Or: A Game of Drones...
© MMXXI A.N.E.
A rotting Apple. Its color is still red. Somewhat. Then yellow, some brown spots. The fowl-ish apple lies in a wooden bowl, next to a pear that has seen better days, too. The strawberries look delicious, don’t they. Some green shrubs.
An elderly women with saggy tits, the face of a slave and a belly as if she had given birth to countless twins, holds the bowl over her head. Almost presenting it.
The background is too disturbing to tell anyone about it. The frame is otherworldly beautiful. Stucco and gold, flowing around the strange picture like a mountain torrent. A plaque in the center below referring to the artist’s name and a date. The date reads 1783.
“Thank you my dear honoraries for sacrificing the precious time of yours. Regarding your puzzled faces, the Cardinal shall explain the reason for our gathering in a moment. I must stress the level of secrecy this meeting requires. Snitches will be taken care of... Cardinal? You may begin!”, the Marquis slowly and delicately said.
The Young Man from a Noble House smiles and hisses to his companion on the right hand chair: “The Winter Palais...! What a lack of good taste...” The Companion in fine clothing grins, then encourages his partner in conversation to be quiet. His index finger slightly tips his smiling lips. The Cardinal stands upright in the center of attention. The Marquis now sits at the table, sipping some red wine.
“Noblemen!”, the Cardinal greets the posse of blue blood almost thoughtfully, “my dear, fine men. What is it. Why are we here? What is this? The Winter Palais! In spring!? All that secrecy!
The Marquis shall know how thankful the Church is, for he provided the space for this gathering. [Cardinal bowing towards the Marquis, Marquis smirking].
Now! In medias res. Are you aware of what is going on on your streets? Even worse, What’s going on at the Kings Court? You have no idea, it seems. Your reins have become loose. The horses prancing... doing what...”
A Count jumps up from his green leather armchair, gravity does her thing, the chair tips over, drops - the house slave immediately reacts even before the Count hits his huge belly on the edge of the table - the Count roaring: “How dare you, you Monk! My sword and whip should teach you...”
“Silencium!”, goes the Marquis. “LISTEN!” With a puzzled expression on his tarte-like face the Count slowly sits down again. The house slave helps the Count to align to the banquet, pours some more wine into his goblet. “Fine. Proceed, Cardinal.”
The Cardinal, who seemed to have been introspective goes on: “Now, look. I don’t want to offend anyone. We are talking serious business here. We are talking about facts. The people suffer. They can handle wars. We always find a reason. They can handle mistreatment, pain, extortion. Your sword and whip, my dear Count, will always show them their place. If the people gets confused, we silence the agitation. People die en masse from Pests? We hold soothing speeches and comfort their souls. Right?
There is one thing we cannot get a grip on. We never could. It has always been a problem. THE Problem. War, Pestilence, Death. Nice to meet you, will exploit your gifts. But Hunger? A starving peasant? Scores of starving peasants? Those feral rats that try to jump at our throats? Oh, no - my gentlemen. That is a problem. It’s been too cold. It’s been too dry. For two years! Harvests are scarce. Our Churches’ Confessions-Service pointed out that this is a urgent issue of the masses. We need to act...”
“Thank you, Cardinal”, the Marquis savoring on every syllable. “Perhaps the Young Man from a Noble House wants to tell us something about that new... Cult, that so called ‘philosophy’ that’s spreading like a Pest. Even amongst the most noble of us, I heard?”
The Young Man from a Noble House looks anxiously in all of the mens faces. He stares the Marquis out. All the eyes are on him. Then he stands up firmly: “The Enlightenment? Well. How familiar are you all with Teslaire?”
„Waaaaaaaaahaaaahahahahahh!!, Aaaaaaaaaaahahahaaaa....!“, cries a twenty year old housemaid. „Now they‘re all dead. All of them.“ It‘s the countryside. 25 kilometers away from the Winter Palais.
She is weeping, holding a haggard, limp degenerate thing that remotely reminds anthropologists of a human being close to her breast. She tries to feed the corpselet. Her breast doesn’t give milk anyways.
She is too close to death herself.
