[1 BBT] The Phantom's Deception

In the Corillian Sector within the Stoinian Star Kingdom, there was a star system filled with a xeno race. Their presence was known to the Stoinians, but they chose to ignore them and leave them to themselves. The policy towards primitive xenos was to let them evolve on themselves. The system was called Kontaurus and the planet filled with life was called Kontaurius by its inhabitants. While these Kontauri lived alongside another species, the Ko’ghyal, tensions between these two species rose and wars between them were frequent. Their history was full of it and it wasn’t uncommon for the different Kontauri nations to fight amongst themselves in petty squabbles. However these uncivilized times would change with the reign of the Stoinian King Iulian IV the Faithful. Unbeknownst to the Stoinian and Kontauri populace, Iulian IV had initiated infiltration missions within the many spread out primitive civilizations to one day integrate them in the larger Kingdom as he thought this was the divine duty of Mankind. To care and educate the xeno races before they could pose a threat like the Mardakii had. His short reign would be the bane of his quest as many missions were recalled and documents destroyed as there was no clear new directive by Alexandru III. On Kontaurius this would play out differently…

A rogue undercover agent, Ernest von Kranowicz, had a different vision than his superiors and he would make it his life’s work. He would give to his liege a new race that will serve him unconditionally. He began by faking his death so that the Stoinian authorities wouldn’t intervene. Taking matters into his own hands, he began to climb the ladders of politics through cunning schemes. Although this quest had taken him decades, through careful orchestration, he had managed to unify a planet under one government by purging the Ko’ghyal. This bloodbath had taken its toll, but the Kontauri had managed to overcome the odds. The Kontauri were reborn and forged in fire like the Stoinians had. Now that political turmoil troubled the planet, he stepped forward with the proposal to appoint a respected statesman as Emperor. The new Emperor of Kontaurius, Algur Sturkel, had began reforms to stabilize the new Kontauri Empire with economic reforms. In this time of rebuilding, Lando Molari, the alter persona of von Kranowicz, had been adopted by the Emperor as his heir and helped the Emperor with ruling the planet. After a decade more it was now his turn to rule, but he became more and more opposed by the Great Houses who turn back to the old ways. He set forth a new technological revolution to reach out the stars. He also manipulated ancient prophecies to help gain support and make the Kontauri believe this was the will of the Gods as well as marking his rule as divine. Two decades had now passed and the time was ripe, the first test of Warp Field Drive was a success and the whole populace rejoiced with this achievement. As he felt his life was coming to an end, he prepared to fulfil the prophecy he had manipulated. To set out to a star and to join the caretakers the Gods had made for the Kontauri in their absence, as they couldn’t enter the mortal realm any longer. A luxurious ship mas made for him and would pass over the colonies of the system which had now grown to be essential for the economy. Before leaving the planet he made a public statement on television:

A portrait of Emperor Molari right before taking the Kontauri Imperial Crest at his official inauguration as Emperor of Kontaurus.

“My dear Kontauri, now that our newly invented Warp Drive has proven to be successful. I must fulfil my duty as Emperor as long prophesized centuries earlier. To reach out to the star of Holkunsa where our caretakers of the Gods lie there waiting for us to walk with them amongst the stars and teach us to become one of them. We have proven our faith by exterminating the vile Ko’ghyal. I know that some of you are afraid if something will happen with me on this journey due to my old age, but rest assured as I have already written my testament and it will be revealed if I do not rejoin you, my proud Kontauri, in two weeks time. In the meantime I leave Prime Minister Malakai in charge of Kontaurius, while I leave for this divine journey. I sincerely hope that the Gods will guide us in what is to come as we enter this new era in our history.”

Although many Houses weren’t happy that the Emperor was leaving without a clear heir since he didn’t have heirs of his own, the populace was relieved that the prophecy would come true and they would enjoy the care from the caretakers of the Gods. His ship then jumped to warp towards the system of Holkunsa, known to the Stoinians as Corillia.

