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Chapter 26


Beyond the Darkness

The Emperor visits the House of Kronus – Unknown treasures hidden by tradition – Kronus reveals the women’s school to the Emperor – The Emperor views Kronus’ treasury – The Emperor ponders the gain to be made in breaking tradition – The first Emperor and the beginning of dark traditions – How to undo what the mighty have established? – Kronus reveals a plan to empower the Emperor – The Emperor agrees to Kronus’ plans, orders the building of a women’s school

 

1  There came to the House of Kronus, the Emperor of Drakonia, being himself lightly attended; for the Emperor was made aware of the women of Kronus’ house; how that many which were great and mighty did prefer them above all other women.

2  For it was passed about from ear to ear, that the women of Kronus were themselves the greatest of earthly treasures; possessing in their comely forms an art and skill both subtle and wise; being themselves schooled in courtly grace; proving in their flesh and manner most sexually desirable and pleasing to those which lay beside them.

3  Thus did the Emperor come to feast in the House of Kronus; and all which Kronus did unto the forty men, even this did he likewise do for the sake of the Emperor; to feast him in opulence midst the flowing gowns of women richly adorned.

4  And all which the Emperor saw and heard did he find a pleasure uncommon and rare; for the women which attended him were skilled in words of grace and gentle humor; disarming the Emperor through soft speech and tender touches; speaking to him of all his great and mighty deeds.

5  And in the feasting did the women sing and dance with artful skill, moving the heart of the Emperor in all their favor; causing the Emperor to smile and laugh and clap aloud at all which they did; and the Emperor, being pleased, did fill the hands of every woman with an over abundance of platinum coins, most costly and rare.

6  Thus did the Emperor see for himself the women of Kronus’ house, and even he did desire for himself women of equal kind and manner.

7  Now on the morrow of the next day, the Emperor asked of Kronus, saying: “Where Kronus did you find women of such skill and gracious beauty? For in all my realm have I never before seen their likeness.”

8  And Kronus answered him, saying: “Your Majesty, these are but the women which you, yourself, did give me; and if you be willing, then will I show you all which I have done to make them even as you see them now.”

9  And the Emperor being startled, said: “What! Have I such unknown treasures in my house already? By what means am I unable to see them? What darkness would hide from me such grace and beauty as these, your women, do possess?”

10  Then did Kronus answer him, saying: “It is tradition only which would keep from you the prize of greatest worth; for in some traditions do we find a harsh and bitter master which would but hold us in some firm and narrow fashion;

11  Causing that we should prove ourselves unable to see, or hear, or taste, or touch, or move about in light and joy and happy life for fear of such traditions as do hedge up the way against us.

12  For if we should think to reach beyond the darkness of ages past, then will the bitter voice of this tradition or that tradition lay strong hold upon the mind to pull us back into the dungeons of despair and sorrow, of which there is no end, except to the one who can break in pieces the chains which strongly bind.

13  For of all the unseen riches which lay concealed within the earth, women are the greatest of all; being themselves hidden away in common view, to be covered beneath the harsh traditions of common men which are themselves unknowing of such treasures as do lay close at hand.

14  For the woman is the broken stone which all men would see as common and unworthy of further consideration; thinking only to themselves to use it and then casting it away as being itself unworthy and filled with dross.

15  Yet to the man who knows, even he shall see in the woman a diamond in rough and lowly form; possessing in her depths that blazing fire of beauty and grace which sparkles deep within; which fire does but seek for itself some deliverance or release where the woman might shine forth as the most precious of costly treasures.

16  For which a man will give forth an abundance of all his means that perchance he might take to himself the most costly prize of all; to hold with utmost care the thing which cost most dearly, believing all the while that he, himself, is most greatly advantaged because of it.

17  Thus is it certain that in the houses of the great and mighty do there move about those unseen treasures; being themselves fully hidden and locked away through such traditions as we ourselves are subject to.

18  Therefore, Your Majesty, if you will permit, even I will show unto you those certain means by which I have shaped and fully polished the women of my house; causing that they should shine most brightly forth; to become in themselves such women of grace and beauty and artful skills as you do see now round about you.”

19  Such were the words which Kronus spoke; and the Emperor, being curious, did consent and together did they both go unto the women’s school.

