Returning to the Imperial School
The fifty-nine chattering voices in the hall fall silent at the ringing of the large gong. All young men, the fifty-nine face the dais in front of the gong. Seven men, all older men with at least some grey hair, enter the hall in a line and walk up onto the dais. The two groups face each other and wait for one final individual. This man walks up to stand before the other seven on the dais.
"This is the Imperial School," he begins, projecting his voice to fill the hall. "It is a temple. You are its acolytes, its disciples, its masters," the speaker gesturing to the men standing behind him as he mentions the last grouping.
"Your devotion is to mastery of the arts of war. Not just those," and the speaker points to the weapons racks upon the wall to his left, "but also those." To the speaker’s right is a battle standard propped against a table. Upon the table rests the ornamental helm of an Imperial general.
"Most of you are scions of noble houses or warrior clans. Not all, though. The accidents of your birth mean nothing here." There is a soft murmur from the fifty-nine at that statement, but the speaker ignores it. "The only measure of superiority acknowledged in this place is combat prowess. Imperial Army rank is the sole external hierarchy accepted by us." The speaker pauses for a moment.
"I am Xenograg. I am a General of the Imperial Army and a graduate of this school under its founding headmaster, Grand Master Thurekar.” Having defined the criteria for comparison, Xenograg uses them to assert his dominance over the sixty-six other warriors present. No word of challenge is heard, even from the seven masters. Satisfied, Xenograg proceeds to the expected point of his speech.
"By command of the Emperor, I now assume the position of Headmaster and its title of Grand Master." He pauses again for someone to object. No one does.
"Grand Master Thurekar set down seven Rules for the School. Over the years, successive headmasters have added five more. I hereby strike the last four from the List. Starting today, the Imperial School returns to its founder’s vision. Some of you will not be here this time tomorrow. The rest of you will relearn how to serve the Empire."