His retinue were armed with daggers, so that if anyone met them, they could slay him at once. Charging thus through the city they dashed to the gates of the palace and entered it. The emperor, whom they had come to help in his hour of danger, received them with joy. He almost embraced his uncle for choosing to die with him. They determined then to recall the empress from exile at once — it was through her that the mob had broken out in revolt and the war was being fought on her behalf.

Effrontery to attack them

With regard to themselves, they came to the conclusion that they should use the multitude then in the palace, the javelin-men and stone-throwers, against anybody who had the effrontery to attack them. Urgent necessity dictated it. So these men hurled down their missiles and shot their arrows from concealed positions in the high parts of the palace, and they slew a considerable number of the enemy. Their close formation was indeed broken up, but seeing what the idea of the emperor’s men was, they rallied again and formed up more tightly than before.

32. In the meanwhile the empress was carried into the palace, full of joy at the thought that God was working for her. But there was a shadow — she feared punishment still more terrible at the hands of the wicked Michael. It was for that reason she neither seized her chance of revenge nor blamed the tyrant for her misfortunes nor changed her demeanour.

She even gave him her sympathy and shed tears at his distress. But instead of taking from her the nun’s habit and clothing her in a robe of purple, as he should have done, he compelled her to promise that once the storm had died down she would live as she was then, with the same nun’s habit; she would, moreover, acquiesce in the decisions he had already made about her future. Every proposal he made she agreed with and they made a covenant to face the danger together.

On these conditions they carried her up to a balcony on the Great Theatre and there they showed her to the rebel people. They thought it would quench the fire of the rebels’ anger if they saw their mistress had been recalled from exile, but the [102] people were in no hurry to recognize the lady. Those who did know her were all the more incensed at the tyrant’s stratagem; they thought it monstrous, that even in the midst of danger, he still could not forget his natural ferocity and wickedness.

Read More about The Conpiracy of Aston part 16

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