The King is Dead

Kokkoro, 52 WR.

The castle of King Edge of Eblan.

Dating back to the legendary times of King Mishima Eblana I, the castle was massive, capable of holding tens of thousands of people. It was practically a city unto itself.

But today the castle was filled with morning, as grave news was on everyone’s lips, spreading as quickly as a plague. “King Edge is dead.”

Dead without an heir.

This was shocking news – Edge was less than forty years old. His two young children – Erel and Nona – had been killed in a tragic airplane accident a few months before. He had no direct line descendants. The family of Eblana had ruled Eblan for its whole history.

Although many of the noble houses had some ties to House Eblana, none of them had a stronger claim than any other. A handful of radicals in the Diet suggested this was the time to abolish the monarchy entirely, to become a full democracy, but that was beyond the pale for most Eblanese. The country’s population of non-Eblanese ethnicities – the families of Great War refugees, the so-called “Provisionals” – wondered what would become of them. They had long faced discrimination in Eblanese society. Eblan’s non-human minorities, although only 2 percent of the population, had only recently obtained the same legal rights as humans through an act King Edge had all but bullied through the Diet. They feared their recent progress could be undone. Meanwhile, more conservative factions of Eblan worried that their distinct culture and tradition would be washed away in a tide of blue jeans, pop music, and shopping malls.

The country had long been a pivot for Web politics, a strong ally of Guardia, a trading partner for Tasnica and Esper, and a bulwark against Scande’s communist expansion in the Crystal Dimension.

King Edge had been a unifier and reformer. He had opened certain parts of society up to non-Eblanese and even non-humans. He had played the Great Powers against each other for Eblan’s benefit. Eblan had survived and prospered under its leadership.

No one wanted to contemplated civil war, but without the wily King Edge at the helm, it seemed possible. Without its one unifying light, domestic leaders and foreign powers both thought they could shape events in Eblan to their liking.
Overnight, with one death, Eblan had become the tinderbox for the Web.