Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All Empires Crumble

Alexander sat upon his throne, holding his head in his hands.

The news from his chancellor hadn’t been good. Two more provinces had risen up, overthrowing their provincial governors and joining in the separatist alliance. It seemed his empire was crumbling around him, and he didn’t know what to do to stem the tide.

He wondered what his father, he who conquered so much of the world and held it together by sheer force of personality, would do, and realized that his father would never allow his empire to fall into disrepair in the first place.

But his father was dead three years, of a strange wasting sickness he‘d caught in the tropical campaigns. And the glorious empire he founded was dying by inches, it’s people rebelling against the central governor.

The imperial senate were too busy lining their own pockets and intriguing against one another to govern, the generals, used to campaigns of conquest, were brutalizing the peoples of the empire, the governors growing fat off the labour of their subjects, then slaughtered like fattened calves as those same subjects rose up in rebellion.

And it was up to Alexander, of the fey features and gentle disposition, to hold it together, a task for which he was uniquely unqualified.

He breathed deeply, desperately wracking his brain for any solution, but none would come.

It took a few minutes for him to even realized he was crying.

All empires crumble, all nations fall.

The trick is to not be there when it happens.

Alexander, in the wreckage of a once glorious testament to human will to dominate, felt more like a prisoner than any man in history.

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