!!2TJjFP50EhZ 10/26/09(Mon)00:38 No.6436389|
File1256531927.jpg-(65 KB, 820x569, Saint_John_Apostle.jpg)
The Golden Palace
AD 93 (846 AUC)
The sun might have set on the capital of the largest Empire the world had ever known, but the bustle of the metropolis on the Tiber never ceased. Lights shone out of millions of windows- open flames from the insulae of the lowly rabble, and from the villas of the wealthier citizens, cast bronze lamps that glowed with flameless light. Vigiles patrolled the streets, ever watchful of fires, and commercial traffic- decreed by Caesar to only move at night to ease congestion- worked its way down millions of worn cobbled streets.
It was a breathtaking sight to behold, this mass of humanity, this city wrought by the will of god and man alike. From the Pantheon to the Hippodrome to the Colosseum, Rome was a city unlike any other. And in a city of wonders, one building far outstripped them all. In an island on the Tiber, connected to the rest of the world by only two narrow bridges, dwelt the Golden Palace. This massive shining structure had been built by the command of Nero, consul and Guardian of Rome in the absence of her Emperor.
Nero—arrogant, licentious, debauched, and prone to bouts of madness.
Nero—chosen by the Imperator Aeterna, Gaius Julius Caesar, as a last resort after the death of mighty Germanicus, slain by barbarian hands in Egypt.
Nero—the madman that the heart of the Empire must suffer with until Caesar returns.
It was this Nero that had built the palace with funds from the public dole, which caused riots until they were put down brutally by Praetorians. It was this Nero that had the revolving stage built in the center of the Golden Palace, that he might perform for the Patricians of Rome while slaves dumped rose petals upon him from hidden alcoves in the ceiling. And it was this Nero who stood now in the torture chambers below his amphitheater while armed soldiers brought forth the prisoner, and slaves stoked the fires of the cauldron in the center.