Corillia System,

The Kontauri ship had enter realspace and was but a few million kilometres away from Corillia. The Kontauri aboard couldn’t believe their eyes as large towers rose up from the ground to the fringes of space. The Emperor was in pure awe. After all these years he had done it. He had rejoined his Terran Brethren at long last. His health however was taking its toll and he needed to rest from the long journey. But before leaving the bridge he gave a chip containing a message for the Stoinians. He told his subordinates to send it out towards the planet and instructed them not to read the message. They couldn’t as the message was in English and the Stoinians were in a pleasant surprise for sure.

K.I.S. Kontauri’s Pride

Governor’s Resident

Emma Cooper was the Planetary Governor of Corillia and was halfway in her sleep after a long productive day. Fate however would have it otherwise. As a priority beep woke her up, she reluctantly came out of her bed and prepped herself up to be somewhat presentable. Her husband had also woken up, but he knew the routine and remained in bed. She touched the viewscreen and one of her clerks appeared.
“I’m sorry to disturb you this late at night ma’am, but we have a situation here. It appears to be a first contact situation, but not quite…”
“Hold on a first contact situation? What do you mean? Are we under attack?”
“No ma’am, perhaps the following message we’ve received will make things clearer.”
“Patch it through…”
Emma wasn’t too pleased so this better be good. How by Holy Terra could this be an unclear first contact situation? The image of Emperor Molari had appeared in his regal clothes and his white crescent hair. Than the image spoke… In English!
“Greeting my fellow Stoinian Brethren. I am Ernest von Kranowicz, though it has been decades since I was called that… coughs I am an undercover agent tasked to infiltrate primitive civilizations to eventually integrate them into the larger Star Kingdom. I am currently serving as Lando Molari, Emperor of Kontaurus and I come here to discuss terms of submission of the Kontauri to my liege, the King of the Stoinian Star Kingdom. I request the monarch’s presence at once… For I have to explain a lot to him and I’m afraid my health conditions won’t take long. We will remain here in orbit, please let us be until the King arrives. When he arrives I have sent an attachment of the Kontauri… coughs Language alongside the message needed to be sent to us. This has been orchestrated for over 7 decades, do not fail me now, my Brethren.”
Emma was in pure shock. This was beyond her jurisdiction and immediately set out for work after kissing her husband goodnight. She assembled her cabinet alongside the Viceroy and military officials. It would be a long night and one without precedent…

