24. 24 - Judgment
For Chibi-Amber for her birthday.
All watched the trial of Beregond of the Guard with interest. Those who observed the trial being conducted by the new King were split between those who felt that the Guardsman should be executed and those who favored banishment. Under the Lord Steward Denethor, of course, he would undoubtedly have been condemned, and would have gone from the Hall of Kings immediately out to the Court of Gathering where he would find a hastily spread circle of sand. There a friend would loosen his shirt's collar and perhaps bind his eyes that he not have to see the shadow indicating the headsman's sword was in motion. He would then be guided to kneel, and would not rise again.
Most felt that death would be preferable to the ignominy of banishment, and were certain that, should the King Elessar offer him the choice, so he would choose.
But Elessar pardoned Beregond to live considering his courage and skill shown before the Black Gate, forestalling the choice. All saw him blanch when the doom of banishment was spoken. However, that proved not the end of the affair--anything but!
Captain of the White Company, a new force to be formed to serve their beloved Steward Faramir? That the new King should have found the means both to meet the letter of the law so as to punish the man for the crimes of leaving his post without leave from captain or Steward and spilling blood within the Hallows and at the same time reward him for his loyalty to Faramir himself--that presaged a new age indeed!