Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils…
Your brothers in the Order tell you that you’ve done well. As an initiate you’ve had to undergo many strange tests of your character and commitment.
To spit upon the Crucifix and deny the Savior is not what you anticipated when joining such a storied fraternity of the Church. “A higher purpose lies behind such a thing” the elder comforts. Of the tests your fellow Knights administer this is to be the least…
“You are nearly among us— almost an initiated brother. Yet you remain unwise, naive. Only once you receive the Baptism of Wisdom will you be a true Pauperes Commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici”
They lead you down into the bowels of the Temple. You remember your mother — eyes like glass as she lay in a grave too shallow dug. A pious woman, even as plague drained the life from her body. She wanted nothing more than for you to serve the Church…
Is it day or night? In the depths of the temple you can no longer tell. You arrive at last. A great and dark hall, damp with moisture, mildew, and the scent of copper…
They light the torches. Evil is here.
You see an altar, arrayed in gold, stained in blood.
Atop the ornate altar, crowned with a fresh wreath, lay a severed head! It wore a terrible, distorted, sagging face. With hollowed eyes staring sorrowfully into oblivion— a wave of intense nausea.
“Our messiah, you see, is very much among us. A prince of Earth and crowned in glory. We have prepared a vessel for him in the old ways. Our Order has learned much in the desert…”
“From his golden tongue spring forth the blessings that have caused our wealth to grow. With our riches and power we will spread the domain of his Church upon all corners of this Earth…no sacrifice can be forbidden to this noble end.”
The brothers turn their backs to the altar. You are bidden to do the same.
“To look upon the Master as he awakes is forbidden.”
A censer is brought forth and the cavernous room begins to smell of cedar, acacia, and frankincense. The smoke obscures your vision and the smell begins to cloud your mind.
“Wisdom requires a loss of innocence. You will offer up innocence to the Master. Your own, and that of another, for he hungers ever…”
A person— small, frail, and very much alive appears at the hands of the Elder. As if materialized from the plume of fragrant smoke. Bound and placed in the center of the room.
Your brothers begin to chant a low and long verse. It sounds unlike any form of Latin you’ve heard before.
“Step forth to make your offering.”
The Elder bids you to join him in the center of the room. In one hand he holds a blade, and in the other a palm.
He offers you the blade.
The smoke is so thick you choke. Is it the fumes that have caused your eyes to water? You look to your hand, the blade appears as if it’s always existed there. Your tears spring forth freely now.
“You have come far brother, too far to ever withdraw. Make your offering and be Baptized with us…”
Below you, the little soul is bound. If ever hope blessed that small face it had long since fled.
Their eyes peer into yours —seeing but not knowing. Your eyes close, beginning to know.
The blade is in your hand. The blade is at their throat. Blood is upon the blade. Blood is upon your hands.
“You are truly with us now.”
The Elder takes the blade from your limp grasp. He bends to dip the palm into the pool of red at your feet.
“With this sacrament you will be anointed in Wisdom.”
With a whip of his hand the palm leaf spits forth a cloud of red upon your face. He then approaches the altar.
“Great Master, giver of blessings, accept this offering of life and innocence. May you live again and may you speak to us with the truth of the innocent.”
He once again whips the palm. Blood waters the golden altar of a dead idol. Your brothers who were chanting all the while grow suddenly quiet.
From the silence a sound arises. A gurgling, hoarse, terrible exhale. You dare not turn to face the altar. You dare not look to the body at your feet.
A voice — a whisper begins to fill the room. It speaks in a tongue unlike any man’s. It comes from behind you, from the walls, inside your mind. The Elder speaks in unison with the infernal idol…
“Thus sayeth the Master:
You are my beloved sons, in whom I am well pleased. For your suffering to sacrifice I will deliver increase…”
A vision in your mind— war and plagues upon all men. Hidden hands forming chains to bind all the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. Terrible power bought at a terrible price.
“I will go to and fro on this Earth, and walk up and down on it. All the high mountains and all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. These things will I give thee, if thou wilt keep faith with me.…”
The scales have fallen from your eyes. The knowledge of good and the final price of evil bring you to your knees.
“I will give my Angels charge over you. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. By this you will know me as Prince of the Earth…”
The voice and visions begin to fade from your mind. The smoke hangs lower and thinning. Prone amongst the damp and blood you are reborn — misshapen and hollow.
The whole assembly begins to file out. Assured of their continued blessings they make their way. Only the Elder remains. Extending his hand he brings you to your feet again. Your eyes open. They will never know peace again.
“Come brother and rise a man baptized in wisdom. We have much work yet to do…”
— Hermes S Thurston is an Atlantean survivor, occult student, errant poet, and has a Twitter account.