Royal Palace

The King was enjoying his spare time in an afternoon thee with his children. It had been a time since they had all gathered as Carol, Aurelian and Traian had a break from East Point since they all were in the military service now. However they were in the midst of a discussion to set out his children to foreign academies as part of the student exchange programs. Carol couldn’t go as he was the heir to the Throne and this would have major ramifications, so he would discuss it with his children in their native tongue: Sinaian.
“As you know my children, times are changing and we need to better understand our fellow civilizations. It is therefore, I think it’s best we send some of you abroad as a means of diplomacy and better understand our neighbours. Now we all know Carol can’t go as he is the heir, but the rest of you have quite a lot of options open. I was thinking to send one of my daughters to the Ryccian Imperial Academy. I’ve heard only good things from Legate Sinclair about the Academy. Perhaps an endeavour for you, my dear Elena?”
Elena didn’t know what to think of it. She was the King’s daughter to hand over gifts during the Treecuu visit and wasn’t too keen to be near the Treecuu insectoid. Who knows what vile creatures may lay on Daonlathas?
“But father, I think the Ryccian situation is far too delicate. They still don’t know anything about the Great Hunt, what will happen when the backlash hits? I wouldn’t want to be there when hell hits the roof.”
“On the contrary, my dear. You might be part of the solution and help calm them down. No one would lay a finger to the first daughter of the King of Stoinia. The Ryccians wouldn’t have the balls for it. I even think you will be seen as someone who would eat their young men for dinner.”
The family laughed for it was probably true. There was a Stoinian saying Behind a Stoinian soldier, there’s an even stronger woman. And if a Stoinian soldier will be seen as offensive, their women will most likely also be seen as strong women with a large resolve. The Queen interjected as well.
“Elena, you know very well you can hold your ground against them. Even if they call you a barbarian, you will show them royal etiquette through reason and intelligence. Besides, they will have a soft spot for young ladies, especially those who speak French, or their Tionese as they call it.”
Elena still was visibly uncertain about the whole idea. being far away from her own people surrounded by people more progressive than the PXP… It sure was unsettling, but her father come back to comfort her.
“Elena, this is an opportunity to learn on a planet one of a kind. You would have the opportunity to be the first of our House to set foot on their capital. A planetary city, you know it will take at least a century before Cornucopia comes close to that. You can gain a future vision for our people and lay the foundation of strong relations with our Ryccian Brethren. All of you should know by now that we need every inch of help on that front.”
“Very well, father. I’ll take it into consideration… Perhaps I should best discuss this with High Legate Sinclair as his children are learning in the Ryccian schooling system.”
“Indeed, I’ll make sure he finds some room in his schedule.”
The King took another sip from his tea, a hot Earl Gray. He looked toward his garden through the pillars of his terrace. A garden filled with flowers and trees, truly a marvellous view. Perhaps one day we could have those Ryccian flowers here as well…
“Which now brings me to the Treecuu…”
Some of the daughters were now visibly disgusted by the idea of going to school with insectoids. Their father would have none of it.
“Well it is good that they at least aren’t disgusted by our appearance… They are becoming our allies and they value strength. We might have more in common with them than with the Ryccian for that matter, so I won’t allow this xenophobia manifest itself against worthy allies. Do you understand? It was them after all that defeated the Vortex Corsairs or have you already forgotten their efforts to stability?”
The children were silent now. They knew he was right.
“Since they value strength I think one of our sons will be the best option.”
The King looked at Aurelian, but he quickly responded for he knew what would come next.
“Father, my place is in the military not to learn astropolitics. It is tradition for the other sons to serve in the military. I am to get my own command a few years from now You of all people should know that you don’t leave your men behind on the battlefield.”
The King smiled. He remembered that he was once like that.
“Yes, Aurelian. That is our tradition, one forged only by blood, but times are changing. We aren’t currently at war and through astropolitics we can circumvent the need for it. Or would you like yourself to bear the responsibility of 10 trillion of our people dead?”
That hit deep with the young Aurelian and the other family members. Perhaps now they could see that astropolitics was the future and not merely war.
"I understand how you feel son. But believe me, you don’t want to inherit the conscience of trillions of our people dying because of war. However, I might have a solution… "
The King set back more comfortably while taking another sip. The family were curious as to what the King was about to say.
“Perhaps we can give you a command within the Joint Exploratory Fleet. That way you both learn more about our Treecuu friends and they can value our strength. Which you are quite keen on to show the whole sector for that matter…”
Then came in the Chancellor, Strategos and the Director of the National Intelligence Agency. This wasn’t looking good. Something was awfully wrong.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I must attend to matters of state.”

Royal Palace,
A little while later

The King had just been informed of the Corillian situation. How could this undercover agent have pulled something of this magnitude off? The Director, Anton Bühl, was also perplexed as no documents were found in the records of the Agency. But how could a primitive xeno know the innerworkings of our nation? This was beyond circumstance. They had decided that it would be best for the King to go immediately. This couldn’t be allowed to get out of hand. He told Strategos Hague to prep the Manticore, but he would take a few passengers along the way. He walked back towards the terrace and in his militaristic precision he ordered the following.
“Carol, Aurelian and Elena. Prep your things you are coming with me.”
Protest was instant from all sides.
“I will have none of it! This goes beyond what you currently think and as my heirs you will follow my orders for the better of Mankind. Understood?”
The children nodded and all went into their rooms. They didn’t know what to expect or just what their father had been told, but something was off. Nynke the Queen was worried.
“My love, what is wrong?”
“We have a first contact incident. Truly a mystery this time. I will explain when I return.”
“I hate it when you do that.”
“I know… I’m sorry, but this goes beyond myself.”
“I know…”
The Queen was visibly disturbed about the whole situation. For all she knew another first contact war was upon them. The King embraced her and kissed her forehead.
“Don’t worry my love. This shouldn’t take long, I promise.”
The royal couple then shared a kiss before the King left for the Manticore with his heirs.

HMS Manticore,
Five days later

The heirs of the King had been informed of the situation. This was beyond their imagination and couldn’t quite comprehend how this all come to be. After their five day journey they had prepared for every scenario, but soon it would all fold out. Whatever the outcome may be.

