"You have been charged with the attempted assassination of the King, conspiracy and treason against the monarchy. With these charges the punishment is forty five lashings and death by guillotine, is there anything you would like to say in your defence?"
The large, steel double doors stood ominously in front of Kyran Verrine, he could hear the hum of chatter coming from the other side and knew immediately that the court room would be completely filled with as many people as it could hold. He looked at the guards at either side of him; they both looked exactly the same their faces were set like hard stone and their eyes focused unblinkingly in front of them.
Kyran stared at the carvings on the double doors; scenes from the day the Asmoday family were executed and when the Verrine family were crowned were carved into the steel. He remembered vaguely what his tutor, Professor Serik, had said to him about the double doors in one of their classes; it had something to do with his father and wanting to remind his subjects the power that the Verrine family wielded.
The power that the Verrine family wielded, the power that his family wielded wasn’t their collective power and rule over their subjects. It was the single power of the King that the subjects had to remind themselves to follow and Kyran despised the totalitarian rule that the King had over the population. It was disgusting and wrong.
Taking a deep breath Kyran nodded once, his hands trembling as he watched the guards take one long stride towards the steel doors and open them to reveal the large court room on the other side.
The hum of chatter stopped immediately as soon as Kyran walked inside the room, he could feel the eyes of thousands of people upon him and the walk to the podium felt like it went on for miles. The tightly packed court room seemed to swelter with heat, making the air feel like thick sludge through the lungs. Wiping his forehead with a shaking hand Kyran realised how much he could sweat in a matter of minutes and the churning in his stomach made the nerves in his body worse.
“All rise for High Demon Prince, Kyran Verrine.” A speaker somewhere in the front of the room called as Kyran made it to half way across the room.
A collective shuffle sounded in the room as everyone, except the remainder of the Verrine family, stood up to pay respect to the High Prince. Kyran knew it must be disheartening and sad for the subjects to see a member of the royal family being questioned by a court like a common criminal, but they knew it was much more than that.
It took another five minutes until Kyran finally took a seat at the podium and as he did so too did the rest of the court. He looked around at the sea of faces, their expression were all the same, they were frightened for him. But there was something else; he could see it in their eyes.
“High Demon Prince, Kyran Verrine.” The judge started, he looked like the type that would love to hand out harsh punishments for criminals.
“You have been charged with the attempted assassination of the King, conspiracy and treason against the monarchy. With these charges the punishment is forty five lashings and death by guillotine, is there anything you would like to say in your defence?” The Judge stated his voice unemotional and monotone.
Kyran’s stomach tied in knots, the speech that he had practised in his mind over the past three days disappeared at that moment. The faces of the people, of his people, frightened him because he knew that they believed in his leadership and the fact that he had tried to assassinate the King, his father, was a blow to their spirits and hope in the monarchy.
Kyran stared at his father, who sat silently and unemotional on the raised seats. The King towered over everyone, his long, sleek, black hair shone in the sunlight, his dark blue eyes gazed despondently in the distance and a large shadow seemed to cast down upon him. Over the years Kyran’s appearance had been compared to his fathers, their likeness in appearance, physicality and even the strength of their power was quite amazing. Yet there was one clear difference between Kyran and his father that anyone could see straight away; Kyran wasn’t cruel.
“I cannot deny what I did.” Kyran started, his quiet voice still managed to carry all the way through the court room and everyone stirred excitedly.
“It is true that I had tried to kill the King. It is true that I was the ring leader of the rebel group and it is true that I am proud of what I tried to do. I tried killing the King for the good of the people, of my people, for it is my father who has caused so much pain and suffering for you all. As the next heir to the throne and your future King the only thing I tried to do was get rid of the cause of your suffering.”
Kyran ended his speech, leaving the word ‘suffering’ to hang in the room like a large cloud and as such a terrible silence brewed. Kyran smiled inwardly happy that at least people were listening to his words and at least that meant that his father didn’t have complete control over them. The churning in his stomach lessened as he watched people in the crowd waver, he could see it on their faces that their thoughts wavered towards the goal that Kyran wanted to achieve; a revolution.
A single loud cough sliced through the silence like lightning and suddenly every pair of eyes in the court were upon the man who stood up and casted his shadow upon the crowd. Kyran’s stomach flipped as he watched his father glide silently towards the open court, the famous black coat dragging behind him like a bride’s veil.
“My son tried to assassinate me and he tried to do this in the safety of the shadows.” The King began, his voice was calm and confident an excellent example of a fine orator and yet if one listened closely they could hear the venom and malice that went into every word.
“This, I feel is an example of my sons cowardice. He talks to you about standing up against me because I have caused so much pain and suffering and yet when he tries to kill me he doesn’t even consider doing it face to face. Kyran would tell you to shed your blood for him, but he will not risk his own for yours…. My son is a coward and a traitor and therefore should not be given a dignified death in our world.”
Immediately as the King finished the last word an explosion of chatter erupted inside the room.
“He shall be left in the Last World to suffer like them. He shall grow old and alone in a world without comfort and happiness. He shall live in a world where it reeks of pollution. Let him smell like one of them, let him eat like one of them and let him die like one of them.”
At the very mention of ‘them’ the court room began to fill with comments on how much they despised the Last World and how much they were disgusted by the brutish and ignorant animals. Kyran’s heart sank to the pits of his stomach and a cold dread seeped through his blood as the request of what his father was making settled in his thoughts.
To live in a world filed with pollution, ignorance and hate was a fate worse than death and Kyran would rather die in his own world than suffer in the Last World.
“High Prince, Kyran Verrine, you are hereby sentenced to forty-five lashings and banishment to the Last World.” The judge convicted, before sending the wooden mallet down with a loud and audible crack.