Andy Crowley and the Grace of the Glass Grimoire

It’s 1986 and Andy Crowley is as much metalhead and Dungeon Master as he is sorcerer. Humble beginnings for one who – in thirty years – will rule all reality. From Corbyville to Mars, through the United Hells to Limbo, join Andy Crowley, sole sorcerer of Sanctuary; Captain Kipling Kilroy, Lord of the Sea of Tears; Reaper Jasco, banshee of the realm of Fey; and The Banjoman of Limbo as they race for the most feared relic in all reality – The Glass Grimoire. But of course, it’s easier said than done. In the robot body built for him by Nikola Tesla using stolen Atlantean schematics, Aleister Crowley, 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 limi

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7. Chapter 6

Concerning The Planes of Existence

Variation in the vibratory characteristics of the subatomic strata of a given realm (known collectively as its waveform) is the reason beings on one plane of existence do not perceive beings or environments on another plane even though they may occupy the same region of spacetime.

Through acts of sorcery or by technological means it is possible for beings to alter their waveform and attune it to the definitive waveform of another plane of existence. By doing this they can achieve an array of results such as sending and receiving thoughts between planes; seeing, hearing and feeling things on other planes; and transferring the entirety of their physical being from one plane to another.

It is important to note that extra-planar travel, or transfer in any degree of phase variation from one plane to another, is made possible by way of conscious or technological alteration of the waveform of the physical body, and that this should not be confused with the practice of extra-planar projection.

Extra-planar projection is the phenomenon by which a being sends a duplicate of the envelope that is mind containing a body constructed from a portion of its aetheric energy to one of the proximal planes (most commonly the astral or dream realms). While the waveform of the projected aetheric body is attuned to the waveform of the destination realm, the physical body proper and the majority of that body’s aetheric energy remain (in an unconscious or meditative state) on the plane the being has projected its consciousness from.

As a rule, extra-planar travel is not possible within the realm of Sanctuary because it requires access of the consciousness to the null-point where probability can be manipulated. This being said, there is one exception. The Martian gatestreams, which were products of the lost Martian alchemy, do function within the sphere of Sanctuary.

Planar projection on the other hand is a common occurrence on Sanctuary. All humans project their consciousnesses to the dream realm during the sleeping state and many humans are capable of projecting to the astral plane when in a meditative state.

 

“He most honours my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher.”

~ Walt Whitman

Sanctuary
Corbyville
Home of Andy Crowley
1986 ACE, SR

Summer school had been okay and lunch with Debbie had been so enjoyable it had not even bothered Andy that he had missed going to the arcade.

Having finished the assigned physics work in class shortly after he had received it, he had pretended to struggle with the work so he could use the time to sketch a third layer of catacombs for the D&D adventure he would deliver for his friends on Friday. While he crosshatched in the shading, he contemplated last night’s events on the astral plane.

At this point he was sure the magic that had transported him from his tree to the bluff was more powerful than his own. He also had the feeling that the entity employing that magic had not meant to harm him. For it would have been simple enough to just attack him.

Having had time to think now, Andy also postulated that the mysterious man in blue was not capable of astral projection, for why had he not simply met with him in his astral form on the astral plane?

This whole business of meeting at the intersection of the planes said quite a bit about the intentions and the abilities of his summoner. Of particular interest to Andy was that he had been pulled to the bluff against his will. Which told him something else. If the man in blue did not possess the skills to astral project – something even non-sorcerers could learn to do – it was not very likely he could have accosted his astral form. All of this meant there was a high probability that the man in blue was being assisted by someone with significant sorcerous abilities.

Of course this concerned Andy, but what concerned him more was where the voice had come from. On the high bluff where the astral realm, and the Olympian realm intersected he had looked down upon a bustling port of what he knew was the river Styx: the gateway to Hades, which was the Olympian underworld. It was not a place typically associated with beings of benevolent character.

