Up the street where an alley divided a makeshift livestock shelter from an old stone building, a crowd began to form.
The animal pen was nothing more than rope strung between driven stakes hemming in a score of sheep. Out front, alongside a hastily assembled stage, was a hand-painted sign that read: SUNSET AUCTION. With its white marble blocks and pillars, the three-story stone building opposite the alley gave the impression of having once been a place of importance—a counting house or a court. Now the upper windows were laden with drying clothes, and the balconies brimmed with spinning wheels, jugs, baskets, and pots. A number of families roosted in the vacuum of cracked-marble neglect. Most of them had rushed to balconies and peered down; several pointed at the alley below.
Hadrian swallowed the last of his kenase and stood up. His height allowed him to see over the crowd but