She descends the white stairs dressed in blood. The vanquished lie slain at the holy feet. She lays her sword down by Her seat. Arms raised, hands empty.

For She is Glory and perfect in every way.

The air was crisp, the sky was blue and the sound of heavy gunfire was somewhere in the distance as Pero stood enjoying the early morning sun. He had sent his two bodyguards away; “Go and join in the fun,” he ordered and was left alone as the battle raged on. Every so often a boy, one of the press ganged soldiers would appear from a side street or alley looking confused. He would shout for their attention and once gained, took a shot at them with his pistol. Sometimes he hit them, sometimes not. But they all ran or limped away, back into the fray. Pero laughed at their impotency.

Walking with hands crossed behind his back and chin held high, the hair of his black moustache tingled with vibrancy. This was what life was about; these moments and the pleasure before he got what he desired. Pero saw chaos as a tool of creation from which was born the new, the stronger and wiser. Today, he was creating a new world. Today, he was a god. Men obeyed his command, enemies were vanquished. What he dreamed of became reality, his hands moulding their shape.

He imagined the press conferences and intimate interviews: his immediate future as the rising prince of the press. He designed the motif of his new insignia, to be made into a swimming pool for children to play in. A new country and with it a new symbol of pride, and it was all to be his.

In the still air he floated, buoyed and drifting with his imagination and excitement. Nobody approached him nor came within sight after a few hours. Pero walked forth into the poor areas to inspect. The burned out brothels, the destroyed cheap cinemas with their faulty neon lights blackened with soot, fractured by shrapnel. Stepping over bodies of men, women and children; some wearing uniform others in harsh brightly coloured nylon and pauper’s fabrics of cloth cast offs and worn hand-me-downs.

There would be a park here, he decided. Where good people can have picnics and walk their dogs without being mugged or cheated. A splendid park where everyone is wearing bright smiles and clean clothes and they all adore him, Pero, the individual who gave them prosperity and peace. The burnt out tenement block would be a playground. The rubble that was once a convenience store: a car park with cheery attendants standing to attention, ready to help the customers and good people who visited this new miracle of rebirth.

He thought of the new youth he had formed from the detritus their parents had left behind. The boys filled him with pride; they were his personal achievement. A new generation of men; stronger and fitter than any before. Pero had made a new breed of man, the civilian soldier. From now on, all boys from the age of six would begin military training. It would be the first command of his new government. The second would be to invite the business leaders in; they would discuss the victory and how best to use the new power they had. He would suffer them, fools that they were. He needed munitions and industry and they had the key to the long-term future fruition of his desires.

There was a World out there that was crying for Pero. Wailing and beating their chests in the frustration of being frustrated. Unable to articulate for themselves what it is they hated about the World; Pero would help and put the words in their mouths for them. He would show them the right way. Around the World, his portrait will hang on banners like in the history book he read. Brother Pero is watching you!

Pero walked on through the smouldering ruins and tracks littered with corpses. Against an undamaged shack lay a rusty ladder to the roof. Squinting and covering his eyes with a hand, he looked up at the corrugated roof. It looked sound enough. Holstering his pistol, Pero climbed the ladder and had the view of a god. In front of him, in almost all directions lay shacks, pressed against once another. A forest nearby finished the border. The sun high in the sky, hanging over the mountains and the Plateau. He turned slowly in a circle, basking in the sunlight. This was his glory: burning shacks, explosions and gunfire. Opening his eyes with a contented sigh he saw in the distance a pair of ants running towards him; a man in soldier fatigues holding the hand of a blonde girl in a blue dress. They were headed toward the forest; Pero frowned and climbed down quickly. Taking shelter and shade within a doorway, he waited for them to arrive. Patiently smoothing his moustache whilst leaning on the door frame.

Loud footsteps; one heavy wearing boots, the other light and barefoot. They flashed by, a streak of blue and green, the girl’s hair trailing behind her. Pero grinned in recognition and stepped out from the shade:

“What did I say I would do if you rebelled again?”

The pair froze.

To Chapter Seventy-Three – For She is Love and Perfect in Every Way

Cover: Aglaea, the Greek goddess of glory