Arrival at the Palace
The USS Dallas, the personal ship of vice-admiral Ramcard of the Rambo Nation. On board was a very special passenger who was able to evade Garlboz's gaze long enough to arrive in Andromeda. After clearence from ALcanti Space Traffic Control he accompanied the empress in a shuttle owned by House Ultanos that travelled ot a private hanger of the imperial palace. Ramashe stepped out to meet Uriel, ALensia and Dragon-captain Davius personally who were all under guard when he greeted her in the hanger.
Both Ramashe and Ramcard bowed slightly in respect to their hosts. Uriel them bowed in reciprocation
Uriel - Welcome to Alcanti Lady Ramashe. It has bee nsome time since we last spoke.
Ramashe - I feel honoured to meet your family and to see you again, Uriel. Now that things have settled down in the Rambo protectorate, perhaps we could better-learn about each other.
Uriel motioned for Ramashe to join them on a tour of the palace. As always the palace was a magnificent structure and a marvel of engineering. Ramashe looked about at the numerous paintings that adorned the walls as Uriel and Alensia guided her and Ramcard. As they headed past a conservatory Uriel turned to Ramashe.
Uriel - I am curious, what is it like living in the Nation as a protectorate of the empire?
Ramashe wa ssilent for a moment before she gave Uriel her answer.
Ramashe - At first it was difficult, as we feared we were going to be conquered and placed under full imperial authority. Although the people at first were afraid to lose their freedom - and we didn't always cooperate with the Empire - It seems things are settling down. We are allowed to keep our own customs, traditions and militairy forces. As such not really much changed, only that I hold some resentment for the emperor who holds his throne at Orbispira. But overall, we cannot complain. Though some Imperial officers think they can overrule us in certain things with their precious star destroyers.
Uriel - I can see why you may be upset about this. It reminds me of aspects of Pax Draconica, we let our provinces keep their culture and customs, they contribute to the military. But giving military officers an authority over civillians with most internal matters? Hm, rather brutish of the government if you ask me. Within the imperium, it is a solid line: The admirals hold authority over military and security affairs and the politicians handle keeping society running smoothly.
Ramashe smiled on Uriel's mentioning of the line. She continued looking about at the paintings as they entered the palace's lobby.
Ramashe - I agree, such matters are certainly not something I would agree with but I can do little these days; the nation's protectorate status is rather restricting. I admits though, I am glad that the Imperium is faring very well, with the Commonwealth and the launch of the New Dawn.
Alensia - You heard about its launch all the way in the Quadrants?
Ramashe - Well...Rambo intelligence provided me with the information of the New Dawn's launch before my arrival.
Alensia - Well. It is my belief that soldiers should not be giving orders to politicians unless it involves fighting.
Ramashe - Agreed. Only in war times can officers do such things. Among the Rambo the military's high ranking officers are only allowed to do this when the Empress, or Monarch for that matter, places the nation or a planet under martial law. If not, a Senator can still dissaprove with officers, even when faced under attack.
They reavelled to numerous places decorated with rich reds and golds and layered in numerous expensive materials. Both Ramashe and Ramcard were very impressed, their mouths stretched with the feeling.
Ramashe - This is all very impressive Uriel. Can such things as this also be seen in museums within the Imperium?
Uriel - There are several such places. The palace itself is closed to tourists but there are estates - both urban and rural - of varying designs across the Imperium. Although the amount of access given does vary from place-to-place.
Ramashe - Splendid! Would it possible for tourists outside the Imeperium to see such places?
Alensia - Such places already are open, regardless of nationality.
Ramashe - Ah splendid!
The visitors were then taken to be shown the grounds surrounding the palace itself. aside from the stone and metal pathways the environment resembled a light and neatly ordered jungle. Ramashe looked around in wonder of the landscape. Curious noises and buzzings ringed through the undergrowth. The sounds of a trickling stream quietly filled their ears as they walked alongside. Looking at the water Ramcard spotted a smal lgroup of flying animals that drifted on the surface. Like many plants on Alcanti, a deep red was the characteristic colour of plants, not green.
