A Pulp Fantasy Serial Novel

of Swashbuckling, 1980s, Rock & Roll, D&D, Outer Space, Steampunk Sorcery

 

Born to Rock. Driven to Roll. Doomed to Rule.

In 1984, Andy Crowley was as much about Dungeons & Dragons and rock and roll as he was about sorcery. Peculiar passions for one, who – in thirty years – would rule all reality.

From Corbyville to the United Hells, through the secret Venusian enclave of Atlantis to the capital of the First Martian Solar Dynasty, join Andy Crowley, sole sorcerer of Sanctuary; Kipling Kilroy, swashbuckling freebooter of Stygian Olympus; the banshee Jasco, renegade reaper of the soul-trading house of Fey; and The Banjoman, Lord of Limbo, as they race for the most feared relic in all reality – The Glass Grimoire.

But of course, it’s all easier said than done.

In the robot body built for him by Nikola Tesla using stolen Atlantean schematics, Aleister Crowley (no relation), now called the Tin Prince, wants The Grimoire as well; and though feared and admired throughout the multiverse for his superiority with both sword and spell, he has problems of his own. For how much simpler would immortality be if he didn’t have to share his perfect new body with the nagging soul of Mark Twain, be hunted mercilessly by the ghost of Harry Houdini, or rely on the almost limitless supply of spell-fueling souls available to that dandified do-gooder – Lucifer?

Beyond Earth, across the event horizon of Sanctuary Rim, and into the wider, wilder cosmos, where probability is but a plaything of sorcerers, there is a saying…

“…Somewhere in the multiverse, everything is a true story.”

Read “Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga” from the beginning

Insights, inspiration, and discussion are encouraged and appreciated in the comments below each chapter.

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Remembering Atomic Rob

1943 – 2015

My dad read more books and explored the inner realms more than anyone I knew. Though most did not know it, he was a huge pulp, fantasy, sci-fi nerd who always seemed to be mapping out an adventure in his mind that would never be possible in life.

Among the fondest memories I have of him include him being the only grown-up I knew back then who loved Star Trek and the time he confided in me (when I was 11) that he lied to my mom so he could sneak off to see Raiders of the Lost Ark by himself.

As I pick up the pen again to get serious about sharing the magic of the inner realm through images as well as words, I came across this pic I drew for him on his 60th Birthday 14 years ago.

I love you dad. I got being a dreamer from you.

Atomic-Rob-RGB

Read “Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga” from the beginning

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An Unorthodox Ouroboros

A contrarian ouroboros named Tye
Lacking the disposition to die
Opted instead
Rather than to eat ’round to his own head
To start on the tail of some other guy.

Read “Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga” from the beginning

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What if Villeneuve’s #Dune is being built from Jodorowsky’s resources?

Imagine if, Denis Villeneuve, the acclaimed, Oscar-nominated director of Arrival and director of the new Dune film, were to use — and honour — the vast archive of production resources assembled by Alejandro Jodorowsky in the 1970s. We might be in for something truly transcendent.

Consider that this film would have been made BEFORE George Lucas’s 1977 Star Wars.

Read “Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga” from the beginning

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Does Sisyphus Run a Diner on the Astral Plane?

Though I am not completely convinced that Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga is an absurdist work — for even the designation absurdist defies the mystical intention of this tale — there is a reason Sisyphus (confidante and friend to the banshee, Jasco of Fey) operates an Olympian diner (DON’T call it Greek!) on the astral plane while he pushes the rock.

P.S. He makes the best gyros in the multiverse.

“I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy”

via Quote/s: The Myth of Sisyphus (Albert Camus) — Chiasmus

Read “Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga” from the beginning

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Atlantis: Historical Sources

Plato’s Timaeus (and his cave) are prominent inspirations for “Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga”. A fictional take on Atlantis plays a huge part as well.

Part of the Elementamundi.com universe by author Mark David

Part of elementamundi.com. By author Mark David: Twitter @authorMarkDavid


“This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded the true ocean; for this sea which is within the Straits of Heracles is only a harbour, having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a boundless continent.”


john_martin4 The Great Day of His Wrath by John Martin

The story of Atlantis

Comes to us from Timaeus, a Socratic dialogue, written in about 360 B.C. by Plato

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Houdini’s Ghost Stalks His Prey, Mars Plans for War, Kilroy Makes for Atlantis, & The Lord of Limbo Disembarks for the Edge of Reality

Chapter 20

Martian Dreamship

Art by Robert Matthews

“Beware the fury of a patient man.”

~ John Dryden

Realm of Nav,
upon a luxurious meadow
1984 AD SR

Undetectable, simply because he desired to be, the ghost of Harry Houdini crouched on the bough of an enormous tree by the most magnificent meadow he had ever seen. He wondered about the curious hut with the legs of a great predator bird and the beautiful beings that frolicked about it with abandon. The scenery and the sounds of the place were so idyllic they even offered solace against the torturous hunger for vengeance, which had up until now, driven him headlong and thoughtless after his prey.

Having sapped enough of his murderer’s aether to have reacquired something of his intellect, Houdini was beginning to feel pleasure again, have memories, and think productively. After nearly hundred years of nought but blind, mindless, plodding instinct, he was reasoning and emoting again – nearly, but not quite — to the full, prodigious degree he had known in his life of living flesh.

As he intently measured the bird-legged hut he knew housed his prey, confounding notions came upon him. He could have walked right up to it, passed effortlessly through the wall and claimed his prize: the last of Aleister Crowley’s aether and a return to corporeal form. The cosmic law that allowed for the ghost of one murdered for their soul would be fulfilled. Justice would be done.

Why then did he hesitate? It had to be something more than the distracting beauty of this place.

In that moment he mustered and focused his faculty for reason, newfound and still growing, in an attempt to reconcile this hesitation with his heretofore ravenous desire to end his quest. But rather than reason, memory imposed itself upon his reason, and he recalled the night of his murder.

He had agreed to a duel with Crowley beneath the Great Pyramid at Giza.

When his pistol had jammed, rather than shoot him outright, Crowley had punched him so hard in the stomach he had lost consciousness; then he had seen the stars through a porthole; then a ritual of some sort; then the inside of a hospital, which he now possessed the capacity to reason was in Chicago. Then he bore witness to his own funeral. Then nought — for year-upon-year, decade-upon-decade — but the pursuit of his prey and the appeasement of his fury: the hunt for the man become beast become machine.

These dark memories rekindled his rage. And so he descended the tree and walked toward the hut, determined finally to end Aleister Crowley for what he had done.

But as his approached, and as even more of Crowley’s aether came into him, and even more of the faculties of mind he had known in life returned, he stopped suddenly and stood pensively mere yards from his goal.

He recalled then witnessing Crowley’s dealings with Lucifer and his acquisition of an abundance of magic-fuelling souls. He recalled the beast’s powerful sorcery on Cygnus Denagar. At the time, he had lacked the reason to make sense of these events. But now the significance of them, in the light cast by reason rediscovered, gave him pause.

Then, in that moment it struck Harry Houdini that he and Aleister desired, to some degree, the very same thing – to be made flesh again. But there was a difference in the nature of their drives to that goal.

Harry Houdini’s lust for revenge was more powerful even than his desire to be whole again. And so, in that moment he reconciled to deny his prey of that which he desired most. This immaculate revenge — robbing the beast of his life’s passion — in that moment overtook even than the hunger to end Aleister Crowley and return to the realm of living beings.

The ghost had decided he could wait. Sitting down in the tall grass, he looked up into the beautiful spring sky over the meadow full of beautiful people and tried to remember what the sun felt like upon a face of meat and bone.

And then, with ferocious intent, Harry Houdini concentrated his newly recovered powers of thought upon recollecting everything he had seen and heard of this Glass Grimoire so coveted by the one who had stolen his soul.

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star.”

~ Albert Einstein

Sea of Tears,
Edge of Valuvian Space,
Ramses IX, flagship of the Martian Dreamfleet

The almost black teal of the sky over the inter-dimensional Sea of Tears in no way diminished the starlight that shone through from the expanse of regular spacetime beyond. The eerie voices that comprised a light wind over that strange sea rustled into the hair and clothing of the four men gathered on the foredeck of the Ramses IX: dreamship and flagship of the navy of the First Martian Solar Dynasty.

The Banjoman, Lord of Limbo, seemingly oblivious to the other three men conversing at his back, cast swirling purple eyes, which had assumed an eerie vacancy, out over the undulating crystalline indigo that was the mysterious multiversal network of waterways between realms.

Generally invisible and ephemeral from the perspective of an observer in regular spacetime, the Sea of Tears was a lattice of rivers, lakes and oceans that spanned spacetime and converged both spatially and vibrationally with bodies of waters on various planes of existence. It was said that every drop in that sea represented a corresponding soul on its meandering journey through the planes of the multiverse. It was also said that the sky above the sea was a perfect, though less substantial, reflection of the sea below and that the movement of the air was nought but the voices of the uncountable souls that comprised the water below.

Cormac Kipling Kilroy, who knew the Sea of Tears perhaps better than any other mortal, knew the Banjoman was listening to the murmuring of those voices now, for the ears of the Lord of Limbo could discern much that most ears could not.

“We have nearly 10,000 Ra-craft, and 440 vessels in the armada bound for X-Region Arcturus,” Admiral Cavendish Farlore, a dignified man with the shining shaved head of Martian military and silver mutton chop sideburns, said it in the casual manner of one long past earning an easy, honest relationship with the one he served.

Kip Kilroy, who had taken in almost nothing of the Admiral’s report to his adopted father,  the Martian Pharaoh, Garuk Motankhamun IV, gaped, slack-jawed to the aft of the ship. The sky all about the Ramses IX, was filled with white, ellipse-shaped saucers terminating in sharp points at two ends. With their tinted dorsal and ventral plasteel bubble cockpit pupils (the top one for a pilot and the bottom for a turret gunner) and the coloured squadron-designating ring irises, the Martian armada created the altogether disconcerting impression of a sky filled with staring, unblinking eyes of every imaginable colour.

“I’ve never seen so many of them in one place. And never in here, above this sacred sea.” Kilroy’s head came down and looked at Admiral Farlore. “Very impressive Sir.”

“Thank you Cormac.” The older soldier paused and measured his next words. Then, offering a mock clearing of his throat and looking at the luminous blue deck of his ship, the Admiral addressed his Pharaoh, “It required an equally impressive effort to assemble…” Looking then up and purposefully up and away from the Pharaoh, who stood across from him, he added, “… one I’m not altogether convinced was necessary.”

“OH, You saucy old swamp-stomper!” bellowed Motankhamun. “I am standing right here!” The Pharaoh looked at Kilroy and shook a thumb toward the Admiral, who was smiling mischievously. Rolling his eyes and shaking his head, the Pharaoh said to Kilroy, “Can you believe this salty old dog!”

This was the way it usually went between these two, who both held in equal disdain the rules of propriety, hierarchy and decorum. They has seen to much together. Of course, they did not do this in the company of their juniors, Kilroy being the sole exception.

Their camaraderie comforted Kilroy, for his mind had been preoccupied with how Jasco was faring on her mission to convince Andy to accompany her to Atlantis.

“With all due respect, sire, and understanding completely how busy you must have been of late,” Kilroy smiled at the Admiral before turning to the Pharaoh, “I am guessing it is high time the Admiral be more fully briefed on why he has assembled the armada.”

“Oh, and now sauce from you too! Who is Pharaoh here, by Ra?” Again, there was no real anger in the Pharaoh’s response, for in the company of his closest confidantes, he thoroughly enjoyed the game of making light of his power and status. “He’s as briefed as he needs to be! His job is to defend our efforts at the location – if we discover it, of the object of our quest – if it exists, and to defend the efforts of Ancaster the Earther, if he bothers to help us!”

With a shake of his head to indicate his bewilderment at the Pharaoh’s words, Admiral Farlore said to Kip, “Thank you for your concern Cormac Kilroy, obviously, the extent of the thorough and prolific intelligence gathering we’ve just heard from our eminence warrants completely, the assemblage of the collective military might of Mars.”

The Admiral’s feigned seriousness thrilled Kilroy so that he slapped the Pharaoh on the arm. All three men laughed heartily.

Then, with a hallmark shift in tone that showed without question that the time for playfulness had come to an end, the Pharaoh tilted his forehead toward The Banjoman, who still stared silently out over the ship’s railing. To neither of the men in particular, the Pharaoh said, allowing awe, reverence, and no small amount of concern ring through in his low voice, “that one such as he is among us now, should be assurance enough – despite all absence of details – of the severity of what transpires.”

Farlore straightened his back, and though he spoke with authority – none of his gregarious humanity was diminished by it. He was so like the Pharaoh, Kip thought in that moment. So alive, but in a way that was smooth and gentle where the Pharaoh was coarse and brash. “Aye, gentlemen, I do not question, save in jest, the import of the precautions being taken. And frankly I have no need of information regarding whys. It is my purpose in life solely to deliver hows.” He said it in a way that betrayed no apology for the fear in his voice.

Admiral Cavendish Farlore, who was by no measure, a timid or fearful man, felt genuine distress in the presence of the Lord of Limbo. It was not just the palpable power of the lithe yet sturdy physicality that legend told had single-handedly vanquished entire armies; it was not just the visceral, perpetual hum of the mysterious banjo he clenched in his fist that set the Admiral him ill at ease. For The Banjoman radiated a sense of palpable uncertainty. All about him the forces of chaos and order, peace and war, torment and grace seemed to swirl, coalesce and magnify.

There was a throbbing pulse to him: an oscillating sensation of nothingness and everythingness that approximated the space between the beats of one’s own heart and the space between those beats.

BIG. Small.

CLOSE. Far.

LOUD. Quiet.

ABOVE. Below.

Even the Pharaoh, who had just recently conspired secretly with The Lord of Limbo to arrange the liberation of Cronos, was ill at ease in his simmering presence. At the moment, however, he was embellishing this nervousness, for he did not want the Admiral or Kilroy, his adopted son, to suspect it had been he and The Banjoman who had freed Cronos from the Prison for Gods to conduct a secret mission through time. The Pharaoh shoved the thought away, for he feared it would draw him into a deep lament. He felt in his heart that unto the end of his days, he would feel nought but regret for what he, Cronos and The Banjoman had done.

Kilroy spoke then, “The Lord of Limbo is harmless enough.” He said it pensively before adding after some thought, “He is merely unaccustomed to the presence of others; and awkward in expressing himself in concrete terms, which elude him mostly.”

He is like a munitions barge in a lightning storm, Admiral Farlore thought, though he did not utter it aloud, for he just then he feared he had seen The Banjoman stir, and he was altogether sure that, despite appearances, the Lord of Limbo was taking in every word they said.

The Pharaoh sensed the Admiral’s discomfort and resolved to change the subject. “What of the intelligence you have received, Admiral? If the recent escape of Cronos, and the Minstrel of the Middle Way standing on the deck of the flagship of the Martian navy are not enough to make you think we should be at least drilling our forces, then what of the reports you shared with me yesterday?”

“Aye, Sire.” Farlore, intuitively ascertaining the Pharaoh’s intent to have yesterday’s intelligence briefing conveyed to Cormac Kilroy, turned and spoke to the younger officer directly.

“From corroborated sources, Cormac, we know that Curator Lucifer has met with both Acting Emperor Ares and Baron Arawn of Fey. Kip’s eyes widened with excitement and he smiled widely, which surprised the other men, who expected concern, even dismay at this news.

“Wicked!” Kilroy whispered to himself. The light of child-like wonder shone from his handsome face. The Pharaoh rolled his eyes.

Farlore continued, “And the whereabouts of Emperor Zeus, whom we do know is accompanied only by Torus Phi, are still unknown. He has not been seen since the report from the Temple of Hanuman at Nova Valhalla–Pleiades.

Farlore paused as though to reflect upon the information he had just shared. When he continued, his playful sarcasm returned, “So here we have tales of the new, nice Ares, very possibly doing little more than making daisy chain necklaces and pining for the release of the next Yes album with Lucifer, and signs of Zeus on a pan-dimensional self-help tour. I reiterate my inclination toward concern being merited, but do these goings-ons truly deepen that concern – or are they rather, glad tidings of the sad state of Olympus?”

The Pharaoh smiled at the return to the game! “It appears your assessment that the Admiral needs to be more informed was warranted, Cormac Kilroy. If you please, could you give us your interpretation of this information, in light of you current mission?”

Despite knowing the nature of the game they now engaged in, Kilroy, who had great respect for the Admiral, felt a tinge of embarrassment at being asked by their Pharaoh to share information with his superior officer. But the feeling did not last, for almost instantly, he remembered that Farlore’s gracious, sensible nature would not likely find insult.

“History would suggest that after The Hells’ annexation of Hades, an alliance with Olympus should be impossible. But this does not take into account the converging variables of the evolution of Ares’ character and the opening left by Zeus’s misdirected attentions.” Kip paused to let the Admiral think on this.

Admiral Farlore’s jaw slackened, his eyes widened, and he almost whispered the words, “One, for so long regarded a prolific warrior is not so easily regarded a prolific diplomat!”

“Or politician,” added the Pharaoh, thoroughly enjoying the productive, strategic chemistry of his two favourite people.

“Having guided Farlore so effectively into such an eloquent estimation, Kilroy was excited to continue. “With Poseidon and Hades gone, Ares’, eventual attempt on Zeus’s throne was inevitable! What if the warm-and-fuzzy thing is an act? Or what if Ares is completely genuine and wants a kinder, gentler Olympian Empire? Either way, I’d say an alliance between Olympus and Hell is coming.”

