They took everything. Everything they could.
It was all over. Gone. They had already knelt in their millions.
The priests gone over, with scarce a man left to the old ranks.
The faithful dispersed, wicked and lost, for long, long years – too long to rise again. Or at least, never as one. They raffled their remaining convictions, and argued how best to desert her. In good order, of course. Many sighs, many shrugs.
All her structures, all her institutions, all her precious organizations…
All of it, all of it conquered.
The old gods, new-scoured, brought in on her children’s shoulders – their very own!
Neophytes of health and self-help, occasionally livestreaming down from their iClouds, to pinch pointless incense to the profane and politically correct, now enthroned among them above the very stones – above those stones.
Those stones which will never cry out. Not now. Quiet the corpses of martyrs and saints. Too loud, you see, too divisive, too disturbing – an offense to dignity and freedom, to fraternity. Stay calm. Stay healthy. Stay safe.
And, as for that One, well… He proved us right. Quomodo sedet sola civitas.
Don’t you see? We may act with impunity. Nemo nostrum exsors sit luxuriae nostrae… autem fortitudo nostra lex justitiae!
He has left her, left her desolate in our very grasp. May we not do as we please? Solve et coagula.
It was a warm midwinter. And bleak.
They took as much as they could, ravenous in the perpetual flux they had fashioned. The stillpoint of the turning world so entirely surrendered, they saw that they had conquered, and sat to fatten on the spoil.
But, they sorely misjudged.
He loves her fiercely.