"Why not the Christian school?" you suggest. Agape Christian Academy kids are weird anyway – not that you know any of them. They all walk around like pod people, and there’s something enticing about converting a school draped in officious religion to your worship of Baphomet; the very essence of corruption itself.
Sydney muses on the idea for a moment, still tittering with glee. "It’s the perfect front. Imagine it, us pretending to be all pious when secretly we’re going wild. And they’re all rich and privileged to boot. Imagine having our brotherhood spread into the corridors of power! The only downside is that they’re nowhere near any of the leylines, which won’t serve us for invocations."
Her reference to "rich and privileged" catches you off guard. You've never had the impression that the Agape kids are rich. If anything, a lot of them look like their families are just scraping by financially.
"I don't think they're all that rich," you cautiously correct Sydney. "They’re just weird is all."
"Wait," Sydney tilts her head. "Which Christian school are you talking about?"
"Agape," you say. "Y’know, down on the edge of Acheson? Sort of go around like they’re aliens."
"Oh!" Sydney looks for a moment like the stereotypical dumb cheerleader, although you know her well enough to know that appearances aren’t all they seem with her. "I thought you meant that St Francis Xavier place. Lifestyles of the super-wealthy?"
"I didn’t even think of the Mutants," you say, throwing some unnecessary shade on Saratoga Falls’ occasional visitors. "Although that could be interesting. Taking over a boarding school? Sneaking out to do rituals in the dead of night…"
"Fun, huh? And it skips the big problem we have with the cult. We need a reason for our brothers to meet. Something that won’t arouse suspicion."
You chew your cheek for a moment, letting an idea that’s gradually been gestating pop into your head. "Maybe we’re going about this the wrong way," you say slowly.
"What do you mean?" Sydney leans forward, keen to hear what you have to say.
"Well … You're right, we need a reason to gather. And that’s why we were looking at replacing the clubs, right? But even if it’s fun to turn straight-laced environmentalists or whatever into our … uh …" The word hangs in your mouth, "our cult, then you’ve still got all the usual high school crap."
"But it’s not crap when you can be anyone, Will! Think of the thrill of it! Slipping into whatever life you fancy!" She goes up on tiptoes, and for a moment you think she's about to do a backflip with excitement. "Playing a character while using them for our own ends! Think of the thrill, the illusion of being good when we're actually being very, very bad."
"I get that," you say, "but hear me out. There's already a Brotherhood here in Saratoga Falls, right? And they aren’t just a bunch of high schoolers. What if we started looking for groups that were, well, a little older."
"Go on," Sydney says, looking intrigued.
"Well … What if we looked at converting a social circle of adults? Something that’s small and tight-knit, about the right number for the Brotherhood so we don’t have to worry about interlopers. Some kind of clique."
"We could do that," Sydney says. "We could take over a small business or office and change business hours to Baphomet’s hours. It'd have to be some kind of small office that doesn't actually do much work, though. Something we could use as a front. Oh!" She claps her hands. "We could go even bigger. There’s that military base just out of town, right? Fort Suffolk? I know they ditched Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but we could get ourselves a few officers, and nobody’s going to question why they’d be meeting! Only problem is, once again, access to the leylines. Hey! Never mind the military. We could move over to Keyserling. Take over a Frat House. Nobody's going to question raising hell over there. Or maybe you'd prefer a sorority? We can play at being scream queens for real."
You snap your fingers at a sudden thought. "Why not a coven, not just a brotherhood? What about some of the school moms? You know, bored housewives, no jobs to go to." You flinch slightly when you realize you were thinking of your own mother when you got the image, but you barrel straight on. "We pick the right ones, we could take over a lunch circle, meet at the country club, and nobody's going to question it."
"Have you got a MILF fetish, Will?" Sydney teases. "I mean, that sounds okay, but we’d need at least a few guys, too. Some of the rituals require, well, a cock. Although … it doesn’t say the cock has to be aware of why it’s being used. If we played at being cougars, I bet we could use them to get access to all kinds of magic wand."
"And," you say, still thinking out loud, "we don’t even have to go that far to make sure there’s a link to us. There’s the parent-teacher association, for example. If we took over them, we’d have a link directly to Westside. I’m sure there’s a reason that Will Prescott and Sydney McGlynn could be seen to associate with them on occasion." You think back to your run-in with Kirkham. You have very little issue escaping the persecuted life of Will Prescott for a little while.
Sydney’s smile widens as she considers your arguments. "Or we could even take over a group that has to meet regularly because of their darling treasures," she says. "Stage moms. Or any bunch that has to wait around for extra-curriculars. Think about it: instead of waiting around in the car park to collect their sons and daughters after school for whatever stupid production they're working on, they could be putting that spare time to good use in service of a wider goal…"