The Admiral was taken aback at Kilroy’s reasoned assessment. He understood once again why his Pharaoh had placed so much faith in the mind and skills of the young son of Sanctuary. Whatever his thoughts were, the look on the Admiral’s face was one of concern. Kip’s enthusiasm melted away, and he looked again into the armada of Martian saucers that seemed to stare like uncountable, unblinking eyes into their very souls. He pondered something for a moment and coming to a weighty decision, he stepped forward and looked hard into his father’s eyes.

“And what if this new alliance were to aid Tin Prince Twain in securing his prize.” Both he and and the Pharaoh glanced sidelong at Farlore has he said it.

“Tin Prince Twain?” Farlore all but coughed the words. That the mention of the name had shocked him was obvious – but not as obvious as his disdain.

“Aye, old friend.” The Pharaoh was pleased that Kip had taken his lead and had finally shared this with the Admiral. He put his hand gently onto Kip’s shoulder to let him know he had done the right thing.  “The time has arrived for you to grasp something of the whys, for though I would never question your commitment to delivering victory, knowing the stakes – and in this case, the severity of the ramifications of failure – never hurts.”

“There is another factor in this that concerns me greatly.” Kip looked mostly at the Pharaoh then. “What of the escape of Cronos? His vengeance will be for Zeus, but that does not mean he will not ally himself with Olympus under Ares in this! What could stand against such power? Few even live that remember when Cronos was free! And what of Asgard? Even the Allfather could fall under the sway of one such as Cronos.”

In that moment, the Pharaoh became visibly nervous. Not because Cronos had escaped from the Prison for Gods, which was under his administration as the guardian of Sanctuary, but rather because Kip now ventured disturbingly close to the secret caper he had hatched with The Banjoman. But he would not have to address this concern, for just then, all men startled at the emergence of a fourth voice.

“You have nothing to fear of Cronos.” It was the Lord of Limbo. Without turning to face the others, he had finally spoken. “He desires only to die after a life too long lived. Ask not how I know this.”

The Pharaoh, though rescued from Kip’s distressing line of enquiry, was now nervous for another reason. He could only hope, The Banjoman would keep their secret regarding Cronos. The Admiral, one who had seen entire star systems die, was simply terrified. And Kipling Kilroy rolled his eyes at the familiarly melodramatic tone The Banjoman assumed in the company of those who did not know him.

“He returns!” Kilroy exclaimed. To the astonishment of the others, the young marinar walked right up to The Banjoman and slapped his hands upon the much larger man’s shoulders. “And gracing us with impressive words of powerful substance and import no less.”

The Lord of Limbo scowled as Kilroy guided him over to join the others, talking as he went, “We were just assessing the pieces on the board and speculating on an alliance between Olympus and the Hells under an upstart Ares.”

“It is possible,” said the Banjoman. “But as I said, you need not worry about Cronos.” As he said it he looked hard at the Pharaoh, and the Martian monarch found himself already wishing the Lord of Limbo were back looking over the railing again. His unpredictable nature made him a terrible person to share in a secret conspiracy with. Perhaps changing the subject was the best course of action the Pharaoh decided. So he thought to shift the conversation to what Asgard might do, but before he could speak, The Banjoman did exactly that.

“If I may offer it, Asgard has little taste for war of any sort at the moment.” The Lord of Limbo spoke absently, matter-of-factly as he pulled his purple goggles down from the band of his derby hat. “Despite Lucifer’s annexation of Hades,” he continued, “they are no friends to the Prince of Light for they wonder if Helheim and its trove of souls is next on his list of acquisitions.” Now he threw the banjo that had been clenched in his fist over his shoulder on the strap of orange leather taken from the wing of a demon he had slain in a realm none present had even heard of. Kipling knew then that The Banjoman was leaving them. He glanced over and saw Nexsusa, noble warmole of Limbo, stirring to her feet. Her massive reality-rending claws clacked against the solid blue-light surface of the dreamship’s deck.

“Yes.” The Banjoman’s eyes were changing now. Swirling from the perfect grey back to the deep purple of Limbo, “there is not an Asgardian anywhere that will not thrill at the magnificent turmoils the escape of Cronos and the treachery of Ares bode for petulant Zeus. Shares in mead will rival the value of souls before long as they fall over themselves to drink to the gorilla emperor’s diminishment and doom, either at the hands of a vengeful father or at the ambitions of a disapproving son.”

The Banjoman’s good humour on the subject, but moreso the way he spoke – as though all these things were certainties – comforted all present, and they laughed mightily.

The Pharaoh then, putting on a more authoritative air than he had worn before, lent his support to The Banjoman’s assertion regarding Asgard. He was relieved the conversation had turned away from the topic of Cronos . “Your reckoning rings true, Lord of Limbo. I will know for certain when I speak to Loki, but I suspect you are entirely correct.”

Admiral Farlore seemed more at ease with The Banjoman now and his sense of humour returned. “Is it also safe to assume then, that Asgard will not serve as an ally either? Or is there yet more information I require before I return to forming strategies of my own?”

“After our involvement in the Battle of Hades, it is a safe bet that while Asgard is not out enemy, they are also no friend of Mars.” The Pharaoh slapped Kip on the shoulder as he said it and the son of Sanctuary blushed with pride. “No, our list of allies is thin indeed. Even Heliopolis, I have been told by Ra himself, will not risk the perception of partiality during their millennia as the seat of the celestial Necropolis.”

Kip Kilroy shuddered at the mention of Heliopolis, seat of te Celestial Necropolis that presided over fair and balanced conduct of the soul trade, and enforced the Binary Proclamation and he recalled the recent, secret dealings he and the Banjoman had conducted with magistrate Anubis.  Kip looked hard at The Banjoman then. It was his turn to fear the Lord of Limbo’s unpredictable nature, and he felt a pang of guilt for having appealed to Anubis’s suspicion of Lucifer as Anuket’s murderer.

“And Heaven,” the Pharaoh threw in, “will certainly, as usual, sit another one out upon their bloated mountain of souls — taking no risks, offering no aid, losing no face, and gloating from a safe-distance about their moral superiority.”

“If there be war then,” Farlore now seemed more convinced than he had been before that the preparations the Pharaoh had asked for had been justified. “Then it seems the diplomats of Mars have their work cut out for them. I can do my best Pharaoh, but we cannot stand alone against the combined forces of Olympus and the United Hells.”

The Pharaoh put his hand on the shoulder of his Admiral and his friend. “I have shared all I can old friend, but I assure you, I will find us the friends we need.”

The Banjoman knew of what the Pharaoh spoke. And he knew that Garuk Motankhamun IV would be doing much more than merely talking with Loki, for there would soon be another jailbreak at Olympus Mons. This time though, The Banjoman would not be involved.

No. The Lord of Limbo had another task to undertake. One he assigned to himself.

Good cheer burst from The Banjoman then, “And rest easy, Cavendish Farlore, for you count The Banjoman of Limbo as sympathetic to your cause and history is rife with worlds that have both risen and fallen by way of the banjo at the end of this arm!” Then as quickly as he had brought the Admiral to good cheer with his proclamation of loyalty, he terrified him once again, for the purple of Limbo flared to a living blaze that surged beyond the limits of his eyes and his countenance assumed a truly fearsome aspect. “I will deliver what I can unto the fray when the time comes from where only one such as I may go.”

Admiral Farlore actually stepped backwards in spite of himself.

Everyone there knew not to question The Banjoman on this, and this time even Kip did not dare discount his demeanour as melodrama. For when the lord of the middle way, and a reader of time, has chosen a path to set himself upon, it is reasonable to assume that his choice is in the interest of the balance of all things.

Then, to the shock and great concern of Pharaoh Motankhamun and Admiral Farlore, Kip stepped forward unflinchingly and put his hand on The Banjoman’s shoulder and looked directly into those fearsome, flaming, purple eyes in the way only men who have faced death together can.

“Go then friend. I speak for the others here when I say that our honour and our humour will be lessened by your absence, but I possess wisdom enough to know when to trust yours. All I ask is that you and the grand Lady Nexusa take good care in your travels, for I surmise you now venture to realms where the sanity of most cannot be sustained.

“You have guessed then that I venture edgeward,” The Banjoman said. Instantly his eyes became kind and inviting. The men who had only a moment before been so fearful were suddenly overtaken by a gleeful sense of peacefulness.

“I hesitate even to utter the names of the places I go to now, for I fear the impact of even the mention of them upon your minds.” He looked kindly at the Pharaoh and Admiral. “No offence meant,” he said with a smile. “Fine minds, no question, but fragile on the whole, nonetheless.”

Kilroy laughed. “Yes, old friend! Your thoughtfulness is appreciated, for doubtless, the fate of all minds in reality now rely on the effectiveness and lucidity of those gathered here.”

The Banjoman lowered his head and looked up from under his flaming red brows. “And that of the boy we have taken to calling Andy as well.” There was an ominous edge to his tone. Kilroy, echoed it, in another uncharacteristic display of concern. “Aye, Banjoman, and that of the boy.” There was quiet then and the four seemed content to let it stand.

It was the Pharaoh who broke the silence. “Jasco will convince the boy, I have no doubt. She is persuasive in her way – and trustworthy. If the lad has character, which I think he does.”

The Banjoman turned to the Pharaoh and said, “Andy has character, Pharaoh. This I no know – but I also know that times of pain can challenge a man’s character, especially in youth. Our faith is with the reaper then – and if there’s one thing we all know in the end, isn’t it that chance favours the Fey?”

The Lord of Limbo turned, and looking directly again into Kip Kilroy’s eyes said, “She will get Andy to Atlantis.” He said it as though no others were there. “I have no doubt.” And this comforted the Lord of the Sea of Tears greatly.

Then Kip Kilroy and the Banjoman embraced fully and heartily. The Pharaoh beamed with pride that his ward had won such personal loyalty from one of the most powerful beings in all existence.

Stepping back and looking excitedly at his friend, Kip barked heartily, “And all the gods help Punta Epsilon when this war is won…”

… for we rabble will return to drink it to rubble!” was the Banjoman’s enthusiastic, nigh on deafening, response,

Then, the Lord of Limbo tipped his worn bowler hat and leapt effortlessly onto the back of The Lady Nexusa, greatest of the legendary warmoles of Limbo. With a gentle nudge of his heals and a slap of the reins against her massive rippling shoulders, he urged her over the railing of the Ramses IX where her mighty foreclaws tore open a tunnel in spacetime.

Together, the three remaining men marveled for a moment at the departure of that strange and mighty pair before a sadness set in, for they knew that there was to be yet another parting of ways.

“I make haste then for Atlantis gentlemen,” though my thoughts be with Jasco and her trials now.” Suddenly, the Pharaoh, consumed with guilt again, for he had also hidden arrangements made with Jasco of Fey from his adopted son, grabbed Kip in a crushing hug. He loathed all the necessary duplicity, and had come to hate the burdens of authority, for he loved his adopted son and despised the need to deceive him.

Thrusting Kip out like a ragdoll, the Pharaoh gripped him by the shoulders at arms length. “As always we are blessed to have the sympathies of the daughters of Venus. No mean feat considering who this lad is to them.”

“All the more reason I must beg your leave so urgently, for I must prepare that realm for his return.” Kipling said it confidently, but they both knew that, though Atlantis was the place Ancaster Crowley must go, there were more than few reasons he would not be welcome there.

“King Gary, Admiral Farlore, Atlantis awaits.” And, with a bow to his liege, and a salute to his commander, the one history would record as the steward of the sole sorcerer of Sanctuary, departed to his dreamship, the legendary Lady Anuket, to set sail upon the Sea of Tears for the Venusian enclave of Atlantis – where a fateful friendship would set in stone a dark destiny.

To be continued in Chapter 21

Read Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga from the beginning

Insights, inspiration, and discussion are encouraged and appreciated in the comments below each chapter.

Please consider sharing!

Why Write the Glass Grimoire?

Dave McLaughlin

 

I grew up in a small, Canadian, rural town in the 80s. I played Dungeon’s & Dragons, read comic books, and with surprising regularity, swung off a rope into a river with a small, tight-knit group of friends.

Looking back, I am convinced that the stars shone brighter, the sky was bluer, and the dice rolled truer there than anywhere else in the multiverse.

Other things have occurred to me in retrospect. Chief of them is the notion that, despite what our parents said to us constantly — it is quite possible that we did indeed know everything when we were teenagers.

As someone now just this side of 50, I’ve come to believe deeply that many of the things we are trained to deem important are in fact complete nonsense, and perhaps more importantly, many of the things we are trained to deem nonsense, are in the end, the most important things of all.

What I remember most from the time in my life this book is drawn from is that the inner life was celebrated at least as much as the outer.

Recently, as a father with children who are at the age I was at then, I lament how our focus shifts from inner to outer as we age. As a person who has studied politics and worked in advertising, I now think we are prodded like sheep to move away from the inner realm to the outer as we get older because our society and its cultural accoutrements are designed precisely to accomplish this. Inner-dwellers, 23rd level paladins, philosophers, writers, poets, artists, and dreamers are valued little by a system that — if we are being truly honest with ourselves — prefers obedient workers and mindless consumers: the products of an outward oriented, intensely delineated perspective.

Andy Crowley’s saga, chronicled herein, is a celebration of the ability in youth to blur the line between the inner and outer realms. And its unbridled reverence for Dungeons & Dragons, science fiction, fantasy, imagination, and rock & roll are a testament to something I now hold true. Namely, that there are no lines in reality, save those we are trained to perceive — all of which are constructed to limit and imprison us. Furthermore, I submit that this most fundamental of truths is the basis for a number of schools of mystical knowledge we have likewise been trained to trivialize or even fear.

It is a notion born of my 15-year-old self that the time has come for that arcane wisdom and mystical perspective to return to us, maybe right at the time when humanity needs it most; and that the vehicle for its return is none other than the very device you are reading this on now …

… a grimoire of glass!

Dave McLaughlin

Read “Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga” from the beginning

Insights, inspiration, and discussion are encouraged and appreciated in the comments below each chapter.

Please consider sharing.

From Soviet Space Cadet to Slavic Sorcerer: The Dark Apprentice of Nina Yaga

Chapter 19

“The childish go after outward pleasures and fall into the net of death spread wide.”

~ The Vedas

The two souls that shared the robot body of Tin Prince Twain often manifested in this way. By entering into a meditative state they could separate from the amalgam consciousness they became in their waking life and for a time converse as the two distinct consciousnesses they had been in their lives on Earth.

Despite the infinite environments available to the powerful imaginations of two souls who had experienced extensive inter-stellar and inter-planar travel, they typically conducted these meetings in quaint environs. Alistair Crowley was fond of mountain climbing. Mark Twain was an avid surfer.

Today, thanks to the artistic lucidity of the writer from America and the meditative focus of the occult master from England, they reclined in warm sand against long boards jammed into a beach in Hawaii.

“This Pinocchio Complex of yours does not justify the destruction you have wrought.” The one who went by the pen name Twain took a long pull on a bottle of ice-cold American beer. “Besides, your obsession is somewhat counter to your general philosophy. Is it not?”

Aleister Crowley, whose soul had manifested for this conversation in the robot mind the men shared as a raven-haired version of himself in his early twenties, smiled condescendingly at his roommate. He was genuinely grateful for Twain’s splendid imagination and knack for visualization, but his high morality and naïveté were excruciating to entertain for the one whose open-mindedness had resulted in him coming to be known as the beast.

“Means to ends, junior. My ends – in this now immortal form – simply being to recover the sensual pleasures of true flesh… the sensations of true eyes. You miss it too.” He raised his beer and pointed it at Twain. “You know I do us both a service in this endeavour. My will, our will, is merely to experience that which we have lost in the winning of immortality.” He smiled at Twain, who wore a tanned, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, boyishly handsome form. As usual, for kicks, Crowley put a sinister edge on his smile. He lived for eliciting a reaction. Twain glared at him and simply finished his beer. He knew he would not win this argument and that they were set firmly on their course, whether he liked it or not.

Generally, the two souls shared a mystical worldview. In their years on Earth, in separate bodies, each of them had shown open and unapologetic disdain for their respective societies’ inclinations to hyper-reductionist delineation of reality. Government, religion, cultural values – even notions like race, gender and nation – had been abhorrent to both of them, and both had made names for themselves as fierce social critics in their professional careers.

This shared perspective: this notion of the world as a single, organic, dynamic, indivisible system that was at odds with the popular, pervasive mechanical, building block misconception of reality was their common ground. It was the means by which they could overcome just enough of their other differences. It was the bond that transcended their otherwise remarkable incompatibility as souls that could functionally co-inhabit the same corporeal body.

Twain’s mysticism had developed as a compulsion to art that found expression and satisfaction in the inner realm of his own imagination, which he communicated in-turn through writing to the inner realms of others.

Crowley’s mysticism became the will to self-actualize through the sort of extreme sensory and physical stimulation in the outer, material realm that became possible when consciousness transcended the false, arbitrary and ultimately limiting delineations and restrictions of culture, society, morality, and law.

Unified by a penchant for mystical awareness, the two souls that shared the robot form notorious across all reality were estranged in the means by which each undertook to manifest that awareness as action.

In their lives on Earth, both men saw all things as connected and so had undertaken to bring no harm to other beings. But, in having succeeded in his lust for immortality, Crowley increasing regarded the material body – at least one in the possession of another – as less important than the soul. Over time, as his access to true sorcery beyond The Rim expanded his power and perspective, he came to regard corporeal life as impertinent in relation to the longer journey of the soul. Who should live and who should die? So long as it wasn’t him, why did this matter? How could he possibly judge the relative value of the lives of other beings? Why should he bother? Indeed, if liberating souls from their bodies would served his needs, was he not providing mutual benefit by facilitating the transmigration of a soul to its next life? After he had come to inhabit the Atlantean robot body constructed for him by Tesla, after he had achieved immortality, he had come to see himself as having emerged from a chrysalis – of having shed the last of the naïve morality imposed by the limitations of mortal thought. The biological imperative to covet and protect life in general no longer applied to Tin Prince Twain.

Situations change, consciousness evolves, and perspectives that inform the will to self-actualization transcend their former limitations.

In his new, immortal mind, which was of course to him the mind of a god, he had come to see the lives of the mere mortals he had left behind as inconsequential.

Mark Twain, suffice it to say, had both deeply resented, and consistently expressed powerful opposition to this sentiment. It was the primary point of contention between the two souls. But subconsciously, unbeknownst even to himself, Twain also longed for the return of the sensations of the flesh that Crowley so strategically sought. Though he was dismayed by Crowley’ means, he was not  (at least below the surface) really all that opposed to the ends they might achieve. This buried compliance with that which he outwardly despised clawed at the dreamer’s mind from its depths.

It could be said that though Crowley’s lusts and passions were many and excessive, they were completely under the discipline of his will, but that while Twain’s lusts and passions were fewer and more demure, like most good men, they were not sufficiently acknowledged and so evaded the adequate regulation of his intentions.

One brought dark discipline, the other whimsy and light. One brought primal hunger, the other principled restraint.

And so, Tin Prince Twain it was whispered –by those few who knew him well – was not so much a menace forged of steel as he was a menace forged of irony.

“Back to work then?” Twain hurled the beer bottle into the air toward the ocean. After over a century in here with one he thought an arrogant, unrepentant anarchist, he knew better than to argue. He would have to remain satisfied with policing the situation, biding his time, and assessing opportunities to keep the beast in check by whatever means he could muster.

“That’s the spirit!” Crowley said, imbuing the words with a sarcastic edge that would let Twain know he would never cease being suspicious of him.

The beach, the young, athletic bodies, and indeed the greater part of the sensation of being two distinct entities receded from both of them then. Once again the two mystics, one a skeptical and compassionate dreamer and the other a hopeful and pragmatic anarchist, became a jumbled amalgam of both souls. Retaining something of the best, and something of the worst, of each, it was as though they melded together to form a third entity: a whole greater than the sum of its parts: the sorcerer known, revered and feared the length, width and depth of the cosmos as Tin Prince Twain.

As the meditative state that had enabled the inner conversation between the two souls receded, the robot’s vision came into the room.

Decorated in the style of the court of Russian emperor, Peter the First, the expansive space would have been impressive to most eyes. To one who knew it was in fact a convoluted pocket of spacetime that twisted and turned again and again in upon itself to reside within a demure wooden hut roughly one hundredth the size of its inner dimensions, it was miraculous. That the hut travelled as directed by the will of its owner upon the enormous legs of an eagle, was just the proverbial icing on the cake.

The hut, which was a legendary artifact of the fearsome Yaga coven of witches, was the property of the young coven matron, Nina Yaga, who now stood in the centre of the room instructing Andrei Rasputin in the finer points of Tai-Chi.

Tin Prince Twain marvelled at the skill the boy had attained in such a short time. Appealing to Andrei’s nationalist inclinations by using Russian occult traditions as the gateway to his training had been the right choice. He was also sure that Nina’s remarkable beauty and grace, so at odds with the fearsome crones the Yaga coven was known for, had also played no small part in assuring Andrei’s passion for his studies.

The two flowed through their Tai-Chi sequence in perfect unison. During her time on Sanctuary, where she had met Aleister Crowley, Nina had been a dancer in the Kirov ballet. Her feminine lines were complemented perfectly by the magical unitard she wore. Crafted from a fabric that had been given to Tin Prince Twain by the Heliopolitan goddess Nuit, it conveyed the wearer’s form as a window into the void. Irrespective of more immediate angles and lighting, the material somehow presented the nebulous starscape of the depth of space directly behind the person wearing it.

Andrei’s inherent athleticism, and the focus and discipline he had learned as a deep space cadet of the United Soviet Socialist Stellar Republic, had made him a quick study of the ancient Chinese art of efficiently perceiving, process and addressing reality. The Tin Prince was fascinated to see that, even in the short few hours he had been meditating, the prodigal apprentice’s aetheric field had blossomed.

“Comrade Twain, welcome back. We are just finishing.” Nina’s smile was genuine for she held the Tin Prince in high esteem. He had shared many secrets of the arts of sorcery with her in her days as a young initiate.

The robot smiled at her use of the word comrade. She had agreed with him that exploiting their apprentice’s powerful loyalties to ethnicity, patriotism and ideology were a good tactic. She also understood the irony – and the dangers to the boy’s sanity – of constructing an otherwise un-delineated mystical perspective upon such rigidly defined foundations. Though both she and the Tin Prince knew this approach, which expedited the effectiveness of his learning, would likely destroy Andrei’s mind in the end, both were apathetic. He was a tool to be used and she knew she would be well rewarded for success.

As they finished their closing sequence, she turned to Andrei and tenderly touched his cheek. He blushed immediately – and deeply.

“Once again you have performed exceptionally,” Her voice was intoxication incarnate and her acumen impressed the Tin Prince such that he felt a mixture sympathy and envy for the boy. “Retire to the meadow, Raspberry. I will join you their shortly, after I report to our master. He will be so proud of your progress.”

Then, Andrei turned and quickly bowed to the robot. “With your leave, Master.” The Prince could see the excitement on his face and knew he would be anxious to return to the fertile beauty of the plains of Lada, which lay outside the eagle-legged hut of Nina Yaga. And he knew that much more than the subtle pleasures of wildflowers awaited him there, for the promiscuous Rati, disguised in the innocent beauty of the Slavic goddess (and likely a number of her assistants as well) would know very well how to sate the appetites of a teenage Earth boy.

In that moment, the envy the Prince felt for what the boy would experience touched the edge of outright hatred until the discipline of his mind transformed this jealousy into determination: the commitment to being a being of flesh once again.

With a flurry of hand gestures and vocalizations, Andrei disappeared with a pop as air rushed into the vacuum he left behind. The Prince was impressed that he had generated enough personal aether to expend it so casually, for he knew he had no souls to power such a spell.

Tin Prince Twain, stood up then and walked toward Nina. In that mysterious way of his he wore an expression of approval on his metal face.

“He is a miracle! I have never seen such aptitude in a male of any species before!” Nina said it with her typical exuberance and she jumped up easily and threw her arms around the enormous robot. “Personal company excluded, of course.” She added with feigned seriousness.

“You do the esteemed legacy of your coven great service Madame Yaga. Your knowledge, your patience, and your charms have achieved more than we could have dreamed possible in a remarkably short span of time.”

He took a moment then to appreciate fully the witch’s grace and beauty. No doubt her student had been a completely enthralled and enthusiastic audience.

“I cannot take all the credit.” She smiled suggestively at the robot with two souls. “Rati’s machinations as Sister Lada have certainly kept him in the blissful state required for me to ply my craft.

Nina was referring to her efforts to dilate Andrei’s perception of the passage of time using the hallmark of the Yaga coven’s sorcery: an aptitude for contorting the relationship between consciousness and spactime.

Provided Andrei was in a state of contentment, Nina Yaga’s spellcraft could create a circumstance in which passage of time would seem to move more rapidly in his direct vicinity – but appeared to flow at the normal, seemingly slower, rate around him.

The result of this trick of temporal perception had been that Andrei had learned years worth of sorcerous material in mere months.

Their plan for his apprenticeship had been mapped out meticulously. Nina would expedite Andrei’s training with here unique magic, and the lustful Rati, goddess of sensuality, disguised as the Slavic, Lada, Lady of Flowers, would keep the him in the state of bliss that made the Yaga time dilation possible.

The golden-haired, elfin Yada was the perfect vehicle to appeal to the young Soviet idealist’s character. Like Isthtar, Eostre, and countless others celestial avatars of the essence of springtime, Lada, the Slavic embodiement of fertility and rebirth, would not only appeal to Andrei’s nationalistic sensibilities, she also represented a freshness and innocence that would appeal to aspirations he undoubtedly now entertained of a destiny as the benevolent emperor of a cosmic communist utopia.

“He is deliciously innocent!” Nina said it in a way that made the Tin Prince pity the boy – but not for long. A mischievous grin came upon his face.

Cupping her face gently, remarkably so for a machine of such size and power, and looking into her eyes. “I cannot even be sure what the word innocence means coming from one such as you.”

Playfully, she shoved him away and they both laughed.

“You pig!” Nina feigned anger. “You know the plan! I am the forbidden fruit! The true love! No, no, no – I am the carrot always out of reach.”

“Of course,” said the Tin Prince. It is plain to see that he adores you. You are the grand interest, while Rati provides for other, baser, inclinations.”

“Indeed! Nina said. It is a joy to observe. He shows incredible discipline and restraint. Any other Earther of his age and experience confronted with Rati’s sensuality cloaked in Lada’s beauty and tenderness would have gone mad with lust by now.”

“I do imagine he preserves himself in that regard for one who holds his deeper affectations” The Tin Prince looked at Nina not at all expecting her to blush and was rewarded with the eye roll he expected.

“But of course!” she said, clasping her hands over her heart in a mocking gesture and looking up at him from under fluttering eyelashes.

“May we observe him?” The robot asked.

“Naughty as always, Old Crow! eh?” Of course. “But be prepared to be disappointed. He will be studying at the moment.”

With the graceful wave of her elegant dancer’s hand Nina opened a slice in the air before her. It was as though her fingernail had opened spacetime itself. Tin Prince Twain stepped up beside her and as the slit widened he saw a beautiful meadow on the other side. The sky consisted of an almost perfect balance of perfect white cumulus summer clouds and the radiant blue of mid-day sky.

Andrei leaned against a brightly coloured purple and silver toadstool about the size of a post box. An incredibly beautiful woman, roughly his age, lay with her head in his lap looking up at him adoringly. Indeed, there were beautiful women everywhere – young men too. All of them were about the same age, save one.

With daisies, periwinkles and buttercups all through her glistening pale golden hair, an older woman lay on her side, completely naked with her head propped on one arm. She too looked up with admiration at young Andrei. The Secret Doctrine by Helena Blavatsky floated above and in front of her and was opened so that Andrei could read it. The boy, surprisingly in the presence of so much glorious beauty, was completely enthralled by what he was reading.

The Tin Prince knew the naked woman on the ground was Rati and not Lada, for in her eyes he saw much more than the innocence the boy would have seen.

The robot smiled widely, and Nina, knowing she had pleased one she respected greatly, allowed herself to blush with satisfaction at what she had achieved for him.

In the adolescent ecstasy brought on in the company of Lada and her handmaidens, not to mention the constant attentions of the bewitching Nina Yaga, the teenage boy had hovered near the point of pure sensual bliss just shy of release for the past few weeks. In this state, the Yaga time dilation had facilitated his learning at a remarkable rate and his aether had grown to the point where he could cast simple spells without needing to employ soul energy.

All this time, his socialist ideology, his egalitarian sense of justice, and his notion of national pride and moral certainty were nurtured as well. For Aleister Crowley knew that none are more driven and dangerous than those who believe their agenda is virtuous.

Under the ceaseless press and caress of divine flesh, the distinction between physical self and other would was falling away; in the melody of words both of pleasing tone and profound meaning, categories and labels were evaporating while wisdom deepened; and as the beauty of nature personified in the temptations of lustful Rati and wrapped deceitfully in the innocence of Lada eroded, the constructed distinction between self and nature eroded with it.

An so, amid the roses and dandelions, in a divine, all-embracing spring perfect for the adolescence of both body and mind, Andrei had grown in sorcerous power.

The robot smiled at the synchronicity of it all. Lada – Spring and rebirth – the perfect matron to preside over the rebirth of Andrei Rasputin as sorcerer-emperor of all reality and the unwitting tool by which Tin Prince Twain would acquire the Glass Grimoire: the sole means by which he reclaim his form of flesh.

Looking upon him now, attired to appear as the Ancaster Crowley of this world in an Asia concert shirt and torn, worn blue jeans, the part of the Tin Prince that was Aleister Crowley wondered if Andrei Rasputin had already surpassed the skills of his doppleganger from this universe and he beamed with pride at what he had wrought in so little time.

The part of the robot that was Samuel Clemens was having different thoughts altogether.

Recalling something he had written in the years before he had come to share this body with Aleister Crowley, he looked upon the weapon Crowley was forging to deliver them from their artificial form and he was forced to admit that, though he despised it completely, he agreed with Crowley’s plan.

For he suspected that the power of the Glass Grimoire in the hands of young Andrei Rasputin, which could remake them as a being of flesh and bone again, might also be power enough to separate them into two distinct beings.

And though he knew he would do almost anything to part ways with the soul of Aleister Crowley, he also knew too well the dark havoc they must soon unleash to accomplish this.

The thought of it filled him with remorse – and were he any more now than just an imprisoned aspect of the mind of a robot, the man once called Mark Twain would have blushed with the shame of it.

Read. Rock. Roll. Repeat.

Glass Grimoire: The Andy Crowley Saga

A journey beyond space and mind awaits!

Insights, inspiration, and discussion are encouraged and appreciated in the comments below each chapter.

Please consider sharing!

Built by Tesla for the Souls of Crowley & Twain: Forged of Steel & Irony

Preview of Chapter 19

Generally, the two souls shared a mystical worldview. In their years on Earth, in separate bodies, each of them had shown open and unapologetic disdain for their respective societies’ inclinations to hyper-reductionist delineation of reality. Government, religion, cultural values – even notions like race, gender and nation – had been abhorrent to both of them, and both had made names for themselves as fierce social critics in their professional careers.

This shared perspective: this notion of the world as a single, organic, dynamic, indivisible system that was at odds with the popular, pervasive mechanical, building block misconception of reality was their common ground. It was the means by which they could overcome just enough of their other differences. It was the bond that transcended their otherwise remarkable incompatibility as souls that could functionally co-inhabit the same corporeal body.

But if their mystical perspective was the foundation upon which their kinship was built, disagreement about how such a perspective should be interpreted, and so should inform personal action, was in perpetuity, a source of animus that threatened to tear that kinship asunder.

Twain’s mysticism had developed as a compulsion to art that found expression and satisfaction in the inner realm of his own imagination, which he communicated in-turn through writing to the inner realms of others.

Crowley’s mysticism became the will to self-actualize through the sort of extreme sensory and physical stimulation in the outer, material realm that became possible when consciousness transcended the false, arbitrary and ultimately limiting delineations and restrictions of culture, society, morality, and law.

Unified by a penchant for mystical awareness, the two souls that shared the robot form notorious across all reality were estranged in the means by which each undertook to manifest that awareness as action.

In their lives on Earth, both men saw all things as connected and so had undertaken to bring no harm to other beings. But, in having succeeded in his lust for immortality, Crowley increasing regarded the material body – at least one in the possession of another – as less important than the soul. Over time, as his access to true sorcery beyond The Rim expanded his power and perspective, he came to regard corporeal life as impertinent in relation to the longer journey of the soul. Who should live and who should die? So long as it wasn’t him, why did this matter? How could he possibly judge the relative value of the lives of other beings? Why should he bother? Indeed, if liberating souls from their bodies would served his needs, was he not providing mutual benefit by facilitating the transmigration of a soul to its next life? After he had come to inhabit the Atlantean robot body constructed for him by Tesla, after he had achieved immortality, he had come to see himself as having emerged from a chrysalis – of having shed the last of thr naïve morality imposed by the limitations of mortal thought. The biological imperative to covet and protect life in general no longer applied to Tin Prince Twain.

Situations change, consciousness evolves, and perspectives that inform the will to self-actualization transcend their former limitations.

In his new, immortal mind, which was of course to him the mind of a god, he had come to see the lives of the mere mortals he had left behind as inconsequential.

Mark Twain, suffice it to say, had both deeply resented, and consistently expressed powerful opposition to this sentiment. It was the primary point of contention between the two souls. But subconsciously, unbeknownst even to himself, Twain also longed for the return of the sensations of the flesh that Crowley so strategically sought. Though he was dismayed be Crowley’ means, he was not  (at least below the surface) really all that opposed to the ends they might achieve. This buried compliance with that which he outwardly despised clawed at the dreamer’s mind from its depths.

It could be said that though Crowley’s lusts and passions were many and excessive, they were completely under the discipline of his will, but that while Twain’s lusts and passions were fewer and more demure, like most good men, they were not sufficiently acknowledged and so evaded the adequate regulation of his intentions.

One brought dark discipline, the other whimsy and light. One brought primal hunger, the other principled restraint.

And so, Tin Prince Twain it was whispered –by those few who knew him well – was not so much a menace forged of steel as he was a menace forged of irony.

Read. Rock. Roll. Repeat.

Glass Grimoire: The Andy Crowley Saga

A journey beyond space and mind awaits!

