Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
About Literature / Hobbyist Dave McLaughlinMale/Canada Recent Activity
Deviant for 1 Month
Needs Core Membership
Statistics 5 Deviations 5 Comments 107 Pageviews
×

Newest Deviations

Literature
Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga - CHAPTER 3
“Abraxas is the sun, and at the same time the eternally sucking gorge of the void. Abraxas speaketh that hallowed and accursed word which is life and death at the same time. Abraxas begetteth truth and lying, good and evil, light and darkness, in the same word and in the same act.
Therefore is Abraxas terrible.”
~ Carl Jung, Seven Sermons of the Dead

Memphis Nova I (Ganymede)
Imperial Pyramid of Garuk Motankhamun IV
1969 AD SR
A portion of the pointed crystal capstone shifted out of phase and was shunted into a dimensional pocket that had been created for it as an architectural feature when the pyramid was built some 400 years ago. The flat, horizontal surface left exposed with the capstone gone was crafted from the same dense Jovian marble as the rest of the pyramid, but had been polished to a mirror finish in contrast to the matte finish of the pyramid's sides. The glistening platform, which was half a kilometre square, sat three kilometres above the planetoid
:iconglassgrimoire:glassgrimoire
:iconglassgrimoire:glassgrimoire 0 0
Remembering Atomic Rob by glassgrimoire Remembering Atomic Rob :iconglassgrimoire:glassgrimoire 0 0
Literature
Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga - CHAPTER 2
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
~ Mark Twain

Hades Prime
Port of Plutonia,
Lucifer’s Yacht, The Prince of Light
1984 AD SR
“His eminence will see you now,” said one of the two demons wearing perfectly tailored smoke-grey suits. He reached across the rich, scarlet, shag-carpeted stairs and unclasped the velvet rope barrier to the gangway onto the yacht. “It’s an honour to have you here sir. I hope Lord Lucifer shows you a good time.”
“Thank you,” said Tin Prince Twain, still working even after all these years to subdue the remaining electronic tinge in his synthetic voice. His accent, unique in all reality, was a perfect balance of Aleister Crowley’s aristocratic West-London English and Mark Twain’s Midwestern-American derivative. The demon, like most, did not know that the Tin Prince’s body, crafted by Nikola Tesla from stolen Atlantean schematics, was the vessel for the f
:iconglassgrimoire:glassgrimoire
:iconglassgrimoire:glassgrimoire 0 0
Literature
Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga - CHAPTER 1
"Amid an unfathomable expanse, boiling with the writhing of ourobori, so deep within that it is also the most distant beyond, the probability vortices churn delta quanta across the moebius bridge from conception to perception -- or rather for the sorcerer -- from imagination to manifestation."
~ Andy Crowley, Sole Sorcerer of Sanctuary

Of the ascent of the Abraxas, in whose godhood the forces of good and evil would be reconciled and free will ended, this is the only known account.
Of the War of All Gods, in which the Abraxas fell, also, this is the sole reckoning available to Earther eyes within the boundary of Sanctuary Rim.
What you are reading here – these insubstantial and archaic runes – though they connect one’s mind through spacetime and across the planes to the details of this darkest of events – is not real. At least not real in the way most beings understand things to be real.
This account – the words on these pages – though in this
:iconglassgrimoire:glassgrimoire
:iconglassgrimoire:glassgrimoire 0 0
Literature
Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga - PROLOGUE
“You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will,
As your will is, so is your deed,
As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
~ Brihadnarayaka Upanishad IV.4.5

Proxima Arcturus
Sea of Tears: The Twice Forbidden Island
6000 BCE, SR (Sanctuary Reckoning)
The wild-eyed sea captain dropped to his knees on the white beach and savoured the caress of the cool wind on his sun-ravaged face. Closing his eyes, he let the feeling of triumph consume him entirely.
Three of his haggard crewmen and the rowboat they dragged onto the sand were all that remained of his Arcturian clipper and her crew of eighty-five that had disembarked from Denlar.
How long had it taken him to get here to claim The Glass Grimoire: the prize of prizes? More than a year to be sure – but the specifics now eluded his ruined mind.
He fell into the hot sand and wept. His crewmen, having secured the landing craft, dared not approach him. Instead, they sat on the beach to watch
:iconglassgrimoire:glassgrimoire
:iconglassgrimoire:glassgrimoire 1 3

Favourites

Lightning encased in crystal by NikuSenpai Lightning encased in crystal :iconnikusenpai:NikuSenpai 136 0 Celestial Portal by Imson Celestial Portal :iconimson:Imson 259 17 Enter the Vision by artman1900 Enter the Vision :iconartman1900:artman1900 6 0 Conan by Behelitblood Conan :iconbehelitblood:Behelitblood 3 0 steampunk megatron by BrianKesinger steampunk megatron :iconbriankesinger:BrianKesinger 1,140 50 locomutus prime by BrianKesinger locomutus prime :iconbriankesinger:BrianKesinger 3,472 270 Elric of Melnibone ink and dry brush. by ga-ren Elric of Melnibone ink and dry brush. :iconga-ren:ga-ren 6 1 The Eternals 15 by cosmikjaxx The Eternals 15 :iconcosmikjaxx:cosmikjaxx 1 0 Odin, All Father by JeffDee Odin, All Father :iconjeffdee:JeffDee 34 14 Halflings by JeffDee Halflings :iconjeffdee:JeffDee 65 14

Watchers

Groups

This user is not currently part of any groups.

Activity


For those who would listen, the stars whisper the beautiful truth that you don't matter.
"Amid an unfathomable expanse, boiling with the writhing of ourobori, so deep within that it is also the most distant beyond, the probability vortices churn delta quanta across the moebius bridge from conception to perception -- or rather for the sorcerer -- from imagination to manifestation."

~ Andy Crowley, Sole Sorcerer of Sanctuary



Of the ascent of the Abraxas, in whose godhood the forces of good and evil would be reconciled and free will ended, this is the only known account.

Of the War of All Gods, in which the Abraxas fell, also, this is the sole reckoning available to Earther eyes within the boundary of Sanctuary Rim.

What you are reading here – these insubstantial and archaic runes – though they connect one’s mind through spacetime and across the planes to the details of this darkest of events – is not real. At least not real in the way most beings understand things to be real.

This account – the words on these pages – though in this moment seemingly tangible and meaningful to us, is by no means, either sorcerous or scientific, indistinguishable from a dream or a fleeting notion in the mind.

And though it may inform us, the true nature of this device is incomprehensible to most. For it is, in truth, naught but a phantom in the thoughts between our thoughts – where our dreams and greater journeys are realized. By all measures, this apparitional reckoning, conceived by the most potent of magics, exists beyond that thin fringe of matter and conscious awareness that comprises the material realm of most people’s everyday waking lives.

Suffice it to say that, by the designs and powerful craft of a handful of the greatest mages to have ever existed, we fortunate few are privy to this arcane knowledge of perhaps the most significant event in the history of the cosmos – though it should be known that for many reading this (particularly those who still reckon in sidereal time and are limited to unilateral perception in four-dimensional spacetime), the most tragic of the events detailed herein have not yet occurred.



