Saturday, September 19, 2015

FLICKER STREET Treatment # 10 - Thaumaturgy

And so we come to a key chapter in our ongoing narrative....

Flicker Street Treatment #10 – Thaumaturgy

I. Dark Roots

Now we take a sharp turn to the left – the Left Hand Path, as it were. This attempt to document the tangled genealogies and fantastic exploits of those who practice magick in this world we are building will hopefully clarify rather than obfuscate. This can be done by tracing the lineage of our thaumaturgical tree, and describing the strange fruit it bears.

At the topmost branch (or deepest root depending on one's perspective) are the Presences, those beings worshiped by the Pisceans as dark gods. There are only a handful of these beings glimpsed in certain accounts. The most powerful of these are “brothers” Abraxas and Vaikuntha, offspring of the abstruse Presence whose name can only approximately be rendered as Xhuquaqua-Quoeln (the Tamerlane line in recent centuries supposedly adopted “Qua” as a family name in obeisance to this abstract being). This fearsome Presence gave birth through parthenogensis.

Vaikuntha has no known true offspring (though in an avatar form he impregnated a woman once, then jumped consciousness into the soulless infant body, was born, and swiftly aged the child's body back to a facsimile of the older Vaikuntha). Despite his general lack of emotional of sexual ties to other beings, the malevolent Being has spent more time on Earth than any other Presence, and is especially fond of Earth. When Vaikuntha is glad, Earth is his dominion. When the multi-limbed Presence – a diety among many men – is in sour disposition, the Earth quakes beneath his fury. He is sworn enemy of all humans and Exodesians alike. Vaikuntha draws his name from the Heavenly abode of Lord Vishnu in Hindu religion; his true appellation has been forgotten by his own design.

Abraxas is a fearsome and oblique Presence. He takes his name from an ancient Greek Gnostic prinicle or entity. Abraxas has a number of descendants through his three known offspring: the Presences Caprice, Thrall, and Demiurge. These issue of Abraxas and one of his mates, Shahava, number among the eldest living beings in the known realities. Who knows how many issue sprung from these three over the millenia? We shall examine a handful shortly.

We know from previous accounts that the earliest contact with long-lived alien, or extradimensional beings, on Earth took place c. 20,000 years ago, or 18,000 BCE. The Omegans and and Pisceans converged on Earth at that time at the place known as Terminal Pointe in English, on Mt. Mosaic on the North American continent. Thence, they began their alchemical mating experiments in Africa, which in several generations yielded the hybrid race the Exodesians. The Omegans, under the direction of pilot Ph'nath, also emerged on Earth nearly as long ago, at a Ziggurat in South America – in a territory whose “ownership” has been fought over by the indigenous peoples of Libania and Serafinia for centuries. Shortly after Ph'nath's arrival, a Piscean envoy appeared to keep the peace, as it were. And so the balance of Earth's fate was struck.

The Presences (except Vaikuntha as noted above) on occasion mated with humans and Exodesians (pardon if the information given hence is repetitive; it merely stands to set the bloodlines in a greater context). The earliest such mating occurred in relatively modern times, i.e. in the CE period as we measure time in the West. The eldest of Abraxas' terrible litter was the Demiurge, a frightful being invoked only sparingly in the Piscean clusters. Demiurge mated with an Exodesian princess consecrated to him, Ayazela of the house of the priest Tyrlus. and their offspring was a being called Tyrlus Drexus, another entity sworn to make those of Earth bend the knee or pay the ultimate price. Drexus is called on and worshiped as was his father by Exodesians and human magi alike.

The next two matings of the children of Abraxas the Abstruse (as he came to be called by modern occult scribes, who also dubbed Abaraxas' cult followers as simply 'The Abstruse' or 'the Order of the Thaumaturge'; alternately 'The Order of the Cosmic Awakening') occurred significantly later than the birthing of the fearsome Tyrlus Drexus. Abraxas' daughter, known as Caprice, was what some men might dub a succubus, though she was far from that. She seduced and was bonded to a man born of a human father, Izaiah Karollus (a Jewish kabbalist, b.c. 1314) and an Exodesian maiden Tarish (b.c. 999) This man, Lucius Karollus, b. 1353) impregnated Caprice, and their only offspring was called Biazel Karollus (born 1387), a prime mover in magickal events on Earth – some might say the prime mover .

