Great Nero was in the midst of fiddling lessons administered by his stern and demanding Roman tutor.
And then he heard it.
For several days The Noise had been brewing, bubbling, seething and lapping in great waves at the palace gates but the excellent soundproofing of the palace kept the interiors tranquil and quiet. All you could hear were the rasping notes of a bow tugging at a string, a hushed yawn from the palace guards as they changed ear-plugs, and Nero muttering under his breath as he tried to get that pizzicato right.
Nero had heard The Noise.
It carried to his ears, feebly, above the din of sycophantic chanting from the courtiers and nobles. Slightly dissonant, wasn’t it?
“What was that?” Nero asked.
“Maybe the sound of a policeman’s lathi cracking someone’s shin,” the Tutor said. “Fiddle on, Great Nero!”
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