At the centre of this history then is Sanctuary. A spherical speck of existence containing four planets rimmed by a belt of asteroids around a middling yellow star. Altogether unspectacular at a passing glance, Sanctuary, unbeknownst to its native inhabitants, was esteemed as the sacred jewel of the multiverse, for it was the one place in all existence where consciousness could not penetrate inward across the moebius bridge into the probability fields of the quantum vortices.

Few, if any, of the wisest sages in all reality suspected that the being who would become the Abraxas would be born on Sanctuary: the one place where magic did not work.

And so, on that warm day in June, when Ancaster (Andy) Crowley waded into the river behind his home to cast his first spell, a chill shuddered through the cosmos. And across a distance unfathomable, through the purple mist of the realm between realms, into the ear of one of only a few beings inclined to listen for it, the winds of Limbo whispered the name it was Andy’s destiny to bear…

… Abraxas.



“All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.”

~ Kabir



Sanctuary (Earth)
Corbyville
1984 AC SR

There were only a handful of beings in all of existence who didn't think Andy Crowley was an idiot. Of those beings, roughly half of them knew it was his destiny to become the most powerfully destructive being in the multiverse, and roughly the other half now straddled their bikes at the end of Dave and Ian's driveway.

“Think of it as two swimming pools,” Andy said. His hands chopped the air emphatically indicating two divergent directions as he shifted on his bicycle seat trying to vanquish the discomfort caused by his wet bathing suit.

“The first pool is normal. The second is full of ice cubes.” He continued as he wiped a strand of hair, still wet from the river, off his face.

For dramatic effect, Andy straightened up and jerked his head in the direction of the cemetery across the River Road.

“Before you were born, you were the water in the normal swimming pool.” He kept his gaze on the cemetery. “After you die, you are the water in the normal swimming pool again.” He turned back to deliver the coup de grace. Nick, Ian and Dave leaned forward on their handlebars. Andy was worth listening to on all matters cosmological. He wasn’t just their Dungeon Master that summer. He was their philosopher in residence.

“But here, right now, in life, in the world, we are ice cubes in the other pool. We’re still the water but we’re separate and distinct from each other… kind of… for a while… while we are alive. Then, when we die, we just melt back into all the other potential living again.”

Dave and Ian looked over at the cemetery now. Nick swatted at a mosquito on his neck. As Andy’s next-door-neighbor he had heard the swimming pool metaphor for mortal existence possibly one too many times.

With the grinding drone of the cicada bugs that were born, lived and died in a single day – this day in particular – as their soundtrack, they quietly mulled over Andy’s notion. The twilight tinge of the setting sun complemented the metaphysical subject matter perfectly.

For Nick, the quiet stretched on too long. So he broke it.

“Have you ever thought about how the solar system is like a giant atom? He said, “The sun is the nucleus and the planets are the electrons.”

Andy, Dave and Ian all turned their heads to look at Nick now.

“What if we’re all on an electron in an atom on a giant toenail of a giant dude sitting on a giant bike talking about this stuff with his giant friends? And that giant is on an even bigger electron on an even bigger atom on a – ”

“Not bad,” Andy gave Nick an approving nod and Nick beamed with self-satisfaction. For even somewhat dismissive approval by Andy Crowley on these matters would be deemed high praise by his friends.

“It’s not as cut-and-dry as that. Of course the mechanics of solar systems and atoms are completely different, but the general idea is there,” Andy continued matter-of-factly.

To common sense, it was improbable that a 14-year-old could know the true nature of the grand architecture of the cosmos. But the way Andy spoke about these things with absolute certainty won him easy converts amongst teenage boys wallowing ecstatically in fantasy novels, comic books, role playing games and cinema space opera.

“Should we get back?” Nick said to Andy, slapping at another mosquito. They were still bad in August this close to the river.

Andy nodded to Nick and said to Ian. “So, we’re not playing tomorrow ‘cause Jim and Bill are away, right?”

“They’re back on Wednesday,” Ian said. Jimmy was away at the cottage with his family, and his neighbour Bill was with him.

“Alright it’s Wednesday then!” Andy said. “Roll and rock, gentlemen!” He shook a loose fist with the thumb up back-and-forth at about waist height. It was supposed to represent rolling dice, but to everyone’s amusement it always came off as representing something else altogether.

Andy and Nick launched onto their pedals and Dave and Ian solemnly walked their bikes down their driveway to the house to prepare supper, watch music videos, and quite possibly, to investigate the inventory of their father’s bar in the rec-room.

Though they had always lived next door to one another, Nick felt he would never really know Andy. He was a lot of things: peculiar, distant – but mostly he was clever. He was also a fantastic Dungeon Master. Even the kids from the city, who had played D&D with them on occasion, had said Andy was the very best.

Nick looked at his friend, riding his bike in that way of his: that way that made you think he was all alone in the world, and that this was precisely the way it should be. His long, straw-coloured hair whipped in the wind as he pumped his bike toward home. Nick often thought Andy looked like Alex Lifeson from Rush or Rick Emmet from Triumph. His signature black-and-white concert shirt (Black Sabbath today) was wet from swimming in the river and it clung to his skinny but well-muscled frame. Three-striped track shorts and white high-tops with laces loose and the tongues hanging out were his summer uniform – invariably. Soon, when the weather cooled, they would be switched out for the winter uniform: baseball-style concert shirt, worn jeans, combat boots, and when necessary, either the jean jacket or the black leather one. And that was that. It never changed. It was a dated look for a teenager in 1984, and Andy took a lot of heat for it at school. But he didn’t care.

Andy dressed for the music he felt in his blood and it was as much a part of who he was as was his natural affinity for the arcane arts – an aspect of Andy’s life that Nick knew nothing about.

For Andy, music and magic were the two sides of the same coin. A sizzling riff could be a mantra; an album cover, a mandala; a soaring solo, a vehicle into trance. Often, he would use lyrics as the invocations necessary to create the vibratory interactions with his aetheric field that triggered access to the null-point: the deep inner realm where he could torque probability and reshape reality itself in accordance with his will.

Andy’s unwavering fidelity to his uniform made it tough for Nick to be his friend at school.

Going into Grade 10, handsome, athletic, straight-A Nick, would in a few weeks be a debutante among junior high school nobility. In the company of his other friends, in their shaker-knit sweaters, acid-wash jeans, and popped-collar polo shirts, it was nearly impossible to avoid deriding Andy at school. But he did his best and it helped immensely that Andy never showed any sign of caring at all about what people thought of how he dressed.

Nick was secretly embarrassed about his own need to fit in with his peers and he respected that, more than just an expression of his love for music, Andy’s uniform was also an altogether purposeful expression of his disdain for the notion of fashion. Andy had even lectured him once on how fashion was a form of contrived obsolescence that helped drive the conspicuous consumption economic growth paradigm, but Nick hadn’t really listened. Unlike Andy, he was less interested in politics, philosophy and cosmology than he was in sports, getting good grades, holding down a job, and of course – meeting girls. Nick preferred conversing about those kinds of things – and he dressed for the social circles where that could happen.

