The Royal Hall was in no means a small room with its huge black marble columns that were almost six stories high and it was much longer than it was tall. There were rumours that you could fit a billion men in it (which of course was nonsense), but looking at the luxurious space it was no wonder how such ideas had come to pass. Still, with the regal banners for each of the Guilds of Planet Plant hanging from the walls, and the royal guards dressed in their bright red uniforms standing attention at both sides of Sedar's throne, it was a room to be in awe of.
Sedar had made sure to put away his scouter before the Guild representatives saw it. He quickly put it behind him where it poked his back in an annoying way, but if one of the them found out that he was wearing a piece of Tsufur-jin technology they would think he was favouring the Tsfuru-jin and not keeping neutral as usual. True that they knew that he owned some machines but he could not afford to let anyone come to the conclusion that he was taking sides. He had always hated hiding actions like this. There was enough dishonesty in the kearn court and he wanted no part in adding to it, but despite that indignity, it was an annoying action, yet necessary.
No doubt if Tipear, Saiy, or worse, both of them saw the scouter, they would make huge problems about it. Tipear would let rumours into the Tsfuru-jin Guild that Sedar was supporting them, while Saiy would make a big fuss about Sedar betraying the Saiymen. Nor would it help if one of the others became aware of a something as simple as that. It would only take a few rumours and a couple twisted truths for the now delicate the Kearn Empire to break into civil war.
He sighed. There had been a time when the empire had been able to withstand anything. They had pushed away invaders, developed an intricate culture, created feats of technology, and new levels in physical strength. A time when the word 'kearn' was to be feared and respected, and not for a people who were being pulled apart from all sides.
Sedar had seen a glimpse of their golden age when he had been a boy and not a hundred and fifty-three year old, and his father Paplur had been on the throne, but it had ended shortly after the 'convenient' demise of his father leading to a Sedar, a young man of twenty being named king. It had shone like the sun, blazing across the world in a ball of glory.
Considering how long-lived kearns were, Sedar had been a mere child whose training in the royal arts had only started a few years prior to the death of his father. Unfortunately his opposition hadn't been so unprepared and the youth had been thrown into a situation that was hazardous to say the least. He had taught himself politics from that point on, but as it was said 'It takes years for a matrin tree to grow yet you can knock it down in a day.'
Sedar looked upon the speaker not letting a thread of emotion through the mask that was his face. That was Saiy, the leader of the Vegeta Guild, he was a tall and muscular man with dark eyes, dressed in a ragged animal pelt. He flew down the hall well ahead of the other Guildmen, his feet centimetres from the stone floor.
His black hair that formed a spiky mane flowing down his back was tied down into a ponytail by a strip of raw hide that wavered slightly as he landed in front of the throne and kneeled; his tail twisted around his waist and tilted down in an attempt to look humble.
"Your highness?" he repeated.
"You may speak, Saiy?" Sedar asked before making sure that his body was relaxed.
"You no doubt have heard about the events that occurred at the Festival of the Oozaru, after the gutasha occurred?"
"Yes, your son."
"My son…" Saiy whispered and squeezed his eyes tightly shut. His face contorted with what seemed to be agony. Sedar paid little attention. He had been fooled by that man's acting skills before and if that were real pain Saiy was going through, Sedar would eat his throne.
"I am feel for your loses," the king lied. It is the youth who has really lost.
"Thank you, but I care not for what I have lost, I only wish to gain justice for my only child against them." Saiy stood and looked back down the hall towards Tipear and the other Guildmen met up with him. That much of his emotions was honest. Those two enjoyed each other's company as much as one likes being hung by their ankles over a steaming hot pit of lava all the while being poked by a very sharp spear.
Tipear walked over. He still wore his light brown locks in the traditional gerai ponytail, but unlike Saiy's wild hair, they were neatly combed and tied carefully. He resembled a spider of sorts, with his long skinny limbs, and too small head that was covered with skin that seemed to cling tightly to his nose and high cheek bones. Eyes, blue, had one covered by a red-screened scouter like the one behind Sedar's back and he wore a tight fitting red body armour that had a long white cape falling down his back.
He stood next to Saiy. "Are you implying I had something to do with this?" he asked, voice filling with contempt.
"Your people were suppose to be at the festival to be sure no one gets hurt. You said your people would bring you energy nets in case any of us got out of control to protect any of us from them, and protect them from themselves," accused Saiy, speaking more to the people in the room rather than Tipear.
"Are you saying that your people can't control their own power. That perhaps you are a danger to the kearn race, as well as to the Tsfuru-jin? That maybe you should give up your training and properly serve your betters?" retorted Tipear.
"Are you saying that your people can't handle a few Saiymen with your 'superior' technology?" said Saiy back.
