The Legend of Lu: Armageddon


The Day of the Harvest

Dan looked down on the crowd from where he was raised high on the natural altar of elevated earth. Still fastened by so many windings of hard rope, Dan could not move well at all, and was beyond the point of fatigue. This would explain why the only thought he had was of food, not freedom. He asked some front-seat members of the Metro City crowd if any had anything to eat or drink. One young mother produced a bag of dried cereal from her pack, presumably for the toddler who was asleep in her arms. Dan said thank you but refused the generous offer. Another, an older man produced a bottle of water, half full, and offered it to Dan, but he refused that, too.  

After a moment or two of realizing that no one had anything of substance to eat or drink, as all expected to return to the City after the execution in a timely fashion, Dan thought it wise to be cut down from the stake and assisted down off the trailer, as his legs, being bound for so long, where undoubtedly useless. 

“Who among you has something to cut this rope with?” Dan asked. The rope, not exactly natural nor synthetic but a kind of plastic twine, very thickly interwoven into some natural substance, as melted at the knotted ends, thereby forging an unbreakable, or at least untie-able bond. No spoke but looked up at Dan with sheepish powerlessness. 

“Wait, I’ve got something, I think,” said a young man, walking through the crowd up to the trailer. He was tall, thin, and very able looking. He gave the impression to Dan he might have been an outdoorsman of some kind, were there any outdoors to experience in the desolate desert valley. He walked up to the the trailer and produced a pocketknife of considerable size and held it up for Dan to inspect in the dying light of the evening. “Will this do the trick?” he asked. Dan looked at it squinting to see the instrument, but as he did so, it began to shimmer with a faint, orange light. All was darkening around the knife: the crowd, the trailer, even the handle of the blade, but the blade itself was bright and increasing in brightness. It looked almost enchanted or alive with light!

“Yes, I think that should do nicely,” Dan said, and signaled by his voice that the man should come up and try to release him by cutting away the ropes. As he did so, the light in the blade glimmered no more, but one in the crowd cried out, “Look! Someone’s coming!” Out of the gloom of the east like a burning lamp ever increasing in brilliancy as it approached was what appeared to be a spirwing! And it was fast approaching from Metro City. 

The crowd started to murmur and shift about in nervousness. Dan was not nervous but curious who it could be. Before he had time to formulate any ideas about it, the spirwing had started its landing pattern by circling round and round the summit. The crowd spread out in a very wide circle from where Dan’s trailer was, to allow the spirwing to land. As it did so, the great humming of the jet engines was heard, and the heat was felt on Dan’s cool, dewy face, which was not unpleasant, and which evaporated the moisture almost immediately. As it landed the engines died down and the propellers ceased in their invisible revolution, and a man stepped out of the passenger door, a tall man, of rose-gold garment from the look of it as the spirwing light flooded out onto the summit floor and bathed him in light. Yes, quite sure now, a beautiful pink and sparkling vestment of an elaborate floral design, and crowning himself as he stepped away from the spirwing propellers with a tall headdress was Viceroy Guth himself! 

The Viceroy was accompanied by two men, Dome officials who wielded blasters. As he approached, one of the men handed Guth a megaphone. Stepping up to about ten feet from Dan’s trailer, Viceroy Guth turned toward the crowd who had closed the circle after the spirwing was made safe, and started to surround Dan again. 

“Ladies and gentlemen of Metro City!” the Viceroy said in thunderous voice. “I have condemned this criminal to death by fire! And so by fire he shall die!” The impression the Viceroy made on the crowd would have been considered comedic were it not for the solemnity of the matter. As it was, it could only be considered pathetic, as the crowd just stood there, still as statues and gawked and blinked at the Viceroy. He went on. “I have received word from my Dome officers on the ground that this Daniel Goodman is a showman as well as a murderer, and has by some clever art deceived you all into thinking himself a kind of prophet and worker of miracles!” This much at least stirred the crowd a little like a pot of stew, heads bobbing about like so many potatoes or carrots in a pot. 

“It’s true! He is! They couldn’t burn him!” one youngster shouted out, much to the dismay of his mother who presently held his mouth closed with her palm. 

“He’s at least deceived the children, I see. I trust you adults of Metro know better than to believe a murderer to be anything so exalted and divinely assisted! Daniel Goodman is a fake and no prophet!” Viceroy Guth said. 

“We saw it with our own eyes! They couldn’t get him with those blasters! We saw!” another one said, only a voice, but the body was inferable therefrom, a middle-aged manual worker, one accustomed to shouting: probably a steel-mill worker of Turner’s. 

“You saw what Daniel Goodman the Murderer wanted you to see!” Guth shot back. “It is easily explained if one understands the science involved. The blasters operate upon a power source like the energy which produces lightning. Just as lightning destroys things like trees, houses, and people, it is also absorbed by certain kinds of matter, like metal. See him? See how Daniel Goodman the Fake glitters like a gaudy little girl?” and motioned toward Dan who looked back helpless and small and tired, tied to the pole. “That silly garment absorbs blaster fire. See! It isn’t a miracle at all!”

This last piece of evidence made a great wave of voices in the crowd. Many were outright irate for being taken in by the false miracle. Others were upset that the real prophets brought back from the dead by this Viceroy Guth were gone, and the murderer remained, many of whom had clean forgotten that Rutherford and Johnny dissolved  themselves without Dan’s help. But almost all agreed that Dan must meet justice and at the hands of the Viceroy if possible. Soon the voices swelled into a wave of shouts: 

“Incinerate him! Incinerate him! Incinerate him,” shouted the crowd, much to the joy of Viceroy Guth who beamed from ear to ear in a sickening evil grin. And turning toward Dan amidst the shouts, and walking up to the trailer, he spoke to Dan in a hushed tone through his grin: 

“See? Hear how the tide of public opinion turns so easily? Who needs the Moon or your wretched Lady on it when one has cold logic and rhetoric, hey glitter-boy?” and as Guth finished his taunt he began to turn toward the crowd, and as he did so, a slithering and wet forked tongue caught the gleams of a the spirwing, and Dan shuttered at sight of it. “Of course he is,” Dan said quietly to himself, and lowered his head to pray. Viceroy Guth had his two officials quiet down the crowd so he could address them again. 

“You shall have your execution!” and the crowd cheered loudly. Guth motioned for quiet. “You shall have your execution, though you must witness it from afar. Descend the mountainside. My officials shall accompany you all with light and food and drink on the path down. Those who need rest on the way down may do so, but understand that all must be off the mountainside by midnight. There at the bottom you shall witness the death of Daniel Goodman,” and with that the crowd began to disperse with the officials who were handing out provisions from the spirwing and flashlights were directing traffic down the path. Soon, very soon, Dan was left alone with Viceroy Guth and his two armed guards. He walked back up to Dan’s trailer and looked at Dan intently, then spoke after a moment.

“This is my flock, fool!” he said in a snaky tone. “My Master has worked too hard to let them loose from His grasp.”

“Fly fiend! Enjoy your freedom while it last. Soon to the pit with your Master forever. Fly fiend!” Dan said, and tortured with fatigue and pain as he said it. The Viceroy just snarled and hissed at him but spoke not another word, and returned to the spirwing, and starting back up the engines and propellers, he lifted off the ground and flew away down the mountain.  

Dan remained now alone. He could hear faint voices from the great crowd of Metro City citizens passing down the path, and see flashlight beams every so often. They must have been making merry with the light and food and drink the Viceroy provided, and with livelier and revived spirits were laughing and heartily talking with one another as they descended the path. Dan’s chin dropped on his chest, and he wept himself to sleep.          

Dan awoke to the sound of a faint humming far above his head, almost like the hum of a power line, but only more intense and deeper in pitch. He tried to look up but his neck strained him and the pain of stiffness was so strong in his body that he could only manage to arc his chin just higher than the horizon and turn his eyes up. He could not believe what he saw! A big, black disc hovered not a thousand feet above him, the outline of which was clearly marked out by illuminated clouds just higher than it. Dan could not see, but the disc was as flat as a coin and was hardly more visible than a coin to those below on the desert floor. The disc appeared to be turning rapidly and increasing in intensity, judging by how it reflected the light, dull in some areas of its surface, while others were only slightly less black. These lighter areas were turning faster and faster around a center which did not move. Dan got the distinct impression that this was how he was going to be put to death, by this mysterious hovering black disc. 

The humming increased to an audible low rumbling roar, like the sound of a train across town. The people of Metro City who had gathered to witness the execution from down below on the desert floor would have heard no more than what sounded like the distant rumblings of thunder. Dan’s chin dropped down again, now in prayer for courage. As he did so a faint light, pale green like the phosphorescence of sea creatures spilled down over the land, casting more shadows than light. Everything was bathed in a sickly green pall of pale light, but Dan’s eyes were closed in prayer and saw nothing. The roaring increased to an intensely high pitch and all at once a boom and whirlwind of cool air was felt on Dan’s head and face, like the cool gale of a storm pregnant with power and woe. He dared not open his eyes for fear, but something inside made him do so. The summit was all alight with an atmosphere of reflected light. The rocks were reflecting an electric blue-white light, like lightning but not devastating in the least. Everything was as calm as a night. Even the little pebbles and dust on the summit floor were only barely disturbed, and this by the rushing wind, not the light. There was no heat, no pain, only feeble blue-green light falling on everything in his field of vision, save for the cave across the way, which the light did not touch nor shine into. Dan’s vestment reflected nothing of the light, but the ropes which held him did. 

This is the summary of what Dan saw. Those below saw something completely different. For starters, though faint like distant thunder, the humming and roaring of the machine or whatever it was was heard as it increased in intensity, but not as Dan heard it. It did not sound like some clunky machine, but like the grumblings of an angry god about to cast judgment. This, anyway, is what the crowd was made to believe at the suggestions of Viceroy Guth who had descended to the crowd on the spirwing, and joined them in their midnight feasting just a few hours prior to the spectacle. 

“Hear and behold the judgment of your God!” he shouted out from a temporary platform some Dome officials made with crates from the food and drink provisions. “Your God speaks and executes His judgment on the condemned!” the Viceroy’s megaphone about as loud as the roaring whirlwind from the disc, of which the crowd saw nothing. Then, the the tip of the mountain was all ablaze in a blue fire emanating from a column of light extending down from a cloud. The light was impressive and brilliant in the darkness of the desert floor, but, as was already mentioned, quite feeble from where Dan was on the summit. 

Soon the insipid blue-green light dissipated into a mere glow then returned the summit landscape to dark shades of night. Dan remained fixed to the stake, slightly glancing up and wondering if anything more was to be expected, but concluded not, since the black disc had disappeared, and the clouds had moved on, revealing now a star-studded sky of tranquility and celestial calm. Dan sighed, and looked out again about the grounds, and strained his eyes to see but could only make out where the cave opening was, as it did not reflect the starlight.

Presently a light emerged from the mouth of the cave, a wholesome light like candlelight, orangish red warmth which bathed the entry way and threw its soft beams out onto the summit floor toward where Dan looked intently upon it. 

“Now what’s this?” Dan asked himself in utter amazement wholly devoid of fear. A light like that somehow was incapable of inspiring fear or anything other than thoughts of autumn evenings or merry hearths or tables full of pies and ham and mash potatoes and gravy and dinner rolls with butter and laughter. 