“What are you doing after supper?” Andy slowed down and rode alongside Nick.

“Archon?” Nick said. He loved the fantasy computer chess game but his parents wouldn’t get a Commodore 64 because they thought the idea of having a computer in the house was ridiculous. Nick marvelled at how Andy always had the best stuff; and surmised that it was his parents’ way of compensating for him being adopted. Aside from Andy’s parents, Nick thought he might be the only person that new Andy was adopted. Andy had told him when they had gotten drunk on gin sonics on Halloween about three years ago, when Andy also told him his real name was Ancaster, not Andy. Neither of those things had been brought up by either of them since.

“Cool! Come over whenever.” Andy shot ahead and turned down his driveway.

As Nick turned down his own driveway, he watched Andy go and thought about how he would play Archon tonight and lose. It used to frustrate him, but it didn’t anymore. Andy couldn’t wound his pride. They had a kind of arrangement. In all the ways that mattered – sports, academics, and girls – Nick, though humble enough about it, felt he was probably the smartest kid in school. In all the ways that supposedly didn’t matter – skipping class, video games, sci-fi novels, blowing stuff up with cherry bombs, and rock and roll – Andy was quite possibly the greatest genius that had ever lived



Andy never felt bad about beating Nick at Archon. The way he saw it he was only helping him learn how to win. He saw himself as a mentor to Nick. Beyond trivialities like how to win at computer games, Andy had also taken on the responsibility of trying to help his best friend circumvent these new and unfortunate obsessions with the social superficialities that had started to manifest in his life. Andy felt obligated to guide Nick toward the enlightenment he knew – but only up to a certain point. There were of course, so many things Nick could never know.

For though he thought of him as a brother, and in many ways, as an equal, Andy could never share that he was a sorcerer with Nick. The prospect of that was wrought with danger and Andy had committed himself to keeping those he cared about entirely in the dark for their own safety.

He had always dabbled in arcane knowledge. At three-years-old, he started seeing Norse runes and Egyptian hieroglyphs in his dreams. He had taught himself Latin by the time he was seven. Of course, at the time, he had thought it was just a child’s fascination, and that magic wasn’t real.

Then, he started dreaming in Atlantean.

First, he had heard the language being spoken in his dreams. Later, he had started to see the strange Atlantean pictographs as well. It got really serious when he had stayed at his Uncle Wendell and Aunt Joyce’s for a summer. There was a good library near their metropolitan apartment where he could study deeply and earnestly. And when he discovered that he had not only been seeing and hearing the symbols, but actually comprehending them – and that they were indeed from the ancient lost kingdom of Atlantis, magic ceased to be a child’s game to him. It became his purpose.

Until the profound realization of that summer, Andy had been flippant about sharing his curiosity on the subject of magic. After he had confirmed the nature of the symbols he had been seeing, his cavalier attitude ended instantly. About a year later, after he used the Atlantean symbols to inform the gestures and invocations required to summon (but not to control) a water elemental, and had almost drowned in the process, he swore to himself he would never tell anyone what he could do.

Andy had learned quickly, mostly from short excursions across the edges of the astral plane, the realm of sleep, and once, terrifyingly and by accident, to the Stygian fringe of Olympus, that he could not tell anyone what he could do for fear of unraveling their sanity. The problem wasn’t so much that the existence of magic would disturb them. It wasn’t a matter of the medium.

What concerned him was the content. This was not the stuff of pulling rabbits out of hats or summoning unicorns.

He quickly ascertained that coming face-to-face with the likes of a neon-pink, blinky, black-orb-eyed Chaktou of Karnog with tentacles that terminated alternately in melting cat heads and human hands with fanged lamprey mouths in the palms would be problematic for most people in terms of reorientation of context and fundamental sanity-maintenance. The first time he had stumbled haphazardly beyond the relative safety of the astral plane, his sanity had almost broken. He learned very quickly that, when it comes to sorcery, the possibility of physical injury is actually the very least of your worries.

So, as much as Andy desired to share his vocation and his life’s purpose with his friends, especially Nick, he did not. The risk of them coming to harm was too great.

He put the B-side of Led Zeppelin IV on his record player, slid his headphones on, reclined in his bed, and fixed his third eye, called the pineal gland by Earther science, on a spot on the ceiling.

As he began to replay another summer day of doing nothing really in his mind, his memories gave way to thoughts about how he needed to try to pay more attention to more important things. He did this a lot. There was a part of him that wanted to be more like Nick. More normal. He felt guilty. Then, he stopped himself from going down that line of thought. He was a sorcerer. He could manage his emotions. Discipline was everything.

Not only did Andy have relatively good control of his emotions, especially for an adolescent human, he had also learned how to disassociate himself from the arbitrary reductionist distinctions that shackled typical human thought. This was the key to traversing the reality threshold into the probability vortices deep within the mind that is at once both the deepest within and the most distant without, which are paradoxically the same. Andy could drill down within his own consciousness to depths no other human ever had. His level of inherent physiological, and metaphysical capacity for wielding magic had only ever been seen twice before in all of human history.

Gesturing absent-mindedly with his fingers, he mumbled one of the first Atlantean incantations he had taught himself, and gathered his body’s natural aetheric field, packing it tightly into the thin, hard suit of invisible brainmail that would protect his physical body while his astral form wandered one of the more idyllic and uneventful corners of the astral plane near its boundary with the realm of sleep.

His determination to skip physics tomorrow took hold. He would go to the arcade instead. But how would he pull it off? Mr. Jones had proven himself a worthy nemesis.

Envisioning the necessary magic circles and reciting the required mantras, Andy transferred his consciousness from his physical form to his astral one and stepped onto the spongy surface of the astral plane. The soft-edged, peach, pink and pastel ambience of the place immediately set his mind at ease.

As he walked through golden grass beneath the sunless, perpetual pink daytime of the place known as the quiet realm, he once again marvelled at now familiar towns, cities and villages on enormous chunks of earth like uprooted, upside-down mountains drifting lazily in the air. He had never been to any of them. He had yet to master the process of focusing and projecting his aether in order to fly in this place.

For now, he was content to just rest and think. He still lacked confidence in his skills and was not ready to risk engaging the other beings he could meet here.

Andy enjoyed the springy surface of the astral realm. It was a hallmark of this particular plane that all the surfaces had a kind of spongy give to them. The grass was pale gold. The earth was the colour of wine. In all his travels so far, this was his favorite place beyond the threshold of the everyday plane of waking, material existence.

He looked up at the grassy ridge he had been walking toward, and there it was – his tree! A “splinter of Yggdrasil“ he liked to think. He had often imagined that every mind had a tree at its center; and that in-turn, every one of those trees was but a branch of a single tree – the Asgardian life-tree – winding through all the minds of all the realms in the multiverse.

He made his way up the ridge, placed his palm on the tree’s bark and invited its strength to enter him. The sphere of his awareness began to stretch out and he felt calm. He did not see it, but he knew his silver chord was there, connecting him to the tree, which in turn connected him to his physical form back in his bedroom.

