Chapter 1

“The infinite mind of the All is the womb of universes.”

~ The Kybalion

iu-2

 

The leprechaun grunted his satisfaction at the sight of the large Japanese mushroom he had planted in the spring. Full grown now, its cap was now nearly a foot in diameter. Of course, here, in Sanctuary, the mushroom would not afford him any sorcerous protection. Its particular scent however, would prevent any indigenous animals from sensing his presence. Especially the accursed cats the Earther’s kept as pets.

He knew the Earther boy’s routines cold by now. From this riverbank outcrop of cedars behind the lad’s house, he had been monitoring him for nearly five years (going by the peculiar Sanctuary practice of using planetary rotation and orbits around the sun to reckon the passage of time). Something to do with something called science. A necessary adaptation he presumed, in a place where magic didn’t work.

At about eight inches tall, he had no trouble stretching out into a prone firing position beneath the mushroom. As he unsnapped the demon-wing leather strap that held the rifle across his back a wide grin of gold-capped teeth pushed flaming red mutton-chop sideburns aside. Getting paid in souls outweighed the risk of the consequences of breaching the sacred Eden Edict. Getting to lay hands on a Martian sun pistol — modified by Goibhniu himself into a miniaturized rifle — made accepting this mission a no-brainer. At least to the mind of a leprechaun.

Out beyond Sanctuary Rim, everyone knew (except leprechauns) that leprechauns suffer from a delusion that they alone are possessed of innate ‘good luck’. It was a psychological quirk trait that had rendered them the go-to cannon fodder for espionage incursions into the magic less realm. Over the millennia, their foolhardy willingness to break the most strictly enforced and fiercely punished law in all reality had provided unique advantage to the soul-trading houses of the Realm of Fey.

Now to wait, the leprechaun thought. With my luck, the boyo’ll be here in a jiffy.  

 

It had been nearly three hours since the leprechaun had laid out on his belly and pointed his weapon. The woman’s legs ached from crouching on the rooftop of Andy Crowley’s house. Intensifying her awareness of her left hand to bring its phase-variance into just enough alignment with the bricks of the chimney to grasp it for balance so she stretch out her legs and relieve the stiffness in her hips. She didn’t like that this made her hand visible on this plane of existence. She didn’t like being on Sanctuary period. No one who knew the consequences of getting caught here did. Present company excluded. Present company being, the idiot Leprechaun laying prone in the cedars with a Martian sun pistol.

How in the United Hells did the runt get a Martian Sun Pistol? she thought.

Because the Martians were the only beings from outside Sanctuary Rim who were permitted to step foot upon the magicless realm, it was common practice for interlopers to dress in Martian fashion when breaching the Eden Edict. She herself wore the sandals, nemes helmet, waist-wrap, and silver bracers of Martian infantry. It was merely a disguise. How this little one had gotten his hands on one of the legendary sun pistols was baffling to her.

It is way worse than we imagined, she thought. Pharaoh Motenkhamen will not like this at all. She knew Arawn, Lord of Fey’s loose alliance with Lucifer had given him access to remarkable riches and resources. But this

Her head snapped around at the sound of a bicycle skidding to a stop at the end of the gravel laneway. To her mind, what happened next was not possible.

The boy astride his bicycle wore denim pants and white boots (high-top running shoes and Earther would call them). Their features and details epitomized the advanced technological capabilities that had emerged among beings forced to make their way without magic. His long, blonde, straw-coloured hair blew in the wind. And to her complete dismay his eyes had rolled upward into the white of the wizards gaze. The blazing indigo eldritch fire of his third eye was upon his brow and it was fixed squarely on her.

Then, though she had never seen it before, she recognized the glimmering gossamer thread of a death-ray from a Martian sun pistol. Like spider-silk she thought. Then, after a delay, for sound traveled slowly here, the ray’s atomizing hiss reached her ears.

The indigo light of Andy Crowley’s third eye was gone.

Straining in the dark, with the ghost eyes of her quasi-incorporeal form, she now saw no rider. Only a bicycle falling with a crunch into in the gravel.

 

The Leprechaun’s misbegotten sense of his own good luck ended abruptly under the heel of a 1984 Nike Airship hightop, tongues and laces worn loose. Anything but a conspicuous consumer, Andy Crowley did believe in purchasing quality equipment that would provide both superior performance and longevity.

The illusion he had cast at the end of the driveway had worked perfectly. Mirror Image had been one of the first spells he had learned.

Somehow he knew before he lifted his shoe that the crushed leprechaun would not be there. just as he knew that when he looked up on the roof, the girl (who looked to him a lot like Jane Wiedlin from the Go-Go’s) would be gone too.

The neighbour’s cat had told him telepathically about the leprechaun yesterday. He hadn’t seen the girl until tonight.

Why had she been dressed like an ancient Egyptian?

Things were getting nuts. But also, no doubt, exciting!

He opened his hand to observe the twenty-sided icosahedron he held there. One of the Platonic solids, it doubled as the focus for his sorcerous power and a die for Friday night Dungeons & Dragons with his friends. It was ice cold and emerald green wisps of aetheric-plasma curled outward in all directions from its purple surface into the cool autumn air.

Reflexively, he blew on it like a gunslinger blows the smoke from the barrel of his sixshooter after dropping an outlaw.

He did not see the banshee standing directly in front of him. Awestruck, she had climbed down from the roof to admire what should not have been possible. She was phase shifted now fully out of his perceptual range. Though still something of an amateur she noted, she stood in awe nonetheless. He was but a boy not yet quite a man.

Despite having once served as a reaper for the soul trading houses of Fey, a harvester of the souls of the dying who had witnessed horrors few could even imagine, she felt a cold shudder run through her entire being.

She had been right to risk coming here. All the fears of those she served had been proven valid.

Before her very eyes, she had witnessed an indigenous Earther using magic on Earth, where by all known accounts, magic should not even be possible.

Indeed, the prophecies were true then.

Andy Crowley was the Sole Sorcerer of Sanctuary —  the One Who Would be Abraxas.

A boy from the innocent heart of the cosmos destined to rise to dark tyranny and rule all reality.

Urgency overcame her then. She would need to arrange passage to Mars. Tracing a septagram with the little finger of her left hand and encircling it with the thumb of her right, the banshee emptied her mind and returned to the forest glade in the realm of Fey from whence she had projected her ephemeral form.

TSR-Dice

Continue to Chapter 2