Story Go Round 08/31/2003, #1


They piled the bricks next to the fountain. After the rebels had torn through their village, bricks were all that was left of the town hall and the library. It was a memorial pile, and they put up a plaque that said,

AVGVST 31, 348 A.D.


After that, there was the business of basic order to attend to. No self-respecting Roman went without order for long, and nothing contributed more to the sense of order than a well-attended forum. So they set about rebuilding what the Vandals had destroyed. The progress was slow - skilled laborers were lacking as much as the troops were. It felt like the early days of the Empire. As though they remembered that. Snatches of song and the acrid comments of curmudgeons only depicted it to them. Especially now that the library was gone. The restoration of order may be what they felt most keenly at first, but as time passed, an undercurrent of opportunism rose up higher. Several stones were scavenged for the new market place that sprung up. Soon there was a quaint flower booth, and a dealer in cutlery. The storefronts were primitive - sickening, really. Sloppily plastered walls, hand-painted signs, haphazardly arranged goods; it was as though the barbarians had left behind their aesthetic and someone had imported a stench to match.

Theos stalked stentorially through the stalls. He had conglomeration in mind, though he didn't know that's what it was. He just thought that the new business could use protection and naturally, he deserved some compensation for providing it. He turned a corner and bumped into Celsus, the former senator. What was he doing here? Celsus gave him a look that said the same thing before picking up the two bricks which had fallen out of his robes on impact and tucking them back in in covert haste. Citizens of the Empire pushed past them both in large numbers, almost separating them from each other. They heard the sound of honking behind them, and turned to see Marcus Agricola driving his geese to market.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange