Character: Emperor Adamant of House Lothar, High King of the Arathi and the Azotha, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm
The trumpets sounded outside the windows with the coming dawn. The bloody trumpets, what was I thinking? the old emperor thought getting up. Although he did not think of himself as old, he definitely changed since the days of his youth. Young Adamant Lothar was a brilliant, handsome warrior – a scourge on the battlefield, and a beast in bed. He likes to pretend he is still like that, by whoring around and taking part in tournaments, but sometimes, only to himself, he thinks that he’s getting old. His stamina in either of the favored stations is not the same as it used to be and his muscular, handsome body has grown in all the wrong directions. But he’s still the emperor, and he can’t let the former kings, his lords paramount of their former kingdoms, see weakness in him. He created this empire and he can’t let it fall in his lifetime.
Just after he left his chambers, he was accosted by a number of councilors and advisors, all seeking to solve their own problems. One of them wanted more funds for… something. Another one wanted the emperor to outlaw some kind of weird thing Adamant never heard about before, but which always sounded intriguing. And the others kept mumbling something about the Light and priests and some paladins – Adamant never paid much attention to all that prattle. He was made to fight, not to rule – and the biggest downside of becoming the greatest conqueror in recent history is that there is little left to fight for.
Finally, the emperor’s patience ran out.
“Out!” he shouted, “All of you, out of my way!”
“But, your grace…” a short, hairy man from Kul Tiras interrupted – Jordan Alverold, Empire’s chief admiral.
“No buts! I wanted to take a piss and you are all standing in my way.” The emperor quickly walked around his shocked advisors towards the privy. “Want someone to listen to your whining, get Greymane.” Genn Greymane, an enemy that became a great friend. The Emperor’s Right Hand, the true ruler of this empire, but not a man who would abuse such power – honor is the absolute value for him, even if it means confronting his Emperor about the things he would prefer to forget.
Later the same day, Adamant sat in his garden with another friend, one of the companions who helped him conquer the Seven Kingdoms. Khadgar, they called him, once the apprentice of the Guardian of Tirisfal, Medivh Aran. Some people believed Medivh groomed Khadgar to be his successor, but Guardians live for far too long for that. Instead, Khadgar befriended the old knight of Stormwind, Anduin Lothar, and his promising, ambitious son, Adamant. When Khadgar’s years as an apprentice was done, he joined Adamant’s retinue only to learn of his ambition to unite the kingdoms. He was reluctant about all that bloodshed for a simple ambition but Adamant was his friend, and so Khadgar followed him.
“You know,” Adamant said, looking around carefully to check if no one else can hear them, “I never like to admit it, to myself, or to anyone else, but I’m getting old.”
“Don’t say that,” Khadgar responded, always supportive, “You’re still in great health.”
“Have you seen me?” the emperor responded, grabbing his stomach. “Look at this sack of lard. What became of the brave warrior who conquered all the men and all their beds? I just wake up, eat, drink and shit and swat off all these odd people, half of which I no longer recognize.” Khadgar only nodded, looking for the right words. “I was made to fight, not to sit on a chair.”
“So fight,” Khadgar said, curious where this leads.
“Fight what?” Adamant almost yelled out. “Fight who? I conquered the whole bloody place. Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, seven too many for me.”
Khadgar anxiously tapped his fingers on the table, still looking for thought. That was the most unusual confession from his Emperor. From his friend. “Maybe you can become a mercenary. One of those adventurers wandering around, looking for gold.” The wizard chuckled at the idea. “The bards would love you! The Sellsword Emperor!”
“And leave the Empire to Clovis?”
Clovis. Both of them just nodded, shuddering at the thought.
“Clovis… how could I have sired such a son?” Adamant shook his head with disgust. “You know, Khad, one day, couple of years back, he came up from the dungeons with a cat.”
“That’s good,” Khadgar responded, hopeful for good news about the kid.
“The cat was gutted.” The mage’s face immediately shifted into the same grimace of disgust he usually has thinking of young Clovis. “Imagine that, he found a pregnant cat. He opened the thing up and… cut out the kittens to see how they look.”
Optimistic as always, Khadgar tried to look for positives. “That’s… a scientific curiosity. That’s… good?” The wizard swallowed these words very slowly. They did not come out easily.
“That’s just cruelty. He’s a monster. He’s nothing like me.”
“You know,” Khadgar decided to risk a touchy topic. A rumor going around the court lately, after Genn Greymane’s investigations. “Some say Clovis is actually not…”
“I don’t care what they say!” Adamant shouted, knocking over a goblet with his hand. “I made a bloody mistake. One after another. I conquered lands I did not need, I married that witch Calia, I exiled people who were my old friends because they saw the mistakes I made…” The Emperor was shocked for finally realizing the mess he was in. “What have I done?”
Khadgar tried to open his mouth, but Adamant just shushed him. “No, it’s too late to fix any of it. I… I fucked everything up. My life, Calia’s, yours, the entire bloody realm’s…” The Emperor and his friend just looked at each other. Khadgar was finally at a lack for words. A small triumph for this awful day, Adamant thought and quickly left.
When the evening came, the Emperor quickly left the capital on a hunt. Without any notice, he gathered a group of people and left. The entire council, Greymane and Khadgar included, looked for him only to learn what happened. Only Khadgar knew why and hoped his friend would come back with a clearer mind. But he did not realize many things – how similar Clovis really was to his uncle, Arthas Menethil, a sworn knight of the realm, or the forbidden love Arthas harbored in his heart. Or the things Arthas would do for that love.
Next time: Champion of the Felguard