Lucan walked across a vast field of blood and bone, crunching and squishing beneath his well-worn sandals. His robe slid through the muck, even as he occasionally would pull it up, yet he was too overcome by terror and sadness for his people to care much for his garment. To the horizon on all sides he saw weeping mothers, daughters who’d been beaten and slashed, sons hewn in twain and fathers cut down, nothing remaining of the city that once stood shining, though in truth it was always filthy.
In the final days leading up to this massacre Lucan had read many things he could not believe, of things that had been carried out in Rome’s name. Fantasy, he thought, for no self-respecting Roman would allow such things. Or were these things true? He’d sat to compose a few lines when he heard the first screams. Thinking them ordinary he returned to his poem, but eventually the screams overtook his concentration, and he went to look.
With horror he beheld the bloodshed and wrath of Fortune, for she had too long favored his people and would collect the debt at her pleasure. Blood spilled as far as the eye could see, and Lucan sat and wept for his people as his world collapsed around him.
As he walked he looked in the hollow eyes of those that had survived, wondering if they wished they had also perished, for there was no life in those eyes, only a numb sorrow, a death trance.