The other Guild members were deathly quiet. Many of them had long since taken sides in this political debate, but none of them were foolish enough to get involved in anything a fight between these two. Saiy's strength was ever pressing when one noticed his bulging muscles or his cat-like grace, and though Tipear was weak by virtually anyone's standards, but only a fool would overlook the beam weapon that was strapped to his waist. Many of the representatives were edging ever so slowly towards the door.
"Quiet," Sedar ordered, putting as much authority into his speech as possible. The king had long since learned to detest such political games, though he knew how necessary they were in a world where everyone else played them. Better that than open war, still this wasn't a place for petty quarrels. "There are no Saiymen or Tsfuru-jin. There is only the kearns. You two would do best to remember that." This was where the true danger was. Not the different believes, but the thought that they were of different and not one overall race.
Separated even when we’re together, Sedar thought grimly and silently cursed his forefather Oeckis. He had been the one who had founded the Guilds. Oeckis had wanted the race to develop faster and so he had got volunteers to focus on different aspects of the world. It ended up creating the guilds of music, agriculture, fine arts, physical abilities, and science.
For a time the idea had worked, and kearns as a people had excelled in all fields but eventually the ties that kept the groups together had been worn down and only the Vegeta Guild, the strength Guild, the Tsfuru Guild, the science Guild, truly remained. True, the other ones still existed but they mainly supported the Saiymen or the Tsfuru-jin and at times they even referred to themselves as members of these groups.
"I am sorry, sire," said Tipear bowing low, his thin arms crossing the armour that covered his chest, like a talisman against Sedar's distaste. "I was not implying my men and women are of a different race, merely that they are members of that particular Guild."
"Nor was I, your highness," agreed Saiy.
They are like naughty brothers at times and act like it more than I would like. Wanting the other to get in trouble, but when they are both in danger they will cover up their treachery together. They wish to be considered two different peoples so they can call it a reason to start a war and have the chance for power. I must be careful.
"Tipear," Sedar said, " I requested that that members of your Guild be at the Festival of the Oozaru in the chance that someone would get of control. I would like to understand why nobody was there?"
The Tsfuru-jin made no indication of guilt. "Your majesty. My men were preparing for the Festival when we found our equipment wrecked. Sabotaged."
His implications were clear and you could feel the eyes edging towards Saiy who ignored the looks completely as if there were only himself, Sedar, and Tipear in the room.
"I hope you don't believe this traitor," Saiy said softly. "He no doubt wanted my son dead for his reasons and makes such outrageous claims to cover his tracks. Brolly was a powerful youth and would have made a good leader when it was his time and Gerai Tipear knew this, and so my son has left us for Zereuf so soon in his life." Whatever respect the word gerai had, Saiy sucked it dry leaving it to be a meaningless sound.
Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? If I support one it very well may lead to danger.
It would be dangerous to go along with either
Despite the immense size of the chamber and the fact that there was currently only eight occupants, the five Guild representatives, the king, and his two guards standing so still that if one didn't know better you would think they were statues, hardly filling up it chamber at all. Yet with the delicateness of the situation it felt like to Sedar as if it were two metres by two metres with Tipear and Saiy jammed next to his ears and yelling at the top of their lungs.
"I will make sure this is looked into," Sedar said finally and was suspicious when no one protested. This did not seem like either of those two's normal behaviour. "I will speak to Gerai Tipear and Gerai Saiy later today for more information on this breach of protocol, but until I know more I am unable to give out punishment until more is known and proven." He gave a firm glance at Saiy. "For those who wish to stay, I will see that you have residence. I ask you to leave the hall for the time being."
The Guildmen were not fools and co-operated with no argument. In a few minutes, they had left with little complaints.
Sedar came to his feet preparing to call for a servant. Then all of a sudden, his legs surged with weakness and gave out, sending him toppling towards the floor. In a flash, one of his guards leaped forward, grabbing beneath the arms and gently supporting.
"Are you okay, your majesty?" the guardsman asked frantically, while he and the guard started to eased him back onto the throne.
"I am fine, Mato, I was just feeling faint for a moment," Sedar said and he began to rise again, ignoring his wobbling knees. If only he could still fly, but the ability had faded as had his youth. It had been three decades since he had last been able to launch himself into the glorious sky.
"Maybe so, sire, but I beg you to let me or someone else handle whatever matters of state for now," argued the guardsman, trying to coax his king to sit back down.
Sedar looked at the young man and for a moment the burden on his shoulders that had been so prominent lightened. Mato had been a Man of Saiy, and was one of the many kearns who had left their Guilds to serve the people as a whole. Though he sported a bloodline from Guild Vegeta, he was a true kearn at heart.
Sedar's face relaxed. "Very well, Mato, please inform the Enforcers of the happenings at the Festival. Tell them to get on it immediately and keep their eyes open for any foul play."
"No that will be all, thank you."
Mato bowing deeply walked briskly in the direction of the door.
The elderly king watched him go, meanwhile idly fingering the end of his half-tail. Men like the young guardsman would inherit Planet Plant hopefully.
Let me live long enough to resolve this trial, he prayed.