But even though this concerned him, the more Andy searched his feelings about what had happened, the more he felt reassured that the entity that called to him had meant him no harm.

Whatever the case, he wasn’t taking any chances this time. This trip to the quiet realm demanded more than the limited aspect of the aetheric form he could send with his sleeping consciousness. This time he would attend the quiet realm in a more conscious state fortified with a more robust aetheric manifestation.

He felt embarrassed by the fact he had succumbed to evacuation by his silver cord merely because he had been overwhelmed by fear. He needed to up his game. What if the man in blue was friendly? Andy felt ashamed that he would have looked like a coward to him. He needed more confidence and the way to assure he had it was to take measures to protect himself.

He settled into the full lotus position with a hand on each knee. His fingers were contorted into neuro-trigger formations adopted by medieval ninja from primeval Japanese animism. As he breached the inner barrier to the null-point, standard gravitation collapsed around his body. It was the telltale sign he had accessed the probability vortices where he could re-define reality itself.

His long hair drifted up into a halo about his head and he levitated upward from the centre of the magic circle on the floor. From the European Renaissance era Clavicula Solomonis, it was drawn on his bedroom floor with a mixture made from a drop of his blood, a powder of pure silver, and purple food colouring.

The design of the protective circle was modified slightly to include a personalized rendering of an Atlantean merkaba (two three-sided pyramids intersecting to form a sort of three-dimensional hexagram) in the centre.

Andy was the realization of the collective possibility of all the schools of magic and religious beliefs from all the cultures of his world. There was no adherence to any one ceremonial form. He understood the truth of sorcery. It wasn’t about following rules set out in any one set of ritual practices; it was about an informed pragmatism that empowered a sorcerer to incite specific neurological phenomenon that tore down barriers to the inner mind where the will could interact with probability fields and affect changes in the causal/spacial/temporal mobius loop of inner and outer consciousness that connected imagination and manifestation.

As he inhaled the ego-disintegrating chemical properties from Himalayan incense burning in the cauldron on the edge of the magic circle, his eyes were rolled up and in to submit their function to his pineal gland: the third eye. The resultant white, pupil-less stare was known as the wizard’s gaze. And while he willed his ears to shut out even the slightest distraction, his mouth muttered the incantation.

Andy innately grasped the secret at the heart of magical practice: a commitment to believing in nothing, is necessarily – and paradoxically – also a commitment to believing in everything. All designations, categorizations, and delineations conceived by mind are in truth entirely arbitrary contrivances with no intrinsic meaning or function. Reality – when all the imagined conceptualizations and labels are stripped away – especially, the contrivance of a distinct self – is revealed to be a single, shifting, unified whole. Here in the deepest inner sanctums of the mind (or was it the most distant reaches of space?) was the raw stuff of unmolested reality. And here, amongst the shapeless sensation of the shifting probability vortices, the sorcerer could make and unmake reality like a potter with so much clay.

It was this understanding that was at the root of the ability to practice true magic.

The elaborate incantations, finger contortions and circles and mandalas weren't the means by which the sorcerer altered probability. Rather, these were merely sensory stimuli, which in various combinations had been tested and proven through history to incite the generation and interaction of specific electrical patterns of impulses in the nervous system and vibrations in the aetheric field surrounding the body. These phenomenon and their associated quantum field variations opened access by the consciousness to the deepest inner mind where the conceived world and the perceived world became one and the same: where probability could be altered by the dictates of one’s will.

As above. So below.

Around Andy’s contorted fingers other intricate magic circles appeared and rotated about his hands. They shifted and shook in and out of human perceptual range. When they could be seen most clearly, they looked as though they had been drawn with a scalpel – like slices cut into reality itself to let the shifting scarlet red and indigo shine through. From Andy’s mouth a green glow, which had penetrated and coated his inner organs, crept out to quickly envelop the outside of his entire body. This glowing field of energy was the colour of lime that had not yet ripened. Known commonly as brainmail, this relative intensification of the endemic aetheric energy around the body was the standard armour of the sorcerer. It was also a life support system in alien realms, enabling one to withstand a wide range of temperatures, atmospheric pressures and toxic environments.

