‘This Court is now in session. The case before the Imperial Crown Court is the alleged corrupt intent and treason of Mr Hugh--’ The Court doors swung open, creating the dramatic wind-whirling sound Artabanos had most liked about the Court building. Calmly, He walked past the bar and to the dais, where His unoccupied Throne was waiting for Him. The Chief Justices rose, scared looks on their faces. ‘Your Imperial Majesty’, Chief Justice Scoffylde objected, ‘This is most unusual.’
‘This is not usual. This is history. As Emperor, I have the Constitutional mandate to chair my Crown Court. Please, Justice Scoffylde, continue.’
The Court robes Artabanos had been forced to dress up in were more uncomfortable than any formal attire in His wardrobe. The Emperorship came with its own peculiar selection of dresses, breeches, trousers, shirts, ties, and other regalia that, if disregarded, would create a non-traditionalist public image. And, if anything, the Inimician public were inherently traditionalist. He looked into the Courtroom and saw some familiar faces. Faces He had seen almost every day since He appointed them to positions of power. His deputy, Vicarius Baroness Isabella Evans, looking more important than she was; all three Strathclydes, well aware Artabanos was planning to intervene in today’s court session; the two Cocx brothers, with facial expressions perfectly indicative of how powerful they thought they were; and Doyle himself, sat behind the bar, a neutral expression on his face. Artabanos had thought the next threat to His power would have originated somewhere in the families that dominated Inimician politics, but He hadn’t expected Doyle to make another move. He had surprised Him. And that scared Him.
The Court proceedings themselves were fairly tedious and boring. Artabanos had only come here to set an image. There would be no conviction. Only one or two days of trial. The public simply needed to see the Emperor was still on the right side of the Constitution. Even though He wasn’t, but that didn’t matter.
‘Very well’, Scoffylde concluded as the defence had finished. The trial had gone on for roughly nine hours. ‘That concludes statements from the prosecution and the defence. Unless His Imperial Majesty, or His prosecution service, have anything to say in response to the defence, the Court will adjourn until tomorrow to hear final statements.’
‘With your permission, Justice Scoffylde’, Artabanos started, ‘I would simply say that I find the actions and dealings of this most noble Court today an extremely admirable example of how justice is served in Inimicus. Although Mr Doyle and I fundamentally differ in opinion, the fact that learned and educated justices can decide who of us two is on the right side of the Constitution is something to be praised and celebrated, and whatever the outcome of this trial, I shall be sure to follow its judgement, as I hope Mr Doyle will, as well. Thank you all very much.’