Gold was not how Gabranth called it, later. Such a word was reserved for objects that were pure, precious, and full of value -- not applied to bloodshed.
Yet molten gold was how the audience spoke of the arena sands, gossiping to one another as they waited for the ceremony to commence. The sun shone as bright as an inferno.
It heated the vast arena like a cauldron, and carved harsh shadows out of sloping corners.
Gold was how the poets and historians immortalized it on the page, but as Gabranth stood in the shelter of the Emperor’s viewing box, all he could see was the dark wave of the crowd,
like an onyx band ringing a pit of lava. Lesser Judges moved in silver beads among the rows. Their armor shone like lanterns floating atop the sea.
Far below, the manacles of the two prisoners gleamed in accompaniment.
The arena stands were packed; all business in the city had effectively halted that day, as merchant and customer alike jostled for the view.
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