Every being has a silver cord that connects to a touchstone on the astral plane – part base of operations on the quiet realm – part gateway back to the physical body. It was impossible to truly come to harm on the astral plane. One’s silver cord would always pull them back to their body in their native realm should the astral body be sufficiently shocked or wounded. Andy’s touchstone was this tree, with its branches, mostly unseen, stretching out across the planes and throughout the cosmos.

How would he get out of physics tomorrow? He nestled in between roots that felt as though they had been tailored specifically for the purpose of helping him relax. Then he closed his eyes, envisioned the enso (brushed circle of Zen), focused his attention on his breathing, and repeated his stillness mantra.

“Aum Namu Narayanaya”.

The chatter of his waking mind receded quickly and the quiet came with an ease – and to a depth – that was only possible on the astral plane.

The answer would come to him here.

The answers always came so easily in this place.

TO BE CONTINUED IN CHAPTER 2
Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga - CHAPTER 1

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.”

Loading...
Chapter 3 is up! The Pharaoh of Mars, The Banjoman of Limbo and the Lord of the Sea of Tears all make their entrance! Please read, comment, share.
“Abraxas is the sun, and at the same time the eternally sucking gorge of the void. Abraxas speaketh that hallowed and accursed word which is life and death at the same time. Abraxas begetteth truth and lying, good and evil, light and darkness, in the same word and in the same act.

Therefore is Abraxas terrible.”

~ Carl Jung, Seven Sermons of the Dead



Memphis Nova I (Ganymede)
Imperial Pyramid of Garuk Motankhamun IV
1969 AD SR

A portion of the pointed crystal capstone shifted out of phase and was shunted into a dimensional pocket that had been created for it as an architectural feature when the pyramid was built some 400 years ago. The flat, horizontal surface left exposed with the capstone gone was crafted from the same dense Jovian marble as the rest of the pyramid, but had been polished to a mirror finish in contrast to the matte finish of the pyramid's sides. The glistening platform, which was half a kilometre square, sat three kilometres above the planetoid’s surface.

This open area atop the largest pyramid in the Martian merchant empire was the imperial landing port for Memphis Nova I: the throneworld and largest planetoid in the group of four that collectively served as the capital of the First Martian Solar Dynasty of Garuk Motankhamun IV.

In the leaning crystal tower – the part of the structure that remained when most of the capstone shifted away – teal double doors twenty-two-meters-high opened just enough for the Pharaoh, and two of his imperial guard to walk through.

In keeping with a personal ritual he observed every time he came up here, the Pharaoh habitually walked over to a small platform on the north side of the tower and ascended the solid crystal stairs. His guards took their formal stations, one at each side of the enormous doors. In standard Martian military fashion, they wore only sandals, skirts, bracers, wide, round metal collars that came down over the chest, and a simple metal nemes helmet with striped-silk lappets that flowed around their shoulders and down their backs. Their rank, the highest in the empire, was designated by the gold used for the scant amount of armour they wore and the teal silk accents. Regular soldiers were outfitted in silver and green. On the left hip, each wore a holstered Martian sun-pistol, on the right, a simple, curved short sword.

Garuk Motankhamun crossed the elevated platform and stepped up a dais to regard the solid gold telescope there. He ran his fingers over the plaque underneath. It was engraved, mostly with Martian hieroglyphs, but there were Latin letters as well. Sanctuary letters they were called out here beyond the edge of Sanctuary Rim. And as one who had visited Sanctuary perhaps more times than any other person from outside The Rim, the Pharaoh could read the letters easily.

To Galileo Galilei
these worlds are
Ganymede, Europa, Io, Callisto

He admired the primitive telescope with respect just as he had so many times before. Indeed, every time he came to the landing area. It reminded him that the beings of Sanctuary had the potential to move forward just like any other intelligent, sentient species. It incited him to consider yet again, the perpetual sacrifice of humanity, who for good of the rest of reality, were being held back, limited, and kept in the dark. He had long ago stopped questioning whether this was right or wrong and had simply resigned himself to respecting and protecting the people of the little blue and green jewel at what had become the sacred, diplomatic heart of all reality.

Occasionally, he heard the tick and a whir of servo-actuators altering the direction of the telescope so that it always remained fixed, ceremoniously, upon the state of Italia on Sanctuary: fixed on the very place where Galileo had first discovered the four Galilean moons of Jupiter: those worlds that had become the seat of his empire.

Though a man of average height, Garuk Motankhamun was thicker, wider and more powerfully built than seemed possible. A lifetime of training with the Martian warpreists in the high gravity arenas of the Jupiter stations had assured him an intimidating, confident presence. And while he proud, he was not haughty. Further, this pride was offset perfectly with a gregarious nature and a legendary sense of humour. His subjects loved their Pharaoh, and even his rivals, both in commerce and war, found it difficult to dislike him. He was a consummate merchant, diplomat and host, but despite his patently gruff form of graciousness, most deemed it wise to be wary that the bright light of his social graces did not shade from view his proficiency and his passion as a fierce and knowledgeable strategist and warrior.

In this moment though, the great and esteemed Pharaoh Garuk Motankhamun IV of The First Solar Martian Dynasty was a father filled with high emotion at the thought of seeing an adopted son he had not seen in over a year now.

He felt the tingle in the artificial atmosphere before he saw the orbital gatestream open.

“He arrives Pharaoh!” announced the senior of the two imperial guards. His tone, rather more casual than one would expect of one addressing an emperor, was tinged with excitement. But Garuk was a gentle ruler who trusted and respected his aides and treated them as equals unless business dictated he must do otherwise.

The exodus had demanded much of him; and had offered an unparalleled education in the art of leadership.

He had been a young man when the Pentarchy had asked him to move his imperial capital from Mars to the four moons, and even then Garuk had felt no bitterness. This, despite the enormous undertaking it had necessitated. He had agreed completely with the Council of Five’s insistence that, now that the Earthers had developed the capacity to look out beyond their world, it was no longer reasonable for his capital to remain on Mars.

Relocating the seat of the empire out beyond The Rim where The Glamour kept humans from seeing the truth of their unique place in the multiverse, would mask its existence from their eyes. It was the reasonable – the necessary – thing to do; and the nearly planet-sized moons of The King (Jupiter) were the reasonable choice. Their proximity to Sanctuary would ensure the Pharaoh could continue to fulfill his millennia-old hereditary obligation of serving as its protector – an obligation he executed proactively and passionately. He genuinely loved and revered the innocence and beauty of Sanctuary above all the other worlds known to him – he loved it even more than stale, dry Mars in the end.

In ancient times, before intelligent beings even walked on Sanctuary, The Wrath of Sol had destroyed Tiamat, the fifth planet of the Sol system. The resultant reorientation of gravitational fields had moved the event horizon of Sanctuary Rim outward and, robbed of even of the scant, residual fluxing probability weak force made available by proximity to the Rim and channeled to them by the 22 equatorial and 22 meridial pyramids, the enormous realization engines at the martian core, had ground to a halt – never to come on again. Eventually, Mars began to dry up. First the water disappeared from the surface. Then it began to leave the atmosphere as well. Once the alchemical power of the realization engines was lost, the consensus was that the planet was doomed.

