Akihito Borgia sat uncomfortably on Celestine throne looking at the assembled in the Great Hall of the Apostolic Palace. The ranks of the cyber-cardinals were firmly split into three camps; those feverishly for, those vehemently against and the scavenge, those who waited til the end to cast their votes and challenges.
“What say you Cardinal Donatist?” the Galactic Pope asked, complete with accusing finger “In four days you’ve sat and watched and whispered but as yet, nothing! Well?”
The spindly man from the Berber region slowly stood, his weight supported by his gunstaff of office. Cardinal Donatist inhaled as if taking breath for the first time “If it pleases his Holiness”
Akihito watched him carefully and nodded. Cardinal Donatist bowed in return and shuffled forward “Brothers, at this time, I feel we should…vote”
The chamber groaned in frustration; Akihito bit his tongue and gripped the arm rests of the throne in anger. Another round of voting to merely delay and prolong the already tedious proceedings.
“What say you?” asked Akihito in robotic fashion.
Akihito rolled his eyes at the predictable turn of events, slowly exhaled through his teeth.
Akihito was startled by the run of nays as he watched the Abstergo followers begin their next move.
“In accordance with tradition,” stated Cardinal Covo as he took the floor “Cardinal Donatist’s motion has been quashed. I challenge Donatist for his vote, under rules of primum cicatrix!”
The chamber was a buzz, the Galactic Pope watching Covo intently. By picking on the weak Covo could double, treble or even quadruple his vote power. Akihito waved them on.
“Do you accept Cardinal Covo’s challenge?” asked Akihtio.
The elderly Berber priest nodded in agreement “I do your Holiness”
Akihito buried his mouth into his hands as he watched Covo circle Donatist like a shark, Covo’s bionic eye tracking every twitch and twinge of the old priest. Akihitio snapped his fingers and pointed at his empty goblet, his eyes never leaving the battle.
“What are you up to?” he asked out loud to himself.
I do not like this one bit! Cardinal Covo now has the vote power of eight, all through challenges and counter challenges by sycophants. He has at least played his part in actually scarring those who face him, but being in a majority position could swing the conclave away, thus making my promises to the gods of old a lie and weakening my already wafer thin grip on position of Galactic Pope.
Covo sits smugly, nattering like an old woman to Orsini amongst the huddle of Abstergo supporters. My supporters are still there but the scavenge starts to swell, with those who wait like craven dogs to swoop in on who WILL be in charge and not who IS in charge. I could play their game and challenge Angelita and others, bolstering my own vote which already counts as two but I do not play the game that way.
The rat like man from the Fara Sabina region jolts upright as I call him out.
“How many votes do you have?” I ask knowing full well he has three.
“Three” he answers, eyebrow raised in curiosity and suspicion.
I slowly stand “Two hundred years ago the council on Fara Sabina passed a ruling, which your great-grandfather authored”
“Yes…” he replied hesitantly.
“Refresh my mind, Cardinal”
“There were many passed in that council your Holiness,” stammered Orsini “I don’t recall all of them!”
“Come, come now Cardinal,” I smile “It is the only thing your pox ridden family of vagabonds, cutthroats and gutter whores, has ever been and ever will be famous for!”
“Quintus maximus suffragorium!” he spat in anger as he jumped to his feet.
The chamber gasped as Orsini realised I had just challenged him for his votes to the death. Orsini went white, trembled and broke into a fear sweat as he turned to Covo, the only one who could save him but it would possibly be at the cost of Covo’s life. I silently watch as Covo glares at his ally and then walks to the scavenge, leaving the rat alone. Orsini clutched at Covo’s robes like a child being locked in their room against their will.
“Under the law it is your choice of weapon Cardinal Orsini,” I goad as I walk into the fighting circle in the centre of the hall, the flecks of cosmetic bloodshed dripped on the marble tiles. It is a shame Covo didn’t take his place as his eight plus my two times five would almost put the issue beyond doubt, but still twenty five votes leaves only one hundred and six for the minimum.
Covo’s bionic eye follows my every step; I can’t help but smile to antagonise the old bastard. He should mind his gaze for if I live past Orsini, I may just outright challenge him! Why is HE smiling?
“Full combat armour!” cries Orsini.
I look and he is taking possession of MY ARMOUR! That sneaky rat! I will be stuck with his and I notice in Orsini’s hand a power coupling for the optics dangling like a rosary. Well played rat, well played. Too busy planning my next move when I should be focused on what is actually happening. Should listen to my own advice.
“Your Holiness.” Cardinal Angelita steps in as my page to help me into Orsini’s foul smelling armour. It smells like a dozen diseased pigeons mixed with vomit. “May the gods of old smile on you!”
I hold my breath as I step into the armour “And also you Angelita”
She goes to place the helmet on me but I bat it away “I fear I would hand victory to Orsini by dying of suffocation before getting in a blow”
I turn to see Orsini chuckling as he operates my armour “Don’t get too comfortable Cardinal Orsini” I warn him “That is MY armour you wear!”
“Yes your Holiness” he giggles “State your name for the records”
I glare at him as I can feel the feculence of his armour permeating my skin “Akihito Borgia of the house of Borgia, current Galactic Pope”
“Not for long” murmurs Covo just loud enough for me to hear.
To be continued.....
(Rated MA, also if you don't speak Latin primum cicatrix roughly means "first scar" and quintus maximus suffragorium means "five maximum votes" all according to an online translator. I own all these characters though they are slight homages to Assassin's Creed characters, real Medieval people and actually herectics)