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Drabble: Men Under Authority.

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Gregor hands down the sentence on his twenty-third birthday. Death by exposure in public view; Vordrozda's payment for drawing an energy weapon in his Emperor's presence and, but for the actions of others, attempting regicide. Gregor announces it before the Birthday Review. There is a shocked silence even among those who knew it was coming. It will be the first such execution of his reign. He hopes it will be the last.

He can't bear to look at Cordelia, but he does look to Aral, looking for any acknowledgement, any disappointment, any emotion at all.

His Regent says only: "Sire."