Insights, inspiration, and discussion are encouraged and appreciated in the comments below each chapter.

Please consider sharing!

A Fresh New Look for an Expanding Multiverse

If you think it rocks, please help it roll.

As I put the final touches on Chapter 19 and close in on the end of part two, I have spent some time reorienting my web strategy and visual design.

GG-Twitter-Logo

For readers who’ve been with us for a while, you know this is something I have done fairly frequently, but in the last few weeks I have been feeling a lot of things settling into a place of permanency — as much as that is possible in an evolving, dynamic reality.

I feel at this point, a powerful commitment to moving this world forward, and that commitment has made me feel comfortable investing time into developing the look and the feel of this other place I call home.

The initial response to the new branding has been positive and a surge of new readership has accompanied it.

I know the story being told here is not for everyone, but I am finding that the people it connects with are really engaged. THIS is my currency! I find genuine fulfillment in the experience of having another soul know what I am trying to say. To touch common ground on the deepest, unintelligible, incommunicable inner truths of reality with others is the truest magic to me. It is precisely the spell I had hoped to cast within the Glass Grimoire we share.

And so, humbly and bluntly, I ask for your help.

Upon this crossroads, I ask for your assistance in growing the audience for Andy’s saga. There are a number of ways you can do this.

  • Use the social media buttons below to share this post, any other post, or chapters with others you think might enjoy this story
  • Convey your insights, ideas, and generally converse with other readers in the comment section below the chapters
  • Follow and share on Twitter
  • Follow and share on Facebook
  • Follow and share on Tumblr
  • Follow, participate, and share on Reddit
  • Writing a review, testimonial, or even a one-liner about what you enjoy would be incredibly helpful
  • And if you are a creative type, your own short story about this world, a poem, a koan, a character illustration, or anything you can share would not only be helpful — but appreciated more than you can imagine! Inspiration begets inspiration: art begets art. 

I cannot thank the readers who’ve been on this journey from the beginning enough. Your inspiration has got me to this point. And now I ask for your help in going further.

To new readers — WELCOME! This is now a journey we share.

Thank you in advance for all that you do.

See you beyond The Rim!

Read. Rock. Roll. Repeat.

Glass Grimoire: The Andy Crowley Saga

A journey beyond space and mind awaits!

Support The Glass Grimoire on Patreon

A Spell of Our Own within this Grimoire of Glass

Harkening back to the serials of Dickens and Twain, Glass Grimoire is part 1940s radio sci-fi serial, part 1970s pulp fantasy novella. But it also aspires to be so much more than far-flung fantasy fun!

Think Mysticism 101 as a Saturday morning cartoon!

The adventures of teenage Dungeon Master and sorcerer, Andy Crowley, were conceived to be a white-knuckle cosmic koan that blows open the collapsing conceits of our post-reductionist society by illuminating a return to mysterious, ancient mystic traditions.

What I’ve accomplished so far, I consider a first draft. With your help — not just by way of funding — but also through insights, ideas and interpretations shared in the comments under the weekly chapters, I plan to revisit and revise this ongoing story, week after week into a living mystical treatise.

Who knows? With your support — and participation — we may just cast a spell of our own, within this grimoire of glass!

Support The Glass Grimoire Web Serial on Patreon 

Thank you!

Read Glass Grimoire: The Andy Crowley Saga

Insights, inspiration, and discussion are encouraged and appreciated in the comments below each chapter.

Please consider sharing!

Samadhi Movie, 2017 – Part 1 – “Maya, the Illusion of the Self”

I am sharing this video resource, once again, with a mind to enriching the experience of reading Glass Grimoire: the Mystical Web Serial Saga of Andy Crowley.

Read Glass Grimoire: The Andy Crowley Saga

Insights, inspiration, and discussion are encouraged and appreciated in the comments below each chapter.

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The Kybalion: A Hermetic Reference to Enrich Your Andy Crowley Experience

This audio recording of The Kybalion, which summarizes the ancient wisdom of Hermes Trismegistus, served as the foundation of the philosophy underlying Glass Grimoire: The Andy Crowley Saga.

Often referred to as the ancient mystery religion, Hermeticism is the basis for what is considered arcane, occult or forbidden knowledge in the Western tradition. It is a lost, fundamental metaphysical school of thought based in an abstract mysticism that transcends the offerings of more modern — and I would argue, oppressive — modalities that explore the relationship between consciousness and existence.

It is my hope that an understanding of Hermetic philosophy will enrich your experience of Andy’s cosmic fantasy adventure through space and mind!

Please contemplate, converse, share and enjoy! Insights are always welcome in the comments below.

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We are that which is breathing;

not that which is breathed into being.

I often think about this as a way to conceive of meditation in the mystical sense.

The breath is the thing — the prime mover. The meat that forms around it and generates the electrical impulses that form sensation, thoughts, and the construct of self, are mere by-products of the breath, which is a function of a kind of will exterior to consciousness.

I have found that this thought experiment (or it it, perhaps, a fundamental truth of existence?) helps facilitate achievement of the meditative state.

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Liches, Leucrotta, Love, & Loss

Chapter 18

“It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but retire a little from sight and afterwards return again.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Realm of Dreams
Jotunheim Intersection
Sanctuary Rim
1984 AD SR

A giant, lifeless world of nought but rock and ice, the planet called Jotunheim takes 22,000 years to traverse its long ellipse that stretches far out beyond the warmth of yellow Sol.

It would be 10,000 years before Jotunheim would return from the distant apex of its path around the sun to again cross the asteroid belt that marks Sanctuary Rim: the event horizon that separated the quaint magicless realm from the bedlam of the wider sorcerous multiverse where the probability fields at the foundation of reality can be accessed by consciousness. The intersection of the orbit of Jotunheim and the event horizon of Sanctuary was called the Jotunheim intersection: a weak point exploited by the chaos-fuelled entrolopers who lay relentless siege upon Santuary Rim as it manifested within the realm of dreams.

Peregrinus-Sherle floated between two enormous asteroids and looked back toward the hundred-and-forty-four soldiers in her command. Some crouched on asteroids others floated in the space between the shattered rocks that had once been the planet Tiamat. As was sometimes the case, the waveform signatures of physical matter stretched into the proximal planes as well. The asteroids of Sanctuary Rim were just as substantial here in the dream realm, as they were in the physical reality the dream warriors assembled here would know in their waking lives.

The dizzying assortment of sizes and forms, colours and manners of dress and arms of the assemblage of warriors was typical of a legion of the Morphean Guard: the subconscious heroic self-images of sleeping consciousnesses from the worlds within the circle of Sanctuary: the defenders of the border between the grace of the magicless realm and the dark anarchical force that would have that peace fall to the chaos of the beyond.

Peregrinus-Sherle drew the falcon sword and it cried the falcon’s cry as the razor sharp blade rode the metal lip of the scabbard. Sound was possible in the indigo space of the dream realm.

“They come now sleepers! In all the manifestations I am told, and in the usual number!” Her voice rang clear in the ears of her troops.

“But no matter, that,” she held her sword high above her head in a gesture of defiance. “For before we are lost to wakefulness, there will be none!”

The troops roared then. “For Sancturary!” And it was precisely in that moment they felt the knotting in the stomach that indicates the approach of the denizens of chaos most vile and fell, churning into being beyond the event horizon of The Rim.

“With haste!” Peregrinus-Sherle turned to face enemies yet to appear, and by force of will alone shot herself beyond the asteroid belt and across Sanctuary Rim into magical space. She knew from experience, and by the cacophony of bellowing voices at her back that her troops followed.

Some of the dream warriors were of elephantine proportions, others were as small as insects; they wore, some of them, the form of flora, some of them, of fauna. Many were combinations of both. Most, but not all, were humanoid in appearance and all were regaled and outfitted for battle with kit spanning the cultures and eras of all of the four worlds of Sancturary.

Peregrinus-Sherle’s eyes widened. Now, where there had been nought but space and floating rock, a barren landscape faded into the ephemeral reality of the dream realm. It was always this way. Always, a world emerged beneath the floating warriors. She looked down to see her companions setting down on what would be their battleground: a consensual manifestation of a subconscious need for substantial footing shared by the dream warriors and the spectral spawn that would begin appearing any moment now.

From her vantage point in the sky above the strange, bleak wasteland that had solidified hundreds of feet beneath her she felt a static cracking in the air behind her. Mouthers! She thought – probably suspended in the sky by some construct conjured by liches yet to appear.

“Nimbus Gamma!” she roared. Instantly, any of the dream warriors capable of flight sounded subsequent commands and took to the air in the direction where she had detected the energy.

On the ground, she saw leucrotta and bugbears emerging from vortices to confront her troops.

Keeping her eyes on the area where the aerial troops now hovered, she felt the energy she had sensed at her back intensifying and her fist tightened on the falcon sword. Its purple eyes sprung open.

She had been correct. Fully materialized now, in direct proximity to the event horizon of Sanctuary Rim, the vile mouthers – amorphous gelatinous masses of salivating, mewling, screaming mouths of all colours, sizes and varieties – began gnawing at the unseen border between magicless and magical spacetime. They were suspended on a translucent, pea-soup-green skyscape she was now sure from the colour was being conjured by liches.

Then, triggered by a crackling of energy and a sick heat on the back of her neck, she spun and in an upward diagonal movement brought the screeching falcon sword across the face of the beholder that had appeared immediately behind her. A gash opened across the floating, eye-filled orb. Foul gore followed the arc of her blade and the dead husk began its descent to the surface below.

Always, invariably, there were mouthers, beholders, bugbears, leucrotta, and liches. The numbers of each varied with each attack, as did their tactics, but always there were only these five creatures.

To the Pentarchy it was known that the entrolopers were the dark fantasies of the one who had become Abraxas made manifest from a wave of chaos energy that traveled back through time from the moment of the Abraxas’s defeat in the future. The Five had postulated that they were embodiments of repressed frustrations from the dark recesses of the mind of a teenage Earther.

Called the Abraxas Wave, it had first appeared 8000 years in the past shortly after the time in which the Pentarchy had hidden the Grimoire. It was theorized that the phenomenon – a final desperate salvo from the subconscious mind of the failed Abraxas – had been drawn, as to a beacon, to the time in which the Grimoire was hidden from the moment 3000 years in the future when the Abraxas would fall.

For the 8000 years then, up to the present moment, the entrolopers had laid siege to Sanctuary Rim in the dream realm. And for 8000 years, the Morphean Guard, the constructs of the sleeping consciousnesses of beings within the magicless realm had defended the sanctity of sacred Sanctuary.

She saw the first of the liches then. Mounted upon a spectral wyvern it had conjured, it turned its gaze upon her. Somehow even in the hollow sockets of the skull that was its head under its tall hat she could see nought but raging madness. And though, after so many times looking into those eyes she had learned to confront them fearlessly, in this moment she felt terror. On the fringes of her vision she sensed red lights – flashing. Then blue. Then the red and blue lights were alternating and the din of the battle far below, and all about her now in the air, faded.

Somewhere deep inside, she heard again the words she had sworn to recall in that alien, waking life unknown to her.

“When Nick is gone. Andy will know what to do.”

Then the battle receded completely from her awareness and the red and blue lights were all there was in the mind of Peregrinus-Sherle.

Home of Andy Crowley
Corbyville,
Sanctuary,
1984 AD SR

The rec room where they had fallen asleep was bathed alternately in red and blue light that flashed through the small window at the top of the wall facing the driveway. At first, Deb was not startled by it. The needle on the turntable clacked gently against the end of side two of Hemispheres by Rush. She saw the LPs strewn across the coffee table and a glow came into her heart.

Then, she felt confused. A feeling that she had been doing something important was with her and then gone. What were the flashing lights?

As her focus came into the room she saw her hand resting on the denim of Andy’s torn jeans. Her head was in his lap and his hand was in her hair. They had fallen asleep. Then she remembered, and for a moment, before the panic would set in, she was completely content.

Andy had told her he knew they were meant to be together and that he knew she had always known this too. He had told her he was sorry it had taken him so long to act on his feelings and had said that now that things were as they should be, they would never be any different.

And they had kissed. Really kissed – in the way she always knew they one day would.

She sat up now and looked at him. His head was back and twisted awkwardly. His mouth was wide open and his straw-coloured hair was all over the place. For just a moment, Deb let the love she felt fill her completely. But, just as the bliss seeing Andy had replaced the confusion of awakening, the alternating red and blue on Andy’s face was now drawing a deep dread up into her awareness.

Police? Ambulance? One or the other was in the driveway.

Then she remembered Nick’s driveway was adjacent to Andy’s and her stomach turned over with genuine terror.

“Andy!” She pushed his shoulder hard.

He smiled at her until he saw the look on her face, which caused him to sit up straight. When he saw the lights of the sirens reflected on her face his head snapped to the window.

“Nick.” He whispered to himself. It was a statement: a certainty.

“Something’s wrong, Andy,” Deb was on the verge of tears. Andy was surprised. There were a million reasons fro the police to be there. Why was Deb so upset?

“I had a dream that something would happen to him.” She said it with a certainty that unnerved him.

“What?” Andy’s mind raced. He looked hard and deep into Deb’s eyes then, looking for something that would tell him what she meant. He saw nothing there but fear.

He ran his fingers across her cheek and held her face gently. “Let’s go see what’s going on.” His voice was a calm, controlled attempt to comfort her. He would figure out what she meant by what she said about her dream later.

Hand-in-hand they topped the stairs and made their way through the kitchen. The interior door to the porch was open and Andy knew his parent’s were outside. He felt his heart in his throat and the mystical awareness that would never leave him despite his retirement from sorcery sensed anguish everywhere.

Through the screen door he heard his father talking to the police – always, he was the level head: the disciplined soldier who got cooler the hotter things got. Andy could see Nick’s dad now. He was standing staring blankly at Gail, Nick’s mother. She was sobbing and Joan Crowley was holding her.

“Nick didn’t come home last night.” Andy heard his mother’s voice from earlier in the day repeating the words in his head. And in that instant a new reality formed concretely in his mind: Nick was never coming home again.

Thinking of Nick’s parents then, he stopped hard at the screen door.

Despite the emotions just beginning to form in his own mind, he knew that him and Deb diving into the sea of emotional chaos on the other side of that door would only intensify the trauma for everyone. Andy pulled Deb close to him and held her tight.

“Something’s happened to Nick,” he whispered. “He’s gone.”

Surprisingly, Deb did not cry out; she was not even sobbing. Andy knew she loved Nick as much as he did. The three of them had been friends since before they could even use words. Her head was pressed into his chest under his chin and he could sense that she was staring motionlessly, silently, into oblivion.

He looked through the screen and saw his father’s head turn. Andy had never such despair in his face. Their eye’s locked and welled with tears in the same moment. Later that night, he would be the one to tell Andy and Deb that Nick had fallen near the flat rocks last night and drowned.

 As though she felt Andy’s pain emerge within him, it was then that Deb finally began sobbing. Instinctively Andy pulled her even closer. If he could have, he would have pulled her completely into himself, as though somehow that would make her safe from the pain.

“The silver girl told me he was going to die,” she whispered almost as much to herself as to Andy.

Deep in Andy’s mind, beneath the avalanche of grief that was building but had not yet arrived, ideas connected and a pale spark of recognition formed. In less than a moment, it flickered into anger.

The silver girl? His question did not form as words. Rather it came to Deb as a tightening of his hold on her and a subtle backward movement of his chin on her head.

“She said you would know what to do,” Deb whispered.

Andy fought to keep his voice down. “I don’t know what you mean Deb. I don’t know what to do. What dreams? What girl?” His jaw clenched and his nostrils flared. He inhaled deeply, knowing he had to remain calm.

And then, though none could have noticed in the flashing red and blue of the police lights – a dim tinge of green light rose within his forehead as his third eye opened wide.

And though he was on Sanctuary, where it should not have been possible, that seat of his sorcerous power blazed out onto the planes beyond like an eldritch beacon.

”Jasco,” Deb whispered. “She said this would happen. She said you knew what to do.”

Andy had known that she was going to say the banshee’s name.

So then, on the very day he had promised himself he would never use magic again, he accepted that he had lied to himself. And on the very night he had promised his heart to another, he accepted also, that he had lied to the one he wanted to be with forever.

Finally, the avalanche came. And though he knew more of the true nature of death than perhaps any other Earther, grief came upon Ancaster Crowley, for he would miss his friend, and the pain was the selfish pain of imagining his life as it was never supposed to be: without Nick in it.

For Nick’s parents, for his parent’s, for Deb, and for himself, Andy’s tears flowed then.

And in the hurricane of empathy, and loss, and confusion of a future suddenly completely, fundamentally different, there was another emotion as well – and were it not for the discipline of his highly trained mind that emotion would have broken through its restraints and consumed all the others.

He wiped his tears in Debs hair and summoned all the strength he had…

…for he did not want her to sense his fury.

To be continued in Chapter 19

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Zeus at Gichigami, the Banshee’s Plan, Cronos and The Banjoman

Chapter 17

“Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other, thus should we be, for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World.”

~ Black Elk

Anishinaabe Sweat Lodge
Gichigami
1984 AD SR

Torus Phi, director of the Olympian Clandestine Colonization and Acquisition Marshals (OCCAM) was one of the most renowned strategic and mathematical minds in the multiverse. As such, he was capable of doing his job in his head from anywhere. Sometimes this was a beneficial trait. Other times, a liability.