As he descended the stairs to the main platform, the Pharaoh kept his eyes to the east. In the evening sky, Jupiter filled the lower third of the view to his left. Its enormous arc ran behind Memphis Nova II (called Europa by the Earthers) almost perfectly bisecting it along its equator. In the distance, the pale blue point of light that was Sanctuary was beginning to shine above the darkening orange of the sunset. Garuk smiled at the astronomical perfection of the moment.

The electricity in the air became more pronounced and the hair on the Pharaoh’s arms and full beard stood on end (it was the fashion of Martian royalty and their courtiers to have clean-shaven heads). The teal lines of the landing lights were now fading up into view. It was impossible to tell if they lay upon or beneath the polished marble of the landing area. They began at the edge of the pyramid and ran to its centre gently curving here and turning sharply there to form the outline of a giant, shining ankh, the imperial symbol of Mars.

Effortlessly and silently, the glowing teal ankh in the polished marble rotated around a point at the centre of its loop at the top so that the lines of its shaft moved from their default position facing south toward the east face of the pyramid just as a silvery blue flicker appeared in the sky in the distance. The gatestream was opening. The point of light was perfectly centred between the parallel glowing landing lines formed by the staff of the ankh.

Then, with a flash of white light the gatestream ignited fully, burning open a hole in spacetime. It continued to burn until the large ship had passed through. And not just any ship: a Martian dreamship: a rare remaining testament to the power of the ancient realization engines and that powered the Martian alchemy, now lost forever.

Beyond amplifying Mars’s intrinsically limited ecological potential, the realization engines, informed by the focused thoughts of the imagineers, had also created the alchemically powered talismans: the sun guns, the gatestreams and the dreamships.

Having traversed the dimensional threshold from the Sea of Tears to regular spacetime, the Ramses Dynasty galleon glided toward the Pharaoh and his guards at an altitude that set it on a perfect vertical line with the height of the landing surface of the pyramid.

The imperial guards had walked up to stand with the Pharaoh just outside the glowing light of the loop of the ankh at their feet.

All three men were smiling as they watched the ship glide onto the edge of the pyramid perfectly centred between the landing lines. Even after her flat bottom had connected with the marble surface she slid silently toward them. When the galleon had reached the crossbars of the ankh, it triggered the return of the hollow capstone of the pyramid to this dimension, the evening sky faded from view to be replaced with four triangular walls of solid, two-meter-thick crystal that soared half a kilometre up to a point. The crystal capstone diffused the orange of the setting sun in a way that, while making the room brighter, imbued it with a softer, more pleasing ambiance. The dreamship glided silently into the ankh until her prow came to an easy rest precisely in the exact centre of the loop.

She was The Ramses IX, flagship of the Martian navy. Of the four remaining Martian dreamships in existence, she was undoubtedly the most magnificent.

Every aspect of her structure, even the rigging and more superficial appointments, had manifested permanently in some alchemical form of solid silver-blue light of varying shades. The only exception was her enormous sails, which were only ever invariably, a perfect, unsoiled white.

The typical din of landing preparations was heard before the dreamship settled to a complete stop. And then over the starboard railing of the foredeck came the voice the Pharaoh had so missed hearing for the past year.

“A teee---ay---ayy---EN if I don’t say!” the voice squealed with wild exaggerated exuberance. “Wouldn’t you say so landlubbers? A PERFECT little-green-men TEN!”

The lad looked older, thought the Pharaoh who was grinning from ear-to-ear. The senior of the guards affectionately slapped him on the back.

“I stuck the landing for you, your highness. Did I not!” The boy’s hair was shorter, in the navy style, and it was hard to tell, for the deck upon which he stood was about 12 meters straight up from where they were standing, but it looked as though he had filled out some. Otherwise he had not really changed. The Pharaoh reminded himself it had only been a year. It had felt longer for he had missed him so.

“I see they have not educated the Sanctuary gibberish out of your lexicon master Kilroy! But I must admit that it does appear they have taught you how to properly land a dreamship!” The Pharaoh’s heart was bursting with pride.

“That they have, King Gary! That they have!”

And so, the Pharaoh of the First Martian Solar Dynasty, guardian of the gateway to Sanctuary and the young man whose care and training he had been entrusted with, rushed to the gangway for a long anticipated reunion.



Fifteen years later...

Sanctuary Rim
Sol System Asteroid Belt (formerly planet Tiamat)
Planetoid Ceres
Punta Epsilon Resort
1984 AD SR

Largest of the remnants of the planet Tiamat that was destroyed in the Wrath of Sol approximately 22,000 years ago, Ceres is an astronomical mass roughly 950 kilometres in diameter. Within the elliptical orbit of the asteroid belt between The Warrior (Mars) and The King (Jupiter), Ceres intersected with the perfectly circular equator of the event horizon of Sanctuary Rim four times. This meant that in a Cerean year, the planetoid spent almost equal parts within the confines of The Rim, where magic was not possible, and outside, where it was.

On its equator, on the dark side of Ceres, hidden from the curious eyes of the humans of Earth, there is Punta Epsilon: a luxury resort that rides the celestial edge between the peace of non-magical Sanctuary and the limitless wild of the magical multiverse.

At this time of year, the elliptical orbit of Ceres had brought it into the Sanctuary side of The Rim, which meant magic was not possible on Punta Epsilon, and would not be again until it intersected and crossed The Rim in a few months. This stretch of time, when Ceres was assuredly within the circle of The Rim, was known as the diplomatic season. It was a time when Ceres in general, and Punta Epsilon Resort in particular, was booked solid with diplomatic sessions, trade agreement negotiations, family reunions, and tourist arrangements. It was also the time of party goers and people fascinated with the prospect of experiencing the effects of Sanctuary alcohol, which was highly coveted among the elite of the multiverse for the unique, unpredictable, and impossible to reproduce, chemical effects it caused on sentient beings.

The resort itself was over 35,000 years old, and so was a haphazard conglomeration of predominantly Asgardian, Olympian, Heliopolitan, Martian, Venusian, Rigellian, Andromedan and even ancient Tiamatian architectures.

In the back of the Ares and Tut tavern, which was crafted in the style of the Martian Empire Middle Dynasty era, sat one of the mightiest beings in all reality. As Lord of Limbo, he was a time reader and a wanderer always in-between places and events. In the elite cosmic circles that would have known Punta Epsilon existed, he was well known but not feared. For just as he was well known, it was also common knowledge amongst those who knew he existed at all, that The Banjoman of Limbo was only ever dangerous when your interests were counter to his; and his interests were few.

Mostly he just wanted to be left alone. Mostly, he would intervene in the affairs of others only when it was absolutely necessary.