Ramashe - In honesty, I do like to walk around wild environments like this to rela and forget the burdens of being a ruler for a while.
Uriel - It is indeed a bery effective form of stress-relief and relaxation. At one time, the region this city was built on used to be like this everywhere. These days there are only a handful of spaces like it. THe explosion in populations spureed my people to build outwards, then upwards.
Ramashe - I see... Are actions taken to preserve wildlife in wildenerss areas?
Uriel - The palace grounds act as a pocket of nature and that generally Alcanti is kept rather pristine to preserve it's overall condition and maintain biodiversity.
Ramashe - The general state of wildlife and flora is very important to the stability of a planet. As advanced as people like ours are, we are still tied to planetary biospheres if all life wishes to live comfortably.
Uriel and Alensia looked at each other and nodded in agreement.
Uriel - Perhaps you would like a tour of the city? Minos'Drakon is often seen as the cultural heart of the Imperium and Alensia and I would be more than happy to show you a few key places.
Ramashe - Splendid!
Ramashe was flown by provate taxi across the city to the commercial district. Office spires and busy skylanes marked it as a commercial hub outside the administrative Centis district. As the taxi landed on a gangway into one of the precinct shopping centres, ramashe looked about and saw several Blood Dragons patrolling the area. She was a little curious and concerned and so turned to Uriel.
Ramashe - Your bodyguards appear to be patrolling the streets around here. Is there any particular reason for this?
Uriel - The Blood Dragons have historically been protectors of the city for many thousands of years. A lot of influential politicians and officials have homes on Alcanti.
Ramashe - Much like the Royal Guards do back on my own planet. It is nice to see there are other species out in the universe who do well to keep their old traditions alive despite how advanced the culture may be. Such things give a culture its true meaning.
Uriel - Tradition has long been believed to be a solid foundation for the Imperium's success. It appears our cultures are even more similar than we can imagine.
Ramashe - I agree.
They wandered through the busy market. The building resembled an enormous shopping centre with aliens not just on the ground floor but travelling along gangways and balconies high above. The loud noise echoed throughout the enormous structure, indicating it was very busy. Ramashe noticed there were all kinds of aliens - Terratrix, Kroogvont, Zazane, Radeons and Imperions to name a few. She also noticed within the crowds there were aliens from outside of Andromeda, spotting a pair of Dracogonarious who wer elooking at a holographic map of a shopping centre and wondering which shop to visit next, although a third wanted to see a show being held in the building's epicentre.
Ramashe - The Commonwealth has come very far in such little time, it's amazing how much it has achieved...
Uriel - Indeed. I surprise myself seeing the myriad visitors we have been getting.
Ramashe - Well I hope that the Rambo and Commonwealth can start trade and tourism soon. I feel we have much to learn about each other and learn insights into how other aliens live.
Uriel - I like that idea. The people of Rambo Nation are very interesting to me as well.
Ramashe wandered into a small souvenier shop with shelves filled with all manner of trinkets. She was drawn to a shelf of statuettes consisting of models of various Alcanti landmarks. In particular she was drawn to a small sculpture of an ornate, cathedral-like building that had been delicately painted with fine details. Above the main door was a tiny painting of a stained-glass window depicting an orange dragon.
Uriel - That's the Grand Cathedral in the nearby city of Dagonris. One of the largest-known places of honour to my species' diety. Although the teachings ask to deter prayer, they say nothing about erecting such places in his honour.
Ramashe - I would love to see the real thing. Do you mind paying for this, I have no currency on me.
Uriel - Consider it a gift from me.
Ramashe - Splendid.
Ramashe picked up the sculpture from the shelf and carried it over to the counter. She placed it on top of a ring where the item was scanned and aprice was displayed on a device next to it. Uriel pulled out a card and slotted it through a gap underneath the display. The price changed from 110 credits t o0 credits and he pulled the card out as it chimed. The sculpture was lifted up and placed inside a bag that Ramashe grabbed and handed to Ramcard.