Corillia System,
KIS Kontauri’s Pride

The ships had docked and the Kontauri were preparing like fanatics, checking every inch of the carpet on which the Caretakers would soon walk. Emperor Molari sat on a throne overseeing the preparations. He couldn’t help but smile, it was all coming along. After all these years, he had done the impossible. The revelation was within his grasp and finally he would join his kin again. The message the Stoinians had sent was his machination and he repeated it to himself over and over again to calm himself down from all the stress.
“Brave Kontauri. I am King Andrei III Stoian. We welcome you into the realm of stars and within the Holkunsa system, known to us as Corillia. As you can see, beneath you is our planet Corillia with tall spire cities reaching into space. This along with many other technological innovations await you if you so desire. We have spread over hundreds of light years and have left you in peace to your own evolution. I see that you have been able to eliminate the Ko’ghyal threat. For that reason we have taken enough care for you and wish that you join our ranks in our Star Kingdom. We shall embrace you with open arms as you have proven to be the superior species of Kontaurus. Do not fail us.”
The time had come. The ships had docked and as the King accompanied with his heirs walked towards the throne of the Kontauri Emperor while the Kontauri anthem played in the background by the Kontauri Imperial Band. Their instruments were quite similar to those of Terran origin, but they halted only when standing a few meters in front of the Kontauri throne. Their decorations were indeed very luxurious and had a certain appeal to it that they were like the Ryccians. A crescent motive was omnipresent, in their architecture to even the hair of the males. These Kontauri certainly were the flamboyant type, though not quite like the Ryccians. Their clothes were exquisite as well as if made from delicate silks. King Andrei already saw the worth in the Kontauri as a subservient species. As the Kontauri anthem stopped, the Kontauri Emperor spoke in Kontaur and it had a musical tone to it. Luckily through the use of universal translators the Stoinians were able to understand him.
“Your Majesty, I am pleased to finally meet our caretakers in person.”
“You have proven that you can take care of your own. It is therefor that we come here in peace and offer you a place within our our realm.”
“We are honoured, but perhaps it is best we discuss this in private. From monarch to monarch. Such matters of state are delicate and we wish we understand each other perfectly without outside influences. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“I agree, please lead on.”
The Kontauri Emperor stood up from his throne and waved with his hand to signify that the King should follow him. They went towards a room, just the two of them. As the door closed, King Andrei wasted no time.
“Now Mr. von Kranowicz, you better explain this whole operation.”
The Kontauri Emperor sat down in a luxurious sofa as to rest himself from the stress.
“Ah yes… coughs I was part of operation Enlightenment by you forefather Iulian IV.”
“Operation Enlightenment?”
“Yes, an operation to infiltrate… coughs Primitive xeno species to incorporate them. When Iulian IV unfortunately died, his operation was liquified. All was to be stopped at once.”
“But you continued?”
The Kontauri Emperor froze for a minute as he wasn’t certain if his monarch would agree with his actions. He gathered his courage and continued the conversation.
“Yes. coughs I was too invested into my work. I saw a strength in the Kontauri like our own Terran strength. They are a proud people full of traditions and fierce in battle. They could help our nation stay strong and prepare for unknown xeno barbarians.”
The King looked inquisitively at the Emperor.
“And you framed your own death and went on without permission?”
“I wouldn’t have gotten permission! The higher ups never understood our work and didn’t understand how easy the Kontauri could be directed. I did it for the betterment of our nation!”
The Emperor had raised his voice and had to take a deep breath before continuing.
“Forgive me your majesty, but this work could be done in one lifetime and we need the manpower. Besides, you know how we work on Reach. Coughs We never half-ass our jobs.”