20  And in every class did the Emperor stand in amazement at the things which the women learned in all their studies; for it was believed by all men that women were unable to grasp such things as men, themselves, did know.

21  Yet in the classes of the women’s school did the Emperor watch the women in the learning and mastery of all their many subjects; for in the school did the women of Kronus, which themselves had first been taught, stand forth to teach the newer women.

22  And into whatever class the Emperor entered, even that class would rise together as one, and would themselves bow before the Emperor in calm and gracious manner.

23  And seeing with awe their courtly manner, the Emperor would command softly unto each class, saying: “Continue, for I myself would see the things which you have learned.”

24  Thus did the Emperor stand himself beside Kronus, and in whatsoever class he entered, the Emperor would watch with intentful eye, to see that women, of themselves, could learn and teach full well the things of math and science, history and language, as well as the arts and pleasures of sexual intercourse.

25  Now after the Emperor had seen for himself the women’s school, Kronus took the Emperor into the manor; and going unto the uppermost floor of the house, the Emperor saw the great room of the women; and he marveled at the beauty and richness of all which was found therein.

26  And Kronus, seeing the Emperor’s amazement, spoke to him, saying: “Such are the means by which I would shape and polish the broken stone, that I might bring out of the dross, the treasure of greatest worth.

27  For women possess in their gentle forms, a treasure far greater than coin and script; for which, if a man should see for himself, even he will give for her sake an abundance of gold and silver, that perchance he might take to himself so great a prize as the woman has become.”

28  Then did Kronus take the Emperor into the treasury, and there in a room which was set aside did the Emperor see some four hundred thousand golden crowns which lay gathered on the floor in a mighty heap.

29  Then did Kronus reveal all which he had done regarding the forty men which he had feasted; and how even they did pay forth so great a sum for the sake of those women which lived and moved within his house.

30  And Kronus spoke to the Emperor, saying: “Well have you spoken, Your Majesty, that within the halls of all your power do there walk about such hidden treasures; being themselves made naked and ignorant of greater things; being locked in fear and constant dread, for we ourselves have made them so;

31  Being hid from the eyes of men by such traditions as would make us blind; to keep from us such gifts of joy as all women do but lock away to keep within themselves.

32  For by our customs and traditions are all women made to appear as vile and common creatures which we would rape and plunder; giving no thought that we ourselves are robbed and diminished because of it.

33  But if we should sweep aside such dark traditions, to treat with gentle care the women which move in fear about us, to train them even as I have trained these women which you yourself do clearly see, then will the mightiest of men give forth their wealth for the sake of her; thinking themselves, all the while, advantaged because of it.”

34  And reaching into his tunic, Kronus brought forth a leather bag, and opening it up, he spilled out upon the gold which lay heaped upon the floor, some two hundred platinum eagles, which precious coins even the Emperor himself did give to the women of his house.

35  Seeing, therefore, so great a wealth heaped upon the floor, the Emperor pondered all which Kronus had said; and the Emperor mused aloud to himself, saying:

36  “To strike against such firm traditions is a pale and frightful thing; for within its grasp do even the mighty tremble; but yet do I deeply wonder: What might an emperor do who would himself be the greatest of all? How shall the breaking of so strong a tradition prove to my advantage, to give to me the thing I desire most of all?”

37  And the Emperor stood silent within the treasury and there passed a great span of time, and the Emperor spoke not at all, neither did he move, but stood himself as still as stone; gazing only at the gold which lay before him in a mighty heap.

38  And when he was decided, he turned to Kronus, saying: “Come Kronus and let us go into the arbor, for I would speak further of this thing you do for women’s sake.”

39  Thus did it come about that the Emperor and Kronus did together sit in the cool of the arbor; for the Emperor desired to see the coming and going of such women as did live in the House of Kronus; for they walked not as other women, but did themselves glide with artful grace, being richly attired in gowns of silk thinly made.

40  Now the Emperor spoke to Kronus, saying: “Know you not, Kronus, how the place and status of women was determined from the beginning?

41  For in the founding of the empire did Maximus Drakonus, First Lord and Emperor of all this realm, did himself strip the woman Olivia; and because of her betrayal was every woman made to live poor and wretched lives;

42  Being stripped of name and place, being in their flesh both cut and branded as though they were cattle which we did breed through rape and plunder; being made to walk about in constant shame and fear, being themselves naked and unadorned.

