The Steps Riot Of 117

__The Riot of YR 117 __
(Forum posting by Dawn

Hot, hazy air hung about the streets. Across the visible roads, the desolation of recent war stood evident. Denizens of the Steps, dirty, bedraggled, sapped of emotion and passion by the fetid warmth, moved about their daily grind with equal disinterest. In the background, draped with white, stood a crooked statue of a proud legionary, sans limbs or head. In the scant shade provided, a purveyor of rotten fruits and vegetables took cover, hawking his wares without enthusiasm.

A youth, barely sixteen and with little but fuzz on his chin, sidled up to the fruit merchant. After a moment’s conversation, he turned and walked idly away, fingering a newly purloined apple. His path took him to the center of Forum Axonus as he watched the assembled masses move about in a fascinating swirl of humanity. From the west, beyond the great Arch, a horn blared a regal tone. The sound of marching boots, hobnails clicking against the worn limestone pavement, came nearer and nearer. From behind a turn in the Barter Walk a squad of Legionaries, arrayed in a protective formation around a simply appointed sedan, walked into view. They crossed beneath the Arch of Axonus and directly into the middle of the forum, still conscious of protecting the gaggle of slaves bearing a litter, on which sat a grotesquely fat magistrate.

The patrician magistrate wobbled to his feet, the slaves anxiously trying to keep the sedan in balance. When he finally reached his impressively bloated height, he began to speak a formal pronouncement: "In accordance with city law and the dictates of our Senate?, Ereal bless their munificence unto all time, and beginning at sundown this evening, the sixteenth day of Tulcas, the great portcullis, now left open for three decades on end, shall be closed every evening to contain the spread of…" Here, he looked about the assembled masses, growing more discontent by the moment, and finished with "That's all. Let's go." he ordered his guard.

The youth, finishing his apple, strode forward, blocking the route of the Legionaries attempting to move away. Flinging the apple core at a cringing slave, he yelled an insolent remark at the magistrate. In one smooth, fluid motion an attending Legionary unsheathed his sword and bashed the youth in the head with the flat of the blade, flinging him aside as easily as a paper doll. The convoy marched off, beyond the portcullis.

The first man to kneel next to the youth, desperately trying to get his breath back, gazed at him with calculating eyes. Watching the crowd, scrambling over towards them, he murmured quietly to the youth, "Your death has a purpose, son." The youth gazed up in rampant confusion, then started to struggle to his feet. He hardly felt the four inches of bronze that slid into his chest, and slid out before the first genuinely worried denizen began caring for him.

The man stood up, subtly hiding the small dagger in a sheath, and shouted, "The Senate! The Senate has killed this boy!" The portcullis closed early that afternoon, as hordes of angry citizens ignited The Steps.

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