Episode 56: The Emperor gives the Word

The Emperor strode forward and looked down at the city map. He glanced around the room, pausing when he spotted Arthur.

Arthur nodded.

The Emperor turned to the official-looking lady who had asked Arthur about the situation: "You have the Word." He turned and left.

Facing the suddenly-moving crowd of figures, the lady snatched up a staff that had been leaning against the wall. It looked official. "I now declare the Great Hall active!" She pounded the staff. "This is to be recorded as Command Activation Twelve. Signals, assume command of all city defenses. Information, I want eyes on the bridge and gate, I want a full list of Imperium flows in the city sorted by location, I want the magical breach status of the city monitored closely, I want to know where our units are and who's supporting them, I want to know who and what we're facing, and I want it all FIFTEEN MINUITES AGO!" She paused to catch her breath. "And someone wake up the staff; it's going to be a long night."

Meanwhile, the initial scramble was quickly resolving itself into a smooth operation. At least two of the people on the floor sat with their eyes shut, dictating what they saw of the battle through their magic senses. Others updated the gigantic floor map of the city with the new information. Looking down at the map from the balcony was a troop of mostly older men who conferred among themselves and called out various requests for information. Most impressively, the tapestry at the far end of the hall constantly rewove itself, displaying information on the city's defenses.

The steward shouted out another order when the execution of the first set was underway: "Get me our breach status!"

One of the mages watching the battle obliged. "We're losing the bridge . . . fifteen feet . . . ten . . . five . . . holding at zero—two of the Blue Weapons are holding at zero . . . holding . . . holding . . . hold—" He winced. "Breach! Two lines have breached! Second line is guarding something . . . counterattack coming . . ."

The tapestry shifted to display a list of defensive lines, and the entry under "City Wall" rewrote itself to read "BREACH" in bright red thread.

"Deploy the Civilian Defense Force and signal the Order of White. Message to all government stations: Prepare for a potential occupation of the city."