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Shrine of the Four Powers
As Seen at Rose Priory, in the Shadow of Cruach Mhor by the Dazzled Peepers of a Clockwork Mind in Far, Misty Angelsey

It was so odd a feeling to stand, tiny, made of flesh, Abbey-bathed, robed in Cistercian white, after a life of sweat and grime in the turnip fields. The otherworldly sensation brought David’s head to spinning—but the domed vault above steadied his mind…

The ceiling was domed and hung with moons, the lamps betwixt him and them playing weirdly on the inverse ivory heaven, representing the unseen omniscience of Our Lord God Almighty, the vault imparting the spirit of the Father and the hanging globes that of The Holy Ghost.

His crown of thorns a few feet beneath the orbiting moon globes, hung with mummified and dyed cherry blossom petals, the carven image of the bearded, autumn-haired Savior, staked with titanic beams, wrought from the twin battering rams of Gog and Magog, to the granite mountains, rising on the far shore of the Euxine Sea, tiny monks with bills and hooks harvesting the flesh form his legs, others tapping the lance wound in his side to fill a chain of chalice amphora, The Savior looked piteously down toward the entrant to the shrine, the archway of which gaped between his legs.

Over his crown of thorns read, in crimson ink:

Merciful Jesus, I consecrate myself here and hereafter to Your Most Sacred Heart. May Your Sacred Heart implore that I ever love you more. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus—I trust in you, believe in your love, have mercy on us! Meek and humble of heart—Jesus, make my heart like Your Heart! Amen.

Over the gabled, entrance of the Shrine of the Earthly Four, beneath the Savior’s tattered masonry loincloth, where the Four Quarters of the world residing beneath the Holy Trinity were enshrined, crawled wandering calligraphy of green tile, dazzling the boy’s mind and drawing him in:

Oh Four Sacred Powers, so close to Our Divine Savior, with great humility, I kneel before you, implore you to intercede on behalf of weak-willed Man, before the Throne of The Almighty, that he may hear our pleas for protection. Amen.

Rising from his calloused and flattened knees, David entered in awe. Something about being a turnip boy, about being a child of dirt and toil, drew him to this less awesome, more intimate precinct of the priory. As his tiny, sandaled feet scraped the marble-tiled floor awkwardly, shod for the first time, the wickedly booted feet of the Rosicrucian glided silently behind, so that he did not know that the man stopped at the shrine entrance from the capturing of sound by ear, but KNEW it by some other sense.

To the right, carved of pure ivory, draped elegantly in cloth of rose—lush like felt, so that he wished to stroke it, but stayed his curious hand—stood the Mystical Rose, Virgin Mother of The Savior. Reading from the rose petal script inscribed on the hem of her dress, he mouthed the prayer, unwilling to soil the sanctuary with sound:

Our Lady of the Rose, make intercession for Holy Church, benefice the Meek, protect our Sovereign Pope, gather all Christian souls under your tearless veil, your motherly hope, sweetening the bitterness of cruel life with burning charity and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.

To the left, clothed in wide robe and green cloak stood Saint Jude Thaddeus, his script framed in his white halo, spelled with simple, block, yellow tile:

Name of traitor cloaking you, Patron of Things Despaired, pray for the miserable, turn your beloved Savior’s caring eyes Dearthward, focus the saving light on Tribulation’s forlorn Orphans. Amen.

Deeper in the shrine, stood Saint Martin, straddling the bones of the ancient dead, having shed his cloak of enemy skins for the scarlet of The Savior’s Passion, his horsehair crested helmet crowned with heavy, iron lettering:

Vigilant Knight of Christ, born under pagan ways, chosen to raise the Glory of God, chosen Bishop of Tours, scion of ancient Mars, bane of satanic forces, your austerities bring the strength of Old Rome under the Holy Spirit to the relief of Christendom. Amen.

Looming over all was the angelic, turquoise-armored form of golden-haired Michael, in whose form the clockwork mind saw a glimmer of pagan sun worship and submerged that unreconcilable notion as he read the brilliant lapis lazuli script spanning the vault above the godlike form of the Archangel:

Defender of Christendom, Prince of the Heavenly Host, who cast Lucifer into The Pit and protects Man from the snares of the Devil, from the wickedness of the evildoers who stalk the earth, may you protect us from the ruin of our souls. Amen.

David stood and thought, tiny and keen-minded, beneath the graven images of the Four Earthly Powers and he heard them cry, for they could sense, with their ancient empathies, that the great heart that, far Beyond the Pale, at World’s End, nailed to the mountain which did hold back the Powers of Darkness, beat off cue... and that the monks, with their ever-thirsty chalice amphorae, winced as the Blood of God slowed its flow, from a gush of relief to a groaning trickle.

And he knew why the Rosicrucian stood at the door behind him, watching with his cold eyes of murder, why he had been plucked from a turnip patch by the seventh most ominous human force in Christendom, the man who caused princes to shiver on their thrones when he brought the Holy See’s will to their temporal dais.

All of a sudden, David Able Saul, recalled and rectified the seven poor books and the one great Bible read under Father Schyl’s care of mind, brushing aside the troubling memory of the frightened look in the priest’s piggish eyes when David had finished reading the seven-volume parish library and the Bible, both bound in wooden panels larger than he, in the time it took the rest of the children to learn how to spell their name—not a one ever advancing to a reading in their brief time aschool…

He looked up at the towering form of the evil man who seemed to guard him like the gargoyle jealously warding evil from the crumbling heap of stone where he had learned to read. It occurred then—with a start that made the darkly clad man wince as he regarded little David—that this wolf among the human fold had no better chance of staying Satan’s hand from David’s throat than that granite gargoyle had of staying Time’s hand from tumbling and crumbling the limestone blocks where a pig-eyed priest had once awakened a clockwork mind to the delicately choreographed world.

He: Gilgamesh: Into the Face of Time

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