Multiple emporers in a reign, revisited

Tue Mar 14 08:12:24 PST 2006

> The moral basis would be having won.  Also, I'm kinda skeptical about
> there being such a thing as a Council of Princes that decides 
> this sort of
> issue.  If you've got the Orb orbiting your, uhh, orb, then 
> everyone else
> can stick it.

I'd buy that except for the events of _Viscount of Adrilankha_. Zerika was
not automatically accepted as Emperor just because she showed up with the
Orb. She had to negotiate with the Houses just as Kana was doing, and the
issue of her Easterner lover very nearly lost her the support of the
traditional-minded Houses like House Lyorn. 

Possession of the Orb doesn't automatically qualify you to be the Emperor.
In fact, it must be that way. When the Cycle turns, there generally isn't
any news flash sent to the Empire. Rather, the Empire relies on "portents
and signs" and the general inability of the current Emperor to govern
effectively as the way to tell when the Cycle has turned. 

In other words, the Orb doesn't have a "Cycle detector" that causes it to
automatically move to the next Heir when the Cycle turns. It moves when it's
reqlinquished by the current emperor and claimed by the new emperor. That
means that when Emperor X relinqishes the Orb to Heir Y, that the Cycle had
turned to House Y for some measurable time period already. 

If Adron had waited, allowing Loudin to assume the Throne, then he would
have been tacitly admitting that the Cycle had not turned. The effect on the
morale of his supporters would have been severe. It also would mean that his
attempt to subvert the Orb using Elder Sorcery, which was already somewhat
questionable, would truly be subversive. Rather than a revolutionary taking
the Orb from an Emperor who refused to admit that his time was past, he'd be
an over-eager warlord who cheated his way to the Orb using forbidden

> Emperor X dies in his sleep.  Lackey X+1 comes in to empty the chamber
> pot, sees the score, takes the Orb, starts sending out orders.

Jamiss' story suggests that this might, in fact, be possible. However, the
Houses would refuse to support such a candidate for Emperor and ultimately
the pretender would lose the Orb to the rightful Heir, presuming that s/he
was audacious enough to actually try and hold onto it.