Friday, 22 May 2015
posted on 5/22/2015 by the Salt City Sinner
“And these you shall detest among the birds; they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon of any kind, every raven of any kind, the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind, the little owl, the cormorant, the short-eared owl...” – Leviticus 11 : 13 – 20
Frater Xango Mangosteen hunches over the dead seagull, its entrails spread before him in an ugly, glittering bouquet.
Though his augury usually provides only the general outlines of things to come, shrouded in possibilities and uncertainties, today's sacrifice at the crossroads of the salt trade routes has, upon having its belly slit open, provided a revelation that is as clear and as sharp as an icicle thrust through the eye socket. The time is here; the Holy Sovereign Nation of Deseret will shrug off the shackles of the Eagle, the iron collar of Rome, the deathly somnolence of peace.
He stands, combs the shards of dried honey and the bristly locust legs from his long, ragged beard, draws his robes around himself, and begins to dictate to the clean-shaven novice standing behind him.
The day began warm and cloudless, and sweat pools in the collar of the novice's snow-white robe, even as the clouds roll in, jealously strangling the horizon with their great grey knuckles. Thunder was a distant threat an hour before the ritual – now it tumbles closer with a momentous tearing sound, and in the middle distance, the rain is already a grey smear creeping closer.
“Peace is over,” Mangosteen intones in his buttery basso cantante voice, “if you want it.”
“The Pax Romana is dust. The Pax Americana dies in tatters at the talons of the sacred bird that saved the Saints. It is the time of Deseret – the Jaredite word honeybee from the Book of Ether. We are the industrious apiary that shall sustain Truth in these, the final days. The seagull of Zion has torn apart that wicked dove of peace; let us follow this most divine example!”
Frater Xango's voice rises as though in song: “The Washington Monument is built on a foundation-stone donated by Brigham Young: we shall remove that stone from that abominable relic, and this great Nation from these accursed United States, and that pillar of Mammon shall crash down and rain stone death upon the wicked, the idolater, the false prophet on his gunmetal throne, the defiler, the sycophant, the whore!”
The novice jots down the Frater's words, his nervousness almost masked, his hands almost steady. Frater Xango's flood of words stops as though a sluice has slammed shut. The thunder mutters and the warmth of the spring morning is finally gone completely. Mangosteen stands as still as an iron rod driven into the salt.
“Take that and go,” he finally says, great weariness in his voice. “King Lachoneus will need to hear it. And he will need to summon his warriors. All of them.”
The nameless novice bolts toward the distant, twisted remnants of the Sinful City on foot, bound for the King and the ruins of the First Temple that awaits the rebuilding. The sun is dead behind black clouds now, and with a whisper like the fluttering of pages in a breeze, the rain begins to fall.