See them, o reader mine, as they stride forth at last.
Dressed in white and gold, for their cowardly foe garb themselves in camouflage.
Singing hymns and psalms, for their heathen foe think man the lord of all creation.
Marching with solemn and stately grace, for their foe strikes with speed and stealth.
Bearing no weapons in their hands, for their eternal enemy puts their trust in technology.
See the Thousand Brides stride forth to conquer. See the Army of Sunset stir at last, to bring an end to the Last War.
And, in their midst, see him.
See Zeus, Cloud Gatherer and Inheritor of Earth. See Zeus, Warlord of Warlords, Slayer and Master of the Ruling Council. See Zeus, whom She fears.
See him slight and unassuming, dark and subdued among the pageantry of his Brides. See his brow, upon which sits the Diadem, signifying his rule of the majority of the human race. See his raiment, thrice and thrice again blessed by all the Gods he can muster. See his pockets, which hold a rabbit’s foot for luck, and folded paper maps of the trek for insurance.
See his mind, so much more cunning than Hers. The mind which, upon overcoming the old Council, set his Pantheon to work destroying the last vestiges of the Old World among their territories. Which turned schools into Processing Camps, which burned books and made temples of factories.
For it knows, this mind, that man’s science can never be its friend. That one man may make a gun, and another man fire it, and thus combine their strengths. It knows that this process has no natural limit, and thus its redoubtable strength may one day be challenged. It knows that the Union maintains the environment which brought about Dr. Chen, and this mind’s greatest fear is that another of such surety of understanding may emerge. It will know peace only when the last hard drive is shattered, the children taken from classrooms and pressed into its armies.
See him, the sole irreplaceable being who allows the Thousand to exist. Only with an Ultra capable of slaying the Demon can so many, so mighty, gather as one. Only under his aegis, the envelope of the Light Speed Kill, can they dare Her wrath.
See him doubt, if truth be told. For so many years he has built up this Host, far beyond what is needful to destroy the puling Union. He has done so for the coming struggle, against Her. Stacking Ultra upon Ultra to increase the odds that one has a gift that will ensure victory.
See that Ultra never arrive.
See him march anyway, casting his empire’s fate upon the winds of a pair of gifts from fickle fate. Psyche, child of destiny, whose gift will make the destruction of the Union, and of the Old World’s last remnant, entirely effortless. And a report from his slaves in Shington, which claims that She has not left the Lair for a month.
He will dare his fate on such. The Thousand march forth in the full panoply of their glory. Their Pilgrimage comes late in the season, following on the footsteps of the Hosts that have gone before. They will arrive as the summer dies.
See him stride forth to meet what destiny has in store for him, with the Thousand at his side.
See Zeus, and know despair.