In the present moment, as he shivered by a crackling fire in the hinterland off the coast of the great celestial lake Gichigami, he was inclined to think of his occupational mobility as the latter.

Having become lightheaded from exhaling more air than he inhaled in an attempt to avoid poisoning himself on what he thought to be the toxic campfire smoke, it was a wonder he had been capable of compiling his evening intelligence briefing for Emperor Zeus.

Dizzily, he rose to his feet and absentmindedly sniffed the shoulder of his glowing white Olympian military tunic. Just as he expected, it reeked of the awful smoke of the burning alien wood. Turning his head, he snorting all the mucous he could into his mouth – and spat into the carpet of pine needles at his feet.

Well, he thought to himself. At least once the Emperor hears my report, we will be leaving this nightmare of a place.

Somewhere in a starry sky more silent than anything Torus Phi had ever experienced before, an eagle cried and was answered by a howling wolf.

How the Emperor thought he would find the answers to anything amongst such wild, primitive savagery he could not fathom. This had to have been Hera’s idea.

The sooner this is over the better, he thought as he trudged in his knee-high black boots toward the sweat lodge of the one Zeus had called the Fifth Grandfather, where ostensibly, the Emperor was learning of something he had called Dabaadendiziwin. Phi remembered that the word meant the intrinsic humility of being or something like that. He shook his head and laughed to himself.

I look forward to seeing how ‘humble’ his response to intelligence indicating Ares has met with Lucifer will be.

Then, forcing the grin from his face, pressing his shoulder blades back and tugging his tunic into proper position, Torus Phi opened the door to the lodge.

Against the steaming heat of the place he announced himself and walked forward. Sweat was already dripping into his eyes. Cursing to himself, Torus Phi blinked it away until, through the steam, he saw the enormous wolf Zeus had come to see. Beside the wolf sat his liege, the fabled emperor of Olympus: once, a tall, athletic, bearded man said to be the most classically handsome of all men anywhere, he was now a black-furred silverback gorilla of unnatural size. He reclined against the sticks and animal skins of the wall, sweating contentedly in the oppressive heat.

“Phi!” Zeus roared enthusiastically. His gorilla physiology had amplified the thunderous impact of his legendarily powerful voice. “Disrobe man! Join us! There is an abundance of wisdom to be had here. By the Grandfather’s grace, I would not have you miss out.” The gorilla turned to the wolf, whose kind, patient eyes regarded Torus as he stood sweating.

“Commander Phi could use a heaping dose of Daba… Dabdxada… err, humility!” Zeus said to the wolf and Phi noticed that the emperor made to slap the wolf on the shoulder as he said it, but restrained himself at the last moment.

“Yes sire.” Without showing his embarrassment for his master’s uncouth demeanour and the mangling of this foreigner’s language (he was more than accustomed to that by now), Torus Phi began to undress.

“But first! Zeus said. “What news of the realm have ye?”

Torus Phi, thought about how in how in mere moments he would transform this uncharacteristic calm the Emperor was enjoying into one of the arrogant, raging tantrums he was infamous for, and knowing his face was hidden as he bent to remove his boots, he celebrated what was about to transpire with a secret smirk.

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion; in order to serve men better, one has to hold them at a distance for a time.”

~ Albert Camus

The brandy had not helped Jasco sleep, and so, though she lay in her berth on the Lady Anuket, she sat now in Sisyphus’s diner on the astral plane.

“He’s happy! He’s in love! He has his whole life ahead of him!” She said it with genuine distress and Sisyphus was moved by the rare emotion the reaper conveyed. He didn’t say anything. He knew it was she who needed to do the talking.

“I have no choice in all this, Sisyphus.” She said it as a plea for his acceptance. “So much is at stake. That is all I can tell you. But even knowing I must do these things — that I have no choice — I cannot help but feel that the cost is too high! What I have done may destroy Deborah’s sanity. Nicholas dying will only make it worse. How can I be a part of these terrible things?  The banshee buried her face in her hands and said, “As above, so below. Yes! But also – as below, so above! No?”

“I knew you needed to talk about this when you brought Andy here.” The Olympian had stopped tidying behind the counter and pulled a stool out from under it to sit down.

“I sensed the latent power of his sorcery, Jasco.” Sisyphus tried to look into the reaper’s eyes but her head was still down. “How is it possible for a native of Sanctuary to possess such sorcery – or to access any sorcery at all for that matter?”

“That, I can tell you, is a mystery to all,” Jasco said. She had collected herself somewhat and was now looking into her glass. She was embarrassed and not accustomed to so openly sharing her feelings as she had done.

There was a long pause as both reflected on the strangeness of recent events.

It was Sisyphus who broke the silence. His voice was gentle.

“That he is from Sanctuary, and potentially a sorcerer, means he is a variable in the cosmic balance of power. That he be properly managed then is essential.” The Olympian moved his head in an attempt to incite Jasco to meet his eyes. When their eyes met and held he continued.

“I hope you are not here asking one doomed to push a rock up a hill for all of time for a dissertation on ends justifying means?”

A look of guilt came across Jasco’s face then. “No, Sisyphus, I …”

Sisyphus interrupted her. “No Jasco! The pointlessness of my existence is exactly the point!” There was a smile in his eyes.

The reaper resolved to listen – to let the Olympian finish what he had to say.

“I was cursed to an eternal act of futility precisely because of my ability and willingness to intervene as an agent for change, for justice, for what I believed was the right thing to do. Just like Prometheus did, only I was never forgiven.

He paused, and appeared for a moment more forlorn than Jasco had ever seen him before. Then in a voice that cracked, perhaps with anguish, perhaps with rage, Sisyphus said, “I know better than any the high price of championing a cause and of I could go back and live those days again – even knowing what ceaseless agony awaited me – I would not hesitate to do the wrong thing for the right reason again. Given the chance to change what happened Jasco, even knowing the torture and humiliation Zeus had in mind, it would end yet again with me pushing this accursed rock.”

Jasco reached across the counter and put her small pale hand upon his, which was large and golden with Olympian aether. She thought then of the silver moon of Fey and the golden sun of Olympus, and in that moment a sense of the balance of things came to her.

She searched for something comforting to say, but the Olympian spoke before she could find it.

“Considering all the things you’ve seen in all your years – all the mourning and heartbreak you have witnessed as a collector of souls, it is a marvel to me that you fret so over the broken heart of a child of Sanctuary.” Sisyphus’s eyes squinted and his head shook to convey confusion.

Hearts,” Jasco said, kindly emphasizing the plural. “When next I meet Andy, how do I broach the death of his friend? “How do I explain how Deborah knew it would happen? What of Nicholas’s family? What of Andy’s? Do I tell Andy it was me who planted the message in Deborah’s dreams? Oh, How furious he will be!”

“You forget that Nicholas was fated to die, Jasco” Sisyphus said it matter-of-factly. “Much of the suffering in these events is not related at all to your part in this. All you have done is whisper the truth of an inevitable tragedy in Deborah’s ear. As for Master Crowley leaving Sanctuary, Deborah, and his life there, that is something he will do – not you.”

“You see all so clearly, Sisyphus.”

“I have the distance and the time for as much,” said the Olympian, without completely hiding his sadness as he said it.

“I am not sure Andy will see it all the way you have described. That is the challenge that remains to me. How do I get him through the anger he will doubtless feel for all this meddling in his affairs and the affairs of those he loves — all while the pain of his Nick’s death is still new.”

“The curse is the blessing. The blessing, the curse.” The Olympian said it proudly, as though he had not only crafted this cryptic truth – but knew it and owned it completely.

Jasco recalled many conversations they had share about how he viewed Zeus’s punishment for him as the blessing that had delivered him to the life he enjoyed now as a restaurateur in the quiet realm.

“Nicholas’s death is not your obstacle here, Jasco. It is your opportunity.” He leaned toward her as he said it, and enjoyed the twinkle of realization he saw ignite in the banshee’s eyes.

“There is an obvious play here,” he continued. “A way to convince the lad to meet with Cormac Kilroy. He winked at her. You are a reaper, Jasco. Even better – a renegade one, with no fealty to any house! You can offer him something few others in all of reality can.”

The Olympian paused to see if she would grasp the plan he was laying out for her.

He enjoyed watching her search her thoughts for what he was implying, then, unable to help himself, he continued.

“Osiris, Balder, Persephone, Lazarus, it has been done more than once before.”

Her eyes widened suddenly and the silver glow of the Fey-fire surged into her face.

“Yes, she was a reaper!” The solution exploded across her mind. “Of course! It had taken the quiet, detached reasoning of Sisyphus to make her see this, for hope was not an obvious weapon in the arsenal of one whose vocation was the collection of souls – verily, a herald of hopelessness.”

Nicholas would drown in the river, his proper fate unfolding in accordance with what the Pharaoh had heard from the Norns. She could tell Andy the truth of this. This was not deception or duplicity. The message she had imparted to Deborah in the dream realm that Nicholas would die and that Andy would know what to do when he did had been an unfortunate necessity. It was required to convince him that what he had experienced beyond, that all that had happened on the astral plane had not been a dream or a trick of his mind.

All of it, though unfortunate, was necessitated by the pressing need – the multiverse’s need – to have him meet with Kilroy, and in so doing, come to understand his sorcerous potential and his essential role in the salvation of reality itself.

She would make it clear that she had not caused the death of his friend, but had been forced by his unwillingness to work with them to send the message through Deborah to ensure he knew what had happened was real. She knew he would be angry, yes. Any reasonable person would be. But the solution to overcoming his anger would be that which Sisyphus had just now proposed.

“You brilliant devil! No wonder even fearless Emperor of Olympus feared you so!”

She was the renegade reaper, Jasco of Fey, banshee liege of the dread dullahan: a harvester of souls: a veritable scholar of the mechanics, rules and geography of death.

She would tell Andy that, though she had no part in his friend’s dying, that she could find Nick’s soul — and that she could resurrect him.

And in that moment, knowing full well what it would cost her to do this forbidden thing, she fully intended to keep that promise.

A wide smile came upon her face, and to both Jasco and Sisyphus it seemed she had resolved to accept all the things she had done – and the things she had yet to do.

Her bright eyes, which had been darting here and there in that way they do when one is formulating a notion in the mind, came to rest then upon Sisyphus’s, and without a word both knew a corner had been turned and a course in reality had been set.

Sisyphus slapped the counter causing two shot glasses to appear. She knew by their licorice scent, that this would be a toast to mark a void that had become a notion, that in turn and time, for good or ill, would become a reality.

With only his eyes, Sisyphus affirmed this much. And with his mouth he said, “May Apollo’s golden light guild the souls of Master Nicholas, and Mistress Deborah. Though they may know not their part in great and noble undertakings – it is enough that we know!”

The banshee and the Olympian smiled as they clinked their glasses together. Before they drank, the Sisyphus completed the toast, “and may a balance of the wisdom of Athena and the cunning of Hera find realization in the fine mind of perplexing Master Ancaster Crowley, Sole Sorcerer of Sancturary!”

The ouzo warmed the banshee’s heart in more ways than one.

“On to practical matters then!” Boisterously, Sisyphus slammed his glass down.

“I have no doubt that the scale, and perhaps also the significance the caper you’ve involved yourself in are unprecedented.” His face took on a nostalgic caste. Jasco wondered at what he was about to say.

“Much transpires in Sanctuary of late, Jasco. And I speak of much larger things than your dalliances with Earthers on the proximal planes.” Jasco fidgeted nervously on her stool. On many occasions before, Sisyphus had warned her that her interactions with Earthers in the realm of dreams and on the astral plane came dangerously close to being violations of the Eden Edict – the sacred rule of non-interference in the lives of Earthers. Reapers were permitted to collect the souls of the dying. Nothing more. Like everyone else, they were bound by the Binary Proclamation.

“Of what do you speak?” She leaned in, her eyes wide. With a thought, a fresh whisky materialized in her hand.

“I have long feared you would come to pay a dear price for your adventures in the proximal planes: that the Knights of Oblivion would hold you to account for what they deem a violation of the Edict. Indeed, when first you told me of what transpired with Leraje, I wondered if she was not an agent of the Knights.”

Jasco shuddered visibly at the mention of the demon’s name.

“If you think they would keep such company, then you hold the Knights in far less esteem than do I.” Jasco drained her glass.

“I do not think the marquis Leraje sought you at their behest. Far from it Jasco.” I believe you flit about the fringe of Sanctuary with impunity – and that you have enjoyed the rather-too-conveniently averted attentions of not only the Knights of Oblivion, but dare I say, also of The Five as well.”

A measure of the silver light in Jasco’s countenance faded away. Her eyes widened and her jaw clenched.

“Why do you say this?”

A satisfied look rose within Sisyphus’s handsome face.

“On occasion, as you know, I must return to my physical form in the prison in Olympus Mons.” Jasco nodded eagerly, curious to know where this was going.

“In the brief instant during which my astral body returns to or departs from my cell, I relish a glimpse of the only two beings I have seen in the physical realm for eons. Call it checking in on my friends.” He smiled at his joke, but Jasco saw the deep sadness in his eyes.

“Just two days past now, in that instant of transition, I glimpsed a sight bittersweet to me, for one I have known a moment-at-a-time every day for ten eons past was no longer in his cell.”

Jasco was in awe. Questions filled her mind, but her mouth in that moment was incapable of forming words.

“Loki remained as always in his cell, Jasco…”

Sisyphus’s face was radiant in and Jasco saw that all the sadness had left it. Only a childlike exuberance remained. Joy for a friend’s newfound freedom.

“… but Cronos was gone. And by the nature of the ragged hole I saw in the floor, I would say he was assisted in his leaving.”

“Yes indeed, Jasco of Fey, reaper of no realm, much transpires of late in Sanctuary. Too much I think to go unnoticed by the Pentarchy. I am not certain, old friend – and do not take this as an invitation to succumb to carelessness – but I think you have cause to go forth boldly with confidence in the decisions you have made here…”

The legendary, tortured philosopher of Olympus seemed not tortured at all in that moment, and Jasco took comfort in his relaxed manner.

“…for it appears to me you just may have friends in the highest of places.”

The Banjoman knelt beside Nexusa’s enormous head and whispered into her ear.

“Rest yet ancient one. We have many hours still to travel and your strength shall return as we approach the core.” He stroked her neck gently.

Cronos stood on the platform and watched the Lord of Limbo and the warmole. After what was likely the longest prison sentence ever served by any living being, everything was as a miracle to him now. For so long, he had processed no more than the four walls of his cell. His eyes were wide as saucers and the grin never left his face.

Turning on the platform and shifting his perception of time, he slowed the passage of the walls that hurtled upward toward the dark point now miles above them. For him sensation of the platform plummeting smoothly toward Mars’s core ceased almost completely.

Letters, magic circles, hieroglyphs, runes, and numbers of every culture he had known, and some he had not, were carved with remarkable precision into the circular shaft that encompassed the platform. Part of a long spiraling pattern, the markings wound round and round a remarkable distance that stretched from the tip of an inverted pyramid buried beneath Mars’s service down into the archaic realization engines at the red planet’s core.

Cronos marvelled at the scale of the undertaking. Even as the platform dropped at what he guessed was Martian terminal velocity, it was going to take hours to reach the core. He wondered how long it must have taken to carve these details all along this shaft, which stretched the radius of the entire planet. When he recollected that there were 22 such shafts, eleven around the equator and eleven around Mars’s prime meridian, he surmised that the structures were likely Martian talismans: constructs of the minds of the long-extinct Martian imagineers.

“Wonderous, is it not?” The Banjoman had joined Cronos as he admired the carvings. Upon hearing the Lord of Limbo’s voice, Cronos shifted his consciousness back to the natural rate of the arrow of time.

“Indeed,” Cronos said. “The time it must have taken. Or no time at all, if they were conjured into being.”

“The lost Martian alchemy of the imagineers.” The Banjoman said. “Somehow they managed to draw and focus the unstable accessible probability near the Rim. I find Sanctuary to be the most interesting place in all existence. Out here on the Rim this alchemy developed as a means to cope without magic. Deeper inward toward the sun on the worlds known as the Lover, the Messenger, and Sanctuary Proper, which they call Earth now, the perplexing sciences and arts that have evolved in the absence of magic are fascinating and inspiring beyond imagining to me.”

“All of this so nearby all these years.” Cronos turned his head to address The Banjoman. The titan’s eyes showed no sadness or regret, but rather shone with the excitement and wonder of a child. “I should have liked to have explored some of it again. I can only imagine how much it has changed since last I visited these quaint realms.” His head bowed to the platform and his eyes were closed.

“But alas,” he eventually continued. “It is not to be, is it Banjoman. We have a bargain.”

“That we do Cronos, and I am sure you can guess from the ruckus your breakout is going to cause, that we have not undertaken your participation in this caper lightly.” The Lord of Limbo paused for a moment.

“It cuts me deeply that you, so newly liberated from bondage, should not have an opportunity to enjoy it.”

Cronos put his hand on the shoulder of the Lord of Limbo.

“I have no need of freedom, Banjoman.” The titan said. “I have in my way found it already. I have seen much old friend. And having had so much time to contemplate all that I’ve seen, I know now that all I wish to experience is that which you and the Pharaoh have arranged for me. In the end, is not the complete relinquishment of self the ultimate adventure: the most delicious gamble? After perhaps too many adventures and perhaps too much time to reflect upon my deeds, I have come to believe that given enough time in one life we come to desire death with an intensity like to that which was once directed only toward the defiance of it. Surely you understand my curiosity in this?”