The candlelight increased and emerged from the cave with a tall, old man holding it, a man who would have looked like Saint Nicolas himself but for the fact he wasn’t so pleasantly rounded, nor so old. As he approached Dan began to recognize him. It was his father! At least the man in his dream who said he was. Dan’s heart began to beat hard in his chest, and his mouth became even more dry than he thought possible. 

As the man approach, Dan was now certain that he was his father from his dream. Those bright happy eyes balanced against a sad brow, counterbalanced by so jolly cheeks he was sure the man spent most his time smiling and laughing with only short interludes of melancholic meditation. His hat, a straw and broad-brimmed sunhat, worn presumably from habit than necessity, covered his aging salt and pepper hair, but Dan was sure he’d see it if the hat were removed. As he approached he produced a pocket knife from a pocket of his overalls, and stepping up onto the trailer walked up to where Dan was tied against the stake, and placed his candle on the floor of the trailer. 

“Hello, son,” he said and gave Dan a glance of fatherly love that spoke ten thousand words in moment and melted Dan’s heart. 

“Fa, fa, Father?” Dan asked half ashamed of the question, asked not out of any kind of evil incredulity but like the innocent kind a child asks of something too good to be true. “Is it really you?” 

“Yes, son. I am here now with you,” and the sound of reassurance reduced Dan’s melted heart to a joy of radiating heat which lighted his face with love and filial admiration. 

“Oh, Father! I’m so tired!” 

“I know, son. Let me get you down,” and with a few strokes of his knife, Dan was cut loose from the ropes and fell instantly into his Father’s arms who caught him. 

“You have done well, son. You have done very well,” Dan’s Father said, and caressed his hair and kissed his head and, cradling him like baby boy in his arms, he carried him off down the trailer and back into the soft, homely light of the cave, leaving the candle to burn in the night. 

The night drew on in the utter stillness of the mountaintop. As the stars overhead wheeled round on their course, each looked down on the flickering flame of the candle casting a tall dancing shadow of the stake against the summit floor and rocks lying about. Out of the shadows, though, there came not a dancing form but slithering Shadows, two black forms winding in and out of the candle light which burned on the trailer near the bundles of twigs and kindling fuel for the pyre. The Shadows slithered up to where the candle holder was and, after a moment’s hesitation, seemingly bumped against the candlestick, toppling it down onto the floor of the trailer, near the base of the execution pyre. 

In a matter of seconds, the pyre was ignited into a magnificent inferno, engulfing the trailer and stake with it. Had there been any Metro City spectators below, the blaze would have been quite visible and impressively bright. But, all had long since returned to the quiet and comfort of their homes and beds. All that could be seen from the desert floor was a few empty wine bottles reflecting the fire glow from on high. Amidst the crackling wood trailer and roaring conflagration was heard the faint but distinct sound of some kind of creatures cackling softly to themselves. 

As dawn approached, the trailer, ropes and stake and kindling twigs were but smoldering ash and plumes of grey smoke rising up into a morning sky as crystalline blue as the sea. Ascending the path was Mr. Pete and John, all the others having fled for fear or who had fallen into disbelief. The two faithful followers of Daniel Goodman said nothing as they went up the mountainside, but solemnly ascended the sacred path in silence and mourning. 

Presently they passed by the rocks with the strange writing or pictures on them, the Guides of Rock, and Mr. Pete spoke. “He who does not follow Me is not worthy of Me,” he said, or else read––it was not clear where the inspiration from the words derived. John fixed his eyes on the Rock, but said nothing. 

Finally they arrived at the summit, and the doleful vision made John fall to his knees and weep. “Oh, Mr. Dan! Mr. Dan!” he said between his sobs. Mr. Pete lovingly and fatherly padded him on the head with one hand, and with his other rested on what appeared to be a sword at his waist. As he stood next to him and looked upon the site of his teacher’s execution, tears welled up in his big blue eyes and rolled down his wrinkled cheeks, but he didn’t speak. He let John alone to have his cry and walked up to where Dan had been burned alive, the pile of ash still lightly smoldering. 

“Now what, sir?” he asked the empty air. The sun was rising higher and was pleasantly warm on Mr. Pete’s face which had since cooled off from the heat of the climb. The air was crispy and cool like an autumn morning portending winter’s coming. He looked out over the desert valley. The skyline of Metro City was shimmering in the sunlight, as the distant railcar lines cut through the eastern peaks beyond. Mr. Pete sighed. “So many, so many there are that are lost,” he seemed softly to hear or else thought he heard. And his tears redoubled in fluency. 

“I suppose we should be getting to the ashes, sir?” John said, walking up beside Mr. Pete and looking down at the pile of ruin through his tears. 

“Yes, John. We should be getting to,” Mr. Pete said, and wiped his eyes, and produced a small folding hand trowel from his belt he had brought. The pile of ash was more than what either John and Mr. Pete anticipated would be left by the fames, and they had a difficulty and hard go at collecting them all in a high, rounded pile. 

“What next, sir?” John asked, wiping the sweat from his brow. 

“We’ve got to get them all into that cave there,” Mr. Pete said, and pointed over to the mouth of the cave with the dark opening. 

“Well, let’s to it, then, Mr. Pete,” John said, and started for the shovel, but Mr. Pete halted him.

“Hang on, John. Let’s first go in and see if there’s a marker or something where we should inter the Master’s remains.” John nodded his assent to the idea, and both walked away from the cool ash pile, and toward the cave and entered. 

Inside the blue morning light flowed, and faintly illuminated the interior with a cool, pale glow of light. Mr. Pete and John could see that the cave receded a ways deeper  in beyond their sight. They proceeded further in, and after a time, Mr. Pete looked back at the mouth of the cave getting ever smaller as they moved further in. John was noticeably disturbed by the darkness and distance into which they were traveling, but nevertheless held firmly next to the grandfatherly Mr. Pete. John himself wielded the shovel just in case. 

“How much farther in, Mr. Pete, sir?” John asked with a quivering voice. 

“I haven’t a clue, John,” he said, but proceeded all the same. They had went so far into the cave now that the entrance and the daylight looked no larger than a keyhole in  a door a good way off. John was now shaking in his body with fear, but Mr. Pete just kept on walking deeper in. Presently he put his hand on John’s shoulder, which seemed to sooth his anxiety, for he instantly stopped shaking. 

“Wait, what’s that!” John shouted in a coarse whisper,” and would have been seen pointing toward what he spoke of but for the pitch blackness of the cave. 

“I see it. I see it,” Mr. Pete said. What he saw is not entirely certain for his eyes were old and bad. John’s eyes, however, were young and keen, and what he saw was an ever growing sliver of light, first a crack in the utter darkness, then wider and widening slender streak of yellow white light, increasing in size ever so slowly and softly, like an unlatched door gently swinging open in a springtime breeze. Mr. Pete and John increased their approached, such was their curiosity, that any fear of the unknown was completely annihilated. John was almost at a full run by now, that Mr. Pete had to say, “Hang on a bit, son. Just a bit,” through his labored breathing, but John was too consumed with boyish excitement to heed. 

As John arrived first he turned back to Mr. Pete and shouted down the cave to him. 

“It’s a door!” he said, but did not attempt to widen it anymore. John waited for Mr. Pete to come up to the door, too. John could feel a light wind falling on his panting face, cooled by sweat droplets on his temple. “Like an ocean breeze,” he said to himself, and closed his eyes to sniff the new alien air. 

“You’ve got some legs, boy,” Mr. Pete said through his panting, and patted John on the back, then looked at the door and the light pouring through the opening, which appeared to be a light brown paneling, with a brass hardware latch for a doorknob, and a porthole, which quivered with light but not form. Mr. Pete looked at the opening, then at John’s excited face looking back at him, then smiled and spoke tenderly.

“This is your door, John, not mine,” and gently nudged him onward to go in, or rather out into the bright sea of light and sounds and smells of surf and brine.

Once through, Mr. Pete closed the door behind John, and the light quivering in the porthole was extinguished in a flash, and again Mr. Pete found himself staring into the pitch black of the cave. 

He proceeded further in, and presently saw an outline of orange light forming a door up ahead. An icy chill air filled the passage through which he walked, making Mr. Pete rub his wrinkled hands together for warmth. Now in front of the door, He saw its construction clearly: large, strong hardware of ornate iron and thick boards of hardwood. He heard fireplace crackling within and smelled warm smells of woodsmoke, inviting him to enter. Taking a deep breath, he entered, closed the door, and returned the cave to the dark.              

WANTED: Catholic Conversations!


Have you ever wondered why worshippers of the Buddha never argue about anything? Uneducated and ignorant people think nirvana was a grunge band headed up by that guy who killed himself. Even less educated people think nirvana is some kind of blissful state of the soul, a place of joy, peace, and tranquility, and have visions of lily ponds and light and pink lemonade at the mere mention of the word. But the object of Buddhism is not joy. The object of that cold, atheistic religion is the annihilation of love, of self, of thy neighbor, and indeed the world. That’s nirvana, if it pleases you. Buddhists never argue, because they simply have nothing to argue about.  

Now, have you ever wondered why worshippers of the only begotten Son of God seem always to be arguing? And if they are not arguing, they are being ripped to shreds by bears? Christians argue, or put up a good fight against the faithless, precisely because the object of this true religion is love, of self, of neighbor, of the world—‘world’ here meaning the created order and beauty of nature, of all that exists in creation.

Thus, the curse of the Christian is to be a controversialist, because where the true religion is involved, disagreement is bound to arise. This is true, of course, between the believer and the non-believer, but as often happens, the non-Christian is far less concerned about truth than his Christian interlocutor. But where disagreement and controversies do spring up like lilies of the field is in the vineyard of the Lord, between fellow Christians. The reason is a simple one: a true Christian loves his neighbor as much as he loves the truth, which is why paradoxically he is willing to fight with him, to tell him how much of a dunce he is.  

It is to one such little fight or controversy that I would like to draw your attention. A seemingly concerned and very well-intentioned reader of this blog recently typed the following comment: 

“Dear Mr. Robbins: I too am Catholic, reject Vatican II, am sedevacantist, and stay at home owing to the lack of a true pope from whom all jurisdiction in the Church originates. I think Mr. Alonso’s question is a fair one. You are not merely writing a blog; you are, in fact, publishing on theological matters, which according to Church law requires an imprimatur.

I cannot speak for Mr. Alonso, of course, as I don’t know him, but the scandal might be that while you call out traditionalists for violating Church law and her sacred canons, you do the same thing when publishing without benefit of ecclesiastical review and permission for your writings. If it be argued that, owing to the lack of a pope and canonical bishops, Catholics can take up the duties of the hierarchy in its absence to some extent, who is there to correct you if you’re wrong?

I think that we stay-at-home Catholics have to be careful to avoid pride, develop humility, and most especially be careful not to commit the same or similar errors that we correctly point out to those who attend illegal traditionalist groups, or who are still in the Conciliar Establishment religion.”

The reader is referring to a previous comment made by another equally concerned and well-intentioned reader, to the effect: 

“Dear Robert, Although I don’t know you personally, I’m happy to see you are doing better after your absence due to your physical illness. I am a Catholic, sedevacantist, and stay at home. Although I accept all that the Church teaches up until the death of Pope Pius XII, and reject vatican II, I don’t know how far we agree or disagree. Please allow me to ask who gave you the Imprimatur to publish this article? Since no one could have given it to you, how did you determine that it was for God’s greater glory to publish it, and not a scandal? I see it as objectively scandalous.”

That’s Me

I do not doubt the goodwill or sincerity of either of these readers. But I do doubt how much commonsense they have. Yes, the papacy, hierarchy, and priest in his parish were given the mission to shepherd souls in the pasture of the Lord. Sheep were not given crooks. But the shepherd never forbade the sheep from bleating about the Apocalypse, either, especially when he was dead or somewhere in a ditch drunk with apostasy. All this blog is, contrary to what some may think, is so much bleating about the Apocalypse, or as the tag of the blog puts it: “Opining on the Apocalypse.” What I say here is simply an echo of what one may hear read from a catechism intermixed with my opinions on facts of reality. I put forth no new theological theory, nor do I believe telling people they must think and link things together in a syllogistic thought is theology: it is commonsense.  

So why the disconnect? Why the lack of commonsense from my otherwise very intelligent and awake readers? I would argue that it is because we Catholics who only pray at home tend to be very cautious about doing anything that is not approved by the Church. These end times have taught us to be on our guard against false prophets, such that now we are wary of anyone even talking about the Faith. And this phenomenon is not limited to talking to our neighbor. Over at, T. S. Benns has had to write an article justifying her encouragement to pray the rosary together in a lay organization dedicated to fulfilling the requests of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of our Mother. Apparently some believe we must even have ecclesiastical approval to gather together to talk with God and His Mother!

Give Us This Day…

Part of the mission of this website is “…to provide an online haven for those who find themselves feeling alone and isolated just for being faithful.” To this end, I have conducted interviews, written articles, and produced videos for your consumption—a term I despise, but which is fitting. Communion with others is our daily bread as Christians. We need fellowship and the exchange of ideas on the current goings on of the world, otherwise our souls atrophy, and with it, commonsense and love of neighbor. We fall in upon ourselves, caved in by the gravity of being alone with only our own thoughts.

It’s Not Good for Man to be Alone…during the Apocalypse

Christianity is not Buddhism. We simply cannot survive in alienation (if not annihilation) to our neighbor and the world. We do not live by doctrine and law alone, but by friendship with our fellow faithful Catholics—which may, at times, mean we fight like family, because that is what we are! The creation of this website has taught me something: we are not alone. There are so many of you out there who adhere to the true religion, to the untainted Faith, and who also are obedient to the laws of the Church, and so choose to pray at home. I know you are there, because I receive emails from you all. But perhaps others would like the reassurance that they are not alone? I suspect that is why my “Home Alone in Heaven” videos are more immensely popular than all my other videos combined, notwithstanding the fact that my other videos took ten times as long to produce. You out there need to see Catholics talking about Catholicism, and about the Apocalypse and our place during it. For the most part, we have the doctrines and laws down pat, but what we don’t have is fellowship, and actually seeing that there are others who profess the same religion as us, and who are going through the same trial and persecution, no small part of which is being deprived a parish hall, and all that entails.    

It is my belief that hearing from others, and being engaged in conversation about Catholicism, will put an end to this nonsense about needing imprimaturs to talk with our neighbor or our God.   To that end, let me announce a video series idea I have been thinking about for sometime, one which I believe you all really care about and want. Introducing Catholic Conversations, a video series in which I converse with real Catholics from around the world, with those who adhere to the Church in all doctrine and discipline, and principally, those who stay and pray at home. Αll I need is a line-up of those who would like to be interviewed. Ιf you would like to, use the COMMS page to let me know. I look forward to hearing from you!              

A Late Bugle Call to Consecration

Antipope-Antichrist Francis is at it again! Now he is wanting to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and his pseudo-pious gesture has created quite the stir in the Catholic (nominal and actual) communities across the world. Traditionalists of the Novus Ordo sect are all up in arms because their Pope merely invited bishops to pray along.  But the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart has been the hot button issue for traditionalists for a while now, at least since the close of the Second Vatican Council and the open war and persecution of the Church by the Usurpers—which apostates, tragically ironically enough, traditionalists call upon to do the consecration correctly, as if one in the outer darkness, gnashing his teeth could be heard, let along listened to by the Bridegroom! 

The history and confusion surrounding the simple request (command?) of Our Lady of Fatima to the have the Holy Father consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart is bewildering enough for the common layman to sift through and discern the truth of. But traditionalists make the issue something much more than it is, a kind of touch-stone of Traddy knowledge or rite of passage for the traditionalist to pass through before really being Catholic. Ignorance of Fatima is ignorance of Christ, they seem to say.

Most recently our intrepid Keyboard Commander of the Apocalypse, T. Stanfill Benns of BetrayedCatholics has drawn attention to the fact that, whether Pope Pius XII performed the consecration according to Our Lady’s instruction or not, we ourselves were also called to make sacrifices for sinners, do penance, and pray the rosary. But so few of us do this! As Benns writes, “In an August 18, 1940 letter to Rev. Jose Bernardo Gonzalves Sr. Lucia wrote: “More than ever He needs souls that will give themselves to Him without reserve; and how small this number is!” To that end, Benns’s two most recent articles invite Catholics to become part of a prayer apostolate which will attempt to do just what our Sorrowful and Immaculate Mother has commanded of us. Additionally, in order to offer in our own humble way an act of reparation for such attempted mockery of God and His Mother, Benns has suggested we pray today (March 20, 2022) Pope Pius XII’s consecratory prayer to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Let me reproduce that invitation and explanation now. 

Dear Friends in Christ,

On Sunday, March 20, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 N, Central Standard Time, we ask you to join us in consecrating the world to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary using the consecration formula below. This will take place following our spiritual Mass and Rosary. Please let me explain how important I believe this consecration to be.

As you surely know by now, the usurper Francis intends to stage a consecration of Russia and Ukraine on March 25 and invites all the world’s “bishops” to join him. We interpret this politico-religious stunt as a prelude to the official establishment of the New World Order and religion. This is grossly offensive to our Lord, who told Berthe Petit in 1914: “I curse the arrogant people who slight me and who persecute the true faith using the while My name and authority.”  What should outrage true Catholics is Francis’ prostitution of Our Lady’s Fatima promises to legitimize his apostasy and portray himself as savior of the world. This can only result not in peace, or a reversal of course for the world, but in a frightful punishment from our Lord to avenge his Mother’s honor. And this vicious insult being offered our Lord and His Blessed Mother is two-fold, as the Catholic Encyclopedia explains below, under the Feast of the Annunciation:

“All Christian antiquity (against all astronomical possibility) recognized the 25th of March as the actual day of Our Lord’s death. The opinion that the Incarnation also took place on that date is found in the pseudo-Cyprianic work “De Pascha Computus”, c. 240. It argues that the coming of Our Lord and His death must have coincided with the creation and fall of Adam. And since the world was created in spring, the Saviour was also conceived and died shortly after the equinox of spring…the ancient martyrologies assign to the 25th of March the creation of Adam and the crucifixion of Our Lord; also, the fall of Lucifer, the passing of Israel through the Red Sea and the immolation of Isaac.”

So this date encompasses all of Our Lady’s Sorrows, from the time of Christ’s birth to the bitter sufferings she endured with Him at the foot of the Cross. It is as though this antichrist in Rome is saying, ‘I will destroy with one blow all God’s creation to replace it with a new world of my own.’ For this consecration cannot and will not be the salvation of the world, but may well be its damnation, no matter how many hopelessly deluded Catholics in name only cheer it on.

This is why, in order to hopefully mitigate God’s anger, we must offer to Him what he so long ago requested and what His vicar requested: the consecration of ourselves and the world to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. We do this humbly, as an act of submission to God’s holy will and in reparation to the Sacred Heart and the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Dear Lord Jesus, Thy Kingdom Come on Earth. 

Teresa Benns

Granted, the Antichrist is cunning and swift to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But God gives us grace to see the truth of the deceits of the world and the worldling. Francis is trying (and managing quite well!) to ensnare more prey by this fake consecration. The consecration of Russia has ever been the dangling carrot before the face of the traditionalist. But God will not be mocked much longer! In reparation for the blasphemy Antichrist is planning, I hope you will pray the consecration of our last Holy Father to Our Mother’s Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart!   

The Legend of Lu: Armageddon


The Day of Love

Thus did Dan so remain tied to a stake throughout the evening and into the night. The crowd of Metro City had dispersed, but were told to return at sunrise for the procession to begin to the ancient site of Mt. Olé, the summit of which was the exact location of the holocaust of Lu so long ago, and cave nearby the resting place of the Lord of Light’s ashes. Dan kept vigil alone, save for two armed Dome officials with light blasters in hand, but who were presently dozing off on the prisoner watch. 

Dan had no such luck. He hadn’t been asleep ever since he was knocked out by Johnny with the iron rod in the mirror room, and was feeling his exhaustion, mostly in his stiff, aching legs which supported his body’s weight begrudgingly. There was no use trying to get out. Even if he wanted to–– which he didn’t, as now he was quite sure his being sacrificed for those thirty-three hundred people in Domardor so at least they might hear his message was Tulu’s will, and he’d quite resigned himself to it––his arms and legs and body were so fastened against the stake by ropes, nothing but a sharp-toothed saw could loosen them. 

The night air in the edge of the city was cool and pleasant, but Dan was having a very difficult time relishing it. When he wasn’t praying for strength to endure his coming execution, he was wracking his brains trying to remember better days in Aerlan, happy days with Marie. He wondered if he himself had children, what their home looked like, where he was most fond of eating. Only essentials struck him and sunk into his consciousness, hurled at him from the depths of unconsciousness and beyond by some unknown benefactor. Dan could only recall that Aerlan was indeed a place of happiness and peace and fun. Aerlan was, so his recollections would strike him, majestic, lofty, light, cool and refreshing like a crisp autumn day, though without the odor of decaying leaves. Blue as sapphire. White as diamonds all afire. Clear as crystal. These were the color notes that Dan recalled. But, try as he might, nothing of Marie or the domesticity of Aerlan or of his royal business there, or anything of facts and figures could be called to mind. Only, as it were, sense impressions and vague sentimental nuances of the place he called home for almost eighty years, and now would never see again. 

So absorbed in this exercise of trying to call to mind his past life, he did not notice the moon rising out of the eastern sky, just peaking above the the mountaintops like a child playing peekaboo. Not that there was anything exception in this particular moonrise that should have demanded Dan’s attention. He was, after all, quite occupied, his thoughts, as it were, rather heavily bent on more grave matter than watching a routine moonrise. But had he looked up and watched the rising of the moon, he would at once have seen that this was no ordinary moon rise. The moon was a rocking cradle of a crescent, shown with the brightness of three full moon faces all together, and became bigger and bigger and bigger as it approached! 

Dan didn’t notice. He was facing westward toward the place of his execution, and would have never noticed but for the fact that it seemed the moon would be noticed. It insisted. What now felt like a flashlight beam in the corner of Dan’s left eye, made him looked eastward, thinking a guardsman was flashing him with a light for amusement. No, not a flashlight, but Tulu, descending out of the low-lying clouds on the moon, resting her majestic form on her heavenly throne. Dan blinked twice, and would have rubbed his eyes, but settled for shaking his head back and forth a few times to check his sight and senses.

