The Council Chambers, 3 days later.
Akakide was not the most well-regarded of people in David's court.
He knew this, and thus he also knew exactly what each person sitting around the table thought of him - mostly about how he was a villainous cad who did not deserve to be such a high- ranking member of the court.
In fairness to them, he had slept with most of the women, and the wives of the men.
Firstly, there was the King. David was now an old man, and prone to long silences, punctuated by the occasional mournful phrase at opportune moments. David had been a kind and generous man, but now he was harsh to everyone - even his own son, whom he now seemed to despise.Although that was fair enough, as everyone knew that Akakide had slept with his new stepmother, David's wife.
On David's right sat Elvira de Coimbra. The beautiful and kind wife of Davit, she had long been a useful asset to the kingdom, acting as a superb chancellor. She was theone who could to take most of the credit for Georgia's new position as a Great Power of the East, by a mix of charm, threats and lies. She had been the one who had organised Akakide's marriage with his lover, Zemfira, despite David's wishes that he should marry some Byzantine noblewoman. How had he repaid her? By seducing her mere days after her husband's death. She truly hated him nowadays.
If Elvira was the good sister, then Sancha was the bad one. She was just as charming and gracious as Elvira, and lusted after the Chancellorship violently. She simply couldn't find interesting foreign dignitaries to sleep with in her current role as steward. Devious and cunning, she had few moral qualms - and was often trying to find new ways to get back at Akakide, who had rejected her advances when he still had Zemfira.
The Archbishop was not a pleasant man. He had just as many lovers as Akakide, and was also ironically the least religious member of the court. But his hypocrisy knew no bounds, and thus was hellbent on getting Akakide sacked and replaced with someone a little more... rule abiding. To be fair to the Archbishop, this was partly due to the fact that Akakide had stolen at least three women away from him.
The final member of the council chamber entered the room. Demetrios was Akakide's only ally in the council. He was an upright, sensible and quiet man, and their friendship was thus an oddly suited one. But the two both shared a love for books and hunting, and also both tended to agree on main policy issues.
Most of these council meeting were simply a battleground, with Elvira and the Archbishop on one side of the table and Demetrios and Akakide on the other, each side determined to persuade the king that their point of view was superior to the other. Sancha normally tended to sway between the two, and the king was often quiet in these battles, merely passing the final judgement.
Today, however, Akakide knew something was wrong. They normally met in the late afternoon- so why had the King called a meeting this early in the day? And why was the king being so secretive with the reason?
When Demetrios was seated, and the usual formalities had occurred, the King began to speak.
"I'm sure you all wish to know why I have called you here today" he began, in his deep grave voice. "It is because I intend to declare war on the Sultanate of the Seljuk Turks."
Silence rang around the table, before Akakide bluntly stated "You cannot be serious."
"I'm deadly serious. They are already being blunted by the Byzantines, and the evidence suggests that they won't be able to hold a war on two fronts. We need room for expansion, and a war to give our squabbling houses a common cause... what reason is there why we shouldn't?"
"There are a thousand reasons!" Akakide spluttered. "Our army is nowhere near strong enough to take on even half of the Seljuk forces! And I'm sure the Alans would be angry..." He shot half a glance at Elvira here.
"Actually, I don't think they would really care." Elvira spoke coldly, staring straight into Akakide's brown eyes with her icy blue ones. "You know that they won't join us, just make some excuse as to why they cannot help. They may even help our aspirations to make them swear allegiance to your family- with us seen as the sole protector of the East against the Muslims, they would be even more dependent on us."
"You must be joking." Akakide looked around the table. They all seemed convinced, with the exception of Demetrios.
"My spy networks in Arslan's realm have taken years to prepare. They will begin rooting them our the moment the war starts. You will destroy years of hard work, my liege..."
"Be that as it may, we have a duty to the Patriarch and the Romans to aid them in this most... holy of wars." A touch of sarcasm could be heard in the Archbishop's voice, but he still seemed to think it a good idea.
"The realm's finances can certainly take it." piped up Sancha.
"Have you all lost your minds?" Akakide exploded in frustration. "These are the Seljuks we're talking about! They conquered half of the Roman provinces in less than a decade! We won't last a year-"
"Enough." David's voice rang across the table. "We shall send an ultimatum to Arslan's court immediately - either he stops his attack on the Romans or we shall declare war. Marshal Bagratuni," - he had not addressed him so formally in years, Akakide noted- "I want a full-scale mobilisation of all the troops in my realm, and Elvira, please inform Kartili that I want their troops to be ready if needed. We shall meet again in half an hour- I have some urgent business to attend to."
As David left the room, Akakide shared a glance with Demetrios. Other than the sheer insanity of the predicament they were about to plunge headfirst into, there was another pressing question on both their minds.
What "urgent business" could possibly be more important than impending war with the Seljuks?
Also, an overview of the characters of Pax Romana will be put in the first chapter, which'll be updated if any new ones appear as I play.