Monday, February 1, 2010

200 - The Imperial Diet and Madness

It is a little known fact that for the past six generations of the Aan line, the Heirs and Imperators have been consuming gradually increasing dosages of various poisons in their food, sometimes beginning as early as first threshold. This, to provide a certain immunity to lesser amounts of these particular poisons, should they be used in assassination attempts.

This fact could be confirmed if one consulted the Imperial Pharmacist’s records in the Marble Palace, or the historical records of the Haian Personal physicians for the Imperium. (Citations: Haiu Roru University). In fact there are several personal notes from these physicians about the difficulty in keeping a patient under such a regimen healthy.

The first of the two most commonly consumed poisons is known to cause great prostration, with rapid sinking of the vital forces; fainting: The disposition is: Depressing, melancholic, despairing, indifferent. Anxious, fearful, restless, full of anguish. Irritable, sensitive, peevish, easily vexed. The greater the suffering, the greater the anguish, restlessness and fear of death. Mentally restless, but physically too weak to move; cannot rest in any place: changing places continually; wants to be moved from one bed to another, and lies now here now there. Anxious fear of death; thinks it useless to take medicine, is incurable, is surely going to die; dread of death, when alone, or, going to bed. Attacks of anxiety at night driving out of bed, worse after midnight. Burning pains; the affected parts burn like fire, as if hot coals were applied to parts ( Anthr. ), > by heat, hot drinks, hot applications, as a partial list of symptoms which go on for several pages more in (this book)

The second poison causes, among other things:
Adapted to thin, irritable, careful, zealous persons with dark hair and bilious or sanguine temperament. Disposed to be quarrelsome, spiteful, malicious; nervous and melancholic. Debauchers of a thin, irritable, nervous disposition; prone to indigestion and haemorrhoids (persons with light hair, blue eyes, Lob. ). "…chiefly successful with persons of an ardent character; of an irritable, impatient temperament, disposed to anger, spite or deception." Anxiety with irritability and inclination to commit suicide, but is afraid to die. Hypochondriac: literary, studious persons, who are too much at home, suffer from want of exercise, with gastric, abdominal complaints and costiveness; especially in drunkards. Oversensitive; to external impressions; to noise, odours, light or music trifling ailments are unbearable; every harmless word offends. Persons who are very particular, careful, but inclined to become easily excited or angered; irascible and tenacious. Bad effects of: coffee, tobacco, alcoholic stimulants; highly spiced or seasoned food; over-eating; long continued mental over-exertion; sedentary habits; loss of sleep; aromatic or patent medicines; sitting on cold stones; specially in warm weather. Convulsions, with consciousness; worse with anger, emotion, touch, moving. Pains are tingling, sticking, hard. Again continuing for several pages.

These are only first two. Later Imperators, as a palliative against attempted poisonings began adding others until we have the handful consumed by the Late Imperator Kurkas Aan and his Heir, Minis.

It is also perhaps an important side note that the Aan line before this time was known for its strength, longevity and fecundity.

The first Imperator under this regimen – The Ninth Joras Meras Kurkas Aan -- is known for his eventual odd considerations concerning his own Divinity and apparently died of attempting to consume nothing else but gemstones and gold or silver chains washed down with wine and honey for the last seven eight-days of his life. “It is not often”, says Aminten of Berit, who in 75 P.A., studied the case and wrote of it in detail, “that the autopsy of a Head of State is attended by the Heir, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Minister of the Treasury.”

His son the Eighth Meras Boras Ilesias Aan, apparently did not begin the regimen until he ascended to the Crystal Throne at age forty. One could say that his decision-making ability deteriorated over the next twenty years given the difference between decrees at the beginning of his reign and those around this time.

The Decree of Relief of Taxes in times of Drought in [note to self, check the year] is obviously sensible, yet twenty years later, the Decree For the Burning of Solas Houses was more questionable.

The Imperator himself charitably explained his reasoning, that if a solas burned his house before he took the field in battle, he would have incentive to win and loot the country before him, so he could rebuild when he got home. Since this did not take into account the bereft wives and sons of said solas it lead to an enormous construction boom of miniatures… exact copies of solas houses, with deeds registered with the empire (citation: land records books) every one of which was burned on the front lawns of the houses they represented before the solas who owned them mustered out. This has become a traditional practice as well as a legal one, continued even to this day.

The last decree from the Marble Palace during his reign (Note to self, check year) was unfathomable. The Decree for the Destruction of all Spotted or Striped Cats did nothing but cause an explosion in the vermin populating the city granaries… and the definition of either ‘spotted or striped’ changed in the popular tongue during that time. Cats became ‘vary colour or mottled or hooped’ so one could say to the Cat Inspector (check year the office was created) with all honesty there was not a spotted or striped cat on the premises.

The reign of the Fifteenth Kurkas Ideasis Joras Aan is noted only for its brevity (Haian records in the University of Haiu Roru?). There is commentary only on his rash attempts to get his Imperatrix with child since he had some trouble there that was not recorded.