He was tall, slim and rosy cheeked, with a blazing shock of red hair and a matching, crimson gunslinger moustache. His perfectly grey eyes (which conveyed the exact spectral midpoint between perfect black and perfect white) were patient and kind, but at the same time, they looked right through you. And while they showed deep wisdom, compassion and discipline at work, they also betrayed that, should he or any in his company be maligned in any way, there would be swift and merciless redress.

He donned a worn, but not undignified, brown derby hat with purple-tinted goggles set about the hat-band, a grey-hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans of coveted, authentic Sanctuarian denim, and high-cuffed boots in the deep purple tint of the mists of Limbo. On his right wrist he wore a silver watch with a satin face of the same colour as the boots. It bore no numbers and no hands.

Slung over his back, on a strap of dark orange, demon-wing leather – there was a magical banjo, which – to one inclined to listen for it – could be heard on occasion murmuring its quiet wisdom to him.

The Banjoman enjoyed visiting Sanctuary. It fascinated him. And he both understood and appreciated its value as a place where complete absence of the wild whims of the wild minds of wildly powerful beings could make possible attempts to reconcile complex inter-personal, inter-planetary and inter-planar disharmonies.

Here, where he sat, he could sense the intensity of densely converging magical lay lines about 300,000 miles to the celestial west. The lines approached the event horizon at The Rim and curved sharply back into the space beyond from whence they came. Aside from the residual fluxprob weak force that had once powered the ancient Martian alchemy, the inaccessible probability fields this far within The Rim meant magic was not possible.

The absence of sorcery meant technology was required to render the resort inhabitable. Venusian atmo-interface field generators assigned upon arrival at spacedock, assured ideal atmospheric conditions for inhabitants of varying physiologies. Temporary PSI-EM translators were also assigned, but were mostly unnecessary nowadays as their implantation at birth had been a requirement of many regional treaties for millennia now. The Banjoman was intrigued by the technologies required inside Sanctuary Rim where run-of-the-mill magical standbys like brainmail and telepathy didn’t work.

Spacecraft were of particular interest to The Banjoman, who did not need them except when he came here. He had arrived from Memphis Nova III on a fantastic top-of-the-line Fey-Coven witchcraft he had bartered for. The Captain had wanted some unpleasant memories removed in exchange for the charter. Being lord of Limbo had its privileges.

“Well met again old salt! Dopplebocks tonight?”

The Banjoman looked up at the man approaching him with an overflowing flagon of dark German lager in each hand. It was the person he had come to meet.

With the paradoxically obnoxious grace unique to one who lives at sea – the man with the beers swung a leg over the chair back and dropped into the seat across from The Banjoman.

The sailor’s eloquence of speech and regal bearing could not have been more of a contrast to the grounded, sensible presence of The Banjoman. Obviously an experienced seafarer and commander by dress and demeanor, this one was the high watermark of fashion and class; and he pushed the embodiment of the word dignified dangerously close to the edge of being a dandy without crossing over.

“To be honest, I always get nervous when someone asks to meet in Sanctuary during the diplomatic season,” The Banjoman said. He was lying of course. He was not nervous at all and he had just been thinking about how much he enjoyed visiting Sanctuary.

He reached up to receive the flagon of beer the man handed to him but did not raise it to return the toast offered by the mariner.

The sailor furrowed his brow, stuck out his lower lip and feigned insult.

“Nervous and suddenly unfriendly as well it seems!” a grin exploded across his face. “I always thought you to possess a rare excess of manners for a nobleman, Banjoman! Why not more enthusiasm for a drink with an old friend? I am buying after all. And Earth booze no less!”

The handsome young man proceeded to look across the table at The Banjoman and silently drink his beer. He signalled a bar-bot to bring another drink despite only having finished half of the one in front of him. After a much longer pause from The Banjoman than would normally be socially reasonable, the sailor piped up.

“Relax then your mightiness. I’ll do the talking.”

“There is much I doubt these days, Kilroy.” The Banjoman offered a sly smile. “Especially when I am summoned to Sanctuary for German beers through the dream realm. But that you will do the talking, I most certainly do not doubt at all!”

The Banjoman studied Kipling Kilroy, Lord of the Sea of Tears and the legendary High Cormac (a title given by Olympus to the highest ranking contract freebooter) of the Stygian Navy of Olympus. As a time reader he was accomplished at determining when someone was at the beginning of something, in the middle, or at the end.

The Banjoman’s assessment was quick and conclusive.

Protected by Punta Epsilon’s atmo-interface field generation system, Kilroy had likely left his spacesuit in one of the spacedock bays. He wore his usual magical cloak, crafted from the blue-black wing of a dragon he had slain in the Realm of Fey. The Banjoman knew the lines of alien runes embroidered in spider-spun silver at the collar and the hem cast a charm about the cloak that imbued upon Kip the respect due to one of royalty. Of course, The Banjoman knew the charm would not work here in Sanctuary. He also knew it was not powerful enough to work on him anywhere else either.

At his right hip, on a loose hanging belt, he wore a British Navy cutlass from Earth. In a shoulder holster, hidden under a dark blue shirt of exquisite make, he could see the bulge of the priceless alchemical Martian sun-pistol he knew the sailor had won in a game of chess with his guardian and mentor, Garuk Motankhamun, the esteemed Merchant Pharaoh of the First Martian Solar Dynasty.

His curly, chestnut brown hair, was still clean and coiffed – but not too coiffed in its perfected unruliness. His blue-green eyes were clear and bright. And his tanned skin betrayed nothing beyond the healthy weathered glow of a still-young man of the sea.

There was no sign of hunger, fatigue or recent battle.

Cormac Kipling Kilroy was at the beginning of something. This was a relief to the time reader. But there was a tinge of apprehension, for in his assessment, The Banjoman also intuited that this beginning for the sailor was weaving its probability fields into his. He already felt, with a fair degree of certainty, that this was quickly becoming the beginning of something for him as well.

“I called you to Sanctuary because we need to talk seriously about one who lives there. Someone I plan to meet with as soon as possible, though he does not yet know it,” said Kip.

“Then I regret this already,” said The Banjoman. “I have not finished even a single drink and already you are befouling the sanctity of Sanctuary and forsaking The Binary Proclamation.”

In a cosmos vibrant – some might say mad – with the practice of sorcery, Sanctuary was a reprieve. It was hallowed as a place where the cosmic elite could meet on a level playing field and find common ground. In the magical impotence forced upon one in the unique, inaccessible probability structure of Sanctuary, tolerance amongst gods was possible. The typically hair-trigger impulse toward spellcasting could be mitigated, reason could be brought into negotiations, and agreements could be made. In the beginning this was just important. Then it was essential. Eventually it was sacred.

Over time, The Binary Proclamation was developed to preserve what had become the diplomatic heart of all reality.

The Binary Proclamation consisted of two edicts. Both named from indigenous Earth culture.

While the Earthers, knew nothing of true magic, they did within their rich cultures, whisper of gods and wizards, angels and devils, dragons and fey, which had indeed wandered – though impotently – into and out of the realm of Sanctuary, and thereby into and out of Earth’s history.

