The Gala Massacre is one of the most important events in human history. What was meant as a stage for Gold power and a swift end of Sovereign Octavia au Lune’s enemies became the opening salvo of fifteen years of total war.
Hundreds of the most important Golds in the Solar System were there for the event. Little did they know that only three years afterward most of them would be dead and the Society would crumble.
Many of the players of the era of war to come were there, including Virginia au Augustus, her confidants the Telmanus’s, Atalantia au Grimmus and her father, Cassius au Bellona, and most importantly, Darrow.
And it is here in a snow-swept Gala in celebration of his yet secret enemies that he jumps onto the play of history. Dueling his then rival and beginning his legend. But none of them knew that going in. For this was supposed to be a cull.
Many characters enter the Gala with ulterior motives.
- Darrow enters with the plan to carry out Harmony's plan of bombing the Gala. However, upon seeing Mustang with Cassius, he leaves the party and reconsiders. He then hatches another plan: to incite the houses to begin a Civil War.
- Octavia had planned to have house Augustus wiped out at the Gala, though this is interrupted by Darrow's plan and the fight that ensues.
- Mustang called the Howlers and had them waiting on Luna in advance of anything going wrong.
Darrow vs. Cassius
Darrow jumps on the Bellona table to challenge them, but especially Cassius. He gives a dramatic speech to all gathered, talking about pride and honor taken from him by the Bellonas. He spills wine on Cassius, which is the final straw, and Cassius jumps up to engage.
The fight is stopped and moved to the Bleeding Place, so that they may settle their blood feud in front of everyone. The Sovereign incites the duel, and when she asks if there are contentions, Mustang moves to speak, but Aja shuts her down.
Nero accuses Darrow of making a scene to win back Mustang, but Darrow assures him he is doing it to bring honor to house Augustus and make Nero proud. Pliny tries to interject, but Nero lets Darrow continue as he goes on about how house Augustus is falling out of favor and how house Bellona will be the favored family of Mars.
Darrow finally gets his attention by enticing him with the idea of becoming a king. Nero gives his blessing as the “sword of the family.” (This is the second oblique reference to Darrow as a tool for the Augustus family, aside from the obvious realities of being a lancer; the first being when Adrius says Darrow is needed to be the sword of his covert operations.)
Before the fight Mustang talks to Darrow, accusing him of acting only on Nero’s orders. Darrow must keep up the act and simply says the same of her acting on the Sovereign’s orders. She asks if he is insane, and he asks if she is, implying that being with Cassius is insane. Mustang claims she is only with Cassius to protect her family.
Darrow recalls memories of his friendship with Cassius, some happy, including the time they kidnapped a cook when they stormed House Minerva; and then sadder memories, like when Cassius was humiliated by Titus.
The fight begins with Cassius intoning that Darrow is just jealous because of Mustang. While others have implied this, he is more explicit, even telling Darrow about how they just had sex that morning. Darrow says he realizes Cassius doesn’t want to be saying these things, but they continue with the verbal sparring as they slowly begin with their razors.
Darrow identifies kravat moves, despite being well known for his lack of razor skills. It is revealed that Darrow was the last student of the revered razormaster Lorn au Arcos, who taught Darrow his own proprietary fighting style of kravat called the Willow Way. Darrow gives a speech along the lines of this meme, and the Golds don’t find it cringy, but rather enthralling. (In fact, Golden Son was released a year before the meme, so it is not a reference.) This scene, like the Sevro gambit in Morning Star, is often referred to by critics as a time Darrow was an unreliable narrator, though like in a Morning Star, a close read reveals clues to this end.
The duel continues, with Darrow making a show of embarrassing Cassius - laughing at him, wounding him needlessly, talking to the Imperator and Julia au Bellona about their son’s imminent death. Though he regrets it, he continues, knowing he has to be extravagant to anger them toward a civil war. Imperator Bellona gives his word no one will interfere in Cassius’s death, but Julia gets Ocatvia to stop the fight.