Uriel - I estimate we can be in Dagonris within the hour, the cathedral is in the hear of the city and is impossible to miss.
Ramashe - Excellent. I think we have time for a visit.
Within the House of Drakon
After arriving in the city's central paza, Ramashe was taken inside the Grand Cathedral. Both the building and the entrance plaza were enormous and the cathedral itself was a stunning feat of architecture. Even with the modern city surrounding it, the structure was still large enough to be an imposing landmark in the heart of Dagonris.
Inside the walls were lined with black and white marble, trimmed with gold and the cieling displayed monumental religious imagery. Ramashe, along with countless other tourists, gazed up in awe at the paintings. Armashe was taken down a hallway where hundreds of Draconis whos' scales were of varying shades of blue, gold and red. Ramashe marveled at the murals, each of which which had clearly taken months to paint and captioned with the names of each Paragon and the period of time they ruled.
Uriel gave summaries of some of the more noteable paragons, he explained that four families: Oskavarum, Vospus, Khaxvis and Ultanos, had each sat on the throne and each one had ruled for millenia. he explained the backdrops of each one and that it explained what made them famous from the content of the backdrops.
Uriel himself was reluctant to detail the noteable deeds of House Khaxvis but it was clear that the paragons overall had done deeds both great and dark. Ramashe listened intently and was fascinated by the rich and long history the imperium had.
Two things that draws the crowds are the domed ceiling painted with Drakon dominating it and several corridors containing frescoes of every paragon since the Imperium's foundation.
At theend of this hall they came into an enormous room with a grand domeed cieling. Ramashe looked up and her jaw dropped as she saw a titanic gold-plated carving of a dragon. it's wings spread across the cieling and it's tail curved like a snake towards one edge of the dome. The dragon looked sternly down at everyone inside. Ramashe felt a sense of awe and insignificance, the enormous creature made her feel incredibly small. Uriel explained that the being she was looking at was Drakon. handing her a magnifying glass she noticed that the finest attention to detail had been paid, down to every last scale.
Rmashe was impressed as she looked abck at Uriel. She was lost for words, but Uriel simply smiled. he told her about Drakon and what ancient texts say he had done of the Draconis.
Around the room were more images of Drakon, this time portraying him in different ways according to the major sects:
- An image of Drakon sitting in a meditative pose with his eyes closed and a faint aura represented the Ascendist sect
- An image of a Drakon-like being in different points of a civilization's history, with the mural divided into a circle that showed a species creation, development and spaceflight all the way to said species taking the appearence of Drakon and shaping a galaxy before starting over represented the Cyclerist cect.
- An image of a Draconis with Drakon standing next to him respresented the Shadowcrowner sect.
- An image of Drakon standing between a nonspecific Capricornian and a Draconis represented the Solinamist sect.
- An image of Drakon in a starship captain's chair represented the Xenosilist sect.
Ramashe was intrigued by all these portrayals, as she observed the Solinamist mural with curiosity she was drawn to a motto that hung at the bottom of the Cyclerist mural. "We came from Drakon and we will become Drakon". However after reading it she found herself muttering the phrase "All this has happened before" under her breath. Uriel hear her say something and walked over to her.
Uriel - Did you say something?
Ramashe - No, nothing.
Uriel - I am intrigued, what did you say?
Ramashe - "All this has happened before and all of it will happen again", its a phrase used by people from the Cyrannia cluster to describe the nature of time. This mural reminds me of it but the similarities are almost uncanny.
Uriel - How so?
Ramashe - Well, the idea is that events in time repeat themselves over and over. We're not sure what drives such a thing but it seems to be nature's way of keeping things balanced.
Uriel - Empires rise and fall only for new ones to take their place, I get the idea.
Both Ramashe and Ramcard looked about with their beaks opened. The domed room in itself was massive, easily the size of a city hall and the paintings and sculptures dwarfed everyone inside. As they looked about uriel approached them.
Uriel - How do you feel about some dinner back at the palace?
Ramashe - I would love that, thank you.