The Emperor sat at the table, with Clovis across from him. The elder man looked at his 4th son with interest. Years had been kind to the once weak, shy child he had been as a youth.
Though still seeming delicate as a fairy and as calm and reserved as a duck on a pond, there was a strength and confidence that he hadn't noticed before. Perhaps the palace duties were doing him more good than The Emperor had realized. The younger man poured his father a cup of tea and passed it to him before pouring his own.
"Long live The Emperor, and good health to my father." Clovis spoke with respect, but not the reverence he had as a child. Try as he might, no matter how often his mother tried to defend him, he could not forgive the Emperor's blindness. His mother had suffered as has his daughter because The Emperor could not see the snakes on his arms.
"And to the good health of my Fourth son." he replied nodding at Clovis as they both drank the tea. A deep sigh escaped the Emperor as he waved the attendants away. "Clovis, I know you are unhappy with your mother's situation." he began. Clovis had to restrain himself from laughing. Unhappy was a understatement.
"As would any son who knew his father punished his mother for protecting his daughter." Clovis replied, daring to cut his father off. This conversation could easily get bloody if the Emperor didn't mind himself. The Emperor raised an eyebrow, a rare show of expression. "Father, you are Emperor and your decisions are final. If you come to regret it or not is your choice, but my brother and that woman were in the wrong."
The Emperor was unsurprised at his son's honesty. There was a certain understanding between father and son. Something the pair had learned long ago was one would not bow to the other, but perhaps that was as it should be. Clovis could challenge him, but only in private and not often. He could never interfere with matters but, there was no harm in voicing displeasure.
"I do not know what happened there. No one explained it at the time and when I asked the meaning of this your mother did not explain. I did what I believed to be best." The emperor countered calmly, as if it was the weather.
"I know, and that is your right. However, I will not stand back and wait for my mother and my daughter to be subjected to any more… misunderstandings." Clovis replied sipping his tea, watching his father from over the rim of the cup. The Emperor stopped mid drink and lowered his cup toward the table.
"Oh?" the wheels in the Emperor's eyes were clearly turning. He had an idea of what Clovis meant but…. It wasn't in his nature.
"I want to place my name back on the Tree of The Phoenix." he replied smoothly. The Emperor's brow furrowed.
The Tree of The Phoenix was a large cherry blossom tree. It was beautiful and tall, older than the palace itself. The normally pale pink blossoms were crimson at the edge and golden at the center like a burst of flame from a phoenix feather. It was said the palace was placed here to surround that beautiful tree, for no others like it grew here.
Ever since the tree was graced with lanterns and charms, each Lantern held the name of a past emperor, extinguished on their passing. One made of jade still glowed with Kavorn, the current Emperor's name painted on the delicate material. There were 5 charms, one for each prince who was in the running to be Emperor. Clovis's charm hung quietly from the wall beside the tree, where all the princes long past had hung once the Emperor was crowned.
"That has never been done before...but there is no Law against it. As long as your motives are pure, I will allow it." the Emperor replied honestly happy to hear this. Of all his sons, only Clovis showed any talent for running a nation. The others wanted the power but did not understand at what price power was bought. Relinquishing the tree had been the first hint that Clovis was the right choice, ironically enough.
Welcome to Father son issues part 1.
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