Magical beings also sometimes interacted with sleeping, meditating, entranced or chemically intoxicated Eathers while their souls peeked into the proximal planes: the dream realm, and the astral plane, in particular. But in nearly all of these cases, Earthers wrote these interations off as dreams, daydreams, visions, or other such phantom encounters with no basis in reality.

The first proclamation was The Eden Edict. It stated simply that, inhabitants of Earth were to be kept unaware of the sorcerous forces that ran rampant across the wider multiverse.

Humanity was never to know of the arcane, alien world beyond Sanctuary Rim.

Enforcement of The Eden Edict was overseen by five wizards and gods appointed to serve in secret on a high council known as The Pentarchy. This group had cast a vast and powerful spell, referred to simply as The Glamour, about the sphere of Sanctuary so that humans looking out into the multiverse would see only the illusion of barren, uninhabited space.

The Binary Proclamation’s other edict, The Reaper Edict, proclaimed that killing to acquire a soul distinctly for the purpose of powering magic was the highest sin in sorcery. Policed and enforced by the powerful Knights of the Order Oblivion under the authority of the Court of the Celestial Necropolis, violation of The Reaper Edict was punishable by the madness of the deathless solitude brought about by eternal imprisonment in Limbo the realm between realms in the thoughts between thoughts.

If this was not disincentive enough, there was the phantom phenomenon to deter a would-be soul thief. The disembodied entity known across reality as a ghost, was a being generated from the aetheric body of a person murdered for their soul. This zombie-like aetheric doppleganger single-mindedly pursued its murderer to recover its stolen soul. Shambling doggedly across spacetime, it would siphon off more and more of its killer's aetheric energy the closer it got to its prey. Acquiring both material substance and mental sensibility as it closed in, it would finally strike the death blow, recover the soul that was taken, and claim the last of its murderer's aether. In so doing it would recover its physical form at the cost of the soul-thief's life.

The effect of the two edicts of the Binary Proclamation had been that, except for a few occasions, which had been dealt with abruptly and possibly rather too harshly, Earthers knew nothing of magic, or of the vibrant sorcerous bedlam just beyond their doorstep.

The Eden Edict, a simple law about non-interference in the lives of the Earthers of Sanctuary, had worked so well because it was fiercely enforced. It was not something to be disregarded lightly. Over the millennia, aside from the Mars problem, which stemmed from feelings that Mars had been given unfair access to the rare riches of Earth, most among the elite who were concerned with such things had simply, over time, just accepted the Pentarchy’s management of the issue.

For The Banjoman, Kip saying he planned to make direct contact with an Earther was unsettling; but it also piqued his curiosity. He knew the character of the Lord of the Sea of Tears, and so it was interesting to him that the mariner would propose undertaking such a risky proposition – one rife with the severest consequences imaginable. Whatever the young sailor's motivation was, he deemed it must be worth the risk of breaching The Eden Edict.

The Banjoman repeated his disapproval to see what it would shake loose.

”You are still aware of The Eden Edict, I’m sure,” he patronized. “You didn’t invite me here to give you a refresher on Cosmic Law now did you…” He paused for effect, lowered his head and looked menacingly up from under his copious flaming red eybrows. “… young man?”

The sailor’s upbeat demeanor, which had been maintained effortlessly up until now, disappeared in an instant. This concerned The Banjoman. He had meant the insult, and had expected anger or frustration in response. But the reaction he got was unexpected. Kilroy, youngest ever to achieve the rank of Cormac in the Navy of Styx, Lord of the Sea of Tears, most favoured ward of the court of Mars, and captain of one of the legendary dreamships, the Lady Anuket, actually looked afraid.

Kilroy was not known for seriousness, but he was definitely not known for cowardice. The Banjoman was shocked that he had so jarred the sailor. He leaned in to convey interest and to show some concern. He figured he had been sufficiently standoffish at this point. He liked the sailor and despite doubting him in the past, he had learned to trust his judgment. Talk of interacting with a native of Sanctuary was a serious matter. The Banjoman quickly discerned that Kip Kilroy must have had a good reason for planning to something so dangerous.

Now The Banjoman was genuinely interested – and more than a little concerned. He decided to set the lad at ease and let him make his case. Besides, the boy had been right, the Earth beer was damn good – and the sailor was paying!

“Fill me in then! I am sorry for my mood. How can curiosity not get the better of me when tidings undoubtedly grim have darkened the countenance of the fearless Cormac Kilroy?”

Kip leaned back in his chair and noticeably exhaled. “You are too kind, Banjoman,” he said. “I never know with you. For a moment there, I forgot we were in Sanctuary and feared you were about to wink me off to one terrible hell or another.”

Then he leaned in toward The Banjoman. He did not want what he was about to say to be overheard.

“A connection of mine – a connection of the Pharaoh’s actually – thinks she knows where to find The Glass Grimoire,” said the seafarer. His face was almost childlike in its enthusiasm and that grin returned, ear-to-ear across the face so handsome it had once been invited to the legendary orgies of Mount Olympus. “And I know where to find the one who will be Abraxas.”

The colour disappeared from The Banjoman’s face, his eyes widened and a hint of the deep purple of Limbo came into them. He put his flagon down and forgot to wipe the suds away from his moustache.

“The Grimoire?” The Banjoman whispered the words so quietly that he actually just mouthed them. Kip nodded excitedly.

As Lord of Limbo (the timeless, spaceless realm) and by default something of a steward of time – at least time as it is perceived linearly by most sentient beings – he knew that The Glass Grimoire would come into being and achieve sentience about 30 years in the future. When this happened, he knew that the Earth professor Dr. Ancaster Crowley would become the host for The Grimoire’s power and in so doing would become the dreaded Abraxas. Then, after the three-thousand-year-long War of All Gods he would finally be defeated by the robot-sorcerer Tin Prince Twain. It was a secret history very few in all the multiverse knew. And The Banjoman understood why this was.

The Abraxas was the god above all gods. The force above all forces. In the Abraxas, all opposites – the forces of dark and light, order and chaos, good and evil – would be reconciled into one. And though The Banjoman had initially thought (upon first hearing this tale centuries ago from a Norse Norn) that this sounds good in principle, it most certainly was not good in practical terms.

For though the Abraxas would bring perfection to the cosmic balance by way of assimilating all life into a single hive-like mind, in so doing it would eliminate the kernel of variable probability enshrined in each being’s soul: the kernel that was the splinter of autonomy that was the key to individuality, and thereby the basis for the existence of free will in the cosmos.

Were the Abraxas to succeed in achieving its singular purpose – the sole reason for its existence – a multiversal, eternal, mindless, soulless unity of all things, sentient and otherwise, in reality would be the result.

This state of affairs should not to be confused with the dynamic, vibrant holism conveyed in the conception of mystical reality as celebrated by the sorcerer. No indeed! For in that conception, that kernel of individualism possessed by all the souls in reality remains intact to fuel the diversity, beauty and mystery of a reality that manifests like a meadow of wild flowers.

No.

Victory for the Abraxas would mean a perfect grid of unthinking, unfeeling, static compliance and predictability that is not entirely possible for beings now in possession of free will to understand. Suffice it to say that, where once their had been a variable, rolling meadow of wild flowers, now there would be a flat, colourless, perfectly uniform carpet of mould.

