The sacred rites were complete, the new high priest had taken his oaths before the entire cult and now the leadership were alone discussing policy over bowls of wine in their sanctuary.
“Thousands of plebeians attended the funeral of Maximus”, said the new high priest, Septimus. “That can only mean that someone in our order has revealed the mysteries. Find and kill them!”
An elderly second-tier priest stopped drinking for a moment and tentatively said “He was a very popular statesman your holiness, wouldn’t it be likely they simply wanted to pay their respects?”.
Septimus decided the best tactic was to continue as if he hadn’t been contradicted. “On another note, everyone who gathered here today was Roman. If we are to be a modern institution we must fix this diversity problem. What we need are some Persians and Ethiopians in our ranks immediately”.
This was too much, the old priest slammed down his bowl spilling wine across the floor and himself. “This is a bloody mystery cult! A minute ago you were talking about killing to maintain the sacred secrets and now you want us to tell the whole world!”
There was a tense moment as Septimus considered how to deal with this open insubordination. Barely above a whisper he coolly growled, “You sound like one of those philosophers. I could have executed for worshiping a foreign god.”
Shrinking back into his seat and drawing on the last of his courage the old priest uttered “But we are here to worship a foreign god.”
At this the entire room descended on him with daggers drawn.