Disciplined men in tanned leather armors, shining golden helms and glinting breastplates patrolled the street of the capital with disciplined efficiency, their march resonating around the paved streets as the Empire of Elysium got ready for the Rite of Ascension. Today, with the dual suns Helios and Sol illuminating the world in shades of whites and reds upon their dawning reigns, previously humble lives would change to completely different ones, as was usual for the last days of Spring in the Empire. The Rite of Ascension was in fact a three days and three nights long extravagant festival serving as the turning point for a blessed few's lives, blessing them with titles and lands and therefore elevating them from mere commoners to ennobled peers of the ancient nation.
Inside the golden spires of the Elysian Palace in the capital a similar fervor than in the streets awakened, courtiers, concubines, matriarchs and patricians whispered and planned the numerous events that would take place to honor their new peers, from gladiatorial events to sumptuous soirees and balls. The fines of linens and silk were used for their togas and the most exquisite of perfumes followed after them in delectable trails as they mingled, each wondering if the newcomers would be boons to their own ambitions or eventual threats. Servants, meanwhile, drifted from high born to ennobled, giving sips of red wines, bites of perfectly ripe fruits and skewers of juicy meats as all found themselves in the Emperor's throne room.
Emperor Judeon IV himself was regally sprawled on his throne, two of his favorite concubines offering the occasional refreshment and a steady stream of praises and compliments to their master as he awaited his newest esteemed vassals. A few moments more and the time came for the Rite to start, as the two suns each reached a specific point in the violet sky and illuminated the highest spire of the palace in a ray of multicolored light, courtesy of the gigantic prismatic obelisk in the capital's Square.
It was finally time.
Standing from his throne and making his way to the balcony overlooking both the open air throne room and the city as a whole, Judeon uttered the traditional hymns of the Rite of Ascension and said, his voice high and clear in the morning air:
“May the Chosen Ones make themselves known and may they present themselves to the good people of Elysium!” He intoned, his steely gaze sharp in the blinding light of the new day.
A nearly perfect circle formed bellow then, the already noble spectators letting place to those who's existence and bloodline would be changed that day, the symbol of the Empire on the paved floor stark in the morning light.
Among the crowd stood a tall, heavily muscular man with thick black hair that curled down to his shoulders with a moderately thick beard surrounding his set jaws and sharp lips. His grey eyes looked up towards the emperor when he emerged and listened as he spoke, sweat accumilating under his toga as he stood under the mercy of the two suns. He wore a red silk tunic and a long silken cloth to cover his legs of the same colour; his toga was of thick black silk wrapped around his left shoulder and upper arm. Shouldn't have worn black today, Farlen cursed under his breath when the emperor had finished his hymn.
Once he called out for them a circle appeared when the large party of highborn men and women moved apart so they could all look at him and whoever else would be ascended from commonfolk on that day. Farlen stepped into the circle and knelt, his head looking at the floor in front of him. "Your Imperial Majesty," he began as his beard swallowed any trickle of sweat that threatened to drip. "I am Farlen Baal as it may please you, and I am most honoured by your ever gracious gift."
Psylon stood at the back of the area. He didn't feel like making too much of a scene just yet. He saw so many people around him, sizing him up as if he were a turkey. He despised people who judged. He'd lived through enough hardships to know that everyone has a story. He'd killed many an enemy, thwarted many an attack. He wasn't looking for a title when he found himself in the company of the emperor. He simply had come to help someone in need and had been noticed. He knew that made him the envy of many nobles here. He knew that made him a target...
When he heard the call for the new nobles, he sighed. He walked up to the front of the crowd, giving coins and trinkets to the servants he passed. By the time he'd made it to the circle, he was being adored by the lower castes even more than he was when he'd first came to the town. "I am Psylon of House Barrosa, your Highness." He bowed, though just slightly. He never had many ties to his country or to politics, making him an underdog of sorts in this gathering.
Calanthes merged in the front of the crowd. The sight of so many soldiers in one place made him feel more secure, but quite intimidated. He breathed heavily as the ceremony went underway. Never had anyone in his family expected to get this far with anything; the family business was solid but difficult to grow this large. Many hours were spent poring over catalogues and reports, revising recipes, and many a torch burnt to a stub of blackened wood. He began to wonder if another shipment of grapes from the vineyard had been tainted with insects.
A sharp call from the Emperor snapped him back to reality. Using every ounce of energy to smile, he pushed through bystanders wrapped in linens to the open floor where guards stood. He turned, his blood red chiton floating freely for a brief moment and then resting against his tanned skin again. He made his way past the crowd, who stared with both praise and envy, and joined a few more men in a line. He reached the Emperor, bowed, and spoke in a deep voice, "Your Majesty, I am Calanthes, of House Arril." he paused and continued, "I thank you deeply for this generous title."