As Tulu approached, Dan observed that She was not alone. A young lady stood just behind her, perhaps on a cloud. As they came close, Dan could just make out the emotion of their faces. Tulu and Marie were very happy, and both were smiling, like a mother and daughter-in-law pleased to see a son and husband returned from war. Dan could only thus make out their features, as the brightness of the moon shown with such intensity as it came nearer and nearer, that Dan was forced to squint because his eyes did not adjust as quickly as they came on. Tulu spoke. 

“My son, my son! Thou art a valiant and ready son!” She said, her voice as clear and mighty as a waterfall. 

“My Lady!” and lowered his head in honor, “I’m unworthy to be called thy son!” 

“Whatever dost thou mean?” Tulu asked, now gently as a kindly mother. 

“I’m not ready to die. I am willing. But I am not ready. Please, help me be so!” Dan said, pleading through copious tears. 

“Thou art as ready as ever a one could be, my son. Take heart. I’ve brought a visitor to thee. Thou hast but a few moments, then day shall rise upon this valley, one of only two more suns that shall be spared for the conversion of the world before I return with my Son to destroy it. Tell me, hast thou been successful in thy heralding my message?”

“Of those I was able to win from the Fallen, all but eleven have fallen away. Of those eleven, I do not know who remain. So few! So few counted among the saved! Please, Queen of Stars, is it so throughout the lands? So few are saved?” Dan asked, his face glistening in moonlight tears. 

“It is so, my son. So many are lost. All lost will it. Not my will, but theirs. So be it. Thou hast tried, and thou hast been successful thus far in even the few fishes caught. Now’s the time to reel them in, Daniel,” Tulu spoke, and, though Her subject matter was grave, she smiled through her pity for Dan to encourage him. “When thou come to Mt. Olé in procession, do not resist. Do not rebuke. Be silent. Be still. Allow what will be. It is my will, and that of my Son’s. Accept as the price of those eleven souls thy torments, thy agony, and thy isolation. Then wilt thou have a crown glorious and shining in Mundluc, a Light Princeling thou wilt be in what will soon be the newly founded realm of Light here. And, for thy Light Princess, I present thee, Marie the Generous,” and held her hand toward Dan, who looked up into the sky from his prepared pyre. 

“My Lady! My Princess! How have I thought of you, and tried to remember our happy days in Aerlan, but could not!” Dan said, all tearful and in love.

“Now’s not the hour for merriment or happy memories of another life, Dan. Now’s the hour of death. We will have days unending for making new, more merry memories, like a million Christmas mornings without repeats, and then you shall even recall Aerlan. But not now. Now you ready yourself to offer yourself as a worthy sacrifice. Are you ready, Dan?” Marie asked, still standing reverently behind the Lady of Light as she spoke.

“Yes, yes, now I am, I think. I shall make you both proud. I do this for love. Therefore, I shall not resist. I accept all the pain for love of thee, my Queen, and you, my dear Princess-to-be, and for those whose souls I must pay for,” Dan spoke and as he did so, his will was strengthened in the resolution. Yet he still pined to hold Marie’s hand again, or to speak and listen to Tulu, so beautiful and wise. 

“We shall depart, son. The sun is quick at our heels, and others there are throughout the world that we must visit this night. Look to Me and my Son’s coming Sunday at dawn,” and steadily the Lady of Light and Marie were off as they arrived, becoming smaller and smaller, and more dim every second, until only a thin, small crescent of light shone lightly in zenith of the sky. Dan could not see Tulu or Marie anymore at that distance. The low-lying clouds had moved on, and so a star-studded sky lay heavily over the desert floor like a big, black blanket. Dan closed his eyes and fell into a restful and dreamless sleep.

When Dan opened his eyes, the sun had risen on a new day, and a small but ever increasing crowd of spectators were gathering for the procession and execution on Mt. Olé later that day. Viceroy Guth had moved on to another city in the hemisphere, so Rutherford, or the man who was pretending to be him, was the master of ceremonies as it were. Johnny was there, too, just below him on the steps of the speaking trailer from which Rutherford addressed the growing crowd, and grinned from ear to ear as he spoke, surveying the crowd and then Dan on another nearby trailer.

“We gather here today to see justice done!” Rutherford said to the crowd, and waited for applause, but the crowd wasn’t as enthusiastic as yesterday. They wanted to see someone burned alive, not merely told so. Rutherford went on. “So, if you follow the gliders hauling the trailers to Mt. Olé, you will see justice done!” This incited a little more enthusiastic replies but not more sympathetic, such as “Hear, hear! Let’s get on!” or “Go, then!” and other such impatient shouts. 

The gliders were turned on and needed a few moments to warm up––such as a diesel tractor, though the internal mechanics similarities between the glider propulsion engines and combustible engines end there––so Johnny had a moment or two to head behind his glider he was piloting to have a moment with the prisoner. Dan saw Johnny come up to the trailer steps but pretended not to notice him. 

“Ah, come on! Don’t be like that. You and I are good old friends, right? Remember the days in the orphanage? The jokes I’d make? Ah, yea, that’s right, you never laughed at my jokes, did you? And, come to think of it, you never really had a nice word to say to me ever, had you?” Johnny said, now quite close in Dan’s face. Dan didn’t speak or even flinch. He just took it. “Well, it will be a real hoot and howler when your skin is melted off your bones, won’t it, little Glitter-boy,” he hissed into Dan’s ear, and as he made his way back off the trailer, Johnny turned to grin one more time at Dan, but to Dan’s shock and horror, for a split second Johnny displayed snake fangs in his head, and a winding two-pronged tongue where only a moment before he had a human one, then turned to step down. 

Dan’s body quivered with revolting disgust and horror at the sight of Johnny, but at least he started to understand that mystery. Johnny and Rutherford were dead. Fallen Lights must have assumed their form for a time to carry out their sacrifice to Ferater the Filthy. “What cunningness,” Dan thought to himself, then his body quivered again at the thought of Johnny’s snake-tongue. 

Presently the gliders and procession of Metro City were underway. The morning was crystal blue without a cloud in the sky. This accented the dome-like canopy of air overhead, which gave Dan the weird, far-fetched, yet almost quaint and charming idea that he was processing to his death, to be burnt alive to ashes, in a gigantic world-sized snow-globe. All that it needed was someone with a big enough hand to shake up the litter of snow flakes at the bottom, and the scene would be complete. 

The morning rolled on and on, as it took three hours to reach Mt. Olé by foot and by a turtle-paced glider. Rutherford’s glider and trailer were in front, Johnny’s and Dan’s just behind, with at least a third of Metro City emptied out to see the execution at the back. Dan looked out at all the crowd following him at a leisurely pace. Many had never ventured beyond the city limits, and most had never been to Mt. Olé. It was a new experience in more ways than one, but one thing was old and familiar to all. Everyone was completely indifferent and positively thrilled at the notion of someone being put to death, or, better, sacrificed, though it was doubtful that any considered to whom or what Dan was being offered. It was enough that it was a novel act, or at least a very old thing, and so practically new, that the masses cared about. The Dome religion had since the council given up on the whole notion of sacrifice, so this was a welcomed piece of nostalgic religiosity. And so many were smiling, and laughing, and giddy in one form or anther. 

Dan looked on not in the least feeling resentment or hatred for those who persecuted him but a ponderous sadness and pity, the kind that settles in one’s guts and doesn’t lighten up. He bowed his head, and prayed that, by some miracle one or two or even a handful of the congregation would be converted and so saved from the judgement of fire.

The procession finally arrived at the foot of Mt. Olé. It was afternoon now, and Dan was, surprisingly not so much concerned about being burned but was wondering how the orchestrators of this little execution ceremony had it in mind to get him and his trailer up to the top of Mt. Olé’s summit. The people were being directed to ascend the path now by Dome officials, the path being marked clearly by large boulders strewn about up the path, the ones with the strange markings Dan couldn’t decipher. But Dan, Rutherford, and Johnny remained at the foot of the mountain, with the latter apparently waiting for someone or something. Dan was going to ask, “It’s not going to be much of a execution without a body to burn, don’t you think?” but before he could get out the words, a pulsating THRA-THRA-THRA was heard off in the distance toward the City. Dan knew plenty what that could mean, having often taken courses out in aeronautics and flight simulation during his time at the Academy. It was a spirwing, a large flying vessel designed for air transport of heavy objects, which had an impressively powerful propulsion system by which wing-like blades slashed through the air creating lift, while hot air jets streamed behind for acceleration and forward movement.    

The spirwing approached very quick and agile for its shear bulk, and landed not a few yards from where the gliders were parked. Rutherford approached it, but Johnny headed toward where Dan’s trailer was hitched to the glider, and removed the rigging. Dan looked on, knowing what was going on, and knowing that the motions of these men were bringing him minute by minute closer to an agonizing death. But he just looked on with disinterest, curious to know how the rigging was going to be attached to the spirwing. “I’ve always wanted to fly,” Dan said to himself aloud. “Probably an unconscious desire remnant of memories from Aerlan, I gather. Well, now I’ll have my chance,” and chuckled to himself. 

The rigging was attached by points along each of the four sides of the trailer by Rutherford and Johnny, neither of whose face Dan was in the least desired to look upon, given what happened before. Dan just stared off into the blue haze hanging over the desert floor, or back up the mountain path, watching the people ascend like so many ants up a hill. 

The trailer made fast to the harness and to the spirwing, the spirwing never having turned off its engines. Rutherford and Johnny boarded, and all were off on the wing up to the the summit of Mt. Olé.   

Dan arose with a dizzying speed. He was forced to feel every sudden and subtle shift of movement, as he was himself held fast against that which moved, namely the stake and the trailer, and so his body couldn’t compensate for the changes. Notwithstanding the motion sickness, the speed, and the height––the last of which Dan was quite already used to, having scaled the heavens before, and indeed lived therein for a lifetime, though he couldn’t recall it all––Dan was quite enjoying himself. He could see so clearly over the desert floor and the mountainside path marked out by the Guiding boulders. His ascent was effortless as he flew higher and higher up the path. 

Soon he overtook the procession who were seemingly having a hard time with the more difficult parts up the path. Dan recalled when he had to ascend the path, too, how hard it was for him. He recalled his knocking himself out and dreaming away the day, time traveling, and exploring his father’s ship with an elderly Marie. Dan thought about all this, and about the poor souls who ascended the path, though who were completely oblivious to the meaning and history of the path they trod. The deep feeling of pity arose again in his bowels. 

Landing was not as smooth as takeoff, but not completely unpleasant. Dan was set down with a thud onto the summit floor, which reverberated through the trailer into his feet, through his body up his spine and into his teeth. The experience was not unpleasant, for it concluded the sensation of sudden movement Dan had throughout his ascending flight, and the solid, steady earth beneath him was a kind of comfort. 

Rutherford and Johnny disembarked the spirwing and unhitched the rigging from the pyre trailer, then saluted the pilot to take off, which left Dan, Rutherford and Johnny alone at the summit, awaiting the procession. Dan longed for the in-flight motion sickness. 

