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.

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