, dotted patterns of swirling red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.
Her predecessors had worn as little or as much pigment as they had wished but Omega had done something new. She was still practically naked and she knew it. But in the course of her argument with Alexis she had realized that defying tradition and twisting the rules, even just a little, was what mattered to her that day. Those who had come to gawp were dazzled by her pigments rather than her curves. Omega glanced at Alexis for a moment and would have sworn she saw her servant betray the briefest of smiles, surprising on a face of usually mask-like composure.
It was only once during her rule that Omega would have to do this. The Empress had made a thorough examination of all her future formal attire and had discovered that the Trappings of Coronation were as ancient and scanty as her costumes would ever get. Omega smiled and waved with all the dignity she had been conditioned to display as an inheritor of power. The crowd cheered, and Omega went inside before her pigments started to melt.
I warned of the boobs! But is it funny or merely crass? If it serves any purpose it is to show that I do think nudity has a role within fantasy settings but that it can be there to amuse as much as to titillate. This is way more closely aligned to Carry On movies than it is to Game Of Thrones.
Labels: Creative Writing