Fraternity

There were these hazy, grainy, horrible yellow photographs from ages gone by. Lone men, men in pairs, the occasional trio, and even one extra-wide image of a whole group of them. All with faces indistinct, smudged into oblivious blurs by the fingertips of time. Tophat-headed, coats with tails. Canes.

They were magicians all, and not of the "vanish into thin air" or "saw a screaming lady in half" variety, though they had in their times performed such cheap parlor tricks whenever and wherever necessary. No, they were of a secret fraternal order of real mysticism, and worked from behind the velvet curtains rather than before them.

Was it the mists of history that now protected their secrets? Were there even any secrets to begin with? Perhaps the weight of their power was more attributed to how much was hidden or lost to recollection, now that anyone who could have recalled even the smallest detail of their doings was long-buried. The phantoms in the photographs left no legacy, no spoken nor written liturgy behind. But their mark was there all the same, encoded in the streams of data that blasted out, phosphor pure and omnipresent, binding every simpleton on the planet with their magic spells.


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