The King looked saddened at the mention of Reach and the Emperor noticed it.
“My liege, is there something wrong.”
“This won’t be easy to hear Mr. von Kranowicz…”
“What do you mean?”
“My father Alexandru III, son of Iulian IV, died when I was just two years old by the hands of xenos known as Velutarians…”
The Emperor’s face paled upon hearing it. How could this be linked to Reach? Unless…
“This ignited the Velutarian War… It lasted for 16 years and the Velutarians… Glassed many planets and… Reach fell eventually.”
The Emperor went into full shock. His home was gone while he set on a quest to gift his nation a new member. This was his payment for his work by God? How could this have happened. Rage, grief and anger all took hold of him and let out a loud cry of sorrow. He sat in his sofa, sobbing and reminiscing his lost friends and family.
“How many of our kindred died?”
“8,7 … trillion of our own. Nearly… half of our population…”
This completely drove the Emperor mad. How could this have happened? Why had God allowed this to happen to his people? And all of that when he was away? WHY?! The Emperor took a minute to calm himself down even the King shed a few tears. He looked upon his left hand upon which he sliced with his honour sword as a promise he wouldn’t allow this to happen. Both men were deeply struck by the memory or revelation. A few heartbeats would be needed for both men to calm down. Kranowicz to realise the choices he made, left the fate of his friends and family to a cruel end and the King for the burden he had to carry that he could barely help most of the war. Both had wanted to do more for their dear nation.
“If it wasn’t for Regent MacArthur, I wouldn’t be able to stand here. A lot has changed, the military now is separate from civilian government and none would dare oppose us.”
“Well that is good to hear. cough The Kontauri will certainly look up to you, especially when this story is revealed. Which brings me to a necessary evil…”
“Please elaborate.”
“When we exit this room I will challenge you to Muroga, a Kontauri duel to the death victor takes all titles and holdings. This way you yourself will become Emperor of Kontaurus when you claim the Imperial Crest from my neck.”
“Surely there must be another way, you have done enough for Stoinia as is.”
“NO! I have no home anymore. All my friends and family are dead and I only have a few years left at best. Let me have a chance of an honourable death! A Terran and Kontauri death! If pride is all I have left now, I will not give that up. Besides, Kontauri Great Houses are moving against me and my loyalists. I have prepared a file for you upon my death with the details. I would suggest you choose a member of House Kotto as your Viceroy, they are the most devout and loyal of them all. And I would be lying if I say I haven’t grown fond of them.”
“I will do my best, for both of our species. I will see to it they will receive full citizenship.”
“Good, then we will proceed as we must. You will have to keep this a secret to the public as otherwise the Kontauri Great Houses might rebel and we don’t want that to happen. Your majesty, it has been my greatest honour to serve Stoinia.”
“The honour was ours to have spawned such a hero as yourself.”
The Emperor was moved by the King’s response and shook his hand firmly and with confidence. They then left the room and confronted the masses which awaited with eagerness for what was to come next.
“My fellow Kontauri. It has become clear to me that King Andrei here is indeed the care taker of Kontaurus as foretold in the Prophecy of Kavu. However there remains a final test of Kontauri spirit according to that prophecy. To prove ourselves to one another I will challenge King Andrei to Muroga. A duel to the death where the winner gets all titles and holdings. Let us prove to the care takers that the Kontauri spirit never breaks down!”
The public was shocked. Stoinians and Kontauri alike, but none could object the Emperor.
“King Andrei do you accept my challenge.”
“I do.”
The Emperor then came right in front of him, giving the King a deep look. No words were need for it was written in their eyes. A common understanding for men who knew what it meant to be a true soldier.
Take care of the Kontauri for me, my liege.
I will.
“Guards, prepare the room for Muroga!”

