“The charges against Sir Frederik are treason and burglary,” King Dominic exclaimed to the court, though they served no purpose. King Dominic was the judge and the jury. All laws were passed, sometimes several senseless ones in a week, and all decisions were made by him. He did so without remorse for those that were affected by them. The knights had become poor and the peasants had become even poorer than they used to be, increasing the number of crimes and of course the number of trials. Frederik’s was the tenth one today and there were five after him.
“Treason? How so?” Frederik questioned. He was young, barely twenty, but compared to the life expectancy of a knight in the King’s army, he was an old man. The king often sent many of his new recruits on deadly, pointless missions, and few ever returned. It was the King Dominic’s style. He had become so obsessed with gold, money, and power lately that he’d had his advisors executed for questionable reasons. To him no lives were more important than his own. Everyone, even his own mother, would have told you that he was insane.
Anger spread across the King’s face briefly and was replaced only by his insanity. “You were caught stealing a loaf of bread from the royal kitchen; I have no doubt your intent was to kill me, your King, by slowly starving me! You are charged, Sir Frederik, with treason through burglary!” the king shouted, “For that, the penalty is death!”
“This is madness!” Frederik retorted. “Surely one man, even a king, can live without one loaf of bread. Even we knights have to buy food for our families and when we are denied our pay what else are we to do but become thieves and beggars like common peasants?”
“That does not justify your actions!” the king was shouting again. Suddenly he cleared his throat and his mood changed. A smile appeared on his face as he sat back in his throne thinking deeply. “However, I have a problem that needs fixing and I’ve been saving it for a person who’s life no longer matters. I won’t kill you, but there is a dragon located at the top of Mt. Belmont that has been causing me trouble. I would like you to slay him, bring me his gold, and the charges will be dropped. Fail and you may never return. Put simply, my offer is this, banishment over death, or glory over banishment. Do you accept?”
Frederik thought for a second. He couldn’t let his family starve. His son was only one. He was nowhere near old enough for a job or to be a knight like his father. “I accept,” Frederik decided as his stomach hardened into a knot