The wall had protected the town for centuries. Each arched stone entrance had been defended by strong oak gates, a heavy iron portcullis and a dozen warriors. Towards those outside the city, the king and his council were implacable. Towards those inside they were placatory, rewarding their cronies with favours.
Now the ancient wall is almost lost among younger dwellings, and the king’s council has been devoured by local bureaucracy. But some things haven’t changed. The electrical cables to the mayor’s house should be protected by conduits. Instead, they are slowly fraying against his shutters.