~230 words. Unedited and subject change. Max’s POV.
Since the enormous canvas sails designed to shade the spectators hadn’t yet been unfurled, Max was forced to shield his eyes from the bright sunshine flooding the arena on this crisp, beautiful day. Down below, twelve professional hunters stalked and skewered a variety of wild cats, antelopes, and a gigantic rhinoceros in a mock wilderness landscape of artificial hills and streams. The enthralled crowd applauded every time an exotic beast collapsed in defeat; they cheered even louder when an animal managed to gore the hunter before capitulating to his lethal blow or arrow.
Max had to admit this show was damn impressive, but not nearly as impressive as the ostentatious opening ceremonies for the previous spectacles held to celebrate Emperor Trajan’s glorious conquest of Dacia. Apparently, the imperial coffers had enough Dacian gold left over to fund yet another public celebration of Rome’s conquests on the Danube. Max leaned down and asked, “Are you in need of anything, Commander? Domina?”
Domina shook her head before sipping her diluted wine while Commander Fabius grumbled, “Only a promise that these are the final fucking Dacian games we’ll be forced to endure.” He turned to his bored wife and asked, “How many blasted pairs of gladiators did Marcus say he’d contracted for this bash?”
Domina mumbled, “Over a thousand. The bloodshed will last well into the early evening.”
Crossing his arms, Commander Fabius sunk a bit lower in his seat. “Shit.”