London, Arkingvale, Mid-Winter
In the eyes of the creature who crept in through an open window, the room seemed massive in the darkness. In a hearth at one end, a fire had been banked so that it provided heat, but very little light.
At the other, a six armed candelabra had been lit, barely casting enough light to illuminate the people stood in a circle in front of the fire, all looking down at an ornate rug with an odd snake on it.
The creature crept closer on silent feet, running across wall, floor and ceiling with alacrity. It brushed past a plant and the rustle made the figure closest to the fire look up from the floor. “Who’s there?”
The creature remained silent and found its way to the very top of a huge bookcase, where it sat on the shelf and looked down, its skin solidifying into stone. Only the brightness of its eyes gave away the status of the creature and from its vantage point, it could see and hear everything.
When no one answered, the figure who had spoken returned to its contemplation of the rug. A clock chimed at the other end of the room and the people in the circle recited:
“Sed nemo nos speramus.
Historia nostra res gerendi ostendisset.
Futura nostra ad figurant.”
The figure who had spoken when the creature entered, raised its head. “Let all know. If it is spoken outside these wall, the speaker will be erased from history. Bring not disrepute upon the League of Time Correction or this consequence shall be immediately and irrevocably carried out.” The hood covering the figure’s head had a wide red edge to it, contrasting sharply in the low light with the grey material of the rest of the robe the figure wore.
“Sic Fiat.” The rest of the group murmured.
“I bring order to this meeting of the League within the boundaries of Arking Vale. If there are issues you wish to discuss, then please leave them to the end of the meeting.” Red Hood said.
“Ut tibi placet.” The group replied.
“I call upon the Alter Imperator to re-examine our reason for meeting.” Red hood turned toward the hooded figure four people away from it with the blue edged hood.” As Red Hood turned, the light caught on its face, highlighting the full lips that curved in a malicious smile.
Blue Hood inclined its head. “I bow to the will of our Imperator.”
Red Hood waved one gloved hand in a circular movement. “Begin as you will.”
Blue Hood turned in a semi-circle, obviously looking at each member of it in turn. “When the queen was born, she was the oldest of a set of triplets and the only female. By all accounts, she was a sickly baby and not expected to last her first year of life. In accordance with the law…”
One of the others in the circle twitched, the flare of light from the white edging on its hood catching Red hood’s attention. “Is there a problem?”
The white hood bowed low. “We all know the history of our kingdom, Lord Imperator.”
“But do you know how it pertains unto the League and its aims?” the Alter Imperator asked, irritation colouring the figure’s tone.
The white hood looked toward its fellows, but none of them spoke. “I spoke in haste, my Lord. Please carry on.”
The alter imperator cleared its throat and continued, “… the eldest born male was to inherit the crown after his father’s death. However, when the royal triplets were merely two, the older prince was carried off by a measles outbreak that only lightly touched the other two. This was not considered a problem, for there was the younger prince as well as his sister.”
The blue hood coughed and a servant that the creature hadn’t noticed passed a glass goblet containing a clear blue liquid to the Alter Imperator. The figure drained the goblet quickly and handed it back.
“When the prince and princess were the age of four, the country rejoiced as the queen announced that she was with child once more. Sadly, that summer, the younger prince fell from his pony during a hunt and dashed his skull upon a rock. He died of his injuries in the queen’s lap and despite the king and princess’s best efforts, the queen fell into a deep melancholy. The child she carried died when she took her life six months later.” Blue Hood coughed again. The servant passed the goblet to it and this time it sipped before continuing. “The Princess inherited the throne from her father at the age of ten; the King lost to us by the hand of a foreign agent seeking to destabilise the kingdom.” Blue hood sipped from its goblet.
“How did the league come to exist?” one of the white hoods asked.
Red hood shook its head sharply. “Listen.”
“The league was formed recently, when certain lords of our kingdom realised that both the Older Prince’s and the younger prince’s death could have been prevented. These lords were unhappy with the princess as our queen, especially as she declared at the age of fifteen that she would not marry for political gain or to cede her responsibilities to a man.” Blue hood finished.
Red hood looked at the white hoods who were shaking their heads. “Do you have a question?”
“How can we travel in time? Even with the latest scientific advances, time travel is closed to those who have not the ability and the Council of Historical Relevance commands the loyalty of those who do.” The first white hood replied.
“We have a plan to engage the services of one of the Time Travellers or as the common folk call them, a T’tee. However, it is a long range plan and it may be several years before we can gain the services of a T’tee.” The red hood said.
The creature focused its eyes and ears upon the red hood, hoping to record an accurate identity.
“There are certain bloodlines that we can access without the Council’s knowledge. Sadly, none of them have produced a viable T’tee in some years. However, a recent development in the form of a mysterious lady T’tee may yet bear fruit.” The red hood said.
The white hoods all nodded.
“That will be all for today. The senior members of the league have been summoned to London to discuss the rest of the plan. Remain alert to the summoning charm for the rest of your initiation.” Red hood bowed to the circle and the figures bowed in reply before filing out of the room, the wind of their passing disturbing the flames on the candelabra.
The creature found itself irritated that it would not hear more and settled down to wait.