King's Drama

Seated in the Grand Courtroom, the red and violet state flag hanging majestically behind him, Alexander XII leaned forward on his high judicial throne surveyed the scene. Down below him, separated from the crowds and lying prostrate on the floor were seven men. Each was once a powerful advisor and each was accused of treason. Treachery was to be expected, without due vigilance even the most noble of kings would fall victim to the ambitious plots of their underlings. Only a firm hand would keep them in line. Justice must be seen to be done.

The King rose and the busy courtroom fell into a hush. He gave a slight signal to the clerk of the court who began reading the charges. "Defendants against the crown, to the charges of high treason, conspiracy to commit violence against the body of the king, conspiracy to commit arson, conspiracy to commit murder, and conspiracy to offend the public order of the realm, how do you plead?"

The prostrate men were silent. After a long pause, Alexander took a single step forward and, stooping very slightly, asked in a soft voice "do you before me love your king?"

"Yes," came the quiet reply from the men.

"Then, as your beloved king we say that any of you who truly believes himself to be innocent of the vile crimes laid against them should stand, look us in our eyes and, with a noble spirit, declare his loyalty. That will be enough."

No man stood. No man faced him. The all continued lying silently on the floor, their eyes fixed on the flagstones of the courtroom.

The King gave a sad nod, "so be it," he said.

The death warrants, of course, were already signed.