|The Imperial Library
A spry, trim, clean-faced Imperial in vigorous middle age, dressed in a brown robe, sits cross-legged before a large patch of freshly-disturbed ground in the palace district near the statue of Tiber Septim, peeling, coring, and slicing an apple, and alternately eating one slice, then laying down a slice in a pinwheel pattern on the dark earth.
"Well, fancy meeting you here," the Imperial said in the rounded tones and bland irony of an educated gentleman. He paused for a second, rearranged several slices more perfectly to suit himself, then quietly tucked another slice into his mouth and chewed patiently, deliberately.
"it's been a few years, Your Majesty, hasn't it. And, I suppose, under the solemn circumstances, I oughtn't address you as 'Uncle' or 'Sly Uri' as I used to... though never to your face, of course.
"Sorry. I've taken my time about it, Your Majesty, but I'm here at last, to pay my respects. Tell them upstairs that Caius Cosades has buried his black pennies on the spot, and placed a wreath at your grave.
"I'm sorry I wasn't here to dance at your tucking-in, Sire, as I promised, but with one thing and another, I was keeping quite busy in the East, and since you'd no need of me back here, I wasn't handy when the day of reckoning came.
"I hear it wasn't a pretty time. I can't say I'm sorry to lose your three sons. None of them worth a fig, as I've told you many times... not to your face, of course... but nonetheless, I know it must have hurt bitter-hard, harder than the Dawnman's daggers, I expect.
"But in the end, you'd got Martin well-hidden away... you sly dog, I never guessed... and he turned out to be worth twice the lot of those preening fools you got on the scheming witch, Caula Voria, may she die again tomorrow. Who was his mother? Was it that Gemile girl you had put out of the way, right after the Warp in the West?"
He added another slice of apple to his wreath, tucked a last slice into his mouth, then cleaned his knife on the worn-smooth wool of his robe. He made as if to tuck the knife back into his pouch, then, thinking again, he took the knife and buried it up to the handle in the dirt, right in the center of the ring of apple slices.
"There you are, your Majesty. My Blade, ever and always at your service. It was a pleasure to know you, and be your rough tool, in this and every other thing. I hope they find a nice spot for you up there with Lord Tiber and the rest of your sainted kin."
The Imperial unfolded his legs and rose in a smooth motion, dusting the dirt from his backside. "And I hope they hurry up and put a proper stone on the spot, too. Like all Council work, I imagine it's still a piece of patronage buried under some pile of papers in a clerk's ratnest. Fair enough. No stone could ever do you justice. Better the common ground above you, walked on by your precious citizens, beggar, noble, sage and fool alike."
He looked at the sky, smiled, liking what he saw there. "Indeed. No more fitting monument than Cyrodiil's open air and fertile soil... and you to sweeten it."
Rubbing the back of his close-cropped head, he looked around with wry, pursed lips. "And now what? Maybe a visit to that symposium the Geographical fellows are putting up. See what sort of prickly bickering and posturing they can work up. Maybe stick in my crooked oar, just to stir the pot."
He'd barely left the spot before the first fat black ant had arrived, tugged first with curiosity, then dogged enthusiasm at a slice of apple, then scanned the horizon for others of his kind to help him harvest his golden hoard.