“I am not yet ready for that last adventure,” said the Banjoman. “But then I have not seen all that you have, or experienced the uninterrupted span of solitary contemplation you have been burdened with. Or should I say blessed?”

“A burden in the beginning,” Cronos was pensive. “A blessing in the end. You of all people can begin to understand what I mean by this Lord of Limbo.”

“You flatter me, Cronos. I cannot possibly know what you have experienced. But I can see in your eyes that wisdom and grace is yours now where once there had been nought but the uniquely spectacular obnoxiousness of Olympian youth.

They both laughed then, and The Banjoman saw that the titan was genuinely happy.

“To our bargain then Banjoman,” Chronos roared. And the Lord of Limbo saw the light of the aether returning in the titan’s eyes, and the golden glow rising in his primordial Olympian flesh. The energies of the realization engines were feeding Cronos. Power the Olympian had not known for sixteen millennia was returning to him.

Despite this, The Banjoman did not fear him, for his character was no longer that of the petulant Cronos of old.

“I am not aware of what happened when you did this before.” The Banjoman said. “Another of Olympus’s many dirty little secrets I imagine.” He said it lightly and they both chuckled.

“Yes, only once, millennia ago, I did what you ask me to do now in an attempt to undo a wrong I had done Rhea.” Cronos’s head was heavy and he did not look at the Banjoman as he spoke. Then he lifted his eyes and locked them onto the Lord of Limbo’s.

“And as much as I regret what I did to her – I regret the mess made by the attempt at undoing it even more. You may, all of you, come to rue the day you asked me to do this thing. The sanity of all in realty hangs upon the thread of time and it is a fragile thread in my experience. But I am satisfied in having warned you, I do not care to impose my perspectives. My course is set by what I am about to do, and I am satisfied with its direction. The choices of others are theirs.”

The Banjoman felt deeply sad for the titan and put his hand on his shoulder. “As a reader of time and one for whom passage through space and between realms is not what it is for others, I know of that which you speak better than most, Cronos. Yet I say again, we do not do this thing hastily or thoughtlessly. We do it because it is truly necessary.”

“Besides, after all these years old friend – you must know that I, at least care not one way or the other what comes — not that much anyway. And after all the time you have had to do nought but contemplate all of our parts in things, surely you now know that, though there be many paths, all come to one destination in the end.”

A small smile came to Cronos’s face, for he knew The Banjoman better. He knew he did care. The changeability and intensity of his passions were legendary. But he knew also that he had said it because he was capable of being kind and agreeable.

“Time has bestowed more wisdom on you than me, Banjoman. I have borne the pain of living longest of all beings, and in so doing I believe there is a chance I have come closer than most to comprehending the grace of The All.” I have had a long time to think about what I need.”

And The Banjoman felt then that he stood in the presence of the glory of the Cronos of old. The magical forces at Mars’s core were permeating him. The golden glow of Olympus was in him now and still growing. It was the ancient glow. The Banjoman had only ever seen it before in Gaia: the glow of the true Olympians: the demiurges – the oldest beings in existence.

“To finally die, to finally be born again – and so to forget at an end so as to learn from a beginning. Tabula rasa is the salvation I crave: for is it not true that only in the absence of knowledge can there be an abundance of wonder!

Then, surprising them both, for it was rare that it ever spoke to any other than The Banjoman, the banjo murmured a thought into theirs.

“Yes, Cronos. Yes!” it said in the words that are not really words when minds speak to one another directly.

The Lord of Limbo and the father of time, both surprised, looked at one another; and each laughed at the silly expression of on the face of the other.

“Your strategy garners the highest of praise!” The Banjoman said. “Our deal seems a certainty then.” You will have your wish Cronos.”

That the banjo had spoken was also a sign that, even though hours still remained in their journey, the platform approached the magical core: the one place, by way of ancient Martian ingenuity, where sorcery was made possible within the treasured realm of magicless Sanctuary.

The Banjoman looked over to see that Nexusa was awake and stirring to her feet. Her eyes met his but she did not speak. As a soldier of Limbo she would show deference to him in the company of others. But she did offer a nod her master to indicate she was returning to strength and that digging into spacetime through the Martian core and back out into Limbo would be possible again when the time came.

“I have no doubt you will honour our bargain Banjoman,” Cronus pointed with his eyes to the sentient banjo.” For I know your partner will hold you to it.”

There was relief in the titan’s eyes that warmed The Lord of Limbo’s heart – and also allayed his fears, for he was about to deliver one of the most volatile temperaments and powerful wielders of aether to have ever lived back beyond The Rim.

“When am I going to?” Cronos asked.

“1963, by Sanctuary Reckoning.” And as The Banjoman said the words, the happiness he had felt for Cronos, and the comfort he had felt in the choices he had made and was making now, fell away from him completely.

For despite the necessity of what they were about to do, he knew he would always feel nought but regret for the doing of it.

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Nation, Race, & Reality: Liberation is an Eraser, & Imprisonment — a Pen

Meditation, Mindfulness, & Mysticism

Let’s be brief because this isn’t hard at all.

Wisdom, enlightenment, salvation, or whatever you choose to call it, is the opposite of labeling, line-drawing, or wall-building. In other words, the constructs we think in (mostly because they are fed to us) are the impediments that prevent us from seeing what is really there.

Every line you draw, every label you impose, every wall you build, and every construct you accept or conceive of to explain the world is IMAGINARY and without intrinsic meaning in-and-of-itself: a concocted convenience that is also a blemish on a reality that does not require it.

The more lines you draw, the more tangled up in the mess of artificial reality your likewise constructed notion of self becomes.

arbol_de_la_vida_yin_yang_con_el_efecto_de_madera_pegatina_redonda-r73cacf6193ee4c61a0136bc7101874e2_v9wth_8byvr_324
Meditation — the process of transcending our inclination to revere the concepts we conceive of to describe reality over the reality they describe — is the means by which we find our way to grace.

Likewise, reductionism, by way of nonsensical notions like nation, and fabrications like race are bricks in a road that put distance between consciousness and truth.

Upward and onward is an eraser. Downward and backward is a pen.

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For a Wizard, a Staff. For a Witch, a Wand. Andy Rocked and Rolled his Dice!

Centred under the poster on that filing cabinet, in pride of place, sat a small, purple velvet bag trimmed with gold cord. It had originally held a bottle of whiskey Andy had given his father for Christmas years ago. Now it contained the items he treasured most in the world: five amethyst-coloured, plastic gems – the ideal, fundamental forms that constituted all reality as postulated by Plato in The Timaeus. They provided a material focal point upon which Andy’s consciousness could concentrate his aetheric field – the forms functioned for him in the manner of a wizard’s staff or a witch’s wand. Because numbers had been engraved into the faces of the gems and filled with the wax of a gold crayon, the forms, which were known in lore as the Platonic solids, also constituted a macrocosmic representation of the microcosmic forces of probability at play in the subatomic strata of existence itself. This imbued them with an additional layer of meaning to Andy’s consciousness, which enhanced the degree to which they had served to enhance his sorcerous aptitudes.

They were also simply dice; and as such, were the means by which he was empowered to create fantastic worlds in the beyond within – realms he occupied with his friends, whom, though they could never know true sorcery, could nonetheless indulge in a magic of another kind.

The dice were not being packed away. They would continue to go with him everywhere. They represented much more to him than their function as a magical tool. They were an anchor and a source of confidence, wonder and joy – both for him and for others in his life.

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Your Comments Help Construct this Cosmos

Your Chapter Comments are Bricks in the Road

As I put the finishing touches on Chapter 17, I am posting to ask that if you have read, or are reading Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga, I am counting on you to post your opinions, insights, interpretations and inspiration under each chapter in the comments sections.

As I see it, the work to date is the first draft of the history of Andy’s multiverse, which I intend to revise and refine as a living evolving work.

In particular, I am looking for your spiritual, esoteric, occult, philosophical and mystical insights into what has happened, is happening and could happen next!

I would love to see links to everything from music videos, artwork, information resources, or anything else you would like to share with other readers.

Fan art would be a dream come true!

Please feel free to dive in!

And, as always, the more the merrier. If you are enjoying this adventure please share with others who might enjoy it to.

Thanks again,

Dave

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Andy’s Rec Room. Plato’s Dice. A Prison for Gods.

Chapter 16

None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.”

~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Home of Andy Crowley
Corbyville, Sanctuary
1984 AD SR

In preparation for his big night with Deb, Andy had spent the whole morning putting the finishing touches on the rec room he had been cleaning up for the past three months. He knew the project was about more than just creating some private space that could be theirs; it also represented turning a page on a chapter in his life.

Before the incident with the demon on the astral plane, this rec room had been his sorcerous base of operations. Books, grimoires, potions, incenses, astrological charts, and various magic circles on large scrolls had been everywhere, interspersed with plastic milk crates of LPs, D&D paraphernalia, model rocketry equipment, and beta tapes.

His mother had been horrified by both the disarray and the “devilry”, but resolved to think it all no more than part of the typical weirdness of teenage boys. Andy’s friends, who played D&D down there, simply thought the arcane clutter was cool Dungeon Master research and props.

Andy had never really been concerned that anyone would discover he was a real sorcerer. That would have been ridiculous. He was just a strange kid with an interest in occult philosophy, which was really quite reasonable considering his love of other evils like rock music, role playing games and comic books.

He lifted the one remaining box of books off the floor and carefully set it on a portable card table so as not to smudge the elaborate dungeon-scape he had drawn on the dry-erase hex-grid there. The box contained his most sacred tomes and intended to savour a quiet moment with them before he put them in their new resting place in the space under the stairs.

Reaching into the box then, he could not help but pick up the battered, dog-eared, edition of the Ars Goetia, that sat on the top. It was the listing of demons he had immediately referenced upon returning from his encounter on the astral plane.

It was unfortunate, for he had intended to enjoy this moment of reflection – this quiet goodbye to a deep, true love – but now instead, he felt deep consuming shame.

Compulsively, he flipped to the page where he had read about Leraje, also called Leraie, Leraikha, Leraye, Loray, Oray. It described a handsome archer clad in green, whose arrows caused gangrene wounds.

He had suspected right away that the beautiful demon had been the Marquis Leraje and this book had confirmed it.

For a moment, he recalled the demon’s poise and stunning beauty. Her irresistible voice – for he had heard it as female. Then the recollection of beauty was displaced again with how all he had done was stand there: enthralled, staring and useless. He imagined himself even drooling and pathetic.

Even now he did not know if Jasco had survived. And it tortured him to think he may never know, for he was not inclined to go back to find out. His failure as a sorcerer had been revealed entirely. He had been powerless against Leraje’s charms. He had succumbed completely. And a new friend had likely been destroyed as a result of his incompetence – and his cowardice.

Leraje had made him question many of the notions he had about himself and who he was but mostly the demon had made him realize he was a coward: a coward who would stand by while a friend was dismantled by one of the most capable combatants of Hell.

He was no sorcerer. Andy knew this now. Indeed, he had come to question whether or not he was even really a man.

Refusing to succumb to the spiral of self-pity, Andy reached back into the box and, this time digging a little, pulled out the Corpus Hermeticum.

The love he felt in that moment made him smile, though his eyes misted with a sense of loss.

He had thought of destroying everything. That is how sure he was that he was done with sorcery; but he could not shake the feeling that he still had some purpose to serve. After all, why had the dreams about Atlantis come to him as a child? Reflection over the past few weeks had brought him around to a notion that maybe he would become an occult scholar or historian. Maybe he could illuminate the deeper truths of reality and the realms beyond to a society that so desperately needed the ancient wisdom of mysticism. Perhaps his purpose was to do more than merely satisfy his own curiosity. Perhaps he was meant to light humanity’s way back from the preoccupation with the hyper-reductionist, ego-driven consumerism paradigm foisted upon them by aristocracy and executed through science and religion.

His curiosity took hold then and he indulged himself on a fanciful visualization of thought the fateful moment in the 14th century when humanity, had chosen the path of Aristotle over Plato and Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus, when they could have – should have – embraced both.

He thought about how completely the literal, linear, mechanical perspective of the left hemisphere of the brain came to be celebrated and revered over the mythic, holistic functions of the right hemisphere, so that, in time, the right hemisphere came to be denigrated and oppressed. Under this assault, which eventually became social, political and economic, as well as cultural, the esoteric understanding and mystical perspective of the right brain came to be regarded first as arcane, then later, as profane. This process had continued and accelerated to this day.

And now, linear, delineating, measuring, categorizing, self-obsessed left-brained humanity – having lost all sense of connection to other beings, its environment, and even existence itself, stood at the brink of social, ecological collapse, living under the perpetual threat of nuclear extinction.

As Andy saw it – and indeed, as almost every great spiritual thinker in history had seen it – humanity’s salvation would come in transcending the constructed notion that we come into nature and so are distinct from it, and in so doing recovering the awareness of our own divinity implicit in the idea that we come out of nature and so are of it.

As above, so below.

The All is the mind that thinks reality into being. Hence is The All is in all things. This, though each thing is far from being The All.

Yes! He might still have a part to play. He could educate the world. He could open minds without actually practicing the mysterious arts of the deeper mind.

Perhaps he was the Hermes Trismegistus of his time. Perhaps he would have a part to play humanity’s self-obsessed, short-sighted, tunnel-visioned trajectory toward self-annihilation.

Having been a sorcerer, Andy knew well the significance of the crossroads. And, just as humanity had come to a crossroads in the middle ages, perhaps he had come upon his on the astral plane with Jasco that day. It was possible, he thought, that his crossroad could be a crossroads for humanity as well.

In that moment, for the first time he thought about taking school seriously and attending university.

Without ever again casting a single spell, he could still be an emissary for the essential ancient truths he knew he knew so well.

His thoughts turned to how excited Deb would be to hear that he wanted to go to university, which in turn made him more excited about the prospect himself. There were curiosities here, he thought., other unknowns to be explored and mysteries to be celebrated!

Andy’s feelings for Deb, which had been impossible for him mere months ago, had come to exceed any thrill he had felt on the planes beyond.

Magic was an apt a term for the experience. As much as travelling to another plane; as much as the elation of astral flight, he had discovered the most wonderous thing he had ever known. Indeed, he had known no sorcery comparable to what he had experienced in the moment he had freed himself be with one who so deeply wanted to be with him.
Then Andy put the book back in the box, walked over to the door under the stairs and pushed the box into the scant remaining space available.

After closing the door, he turned and sat with his back against it so he could soak in what his three-months of work had accomplished.

To his right, against the wall, there was an old chesterfield that had been in his nana’s and pop-pop’s basement. He had negotiated to get it as payment for cutting the grass at their place. A huge map of the world of Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone hung over the chesterfield. Andy had drawn it himself. On a desk to this side of the chesterfield, there was a Commodore 64 and an assortment of games.

Against the far wall, opposite him, under a window well looking out onto the driveway, there was a large cabinet stereo system with a turntable under a flip-open top. On each side of it, stacked two-wide and four-high, there were plastic milk crates of assorted colours containing vinyl LPs.

A large cabinet TV with a VCR on top sat against the wall to his right. Two cardboard boxes of neatly arranged movies were stacked beside it. Two posters hung on that wall: the movie poster for The Empire Strikes Back and the starman album cover of the Rush album, 2112.

Also to his left, through a large opening off of the carpeted floor, there was the dungeon, where the D&D card-table sat between the furnace and the washer and dryer. Over an old, grey, metal filing cabinet where he had organized all his gaming supplies, a trippy, an earth-toned Lord of the Rings poster was tacked into the two-by-four studs of an unfinished wall.

Centered under the poster on that filing cabinet, in pride of place, sat a small, purple velvet bag trimmed with gold cord. It had originally held a bottle of whiskey Andy had given his father for Christmas years ago. Now it contained the items Andy treasured most in the world: five amethyst-coloured, plastic gems – the ideal, fundamental forms that constituted all reality as postulated by Plato in The Timaeus. They provided a material focal point upon which Andy’s consciousness could concentrate his aetheric field – the forms functioned for him in the manner of a wizard’s staff or a witch’s wand. Because numbers had been engraved into the faces of the gems and filled with the wax of a gold crayon, the forms, which were known in lore as the Platonic solids, also constituted a macrocosmic representation of the microcosmic forces of probability at play in the subatomic strata of existence itself. This imbued them with an additional layer of meaning to Andy’s consciousness, which enhanced the degree to which they had served to enhance his sorcerous aptitudes.

platonic-solids

They were also simply dice; and as such, were the means by which he was empowered to create fantastic worlds in the beyond within – a realm he occupied with his friends, whom, though they could never know true sorcery, could nonetheless indulge in a magic of another kind.

The dice were not being packed away. They would continue to go with him everywhere. They represented much more to him than their function as a magical tool. They were an anchor and a source of confidence, wonder and joy – both for him and for others in his life.

Andy felt satisfaction in that moment, he closed his eyes and pushed his head back against the door and succumbed to an urge to meditate, just for a moment.

It was not an act of sorcery that alerted him to his mother approaching the door in the kitchen at the top of the stairs. The natural aptitude he had developed for mystical awareness in the meditative state would always be with him. He knew her hand would be on the doorknob and the door would open, which it did. Then, he sensed her anxiousness in his mind before he would hear it in her voice.

And an instant later, when that voice actually manifested in his reality, it filled him with a momentary dread he could not explain.

