Long withdrawn from the daily activities his cloistered meditations led him to guide the masses to conduct, Jarwal, like the others remained within the shadow of his cowl in their presence. Only the rustling at the ends of his white beard indicated that it was he who spoke.
“When we tell them what they want to hear the truth is irrelevant.”
“When they don’t want to do what we tell them, they question our authority,” responded Mishmocan, his long nose a white dagger tip catching light falling across the void within the opening of his hood.
“Telling them that natural destruction of civilized artifices is God’s displeasure with their disobedience to our advice doesn’t work like it did in the old days. If there weren’t new suckers born every second being initiateded by their parents’ fear, we wouldn’t have inherited what little clout we still enjoy,” intoned the wisest, the oldest of them all. Diabolibré had been in the sirkul since before the ones everyone present had replaced upon their death had joined and none dare ask age, much less his history. It is the kind of awed faith authority requires. After all, hadn’t he trusted each one in private clandestine meetings with the Sacred Secret, with the caveat that each was the sole soul to share and should remain so secretly, on pain of a death worse than the loss of faith? I trust you to keep my secrets, you trust me to tell the truth. What a deal.
“Entrusting their distraction from beholding the big picture by the more immediate concerns of satisfying their cultivated preference for the virtual over the existent to the industriogovernmilimediatary complex has kept more people busier supplying our cruel accrual than any time in history,” observed Count Moore, treasurer of the cabal of cabals.
The normally taciturn Majoroproblemo could stand such quibbling no longer and blurted out, ”Indigenous people and philosophical scientists so atheistic they don’t argue with faith or worship money in the pursuit of wonder are outside our web of control. Poking larger and larger holes in it with the advent of the internet all the time, I might add.”
Jarwal interjected, “Most of those scientists still cling to the belief that humans are the stewards of life on earth, deserving of the sacrifice of other life forms to curious inquiry like so much trade goods, so we still have them where it matters, without their needing to feel justified by God’s permission”
From far back inside the blackness of the empty form of a robe draped over a man seated at the head of the sirkul came a voice speaking in words formed of the notes from a xylophone played in the particular resonant frequency of each of the cowled heirs of their legacy separately leading them each to believe they were hearing their own wisdom discovering, “I am the sole steward of the stewards and of the others gathered here tonight. ‘Tis my sacred secret duty to the one who chose me.”
The fact that the sly chuckle at the end of the thought seemed to come from elsewhere couldn’t be allowed to unsettle them. What works on the sheep works on those supposing themselves shepherds.