“Your Divine Highnesses, honored guests…”
No, that´s not good enough. Dan crumpled the paper and threw it at the door. This was important, this was the Empire’s future! He needed to capture the Divine Blood with these first words, he needed to make them hear him. Shouldn´t the Truthseer be listened to? Wasn´t that the whole idea of his role?
“Blood of the Empire: Divine Emperor, Empress, Predestined Royal Heir…”
You pompous prick, he thought to himself, crumpling another paper, three thousand years of Empire and still no standardised introductions? With a fierce sigh, he threw the paper at the wall. It bounced back and struck his eye. He winced and rubbed it. Bloody paper. He´d never even seen the cursed stuff before his talents were revealed some months ago. No one had even come up with a good reason why he wasn´t allowed to write on his touch screen instead. Secrecy this, privacy that. He yanked another sheet from the pile on his desk and grabbed his pen again.
“It has come to my attention…”
Yes Dan, people always listen to you when you start a speech like that. He rolled his eyes, sighing again. Tapping the side of his head, he started chewing his pen. They´d throw him to the lions whatever he did. If he fulfilled his duties, he´d be thrown there for accusing the Empress of adultery; if he didn´t, he´d be thrown there for not doing it. But he had to do it, for the good of the Empire. He took a deep breath and started again.
“Your Divine Arseholes…”
Dan stared at the paper, eyes wide, chin dropping to his chest. Had he just written that? His death sentence, right there, black on … well, beige. Had he really—? He looked about the room frantically. They would not openly oversee their Truthseer, but this was the Divine Palace: their cameras would be everywhere, promises or no. Quickly, he crumpled this paper too but instead of throwing it away he rose and fed it to the flames in the fireplace. He was probably safe. Probably. Never in the recorded history of the Empire had the Truthseer really had anything to do with anything. But Dan would. His visions never lied and he had seen clear as day that the Predestined Heir was not of Divine Blood.
The doorbell rang. Dan froze. They had seen it. This was it, his final moments. If he wasn´t allowed to say what he knew, Dan would just fade into the history as another Truthseer who wasn´t listened to. With raised shoulders he took the final steps and pressed the open-button.
“Truthseer,” the servant said, “you are wanted at the Reception.”
The Reception? Dan looked at his watch. It was time to leave for the Reception. Maybe they hadn´t seen it after all! A shiver of relief ran down Dan’s spine as he stepped out into the hallway. He threw a quick glance over his shoulder before the door slid shut. There was no trace of the paper in the fire place. With shut eyes, he drew a couple of deep breaths before the servant started rolling down the corridor towards the Great Hall. Dan hurried after.
Music played, dancers danced and jugglers juggled all across the vast space between the tables at the Reception. A constant stream of food was carried from the kitchens to council members, relatives, religious leaders, scientific leaders, sayers of this and that truth and other people the members of the Divine Blood saw fit to include in their daily lives. Dan was seated at the far end of the hall, passed the enormous dome that encompassed the entire floor. Up there, in the shadows, lived God, so said the incredibly frantic looking man to his left. Any minute now, Dan would have to stand before this congregation of yes-sayers to declare the Predestined Heir not at all predestined.
Dan took the floor. No one seemed to notice. He raised his voice, amplified by his talents and by the metal dome.
“The good news is: you will soon be rid of me.” Heads started to turn, music began to fade and dancers started to slow. That’s new. Dan smirked before he could stop himself.
“No Truthseer has ever said anything that anyone has ever listened to before.”
“Well, how are you any different?” a voice called from the side, one of the Divine relatives. Laughter echoed through the room. Dan kept on:
“As Truthseer, my life was supposed to be the simple one. Deliver speeches no one listens to at Receptions where all the important people are. Eat good food and sleep in a sheltered room, unoverseen.”
Dan took a few steps forward. The Reception held its breath, he was too close now.
“Whatever I say now will be the death of me but I can´t deny my Empire—nor my talent. My job is to speak the truth, and I will say it: the Predestined Heir is not of Divine Blood.”
An uproar. Dan heard the shouts: “How dare he?” and “What an insult!” but also “Can he see such things?” and “What if he is right?”. He felt the force clamps shutting around his wrists but didn´t struggle. Two guards rolled on each side of him, leading him out past the dais with the Divine family. There was a struggle up there as well. He could see the Empress pleading and the formely predestined heir being taken away.
Dan smiled as they exited the Great Hall. They had listened. A Truthseer who actually had use for his talents. He would go down in history as someone who actually had someting to do with anything. Closing his eyes, he let a long breath out.