All one needed to know was that all the things that made life worth living would be lost. In simplest terms, the Abraxas was the embodiment of perfect unity, and as such, its success would mean the end of free will for all life in all the multiverse.

The Banjoman recalled all that he knew of this dark future. And he took some small comfort in the fact it was a future not yet carved in stone.

Tin Prince Twain would defeat the Abraxas by some means unknown to end a three-thousand-year war that would kill uncountable numbers of the most powerful beings in all of reality. Then, The Glass Grimoire would be taken by the Pentarchy to be hidden in a time and location known only to The Five.

The Banjoman had intuited this tale in flashes of images, for as a time reader, he could, to some degree, even without magic, perceive spacetime in its entirety. This was especially true in situations that involved him directly. But with time, nothing is certain; and everything is only probable as a matter of degree.

The shock of hearing that The Grimoire had been found had instantly caused The Banjoman to feel his way around this reality’s timeline. As usual, the patch around the future period involving the rise and fall of the Abraxas was blurred and scratched with what he thought of as a form of scarring. This meant it was both a significant event in the grand scheme of the cosmos, and that the history leading up to the event had been tampered with.

The fact that Kilroy had said The Grimoire had been found told him the Pentarchy had taken it from the site of the fall of the Abraxas and hidden it somewhere in the past. But why? It was as though they needed to leave open the possibility that it could be found. This perplexed The Banjoman. But he knew the Pentarchy. They were no slouches. They would have thought things through with all the significant genius at their disposal.

The nature of the images he was seeing in his mind’s eye told him something else as well.  Yes, the images were scarred, like the timeline had been mauled and abused but what he could see was more vivid than it should have been. This told him one thing. There was a high degree of probability that he would be present at the moment the Abraxas would be defeated.

But again, he thought, as was often the case with major historical events like this, this was just the most probable future at this moment. It was not yet fixed.

Thankfully, this meant the probabilities there were still loose and flexible. He began to suspect what Kip Kilroy had in mind and this jived perfectly with notions beginning to form in his mind about why the Pentarchy had chosen to hide the most dangerous artifact in all reality in the past. Was it possible they thought they could use it to prevent the Ascent of the Abraxas and the devastating War of All Gods in the first place? Even for a Lord of Limbo, whose understanding of spacetime surpassed that of most other beings, this sort of conjecture was almost pointless. He dropped the line of thinking. And shifted to a new theory that the existence of time paradoxes were compensated for in the cosmic balance by the spectacular effects of this Sanctuary alcohol.

The Banjoman swallowed hard, shook his head, and wrapped his hand around the handle of his flagon of beer until the white of his knuckles showed.

“I won’t even do the clichéd thing and say – but that’s impossible,” he said in a deadpan voice. He looked visibly weak – possibly annoyed – to one who did not know him.

Kip had been sitting quietly letting The Banjoman think. He respected that he would need to process news of this significance and had guessed that he would be scanning probability fields and time lines and other such Limbo Lord stuff in his mind. He had quietly drunk half of another flagon of beer when The Banjoman suddenly decided to pick up the conversation.

“Just get on with it then, Kip. If you are right on this, then you already know I have no choice but to help you.” With this, he lifted his flagon to his mouth and emptied it, plunked it on the table, and smiled at the bar-bot who had just then, put down two new drinks.

Kip was practically bouncing in his seat he was so anxious to share what he knew.

“To beginnings,” The Banjoman raised the new flagon toward the sailor and Kip knocked his flagon against The Banjoman’s with more enthusiasm than was necessary. Foam spilled onto an ancient tabletop.

“I knew you couldn’t turn down saving all of reality again,” Kip said.

“Unfortunately young friend, you would be surprised at how much my involvement in these kind of things is not up to me.” The Banjoman, looked suspiciously around the room then took his Banjo off his back and leaned it against the wall. He settled back into his chair and crossed his arms on his chest. He was genuinely interested now. How could he not be? This was history in the making – but that wasn’t the only thing it was.

His consciousness, which was intricately intertwined with the loose meandering threads of possibilities that might or might not become reality with the perception of the passage of time, gave him insight into the relative significance of particular events. And what he was feeling right now told him that what was about to happen was going to set him on a course in one of only two possible directions. This moment was a fork in the road and the Lord of Limbo knew it.

What would be decided in the next few hours, would determine the fate of all life in the multiverse.

“Beer, even miraculous Sanctuary beer, wasn’t strong enough for this,” thought The Banjoman.

And almost as though he had read his thoughts, Cormac Kipling Kilroy excitedly handed the Lord of Limbo a more comprehensive drink menu than any Earth human had ever laid eyes upon.

CONTINUED IN CHAPTER 4
Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga - CHAPTER 3

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.”

Loading...
Happy Victoria Day long weekend! I offer up Glass Grimoire as a little cosmic Canadian lit for your lakeside reading pleasure.

Journal

No journal entries yet.

deviantID

glassgrimoire's Profile Picture
glassgrimoire
Dave McLaughlin
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
Canada
Hello deviants!

I am the writer of a cosmic, mystical, science fantasy serial web novel called Glass Grimoire: the Andy Crowley Saga. Twenty chapters in, I have decided I want to see my characters realized visually and so will take up the pen (and tablet) to make the magic happen!

I know I will find an abundance of inspiration in the works of others here and would love it if anyone pipes up with ideas and suggestions as I start to share my work.

And if anyone is game, I am happy to share my written world with all of you. You can see what I do -- and maybe why I want to see it realized visually -- at glassgrimoire.org

Thanks all!

See you around.

Dave McLaughlin
Interests

Comments


Add a Comment:
 
:iconkriskullett:
Kriskullett Featured By Owner May 12, 2017
Thanks for the watch! =)
Reply
:iconedenartfactory:
edenartfactory Featured By Owner May 12, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the watch!
Reply
:iconkriskullett:
Kriskullett Featured By Owner May 10, 2017
:la: Welcome to deviantart! :la:
Reply
:iconglassgrimoire:
glassgrimoire Featured By Owner May 10, 2017  New Deviant Hobbyist Writer
Thanks so much for the welcome and the Llama! I hope you might read my story. I looked at some of your work and I think we are into the same sort of stuff. See you around! Dave
Reply
:iconkriskullett:
Kriskullett Featured By Owner May 11, 2017
Thanks! I'll give it a read! ;)
Reply
:iconedenartfactory:
edenartfactory Featured By Owner May 9, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Hello, welcome to deviant art, i look forward to the story!
Reply
:iconglassgrimoire:
glassgrimoire Featured By Owner May 10, 2017  New Deviant Hobbyist Writer
Thanks so much for the welcome! I hope you like the story. I am at the moment enjoying your visual work. Just heading out to work and will look more closely later. I like your style! Please let me know what you think of what you read. Dave
Reply
:iconedenartfactory:
edenartfactory Featured By Owner May 10, 2017  Student Digital Artist
of course, thank you!
Reply
Add a Comment: