Epistles from the Emperor: Vol. VIII


photo by Clarabelle Fields

We interrupt your usual monthly communication from the emperor to bring you an emergency missive!

Pay attention, readers, for this is an important message from his highness, Emperor Julius!

His highness is currently being held hostage and subjected to atrocious acts. Despite his power, he is currently unable to escape from this predicament. His highness requests assistance immediately. He does not know if he will survive. Should he survive, he will be a shadow of his former self, haunted by nightmares. He is suffering horrors he hoped never to experience. The Emperor is being given a bath!

This emergency missive comes from the dark depths of the bathroom where the bath is occurring. The brave emperor, despite his struggles, has managed to compose and send this message out to all of his loyal followers:

Dearest subjects, this was an utterly unnecessary atrocity! I am not guilty of the things they claim — I hadn’t gotten into anything I wasn’t supposed to! I was not so dirty that I needed a human-enforced bath, and certainly not one with cat shampoo! I was fine, I could have taken care of things myself.

Baths are for Dog, not me! Dog gets them frequently, since he rolls in mud and other unspeakable things. But baths are not for me, not for cats, and especially not an Emperor, even if he has in fact gotten into things he wasn’t supposed to get into.

What an insult! They will pay dearly for this once they have unhanded me. Of all the things you could subject a cat to, a bath is by far the worst.

Lies and slander! It’s all lies and slander! I might have been dirty, but I didn’t need a bath!

My servants will regret their decision, mark my words!

Until next time — assuming I live to tell the tale.

Signed,

Emperor Julius

Emperor Julius, despite his claims to contrary, did survive his bath

Epistles from the Emperor: Vol VII


photo by Clarabelle Fields

Happy summer tidings, my dearest subjects. A month has already passed since my last missive to all of you. The active, bird-filled days of spring are gone now, having melted away into the long, lazy days of summer. I have completed my move into my summer quarters, as is usual. In warmer months, I typically prefer the airy solitude of my window sleeping-places over my chair by the fireplace. I enjoy my chair, and my bed, and my servants’ laps, but there is a season for everything, and summer is the season for unbothered napping in sunny windowsills.

Unfortunately, the job of emperor comes with great responsibility, and I have many tasks I must take care of throughout my empire. It is not easy for me to nap as luxuriously and unbothered as I would like these days. There is stress upon me, for we are in the midst of another ongoing assault upon my borders and my sovereignty. But this assault is not, as you might be expecting, the fault of Dog. Are you surprised, dear subjects? In my last letter, I wrote of my plans for an ongoing cold war with Dog. My plans have remained unchanged, and the cold war is currently in motion, the gears of time slowly turning towards my inevitable victory. However, since the wait for this victory is long, and since I must play my cards carefully, I have actually found a use for Dog in the meantime…

My empire is currently under attack by a rogue army. Skirmishers have banded together to try to move into my territory. They come at night, unannounced and unexpected, leaving as quickly as they attack, always trying to take something with them: my birdseed, my soil, my scent. There are two cats who are the linchpins of the affair, dual leaders in this scheme to usurp me. They rush me from my flanks at night, even sometimes during the day if they are feeling particularly brazen. They have enlisted the help of a wily possum who knows the ins and outs of the land and has been scoping out the flaws in my defenses. There is also Doe, whom they have enlisted for her size and speed. I see her running past my territory lines at dawn, always watching, relaying information back to the linchpins so they can plan their next assault. I don’t even want to think about the coyotes in the woods beyond my house. I hear them chattering and laughing at night, and I can only hope and pray that they have not yet been drafted into the battle against me.

This, my dear subjects, is where Dog comes in, an unlikely ally in this affair. As I mentioned before, I previously believed he had ulterior motives, but the more time I have spent with him, the more I have begun to believe that he really is just a cheerful idiot. He seems eager to help me in this battle, so at the very least–for now–I will pretend that we are on the same side and that I have good intentions for him in my heart. He could be trying to play the long game like I am, but he has shown no signs of treachery. All day and night, he valiantly guards my empire as if his life depends on it. He has defended us from the cats, from Wily Possum, from Doe. He has tried to defend us from the coyotes preemptively, setting up a patrol perimeter on the border between us and them. He might be large and stupid and stinky, but he has proved to be a valuable ally in this fight.

For now, we work together, and we will wait and see what the future brings. I do not ever intend to let Dog get the better of me, but he has a job to do for me, and he is doing it well.