It's difficult to determine how many offspring Biazell may have fathered in his seven centuries on Earth, but three, all by different mothers, figure definitively in our larger narrative. Biazel had settled in Hallmark in 1898, bent on accessing its mystic ley lines and Mt. Mosaic (he had tried in the past but been defeated). He appeared to be an elderly Victorian dress-clad dandy. He founded the cults and covens collectively known as 'The Abstruse' and churned out many scholarly and some rather light-hearted tomes on ritual magick and thaumaturgy. He kept his background prior to Hallmark shrouded in rumor and legend.

In 1899, he wed the headstrong intellectual Alanna ver Dorn (b. 1869; the “old maid” daughter of Hallmark co-founder Ambrosius ver Dorn, himself half-Exodesian), who gave birth to Biazel's wickedly beloved daughter, Velupsa Karollus, in April of 1900. The child, however, was declared still born and Alanna sued successfully for divorce from the unflappable Biazel. Biazel simply raised his child in secret, with a succession of surrogate mothers, molding her into a thaumaturgical weapon.

II. The Fabricands and the Avrils

The perennially youthful and seductive Velupsa Karollus had only a handful of known partners, but that was enough to secure the mystical dynasties of the Avrils and the Fabricands. In 1928 Velupsa wed Smith Fabricand (1906-1956) offspring of Hercule Fabricand, b. 1881; and Artemisia Smith). In 1930 Smith and Velupsa begat their elder son John Paul Fabricand, who married Paige Bradcroft (another descendant of Cormac Llewyn Paige and his son Miles, co-founders of Hallmark). They had no issue of their own but raised Kyle , Paige's son by Evan Eloy Queeq, as theirs (much to the boy's ultimate detriment).

In 1936, Velupsa and Smith had Anatole Fabricand, a man much less mystically inclined towards the mystic arts. Anatole actually became a psychoanalyst and spent years as an analyst to the so-called “mystery men”. He encouraged his daughter, Tabitha, b. 1967, to follow suit in the field of mental health. Tabitha's mother, Edwidge Avril, also hailed from a mystical background, her parents being the mage Keegan Avril (1900-1956), descendant of Exodesians. Tabitha did indeed become a clinical psychologist, against the urging of her stepfather Rudolph Dawes (Edwidge divorced Anatole shortly after the birth of their second child and married Dawes, with whom she had a tempestuous relationship). Tabitha's sister Urania, born in 1974, the gifted offspring of an Avril and a Fabricand, is among the most precocious and awe-inspiring of young magickal talents. Velupsa's blood certainly courses in her veins. As it does strongly in her uncle, the man born Damon Karollus in 1956, but most commonly known as Dr. Damon Carroll, or, in certain circles, as “The Serpent's Tooth”.

The divorced Velupsa welcomed a man she was deeply attracted to, the Skull executive Bromley Chamberlain, into her coven of the Abstruse and into her bed in 1956. At this point only a handful knew Chamberlain's true ID as Kong, notably the Exodesian arch-priest Urias. By 1956, Velupsa had driven Kong near madness with her lust, her demands, her overpowering persona – but she gave birth to Damon, his son. Only Urias knew the truth for decades; Kong did not, nor did his son. Damon Carroll ended up in a foster home and Velupsa took her own life (in 1958) on a twisted dare from Kong, who distanced himself as much as possible from Biazel and his cult for many years. Damon went on to play a key role in the history of the Aggregate, and finally learned the identity of his true father.

Regarding the Avrils, their line in America began with the French Raoul Avril (b. 1872) and his Scottish wife Martine Keegan, whose line could be traced back to much Pictish breeding with Exodesians. Their son Keegan (1900-1956) wed Astrid Janssen, Astrid was the daughter of Bjorn Janssen, child of Cormac Llewyn Paige (though only Ewen Cromwell knew this) and Cormac's other Indian lover Mary Cloud. Bjorn was passed off as Mary 's husband Stole's son. Astrid's mother was also mostly American Indian; her name was Hester Hand, and her relative, Hiawatha Hand, joined the Aggregate in 1971. And so Astrid Janssen was the great-granddaughter of Ewen Cromwell.