“Andy, have you heard from Nick?” She yelled it down the stairs.

“Carol says he didn’t come home last night.”

“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

~ Albert Einstein

Mars, Sanctuary
Martian Olympus Mons (MOM)
Prison for Gods
1984 AD SR

The remarkably tall, dignified gentleman sat writing at his desk. It was set against the bars so he could look out into the cell across the hall. In that cell, a man with an eyeless helmet covering his entire face walked on a mechanical escalator to nowhere. He was nourished with tubes from the walls and his arms were in front of him as though he was pushing something ever upward and onward.

Both men were Olympian, though Cronos, the one at the desk, was a primeval demiurge (called a titan in Olympian vernacular) who had witnessed the birth of this universe, and the other, Sisyphus, was an Olympian philosopher who had manifested from aether around the same time as Zeus, the emperor of Olympus.

As Olympians, and therefore aetheric beings, both prisoners were immortal and possessed powerful natural affinity for probability manipulation. They represented the very reason the leaders of over 118 realms had cooperated in the construction of this Martian prison inside the event horizon of Sanctuary where magic did not work.

Cronos had spent most of his eternal sentence alternately writing and contemplating whether or not Sisyphus across the hall on his escalator, suffered a fate better or worse than his. He wondered at what the boy was experiencing in that helmet and lamented that Zeus, his own aether — his own son — had grown into such a vain and cruel man.

Almost immediately, he felt guilt for judging Zeus, for he had been much like him. Indeed, all his sons had been like him. He could not help but think they would, every one of them, fall to ill fates.

It had been just a century ago, he now recalled, that the Martian Pharaoh Motakhamun had so kindly sat here with him drinking something called Canadian Whiskey as he informed him of the death of his son, Hades.

For a moment, Cronus was thankful Zeus had imprisoned him here. His isolation had forced upon him the perspective, and the contemplative life, that lead not just to wisdom, but also to grace. For most other beings, the situation would have led to insanity. But the Olympian demiurge was different.

As one of the first beings in existence, his consciousness preceded the propensity of sentience to construct the sensation of the passage of time.

On one occasion, in a fit of classically Olympian passion, Cronus had even used this trait, in concert with his remarkable sorcerous abilities to map a path along the temporal axis of spacetime into the past.

It had been the only occurrence of such an event in the history of reality.

It had also been complete disaster.

Aside from the terrible repercussions for all involved, travelling backward against the stream of time had displaced most of his aetheric essence; and rendered feeble and confused by the undertaking, he was left completely vulnerable to the political aspirations of his conniving sons.

That consciousness could process and counter the natural entropic trajectory of the fourth axis of spacetime had been contrary to the popular understanding of reality in general. For millennia following the incident, countless mystics and mathematicians in countless realms had tried to replicate the Cronos Caniption as it had become known. Millenia after that, everyone had stopped trying.

Following consensus that the disaster had resulted from the peculiar primordial structure of Cronos’s consciousness, studying him had been considered. But after the titan, with all the gleeful menace he could summon in those days, threatened to do it again – only bigger and better, this idea was abandoned.

After that, everyone involved deemed it best to confine him within the event horizon of Sanctuary where his talent would not work.

Cronos revelled for just a moment in this recollection of the wily exuberance of his youth before quashing it. He had grown gentle and wise over millennia of monastic contemplation.

He blushed at the momentary lapse of mental discipline, and felt warmth in his cheeks. The warmth he now felt in the soles of his feet however was something new and he wondered at this sensation. Was it possible he was changing? Could he finally be growing old?

Cronus knew by now that the weakforce collected by the underground pyramids and channeled to the long-dead realization engines at Mars’s core was no longer enough to enable him to move imagination to manifestation. But perhaps something had changed.

It was what he wanted more than anything. In billions of years of living, there had been very few things he had not done. But growing old, experiencing death, and going through the transmigration on to a random, new, path in reality as a new being — perhaps even a biological one — was his only remaining desire. He had seen enough. He had contemplated enough. Few in reality had done more of either of these things.

The heat was intensifying. Could the volcano be churning to life? No. He remembered that Olympus Mons, and all volcanoes on Mars had been rendered inactive by the realization engines millennia ago.

His curiosity consumed him now. And so, by that peculiar means available only to the unique construction of the mind of Cronos, he merely willed an acceleration of temporal perception. There was no sorcery in this. He simply gave himself up to the natural direction of the arrow of time.

As he observed with his full attention now the corner of his cell heated to its glowing orange melting point before cooling again to its solid state.

Then a dull thud issued through the floor and into the titan’s feet. Cronos was giddy with anticipation. He had not know excitement like this in as long as he could remember, he was clapping his hands together and yelling. Another thud came, louder. Then another.

“Sisyphus! Sisyphus! Something is happening! A visitor, lad! A visitor!” In his excitement he had even forgotten his helmeted companion of fourteen thousand years could not possibly have known what was unfolding before his eyes.

Then the floor of the cell exploded against the ceiling and the Olympian titan’s mouth fell agape.

The silver circle of an ouroboros emerged from the ragged hole in the floor. It was fashioned from the metal of a star he had known in the earliest days of this universe when stars had been sentient entities.

And it mattered not that it could not speak to his mind here within the magicless sphere of Sanctuary, for Cronos knew well that the friend he had known in this sentient ore had long since been forged into the elegant head of a magical banjo.

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Of Time, Ares, & Warmoles of Limbo

Chapter 15

The Banjoman stroked the panting warmole’s snout.

“You have endured much here. Rest now before you make your way back.” His voice was gentle and his gratitude genuine. Nexusa, who was roughly twice the size of an Earth elephant was utterly spent.

The Banjoman had chosen her for her strength, for female warmoles were larger and mightier than males, but she was accustomed to tunneling through subspace, not matter, and the strange flux-prob weakforce at play here had taken a toll on the ancient creature.

The Lord of Limbo felt sadness that she now suffered so, but he knew she would recover. He had not chosen her solely for her powerful physicality. She was the oldest of her kind, and her wisdom and familiarity with unusual regions of spacetime had helped her cope with the strange nature of reality here – on the razor’s edge between the sorcerous multiverse and the magicless serenity of Sanctuary.

The warmole mustered a smile for The Banjoman.

“There will be no need to pluck me a lullaby, my Lord,” she said. “I already smell the lilac of the realm of sleep – though I fret some about what awaits me there in the strangeness of this place. It is to you now to complete the task.”

Her gentle, slow voice was quieter in The Banjoman’s head than it had been and it took him great effort to hear it now, this far from the coreshaft, this close to the surface.

“Of course, my lady. We will be home soon. I know this place is uncomfortable for you. Rest now and when you can, make your way back to the barge at the coreshaft. We will meet you there.” The Banjoman thought about how she would begin the slow, labourious squirm backward when she awoke, for there was no room in the freshly dug tunnel for her to turn around. Lovingly, he touched the plastic faceplate of his teal and gold, nemes-shaped martian space helm against her snout.

She was already asleep.

The Banjoman smiled for he understood that the dreams she would enjoy here, within the Rim, would be more vivid than she was used to, and he resolved to remember the satisfied smile on her sleeping face in that moment.

Then he turned around to face the wall of rock before him and un-shouldered his banjo. Still, even here, residual fluxprob weakforce from the coreshaft radiated to him from the long dead realization engines in the Martian core. He knew not for how much longer this would be the case, but for now, the strange energy – which had been called alchemy by the Martian imagineers of old — flowed through him into the legendary banjo crafted for him by the dwarven smiths of Huran-Tor.

And with an intense gratitude for the ceaseless tunneling Nexusa had undertaken for the last three days welling up in his chest, The Lord of Limbo swung his banjo mightily into the blood-red Martian bedrock.

Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.

~ Sun Tzu

Lucifer’s Yacht, Prince of Light
Port of Plutonia
Hades Prime
1984 AD SR

The muscular, shirtless djinn accepted a cigarette from the surfer-dude-looking demon who shifted about nervously and seemed embarrassed about having his arm in a sling. Smiling wide and hoping he hadn’t made too much of a show of his muscled, tattooed physique as he took the cigarette, he flipped the long braided top-knot that sprouted from his otherwise shaved head over his shoulder and leaned casually against the door to the yacht’s main lounge.

Named Zepar, he was of the tribe Marid, the most powerful of the djinn clans. Beyond his remarkable physical and magical prowess, he possessed prodigal understanding of the mechanics of sound: a useful specialty for the top security agent in the Olympian empire: the one responsible for the safety of the Imperial family.

Right now, while he was chit-chatting with this demon – who had somehow recently broken his arm – he was listening through the door as though it were not even there.

“There is no way Leraje can know for sure it was Cormac Kilroy’s sun pistol,” said Ares as he appeared to be paying the minimum possible amount of attention to the meeting. It was obvious he was hearing music some sort in his head, which bobbed loose on his neck while his fingers tapped the tabletop he imagined to be a keyboard.

“Of course you are right. There is no way to be certain.” As a seasoned diplomat, the Prince of Light had no problem masking his annoyance at the Olympian’s nonchalance. “But we do have substantiated intelligence that Arawn’s rogue reaper had been associating with Cormac Kilroy. So it is possible.”

“Kilroy is a free agent.” Unlike Lucifer, Ares did not hide his annoyance at someone ‘jammin’ his groove’ as he put it. But with Ares, who was typically so even-tempered and easygoing, even when he was annoyed, he conveyed a pleasant, soothing vibe.

In addition to his long-held fascination with piano (and more recently with pop synthesizer composition) the one who had been worshipped as a god of war had recently taken up The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. The painter’s gentle, laid back worldview jived perfectly with Ares’ reformed take on life. In Bob Ross, also a former military man, Ares had found a kindred spirit – even something of a mentor. The Olympian had even assumed the painter’s teased-out perm.

“I will inquire with Admiral Charon as to Kilroy’s whereabouts of late. He doesn’t like him, so I know he will have kept tabs on him.” Ares clasped his powerful hands together now. He glanced at the banana daiquiri, which sat in front of him untouched, before looking under his eyebrows at Lucifer. As he leaned in, his incredible Olympian arms appeared as though they might explode from the seams of his legendary trucker jacket, which would have been a tragedy, for it was crafted from highly coveted, genuine Sanctuarian denim and exquisitely weathered.

“Why the interest in this banshee? So what if she is friends with Kilroy? Everyone is friends with Kilroy!” The softness of his voice and his gentle demeanor were in direct contrast to his imposing physicality.

“What is going on Lou? If you are looking for Olympus to be involved in something, you had better be right up-front about things.” A light of excitement shot into his red eyes then and he leaned back and resumed his keyboard composition on the tabletop again. This did not break his train of thought and he continued talking while he plaid.

“You know I don’t care about your annexation of Hades. It has been nothing but good for me. You know I don’t care about your annexation of Fey. Its subjects are certainly better off under you than they were under twelve-point buck here.” He shot a rare look of disdain at Arawn, whom, as usual was intoxicated in some way or another and only half-heartedly acknowledged the insult.

“Everyone knows that since the Gorilla thing, my father prefers to keep a low profile, which makes me the de Facto emperor of Olympus. I just want peace, man. But I will not lose any more ground for the empire. Hades was as far as you I could let you go. I would hate to think you are getting greedy.” He paused for effect and allowed some heat to come into his unnerving Olympian eyes.

“Prince of Light as liberator, I can take. Prince of Light as despot… He shook his head side to side as a smile came to his face.

“… I will break.”

If Lucifer was intimidated, he showed no sign of it.

“Of all people, I think you know me Ares. It is about the arts for me. It is about beauty and expression – and freedom. I have helped Arawn see this. Hades wouldn’t see it so I had no choice but to do what I did.”

Ares’ face darkened. It was no secret that he had hated his uncle, whom he saw for the tyrant he was. But while he secretly enjoyed the regime change, he also disapproved of the death and destruction that had been wrought there. He had also not expected that the murder of his uncle at the hand of his old personal rival Tyr would be part of Lucifer’s plan.

“And let’s be honest,” Lucifer continued, “you and I are on the same page as to your other father’s priorities.” He was referring of course to Zeus’s fervent commitment to the manifest destiny of Olympus. In recent millennia, cultural and economic belligerence had replaced military aggression in the exercise of Olympian hegemony, but either way, Ares, ever the pacifist, ever the champion of free will, found his father’s arrogance, nationalism, cruelty, bigotry, and lust for power distasteful.

Zeus’s self-imposed isolation as a result of what they called Hera’s gorilla gambit, had not only put Ares functionally in charge of the Olympian empire, it had given him an opportunity to soften the edges of Olympian foreign policy.

In the elite circles of this corner of the multiverse, some had even speculated that Hera’s play on Zeus’s legendary ego, by demanding that he remain in Gorilla form and thereby in a state of perpetual humiliation, was in no small part a result of her feelings for the newer, softer Ares – and her sympathies with his politics.

“Our mutual distaste for my brother’s shortcomings as a leader are not a license for you to assume his traits Lucifer! I don’t know how to say this nicely, man, so I’ll just say it. Remember your place. Don’t try my patience. I don’t like some of the company you keep.” He jerked his head sideways in the direction of Arawn.

Ares didn’t say it but he was suspicious of Lucifer’s motives. Why so much interest in one of Arawn’s reapers-gone-renegade? Why the interest in Cormac Kip Kilroy, servant of the Stygian Navy and friend of Olympus – but also a ward of Mars? And if Mars was involved, chances are Heliopolis was involved.

There was also the matter of rumours circulating regarding Lucifer’s recent humiliation at the hands of the Lord of Limbo. Normally this would just have been considered a matter of business gossip – except for the fact that, in his briefing for this meeting in Hades Prime, Ares had been told by Director of Olympian Intelligence, Torus Phi, that The Banjoman, who never meets with anyone, had recently gone on a drunken rampage through Punta Epsilon with none other than Cormac Kipling Kilroy.

Lucifer was up to something – and apparently Mars, and possibly Heliopolis were up to something too. That typically neutral and impartial Limbo was also involved was altogether perplexing and Ares made a guarded assumption that if Mars and Limbo were involved, then all of this had something to do with Sanctuary. And finally, if Sanctuary was involved, that in-turn suggested worst-case scenario: the Pentarchy was involved.

Most of the time the former god of war, was a reasonable enough guy. But at this precise moment, he wasn’t down with being kept in the dark on something as big as what this was shaping up to be.

“Don’t make me remind you how much you don’t like some of the circles I travel in.” It was a reference to the fact that Ares was one of only a very few beings in all reality who had once been to the palace of Yod, the inner court of Heaven as an emissary on Zeus’s behalf. He had accompanied Prometheus at the ratifying of the Eden Proclamation. Rumour had it he had made a positive impression on the invisible man and woman in the invisible castle atop the invisible stairs. But there is no possible way of knowing if this was indeed true.

Uncharacteristically, Lucifer bristled at this. The Banjoman, and even merely the mention of Heaven were possibly the only two things that got to him.

He struggled to reconcile the fellowship he and Ares found in their commitment to free will with the favourable light in which the Olympian was apparently held by those he thought to be the worst tyrants in the multiverse.

“You know too well what I want.” Ares said. “I want peace.” He paused. “I didn’t necessarily get that in Hades did I, Lou?”

Even when he was being stern, Ares made you want to give him a hug, thought the Prince of Light. It was infuriating.

“Admittedly, I underestimated the propensity for barbarity of our Asgardian friends in that situation.” Lucifer appeared to mean it. But Ares smiled as though he knew otherwise.

“Tread lightly, Lucifer. You believe that to be true now. But, even with Tyr in your pocket on the inside, you knew exactly what Loki and Hela would do. This is your power and your curse my friend. I have never known you to lie to anyone other than yourself – it is how you so easily make everything you say come off as the truth.”

You need to be more grateful that I – and therefore the collective power of the Olympian empire – holds you in higher esteem than most.”

The Olympian took off his exquisite jean jacket then and hung it over the back of his chair. He was wearing a Black T-Shirt emblazoned with the album cover of The Guess Who’s American Woman. The Olympian’s powerful aetheric presence filled the room. Suddenly there was the palpable fear, agony and grief of billions of fallen souls over millions of years.

“This is why antlers here is going to leave right now…” There was no menace in Ares’ voice whatsoever, which only intensified the feeling of raw terror in the room.

Before Ares had even finished his sentence, the door to the room had opened and the djinn Zepar was standing inside it in all his blue-grey shirtless menace. Gracefully, trying not to make too much of a show of his rippling physique, he gestured in a way that indicated the way out of the room using the hand that wasn’t leaning on an enormous, gleaming scimitar.

Arawn, even when he was drunk, knew the limits of his skills. Some survive because they are combatants; others because they are cowards. Even he knew he was the latter.

Then Ares, who had picked up the banana daiquiri he had not touched until just then, walked over to Lucifer’s bar, just he had done so many time before. After rummaging about, he removed the little sword from the maraschino and banana slices in his drink and replaced it with a cocktail umbrella.

“Detachment is forgiveness. Salvation is enlightenment. All is seen as one when no harm is done. When no harm is done all is seen as one.” He repeated this in his head three times and the inclination to simply kill everyone in the room receded completely.

When he looked up he saw that Arawn, who had not said a word the entire time, was bowing and backing out the door.

Then, after a pause of a length that was altogether disconcerting to Lucifer, the only person left in the room, Ares finally finished his sentence in his softest, kindest tone.

