"THE EXECUTION OF CREHONEREX"
[ This is part of a history of the Republic/Empire period, written in secret between 588 and 625. It includes a number of eye-witness accounts by the writer, including this one of the death of Crehonerex. The writer was a mild reformer, but was shocked by the emperor's execution. Note that the original was written, as usual in prose of this period, in the third person throughout. Editorial comments are in square brackets].
The imprisoned Crehonerex remained a bone of contention during these years [588-589]. The Republicans used him as a hostage in their occasional negotiations with Lingon and the Imperialists. But in January 590, an attempt was made by his family and other Imperialists to free him with a powerful raid on the palace where he was being held near Atlantis, combined with a rising by Imperialist sympathisers. It very nearly succeeded, and created panic in Atlantis. I myself vividly remember people running through the streets that evening crying " The soldiers are here! Lingon is in Atlantis. Fly! Fly!"
As a result, Crehonerex was placed in more secure and much less comfortable confinement within the old Imperial Palace inside Atlantis itself. Pranonni and the more extreme Republicans now began to insist that Crehonerex, along with those leading Imperialists captured in the raid, and other great nobles [Class 1s] caught behind Republican lines over the last year should be tried and executed, unless they publicly renounced their Imperialist opinions and their Class privileges.. If they did so, they would be made humble workers, or infantrymen in the army. So during 590 a stream of captured aristocrats were forced to publicly admit their guilt, recant all their earlier beliefs, lose nearly all their possessions, and become humble working or fighting men or women. ( Both men and women went through this procedure). They were made to stand on a dais in the great Hall of Justice of Atlantis, which was filled to capacity with onlookers. They were told to call out their answers in a loud voice so that all the spectators could hear. I remember how some of them, cringing away from their questioners, muttered their confessions almost inaudibly. The watching crowd roared out that it could not hear, and the nobleman had to repeat his words, shouting them out so that all could hear. Some proudly refused to say anything, or even called out "No", or "I am not guilty of anything! These men or women were then given an almost instant trial, lasting about two minutes and always declared guilty. Later they were executed by decapitation in public.
Pranonni insisted that Crehonerex and the few courtiers captured with him should be treated the same way. Crehonerex and the others were put on public display in November, arraigned and harangued for their crimes, and asked if they regretted them and wished to live as humble citizens in future. Crehonerex tried to bargain, and also demanded to see his family under safe conduct. The moderate Republicans were still unwilling to see Crehonerex executed and asked that he should be sent far away into exile. But Pranonni insisted the Emperor was no different to any other citizen before the law. Finally, asked for a straight "Yes" or "No", Crehonerex replied "No, but.."... At this he was cut off, and sentenced to death. Told to leave court, he and some courtiers struggled and tried to escape. Republican guards laid about them and killed two prisoners, wounding Crehonerex in the arm. Crehonerex was now sent to the ordinary prison in Atlantis, to await his execution on January 1st 591. During December, several riots by moderate Republicans and secret Imperialists took place in Atlantis and other towns. These were put down within deliberate severity, and those arrested were badly beaten. Others were sent for execution. In Cennatlantis, Lingon was asked to warn the Republicans that if the Emperor were executed, he would refuse quarter to any Republicans captured in battle. But Lingon never announced this, and let Crehonerex go to his death with scarcely a word of complaint. It was said at the time, probably truly, that this was because he, Lingon, wanted to become Emperor, as indeed he did after the execution.
Thus it was that in the cold, damp morning of January 1st 591, I saw the last Emperor of the Second Empire taken from prison, and amid taunts and jeers, forced to walk, in shabby and thin clothes, and with his arm in a sling, through the centre of Atlantis to the place of execution. He tried to speak before he was killed, but was gagged immediately. After his death, his body was cut up and buried secretly in six different places outside Atlantis. A final attempt to rescue him, by a seaborne raid on the coast, arrived a day too late, due to contrary winds. The raiders were all captured or killed within two hours of landing from their ship.