Friday, April 25, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: 'Till Armageddon do you Part

The Golden Emperor and the Jade Empress weren't the first human beings to be elevated to godly status after death, but a thousand years later they would be the most famous. This was because they were the best at projecting images. Each only had one rival: the other. No one but the Jade Empress would contradict the Golden Emperor. No one would remain seated when the Jade Empress entered a room, save the Golden Emperor. Their feisty marriage was one of the quirks that turned them from mortal people to immortal legends.

Their empire stretching from sea-to-sea helped a little.

They tapped into the knowledge of the time; theirs was the first culture to discover pollination in plants. Theirs was a culture that exploded the importance of male and female elements of nature and society. The Golden Emperor and Jade Empress quickly came to embody the two halves of nature: the father and the mother. Even the materials of their namesakes symbolized the two great aspects of life. Gold represented the sun, the source of life energy. Jade represented flora, in the grass and trees of the country that fed the livestock, which in turn fed all humanity. One gave life unto the other, and the other grew life unto the former.

They were infallible. They never lost face to anyone else in a debate, or fencing practice. There was no record of dissidence within the capital. The few insurrections in the country went down as villainous, but this was because insurrections were vilified. Dissidents were dissuaded or assassinated. Keeping their reputations spotless in the time and historical record was hard work – not for the two rulers, but for their gaggles of supporters.

Jangs, a court retainer so portly one poet referred to him as “The Sphere,” was in charge of the Golden Emperor’s reputation. He was followed everywhere by highly trained ninja who could strangle a disobedient warlord without even becoming visible. They were, by and large, Jangs’ political leverage. They were necessary leverage, for Jangs’ work wasn’t all strong-arming rogue philosophers and flower arrangement. Often he was dispatched to the wilderness to retrieve an imperial stamp, or to keep three hundred barbaric nutcases from turning a narrow pass in the mountains into a bloody embarrassment to the throne. The Golden Emperor’s immortal reputation is testament to how good Jangs was. All of his deeds went unsung, but those who knew him know he worked very hard – especially against the plots of the Jade Empress. She was a conniving, vindictive wife, and worse, she had better staff.

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