‘Clink clink,’ the sound of chisels against stone echoed. Scratching out finely carved eyes, disfiguring noses and mouths.
Every last image, the commander ordered. Every last image needs to be destroyed. Some were more brutally destroyed than others- gunned down in a hail of bullets, blown to pieces by explosives. Their robust forms obliterated.
Only the hallowed Celestial Lion remained. The lion, like the ancient ruins that surrounded it, dated from the dawn of civilisation itself. Towering over the landscape, it’s colossal form had given it a legendary status. Once worshipped in an ancient sun cult, then feared as the Father of Fear, to now be revered as a symbol of mankind’s artistic and engineering prowess.
The lion and the vast temple it guarded had withstood earthquakes and wave after wave of bloody invasions. Yet it survived. It’s wide eyes continually staring out, watching all.
Then they arose. The civil war saw a multitude of factions arising from the desert sands, ripping the nation apart. The Iconoclasts, the idol breakers, spread like wildfire from town to town, killing those who stood in the way of ‘purifying the land.’
Not just content to wage war on their own countrymen and the rest of the world, not just content with waging war on modernity, they seek to also wage war on the past. They’ve ransacked museums, put statues on trial for idolatry and sentenced them to death by decapitation.
Their quest to purify a heretical land, their trail of destruction has lead them here, to the paws of the great Lion.
‘The commandment tells us there should be no graven idols’ he thought as he climbed the ladder chisel in hand. He, the charismatic young warlord who commanded this seemingly invincible army, had the power to rewrite history with this one act.
As he climbed and gazed upwards, he was struck by a curious mixture of awe and nostalgia. He remembered his mother taking to see this wonder long ago. He remembered how this one statue had the power to unite many different peoples together. Was this idolatry?
His faltering hand shook as his chisel got closer to the face.