Her husband tries to comfort her. He fails. He just looks at her. His child. He doesn’t say a word.
They stand like this for a while. He staring, here to the ground, there into her face. She weeping silently once in a while, or she is crying out loudly.
Her husband, clad in filth, smacks her in the face with his knuckled fist: „Stop it already. Let‘s go to work. Else we‘ll be next. We will have another one, so God will.“
His woman hicks up tiredly, then they leave towards the fields. The food desert.
In front of their shack, a little human lies on the ground. Dust starts settling down on the little body‘s cracks.
„I daresay I summed up Teslaire’s and the Enlightenment‘s ideas rather perfectly...“, finishes the Young Man of a Noble House with an intrigued smile on his face. *Ka-woom* — the Count‘s fist comes down on the table like a meteor, a Meissen plate jumps up into the air; before it could shatter to pieces, the house-slave already fetched it and dissolves into the background again. „What insolence! Mutiny! To the gallows with you!...“, squeales the Count.
The other noblemen‘s faces varied from indifference, boredom and sheer stupidity.
„Now, you‘d rather behave, my honorable Count! I reckon you didn’t grasp the quintessence, did you? I, in fact am very fond of the Enlightenment, myself. The enlightenment is the reason we all gathered here. It‘s about choices. Hard choices. Choices, that predetermine all of our future. You want to pick your enemies wisely, count. Or else...“, the Marquis said calmly.
The Cardinal: „Relevance, indeed...“
The Marquis: „In just a second Cardinal — We need to make something perfectly clear here. This is not a royal court. Although your faces seem to tell a story of obnoxious dissonance — all of you are hand picked. This is no Althing. You are all here for your specific qualities. But make no mistake. You drop out: you drop dead. Cardinal? Your turn.“
Le Cardinal: „Returning to relevance: Times have changed. Over the last aeon the Kings and Caesars have given down their regalia to their cohorts of allies. They in turn sold out their share of that regalia to jews and the bourgeois! In fact, the center of this state; its pinnacling apex of virtue and glory - is not only the weakest joint of our divine chainmail, the Sonnenreich!; no it is also the most helpless and impotent limb of our Leviathan; the parasite-charta. Weaklings, Skrælingr, like the Vikings met them in ultima thule! - The whole court of Earls and Knights, Whores, Concubines, Midgets, the hypocrisy of the common spy, their impertinence! The court is rotting from within; fowl.
The peuple are starving and the citizens start agitating against the authority of Ecclesia Magna, the lawful, the godsent, against nobility!
Like they understand a single thing. Like either the lost aristocracy or the megalomaniac citizenship!”
An Earl clad in a shining armor with blackened steel intarsia and a Bearhide-Pallium, rises; mumbles silently enough to get everybody’s attention, but precisely as a herald: „What are you suggesting? Buying back the Citizenship? We have already driven out the Jews a century ago! In context other than that I, in persona, witnessed the wickedness of Jew Bittersweet... excuse me for not going into details... it is, you, my fellow kin must understand, private, family affairs.
Anyways. That Jew honestly dared to doubt the credibility of my house, he made perfectly clear that because of their ancestral approach of “manifest destiny” and education, his blood line wants to be perceived as an ally of the true, sheer Enlightenment for all.
So even if, my friends, we manage to gather enough funds to dare the King into an open fight; we can’t blame the Jews! The other Empires don’t want to get involved as well, they fear the idea might spread to their men at arms!
Where’s the money coming from? Who are our allies, I wonder. Who are we supposed to blame for our inglorious, inevitable loss, if not the Jews? I will not have my family crest buried under pigeon shit and rat piss!”, he sits down again, swiftly.
“The Jews will receive what they deserve; the last be the first and vice versa; we don’t need ‘em”, goes the Cardinal on hesitantly.
“In fact, your ally is the church. The pope’s staff grants all of your sins to be forgiven. Even better, yet: we don’t need money! It’s virtually the best part of all of this! Hear me out!”, these are the very Cardinal’s reassuring uncensored words.
It smells like the gutters.
It smells like rotting rat.
It smells like work.
