The next two months were the most productive I’ve ever had.
I showed the girls my book, the Ars – ha ha, no. I gave them the Aethronomicon to peruse. The Ars was my personal treasure. I’d hidden it after Mom found me studying it. She didn’t know what it was, and I wasn’t going to let her find out. It wasn’t in the house anymore.
While they sat around (upstairs) studying it, I worked in their basement. We both picked times when their “landlady” was out of the house. Apparently they were allowed a lot of leeway for good behavior. They got to read, and I got to recite.
Writing and memorizing the little story snippets usually took a week. Creating a new realm required a short story at the least, and if I wanted a really useful realm, a novelette was in order. Good thing I didn’t need new realms every time. There were a lot of wheels I didn’t need to reinvent – the Infinite Library and the Beautiful Garden, for example, were realms that dated back to the Bronze Age. But some I needed customized.
I had chosen 12 realms to tap for my magic – 12 was a mystical number, and an even number provided balance. I had Combat from The Dojo of Angrus, my first realm. I added a realm for Defense, called the Hall of the Shieldmaster.
I added the Infinite Library for Knowledge. The Infinite Library contains every book never written; all the stories imagined, but never written down. It also had a lot of librarians, who could help you find things on your subject.
I needed to balance Knowledge with Ignorance, so I decided I needed a realm for Illusion. I created one called the House of Mirrors.
I added Life and Death. I could have used The Beautiful Garden for Life magic, but I had a reason for creating my own realm. I could always link the two later. More on that. For Death, I chose a lesser known character from one of my favorite graphic novels. Not as powerful as the guy with the scythe, but easier on the eyes, and I wouldn’t be using much death magic anyway. Or so I thought at the time.
I added Mind and Body. For Body I chose to patronize The Monkey King, he of the 79 transformations, because he also adds General Magic and Combat to my portfolio. Plus he is fun.
I added Light and Darkness. The Beautiful Garden might seem like an odd choice for light, but it is full of joy and goodness and sunshine. Anyway, it worked.
My last two choices would be Order and Chaos. I chose the Clockwork Kingdom for Order – it is very easy to use and very reliable – no having to appease an Entity. Say the right words in the right order, and you got your power.
I took a big chance after adding Order, by choosing The King in Yellow for Chaos magic. The King is dangerous. REALLY dangerous.
His realm appears as an undecorated room, stone walls and floor, with a translucent screen dividing the room in two. A thin yellow carpet leads to a simple chair against the screen.
You sit with your back to the screen. The King, whom you would see in silhouette as you approach the screen, will then talk with you. He will say something witty and profound, and you will reply. This will go on until he is satisfied that you are worthy of his help. You can then leave, and call on him for aid.
Once you have used his aid, you must go back for another round of conversation. You will receive no more aid until you do. You can never cancel the connection.
You NEVER go around the screen. One look at his face will drive a human insane on the spot. If he doesn’t like your answers, he is known to come around the screen himself and shred your mind. You can never tell what kind of answers he will dislike. He is VERY dangerous to work with.
But his aid is VERY powerful. Chaos magic is all but unstoppable, and the Yellow King is at the top of Entities humans can safely tap for power. If he likes you, you’re Merlin. If he doesn’t, you’re toast.
So I got my connections to the Immaterium, and all I needed to do in exchange was let the witches in training read one of my books.