About The Emperor
Written by Lucius Parhelion
Eli is the personal assistant/bodyguard for the one of the most prosperous ranchers in New Mexico Territory at the turn of the Twentieth century. The Emperor, as Eli calls his boss, has a mysterious past, no one quite knows exactly how he came to the Territory, though there are plenty of rumors.
Prologue: England, 1889
After the papers got wind of the establishment on Cleveland Street, Harry knew he was doomed. No, "doomed" was going it a bit strong. After all, honorable response or no, one couldn’t consider pressing a revolver to one’s head and pulling the trigger. Not after resolving to weather the storm.
Nonetheless, public scandal-mongering meant someone would be held responsible for a Certain Personage having visited the "indescribably loathsome" establishment, even if his visit had been merely to observe, even if his visit had been little else but a horrid joke. And that someone to be blamed could not be the Personage in question.
There remained Harry. He had gone along to the boy-brothel. As his elder brother John had long predicted, he had gone along with some fellow or other one time too many. So now John had the duty of passing sentence on Harry’s offense. A footman escorted Harry to the room John used for estate business, a worse court than the library but a better one than their family solicitor’s offices.
Once the footman had departed, John looked up at last from the papers on his desk. He didn’t ask Harry to sit before he said, "Both a sodomite and a fool."
"Yes." They had been trained not to give excuses.
John’s lips twitched. "Not your idea, I suppose."
"I believe the affair was a jest of sorts." Harry took a deep breath, and continued, "Directed at me, that is."
"I see." The silence was as heavy as the oak wainscoting, the time-darkened oils of horses and dogs, the velvet curtains at the tall windows. "You had given cause for amusement?"
"Not knowingly." Harry had thought his fondness for a certain noble equerry, a friend of the Personage, well hidden.
"Ah." John studied him. An onlooker might have found the positions of the principles ironic; for all his station, John was a man of temperament and refinement, a Soul and an Aesthete. Harry had been the one who had accompanied their father when he hunted red deer in the Highlands or rode to hounds. Harry had been the one interested in horseflesh and the home acres. If not for his fondness for history, his wish to go up to Cambridge, Harry would have been in the Guards like his older friends. As matters stood, he had imagined he would one day manage family lands for John. No longer.
In any event, John had reached some decision. "I have been told you shall retire abroad." Ever so slightly, his lip curled. John was unamiable when dictated to, no matter how high the station of the one commanding him. "I suppose you are intended to flee to the continent, there to live in idle and drunken disgrace funded by your inheritance from Uncle." John smiled coolly. "As for myself, I would imagine you prefer to be busy."
"Yes." Keeping busy was another trait their father had favored.