By Cladius Maximus
To Heroes and Heroines
Crowds lined the streets with flowers and praise waiting to be thrust forth. The mass of red-cloaked troops, with the sunlight gleaming off their armor, slowly approached the city gates of Iridine. The sound of footsteps, like a million drums being played, got louder and louder and the people began to get excited. Then, a shout was heard and the clamor of the army ceased. People tried to press into the streets to see through the gates but were pushed back by a wall of constables. Then, the city went quite, and the tension built up among the people. Then suddenly, a trumpet blazed and ceased. Then a mass of trumpets blazed and the victorious general rode in on a golden chariot led by 6 strong white stallions. The crowd cheered and shouted as the general let out a grin and waved to the masses. As the general proudly rode on, the soldiers marched in, with their scabbards clanging against their armor and shields wielded in their hands. The crowd exploded with the fury or a dragoon and let forth a fireball of cheers. Flowers flew into the air and people ran through the constables for a quick embrace with their loved ones. The soldiers marched in, company-by-company, row-by-row, man-by-man.
Andrius was covered in flowers, marching along the front of the long column. He was smiling and brushing of the flower pedals that were constantly strewn on him by jubilant citizens. He glanced towards the crowd briefly and the smile left his face. There was Augustusí girlfriend, waving towards him with a smile. He forced a smile and waved back, not wanting to ruin the moment for her. Yet as Andrius marched along, he caught many a glance of a person searching among the troops with a worried look. Once, he even saw a child, with a smile on her face tugging at her motherís stola, trying to tell her to look at the general. Yet, tears fell from her eyes as her fears came true with a headshake from her husbandís friend. With only a few sorrowful faces among the thousands of cheering citizens, the jubilant procession carried on, marching through the streets, winding like a snake along the curving cobble-stone streets. At the rear of the column, cheers became laughs as prisoners were pelted with tomatoes and fruits as they marched along in their chains. Suddenly, as it had before, the procession halted, the trumpets ceased, and the crowd stood silent. For at the forum, the Consul awaited the general with the Senators standing behind him atop the marble steps of the forum. The general left his chariot and climbed the steps. The Senators began to whisper to one another and the Consul stepped forward. The general kneeled and proclaimed, ìAll Hail Iridine.î The Consul, with a smile, replied, ìYou have done well general. The Senate and the people thank you with this.î The Consul gestured to a servant, who brought forth a golden sword. ìWith this sword,î the Consul began, ìYou will be remembered as the hero of your age and the protector of the Republic. May the Republic last forever.î The Consul raised his arms up and stated, ìSenatus Populus que Iridinus.î He presented the general with his sword and bowed. The general stood, bowed quickly, and turned to face the crowd. The trumpets sounded and the soldiers cheered and shouted, raising their weapons and shields high into the air for their beloved general, who let out a smile as he waved his new prize atop the marble steps.