“Well, looks like you have about twenty minutes of spare time in which to contemplate how painful it will feel to be barbecued alive, eh, glitter-boy?” Rutherford said to Dan, though no response came to the taunt. Rutherford walked over to Dan. “That puts me in mind. His attire isn’t quite right, is it Johnny?” 

“It ain’t, sir. No sir,” Johnny said, walking over and stepping up to where Dan was still standing, and had been for so long. He was wearing the garments Tulu had clothed him in, the sparkling bright vestment of light, which now blazed with the sun. “I’ll soon have him dressed aright!” and went to tear off Dan’s clothes from beneath the rope, which would have been possible to do, as there were sufficient gaps between the rope, but as soon as Johnny attempted it, he wrung his hands back in searing pain, and a cry of agony that seemed to come from the pits of Hell. “Arrrrhhhhh!” 

“You buffoon!” shot up Rutherford at Johnny. “What you do, give yourself rope burn?”

“He, he, his shirt’s as hot as the surface of the sun! Hotter!” Johnny shouted, stepping back several feet. “It’s cursed, it’s cursed!” 

“You’re forgetting yourself, Johnny, and the Master whom you serve. You’re the cursed one. This shirt is blessed, blessed by Tulu, the Lady of Flaming Light Herself,” Dan said, but as he spoke the name of that blessed Woman, both Johnny and Rutherford fell immediately to their knees and stopped their ears. Dan would have pitied them their pain but for the knowledge that they knew precisely what they were doing, unlike so many of those who were amid the procession. 

“Never mind the dirty shirt! The fire will soon have it. Come on, lets get to the foot of the path and await the people,” Rutherford said in a hissing tone, and he and Johnny slithered off twenty yards away. Dan looked around at where he exactly was. It turns out he was where he had entered the cave in his dream, at least what he imagined it might look like in the daylight. He saw the mouth of the cave twenty yards or so the other direction from the path. His trailer and pyre was placed on what appeared to be a miniature plateau of raised rock like a naturally occurring altar, about ten feet square, and about four feet higher than the surrounding summit ground floor. This afforded Dan a considerable perspective from which to survey the scene of his execution and the spectators who would witness it. 

Soon the people of Metro City started to arrive, trickling in like hikers at the conclusion of an arduous trail. They were exhausted looking, and the mirth in their hearts and wind in their sails had been quite extinguished by the path up Mt. Olé, or else the Guides silently spoke to their better judgement and souls, and made them sober to the reality of the occasion. 

As all were seemingly present and gathered round Dan, though at a safe distance as not to be themselves burned or singed, Rutherford spoke as Johnny held what appeared to be a light blaster. 

“Today, we are gathered to see justice done! And to see this murderous fiend put to death for his crimes!” but there was no cheering now, only blank expressions of fatigue. “As is something of an unfortunate custom of civilized societies, it is permitted that the one to be put to death to speak a word or two before the sentence is carried out. I am pressed by the immemorial custom to permit this devil to do the same. Though you all are, by no means compelled to listen,” Rutherford said in a loud, commanding voice toward the crowd, and all the crowd became immediately intent upon hearing Dan speak his last, and turned toward him with interested expressions. 

Dan thought a good moment while the crowd looked at him and waited for him to speak. What would words do that he hadn’t already tried to convert these, Dan thought. The only thought that made any sense or had any relevance now in the moment of his death ran thus: 

“Today, I die. The day after tomorrow the rest of the world dies! Repent and believe and be converted!” Dan said in a soft but audible voice for all to hear, then dropped his chin on his chest and silently prayed for courage to endure the flames. The spectators did not boo; they did not shout back curses. They did not really even look at Dan or anything now in particular. There was a collective hush that went out throughout the crowd, and an impression of fear or remorse mixed with fear stole across so many faces, at least over those which were not now downcast. Rutherford saw what was happening, and also perceived the danger of Dan’s words. He spoke sharply to Johnny. 

“Now, fool! Turn your blaster on low impulse to incinerate the kindling. Do it!” Johnny complied with his superior’s commands, and shot a blast of light into a faggot of sticks which had fallen off the Sacred Tree and were gathered together for ceremonial kindling. The impulse of light and heat stuck against the bundle but fizzled out as soon as it made impact. Johnny looked dumb at the bundle of unburnt wood, then back at Rutherford who also looked incredulous. The crowd oohed and aahed and pointed.   

“Give me that blaster, you idiot!” Rutherford snarled, and cranked up the energy range on the impulse shot several degrees hotter, and aimed at the point where Johnny did before and shot another blast of light. This time, the light blast hit, then hovered there for an infinitesimal moment then dissipated into the air like a cloud of steam. 

The third of Metro City which came out to Mt. Olé to witness the execution by the ancient practice of burning at the stake would have been disappointed indeed had Dan never been aloud to speak, to sow the seeds in their souls of doubt in their own immortality and belief in something greater than themselves. As it was, Dan did speak and delivered his message Tulu gave him with such eloquence and truth, and coupled with his rather dramatic speaking platform, that the crowd was actually happy to see that the pyre was not ignited. 

Rutherford became enraged and turned the blaster on high power and shot one more blast at the bundle of twigs from the Sacred Tree. A bigger explosion of light and heat engulfed the pyre and the trailer and Dan in a cloud of light. After a moment, though, the nebula dissipated as before into a misty light then disappeared altogether, revealing Dan just standing their tied to the stake as before, looking down and praying, seemingly unaware of what was happening. 

The crowd started to turn. There swept through it an awareness increasing by every shot Rutherford tried to destroy Dan with that he was a prophet, that this was a miracle and, that the world was going to end in two days, whether they liked it or not. Many started the chant, and an untold number continued it: “LIVE, LIVE, LIVE, LIVE!” It chanted it in a loud and steady voice, “LIVE, LIVE, LIVE, LIVE!” Soon Mt. Olé was resounding with the chant to LIFE! As everyone gathered to see death, they now were chanting to see LIFE, to see this unrelenting, this glorious, this innocent and unjustly accused and condemned life live, Live LIVE! 

The chanting had its effect on Rutherford and Johnny. Just as one false miracle made them, so one true miracle unmade them. Presently Dan looked up from his prayers at the sound as the chanting grew intensely loud. Rutherford was no longer what he had appeared a minute ago, but a hideous monster of half-torn off flesh and blood streaming down a blackened charcoal colored skeleton of some kind of reptilian form, and was writhing at himself with such violence and rage that many in the crowd that beheld the heinous sight turned away for fear and disgust. Johnny was less animated but no less self-destructive. He destroyed himself easily enough by shooting himself with the blaster Rutherford had dropped in his outrage, and was presently turning into an incinerated pile of ash and dust. Rutherford’s remains lay beside the pile, himself a heap of lacerated flesh and crumbled bones. 

Dan looked on in utter amazement not untinged with gratitude that the true fiends and devils were now dead and safely far away in Hell where they belonged. The crowd discontinued the chanting and closed in upon Dan to see this murderer turned miraculous prophet up close. The evening was falling on Mt. Olé, as the sun crested down over the horizon, so far away, so distant from where Dan and the crowd were on the summit, and light which glowed with a warmth and hue so soft and gentle as to be almost tangible. Dan was quite sure it was perhaps the most beautiful sunset he had ever seen.                                     

The Legend of Lu: Armageddon


The Day of Thunder

The sun had set on one more day of a dwindling week in which Tulu commissioned Dan to save as many as he could. To heed his call to abandon the false religion of the infiltrated Dome was not enough. Those who claimed fidelity to the true religion were obliged to pay homage to the source of that religion, a little tree, obscured even more so by the machinations of the Dome officials following the evil council, by which Green Gove was established to overshadow the relic of the sacred Tree by planting hundreds of others more exotic and alluring to the eye. 

After supper, the band of followers of the Academy renegade-turned-prophet came into Green Grove to where the ancient Tree was planted. 

“Not long now,” Dan said to the eleven who walked behind him. Eliot would be along shortly, so he said, after he settled the bill at Green Grove and took care of some business, before heading over to the park. The sky was ominously dark, Dan thought, like the night he first began this quest by Marie’s introduction into his life again––oh! Marie, must he remember! Dan’s heart became even heavier now upon recalling that bittersweet few days reunited with his wife, then witnessing her stolen away. He was still answering questions all the while during supper and on the walk over to Green Grove, but now Dan grew noticeably taciturn and inwardly turned. 

“Is something the matter, sir?” Mr. Pete asked in his kind and respectful way, who was walking beside Dan the whole time. 

“Oh, it’s more than I can put into words now, Pete. But look, here we are now!” The group came up on the Tree, standing humble and out of the way. A tall mysterious looking tree towered over it, with broad beautiful leaves, not a handful of yards distant. Overhead a railcar quickly approached, stopped on the platform for a second or so, then quickly sped ahead on its course at a speed. Dan noticed, but didn’t say a word. 

“What a beautiful tree!” one of the group said, a young man, dark facial hair barely visible. “It is taller than I thought!” 

“No, John. That isn’t it. That was planted by the Dome officials to eclipse the humbler source of our salvation. Look you, here,” Dan corrected, and motioned for John to look below where the real Tree was. 

“Oh, well, that is nice, too,” John said with an awkward smile then slunk in the back of the party out of view of their leader. The group now stood around the tree in a semi-circle, with Dan standing in the middle beside the Tree, and he started to address them.

“Wood from this Tree!” he began in his oratorical fashion which became him very well indeed, tapping the bark, “was hewn to make a fire of the Lord of Light-World, Lu the Illuminating! Lu was burned like a log in a stove! The Fallen ones, the Dark ones did this!” but as Dan spoke, the little crowd had grown so weary of lack of sleep and full bellies of barbecue chicken and pork-chops, they had reclined on the turf and started to doze. Dan continued for those who would try to stay alert. “The Dark ones offered Lu to their master, Ferater, as a burnt offering, not conceiving the scope of what they did. Through the Caduclui’s malefactions, the world was cleansed of the stain of blood and odor of decay, reborn into Light by all those who would swear allegiance and fealty to the Lord of Light, instead of to the Lord of Darkness. The Dome was created to facilitate this allegiance, and to promulgate the decrees and directives of the Lord of Light. Ferater’s influence was for a good while checked by the powerful stronghold of the Dome and its officials who worked the will of Lu! But time passed and a people grew weary of the traditions and truths of the Dome, and wanted change,” but as Dan spoke, he saw that only John and Mr. Pete remained awake, all the others having fallen asleep or nearly so on the soft grassy spot surrounding the sacred Tree. 

Dan let out a sigh, and, turning to Mr. Pete, he addressed him, “I suppose it’s my preaching that done it, no?”

“Oh, well, now, I think it was a stirring speech, sir, stirring!” 

“The finest of its kind,” said John, now not so sheepish. ‘The finest, Mr. Dan.” 

“Thank you both. I suppose you should probably get some rest, too, before we have to rouse the others, and start heading toward Mt. Olé.” Dan took a seat on the ground apart from the rest, and nearest the Tree. He sat in a slightly dewy earth which started to form as the warm evening air condensed on the cool blades of grass. Mr. Pete had slipped off to bed now, too, on a park bench not far from Dan, but John did not move from his spot at the back of the group. He looked at Dan intently, then at the Tree, then back at Dan. Dan was mumbling to himself.

“Say, what are you doing, Mr. Dan?” John asked, walking up to where Dan had reclined himself on the ground. 

