She gave her dress a nervous twitch. The king paced with impatience. Through the door they herd the noise of the members of the Sabor Naroda getting organized, chatting and finding their seats. The Naroda was meeting in a large chapel in the palace. Her father had never used it. The king preferred to use the small chapel near what had become his office. She had been in the chapel several times this week seeing the workmen making adjustments to the seating. Before the Sabor Naroda had been called, she had never been in there. She decided after the Naroda was dine this would be her chapel. She very much preferred it. It was airy and the stained glass windows were a lot prettier.
The announcer came in and stood by the door. The king stopped his pacing and stood behind the announcer, and the robes equerry came up and attached the train to the kings shoulders and ran the train out behind the king. Then it was her turn to have a shorter train attached to the shoulders of her gown. She felt butterflies in her stomach. They were ready. At a signal from the king two equerries raised op two discreet flags over the screen and the sergeants on the other side of the screen began shouting "Order for the king!" When the Naroda had quieted down the equerries opened the doors and the announcer went into the chapel. ……..
The kings speech from the throne gave the particulars of why the Sabor Naroda had been called. He went back and forth on the issue of the 75 attainders they would be reviewing, going on about the corrupt practices of them collectively at length, mentioning the treason to him personally in passing. He then entered into precedents of the attaining church men. There were a lot of them, but they were mostly from 200 tears or more. He then went on about the iniquities of the abbeys that held lots of farms and huge revenues and very few monks. He then went on at length about the charitable trusts that created the abbeys, and the record of very little charity given out. Then he talked about reforming the tariff code. He went about tariffs that needed increasing, and which ones should be reduced. Finally he began the topic of the new forms for the stamped paper. He discussed the ease of the new forms, and the bringing of more produce to the cities. He talked only a short time on that. Then he got to the heart of the meeting.
'I have called you here to assist me in resolving our finding our course of action regarding the Arch bishop of Stolitsaw. Let me remind you what will happen: if you approve with 80%, the miscreant will be pressed by two millstones, if you approve by 70% he will be hung, if you approve by 60% he will be banished to the furthest southern isle, and if you approve by 55% he will be stripped of all dignities and protections, else he will be allowed all dignities and protections as as a leader adjudged innocent of all charges.' Here he paused and looked at the Naroda as if to say 'Don’t let any of these get less than 60%'
'For these several and individual acts he deserves to be pressed under two millstones to bring the precepts of orders and the laws of the laws the kingdom, and I request the concurrence of the Naroda to bring the good order of the Holy Church and the safety and security of the subjects of the nobility and populace of the kingdom.'
The king Rolled up the indictment and said 'The witnesses are ready to be questioned. You have the depositions. Does the Archbishop wish to call any of the witnesses?' He waited for the archbishop to respond.
The archbishop stood up and said 'You can't call these witnesses. They are all women. No woman can swear against a churchman!'
The king said 'I can call as a witness who I wish to call as a witness'
A commoner stood up 'That is against the customs and laws…. But if you put the matter before the Sabor Noroda to permit women to swear against men generally you can change the rule that way with 65% approving'
'That is the only way you can change our ancient liberties, sire' said lord Rayal.
The king said 'Fine… the question before the Sabor Naroda is shall women be permitted to swear in courts against men in all actions before the king and subsidiary courts in all matters. First we hear from the peers. First a peer in favor'
Several peers stood up. The king chose an elderly one to speak first. "I have been a judge for many years in the capitol" he began. "I have seen how the perversion of justice the novel way of allowing only men to speak in courts causes more violence and more chaos in our streets. Not only in violence between men and women, but violence in general. Our streets are unsafe because witnesses can't be called. "
He paused to gather his thoughts. "Now as far as how good of witnesses the women are, I have never seen them in courts. I can only speak of them anecdotally in dealing with my wife and daughters and women of my acquaintance. And I think that women are quick to see things that are relavant. Their memories are more accurate than many men. But they also see things that are totally irrelevant. I think their seeing things that are irrelevant makes their memories as a whole more accurate."
"So I am speaking in favor of this for greater safety of our streets in the capitol, and because having them as witnesses will make for better knowledge of the facts for the judge in his determination" he concluded.
"Thank you. Now for a peer to speak against " the king said. Several peers rose up, and the king called on a peer notorios for his silliness
"I demand that this obnoxious and stupid idea be shelved. Women are flighty and absurd. Women will clog up our courts with frivolity and discussions of bonnets and ribbons. They have concept of the importance of male superiority.They have no concept of science. They have no concept of math!"
The queen interrupted him "Of math no concept? Shall we see of math who has more? Your purse empty and the coins count."
He smugly emptied his purse. There were 3 gold talents, 2 half gold talents, a third gold talent, two quarter gold talents, five silver talents, 6 silver half talents, 7 silver third talents, four quarter talents, six six mark pieces, eight 3 mark pieces, seven mark pieces and four half mark pieces.
The queen leaned forward and said "You know that a gold talent is 16 silver talents, and a silver talent is 12 marks, correct? So! How many marks do you have?
" The noble was flummoxed. "How many marks do I have, how could I know that?!"
"Clerk how many marks does he have, do you have a total? "
The clerk was busily working the abacus. "a moment, gentile lady."