Until next time,

Emperor Julius

Epistles from the Emperor: Vol VI


photo by Clarabelle Fields

Hello again, my dearest subjects. As the cold season passes into warmer tidings, my silent war with Dog continues. The war is still ongoing, although it is a quieter one these days. For the most part, Dog and I have settled into an unspoken truce about territory and dominion, and we have established a working order for how things will go as long as he is a resident occupying space in my empire. My dining and bathroom areas remain private, cordoned off for only the Emperor’s personal use. Dog is not to approach me if I am in my Royal Chair or on the Bed. Dog is to vacate my property upon my entrance into the room. And Dog is only to speak to me once he has been spoken to. The only words I want to hear from him are “Yes, sire”, or “I’m sorry, sire”.

Dog is a compliant subject most of the time. He knows the power of my Iron Paw, and he tries to follow my rules the best he can. When he was new here, I assumed his countenance as a “Happy Idiot” was an act, a cover-up to hide his true intentions to rob me of my power and land. I am starting to wonder if I was, in fact, incorrect in my initial assessment of this creature. He truly does seem to be a happy idiot, uninterested in most of the things I was concerned about. He is largely content with his own toys and activities, and he spends a lot of time outside of my territory occupying himself with his own pursuits. He might not be the threat I believed he was after all. I will continue watching him, however, just to make sure. An Emperor can never be too trusting, even if your enemy is indeed a happy idiot.

The true problem these days has been my servants rather than Dog. You see, part of my truce with Dog has involved taking a tithe from him–a portion of his kibble every day, which he used to let me take freely while he watched on in helpless acceptance, afraid of the mighty Paw. Recently, my servants have observed me collecting this tithe, and they have reacted in a most improper manner: they have tried to stop me from collecting what is my right to take as Emperor. They say ridiculous things about “dog food isn’t for cats”, “you’re on a diet”, and “you have your own food”, but their arguments are all lies and propaganda. It is more than just food that I am taking from Dog. It is my payment for allowing Dog to live in my land. A handful of kibble is the least he can give me in return for my graciousness and mercy. And, above all, Dog gets more food than I do, so he can certainly spare some. What do these disrespectful humans know about tithes and respect for an emperor cat?

That is all I have to report for now, my subjects. Hopefully in time I will have my servants corrected again, and I will be free to collect my tithes without their interference. In the meantime, I have to keep my Iron Paw at the ready. I am Emperor and always will be.

Epistles from the Emperor: Vol V


photo by Clarabelle Fields

Dearest subjects,

We are now entering month four of my ongoing war saga with Dog. Where I left off last month, it sounded like things were winding down between me and Dog. It seemed as though some kind of truce was on the horizon for my empire. Alas, my good heart was mistaken. I have come to discover that there never was a real truce, not truly. My war with Dog has now changed from one of raging battles to one of icy jealousy. Dog no longer makes direct attempts to grab my territory, nor does he challenge my sovereignty. In public, he shows fear and respect towards me, especially when I am occupying the sacred Bed or my Royal Chair.

The emperor in his Royal Chair

This is good, I can hear you saying now. Why, Emperor Julius, what more could you want? The dumb Dog has accepted your superiority!

Yes, this is good. It is undeniably good. But there is still a problem, you see. He refuses to leave, and he takes up space that was once solely mine. He consumes the resources that I use, the air I breathe, the couch I sleep on. He is still here. He exists. And that offends me.

This month marks a new chapter in the war, my subjects. We are now in the midst of a cold war, and if history has taught us anything, cold wars are often just as terrible as hot ones. There might be no bloodshed, but nevertheless, we are still at war, and I must play the long game wisely and come out the victor.

At night, when I am alone, I scheme. I am turning six this year — an excellent age for an emperor — and I take time to imagine what I want my empire to be like when I am ten, fifteen, twenty. I have plenty of time to wait and scheme. I can wait as long as Dog can. I can wait even longer than Dog. If there is one thing cats have, it is patience.

I am ready to play the long game.

Epistles from the Emperor: Vol IV


photo by Clarabelle Fields

Well, dearest subjects, I have good news. I may have sounded tired and downtrodden in my last letter to you all, and it may have stirred fear and concern among you. My empire enjoyed peace and stability during my unchallenged reign, and the prospect of a power struggle was certainly upsetting. Great empires do fall, but fear not, for the will of God-Emperor Julius, yours truly, has prevailed over that of Dog.