Claiming the opening rites were not properly performed, she says the duel can end at a yielding rather than death. This reveals her favoritism for the Bellona to the crowd, and the Telemanuses and Augustans object to the new rule. The sovereign becomes enraged and claims her word is law, the tipping point for the crowd.
Darrow continues the duel and cuts off Cassius’s sword arm. The Furies jump in, and Nero commands Darrow to finish the fight. At the last second, Mustang grabs Darrow and stops him from killing Cassius. The Bellona parents shout, Julia calling for Darrow’s death, and the Imperator against it. The party descends into chaos, the Bleeding Place becomes a battlefield.
Bellona vs. Augustus
A Game of Truths
Retreat & The Taking of the Vanguard
After his meeting with the Sovereign, Octavia Au Lune, Darrow is escorted to his new quarters in the Lune Household. Whom under the assumption that Darrow has now allied with the Sovereign, betraying the Lions of Augustus. Yet Darrow wouldn't let his friends die while he waits and watches from aside.
That's when Darrow’s Howlers come and reveal themselves to their leader, having been activated by Virginia earlier. With them is Lysander Au Lune, taken as insurance for a safe escape.
The group then sneaks and fights their way to Nero and his retainers who have been trapped under a body of water. They succeed and are able to stall until a ship arrives to carry them to safety.
However, before they can leave Aja Au Grimmus fatally wounds one of the Howlers as an act of brutality. With that, the group takes off to attempt a return to the Augustan fleet.
But in that desperate moment, a one Tactus Au Rath betrays the Augustans and rescues Lysander. Without the protection, he provides the Augustans are sitting ducks in the middle of the Septer Armada.
However, they are saved by the quick thinking of Darrow of Lykos when he and his friend Sevro Au Barca launch themselves at the Dreadnought Vanguard and successfully capture the vessel, renaming her The Pax.
Using the massive warship Darrow broadcasts to the Solar System what has happened and breaks out of the Armada to safety. The Martian Civil War is on.
The aftermath of the Gala Massacre was nothing short of catastrophic for the Society. It began a cycle of thirteen years of war and would eventually result in the downfall of the Society.
Invited Houses & Important Personnel
There were an estimated 2,000 Golds in attendance, including "Quaestors, Judicars, Governors, Family Heads, house leaders, [and] Olympic Knights."
- Octavia and the Furies
- Lancers for House Augustus: Tactus au Rath, Victra au Julii, Leto au Augustus, Darrow (though he was going to have his contract auctioned off)
- House Augustus: Nero, Adrius, Pliny. Augustus bodyguards Alfun and Jopho are dismissed.
- House Falthe: was put on the same elevator as house Augustus, considered to be a slight
- Antonia, who attempts to warn Darrow of his impending doom despite him insulting her
- House Bellona: Imperator and Julia au Bellona, as well as their eight children and many cousins
- House Thorne: including one young girl and many other expendable house members
The death count was 73. 
- Cagney au Bellona, Cousin to Cassius, and the first known casualty of The Martian Civil War. Cut in half by Tactus au Rath.
- Leto au Augustus, Ward to Nero. Decapitated by Karnus au Bellona after being secretly weakened by Adrius au Augustus.
- House Thorne, Killed by Lilath, Cipio, and several other members of House Falthe. Every House Thorne member perished but one little girl, known forevermore as ThorneGirl.
- Cipio au Falthe, put down by Tactus au Rath after they massacred House Thorne.
- Alfrun and Jopho, Nero's personal bodygaurds. Laid low by Fitchner au Barca. Obsidians.
- Majority of House Augstus, by Karnus au Bellona, his men, and the Sovereign's men.
- Majority of House Bellona, in secret by the Sovereign's men, made to look like Augustus' men.
- Quinn, her skull was caved in by Aja and finally killed by Adrius on their escape.
- Two unnamed Earthborn families were completely erased
- Golden Son Chapter 11
- Golden Son Chapter 15
- Golden Son Chapter 17
- Golden Son Chapter 12