Tangleknot on Leading the Opponent’s Subjects Astray


Tangleknot writes to his demon nephew, TunglashDearest Tunglash,

How pleased I am to receive your letter from deception school! I trust that your instructors are teaching you the latest techniques. That you should write your chthonic uncle and consider my many millennia perfecting the art would warm my heart if I had one. How good that we can possess the hearts of others then. A proxy is even more diabolically delish!

So you wish to know how to lead the Opponent’s subjects astray. A most worthy question filled with many seemingly simple responses that take years to perfect. Some demons never do, but I suspect that with your heritage, you will do just fine.

Here are a few of my most hellish suggestions. I will leave the details for you to discover as one of my stature cannot give away all secrets lest I find myself in competition with some of my illustrious brethren. And I can’t be having more of that, now can I?

My first piece of advice is to stoke the fires of wanting more. More what? It does not matter. Even wanting more of the Opposition can be turned to our advantage if the subject of your deception has little understanding of the Opposition’s Handbook. And how many of them are delightfully ignorant in that regard! In pursuit of more they will discover some of our most brilliant traps. How I thrill to their cries of anguish as they tumble in! Even more, I relish the quiet ones who, once trapped, have no understanding how quickly their life force drains away or how soon they will find themselves face to face with you and me.

On the other cloven hoof, some respond best to little. Watching them giggle with glee over a breadcrumb when they can have the entire loaf—ah, such fun. They believe themselves so strong, so clever to have discovered some fragment of truth. And how they run with it, creating for themselves such wickedly vain imaginings. I will give the Opposition his due: He certainly made them a creative lot. Using that to our advantage makes for all manner of entertainment. I so love a good fabrication. Nothing like weaving grandiose hoo-ha out of a single sentence of their Handbook taken out of context.

Both of these strategies work well as distractions. Any distraction will do, though. When the Opposition wants them to be doing A, B, and C, make sure they do X, Y, and Z, instead. Do remember that the most effective X, Y, and Z have the appearance of A, B, and C. Some subjects will see through wasting time watching our television, but if you entice them to waste time watching Opposition television, then you dramatically increase your effectiveness. And do run them around. Multiply the number of conferences they attend, the programs they develop, the showcases for smoke and mirrors that are this season’s de rigeur Opposition events. Run them ragged. Soon A, B, and C will be distant memories.

For those who fancy themselves leaders within the Opposition forces, toss in a little taste of power. Give them a false miracle or sign now and then. Make it seem like it came from within the leaders themselves. Nothing like a spittle-spewer who  demonstrates a few faux acts of power to drive everyone into a frenzy. And get those leaders talking about mantles, swords, crowns, and armies. Elevate them to the status of generals. Get them whooping and roaring and battle-crying and shofar-blowing—I promise that you’ll just adore the cacophany of it all! I know I do. And when they are sufficiently ready to burst from the splendor of their noise, sic them on each other. Oh yes, the Opposition used that on a few of our manipulated armies millenia ago, but two can play at that game.

In the category of “Everything old is new again,” I love to trot out gnosticism. How these humans love deep secrets! Once the schisms set in, convince them that only their side knows the most profound mysteries of their Handbook. Or better yet, abandon all references to the Handbook and finagle a few false prophets to deliver new revelations of doctrine. For example, His Infernal Majesty continues to plumb the classics. Consider his devastatingly effective statement in the Garden of Eden. That one still slays them today, especially when delivered from the mouths of one of their self-appointed prophets. Best of all, a little stoking on your part will have them disdaining all correction. They’re the only ones who know the real truth. Or should I say, lie?

Oh, before I forget, you have bleached and ironed your Sunday best, correct? Always remember to add just enough hellfire for the proper amount of glow. And lose the name “Trish.” Proper Oppostion forces don’t go by “Trish.” I suggest “Restoration.” Has a nice ring to it. That way you can have them restoring all manner of things that were already restored by the finished work of the Opponent’s Right-Hand Man. Again, distract, distract, distract.

I see that you are taking a class in Magicks for the Foolish taught by my compatriot, Scarloin. Oh, he is a right foul piece of filth that Scarloin. Patented the prayer hankie idea just minutes before I could. (Though I must say, my bottle of Jordan River water has been doing better business of late). The more we can get the Opposition’s subjects to worship the created rather than their creator, the more our kingdom will grow. While we both know that rabbit’s feet and horseshoes no longer hold sway over them, they’ll easily trade those superstitions for more spiritualized ones. I suggest you whisper into their ears to put their trust in mantras, secret phrases, gyrations, keywords, and using their handbook as a talisman. Convince them that doing so will release power (because as you know, they all thirst for power). Then sit back and enjoy the show. I do.

Employing any number of these suggestions will be like yelling “Fire” in one of their crowded megachurches. All the running and screaming…nothing quite like it, is there, my boy? Pandemonium is such a beautiful word on the lips. Even more beautiful when enacted. And isn’t that what we’re all about?

Oh, these are such good times for us. Better to not let the rumors of their end quell your enthusiasm for your studies, Tunglash. Just do as I say and you’ll graduate with honors. Then their world is your oyster.

And stick a tack on ol’ Scarloin’s throne for me, will you?

Your doting infernal relation,