Tonight, Andy was going back to the astral plane. But this time, he would deepen the integration of his consciousness by projecting there from the conscious altered state of meditation. He would also intensify the waveform integrity of his astral form by deploying more energy from his aetheric field. It was an old trick used by the ancient Dreamtimers, who were the extra-planar first inhabitants of what is now called Australia.

And as an extra precaution, he was wearing brainmail, which, considering his silver cord meant he could not be harmed any way, was more for confidence than for protection.

Tonight, Andy Crowley was determined to find out who had called to him by name.

This time he would not bolt in fear.

And this time he would remember everything.

 

Though she gleamed a grey strength in the hues of steel and stone,
She was as light as a feather

And though she seemed to shine with every colour of every realm,
All of her appointments, save her sails,
Were only ever in shades of blue.

 She was the dreamship Lady Anuket.

 And her sails of a white as pure as the virtue of her story,
Swelled once again upon the Sea of Tears.

 

Port of Hypnos Somnos
Dreamship Lady Anuket
1986 ACE, SR

As the legendary mercenary ship that had fought countless battles alongside the Stygian Navy for Olympus, the Lady Anuket held pride of place in her home port, Hypnos Somnos, the only place in existence where the dream realm, the Sea of Tears and the River Styx, nexus to the Olympian underworld, converged.

At the moment, her captain, Kip Kilroy, High Cormac (the highest ranking free mercenary) of the Stygian fleet, stood outside his captain’s quarters. On this morning in particular he did not entirely look the part of an esteemed captain of an esteemed ship. Having hastily commissioned a witchcraft from Punta Epsilon to Memphis Nova III where he had anchored his dreamship, he had wasted no time setting upon the inter-dimensional Sea of Tears back to his home port. Indeed, he had set upon this journey with such urgency that, at the moment, he felt as though he was only just now remembering that his night on Punta Epsilon with The Banjoman required the terrible hangover that was suddenly upon him in its entirety. He called to one of his crew for his canteen and attempted to summon what auspiciousness he could before going ashore to oversee the resupply efforts.

Despite how terrible he felt, he had found some pleasure in returning to Hypnos Somnos. He always felt closest to his Lady here. And presently, he felt that summoning fond memories of some of their special moments together might fuel his efforts to reclaim some of the pride and dignity he had most definitely sacrificed the night before.

He glanced aft to the formal dining hall, where the truce that had ended the War of Hells had been negotiated while the fury of the battle of Hades Prime had roared all about them. And though Olympus had lost the war, his arrival bearing Zeus and the Archangel Michael had undermined Pluto and saved countless lives by facilitating the brokering of the annexation of Hades into Lucifer’s realm.

Looking ashore, he watched a huge Takamaharan airship letting slip from a mooring tower. Hypnos Somnos wasn’t just a port for watercraft. He ran his hand pensively along the railing and recalled the time The Banjoman had hurdled himself over it into a throng of alien beasts summoned by the wizard Telenthal in his failed attempt to claim the Prince Perinoran from their stewardship. The Banjoman had single-handedly slain dozens of the loathsome hybrid shark-panther spawns of chaos. Kip, remembered how awestruck he had been at the efficiency and effect of one man and a banjo as a mechanism of warfare. He would never forget the whirling precision, the red mist, the vile taste of alien blood upon the air, and the pulped ruin that lay all about The Banjoman's filthy, sweating, panting form when it was over. Would he ever really understand the enigma that was The Banjoman?

His thoughts turned to The Banjoman's current undertaking and he wondered if the scheme they had hatched together in a drunken stupour on Punta Epsilon was too ambitious: too presumptuous. They were playing fast and loose with some of the most powerful political forces in the multiverse here. But Kip felt in his heart that the end justified the means. He just hoped The Banjoman could keep a level head.   He was particularly touchy about the matter of the souls owed to him by Lucifer and there were few beings in existence that hated one another more than the Prince of Light and the Lord of Limbo.

