This article originally appeared in Jump Point 8.5.
Today we open the Ark Archives for a look at an important and unique historic document. To celebrate the Ark’s centennial anniversary in 2901, Xi’an Emperor Kr.ē gifted the institution a letter he wrote prior to his secret meeting with Terra Senator Terrence Akari in 2789. Emperor Kr.ē instructed his house that the letter should be opened and read to the Xi’an Empire only if he failed to return from this dangerous diplomatic mission into UEE space. Thankfully, Emperor Kr.ē returned safely after negotiating what Humans would come to refer to as the Kr.ē/Akari Treaty. This symbolic-but-vital agreement would play an instrumental role in ending the Xi’an-Human Cold War and the eventual toppling of the Messer regime.
Upon his return from Tohil, the letter was returned to Emperor Kr.ē and remained in his possession until given to the Ark. Before the Emperor unsealed and read the letter at the ceremony celebrating the Ark’s 100th anniversary, he said that sharing this deeply personal piece of history would hopefully remind both Empires of how far they had come and inspire continued harmony between species.
All Xi’an, Take Heed
Per my directive to the honorable and wise members of my House, the dissemination of this letter means but one thing — the end of my reign and the descendancy of House Kr.ē. This decree will mark the end of the Third Imperial Age.
House Kr.ē will provide the necessary details of my final moments when intelligence services deem it appropriate, but I believe the particulars matter less than the decisions our Empire will be forced to consider in the wake of my passing. Recently, I embarked on a covert journey into Human space to finalize a treaty with a leader of their kind who, unlike the Human Ruler, appears to be wise, reasonable, and a champion of peace. For years, this individual and I have corresponded about what peace between our two species might actually mean and how it would manifest in the real world and affect the everyday lives of both sides. As we watered the seed of trust, I came to not only believe that this future could exist, but that it was my duty to do everything in my power to ensure that it did exist. That is why I deemed it worthy to put my life on the line to venture into Human space in the pursuit of peace.
Though my journey may have ended there, away from the home of my mothers, I wish to advise my fellow Xi’an to not abandon this path of peace. Whatever fate befell me, as innocent or treacherous as it may be, is not worthy of war with a species we have only begun to benefit from. My time with Humans has led me to believe that we can find a use for them that is favorable to the future of our Empire.
Consider a growth of thorns. Left unchecked it may overtake the garden. Attempt to remove it, and the risk to yourself is great. Attempt to destroy it, and the beauty that surrounds it may be destroyed as well. However, if you tame the growth to become part of the garden, its danger can be put to new use.
Humans discovered Hui sen Th.us’ūng the year I was born. I grew up watching my House handle diplomacy with this interesting and animated new species. As a child, I attended enough formal dinners with Human emissaries to know what food of theirs I enjoyed. As an heir, I practiced their language and studied their ways. I learned their history and experienced their art. I even found their music to be quite meditative.
Compared to us, Humans are a young species, one who only recently discovered the universe is not theirs alone. Still, they developed spacefaring technologies of impressive sophistication and spread their diverse culture across dozens of systems in less time than our First Imperial Age. My experience with them taught me that Humans overflow with emotion, ambition, and competing desires. They may act irrationally but they are not illogical. Their potential as a species is both great and terrible.
Since first contact, House Kr.ē has maintained distance, but remained engaged. Diplomacy was difficult but preferable to armed conflict. It seemed perilous to underestimate their military capability or willingness to use it. Humans had already won two wars against the Tevarin and there appeared to be much to learn from them and much risk in provoking them.
This strategy of distanced diplomacy also allowed time for House Kr.ē to produce an heir that could continue the dynasty. As I ascended to Emperor and the possibility of such a successor diminished, I meditated on the impending end of House Kr.ē’s imperial dynasty. Above all I did not want the Third Imperial Age to end while the Empire warred with a dangerous and unpredictable new enemy. Particularly since history has taught us that the search for the next Imperial line can be long and complicated. For these reasons and others, I focused on finding common ground, fostering peace, and creating a universe where we Xi’an can prosper from our proximity to Humans. Though I may not have succeeded, I still believe peace to be our best option, and pray my actions have not doomed it.
To those Houses who would proclaim that our safety lay in subjugating the Humans, I would remind you that scars inflicted by battle are slow to heal. Victory too often comes with a price too great. Let us not completely abandon the lessons we hard earned from the Spirit Wars.
My death brings an official end to the Third Imperial Age. With no legitimate heir to the throne, House Kr.ē’s last act will be to administer the ascension of the new House that will lead our people. I hope this sacred endeavor will be swift, smooth, and provide the Empire with a strong and steady leader to navigate the challenges ahead.
As my last act, I wish to share with the entire Empire the same advice I would give the next Emperor. Trust Li’tova to provide guidance and solace. Be benevolent in action, diplomatic when faced with opposition, and wise when encountering the unknown. Finally, remember that taking no action can often be the best action.
It has been an immeasurable honor for me to have served the Xi’an Empire as your Emperor. Long may the Xi’an Empire reign.
Emperor T.uēng Kr.ē
Beneficent and righteous caretaker of the Xi’an people and protector of all our worlds
Translation courtesy of Ary Alfonso, who was the Ark’s Xi’an Archivist from 2887 – 2913.