Corillia System,
KIS Kontauri’s Pride,
Ten minutes later

The throne room was transformed with a circle in the middle and both participants were outfitted with light armour and a Kontauri sword. Elena was confused and tried to talk her father out of it, but King Andrei knew that it had to be done. Aurelian too was shocked at first, but he soon understood the need as well. Carol suspected something like this would happen, but he still felt discomfort with having to see his father duel. The Emperor was old, but never underestimate a Stoinian’s duelling skill. A female Kontauri appeared with dish from which smoke came alongside two Kontauri males, one with a drum and one with a chime. They centered themselves in the middle of the circle and invited both participants to come to them. Both monarchs clashed their swords together while the priestess held the dish with smoke above their intersection point. The drums frequency became faster and faster until it became a constant roll at which the Kontauri priestess spoke.
“By the will of the Gods, may the strongest win the Muroga. Bless them with long live, luck and wealth. By oath to honour the Muroga and honour the memory of the defeated. Let the Muroga begin, until death!”
A loud chime could be heard and Emperor Mollari pushed the King’s sword away and immediately went in for an attack sequence. This Terran, despite his old age, was full of Kontauri vigour and ignored his aches. Pumped with adrenaline, so had began the last fight of his life.
The King successfully deflected the attacks, though it was too slim for comfort. Aurelian looked worrisome as he noticed it too. The King then dodged and gave himself room to manoeuvre, stepping to the right of the Emperor. He could force his away into an attack, put the positioning of the Emperor’s feet made it clear that he was ready for such an attack. The opponents looked again at each other.
“Don’t make it too easy now Emperor.”
“I haven’t even started yet.”
The Emperor went in for another attack, but this time he made slim miscalculation and the King was able to pierce through the light armour into the sides of the abdomen. The wound wouldn’t have been too problematic for a Terran, but this is where the Kontauri males hold their six tentacle like reproductive organs. All Kontauri were shocked and expected the Emperor to cry out in pain. The Emperor knew this and contemplated to cry out in pain, but he was going to prove the vigour of the Kontauri. Stopping for a moment, but quickly charging again at the King to the complete awe of all the Kontauri in the room.
The King was taken by surprise by the quick response and observed some of the Kontauri reactions. Clearly he was doing something right, but the quick reaction by the Emperor had taken its toll. By slim millisecond, the Emperor was able to slice the upper leg of the King. This was a move to pin the King down so he wouldn’t have to run constantly after him. The Emperor came with another attack sequence, but the King parried all of them and with the very leg that was just sliced, he pushed the Emperor away from him. Giving him room to manoeuvre.
Both had taken a slice, but no sign of surrender was clear as of yet. For minutes they continued to attack and parry the other’s sequences. Deep cuts were made by both sides and it seemed they were coming to a stalemate. Through pure will the Emperor was still standing and fought with both elegance and swiftness, but the many slices had began to take its toll on him. The Emperor was panting while looking at the King. Communicating through his eyes that he was ready for it.
“Make it a worthy death!”
The King nodded subtly and went in for the final sequence. All his attacks were deflected, but by a slight faint he was able to trick the Emperor and pierced his sword through his stomach. The Emperor’s sword fell on the ground and the sound resonated all over the room. The King supported the Emperor as he had embraced him while struggling for air. The Emperor whispered to the King.
“Long live the Emperor!”
After those words, the Emperor took his last breath. Ernest von Kranowicz died a hero’s death, though there would be no songs of it and his deeds. The ultimate sacrifice that even the most heroic of Stoinians wouldn’t have withstood. Ernest was the hero Stoinia would never know, only tales of the brave Kontauri Emperor would remain. Born a Terran. Died a Kontauri. An idea unfathomable to Terrans all over the Star Kingdom, but only a few would know the tragic sacrifice he underwent. For a brief moment, Andrei didn’t believe himself worthy to be the King of such a man. No man of such calibre should call him his liege. It should have been the other way around. Time however wasn’t on his side and he would grief later. He retracted his sword from the Emperor’s corpse and let it fell on its back. The Kontauri then looked towards him for they knew what would follow and the meaning of it. The King looked upon the corpse and the lifeless eyes of the Emperor. Deep sorrow struck his heart, but it was too late now. He let his sword clatter to the ground and took the Imperial Crest from his chest and put it on himself. He then walked slowly towards the Kontauri throne as everyone looked with reverence at him. Slowly sitting on it while admiring the exquisite craftsmanship of it. All of this without showing any sign of weakness or pain as he wanted to prove Terran resolve and understood that he now was seen as a demigod.

[Image: Imperial-Crest.png]
The Kontauri Imperial Crest.

A Kontauri Guardsman, likely the Captain then stepped forward and cried out loud.
“The Emperor is dead. Long live Emperor Andrei, Emperor of Kontaurus!”
The Kontauri then immediately all kneeled down to the surprise of the Stoinians. They had expected it would be a cheerful response, but clearly they had much to learn of the Kontauri and they from them. King Andrei thought to himself as he watched these new loyal subjects.
“May I be worthy of the name Stoinian… But also Kontauri.”

Empire of Kontaurius,
1 day later, 8 days after the Emperor Molari left the Kontaurus system

Kontaurius from space.

