The Imperial Palace on Kaitain housed the Emperor, his immediate relatives of House Corrino, their servants, bodyguards, and slaves, the emperor's slave-harem with its adjacent nursery for the offspring of the stave-concubines, and, on a higher level, quarters for the generally ignored-but-tolerated string of aristocratic visitors with suits, petitions, diplomatic errands, and the like.
Lesser beggars waited out of doors. All, however, craved permission to enter the Imperial selamlik, to pass beyond the plasteel and marble doors, under the sculptured arches with the Imperial legend, "Law is the ultimate science," past the captive banners of defeated Great Houses, to stand within ten feet of the Golden Lion Throne, in the presence, finally, of Power itself.
The great audience hall would be crowded with Imperial bodyguards, courtiers, noukkers, pages, slaves, hangers-on, bat still with only a fraction of those who clamored to get in; the audiences would seem endless, but would accommodate only a few petitioners out of the many who waited. The emperor, dressed in a gray Sardaukar uniform with only the Imperial crest on the helm to indicate his position — to indicate, if such a blatant reminder were necessary, exactly where the Imperial power lay — would listen as each petitioner stated his name and case in almost identical words, the formulae having been established through ancient usage: "I, a Duke of a Great House, an Imperial kinsman, give my word of bond under the Convention..."
With few exceptions, members of the Imperial family did not attend the myriad social functions which gave the Court its reputation for glittering splendor. Nor is it true (with the possible exception of the Court of Chalic I) that behind-the-scenes life on Kaitain consisted of perpetual orgies, feasts, and drinking bouts.
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- IMPERIUM, Feudal aspects of