The reign of the Tenth Joras Aan’s, the only surviving child of Fifteenth Kurkas, was a period of tremendous expansion of the empire with aggressive and effective wars along three separate fronts, with the promotion of a number of successful and intelligent generals. However, the Imperator himself, under orders from his Haian healer from childhood, did not begin the regimen of Additives until he was ‘less sickly’ (check records, add citations), beginning at his third threshold.

He survived an attempted poisoning when he was thirty-three and began adding that particular poison to the mix and increasing his dosages, insisting that his son, eventually the Sixteenth Kurkas Aan begin taking them regularly.

It was shortly after this that his orders to his generals began causing them enough problems that they began querying them in the records. Politely, of course, but increasingly frantic memos began to return from the battlefronts. The wars in question began either stalling, or losing ground. There was some question whether the Heir would be war trained but the Imperator refused the notion, insisting that his son stay close to the city itself.

Ultimately it was the Heir himself to whom the desperate generals appealed and the Divine Coup overthrew the old Imperator and Sixteenth Kurkas ascended the Crystal Throne in 79 P.A. at age thirty-one. Records note his robustness and strength.

The records of the years of his reign show decrees of wildly varying effectiveness and an increasing isolation from the city and the empire. The Decree of Treason against several noted, once Aitzas, families was possibly more a matter of monetary grab or personal pique… (see trial records, Imperial Archive). Unfortunately the generals who had persuaded Him to the throne early, for the good of the Empire, did not prosper and the last and youngest, Larianas, perished in the war against Yeola-e.

The Imperial Archive shows that when the war began going badly, the Last Aan Imperator did nothing except execute those who attempted to tell him the truth, trusting instead the word of other generals whose battle records were less than exemplary.

Ultimately troops were called from the western border to support the central empire but by this time it was far, far too late and any of the heavy cavalry that made it to the city were unable to fight and the horses were foundered and fit only to feed refugees and the conquerors who ultimately ended His reign.

Since the Heir, Minis Kurkas Joras Aan, never ascended there is no possibility of judging his mental capacity from Imperial decreed yet he, who began the regimen of Additives at his first threshold perhaps showed signs of chemical irrationality. This author would not presume to judge on so little evidence.

It is pure speculation on this author’s part, subjective in its associations, but there appears to be a fairly direct correlation between the consumption of the Imperial Additives with deterioration in judgment on the part of the person consuming them.

It is perhaps something future Imperators should consider, the benefit of such a regime is minimal and should, conceivably, never again be attempted as a preventative measure against poisoners.


Ailadas set my paper down on the desk thoughtfully. We were in what had been the Abbot’s Office and my books had been carefully brought in as if I had the right to steal the place and the space. “This is from memory, Min—Spark?” He changed mid-word as the door opened and the First Second came in.

I answered Ailadas as if he had just asked me to recite as he carefully pulled a book over my paper and flipped through pages, checking. I recognized the volume. “That was during the False Heir’s War when there where two courts, one in Arko the city and a second in Rufana,” I said and stopped, rising to my feet pretending I had just noticed 2nd Amitas’s entrance. “First Second?”

“Continue, Spark of the Sun’s Ray.” He stood, listening as I did my best to drone through a summation of the end of the False Heir’s War. “… and thus Fifth Joras Aan took control of the Temple, holding the Temple square against the False Aan, and succeeded in Ascending sixty days later.”

“Excellent, Spark of the Sun’s Ray. Does the honoured guardian require the Spark’s attention?” Ailadas managed to convey just a hint of encouragement in that direction as though I had even bored him.

“No, no. His scholarly pursuits continue apace I assume?”

“Why yes, First Second. As you heard.”

I hoped I had bored him enough that he would stop doing this, as he had begun to check up on my lessons with Ailadas and wished to discourage him.

“Carry on, Spark of the Sun’s Ray.” He let himself out as quietly as he had come in. I heard a relieved breath from Gannara kneeling in the corner.

And Ailadas picked up where he left off. “Ahem. As I was saying, Spark…” he rolled his eyes at the door as he used my title instead of my name. “An interesting essay. Where did you aquire the Haian remedy list citations?"

"They were in the appendices for 'Mirias's Battlefield Medic," I gestured to indicate the volume on the shelf.

"Excellent. I did not know they were there. I will read them myself. You’ve noted fairly well where your citations should come if you choose to re-write the thesis once you have access to the libraries in question.” Not ‘if’ you have access, but ‘when’. You’re trusting I’ll figure out a way of getting us away from the Mahid and out of the wilderness. His quiet assumption heartened me. He believes I can plan it, and that I can do it.

“In – ahem – fact one could consider this as a thesis to be presented at the Arkan University Press –ahem—someday.”

“Really? I’ll have to remember it then and write it out in full once I have the opportunity.”


  1. As a preventive measure, that's right up there with fighting a war for peace.

  2. Oh yeah. A Count of Monte Cristo idea carried to idiotic extremes!

  3. "The Imperial Diet and Madness"

    That is exactly what got the Germans into World War I.

    (Sorry, I just couldn't resist the Double Entendre)

    (There I go again; that's a Triple Entente, which is more appropriately Edwardian than Victorian)

    RR who is amongst the world's worst punnishers.