In the Age of Sorrows, the uncharacteristically long disappearance of the Scarlet Empress gives the Realm's government something hitherto unknown.


The various deliberators are not quite sure how to deal with this sudden gift. Trained to artful impotence, they can't shake the feeling that their chimeric mistress isn't engaged in another of her obscure games, like the one that led her to execute the entire Deliberative and start over from scratch. Those who are a little faster on the ball realize that the Realm is an inch away from falling over, and that the moment somebody makes an obvious move, the process will end with civil war.

The regency is their method of preventing this obvious move from happening. Tepet Fokuf, an absolute nonentity in the Deliberative, is appointed as a compromise candidate - he serves as a nominal head of state for the Realm while the Deliberators smile and nod and proceed to the really important business of carving the Realm up into fiefdoms, gutting the military and arming for the coming war. Fokuf's job is primarily to exist, something which he is capable of doing with minimal assistance.

That said, the constitution of the Realm (such as it is), does make the Regent an emperor-in-waiting. If Fokuf wasn't too absorbed in his own hobbies and too terrified (as everybody really is) that the Empress will come back and ask exactly what they've been doing with her country, he could become a force to be reckoned with, although that would involve something fairly apocalyptic.

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