Roderich’s fingers twitched under the heavy folds of his long, fur-trimmed cloak. It wasn’t the first time he had to do something like this, but that didn’t mean the experience got any better. He could feel the dampness of his shirt underneath his elaborate coat and elsewhere on his body, whether it was from the heat or nervousness he wasn’t quite sure. Nervousness, maybe.
It was the eighth of June, 1867.
His emperor, Franz Joseph I, stood next to Elisabeth Amalie of Bavaria as the two of them were crowned emperor, empress, king and queen of the new dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary.
The monarchs stood on a raised red-velvet platform looking out at all the nobles and military men and other people of importance, each one dressed in their finest clothing for the occasion. The emperor himself wore a dashing uniform complete with a meticulously embroidered cloak, his hand grasped the golden scepter and an equally elaborate crown sat on his head. The empress was equally stunning, the jewels in her crown and necklace caught the light and glittered, her dark hair and eyes contrasted with the white of her magnificent gown. People shouted and raised their hands, flags waved. Men and women alike exchanged murmurs and excited conversation.
Roderich was far from excited.