(Octavius Core) In a rather surprising turn of events, Ares Prime Consul Tesios Muca has issued a formal declaration of his Intent to Duel against heir apparent Venticus Marius, and therein he selected the Phoenix fighter as the weapon of choice for the Duel of Accession slated to for 20:30 UTC this Wed at Oct Core sector. But, pilots of other factions may be wondering what this is all about. UUNN caught up with a staff member of the Legate Historian of Ares Prime, Dina Zagabi, for a simple explanation of why this Intent is so unusual:
Simple? Ridiculous. But I will try to sum up…
Following some of our most ancient traditions here on Ares Prime, Venticus Marius, the son and heir apparent of the deceased Emperor Clements IV, must duel the current sitting Consul. He must do this because there is no other blood heir with an equal claim to the throne to challenge him. This type of Duel is typically a non-lethal matter of routine passing, unworthy of note–another Royal banquet during the Coronation Cycle.
However, by issuing his Intent so quickly, Consul Muca has openly declared that he intends to win the Duel of Accession and claim the throne for himself. There’s not been such a controversial Accession on Ares Prime for 150 years, which I’m sure your more literate readers will remember as the Strife that tore poor Maritus and Cinatus away from their True Emperor.
UUNN research indicates that legally the first combatant to issue an Intent has the right of weapon selection. Spacecraft have not been chosen as the weapon in living memory, but records show that starfighters have been used many times over the thousands of years of recorded Octavian history. Considering the method of Clement’s demise, we must assume the escape pods will receive priority attention and security. So clearly Consul Muca selected a non-lethal weapon. Yet his issuing an Intent at all indicates that he plans to take the fight seriously.
The typical outcome is little more than a formality where the experienced but aging Consul–after losing gracefully to the youthful heir–retains his position throughout his twilight years as one of the new Emperor’s most trusted advisers. This seems unlikely now. In fact, according to combat experts, the outcome seems highly uncertain: the Consul could certainly not stand against Venticus’ skill with a longknife, but experience is often a boon in the cockpit. And political analysts are unsure if the Consul has the support structure to make good his claim to the throne even if he does win the Duel. If Octavian history teaches us anything, it’s that tradition and ancient legalities are often not enough to overcome the practical strength of “boots on the ground.”
For more information about the sources of the Duel tradition, see article on TRI Datalink.