Under the morning sun the marketplace is in full swing. Cartloads of corn and other grains rumble through the city. The threshing floor is covered with wheat.
The elders process through the crowded market, a boy with a drum goes before them to set the pace with his drumbeat. The crowd parts and bows.
The elders climb the stairs, past statues that have been covered with sheets, and process into the Senate Chambers, where the nine senators sit at the dais.
The boy with the drum cries out, “The Council of Elders, my lords.”
“The Council of Elders is so recognized,” says the president of the Senate.
“Presbis Sophia Eumolpas, daughter of Timaeus!” the boy announces.
Sophia stands up and begins her speech. “Honorable Senators, distinguished Hellenes.
“Yesterday morning, at sunrise, I began my granddaughter’s lessons in the alphabeta.
“She learned that gamma is the letter for our Mother Earth, Ge, our Mother who gives us all things.
“Today, she will learn the letter delta, the letter of direction. It is the letter of our Mother Demeter, the Directing Mother.
“Because of Mother Demeter we are born, we survive, we have the promise of eternal happiness after death.
“Of all the great cities of Greece, Demeter chose to make Eleusis her home.
“Every year, since the earliest meetings of the Amphictyonic Council, before records were kept, all Hellenes honor Queen Deo, the Director of Life and Law through her Mysteries at Eleusis.
“Even as I speak, delegations from the far corners of Greece arrive in Eleusis to deliver first fruit offerings to Queen Deo. To participate in her Divine Mysteries.
“Because of Mother Demeter, the grainary is near full to capacity.
“Because of Mother Demeter, the threshing floor groans with grain.
“Because of Mother Demeter, the Rarian Plains await the first tip of the plough pole.
“All of Greece looks to the great city of Eleusis to fulfill the sacred promise to honor Mother Demeter and her Divine Daughter, Kore.
“But, yesterday afternoon, a foreign delegation, a delegation of soldiers from Italy, under the command of an Emperor from Spain, made a foolish pronouncement and left, like cowards.
“Our obligation is to our Mother Demeter, to Eleusis, and to all the Hellenes, to all of Greece, to all of the world.
“Let the Romans have their Roman God.
“Eleusis must keep the torch of Liberty alive.”
Applause, shouts of approval.
The presiding Senator stands up, revealing a cross sewn into his robe.
“Honored elders, Sophia Theia, you have brokered many peace treaties and negotiated the terms to end many battles. Eleusis is indebted to your service.
“But a new dawn is upon us.
“Athens has opened its doors to Alaric’s Christian army. Athens is in concert with Emperor Theodosius. City upon city has cast aside the old ways---“
“Have been tortured into submission!” an elder man shouts.
The elder man is removed by guards while the President continues speaking.
“The old temples have been converted to worship of the God Jesus—“
“They have been destroyed by Christian armies!” the old man manages to shout before he is removed from the room.
“I will tolerate no more outbursts,” the President states grimly.
“Let it be known that today I will announce a new decree. No one shall worship the Goddesses and Gods within the home. Private worship is forbidden. Private altars shall be destroyed.
“All of Greece unites with Rome under the Father and the Son. All grains of Greece and Rome are consecrated to the Father and the Son.
“There is no place for the old ways of the Mother and the Daughter.
“The Eleusinian Mysteries are no more.”
He bangs his gavel.
A murmur crescendoes in the hall.
“Ksi,” says Sophia, as she stands. The elders process out of the Senate hall. A crowd has gathered at the foot of the steps. The elders process through the crowd. They make eye contact with individuals in the crowd and say, “Ksi.” The crowd begins to repeat the word, “ksi, kisi.”
The Senate leaders look at one another, they don’t know what it means. A gong sounds. The presiding Senator steps forward at the top of the Senate steps.
“God, our heavenly father, has blessed us with an abundant harvest! Tomorrow, we will begin dispersing his grain to the citizens of Eleusis, and then, throughout the Empire. Praise be to Jesus!”
The other Senators echo, “Praise be to Jesus!” but the crowd begins to disperse as though nothing had been said, the murmur of “ksi” still present.
By the time the procession of elders reaches the theater, the theater seats are packed to capacity. A hymn to Demeter is being performed on the stage. The elders take seats on the stage.
At the completion of the hymn, the elders applaud, and the crowd follows suit.
Agnas takes center stage. Her mother says to her in a low voice, “The Senate is Ksi.”
Agnas announces in a clear voice, “The Senate is Ksi.”
“It is foreign,” says Sophia.
“It is foreign,” Agnas announces.
“They cannot be trusted,” says Sophia.
“They cannot be trusted,” Agnas repeats.
“They take Queen Deo’s grain and consecrate it to their god.”
“They take Queen Deo’s grain and consecrate it to their god.”
Agnas takes a torch and lights it in the altar fire and holds it high above her head.
"Burn the grain," Sophia says.
“Burn the grain!” announces Agnas.
“Torch the grain,” says Sophia.
“Torch the grain!” announces Agnas.
A row of actors and actresses dressed as Goddesses and Gods stand at the foot of the stage with a stack of unlit torches.
The crowd streams forward, and lights their torches. When every person holds a torch, the shout goes up, “To the grainary!”
When the mob arrives at the grainary they toss lit torches into the silos and set the walls on fire. A few guards try to stop them, but then the guards recognize people they know in the crowd, and call to them by name. The guards open the grainary doors and join in the uprising.
“Anassa! Anassa!” the crowd chants.
As the flames and smoke rise high into the sky the call goes up, “To the Senate!”
The mob surges through the marketplace to the Senate. When they storm the steps they find the Senate chamber empty. From a balcony someone cries, “There they go!” the dust of hoofprints is seen in the distance as the Senators flee the city.
“Eleusis is free!” The crowd cheers. They tear down the crosses in the Senate hall and remove the sheets that covered the statues of their Goddesses and Gods.
Sophia takes the podium.
“We have driven the ksi from our city. We have destroyed the grain consecrated to their god. Tonight, we build a new granary, and tomorrow we will consecrate it to our Mother, Demeter, and her Daughter, Kore. Let it be known throughout Greece, Eleusis is free, a beacon of Liberty to all!”
CUT TO ALARIC CHUMMING IT UP WITH THE GLITTERATI AT THE PARTHENON IN ATHENS
He hands out gold coins and crosses to each person he greets. The Parthenon’s statue of Athena lies in crumbled ruins on the floor, replaced by a huge cross.
A messenger whose uniform bears the sign of the cross rushes up to Alaric, out of breath.
“My lord, an urgent message.”
Alaric reads the message. “Assemble my commanders,” he says menacingly.