“Sir!”

Kip winced at the barked salute and braced for what would come next. Then, just as he suspected he would, he discovered that a cloven hoof slamming into the deck WAS louder than a standard issue boot doing the same.

“Yes boatswain,” he did his best to hide his agony.

“Lord Admiral Charon has sent a reminder that you are to lunch with him on the Argos.” The young satyr, whom Kip thought might be hung over as well, did his best to convey with his tone that Charon had expressed disappointment at Kip’s lack of a formal response to an invitation extended over a week ago.

“Got it kid.” Kip was already walking away. He smirked to himself at his small revenge for the pain the satyr had caused him. Satyrs hated being called kid for obviuos reasons. Almost immediately Kip felt bad for the insult. It wasn’t the young boatswain’s fault he had followed The Banjoman’s rampage across Punta Epsilon.

He stopped and turned around.

“Boatswain!” he called. “Thank you for the reminder. You look like you might be under the weather. Shore leave – starting now!” He said with feigned seriousness. Then he broke into his signature wide grin and flipped the satyr a silver piece.

The boatswain looked excitedly at the coin and Kip instantly regretted his actions as, once again, the satyr hopped to, slammed his hoof into the deck, and barked “Thank you sir!” and ran for his quarters.

Wincing again, Kip put both hands on the rail and looked down at the gangway where his crew was loading and unloading supplies. He thought about this lunch with Charon and quickly decided to send regrets.

Of course it would infuriate the Lord Admiral, which for Kip, was all the more reason to do it. Beyond despising the man, Kip would not feel right indulging in pretentious officer puffery while The Banjoman was off confronting Lucifer and Jasco was doing all she could in yet another effort to lure Andy to the Hall of Memories.

With the fate of all existence hanging in the balance, the Lord Admiral would have to wait for another opportunity to play high-and-mighty with Cormac Kipling Kilroy.

Kip wondered how Jasco intended to lure Andy. They knew Andy frequented the astral plane near the edge of the realm of sleep. Kip assumed she would approach him there and draw him somehow to the Hall of Memories in the caverns of Hypnos Somnos. He looked up at the high coastal bluffs and tried to guess at where within the caverns there the renegade reaper might be.

A banshee who was once a reaper of the realm of Fey, and then of Hades Prime after the annexation, the Reaper Jasco had certain guiles that would appeal to Andy’s emerging adolescent tendencies. Kip imagined a teenage boy from Sanctuary would have a hard time resisting her unique beauty and intensity of presence. When he met her for the first time in Heliopolis, when she had come to claim the soul of his true love and his betrothed, the Lady Anuket, Kip had thought her interesting in her way. But the nature of their meeting – at a moment of incredible personal loss for him – had cemented the platonic nature of their relationship forever.

But would Andy follow her? He was not convinced. He knew Jasco had called to Andy again last night – but that he had evacuated the realm in a panic. To-date, Andy had shown himself to be a pretty timid explorer of the proximal planes. Kip sympathized with the Earther. How he had grown as much as he had as a sorcerer, purely self-educated with no mentor at all, was a miracle. He shuddered at the thought of his true potential and his dark destiny. He began to wonder if they weren’t bringing the spark to the kindling with their plan; but he couldn’t allow himself to think that way. He was trained for this. Indeed, all he had come to know about seamanship, combat, diplomacy, strategy and survival, he had come to know for this exact purpose.

For better of for worse, he would be the one that would bring the most dangerous being in all of existence from the solitude and isolation of Sanctuary into the wilds of the wider multiverse. And he would be the one who would hold the hand of the one who would walk the razor’s edge between being the salvation and the damnation of all life in the multiverse.

