The Maiden's Ascent

February 21, 2011
“Stop squirming, you little runt!”

The great Joan of Arc glanced up at one of the guards leading her to her death and gave him a nonchalant look. At that he sneered and looked forward once again, walking with her left arm held tightly by his own. Her feet screamed in agony within her as each pebble that stood below scolded them for their misdirection, their false sin. But she looked up in determination; she knew she was in the right. All around her was the filth and squalor of Rouen. The sky that day was a morose grey, the bulbous clouds bulging at every other spot. They covered every inch of the sky, as if to block out God’s justice.

Where is the justice? Where is my savior? Perhaps there is none. But as soon as she looked down upon her withered and bony feet, she tightened her eyes and thought harder. No, God is my savior, and he expects me to follow through! I must stay faithful! It’s my holy duty, as I walk along this path, the path of brokenness and lies.

She reassured herself all through the penultimate walk to her death upon this Rouen path. And even though the people were ignorant of this blessed epithet, a single holy light of faith flowed through the squalor of the lies, the convictions, and the d***ed that sentenced her to death. The dirt may have been hellfire, but the great Maiden of Orleans tread on upon the filth of the ground beneath her.

In a mere matter of moments, she was tied tight to a tall and wooden pillar. Before her stood the people, their inaudible screams and polyphonic shouts were enough to have Lucifer cringing in disgust. But Joan stood still, not an ounce of resistance was utilized to even try to get herself free. There wasn’t an amount of guile could save her from this dire denouement, but she was aware of this, and she did not care. It wasn’t because she knew she was unable too, but because she knew she didn’t need too. She need not to run from these petty, conceited heathens! They were destined to realize their grave folly.

One of the pig-faced guards turned, and the crowd grew quiet. Then, his black tongue spoke.

“You, Jean D’arc, stand here with charges of witchcraft and heresy. Before you die, do you believe to be in God’s grace?” He asked.

She looked out at the sneering crowd, then back at the man again. Joan, with pride and might, replied, “†If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me. I should be the saddest in all the world if I knew that I were not in the grace of God.†”.

The crowd took offense to this answer, and began to shout, only to have the guards quiet them down.

“Before thy death, doth thee hold any remaining words?” The man asked.

Though her face was tear-stained and flushed, she was also able to hold pride and dignity among her expression. In response to this last question, the young daughter of God replied, “Yes. May thine hands lend me a cross? I wish not to die alone.”

The man, as well as all of those within earshot of her request, looked at her with subtle astonishment, but he did as he was asked. He handed her a makeshift wooden cross, and she bore it tightly to her chest.

With that, the flames were lit, and the daunting jeers of the crowd arose in volume once again. And as the Devil-tongued flames lapped at her scolding body, just as the lies that had put her here had done, under her deathly breath she uttered “Jesus” in a solemn and faithful succession. Her screams were held back by his holy name.

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...”

And as the crowd cheered for injustice, God lit the clouds with fire as the angels celebrated the forthcoming arrival of their newest saint in lachrymose. The blessed rainfall fell upon Joan and her captives, and rays of glory bled through patches of the raining sky across the land. Her dying eyes gleamed in the illumination of her new holy sepulcher within the aether.

As she stepped over to what now towers to the sky, she thought of what she had done, and how she knew she could accomplish it. She had fulfilled her righteous duty, and now she knew she had a place beside God within the sky. She was now ready to die.

The crowd once again fell into a shock. Tears now streamed down the cheeks of the people just as the tears from the heavens fell down, bringing life to the crops and fields. But soon, a single phrase broke the deafening silence.

“What have we done? We have murdered a saint.”

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