It’s the market, usually this day around there’d be a fair, celebrating the earth‘s and spirit’s fertility. Instead, only a few stalls selling rather inedible looking produce, inedible because of their repelling looks, inedible because of their price-tag, too. It’s packed, still.
The people seem enraged. They’re growling.
A Tall Man in Silken Shoes is rallying them: “... And who do they actually think they are! The tenth, I heard, has rather become the biggest share when there’s nothing left to soothe the burning flesh! But they, in their Palace, they feast from golden plates what was stolen off of your children’ mouths! Are we all supposed to eat shit? To eat their royal shit, I want to know. I do.
And I also do want to know where the Church is, feeding the poor!? My wife hasn’t eaten in five days! She already lost a boy last winter! “, he pauses for rhetorical reasons. Looks into the faces of the pit.
“I say: no more! No more!”
“No more, no more, evermore!”, a raging mob tears town the alleys. A Small Figure wrapped in a black cloth silently defects from the group and vanishes into the shadows.
„What is already there shall be used.”, proceeds the Cardinal, “It won’t cost 1000 platinum coins! It’s completely free:
The mob is there, the corrupted nobilitas. Why not be a think tank — I invented the term for that purpose — and let them fight against each other! Like a Cockfight. They’ll be our little cocklets drenched in chicken blood to our amusement!
We don’t like either of them, let’s rid ourselves from those rotten vegetables!
For that purpose, I am quite happy to announce a new acquaintance to our company of arsonists: a mere bourgeois! He doesn’t know yet, but he’ll be terribly exploited.
We are now fast approaching the keystone of our secret agenda. The people. The Aristocracy. What a shame!
A bloodbath. The Great Spill of the Reddest Wine, I so call it - shall purge us all of sin, mediocrity, insufficiency.
The forests need to be cleared. Land need be salvaged. The swamps laid dry. For the greatest of all of our Lord’s Kingdoms!!
The, that, reign be called...“
Puzzled, yet very finely chiseled, whitish faces of various nobility, look at the Cardinal in palpable suspense. A coo-coo’s clock rings. Again. And yet again.
The Cardinal, unimpressed: „DEMOCRACY!
Get it? δημοκρατία, right? It‘s been my twink‘s idea actually: to just fool them with a big, blatant lie in their face. They‘ll buy it 90% in all of the cases.
And the utmost best part: we won’t even cheat, right? I mean not in an obvious fashion, of course.
Who are those imbeciles supposed to vote for? An imbecile, illiterate, peasant? Of course not! They’ll be voting for us to lead them. Why? Because they’ve always come to us for their little idiotic problems to be solved. They are as bright as the cattle they’re herding up. We are only assisting them.
Believe a high emissary of the church: Making people feel they can decide, they have a say and maybe just you seemingly listening to them, these are the best tools you have. They’re like children! Serve them little food in tiny bowls and they feel well fed. It’s like those little feel-good lies. Nobody gets hurt, everything will stay the same.
So let me sum it all up for you: civil war, bloodshed and Democracy - that’s the new monarchy. Be with us or perish. Like all the pest seeds.
This citizen I was talking about earlier, he’ll help us spark it all up. We will just live off of our wealth. We’ll be landlords, we’ll be manufacturists, parasites on peoples back - he’ll assist us with our investments. Oh, you’ll like him. He was with the Swiss Guard, then opened up a consulting agency in Zurich.
He’s really good. He’ll use all of his influence, because he’s sorts of popular, to spread the Idea of the Enlightenment. He’ll be our voice in public.
We’ll succeed from the shadows. Too bad, the little bugger will have to be assassinated a couple of months later.
So then, let us warmly welcome the new member of our little oath, Mister Fischer-Rübli!!!“
Everybody applauds, the doors open and a servant leads Mr. F-R to the table, then everybody rises. Standing ovations...
‚Ikh värd‘s a rikhdig gschaffet ham‘, thinks the Swiss Goat, walking up to his tourniquet with a broad, earnest smile.
And hundreds of years later, a smiling little child would ask, now, so shortly before sleeping time, mummy playing the cliffhanger—ace:
And what about all the corpses, the bones and the hooks? They ended up in the catacombs under the capital.???