The Great Fire of Arcadia
Though the infamous Emperor Trogus’ rule of Sucia was less than a decade, his tenure as leader saw the region undergo a multitude of changes, often for the worse. Widely regarded as one of Sucia’s worst leaders, Marcellus Trogus was proclaimed Emperor at the tender age of 19, following the death of his uncle, the previous emperor Hecius Gallio.
While there were plenty of events which occurred during Trogus’ rule which gained notoriety such as the death of his mother Veda, The Slaying of Pluton or the Farmers Riots of 238 FC, it is arguably the Great Fire of Arcadia which was the most infamous.
On a winters evening in 241 FC, a fire broke out among the shops lining the plaza at the foot of the Temple of Sapullum. Fanned by the wind, it quickly turned into an inferno, raging through the narrow streets and cramped alleys to the terrified cries of the people. Children and the elderly were equally helpless and crowds of confused citizens ran in any direction in an attempt to get away, while some died trying bravely to save others. Fire fighting efforts were hindered by gangs of masked men, some of whom threw blazing torches to encourage the flames. Its not clear whether these men were merely looting, or as some claimed, acting under orders. After 2 days and nights of effort, it appeared the fire was dying down, only for the dwindling inferno to spin out of control once more.
Finally, on the seventh day, the fire was extinguished. When the smoke cleared, 3 quarters of Arcadia had been reduced to ashes and thousands of people died. The disaster was not yet over, as the displaced and now homeless citizens of the city were now subject to the ongoing winter weather. Its estimated that hundreds more perished in the immediate aftermath of the fire, due to freezing temperatures and starvation.
Were this the end of the story, the Burning of Arcadia would go down as a mere footnote in Sucian history, however the event’s infamy is derived not from what happened, but why.
It was not long after the smoke faded that rumours began to spread among the surviving peoples that Trogus, who was conveniently out of the city at the time of the fire, might have been the one to start the blaze. It was well known that he harboured ambitions on some of the land surrounding the city. Now those lands were cleared, he could seize them and do as he pleased. Perhaps the masked men who hindered the efforts of those trying to stop the fire were hired by Trogus himself? It was even rumoured that Trogus played his harp and sang while Arcadia burned.
Trogus himself refuted the idea that he started the fire, instead blaming foreigners and creeper worshippers for the blaze. Whatever the cause of the accident, Trogus had lost the support of the common people and his popularity never recovered. The rest of his rule was spent putting down various riots and uprising until his eventual demise in 237 FC, when his mansion collapsed under suspicious circumstances.
Eventually the city was able to recover, and despite the death of thousands of innocent civilians, the rebuilding of Arcadia eventually lead to a more thought out road network, more civic infrastructure such as sewers and water wells and allowed the city to expand beyond its original limitations. It could be argued that the fire was a necessary clearing of the old to make way for the new.