“You don’t have to call me mister, John,” Dan said, looking up at John. “I’m practically your age, you know.” 

“You and I both know that isn’t quite right, is it?” John said, taking a seat next to Dan. “You’re old enough to be my granddaddy, though you don’t look a year older than me. So what were you doing, Dan?” 

“I was praying, John. Praying for the courage to do the will of Tulu,” Dan said, picking a dandelion and smashing its petals between his fingers. 

“What is the will of Tulu, you suppose, Dan?” John asked. 

“I don’t know. But I think I may be in serious dangers, if not death soon. I don’t know if I will be able to make it with you all to Mt. Olé,” and tossed the weed a few feet from where he and John reclined in the grass. Mr. Pete looked asleep, but was overhearing Dan and John talk from where he lay on the bench. Presently he spoke. 

“If by my life I can prevent that, sir, count on me!” Mr. Pete said, sitting up on his bench and looking affectionately at Dan. 

“If it is the will of Tulu, it can’t be prevented, nor would I will it so, Mr. Pete. But I thank you for your courage,” Dan said, and lay down and rested himself on the wet grass a little while. 

Not long after, a commotion was heard far off at the front of the park entrance, which made Dan stir from his silent prayers. He observed that John and Mr. Pete had followed the group in falling asleep, too. Lights were seen coming down the path to where they were, many lights. Soon the tumult of loud talking and boots stomping across the ground was more and more visible. It was Dome officials, weapons drawn, and Oscar Eliot at the front of the troop! Dan sat motionless and watched their approach. Finally Mr. Pete awoke, as well as the others. John woke, too, but stood off from the group behind the Tree. 

“Here, here he is,” Eliot said, walking up to the group of rebels, and pointing to Dan sitting on the ground. “Here’s your man,” and as he said so, two soldiers in Dome uniforms stepped forward, light blasters out, lights blinking and humming, but Mr. Pete popped up from the bench and sped over to stand in front of them and between Dan. 

“You’ll have to take me out of the way, before you can have him!” Mr. Pete said, now no longer soft and gentle, and stood before the armed officials like an indomitable mountainside. 

“Stand aside, old man!” one of the officials said, “Or you’ll join him on the pyre!” But Pete was resolved not to budge. A tense moment ensued, with the troop of soldiers looking about helplessly at the old man in the way of their catch, and Mr. Pete staring back at them with bright, youthful and fierce eyes. The rest of the Dan’s followers had stood aside and made way for the soldiers to pass through. John had seemingly run away at the first sight of blasters, but was but a few trees down out of sight. Dan spoke.

“Stand down, Pete. It is Tulu’s will. Stand down,” in somber tones. Pete hesitated, but slowly moved aside to all the soldiers to pass by. They grabbed Dan and hoisted him up by his collar of his shirt which was dimly sparkling in the park lights. 

“Now’s our hour, glitter boy,” one of the soldiers said, and beat Dan over the head with the stock of his blaster pistol. Dan let out a faint groan, then fell fast into unconsciousness. 

Dan awoke to a bucket of big ice chunks and water thrown into his face, which pelted violently against his skull. 

“Wakey, wakey, mister fakey!” came a voice so cruel and familiar to Dan, that he tried to look up, but disbelief mixed with horror prevented his doing so immediately. He was also still recovering from the ice chunks. “It’s time to have that chat, now, glitter-boy!” and another dowse of ice water fell on his head. Dan looked up but didn’t lift his head. He was in the mirror room, again. His hands and feet were restrained behind him and to the metal chair. He couldn’t move even if he wanted to. 

Looking up a little more, he perceived the identity of his assailant: Johnny Smith! “Impossible!” Dan thought. But there he was, John Smith, standing before him with an empty bucket in one hand and something like a rod of metal in the other, standing over Dan with a sickening grin on his face. The room was reflecting his impossible image to infinity, as Dan’s head dropped down, and he closed his eyes again, but spoke.

“You’re a dream. You’re not real. You’re dead,” Dan said, in a cold, realist tone. “My wife killed you.” 

“Wrong again, bucko!” and cracked Dan up side the head with the empty metal bucket, which sent him to the floor with a crash, his hands and feet still tightly bound. He must have lost consciousness again, because the next thing he knew he was sitting again chair upright, and Johnny was not in the mirror room anymore. 

Dan looked around. Just another interrogation room, empty except for himself. He looked at himself. Blood was all on one side of his face, flowing freely from where Jonny, or his imposter, had hit him. “Thy will be done, Tulu, thy will,” Dan mumbled, and then dropped his chin on his chest and closed his eyes again. 

Presently the glass door cracked open, revealing the form of a man Dan would have been equally startled to see as he was Johnny: it was the Commander from Central City, whom Dan knew to be Rutherford from his dream-vision, standing now before him. 

“Hello, Cadet Daniel Goodman. I trust we are meeting your expectations as an up and coming prophet for our times!” Rutherford said with a chuckle. Dan opened his eyes and looked up. It was Rutherford all right. The hat with the double SS and I, the sandy gray hair, and those black eyes glaring down at him. 

“No, you are not. I thought I’d be dead by now,” Dan said, as cold as before. 

“Oh, no, no. You are not going to get away that easy. No, we here at the Dome have something very special in store for you! We wouldn’t want to start the barbecue without you perfectly conscious, and able to feel every last skin cell on your body sizzle and burn to a crisp!” Rutherford said with snarl, and bent down to Dan’s ear as he did so to articulate every heinous syllable. “That is, of course, if you insist upon this business of spreading lies and falsehoods about the Dome and the Viceroy!” and put his hand on Dan’s shoulder. “Otherwise, it might go more pleasantly for you if you cease and desist,” and gently patted Dan on where he was holding and leaned back up, but still loomed over him.

“Why aren’t you dead, Rutherford! I killed you!” Dan said, now shooting a look up into Rutherford’s face. 

“I am, and Metro City knows it! That is why my coming back will be so winning for our cause! Dome Official slain in the line of duty miraculously raised from the dead by Viceroy Guth! The headline will run, I think,” and gave out another menacing chuckle. 

“You’re dead and I know that!” Dan shouted up at Rutherford, bound as ever. 

“Easy, now, easy! We wouldn’t want anyone else to hear you say that, would we? I was dead. That’s all you know, kid!” but as he spoke, Dan was loosening his bonds without him noticing, and was very soon free at his hands. The Commander from Central City went on. “We need a miracle or two at present, and the Dome will see it done. We also need a burnt offering, and you fit the bill, buddy boy!” and poked at Dan with his index finger in chest, which Dan with a rush of force grabbed, along with Rutherford’s hand as well, and twisted violently such that the Commander fell to his knees in whimpering pain before Dan, who was still tied to the chair at his legs. 

“Tell me, now, Commander! Who are you! I know you’re not Rutherford. I cracked his skull on the concrete. You’re an imposter!” and torqued more so, that Rutherford, or whoever he was, cried out in agony, but spoke nothing. “Very well, then say good bye to a working right arm!,” and was about to wring it to the point of snapping, when all of a sudden the glass door cracked open and Johnny, or someone who looked and sounded identical to that old villain, rushed in and bashed Dan’s head with the metal rod he wielded earlier, which sent Dan to the floor again, and made him lose consciousness. 

When Dan awoke, this time he was standing on a trailer hitched to a glider, which hovered silently above the desert floor just outside of Metro City. A multitude of citizens, Dome Academy instructors, students, and parents, and many Officials in black uniform were in attendance. Dan was stupefied at the size of the crowd. It appeared as though three-quarters of the city’s population was present. Looking about himself Dan beheld that he was tightly tied to a pole of some kind. He looked up, it was six feet above his head, and below him he stood upon a great many bundles of kindling. 

“Dome Officials, Academy Personnel, Men, Women, Children!” rang out voice from another platform hitched to another glider. It was Rutherford’s voice. “It is with great gratitude that I have here today the beneficent father and benefactor of my miraculous revitalization. His Humility and Grace, Viceroy Guth!” and Dan heard an outpouring of fanfare he’d never heard of in his life. The full ceremonial guard had quite escaped his observation before. As it rang out, he saw processing down Metro City street toward the edge of town Viceroy Guth, or whom Dan thought to be so, all in a golden-rose vestment of dazzling beauty, and an elaborately decorated head device that made his person appear eight feet tall, all in gold interwoven in floral pattern.

Viceroy Guth processed up to where Commander Rutherford was aloft a speaking platform, and, with the help of a Dome official, arose to it with a step and bowed to Rutherford. Rutherford fell to his knees, and payed homage to the Viceroy, and then arose to his feet and bowed again and addressed the crowd. 

“This is, indeed, a day on which Metro City is honored beyond its ability to be justly thankful. Viceroy Guth, Lord of the World, has come here upon hearing of my suffering death at the hands of this, this…” here Rutherford looked with disgust at his supposed murderer and went on, “This fiend from Hell! This blood-bathed devil! To work a wondrous thing! To save me from the empty oblivion that awaits us all! I’ve seen it, and there is nothing, I tell you, more after this life!” at this the crowd gave out a collective shutter, and Rutherford went on. “It is true! Believe it! That’s why we must offer this murderer in atonement for our ailments,” and the people looked about themselves, then back at Rutherford with a puzzlement openly on their faces. 

Dan was watching and listening, while also trying to loosen the rope that bound him to the wooden pole, but it wouldn’t budge. Rutherford went on. 

“A body dies if a cancerous tissue is left to fester and devour the remaining healthy flesh! All we have is this body! There is nothing else! Daniel Goodman is a cancer, and he must be cut out! No, he must be burned out! Or we all perish by his deceptions and curses against the Dome and everything it stands for, and against!” at this the crowd seem to be swayed by the medical metaphor, and became sympathetic to the the executioner’s deranged religion. “Life must go on! Even if we don’t! Metro City must go on! Humanity must go on! Even if Daniel Goodman doesn’t!” The crowd burst into a thunderclap of applause, but soon Rutherford motioned for them to quiet and let him speak again. “I want to ask the good Viceroy Guth to speak to you a few words,” and bowed low and handed the Viceroy the megaphone-like device he was speaking into. 

Viceroy Guth shimmered in the evening sun, pale pink like his own garb. Looking out over the enormous crowd, he spoke, not in a voice Dan exactly expected, if he even knew what to expect from an imposter Viceroy’s oration. 

“Friends! I’ve come down from Central City because my friend was killed by an Academy cadet and Metro City was in need of mercy and justice. It was a mercy that I raised my friend, Commander Rutherford from the grave. And it is justice that now I preside over his killer’s execution,” here the crowd clapped and hooted, but then became silent again for the Viceroy to speak. “There is an ancient practice, so long since it was employed, of burning at the stake. Such a punishment was exacted only for the most dire crimes, one such being an attack on the Viceroy or his personnel. As you are aware, Rutherford was my right hand man, and had come to Metro City to seek out and apprehend an especially dangerous enemy agent. He was successful in completing his mission with the termination of the enemy agent, but was brutally killed in the line of duty doing so by this young man before you, former Cadet Daniel Goodman,” and pointed his finger at Dan who was looking and listening attentively at his speech. “Therefore, it is my grave duty that I pronounce judgement against this Daniel Goodman as guilty of murder of a Dome official, and I sentence him to be burned at the stake until he is ash and is no more!” The crowd thundered again with deafening applause.  

