Welcome to a new chapter of Imperial Struggle, the story of the young Emperor Marco, and the struggles with his new imperial position. Imperial Struggle it's my first web novel, so any feedback is welcomed. This is chapter 4, so if you want to read from the beggining please click here
Middle of the night. The capital was a ruse. The inns were stacked with people, drinking up in the honor of Marco Eldobal, the new emperor. These parties were happening in all the Empire. Everyone was expecting new interesting times.
In the White Poney Inn from the market district, the party was at the peak. The people were drinking and singing, with red faces and big smiles on their faces. In a corner, at a small table, a young man was enjoying a big bottle of wine.
The door of the inn opened and a party of two entered into the inn. The two people were wearing hoods and judging by their clothes they travelled a lot. Looking through the room, the their smiled at the sight of the young man and headed over to him.
“Scarto, Ascento it’s so good to see you again. How long it has been?”
“Marco, we haven’t seen you for a few months and you go and become emperor?”, one of the two men said in a low voice.
Indeed, the young man that was sitting alone was Marco, the new emperor. Going in and out of the palace when he was a kid, he knew how to avoid the people that were watching him. Tonight, in the midst of the night, he left the palace, without anyone knowing, to meet with the people that he trusted.
Scarto and Ascento were two of Marco closest friends from his childhood. Both born in the capital, they were part of the group that Marco used to play on his adventures outside the palace. Since every prince needed an entourage, and Marco couldn’t get in touch with any of the nobles around the palace, Augusto arranged that some of the promising children, to be educated and trained as knights. Although the commoners couldn’t become officially knights, since this was a privilege reserved only for the nobles, they could still become great warriors with the proper training.
At the age of 15 Marco created in secret the “Seven Hills”, a mercenary group under his control, led by his friends. Started as a fun joke, to have something to play with, the group became a force in the Empire. Nobody knew their background or who they backer were, because Marco didn’t want his father to know about his new enterprise. Since he was older now, he would often go on adventures with his friends, telling Augusto that he would go to visit cities, when in reality he would go to dangerous places.
“Seven Hills” had around 5000 warriors under their banner and the number was growing. With the backing of a prince they didn’t lack the funds. At the moment they controlled an important trading route, having the job of protecting the trade from bandits and wild beasts. On paper they were just another mercenary group, but unofficially they were the eyes and ears of Marco.
As soon as Marco was named emperor, he asked for Scarto and Argento to come and see him in secrecy. The last words that Augusto said before he died, left a big impression on Marco. If someone poisoned his father, they could make a move on him as well. He just took the crown, his power and connections were low because he never thought of getting cosy with the nobles. His focus was on developing the “Seven Hills” most of the time. And now he needed their help.
“My dear friends, I will need your help. Even though I’m the emperor, my position is very fragile”, Marco shared his worries with this friends. ”I don’t have any connections, probably I have only enemies in the court. They didn’t made any attempts on my life because they still think they could control me, but as soon as I show resistance they will go for it”.
Hearing this kind of words from Marco, both Scarto and Argento made big eyes. This was high politics, a thing that they never thought of. They were warriors. Their job was to kill where their lord pointed out.
“I know that might be a shock to you, but what I’m saying it’s true. I think the reason why my father named me Emperor, it’s to clean up the empire of this filth that is covering the Empire. And slowly we will do that. But that’s enough sad talk. Let’s drink and share some stories. Tell me how are the “Sevens” doing?”
“The “Sevens” are doing great. We managed to repel almost all the bandits in the area, the route is safe and more and more people are traveling on in. The money we are making is good and the recruitment requests are raising. I think we could boost our numbers with another thousand men till the end of the year.”, Scarto shortly gave the report.
“That is good news. I want to increase the numbers of the men, but I want to take quality men. At the moment the “Seven Hills” are my secret and only weapon. I will have to count on you to help me get over this hurdle”, Marco answered. “And this is why I would like for the Seven Swords to come to the capital to be around me.”
The Seven Swords were the seven best warriors of the Seven Hills. They were right under Marco leadership and right above the captains. They formed the core of the group and they were the people Marco would trust his life to. One of the Seven Swords was Argento, he is the 7th Sword.
“This means that I will stay here with you?”, Argento asked.
“Yes. You will stay here, while Scarto will go and let the others now. Also Scarto, I want to officially form a group of knights from the elites of the Sevens. As emperor I could grant the order. It will take me some time to make all the preparations, but prepare the men. We will need at least 100 good men to form the group.”
Hearing the word knights the eyes of Scarto sparkled with emotion. They were all commoners and the knighthood was reserved only for nobles. This meant that Marco had to either make them all nobles, or abolish the rule “only nobles are knights”. Both things were outrageous, but with Marco in charge, this was something to be expected.
“Consider it done” Scarto nodded his head. “I will leave the capital in the morning. You can expect the rest of the “Swords” by the end of this week. I’m not sure if how fast I can find them all”.
With that being said, Marco said his goodbyes to Scarto and left, followed by Argento. Scarto finished his cup of wine and left as well, leaving a gold coin on the table.
Thank you for reading.
Please share your thoughts about the story. What will be Marco plans from now on? What role the Seven Hills will play into the story?