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Afterwards, the Empire had hired the Visigoths to slaughter their fellow barbarians, paying them with the lands of southwestern Gaul—which they were now finding too narrow—and people told each other that all was restored.But the restoration was a patchwork thing—and it did not include Britain, which the Emperor Honorius had graciously permitted to arm itself while awaiting succor from an Empire that had none to give.And, despite the hazards and hardships of traveling, he was not about to miss this chance to meet the man who, he suspected, was the most remarkable of the many with whom he had corresponded.The man who had set in motion the scene before them here in the Loire estuary.No hope had existed for the provincials of Gaul save the legions of Britain, which had landed under the usurped command of a lowborn lout whose only recommendation was the auspicious name of Constantine.The barbarians had continued their looting undisturbed while the Empire had put down his clownish bid for the purple, and Alaric the Visigoth had raped inviolate Rome herself, shattering the spell of centuries.The fleet of ships had sailed as far inland as the Loire was navigable, anchoring here near Nantes.

But of course it was incumbent upon him to be here.Otherwise, I fear my soul would depart burdened by the sin of despair.Everywhere, all around us, the Arian heresy rises like a tide, threatening to drown us all in damnation with its horrid, perverse doctrine that the Father and the Son are of substance, as every true Christian must affirm…" Color mounted in Faustus' cheeks, and Sidonius knew there was no stopping him now.And he was hardly in a position to be fulfilling his duties in Riez just now.Sidonius, on the other hand, had more or less invited himself. As a distinguished landowner of the Auvergne, litterateur of some note, city prefect of Rome until recently, and the likely Bishop of Clermont, he carried too much weight for anyone to openly object to his presence.

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