43  How then shall I undo such traditions as the first of mighty Emperors did himself establish through firm command? By what means shall I be advantaged in doing this thing of which you ask?”

44  And Kronus spoke, saying: “Your Majesty, within the empire does this law alone reign supreme: that great feats make great men; for it was Maximus Drakonus who wrested from Rome the empire of Drakonia, to take from Rome through force of arms up to half their kingdom, to seize it as his own.

45  Yet did you yourself prove his equal, seizing from Rome up to half their wealth, to make it as your own; causing that your star alone should rise above all who came before you; proving yourself before all who see, as being the equal of Maximus Drakonus.

46  Who then shall prove strong enough to undo the tradition and command of this first Emperor save he who should stand his equal?

47  Thus, Your Majesty, if you would be the greatest Emperor of all, then must you assume boldly the greatest things; for only he who dares greatly, does greatly, if he will but only act; being seen in the eyes of all men as the only true man of worth and power.

48  Consider, therefore, Your Majesty, such things as you will gain in the breaking of this tradition; for if you should reveal to men the prize of greatest worth, to place before the eyes of men such women of grace and learning, then will men of power give into your treasury even a greater wealth than that which you took from Rome, that perchance they might take to themselves the greatest prize of all.

49  For what is wealth but the seed to power. And if men should give to you a portion of their wealth, will they not add to your power still some greater power?

50  Thus do you even now stand as poised to gain for yourself the greatest prize of all; for if you will most greatly dare, being in yourself both willing to do and achieve, then shall you rise above all other Emperors, proving yourself even greater than Maximus Drakonus.

51  Therefore, Your Majesty, if you will lift up the hearts of women, to do to them even as I have done to these, then shall men desire such women above all other treasures; thinking themselves as paltry and poor without such women to walk beside them.

52  And not this only: For such women as you will set free of fear and constant drudgery, to educate and clothe them in grace and beauty and courtly manner, even these will speak well the Emperor’s name; and into whatsoever house they shall go, then in that house shall the Emperor have some constant ally who would honor you always.

53  And if there should hide in the shadows, those which would speak evil of these things, to hold before the men of greatest power the name of Maximus Drakonus and the treachery of Olivia Spadania, then shall you silence them by the greatest daring of all.

54  For it was this Olivia which delivered into the hands of Rome, the fortress island of Petragia; causing to fall upon every woman a dreadful curse and shame.

55  Thus, Your Majesty, if you permit, even I shall offer up for women’s sake, a ransom both great and mighty; to return into your power this Petragia; causing every man of power to speak in awe the Emperor’s name.

56  For the great Maximus Drakonus could not himself regain the island fortress; but if you should gain so great a prize, to make it as your own, then will all men tremble before the greatest Emperor of all.”

57  Thus did Kronus speak, and the Emperor did ponder carefully all his words, and when he was decided, he spoke to Kronus, saying: “It is good that I should follow well your counsel. Thus on this day shall I change forever the place of women; but on the morrow of my choosing shall you give to me this Petragia.

58  But if together we succeed in all these things, then tell me truly if this shall prove enough to make of me the greatest Emperor of all.”

59  And Kronus answered him, saying: “When, Your Majesty, we have done all these things, then is there but one other which you must do. For this Trajenium did Maximus Drakonus build for his glory, causing that every Emperor thereafter should dwell within its walls.

60  When, therefore, you have revealed to men the grace and beauty of every woman, to fill the hearts of men with dreams; and when there rests within your hands the fortress of Petragia, to fill the mind with awe; then must you build a new city far greater than any other; to speak the whole of all your glory.

61  And seeing all these things together, then will every man no longer call you Drakonus Maximillius, but shall instead speak forth the name of Drakonus Magnorum forever.”

62  And hearing all these things, the Emperor smiled, and he spoke to Kronus, saying: “Bring to me such plans as you will need; for on the morrow, in the city of Trajenium shall you build for me a woman’s school.

63  And whatsoever you have taught to the women of your house, even such shall you teach to mine; for I would have you make known to me the treasures of my house, whereby I might see such rare and fiery diamonds as do but move and speak and gently kiss as these, your women, do.”

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