She leaned back in her throne "I make it out to 1,166 marks"
The clerk showed everyone the abacus. 1,166 marks.
"So! Who better math knows, me, the girl, or you, the oh so intellectual and brilliant man?"
The audience laughed. The noble sat down with a face beet red.
The king sat dumbfounded as he he looked at her. He hissed at her "How did you do that?"
She smiled "I had lots of numbers in my head at the inn. This was easy"
The King sat up. "Do we have another who will talk in favor? Yes, Lord Balanic"
"I also have served as a justice of courts in my rural district. This novelty imposed by the priesthood 200 years ago has led to nothing but tragedy confusion and terror in my district. We see vigilantism and gangsterism because of it. We see the courts traduced by evil men. We must go back to the way it was formerly."
The King said "Thank you for following the rule of speaking for no more than five minutes. It mean we can get a great deal more done. Any peer who wants to speak opposed?"
Several peers looked daggers at the peer who spoke last in opposition, but none wanted to be classed with him
The king smiled "Are there any clerics who wish to speak in favor? Very well then, any commoners... "
The priests yelled "You can't do this! You have to let us speak!"
The king shook his head. "The rule has always been that the speaking in favor goes first, and that each side gets to speak in turn. If no one speaks we go on to the next set. Do you have anyone to speak in in favor? Very well then. Commoners, do you have anyone to speak in favor?"
Several commoners stood up. The king called on a lawyer. "Gracious lords, esteemed ecclesiastics, I rise not in favor of stern practicalities, but in common equity. The reason we are discussing this is because a felon has so many women to call witness to his perfidy, but because of this evil and unjust law they must be stricken dumb, while can he talk without end. Gracious lords, esteemed ecclesiastics is this fair or good? Are our lands insulted by this criminal law that protects the evildoer and stifles the call of justice? We must cleanse the land of this law that is no law, instead the protector of the wicked and the profane"
The king said "Please remember to keep it short. Anyone opposed in the commoners? You may continue"
A commoner rose "All these men speak of getting rid of chaos and confusion. This does me no good at all. I make my money by chaos and confusion My learned friend spoke of equity. I don't want equity. So I speak in opposition to this change in the rules that will make our streets safer, our highways more secure, our homes more favorable to raising children."
The king was angry "We don't approve of sarcasm "
The commoner rose up again. "I am not being sarcastic. I am a man who lives off of stupid and foolish laws. They are my bread and butter, or more accurately my cake and fancy wine."
The king glared at him. "Any commoner wish to speak in favor? You may go."
The king chose angry choleric man to speak next. "We are here to here these victims of an evil man, not to allow him to stifle them like he strangled them before. Lets get the show on the road and listen to what they say. Any more delay is yet more crime"
The king let a few moments pass. "Any more commoners wish to speak in opposition?" He glared at the man who spoke in opposition. "Very well, those in favor will be tallied in the east chapel, those opposed in the west chapel"
A prelate asked "Arn't we going to vote by estates?"
The king replied "We never have done that before. It is Grenoulian foolishness. We will do things as we always have"
The Sabor filed off to the subsidiary chapel to the east and west. All the ecclesiastics went to the west, a few nobles joined them, as did a very few commoners. Most members of the Sabor went to the east chapel. The tally for the west chapel was done quickly. The tally for the east chapel took quite a while
When the verdict was read the high priest said 'No! You can't do this! My body is sacrosanct!' The king gave a signal and six soldiers grabbed onto him. Two of them tied ropes to his hands and the whole procession walked out. The king walked out, took off his train and went upstairs to a viewing platform over the square.
When the king and Milenka reached the viewing platform the Sabor Naroda was filing out onto the square under the kings platform. A crowd had been gathered in the square already. In the center of the square was a pair of millstones, one on a platform, the other held op by several ropes off to the side on a wheeled cart. When the Sabor Naroda was in place the gaged high priest was conveyed in. He had donkeys attached to the ropes, which were led by soldiers and he was surrounded by four more. They conveyed him to the milstone where he was tied down.
When the priest was secure a herald read out the out the charges of the indictment and the verdict. He said "The prisoner will be given a chance to speek" He then removed the gag. The priest said "You can't do this! I am the chief high priest!" The king gave a signal and the cart with the other milstone was moved over the priest. The priest was still fulminating as the millstone was centered over him. When it was ready, the executioner looked up to the king, who waited a moment and gave the signal. The executioner cut the main rope and the milstone came crashing down, followed by silence. The crowd began shouting "Long live the king" and cheering. The king gave no recognition to the cheering, and after 5 minutes he gave a signal to Milenka to lead him, and followed her out.
he went downstairs and, renewed his train, and sat down again. When he was settled in, the Sabor Naroda was let in again. They quickly, quietly resumed their seats. When they were all settled in the herald came down the central path and announced "The verdict of the king and the Sabor Naroda was carried out. The felon is no more. There will be a new election for the position of high priest by the elector priests at the conclusion of the Sabor Naroda. " He slowly backed out.
When he was gone the king said "That concludes today's business. We will meet tomorrow for the next days business" Taking Milenka's hand he escorted her out, at which time Sabor Naroda walked out
In the robing room the king was in a sulky mood. "Why did he have to be so stupid"