The Richman and the Alchemist's Niece (Part Seven)
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The prison gates opened, and the crowd began to hush. A column of soldiers emerged. A knot of troopers surrounded a man in heavy chains. His face was bruised, his hair and beard unkempt and his green tunic and trousers were in rags. The roar of the crowd seemed to take him by surprise. He looked up, and his face contorted into the semblance of a smile.

    'The man's fate is sealed,' the Chancellor sighed. The prisoner was wearing green, and that was that. The Queen had worn green as an act of defiance in the last days before she fled. The Emperor hated the colour.

    The Chancellor observed the scene with foreboding. The man had reached the steps and was climbing them with difficulty. At last, he reached the platform where the executioner awaited him. He was r...

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