I never intended for any of this to happen of course. I was just an imperial guard once, the son of low nobility. I had risen through the ranks, but had reached a poin where I could go not further. I certainly never expected to attract the eye of the Empress, let alone end up in her tent.
We had to keep things secret at first, as it would have been unseemly for the Empress to be seen with someone as lowly as I. I certainly had reservations at first, but she proved to be worth it.
While there was gossip about the Empress' relationship, it was nothing but idle gossip. Eventually we were outed, and some of that gossip turned into seditious talk. How dare the Empress consort with someone as unimportant as I, she clearly wasn't fit for the throne.
One man was especially offended. He was a prominent nobleman who had tried to win the favor of the Empress for some time now, and being rejected for someone like I was too much for him to take. He stormed the imperial city with his retinue and an army of foreign mercenaries, to take my head and her hand. I met him at a bridge inside the central ring of the great city with the imperial guard at my back. With pike and shot we slew them until the river ran red with their blood.
I took his head for treason, and in return she gave me her hand in marriage. It has not been an easy life, before or since but it has been a happy one. There are those who accuse my wife of cruelty and evil, but what empire is not cruel? Surely it is less evil than barbarism. I have tried to moderate her worse impulses, and even succeeded at times. She now carries my child, a son I hope.
Now another challenges the throne. I must defeat him, for I cannot allow any harm to come to my beloved wife. More will come, I'm sure, and I must defeat them too. I must succeed every time, and they need to only once.
God, I just wanted to grow cabbages and raise a family.