The Imperial Couple


The Imperial Couple, Ssla and Haum-Rress, are the heads of state of the Trahan Empire. In many ways they represent the best of the system of the 89th dynasty: two ambitious and skilled trahans that complement each other, having risen from the ranks of the upper administrative echelons through political skill, social graces and plain intelligence. They are hugely popular, both among the common people and among the Council; even the humans like them, something which is deeply ironic.

Ssla comes from a long line of librarian-philosophy management experts, not far from academic nobility. Haum-Rress is more unusual for an emperor: he is the Inheritor-General of the Capital OTEC Plant, something in the middle between corporate CEO and formal leader of a small religion. They met during central examinations at the Imperial Library, and fell deeply in love. Since then they have risen through the ranks together; a somewhat unlikely but very capable couple. For most of their career they have been involved in cultural management and idea control (including a period in the Harmony Police). Eventually they rose to the office of Capital Coordinator; from there it was only a short (but tricky) step to the imperial garden. Their predecessors had fallen out of Council favour after a mismanaged economic consolidation; when the Emperor died the Council subtly discouraged a renewed marriage of the Empress and began to elect a new couple. The choice, after some complex politicking, was Ssla and Haum-Rress.

So far, the couple has been a great success. Capable and dynamic, the couple has weathered several crises (including an extremely unpleasant affair of Stair-Carrying in the Office of Xenological Policy) with flair, and even managed to improve the human-Trahan connections despite the arrival of outsider humans. Ssla has the brains and vision of the couple, while Haum-Rress is more the tactician. When Ssla overextends her ideas, Haum-Rress gently directs her in a more practical direction, and when Haum-Rress becomes too bogged down in the minutia of governing Traha Ssla reminds him of the deeper philosophical goals of the couple.

Both imperials have grown up in a society where humans have existed for quite some time; unlike many of the other nobles they have no real problem with that. They are neither enamoured by human technology and ideas or hateful of them; they take a realistic view. Through their work they have come into contact with the downsides of human contact. Their view is that something has to be done. The Victorians could be managed; in time they would be assimilated by the Tradition, their ideas safely plexed and synergised. But the outsiders are another matter: they really threaten the Empire by introducing new untested ideas too fast, tempting with advanced technology and even planning great changes. The current semifeudal system would not work with more widespread information networks, and human media could cause serious psychosocial damage to the Trahans. This has to be dealt with. That great changes are at hand is obvious, the couple simply plans to make sure the Trahans get out ahead. If they will have to found a new dynasty, so be it. Actually, both like the idea.