Inspired by: Desolation Row
Dawn woke up around the early morning.
“Commencing sunrise.” She said to herself in a bored tone.
She raised the blackout curtains on her window, and the soft yellow light from their dwarf star shone through. On Eden, the sun is always shining as their little moon was phase-locked with their dwarf star. 365 days of sun and perfect weather conditions.
Dawn opened her front door and brought in the paper. As she read the news, it was like a dichotomy of reality. Half of the articles were about her father attempting to quell an insurrection the likes their planet hasn’t seen in millennia. And the other half was about activities he’s instituting to win their favor. In some instances, her father has the two tactics appallingly linked.
“In what world does hanging rebellion leaders mix with a carnival?” Dawn scoffed as she tossed the paper aside.
Beneath the newspaper, she found a letter that must have been hand-delivered. She opened it up, and all that was written was “Family Meeting.” in the unrefined handwriting of her brother.
“He didn’t include a date, time, or place. He’s so dumb.”
With nothing else to do, Dawn headed to her father’s palace, better too early than late with the way he’s acting lately.
The rebellion wasn’t happening in the Capitol. The national military made sure anyone who visited the capital would see nothing but peace and liberty they were famous for. If the insurgents weren’t fighting to place her on the throne, she could forget a civil war was happening.
Dawn stopped to window shop at her favorite bakery. A cloaked figure approached Dawn from behind.
“Come with me, and don’t try any funny business.” The figure said as they grabbed Dawn’s wrist.
Dawn reversed their hold and flipped the person over her shoulder, pinning them to the ground.
“Ouch! It was just a joke.” The cloak came open to revealing Dawn’s sister, Luna.
“Sorry, military training kicked in,” Dawn said as she helped her sister to her feet.
“I guess I should have known better. I was in the military too, how come I couldn’t stop you?”
“I’m older and tougher and stronger,” Dawn said with a sly smile. “Any idea what this family meeting is about?”
“No clue. Think dad’s finally quelled the rebellion?”
“I doubt it. Who would have guessed the world would react this badly to a male leader?”
“Don’t let him hear you say that. He’s been seriously on edge lately.”
“I know, that’s why I thought I’d head over immediately.”
The sisters walked to the imperial palace and found their brother and father seated at the dining table, discussing battle tactics and eating breakfast.
“Welcome, daughters!” Hyperion said in a booming voice that echoed around the palace. “Hal, go get your sisters some food,” He growled beneath his breath at his son, who sat beside him.
Hal quickly scuttled out of the hall. Hyperion rose to greet his daughters, kissing each of them on the cheek and walking with them to the table, one on each arm.
“What’s the big news you have for us?” Dawn asked, getting right to it.
“Can we not just enjoy each other’s company for a bit before we get down to business?” Hyperion asked.
Dawn glared at her father.
“Well, at least wait until your brother returns.”
They all sat down, and shortly after, their brother, Hal, returned from the kitchen with two plates of average Eden breakfast foods.
“So, what’s this all about?”
Hyperion put down his fork and knife and said, “I’ve just heard from the Senate. You know, since your mother died and I have been acting Emperor. With the ratification of the law, I am officially Emperor.”
Hyperion’s children offered varying levels of enthusiastic congratulations to their father. He waved away their praise.
“Unfortunately, To make me the official Emperor, they needed change how powers are transferred, and it now goes to the oldest male heir.”
“It what?!” Dawn and Luna asked simultaneously.
“Yes, your brother Hal is going to be the next Emperor of Eden.”
“But Dawn is the oldest!” Luna pointed out.
“But she’s a woman. Men will be leading the nation from now on,” Hyperion shrugged and sank back into his lush royal chair. “The last time we had a war, a man was in power, and they want to go back to that model.”
“The last war ended when our great-great-great-great grandmother seized power. We haven’t had another war in the thousand years since. This war only began when you took the throne!”
“You’re all too young to realize, but trouble has been brewing for a long time. In my capacity as Acting Emperor, I haven’t been able to use the full force of our military. Now that I have free rein, I will squash this rebellion beneath my boot.”
The family sat there in silence. Dawn seethed with rage. Hal had no idea what was going on. Luna felt torn between her older sister and her twin brother. She never had a line to the throne and had less skin in the game.
“I let you take charge because I don’t know why I wasn’t ready. I didn’t think you’d ruin things too much and would take power when I was ready.” Dawn said as calmly as possible. “I was clearly wrong. So I’m giving you one chance, renounce the throne and put me in charge or face me in battle with the insurgents.”
“What?” Luna asked.
“You wouldn’t dare!” Hyperion bellowed as he rose to his feet.
“You have disgraced this family, and you have spat on mom’s memory. Every minute you sit on the throne, you drag this nation down. Your fascist tactics will not save you. Once the public learns of your changes, many of them will side with me than you. Together we’ll restore order to these lands!” Dawn said as she stood face to face with her father.
“Get out of my palace this instant!”
“Gladly! Luna, are you coming with me?”
Luna looked back and forth between Dawn, Hyperion, and Hal.
“I, uh, I don’t think so.”
“See, even your own sister knows this is the future. You’re all alone in your beliefs. I’ll see you on the battlefield!”
Dawn stormed out of the palace. She returned to her home only long enough to grab supplies. She was confident Secret Police would be on her trail in no time. She disappeared into the wilderness, ready to make contact with the insurgents. If her father wanted to be Emperor it would be over her dead body.