Assassination, Right of
Martin II, the fifth emperor of
the Third Imperium, died in 244 leaving
no immediate heirs. Cleon III,
a remote member of the Imperial line, was approved by the Moot and crowned within a year. He exercised
power foolishly and arbitrarily, installing a court of shameless, flattering
sycophants. He marched suspected traitors off the skypalace's many
terraces. When his advisors contradicted him, he had them shot or shot
them himself. As the cabinet dwindled, the survivors agreed that Cleon
the Mad (as he was called, but not to his face) had to go.
The Duchess Porfiria, Minister
of Justice in the cabinet, actually performed the deed, confronting Cleon
III in the throne room following a private party in 245. She had been
selected by lot in a secret meeting of the High Moot. Their raging
gunfight actually took less than three minutes, and it ended with Cleon III
sprawled beneath a glistening white party dome.
Porfiria's heroic action, combined with her position as the eldest daughter
of Emperor Martin II's grand-nephew, was sufficient for the Moot to confirm
her as Empress. Their action also established a precedent for succession
by Right of Assassination.
Assassination became more prominent in 475. Cleon IV assassinated the Empress
Nicholle and her immediate family,
and claimed the throne. His excuse was that Nicholle was too weak to
govern; he had enough noble support to succeed her. Jerome assassinated Cleon IV. Jacqueline I assassinated Jerome.
Between 475 and 629, each of the 21 successions to the throne involved
the death of the Emperor by assassination or battle. During the Civil War
period (604 to 622), several usurpers attempted to claim the throne by the
night of assassination - few succeeded.
The coronation of Arbellatra
in 629 put an end to the assassinations. In the next 500 years, the
Imperium put that period of upheaval and chaos behind it. Assassination
became a footnote in the history texts. But for the record, the right
of assassination remains a valid precedent.
Although the right of assassination has fallen into disuse, it is generally
agreed that for the method to be a valid route to the Iridium Throne,
certain precedents must be followed: 1) the assassin must be a high-ranking
Imperial noble; 2) the assassin must kill the emperor by his own hand in the
presence of witnesses; 3) he or she must then claim the throne; 4) the Moot
must then approve the new emperor, just as with any successor.
Thus, the reason for the assassination must be well founded, or Moot confirmation
will likely be denied. Moot confirmation can make all the difference
- depending on what the Moot says, the assassin could be hailed as a courageous
hero or prosecuted as a seditious murderer.