Oh! The day was bright. A sound came upon the earth, and the Ardenwood itself bent and screamed, and the sky was rent with light. Such a tear it was, horizon to horizon, and from that fiery scar, a great heavenly host rode forth on steeds of smoke and ash. And at the head of that host was enthroned a bright queen, and her hair was like liquid gold, and star-fire was on her brow.
The great masters of this world drew up their spears and locked forearms in alliance. They rallied their armies to them, and girded themselves with battle lust. Ten times ten thousand men rode out to meet that host, all thick-armed soldiers from the seven great nations of this world. They rattled the earth with their passing, by God. I still remember the sound.
And all those ten times ten thousand men were rent into pieces and the pieces were tramped into the earth, and the soil was burned, and their bones were smashed to powder and fed to the soil. For that Queen was true Royalty, and not the pale and sluggish imitation of our former kings. Within her blazing tongue was the power of the holy Septagrammaton, and it’s name was the Glory.
The first to go was our ignorance. For even our greatest and wisest could not have foreseen that ours was a story told a hundred thousand times or more. None could have seen that terrible red corpse city, and its inhuman masters, whose exhalation was death. The next to go were our laws. The tablets of our old prophets were ground to dust and the law of the Bright Queen was raised in their place. It was a molten law, an absolute law, and touching it brought swift and painful death.
In the end, creation itself was stripped from us. Wolves in the shape of men and things more awful belched forth from the fiery wound in the sky. They had iron boots and smooth fingers made for rubbing gold, and their bellies were always empty, and full of cruel and inhuman laughter. They ate up all the Ardenwood, and stripped it bare, and then they slurped all the rivers up, and the hills were scorched with acrid smoke. The valley dells where the beasts of the wood gathered were ripped asunder, and the beasts were ripped into a million parts and sold piecemeal to make women’s trinkets.
As for our kings, they were gelded and flayed. They were treated no better than the beasts in the end.