Kip hoped Andy would follow Jasco into the Hall of Memories this evening. They were running out of time and he had little interest in taking a more forceful approach. All of this would work best if Andy joined their efforts as a willing participant.

His other concern was that Andy was not an experienced enough astral traveler and would simply interpret any meeting he would have as a dream or a vision. This happened all the time with Earthers. Kip had a plan for this, though it was a dangerous one that involved playing a little fast and loose with the Eden Edict. It involved Andy’s neighbour who also happened to be an accomplished dream warrior. Jasco had sent a message to her so that – if everything played out correctly – she would be able to provide evidence that Andy’s extra-planar experiences were not merely memories or dreams. He didn’t even want to think about the lengths they had gone to right now. His head still hurt enough from Punta Epsilon.

He looked over his shoulder toward the Argo, then back up to the bluffs over Hypnos Somnos. He had no concerns about offending Charon. As a favourite son of Olympus, he knew they would not hold him to account the way they would a real soldier.

Tonight, if Jasco were successful, she would bring Andy to the Hall of Memories and he would meet with him at last. And if he could convince Andy, in his astral form, to join in his quest, he would arrange to meet with him in person at the gatestream of the Martian embassy in Aphroditus, capital of Earth’s secret Atlantean empire.

But Kip still struggled with one part of his plan despite thinking about it constantly.

How much information should he share with Andy about the much larger world he would introduce him too? How much could he take? And there was a question even more important than that – how much should he share with Andy about his future, the Grimoire, and the still very real possibility that it was his ultimate destiny to become the Abraxis.

As an Earther who had been rescued from a shipwreck by Martian merchants conducting business on Sanctuary, and as one who had enjoyed the good fortune to be taken in as a ward of the court of the Martian Pharaoh Garuk Motankhamun IV, Kip knew the kind of culture shock Andy was in for. But he also knew the excitement and thrill of life out here. Indeed, the whole time he had been preparing for his role as Andy’s would-be guardian, he had thought frequently about the fun and excitement that awaited him in his duty to show a young Earther – like he had once been – all the marvels of the multiverse beyond The Rim.

The fog of last night was lifting from his thoughts. The import of plans underway burned it off like a morning sun. He beckoned for a sailor and had him take dictatation of a courteous note of decline to Charon’s invitation.

As he walked to his quarters to prepare to go ashore, he continued to ponder on how much of the truth he should to share with a budding Earth sorcerer who could possibly become the entity destined to end freewill in the multiverse.

Many burdens of cosmic import lay upon him, but Kip thrived when the stakes were high. He must make his way to the Hall of Memories and hope for word from Jasco.

The fate of all existence hung in the balance, but to Kip, the sunless sky of this place where realms met, shone as though it were high noon. And in the purple tinge of the air, where the pink of the astral realm, the midnight blue of the realm of sleep, and the indigo of the Olympian underworld intersected in the sky above, Kipling Kilroy, Cormac of the Stygian fleet and Lord of the Sea of Tears, smiled widely and stepped surprisingly lightly now back to his quarters.

 Andy sat now beneath his tree, his Yggdrasil, his cosmic Hazel of the Fey, his all-trees-everywhere. Normally he would just sit rest here in that magnificent peace one can only find on the astral plane, but today he was here burdened with purpose.

And so, just as his physical form sat cross-legged in his bedroom on the physical plane, his astral body sat cross-legged in the golden grass beneath his silver tree. He was not resting. He was meditating. And picturing the merkaba, he began repeating his mindfulness mantra.

Aum Namu Narayanaya”.

His mind settled down even more. The perpetually nattering assessment and judgement of consciousness dissolved away. Eventually his strict sense of self melted away with it and his awareness was a sphere growing outward in all directions. He felt the gentle, pleasing ambiance of astral reality and joined it completely. Within it now, and one with it all, he listened for the voice that had called to him by that name none ever used:

Ancaster.

And, having moved beyond his fear – outside of it – at least for the moment anyway…

… he waited.

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