Chapter 31

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With no one left from the royal family to govern, Zhultanyr immediately motioned to appoint a Regent. Ptalp argued that they were once again pursuing a guilty before innocent stance and that, in the end, it may not be necessary to go through the procedure. Xumhek agreed, stating that the evidence against Rhenycyn was far from conclusive. But the motion passed.

Even before the vote, the question some were silently asking was who would be appointed. Tomhylhen would have some support, but he was not desirous of ruling the kingdom. The old cleric was content with his power base in Mhykord'ah and knew that a religious state as he would institute would not be openly welcomed by the general populace. Xumhek, with his appeal and network of connections, would probably be the only other candidate with any significant backing. The others were either of questionable character, had unpopular positions or, in the case of Lyrqyldyn and Wodhyn, of the wrong racial makeup.

But the outcome of this vote had been arranged long before. Zhultanyr left no doubt as to where he stood. He nominated Athar, arguing that the King's Advisor had long been directing the interests of Khaballe and that it was only natural that he continue. Tomhylhen agreed and Farhyng threw in his support. A vote was called for and, with Bhel'Ehzz vacant, Athar needed only a simple majority to be appointed Regent. To the votes of Zhultanyr, Tomhylhen, Farhyng and Athar himself was added Ydryj Jyr which amounted to a five to four victory. And as Athar seated himself in the chair designated for the monarch of Bhel'Ehzz, Xumhek began to suspect that all was not as it appeared.

So it was that Athar would preside over the hearings of Rhenycyn and Uriel. On several occasions there had been talk of adding another Minister to oversee the judicial system in Khaballe. But as the office had not yet been created, the process of dispensing justice in Khaballe differed from city to city and often from case to case depending on its seriousness. For example, in Ghlor Nhor, Ydryj Jyr decided every case brought to him while in Sagghez'ah, Ptalp operated in a fashion similar to democratic societies by having specially elected individuals who acted as professional jurors. In Bhel'Ehzz, the methods widely varied. Infractions or disputes of minor or local importance were handled by the office of the Lord Mayor. Those crimes that were serious, had national interest or were against the government were handled by the King or the Prince, usually with assistance from the King's Advisor.

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