As it happened, Mr. Pete and John were in attendance, though they kept a low profile. John wanted to shout out, “What about a fair trial!” or “It ain’t murder if the man lives!” but Mr. Pete, half guessing his thoughts, held him back and motioned to keep quiet. The others were gone. Eliot Oscar was also in attendance, but only looked on without feeling a thing. Dan had no idea. He thought he was alone, and looked about for anyone to come to his aid to refute the falsehoods, unveil the deceptive wool over everyone’s eyes, and cut him free from the fire wood at his back. No one came. He looked again at the hitched-up speaking platform from which Viceroy Guth and Commander Rutherford spoke. For the first time he noticed who it was who would be in the driver seat of glider that would pull his trailer: Johnny Smith! “I should have known,” Dan said to himself with a huff, and watched the sun silently sink down behind the mountain range.      

In the Eye of the Beholder

There was a time, not so long ago, when one received a happy helping of self-loathing upon entering into a department store. This effect was induced in the shopper by the displays set all around, like so many holy reminders of what one was not: you are not fit; you are not well groomed; you are not joyful (where’s your smile like that supermodel’s?); and so forth, until the marketing scheme achieved its mission, and you walked out with a pair of shoes or shirt you didn’t need so as to feel a little less worthless.  

But, as of late, I’ve noticed a trend change in the marketing scheme, much to my dismay. Perhaps you’ve noticed, too? It is the trend now in at least a few stores I have had the misfortune of stepping into to display, not Aphrodite incarnate, in light and harmonious form, borne aloft by sea mist to bring you a bottle of perfume. No, no, that just won’t do. What we are met with now is a woman nearly as round as tall, in skin-tight denim one fears is about to burst at the seams, and usually accompanied by her equally fat friends, and hanging out (who knows why) on some street corner or other urban setting.  

Now say what you like for the former, that it demoralizes woman, makes them despair of their true form or their woman-within or whatever, that it’s consumerist and promotes superficial beauty, but I say (if I may) that the former marketing approach is more in line with Christian morality, nay, that it is actually a holy and good thing altogether, and that the latter marketing ploy is evil, birthed from Hell, a stratagem of Satan himself to damn souls, if not to an eternity, at least to a natural life of misery, moral destitution, and hypertension. 

You see, whereas before the stores made you look up to some ideal beauty or image or idol of glamor, now you are encouraged to look no further than your own fat waist line. Though the former was coercive in its method, sneakily insinuating that you need that pink blouse to look good, the latter is so ugly, fat and lazy as almost to discourage purchasing anything at all—who would want to buy a pair of jeans if it made you look like that?!. One is perhaps inclined to believe that the new advertisement is not so much a marketing device as a piece of propaganda, a machine for mind control and manipulation of the social and psychological order, a way, in a word, to fashion a new proletariat for the new world order. Maybe, but I overstep my thesis by implying as much.

But the effect the new method does have without a doubt is that you have room to grow in your sin as you do in your pants. You need not self-loath anymore. That’s so 90s, with SlimFast and workout VHSs. Eat, drink, and be as heavy as a mini cow. Your kind is accepted here. The effect induced from this new method in the shopper is quite the reverse of the old, at least for the immoral shopper. She is happy with herself, either because the stores finally carry her size, or because she is pleased she’s not so fat as all that, and secretly is well-pleased with her own superiorly smaller shape. In other words, the new method makes one either gluttonous, slothful, or proud, all of which are deadly sins. 

What is true in the realm of clothing stores is also true in the area of doctrine, which preceded it, just as the soul precedes the body. Just as aesthetic relativism is sweeping the marketplace today, calling fat fashionable, so in the early 1900s, moral relativism was sweeping Europe and America—no doubt the machinations of Freemasonry, though with Enlightenment origins, if not ancient and more evil ones, like Lucifer. This new relativism would change the way people thought about God, the World, and the Self, reducing truth to a subjective experience instead of an objective thing “out there” beyond one’s own conception or opinion. But it is not my object to retell the story of philosophical relativism here, but to point out how the philosophical assumptions and reprogramming by the literati and intellectual elite of the 20th century have changed the way your mother or father or any other family member or friend thinks. 

In an unhappy instance of this, I was recently in correspondence with one I thought of goodwill who wanted to be a Catholic, but soon afterward decided against it, and instead wanted to become a schismatic. I was heavy hearted upon hearing this, and suggested this person read some G.K. Chesterton, particularly his works touching upon conversion to the Catholic Church.  Chesterton, who converted late in life, noted that, “To become a Catholic is not to leave off thinking, but to learn how to think.” He was well-acquainted with the moral relativists of his day, and did verbal battle with them often. The solution to the problem of relativism, as is implied by the quote above, was to become Catholic, to give some ground and solidity to one’s convictions about God, the World, and the Self; to ground one’s thought, not on one’s own limited experience, but on the collective experience of Tradition and the Faith, or the Thing, as Chesterton lovingly refers to it. That is why one only starts to think when one becomes a Catholic, because otherwise one’s thought begins from false starting points, be it materialism (all is matter), like so many scientists do, or relativism, like everyone else does who is outside the Church. And that is just where my correspondent began, in relativism, which is why he ended in error and outside the Church and inside a sect. 

In order to have some kind of success in restoring the Church, in the sense of increasing its numbers by ushering people into the Ark of Salvation before Judgment Day, we Catholics must first recognize that people do not think anymore, they merely mix or group things together. To think is to begin with a fact, and from that fact, to connect it to another term by something in common between them both. But this is not what relativists do. They are contented with just placing things side by side, and letting the proximity of each to each replace the act of conviction, of asserting this is that. Thus, coming back to my unhappy correspondent, liturgy and valid orders were mixed up with or grouped together with Christ’s Church. And so, although the individual did not say valid orders or liturgy was the Church, the mixing together of the terms (but not connecting them!) was sufficient to convince my correspondent that the sect to which he hoped to belong was the Church. Had he stopped to give thought to the subject, connecting one fact with another fact by some middle fact between them, he wouldn’t have blundered so badly. 

I do not think it is too late for him, nor indeed anyone, to convert, especially during this holy season of Lent, when so many graces fill the air, as it were by prayers, alms, and penances offered up like sweet incense to Heaven. But I do insist that one must have a basic grasp of thought, of the right use of the intellective faculty, in order to be converted to Christ. True, Faith is first, then understanding. But there is required of us all the act of the intellect to recognize the true religion, the true Church, and then to submit to Her in obedience of Faith. Teaching others this human skill of thought is key in the battle for souls. Otherwise we few who fight for the salvation of our neighbor shadowbox figments of the imagination, and all our attempts at evangelization end in frustration and failure.      

The Legend of Lu: Armageddon


The Day of the Herald

The pale blue light gave way to a rising sun, a single shaft of light from which flowed in through the doors and illuminated Dan where he stood in the center of the crowd, now gazing about in dumb amazement, though at least not blankly. Presently their eyes began to alight on Dan, who looked back at them all, who were still fanned out in their circular formation of the court yard. He looked intently at them all, as a father might look at his children, and emotion welled up into his throat which prevented his addressing them at once. Murmurings arose amidst the circular throng of three-hundred and thirty-three men, women, and teenagers, many Dan’s earth age or slightly older or younger. There were no young children. Dan spoke through the emotion in his throat anyway.

“I know not by what force or fate has brought you here to Domardor, but know this, it is a happy chance that you’re here with me!” said Dan addressing the crowd, which had a considerable stir on them. Some asked, “Who’s this?” or “He’s…I’ve seen him before..” but Dan did not allow the murmuring to continue. He broke into it again with the rest of his allocution: “You’ve been brought here, I say, either by good for good, or by evil for evil, but know now that you are free to choose which side. Those who hear and heed my words may yet live. Those who do not, will surely die!” and upon this last syllable all of Domardor filled with the sound, such were the beautiful architectural acoustics of the structure. The crowd now stirred and murmured even more, yet more quietly, as to hear the enthralling speech. “You’ve grown lukewarm, and in your tepidity you’ve allowed evil and dark to surround you and eclipse the Light! Even now this world stands on the brink of annihilation, like as at the foot of a smoking volcano,” Dan paused, to allow the words to sink in within the minds of his audience. “Death, death! Death is at the door. Death’s knocking, though you’ve grown deaf to its knocks! Death’s…” 

“Oh! Come off it, already!” came the voice of a middle-aged man standing in the front of the formation. Dan noticed him from the crowd even before he spoke out and interrupted, by the way the man looked around while Dan spoke, instead of listening. “Who do you think you are, anyway? You ain’t a Dome official or something! That ain’t no uniform I’ve ever seen!” The man did have a point. Dan was blazing with the shimmering light of the rising sun as he spoke, and to the crowd he must have looked dazzlingly bright, like one on fire, in the dark Domardor court, where the only light allowed in was falling squarely and alone on Dan. “What you blowing on about, glitter-boy! Where’s your credentials! Huh?” Dan hadn’t thought about the fact that these people could not be compelled by reason to listen to him. They needed a sign, for the Dome held such sway over their minds, such that the ancient Guides and Creeds no longer meant anything to them. Considering this for a while, he did not speak right away, which made the middle-aged man in the front irritated and impatient, and prompted him to start to leave through the open doors. “This’s joke! The boy’s a charlatan if ever there was. I’m blowin’ this place! Who’s with me?” A time for a sign was now, Dan realized, for the man was gaining a little sect of followers who were making their way toward the door. 

Another spoke up, more young than the middle-aged man but older than Dan by a decade or so, well-dressed, presumably of higher social status by the manner of his appearance and speech. “Hold on, now. Let us hear him through to the end. These are strange circumstances I’d say, which might warrant a little credulity. Why, I don’t recall how I came to be here, nor why. All I remember is sitting, dining alone at my corner café, then setting out on my way home, then waking, as it were, here in this building listening to this young man speak. I’d say that is a justifiable circumstance to at least listen to him to catch his meaning, right?” asked the man, looking about himself in the crowd as he spoke. His small spark of reason ignited a flicker of hope in Dan, as much of the crowd signaled their approval of these words with an applause, with “Hear, hear him out!,” being the general accord. Dan took up his exhortation again.

“Death, I was saying, is upon you. In only a few days, this Domardor will be destroyed and all of Metro City and the world with it!” There were a considerable number of exclamations of dread at this, but more exclamations of incredulity were perhaps countable. “Believe it. This Saturday, those who would accompany me to Mt. Olé may live. Those who deny me and remain below shall surely perish in the great flood of fire that awaits this world!” Again, more murmuring, but divided more sharply now among the crowd, with an observable count of those who believed Dan and those who did not. 

“Who are you anyway?” one older woman asked. She struck Dan as sincere yet very slow to believe anyone who would threaten world destruction without so much as an introduction of himself. 

“A fair and reasonable question, ma’am,” Dan said, now, for the first time directing his words toward an individual. “I am Daniel Goodman. I was formerly a member of the Academy in training to be an Official of the Dome, yet Heaven intervened, and I was shown my folly. I have been sent by the Lady of Light Herself,” and here Dan motioned upward toward the vault, “to give you this message. May you believe it.” This seemed to agree with the older lady, as she asked no more, and stood there contented, though obviously uncomfortable from the standing. 

