north americaeurope
 
 
 
   
   

 

the last lament of the sun
shamir nandy
page 07:09
 
 
 
 
 

Spitting again, she worked her way outside the solarium without bothering about sound or sight. Memory can build strength, and she had as much as she needed. She looked up slowly, and the sky still burned. But most of the soot has settled in the street, and the fires only burned on slowly. The haze lifted, and she could finally feel true morning for the first time in days. Lucia laughed again, but this time it had a happier ring to it. She could see the hills, where Romulus and Remus gave birth to Rome , and not only that, she could feel them. That isn't enough though, but now there's a feeling blossoming in her breast. Lucia thought about it before she moved. What she thought struck her as the truth, and that was all she needed. “On that hill”, she thought, “I can see the Sun.”

She staggered out into the street, finding the will to move from a depth of courage humanity can never understand, until the last moment before the blade begins to fall. Even as she began to walk, part of her mind reached backwards into memory.


before

Later they said the slaves opened the Salarian Gate, which had been shut for a week against the barbarian horde. Honorious knew, and he abandoned Rome . Let it not be blamed on him, Rome had destroyed itself long before the barbarians came, Honorious was nothing more than a product of a quiet destruction. It was the citizens of Rome however, who would bear testament to the greatest fall since Lucifer was cast out of Heaven. It seemed only apt – Satan reigned in Hell, and all Rome lay prostrate before him.

The Salarian Gate was a mess, there was no question about it. She never saw what happened, and god knows, there's no need for sight when you can hear shit. And shit is what she heard. The slaughter. And in the end? Men were no different from pigs. The squeals she heard, the screaming, and the dying worst of all. Maybe men were different from pigs. They died hard . And every pounding step against the pavement, it wasn't her sandals that she heard, but the agonized screams of men who didn't know enough to let go of life.

Fuck Constantine , perhaps he brought Rome Christ, but he also brought her Hell..

Lucia picked herself up, and ran into a crowd of fleeing people. The fall of the Salarian Gate was heard through all of northern Rome , and the houses of the intelligent were emptying, while those of the rich were just filling up. Lucia thought of her mother quickly, and then forgot her even faster. She knew it was a waste, all that matterered was Gally.

Lost in the rush of the crowd, Lucia stumbled backwards, needing clear thought. She pulled her sword again, clearing a circle around her. She saw it shrinking quickly though, a single sword wouldn't hold off the thousands coming behind her. Somewhere, she heard someone screech “The Julian Gate, The Julian Gate!”. She knew it was their best hope. The Julian was south, a strong gate, and as far away from the Salarian as physically possible. She tried to push her way across the crowd, but it was just too tight.

Gally coughed for a moment, and then started crying. That was enough for Lucia. One way or another, she would reach the Julian gate. She thought about the sword, but never considered it. They were all Romans, they would live or die together. Even if the barbarians killed them, she couldn't cut them down. Wasting precious seconds, she cut back into the side streets, and started working through the alleys.


now

Lucia laughed, and spit up more blood. Except there wasn't anymore blood in her spit. Only threads of the plague. Lucia didn't care. She needed to find hills, she needed to get out of this city, the city she had loved. It was broken now, and she didn't' want to die under the tainted skies.


before

The Visigoths tore into Rome seeking plunder, and they weren't the first. The came to destroy Rome , but Rome had destroyed itself long before them. Rome had been dying for centuries, Constantine 's Christ didn't bring salvation, just another way to die. Rome had been raped, and pillaged, and used, and spat upon long before the Visigoths ever found strength, before Scipio's troops subjugated Afrika, even while Caesar's legions invaded Gaul . It was a quiet death, but Rome had been slowly dying as soon as power came to Italy , and as soon as weak men plotted against the great.

The heroes fell just as quietly as the rot had set in, and that was death knell from Rome . Emperors spent their lives keeping the legions occupied in brutal conflicts, lest their generals turn their eyes inwards. Meantime, corruption ran rampant in Rome , taking what wealth the city ever had. The city had been raped a thousand times, but only by its fathers. Rome 's incest was a sign of its decadence, but it was a benevolent, if corrupting, incest. This time would be the last. But never let it be said the greatest city in the history of earth went quietly. Rome revenged itself upon the Alaric and the Visigoths brutally. Its dying screams would echo in their heads as they sunk to their knees upon foreign soil, and watered Italy with their tainted blood.

Lucia ran in broken steps towards the Julian Gate, and when she arrived, things were better than she had hoped. The Julian Plaza was filled with people, and there was panic – yes, but not dangerous panic. What Praetorians remained in the city were keeping peace amongst the thousands of people in the plaza, and Lucia could hear the creaking of ropes and wood as the gate prepared to open. She paused for her breath, still cradling Gally. She looked around and saw in all directions the sky had taken to fire. She couldn't understand it, burning the plague out was one thing, but Rome itself could never burn. She heard rustling in the crowd as the mob muttered, and put forth their own explanations.