Keegan had a brother Quint Avril, b. 1910, who was a persistent foe and rival of Vance Orlison. Keegan himself, with Astrid, had Raoul Avril II, b. 1934; Egon Avril, b. 1938; Charmain Avril, b. 1942; and, lastly, Edwidge Avril, b. 1947. Raoul wed Wanda Jimenez, the half-Latino, half-African-American daughter of the Avrils' servant Betty Jimenez. They married very young, and their interracial union scandalized a number of Hallmark's blue bloods, but they remained together for many years. They had a son, James Avril, born 1952, who became an Air Force test pilot. James, however, distanced himself slightly from his parents and identified himself as “Jim April”. April became a trial subject for REACT-subsidized TSD experimentation in the 1970s. SkullCorp had struck a deal to share some of their technology with REACT, who added its benefits to America's ever-growing arms race. The TSD gave Jim April what he called “the Flare” (which he also took to calling himself), an ability to control flame. He was conscripted to duty for REACT in 1976, at the launch of their “Liberation Ops” program (also known as “Freedom Ops”, a name preferred by its nominal leader Roger Greer). This program was intended to birth a government-owned and sanctioned group along the general lines of the Aggregate. More information on Freedom Ops will be detailed in upcoming treatments.

Raoul and Wanda Avril tried unsuccessfully to have more children over the years, while Raoul's brother Egon married archaeologist Stephanie Ransom. They had two sons, Karl Raoul Avril, b. 1964, and Jesputh Ransom Avril, b. 1967. Stephanie was a partner in Randell Coventry's Coventry Expeditions, which merged with Bradcroft Ltd. In 1982. Keegan Avril's first daughter, buxom beauty Charmain Avril, was an exotic dancer, and was quite a superstar in the 1960s and 1970s. She remained single until 1982, when she retired and married Dr. Lawrence Rubinstien. Keegan's youngest daughter Edwidge's marriage and offspring have been discussed above.

Keegan Avril and Smith Fabricand met their demise together in 1956 at the hands of Nocturno. They had been plotting against Cary Bradcroft since his move to Hallmark early that year. They wished to garner the attention of the Exodesian ruling religious sect, the Obscuros (from which the Abstruse gains much of their knowledge, passed down from Piscean principles) by slaying the “one that got away”, Cary Bradcroft. They offered to sacrifice Cary to the Obscuros, actually. The Arch-Priest and Grand Necromancer, Urias (discussed elsewhere in this chronicle), was all in favor of the idea. When Avril and Fabricand tried to capture Cary, Nocturno appeared and simply destroyed them with a powerful working he had been preparing for the dangerous duo for some time. Cary was stunned at Nocturno's first use of his undead power to take human lives, and girded himself for a war with other mages that never came. For Nocturno's actions served as an unequivocal statement that the Shadow Baron was not to be trifled with. Thus a magickal cold war of sorts began that lasted for some years, until Exodesian priests craving power caught the attention of the brothers Bradcroft.

Before his demise, Smith had remarried, to Patricia Paige, daughter of Miles Paige II and Blanche Westin. Their daughter, Milicent Sherrad Fabricand, born 1954, grew up to be a very kind, maternal woman who ultimately helped the Aggregate immensely and tried more than once to settle down with two of its most prominent members.  

III. The Disraelis and the Van Jusses

The Bradcrofts have been much-discussed up until now, but their many notable offspring and extended families have yet to be covered. To understand the roots of these families, we must consider one Janos Disraeli. Disraeli's origins are uncertain. It is known that he is European, of an indeterminate age, and the father of two children by two different wives. What is certain is that for a time, he was possibly Earth's most fearsome sorcerer, with power to rival or exceed that of the Bradcrofts, Biazel Karollus, or any Exodesian. He surely carries the blood of Exodesia, Omega, or Pisces or is of some descent from one of the Presences.

