[Prompt from http://daily-writing.blogspot.com/ . I apologize for all the Greek vocabulary. I studied abroad in Greece a couple of years back.]
I didn’t see the Greek fire until it was too late.
In a burst of hot flames and billowing ash that would rival Hephaestus’s forge on Olympus, the powder ignited in the midst of the agora. Among the flying drums, the vivid paints bright against the smoky backdrop, blackened bits of flesh and dirt were thrown into the air. Ringing filled my ears, drowning out all other sounds.
By-standers stood still, their mouths hanging open in silent outrage; horribly contorted sculptures frozen in their agony. I tried to yell at them to get out of the agora; we didn’t know how many more pithoi filled with Greek fire were still waiting to be lit. but like the statues of heroes that used to border the square, the surrounding people didn’t move.
I motioned frantically for the other guards to clear out the civilians and merchants. After a few seconds of hand signaling, my men went off to follow their orders. Still statues, my men had to lift some of the patrons and carry them out of the agora while others came to life, Galateas answering the call of their Pygmalions, and left on their own accord.
Confident many would see another passage of Helios’s horses, I gripped my spear and shield, taking slow steps towards the center of the blast. There had to be some traces of the ceramic pithos that would give me a clue as to what to look for. If anything else, I could at least recover a shard of pottery for examination.
Hopefully someone at the Keramikos would be able to point me towards the man that made the pithos. That would at least be a start.