Your Majesty, As His Grace the Duke of Edorina is currently in the process of revisiting my arms, he inquired if I would not be granted a second Imperial Aquilaan order to make for symmetry. Or, to quote him: "Dear Majesty ... me wants Order of the Lion... *nom* *nom* *nom*" So, most humbly on my knees, I beg the leading of the vaward the Order of the Eagle for grave heraldic purposes. Or, to rephrase it: "The body was a grey, tallowy mass of half-decayed flesh; yet the dead's traits were still recognisable: a flat chest and stomach, a harmonious, soft and still somewhat aristocratic face, all her hair had disappeared. The eyes were closed peacefully. One could have thought her a sleeper, if not for the greyish complexion, if not for the mushy consistency of her flesh …"
A sentry on his patrol is holding in his steps. The eery sound echoes through the dome. The guard raises his flashlight, "Qui est là?", he shouts. In his torch's light the shadows of the marble reliefs and statues in the crypt of the Dome of the Invalides. "Who's there?," he repeats in English, "It's long closed." A scratch, horrifying in its terrible obtrusiveness. The sentry turns around, the torch's light cone wildly dancing over the ten reliefs showing the grand deeds of the deceased, the inner circle of the twelve personifications of Victory, the sarcophagus proper, red as blood and extremely large. On the dark basalt of the podest, a single golden initial twinkles. And yet another cry, bloodcurdling and ear-battering. The sentry retreats, draws his gun and hastily fiddles with the radio on his shoulder -- "Dominique, Je suis ... Je suis en le ..." A crack interrupts him. Shockedly he lets go of the gun, loudly steel resounds on marble in the dark crypt; a metallic voice comes from the radio, but the sentry cannot listen: to horrified he is as slowly cracks appear in the red basalt. "Mon Dieu ...," he utters. Then the sarcophagus bursts. Stone splatters all across the crypt, all accross the temple, red as the blood spilled at the places engraved into the marble floor in hand-sized letters. Rivoli, Pyramides, Marengo, Austerlitz, Iena, Friedland, Moscova ... Marvellously the sentry is spared from being stroke by parts of the exploding tomb. In horror he looks on, hidden behind one of the statues of Victory -- Moscova, if he remembers correctly -- which has lost its head, as a pale, very pale hand emerges from the remaints of the sarcophagus ... feeling around for a moment it then firmly grasps the edge of it. Another hand emerges from the grave, this one clad in the remaints of an overcoat that must once have been dark blue. Then the entire man rises from the grave, shakily at first he stands. His uniform is in rags, the Legion d'Honneur's star lost its gleam, his body is covered in dust, and yet ... slowly the corpse rises his hands, facing eastwards. "Il n'y a ...," the Soldier ... the General ... the Consul ... the Emperor whispers, his voice weary and rough. "Il n'y a ... rien de tel que ... 'la liberté artistique' ... si l'ordre n'a pas été sécurisé ..." Slowly he turns at the sentry, who retreats in horror. He cannot help but stare in the Emperor's cold black eyes. "J'ai été officier à seize ans. Il n'ya pas de soldat qui peuvent avoir de secrets pour moi. Servez-moi, mon ami, me servir! Car je suis votre empereur ... car je suis Napoléon!"