“… and you – if you want me to ask favours of Admiral Charon – are going to tell me exactly what is going on.”

Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga

Within a Grimoire of Glass,

a Saga, a Spell, an Age of Mysticism

Part 40s sci-fi radio serial, part 70s pulp fantasy novella, and part every cosmic prog-rock album cover ever, what is written here is intended first and foremost as far-flung fantasy fun.

Brought forth to the best of my ability with the time I have available to me in the oppressive world order I abhor, it is basically a first draft — but I am a writer by trade, so I think it is not a bad first draft. Please indulge me further on this point.

Beyond the notion that the Internet begs for an Info-Age reimagining of the serial novel medium of Dickens and Twain, I feel the web also empowers a reader with unprecedented opportunity to provide feedback that enriches the tale being told for the writer and other readers alike.

To this end, the comment section under each chapter is wide open and I encourage readers to share their interpretations, insights and inspiration. I do this not only so I can incorporate readers’ perspectives and wisdom into revisions and into the story as it unfolds, but also so that readers can augment the story for other readers with complementary information available elsewhere on the web.

Ultimately, though fun is the priority, I also envisioned this undertaking as an esoteric, occult, spiritual treatise for the age that follows the collapse of Western hyper-reductionist ego-construct-driven consumerism. Think of it as Mysticism 101 trojan-horsed in as a Saturday morning cartoon.

And so, I need readers not only to participate, but also to spread the word! As this happens, the tale can only get better and better; and by better and better, I don’t mean merely more entertaining — but also more enlightening.

As this experiment becomes a growing, living document, I believe that just maybe a new sort of sorcery will have emerged upon the plane of our every day waking lives.

Perhaps a kind of long, meandering, collaborative spell is being woven right here…

… within this glass grimoire!

Weave your way into Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga

2016: A Painful End to Outside-In Identity

A New Age of Mysticism Ushered in by a Jester-King

Again, with the ticks of the hands of the nonsense of clocks, we mark the delusion that time is something other than a functionally idealized contrivance of consciousness.

As we do this, another contrivance of our hyper-delineated consumption-driven-growth reality — the  Internet meme of the moment — bids good riddance to 2016, AKA the worst year ever.

I beg to differ.

Though on the surface, I agree that 2016 delivered a lot of unwelcome news, I prefer to think of it as the final pangs of childbirth. For change is afoot. Massive change. And as they say, eggs must be broken for omelettes to be had.

Is it possible that, in the surreal probability flux of this present historical moment, under the looming prospect of a jester-king, everything has come into question at a crossroads in the evolution of human consciousness?

What if, in some collective critical mass quantum mechanical eye of the storm, all bets are off now? What if the clay is softer and more pliable than it’s ever been?

What if enough of us have decided we’ve grown weary of defining ourselves through the acquisition of trinkets and accolades just as we have also suddenly come into possession of unprecedented access to knowledge and understanding of the mystical nature of reality and the truth of the shared unity and divinity inherent in all that exists? 

As we shift from a perspective that views consciousness not as a means by which we procure the accoutrements of identity from an arbitrarily delineated reality outside of ourselves, but rather as a means by which we come to understand that the self-construct is a delusion that isolates us from the grace of the one, indivisible reality transcending within and without, and each and other, there is bound to be distress in the system.

What if the turmoil of this moment is a culture-quake of a magnitude never before seen in human history? What if this moment is a collective shift in consciousness that now simply sees us taking out the trash? What if now is the pus of a healing wound or the reflexive wailing of a newborn afraid of a light it does not yet comprehend as the beauty of a new world?

What if the nerve-ending you read this on — that interfaces your nervous system with all the other nervous systems via the global nervous system that is the Internet — is awakening the possibility of our return to an Eden, which although forgotten has not been lost?

It is my hope that as we turn a corner; that as the wheat separates from the chaff; that as the new that has gotten old falls away and a new that is older than all there has ever been is again revealed, each of us can come to know now with growing certainty that we are not alone in seeing this happening.

Maybe in 2017 the transition that now rocks the core of all we thought we knew and believed will take hold in earnest; and as ancient, whispered-about answers that have always been available within become validated to us by the world without, we will find our way back, beyond race, religion, country, politics, money, branding, fashion, and all the nonsensical masks, costumes and contrivances we have confused with who we are.

In 2016, I endeavoured in earnest to say goodbye to the hyper-reductionist consumption driven growth control matrix and hello to a new age of mysticism.

And it is my belief that sufficient wisdom has already taken root for us to now know that it is precisely because it looks like rain, that we should all finally come out and play!

Read and share Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga

Happy New Year! Here is Chapter 14!

CHAPTER 14

“History is a set of lies agreed upon.”

~ Napoléon Bonaparte

Astral Plane

Through the corner of her eye, Jasco saw Andy clutching his chest as his astral form collapsed in upon itself. There was pinprick of green light and he was gone.

All she had worked for, all the progress she had made, was gone with him. It was all because of Leraje. The fury she now felt twisted in with the pain in her leg. She could use it. It joined the energy from her crown and her root in the blue vortex at her throat. With Andy gone safely home she could unleash it now.

And so through the silver megaphone now crushed to her teeth, and into the astral sky, came the horror of the banshee’s scream.

Her servants, the dullahan, the four horsemen, would not come to the quiet realm, she knew – but the sound was enough. Leraje stumbled back and dropped zir bow to impulsively block zir ears. The cyberi walked backwards away from the wailing banshee. Their lowered heads were twisting and flailing in the air and against the ground, trying in vain to escape the relentless onslaught of sound.

Jasco’s jaw ached with the exertion. The pain in her leg, where the snake arrow writhed maliciously and arched the length of its body against the tortured flesh, was excruciating. She felt as though the totality of her consciousness had moved to the wound. Was her will failing? She knew any injury to the astral form was insubstantial and that her meditating body in the Hall of Memories would not suffer from it. Her concern now was whether her silver cord would come and betray the location of her physical body to Leraje. Her voice wavered. She wondered again at how the demon and its hellhounds had not seen Andy and then she screamed in her own head as well as into the megaphone.

After all these months she had been so close. To lose him now, just mere steps away from where Kip would be waiting in the Hall of Memories was infuriating.

The ferocity of her tortured wail was insufferable beyond imagining to the acute hearing of the hounds of Hell. Their thrashing and howling added to the cacophony.

Then, she could maintain it no more. Spent – and not just in her voice – the moon-coloured banshee of Fey slumped forward onto the wine-coloured astral soil.

All she could do now was buy time.

“You do have quite the mouth on you don’t you?” Leraje’s androgynous voice was no less intoxicating as it wavered and cracked through zir struggle to recover from the impact of the scream. Wiping blood from zir ears, Leraje glared at zir prey with redoubled disdain.

Seeing this, Jasco smirked through the haze of the blinding pain, which had now became so intense it was causing her vision to tunnel.

“But your horsemen stooges cannot come here, can they,” the demon had collected her bow and was walking toward Jasco. The cyberi stayed where they were, whining and pawing at their ears.

Jasco could not help but swoon at the pleasure Leraje’s voice stirred in her again. She wondered now if she was clinging to her waning consciousness merely to remain in the presence of that voice. Bewilderingly, she felt that she wanted to impress the demon now – that she longed for zir approval. She was succumbing to the seduction.

“I am yours, Leraje. I can do no more. Truthfully, what chance had I against these Olympian mongrels and their dog.” Her hands now clasped her thigh exerting pressure around where the snake entered and exited. But she could not harm it. It continued to twist and writhe in the wound and around her hands. Jasco rocked back and forth. She blinked the tears out of her eyes so they now left trails upon her soiled cheeks. She felt foam at the corners of her mouth. Just as she began to wonder if she — if anyone — had ever endured pain like this before, she felt the telltale tingling in her solar plexus. Her silver cord was coming. Leraje would find her meditating form in Hypnos Somnos. If Kip were with her, ze would find him there too.

It would all be over. Everything they had worked for would be done.

“Oh! There’s that exquisite faerie mouth again. Such power! Such sass! So delightful. I can see why that cretin, Arawn, has paid so handsomely to have it back.” Leraje had recovered zir bow and had now dropped to one knee before the banshee.

Gingerly, seductively, the demon placed a finger under Jasco’s quivering chin and tilted her head up so their eyes met.

Jasco’s pain retreated slightly as though the very essence of her being could not pass up an opportunity to be this close to such exquisite beauty. The features of Leraje’s fox face; the colour and sensual sheen of zir fur; the elegant, sacred geometrical perfection of zir sloping spiral gazelle-like horns; even the perfume of zir breath were too much now. Jasco tried to drop her head in exasperation – but those eyes — the vastness in them – the love of life – the longing… the longing for her! She could not look away.

“I do have you, don’t I?” Leraje said it in matter-of-fact tone while tilting Jasco’s face here and there as though inspecting a horse at auction.

“But this isn’t the you I want.” The marquis of Hell reached behind zir back with zir free hand and pulled a long hunting knife from a sheath there.

“I’m coming to get you. And who knows what I’ll do with your physical form before I hand you over to that mushroom-addled faerie oaf. I can only imagine what he wants to do to you. Maybe I’ll take you back to Hell first to see if I can do worse…” Zir eyes flickered from cruelty to lust. “… Or better.”

Jasco, unable to look from Leraje’s eyes, felt the tip of the demon’s knife under her ribs. She had been correct about the demon’s endgame: when the knife went in, the retreat of her astral form to the Hall of Memories would lead Leraje to her physical body. A legion of Hell would follow in short order.

But she no longer had the strength to care. She did not even care that Kip would fall with her when they came. All she knew now was that the demon’s mouth was inches from hers. It was all she wanted now.

So complete was Jasco’s longing for Leraje’s mouth on hers that she didn’t hear the hiss of the superheated air or smell the burning fur and flesh that came next. Nor did she notice that the knife point digging into her side was gone.

When the mouth never came, a crushing disappointment that consumed the last remaining spark of her consciousness forced open the banshee’s eyes. And for only a moment, she looked again into the eyes of the demon. But where there had just moments before been such life, now there was only the signature vacancy of death the renegade reaper knew all too well.

Then as the demon’s body listed back and to one side, Jasco saw that the back of its head beneath its horns and behind the beautiful face was completely gone. There was no blood. Just fetid, black smoke. Then the face flopped back horrifically, and down onto the smouldering stump of a neck, and the limp body slumped to the ground.

Jasco had nothing left. The despair arising from the lost kiss had finished her.

She too wilted forward. Her last thought was excitement at the prospect of maybe feeling Leraje’s beautiful body tight against hers.

But the demon’s silver cord had already taken zir back to Hell.

And Jasco too, was gone before she fell.

There was a cramp in her right thigh from having sat in full lotus for so long — but it was a far cry from the pain of the snake-arrow she had known just a moment before. There was no vertigo, no shock. Her experience transitioning between planes, especially by way of projection, had moved her beyond such things years ago. Now, Jasco only felt the sense of calm and sensory clarity that are the hallmarks of moving from the meditative to the waking state.

At first, there was only a lingering sensual pleasure that caused the corners of her mouth to curl up into a slight smile. Then the fear rushed back and her eyes darted about the massive hall. With the remarkable agility of the Fey, she sprang from the full lotus position of meditation to the crouch of Fey-Ral with her wolf-fang-handled knife at the ready.

She sniffed frantically for the sulphuric stench of an open Hellhole. There was nothing. If Leraje was coming for her, it might take her time.

Then she saw Kilroy.

With his back to her, he kneeled in the centre of the massive archway opening onto the astral plane. In front of him was a stone bench he had dragged from its proper place against the wall to the right of the open archway.

His head was slumped down onto the bench and the banshee now saw that he had just come out of a static marksman position. His right elbow rested by his head on the bench and the smoldering barrel of the only remaining Martian sun-pistol in existence pointed straight upward toward the ceiling. She imagined the muzzle of it had just moments before rested almost touching the transition to the astral realm.

“Welcome back, Betty,” Kilroy said it without looking up, and despite the fact they had failed utterly in acquiring Ancaster Crowley, he said it with the good humour he was so well known for.

Then he turned around and rested his back against the bench.

“Sorry I had to blow Veronica’s head off.” with the jacketed forearm of his pistol hand he wiped the sweat of concentration from his forehead.

“You two looked like you were having such a good time!”

And in that moment, even a dashing Kip Kilroy full-faced grin could not make Jasco feel any better.

Even the spicy heat of the Stygian brandy had not helped. Of course Kip had been optimistic in his assessment: at least Leraje, for whatever reason, had not seen Andy and he had returned to Sanctuary unharmed. At least his sun-pistol shot had taken the demon out before Jasco’s silver cord had pulled her back and so their location had not been discovered.

Kilroy had trained his whole life to be steward to the one who would be Abraxas. So long as there was hope regarding their chances for success with Andy – it would be front-and-centre with him.

But Andy’s welfare was not what was bothering her now. Nor was it her concern that the Earther might have been so frightened by the whole affair with Leraje that he would now be more reluctant than ever to cooperate with them.

What consumed her thoughts in this moment were the details duty demanded she hide from Kilroy, and her resentment of being put in what she felt to be an unethical position by the Pharaoh. Indeed, by the Pentarchy itself!

She took another sip of the brandy. This far out on the Sea of Tears, the stars shone further into the blue-green part of the spectrum and the black of space was more of a slate grey. It was beautiful to her. She was always comforted by the sensation of being between things rather than in the thick of them: that events she was dealing with in the world were somehow less substantial or real. Being out here always offered a reprieve. Sailing between dimensions upon the Sea of Tears was one of the benefits of having fallen in with Kilroy.

The beauty of the night out here, the warmth of this third mug of brandy would give her the strength she needed to recollect that night when she had met with the Pharaoh. She wanted to be perfectly clear on what was going to happen next, now that Andy had likely retreated to Sanctuary, and very likely into himself. She wanted to be sure she did not slip up and, in so doing, reveal something to Kip that would betray her responsibility to her ultimate mission.

She drained her glass and reminded herself that deceiving her friend was a necessity. She had no choice.

Her mind then was back in the luxurious antechamber of the Martian Imperial throne room of the grand pyramid on Memphis Nova I.

“Who will harvest his soul?” she asked? Which house? Which reaper? It should be me!

“You of all people should know we cannot know those things! It is not like we have arranged this! Is that what you think is happening here? No! It comes from the Norns themselves that this is indeed the lad’s time. That this is what would be. We cannot meddle! We cannot know the details!” The Pharaoh’s tone was emphatic without being angry.

“In the event that you fail to win the spawn over to our cause, we must use his friend’s death to assure him that his experiences beyond Sanctuary were not a merely a dream or a fabrication of his Earther mind. I don’t like it either. It is unsavoury. But you know the stakes in this.”

“Please Lord, do not call him that.” Jasco was demure, she respected the Pharaoh and genuinely did not want to offend him. The large man, who was looking out the antechambers enormous windows turned his head and looked at the banshee. There was a quizzical look on his face.

“Spawn.” She clarified.

The Pharaoh smiled gently at Jasco, and she could tell he was suppressing the deep, boisterous laugh he was known for.

“Yes, of course, Jasco, I am sorry.”

There was another, longer pause.

“This is difficult for all of us you understand,” he finally said.

“Sometimes power demands service. Sometimes the greater good demands a lesser evil.” The kindness in both his manner and his voice comforted her then, for it was sincere.

“This is a small thing we do. We have hinted to the one called Deborah that their friend Nicholas will die in the future and that Ancaster will know what to do. The tragedy is not of our making and is the natural course of things. We have been told he will drown at a party and we simply use the situation to convince master Crowley of the truth of his recent experiences beyond. All of this to bring him hopefully into our service – into the service of all life in the multiverse.”

He was still looking out the window as he spoke.

“The message you have planted in this Earth girl’s dreams is the seed of countless noble deeds that will span all of reality for all of time. It is the way of heroes and legends, Jasco.”

He turned and walked to the reaper then. Her eyes were welling up with tears and the great Garuk Motunkhamen embraced her.

“It is a hell of sorts, Jasco, to be at the centre of things. Reality is oscillation, and though the pivot of the pendulum moves not, it bears all of the weight.”

“If this is such a small thing we do, why must I keep it from Kip? She looked up at him like a daughter who, knowing full well her father cannot provide the answer she wants, will be satisfied enough merely to hear his voice attempt one.

“Sir Kipling’s burden in this is far greater than all of ours.” He said, pushing an errant strand of her luminous moonbeam hair away from her tear-filled eyes.

“And his loyalty to the sole sorcerer of Sanctuary will be a thing of legends. They will be as one force together; a force for good; for salvation. Kip has trained his whole life for this. There can be no deception, no secrets between them. You must lift that weight from him. You do him immense service in this, though he knows it not.”

Jasco pulled back then and wiped her own eyes. She straightened and summoned her composure.

“The poor girl, Deborah, she will lose this boy, Nick. And then we will take Andy from her.” She said.

“We say much here of small things, though this is no small thing for her.” She said it solemnly. It was her turn to look out the window. Against the backdrop of Jupiter, which filled the sky, she spotted the hot glow of a Fey Coven witchcraft on re-entry to the east.

“This girl, Deborah, remember…” the Pharaoh was reverent then. Ominous even. The weight of what he said next was not lost on Jasco of Fey.

“… though she knows it not in her waking life, is also Commander Peregrinus-Sherle of the Morphean Guard. She will play no small part in all of this either I imagine, before all reckoning is done.”

To be continued in Chapter 15

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