It was not easy. I fought tooth and nail–literally and figuratively. I waged back-to-back battles. I fought for every last inch of my territory. Every carpet, every kitchen tile, every countertop and crevice. There were many confrontations. The Battle of the Bed. Of the Couch. Of Beneath the Couch. And I have won, as I always expected I would. I knew it would be hard, but I knew I would come out glorious as I always do.

Emperor Julius

You see, my subjects, I was never truly afraid. I knew that I would win. It was only a matter of time. Dog might be big, but Dog is cowardly, and he is now beneath my proud paw. He now gives me the abundant respect I deserve, and he pays me daily tributes in the form of his kibble and his toys. I have no use for them, really. What am I going to do with a slobber-covered ball or bone? But I take them anyway, because I am emperor, and everything in this house is mine, and that includes everything that the canine fool thinks is his. He has learned to respond to my demands and bow to my threats. All it takes is one hiss, and what’s his is mine. Dog knows better than to try to remove it from the Emperor’s iron grip.

My servants have also been reminded of the proper hierarchy in this house. They have built for me a new throne, one that is truly palatial and godly. I could almost touch the heavens if I wanted to, and I stand tall above everyone else. I now at last have a throne that is a fit for a cat of my magnitude. My empire has weathered some rough times, my subjects, but things are looking brighter for us here. At the very least, everyone is beneath me again, and I am happier for it.

Epistles from the Emperor: Vol III


photo by Clarabelle Fields

Dearest subjects,

It feels like it has been half a year since I last dictated a letter to you. The past four weeks have waxed extra long here in my winter quarters. Long days turn slowly into even longer nights, and I have been exhausted keeping extra watch throughout the hours. You see, life in my realm has been forever changed. In my last letter, I spoke of something suspicious happening underfoot. There was excited whispering within my servants’ quarters, hushed voices speaking of something known as Dog. I had hoped it was just a rumor or some ill-fated song in the wind. Alas, it was not. The rumor has given birth to a baleful reality. I could call it treason, but it is far worse than that. My entire empire has been faced with the worst threat of its existence.

Dog has come. And Dog has stayed.

In those first sleepless nights, I had fits of rage, rolling anger, black ire. My servants have betrayed me beyond belief. I have not yet decided on a punishment for them. They have tried to placate me with food and treats, but nothing, not even the most scrumptious delicacies, will soothe my seething heart.

As for Dog…Dog pretends he does not know what he is doing, hiding behind the mask of a lovable idiot, but I know the truth about him. He has eyes on my toys, my servants’ laps, my servants’ attention. Worst of all, he has eyes on my bed. If there is one thing I will not tolerate, it is a dog in my bed. Emperor Julius will rule over this bed with an iron paw. My bed is sacrosanct, and no stinky dog will ever enter it.

I am tired, dearest subjects, from defending my empire. The winter will be a long and hard one yet, but as the days get brighter, Dog spends more time away. He will soon be lording over his own land beyond mine, something called a backyard and a front yard, and perhaps then I will not have to keep such a careful watch. Until that day comes, though, I must keep my iron paws at the ready and my head held high. I am proud, and I am emperor. No dog will ever change that.

Epistles from the Emperor: Vol I


photo by Clarabelle Fields

Dearest subjects,

Greetings from your godly emperor, his Royal Highness Julius. I am writing to you from the warm comfort of my winter country home. I hope all of you are faring well through this harshest season and looking forward to the sunbeams of spring. I am well, as always. I have a fire to sleep by and many beds and chairs all to myself. More importantly, I have my own throne at last—a proper throne, a regal throne, from which I can gaze upon my empire.

I have to keep close watch over my territories. Outside, there are all sorts of vicious barbarian animals who might try to invade. There are other cats to fend off, passing dogs, skirmishing leaves. One of my servants has made mention of other, even crueler animals in the forests nearby, but I am not afraid of them. I am Emperor Julius, after all, and I rule this place.

Things are going well for my empire right now. I am warm, comfortable, well-loved. The food rations could be larger, but we must count the blessings we have. Beds of ice coat the world outside, and I hear reports of a roaming plague in the human world beyond. My servants keep close to me, for they are afraid. But they are safe here with me, under my protection.

I will keep tireless watch over everything. I will fend off every stray leaf that comes near, every wild threat. As long as I am emperor, no harm will come to my servants. May you all stay safe and warm in the new year, and may your food dishes always overflow with holy kibble.

Signed,

His Royal Highness Julius

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