The KIS Kontauri’s Pride was somewhat archaic, but the King had grown fond of it. All the lavish decorations of the Kontauri had made quite and impression on the King. He was being served by many of the Kontauri, though he hadn’t quite accustomed it. It was still a vary foreign concept to him and felt like a decadent Ryccian aristocrat. God was this the way the WANTED to treat themselves? The Manticore had escorted the Kontauri ship back to their homeworld. From space large constellations of cities could be seen, though like the Stoinians, much of the nature was kept to its own. As the Stoinian King came down to the planet through a Kontauri shuttle. This shuttle would bring the Stoinian King and his heirs directly to the Kontauri Imperial Palace. The architecture was similar to that of the Stoinians’ own classical style, but with a Kontauri fling to it. Pillars and arches were commonly used, though the Kontauri domes were a category of their own. It certainly was more exquisite to the Stoinian palaces. Princess Elena quickly began to like the place and the inhabitants weren’t as disgusting as insectoid. Aurelian and Carol didn’t quite know what to make of it, but the King accepted his new duties. As of yet, he was the only one who knew the whole picture completely.

[Image: 3386f68e0e4ea0496778bf0fa6133ffa.jpg]
The Kontauri Imperial Palace.

The Stoinians were brought in the Imperial Throne room and were awaited by a large group of Kontauri officials. The Kontauri guards escorting the Stoinians sounded their trumpets and announced that the Emperor of Kontaurius had arrived. The Kontauri Officials kneeled down without having the chance to look at the Stoinians. The King spoke with his baritone voice, a voice unknown to the Kontauri.
“So you must be the Kontauri Imperial Cabinet.”
Prime Minister Malakai rose up. Where was Emperor Molari? When he saw the Stoinians he gasped and the rest of the Kontauri stood up in disbelief.
“Are you the care takers? Where is Emperor Molari?”
“Yes, we are. Emperor Molari has challenged me to Muroga. By Kontauri law, I am now Emperor of Kontaurius. He died a true Kontauri.”
The Emperor spoke with a strong and confident voice. He wanted to make sure none would challenge his rule.
“I see. The late Emperor has given us into your care then. Well then, we must prepare you for your speech then. The Kontauri people will be eager to hear this news.”
“I am not quite sure. I see some of you aren’t really fond of the idea…”
The Kontauri Officials looked away or at the ground. Malakai noticed it and improvised.
“Your Majesty, perhaps it is best we discuss this in private?”
“Very well.”
The Prime Minister dismissed the room and the King dismissed all but his heirs.
“Your Majesty, this should be a private conversation…”
“These are my heirs, Prime Minister. They will need to be prepared to understand your culture as well.”
"Ah, I see… "
Malakai walked towards the window.
“You see that your Majesty, this is Krinto. The capital of Kontaurius. It may look beautiful, but it’s build through deception and backdoor politics. Emperor Molari understood it well. You must understand your Majesty only recently have we been united in our history. We have fought against the Ko’ghyal and now the stability is beginning the crumble. When they hear that another race is now in charge there will be an uproar…”
“I am well aware of your situations. I have been briefed by the documents of Emperor Molari. Amongst them his testament. It seems he had this planned all along, the Prophecy of Kavu calls for blood in which only the strongest will survive.”
"Yes your Majesty, but the people are xenophobic for other species. We wiped out the Ko’ghyal and they cert… "
“Prime Minister Malakai, we Stoinians have faced monstrosities you cannot be imagine. From what I understand the Ko’ghyal haven’t bothered to eat your kind. Take it from me, the King that grew up while trillions of his people were slaughtered without mercy. Turned through cybernetics to fire upon their own people, while you were put in isolation for your safety. Space is full of dangers and if your people wish to travel these alone, be my guest. But remember you are surrounded by the Stoinian Star Kingdom which faced the Mardakii, Qoxex, Marcavani and the Velutarians. Your people should be very careful when disobeying the new Emperor of Kontaurius.”
Prime Minister Malakai was astounded by the Stoinian King. Clearly he had underestimated him.
“I see now. I assume Emperor Molari has left details on which houses will rebel and the most likely to attack your position in public?”
“Oh I intend to eliminate them in one swift swoop. I will name House Kotto as my Viceroy and this surely will result in an outrage. Once they make a claim against me, I will have Kontauri and Stoinian Guards apprehend them. During my speech my flagship will enter the atmosphere as a sign of our might. This should put everyone in line.”
Prime Minister Malakai was impressed. This Stoinian was as cunning and forethinking as a Kontauri. Truly the caretakers from the Prophecy of Kavu.
“I see Emperor Molari had an insightful idea to solve the problem of his heirs. Perhaps we should go over it, to make sure that the public will revere you and be less susceptible to rebel.”
“Good. Before we continue we must address a problem.”
“And what is that your Majesty?”
“Address me with my name, Andrei.”
He then turned towards his children.
“Carol, Aurelian and Elena. We Stoinians aren’t to keen with all the royalty formalities.”
Malakai smiled.
“I understand now. One of the few things that will change over time I assume.”
“Indeed, Mr. Malakai.”
Prime Minister Malakai then proceeded to arrange the Emperor’s plans and organize the liquidation of political enemies. The sooner the Kontauri could integrate in the larger Star Kingdom, the better.

The Kontauri populace had assembled on a large plaza in front of the balcony from where the Kontauri Emperor would speak toward their people. Above the balcony was a large construct made from glass in the form of the Kontauri crest and certain elements of the Kontauri Sungod were also present. The whole structure was to signify the Emperor’s divine rule. The Stoinians had this aspect as well, but Andrei never really enjoyed it and the Kontauri took it a lot more seriously. Thousands of Kontauri were eagerly awaiting to see Emperor Molari and inform of his return. Cameras were spread everywhere as this historic moment was televised all over the planet. The Imperial Guardsmen sounded the trumpets and King Andrei walked unto the balcony, to the shock of the whole planet. Who was this imposter? Where is Emperor Molari? Prime Minister Malakai soon followed him and calmed the Kontauri.
“My fellow Kontauri! You are gazing upon our new Emperor. Emperor Andrei of House Stoian. I know you all ask yourself where Emperor Molari is? The late Emperor wanted to ensure that the caretakers from the Prophecy of Kavu would oversee the Kontauri. As a true Kontauri he challenged the King of the caretakers to Muroga. As a result, the Imperial title now has fallen to our Terran Overlord. I now let Him speak.”
The Kontauri still were concerned. Emperor Molari was beloved by many and his death was still a shock, but King Andrei knew this and addressed it immediately.
“My dear Kontauri. Emperor Molari was a true Kontauri hero, not fearing even death. In our duel he was able to wound me and fought with a ferocity like which I have never seen. He died a true Kontauri and proved to us Stoinians that the Kontauri are a species worthy to enter our Star Kingdom. You have proven yourself time and time again against the Ko’ghyal and eradicated their villainy from existence. We couldn’t be more pleased with your achievements and it is therefore that we invite you with open arms to join our strong and proud nation into the stars. Henceforth the galaxy will know that the Kontauri will not bow to barbarians and fight for a new order. An order in which only the strong survive. The Stoinian Lion and Kontauri Thalu will roar together and strike fear into the hearts of our enemies. With our combined strength no one will be able to defeat us.”
The Kontauri populace loved the King’s approach and cheered. Andrei let it hang in the air for a while, he had to play the part of being a divine figure. He knew it was getting into his head and was utterly uncomfortable with the idea, but the Kontauri, HIS people, needed it.
“With my new reign there will be changes, but together we can form new and stronger bridges. You will have your place into the stars and I will colonize over 10 planets for the Kontauri people alone in the next year! To supervise this tremendous operation, I have chosen that Prime Minister Malakai will continue his mandate together with Zir of House Kotto who will act as my Viceroy when I am away. Elections will be held for you to chose representatives who will serve in our larger Congress. The transition won’t be easy, but together we can make it work. Our peoples were destined to work together and who are we to defy the Gods? This is the beginning of a new divine era for both Stoinians and Kontauri. Let the galaxy hear our roar!”
The Kontauri were ecstatic. Their fears were tempered and were looking forward to spread throughout the stars. Truly a new era was to come for both species. The Kontauri opposition was beginning to make their moves to make claims to the throne, but with the help of Prime Minister Malakai, they were liquidated by the Kontauri Imperial Guard. No one would defy the divine rule of Emperor Andrei.