CICIGAR, MARAVEL — After his reign of 54 years ended two weeks ago, Emperor Yongkiyaha’s death has inspired an outpouring of grief and tributes for the late departed Emperor on Maravel itself and across the Federation as people remember a man famous for his conspicuous dedication to public service and his inscrutable personality.
Standing on her street corner, Seta Tsuru, who just celebrated her 97th birthday, making her the same age as the Emperor, held a straight-backed, but reverent pose as she waited for the funeral procession to pass, holding her black umbrella aloft only to spare her great-grandchildren the rain. “The Emperor saw us through everything and never complained, it was his duty and he shouldered it alone, the least we can do is come out in the rain to wish him farewell.”
Mrs. Tsuru’s sentiments were echoed by the over two million mourners that lined the rainy route of the funeral cortege. The funeral cortege started in the Imperial Palace and proceeded through the streets of Cicigar to the Celestial Terrace. Here the elaborate funeral liturgy of the Maravel Emperors was performed before over 15,000 guests including President Narala, the First Minister of Bajor, the Speaker of the Klingon High Council and members of various royal families from across the Federation in addition to the full Legislative and State Affairs Councils of Maravel. The quasi-religious ceremony included blessings and benedictions from eight of Maravel’s religious communities, including those that historically represent the “Five Faiths” of the “Five Peoples” of Maravel: Traditional Manchu Shamanism, Shintoism, Vajrayana Bhuddism, Confucianism and Russian Orthodoxy.
The Eight Commanders of the Eight Banners served as pal-bearers for the Emperor’s cypress palanquin, placing it in the Pagoda of Heavenly Fortune at the center of the Celestial Terrace, where all previous Emperors of Maravel had their funerals. Gathered in black and sheltered by white tents, the massive crowd surrounding the Pagoda looked on as the Emperor was eulogized by his childhood friend Telbuge Banyi while they brought traditional offerings forth to the altar.
In a series of shorter addresses, the Prime Minister of Maravel An Seong-Gi, the President of the Grand Council Aloan Asaji and the Emperor’s son and heir Crown Prince Hiowan all gave remarks on Emperor Yongkiyaha’s life and reign that saw Maravel through times of war, political tumult, fiscal mismanagement and reconstruction and triumph after all of it.
“He was strength, dignity and virtue,” said Grand Councilor Asaji. “His was a largeness of spirit that he would be the first to say we should all hope to see again in our time, but one I know will always come with the memory of the man who so defined the word ‘duty’.”
“We often assume it that my father only had one expression, that of the granite regality that he believed came with his office. But he would be the first to say that he didn’t have just one expression… he had two. They just looked alike.” Crown Prince Hiowan said of his father’s legendarily controlled and stately bearing that many looked to as a patriarchal, immovable symbol of calm in the more turbulent years of his reign.
Despite his detached exterior, Emperor Yongkiyaha commitment to his people and desire to be at one with them was also remembered, his courtly and dispassionate demeanor said to be not an elevation of self but his elevation of the position of sovereign of Maravel, traditionally said to be a Son of Heaven.
Taking place midway through the month-long period of mourning, the funeral will be the last major state event of the Yongkiyaha Era before Crown Prince Hiowan takes the throne and ushers in a new era that many are expecting will differ greatly from his father’s. A personally charismatic and magnetic man, Hiowan is more like his vivacious mother, the Empress Anna than his father and many on Maravel still remember the pomp and fanfare that surrounded the Crown Prince’s marriage to Aurilda St-Cyr seven years ago, in contrast to the elaborate but solemn affair that was his parents wedding.
Following the funeral, the procession continued outside Cicigar for the private burial of the Emperor at the Imperial Mausoleum, where only family and selected guests were in attendance. These private ceremonies and rituals continued for several hours late into the evening before the Imperial Family returned to the Palace, finally laying the Emperor who thought it was his sole duty to shoulder the burdens of his people, to finally rest with his ancestors.