“I knew it! I knew I’ve seen you before!” another voice rang out from the crowd. A younger lady, about the age of Dan actually, who was making her way toward the front of the formation to get a better look at Dan. The sunlight was now cresting above the doorway entry, such that the light was growing less impressive. Dan sparkled less. “You’re that fugitive the Info Screens were blabbering about! You remember, right?” Here the young woman looked about herself to get approval and recognition from the crowd, “a few days ago? The announcement read, if I recall, this Daniel Goodman is a fugitive of Dome authorities. He’s crazy, and dangerous!” 

“Now this fugitive is thought to be connected with two gruesome murders at the edge of the City, according to one broadcast!” came another voice, a young man, also about Dan’s age. Dan’s heart started to beat quite fast now, and wondered how to explain all of it to the crowd. He knew it would be impossible, since the evidence against him didn’t look good, and was quickly mounting to a unanimous verdict of “Guilty!” He tried to speak all the same.

“I’m no fugitive. I was being held against my will at the Dome. I fled for my life, with my wife…” This last detail was a regrettable slip of indiscretion. 

“Your wife?” came a taunting voice from the back. “What, your imaginary girlfriend? Give me a break, this kid,” and another, “You’re just old enough to drive, and you have a wife?”

“I am married, well, was married. Marie was murdered by one of the men I had to defend myself against,” Dan said.

“Wait a second! The news report didn’t mention anything about no woman body! What you do, bury her I suppose?” came one of the voices that had spoken out before with a chuckle. This put Dan in even more of a quagmire of details and facts he was very not likely to escape from unscathed. Dan went on dauntless.

“I was married, and she was murdered!” Dan shot back, now brought down from the height of a prophet to that of a defendant. “After that, I defended myself and fled into the desert. There I was visited by Tulu, who gave me the message you have heard!” Dan’s voice had lost much of its potency and the crowd sensed it. A moment or two only intervened when the middle-aged man, who had hung around a while longer, started to make his way again toward the door, and as he walked, spoke up again.

“Not a charlatan. The boy’s mad as a hatter! Tulu! Ha! And dangerous too! I’m out of here!” and as he left a considerable number walked out behind him. The sun had now cleared the lintel of the doors, rising higher into another steel blue morning. Dan stood in fading, reflected light, almost gone, with only a third of his sheepfold left, a hundred and eleven.                

Any right-minded and good-willed person would do what Dan did next. He reflected upon his past days, most extraordinary and one might say impossible, were one not possibly able to believe in the miraculous or fantastical nature of reality. Dan was able to so believe, and did so, which he could not, without violation to his primary principles and core beliefs discount as lunacy or superstition. He believed in Tulu just as sure as he believed he had a mother, though he never met her. He believed in the Lights just as sure as he believed in the power that propelled the railcars down the lines with such speed, though such power, like the Lights, were invisible. In a word, he believed, and that prevented him from remaking his own valid memory into a fictional nightmare. He was not insane; the world was. He did not lie; the world did. He was true; the world was false. 

But the dwindled crowd wasn’t privy to such interior memories and rationale. All they knew was that they woke up unaccountably in an ancient temple staring at a fugitive, murderer, and lunatic by all accounts, who was preaching to them that the world was about to end, on the word of a private correspondence from a fabled or mythological mother of god. From the point of view of the crowd, the thing strained belief to say the least, and it was a miracle in itself that the hundred and eleven persons that did stay stayed at all! Whether because of a crushingly strong curiosity, or good-will gone mad itself, the crowd did stay and attend to what Dan had to say more. 

“I thank you for hearing me out, though I dare not hope that you believe a word of what I say, as the case against he is both compelling and damning,” Dan said, his vigor of voice somewhat restored. “I know what I say sounds crazy! And I know the facts around the events and movements of my past few days has been suspect at best, and downright culpable at worst. I understand your hesitation to believe anything I say more,” this did little to even stir the crowd, as it seemed to Dan they grew impatient and only remained to hear something of interest to their curiosity. “There’s more to my story, which actually touches upon the reason for your presence here in this place.”

“Go on! I would like to hear an explanation of that enigma!” said an anonymous voice, though Dan thought it sounded rather familiar. 

“You are, as it were, bought and paid for. You were brought here––though I know not by what craft or why it was allowed to be, either through assent or deception––that I might preach to you, but am able to now but for a price. You were ensnared and in the bonds of darkness. Now you are free and in the Light!” the last finding itself rather difficult to hit home with Dan’s audience, since, as a fact, no one was in the light just presently. Domardor had grown quite dark, the sun being too much at a severe angle to brighten the interior. 

“By what were we ensnared?” asked a voice, not hostile in tone, but wavering in belief. 

“By the Fallen Ones, the Caduclui!” responded Dan. 

“The Caduclui?” said the same voice, “The Dome teaches that’s all allegorical and figures of speech! I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been ensnared by a metaphor, let alone a simile!” this brought a little wave of snickering from the crowd, but soon died down.

“The Dome lies!” said Dan, and nothing, perhaps, had he spoke sounded so absurd as that last sentence. The bedrock and foundation of all order, truth, beauty and wisdom lies? Absurd, and not only that, asinine and grossly arrogant. 

“The Dome lies, you say?” came another, rather heated and quite hostile, “And I suppose you were given all knowledge and wisdom and prophecy and truth! Bah, not only a charlatan and lunatic but also a megalomaniac! That’s it. I’m out,” and made his way toward the doors still quite open and wide and departed. Dan saw that he was someone from the Academy, from a physics course he thought, very bright, good marks, but Dan quite forgot his name.

“I did not say so. All I know I’ve received. You’ve been deceived. And what you do know is not from the Dome as it was understood, believed, and taught a half century ago! The Caduclui have infiltrated the ranks of the Dome officials, and set them to work against the dictates of revealed truth! I know not by what to convince you of this, if reason sway you no way, but read, study, the ancient Guides and Creeds; do not take my word for it!” Dan said, addressing the crowd with all sincerity. 

“Read the ancients! And do a comparative study of what was taught to what is? In a few days before we’re destroyed as you say? Which is it? Study or make our way to Mt. Olé? Can’t be both!” came another voice, of a young woman of twenty or so, with a smart and keen look about her. 

“No hour is guaranteed. We all sit in the defendant’s chair at every moment of our lives, the verdict ever pending according to our action, yet death may come as quick as a gavel fall, and we’re powerless to plead a word more on our behalf before the coming Judge!” Dan said.

“Then what do we do, sir? Believe every word you say, though nothing recommends you, or go our own way and risk losing our lives?” returned the young lady with a keen sense. 

“Look about you. What do you see? A museum! An artifact of amusement and Sunday entertainment! Nothing more,” here Dan gestured broadly about himself, still standing in the direct middle of Domardor. “Where’s the Altar of Fire? Where’s the sweet odor of sacrifice arising heavenward? Extinguished! No more! And the Guides little more now than a polite list of recommended manners, the and ancient Creeds but the remnants of a bygone and gullible age,” the truth of what Dan spoke inspired not a few with at least consideration on their surroundings and habits of religious observance. The crowd that remained were mostly temple going people, and so they knew as well as Dan that what he said was true. Some, though, liked it that way. “The incense,” they would say, “get in my face! I’m glad they’re gone!” Others missed the sacrificial incense, but were quite happy to part with the dusty old-fashioned Guides, which put a hamper on their particular vices. Still others were quite disappointed that the incense and Guides were gone, but were satisfied with the pollution and distortion of meaning of the sacred Creeds, as this provided ample opportunity to remake the world according to their own beliefs. All these, though, of course were of a generation that preceded the Usurping Council to which Dan referred. The young who followed it had no such preferences or convictions. They were the remodeled ones, the reformed ones, the new and brighter future. The keen young lady was one such. 

“Where religious sacrifice, moral codes, and cramped creeds have ever been, in the past!” said the keen young lady. “We are now and we are the future. The past is gone and buried!” 

“This is not about the past or the future or the now, just as such distinctions about the passage of time do not bear upon claims of natural or revealed truth! Is it true or no, that is the question; not what day of the week it is––or what century!” Dan shot back, but to little avail, as the young lady with the keen look was already walking out of the wide open doors. 

One by one, the majority of those gathered around Dan left the same way, though perhaps for different reasons. Each in his or her turn expressed interest in what Dan said, and would even go so far as to believe in the merits of what he said, but would finally depart for one of his or her pet preferences, either in ceremony, morals, or beliefs. Of the three hundred and three, all but twelve departed Dan. Domardor was now quite bare and empty and dark, as it was midday now, and the large group that gathered in the night had dwindled down to a little handful of followers, each of whom stood or sat close to Dan, still circled around him, though becoming weary and tired from the long night and morning. There the group sat in the empty vastness of the court yard, though shadows crept, slithering round the pillars unseen.      

Dan sat amidst the group, answering questions as best he could about himself, about Tulu, the Lights, and even about his past life in Aerlan, the details on that score were rather sparse. And he spoke about the coming wrath and judgment to his followers. These were, as a rule, young, about his age, with one exception: the railcar conductor, the same one in fact who awoke Dan at the end of the West Red Line. Though he still wore his conductor uniform––black with white trim and an official looking cap of the same material––Dan remembered him without it. He was elderly indeed, almost eighty, which perhaps explained why he and Dan got along so well. 

“I’ve lived too long to see the truth of all you’ve said, sir, about the Dome,” he said in his humble and soft tone. “In my time, why, I’ve seen the same thing condemned, and ten years later praised. I’ve seen our religious pomp displayed with such mirth and joy and merry-making one day, and, the next, thrown down to the ground and trampled neath their feet and made to ask forgiveness for it from the ugly world! I knew that Council was rotten. I just didn’t know anyone else thought so, too,” said the conductor, whom the little group now knew to be Mr. Peter, though they all just called him Mr. Pete. He was reclining as best he could on the cold, stone floor of Domardor, though quite uncomfortable and weary as Dan could see, and most likely famished.   

“Let’s get something to eat. What would you all say to that barbecue bar and grill place just down the street from here? What’s it called?” said Dan, and another, a middle-aged woman of about forty, who was married though her husband did not appear to be one of the twelve, asked, “Grove Grill?”

“That’s it! After we convene there to have some supper, I would like to show you a very special tree in Green Grove just a little ways from there.” The twelve were rather thankful and pleased at this suggestion, and all decided to leave Domardor, and retire to the eatery for refreshment. As they got up to leave, one of the twelve suggested calling ahead, as the group was large, and accommodations would be wanting without doing so. 

“Right! Good thinking. Please do,” Dan said, and the young man, Oscar Eliot, an underclassman from the Academy actually, whom Dan knew by appearance, though not personally, went ahead of the group to the Grove Grill to make preparations. As they all filtered out into the evening, Dan was the last one to close the doors. But as he did so, he noticed movement inside, and turned to count the heads. “Eleven outside, plus Eliot who’s gone ahead. No one should be inside,” he said to himself after counting. He returned inside and had a look around, only to see no one about. “Oh well. I guess my old eyes are playing tricks on me,” he said again to himself with a chuckle, and returned toward the door to exit and followed the others to Grove Grill, but as he did so, a shadow slithered past his notice, and went ahead of him and the eleven, out into the gathering gloom of twilight.