Lady Gel-Dan do’Rehan, Baroness of the Vintu, sauntered through the imperial court’s thousand-foot double-doors with five hundred armoured Panragine Knights at her back, including an empty suit for the departed Lord Gel-Dan di’Jobar, the husband she’d hated even as she’d loved him, wanted him as she’d used him for the machinations of her family, the House Kando’oril, thrice-spurned from ascension to the imperial seat.
Her retinue moved slowly towards the throne. Vast crowds of attendants to the Galactic Court looked on from the aisles. This visit was no surprise. It was the foretold day for the revelation of the Zizmatz Be’Lohardan, and Lady Gel-Dan had spread the rumour far and wide that she would appear to proclaim her child was the empire’s saviour.
She reached the great seal of the God-Emperor’s house, the behemoth consuming a moon, and stopped. She was still many miles from the throne, just out of range of an ancient thunder staff (a rule that had been emplaced seventeen generations prior during the Wellobiad Rebellion). Lady Gel-Dan spoke through the amplifiers engraved into her maternity armour, and her voice echoed throughout the decamiles of the vast courtly chamber.
“God-Emperor of the Galaxy Xaxandar LXXXVII—Father of Suns, Eater of Moons, First Genocider—greetings from House On’donagar,” she dipped her head slightly towards he late husband’s empty armour, “and my own House Kando’oril.” A murmur murmured through the court. No Baroness had identified her own house while standing before the imperial court, not since Lady Zil-Fax, that is, who had both started and, to her house’s eternal embarrassment, lost the War of the Möbius Rockets.