Disraeli led the Order of Gammadion, an ancient secret society founded by a man said to be descended from the eldest known Exodesians. Gammadion was a priest who lived at least 10,000 years ago and was the maternal grandson of the druid Brithemain, who at one point guarded the Ziggurat in South America. Brithemain was the son of a human tribeswoman, Salvara, a Serafinian, and the ancient Exodesian explorer named Tephiris, who criss-crossed our planet in his Pod in antediluvian times and spread his seed far. He waged war, but yearned for peace, with the Exodesians. Gammadion's uncle, Mordechai, was a member of Gammadion's order, a warrior priest who may have been the longest lived man ever born on Earth. In 1498 CE, Mordechai had his last known dalliance with a mortal woman – a barmaid called Finn Cromwell. From this union sprang Ewen Cromwell.

Gammadion disappeared from his order well before the founding of Hallmark, some said to find a means to extend his already preternaturally long life. Some have whispered that Gammadion is willing the order to his heirs, for they believe Janos Disraeli is Gammadion's true son. It is unknown just when Janos Disraeli stepped in to lead the sect, though what is known is that Janos took the sect in a somewhat different direction. Gammadion's taste ran more towards Omegan alchemy; Disraeli preserved this, but injected some arcane rights from the Pisceans. Disraeli called his group at times the “true Exodesia”, and claimed to have a more balanced outlook than Exodesians, whom he saw as sycophants to Pisces and its dark Presences. Exodesia's obsession with infiltrating and eventually displacing humanity held no charm for Disraeli. The Obscuros and Biazel Karollus alike scoffed at Janos.

Disraeli's major accomplice in his occult activities was Griffin Van Juss (b. 1890), the son of Enoch Van Juss, one of the Dutch settlers who founded Hallmark. It is unknown if Enoch, like several of the settlers, carried Exodesian blood, though it seems likely. Griffin Van Juss had three children: twins Remuel and Katherine, b. 1923; and Rachael, b. 1927. The three siblings met Cary and Ashton Bradcroft in 1945, while in college at Oxford. The five of them formed a coven, along with Cary's lover, the half-Indian Jerusha Dharma, and, later, the duplicitous young Myrus T Fellbane.

Katherine and Ashton soon began an affair; unfortunately Rachael was also in love with Ashton. The coven studied through the late 1940s and into the 1950s. During their studies, Janos Disraeli himself taught them much, but they wrongly felt that the Order of Gammadion was an evil path. The Bradcrofts were good men, but filled, alas, with hubris. In 1954, Remuel and Katherine quit the coven to join their father in Disraeli's order, while Rachael remained with the Bradcrofts. Katherine discovered she was pregnant with Ashton's child. Disraeli knew the twin brothers were bound for Exodesia, and he did not wish to encroach on the hidden land. The Bradcroft twins did just that, but Rachael stayed behind. Jerusha and Fellbane both insisted on coming.

The details of the Bradcroft expedition can be found in treatment #1: Backstory. Suffice to say, only Cary penetrated Exodesia and survived to tell of it. Ashton was destroyed but resurrected as an undead homonculous in the Obscuros' birthing chamber. Cary lived, and gained extraordinary mystical knowledge at a staggering rate inside the chamber. He felt his brain would explode.

By 1955, Cary had regrouped in Europe, traveling and sorting through his newfoundc knowledge. In the meantime, Fellbane took Jerusha to London, where his cousin employed them. She had a son that year, a boy she named Vincent Cliven Dharma, or Clive. She gave Clive an amulet his father, Cary Bradcroft, had given her. Clive grew up hating his father and wondering why he abandoned Jerusha. Fellbane made sure this belief was fostered. Clive Dharma will be discussed extensively in future installments but for now we turn to his extended family.

While Cary made his way across Europe, his brother had found Rachael Van Juss and told her the shocking truth of his new existence. After she digested the horrid news, she agreed, out of a love she still felt for Ashton, to take part in a magickal working with him. Now known only as Nocturno, the man who was Ashton Bradcroft used alchemy - ancient, complex, possibly deadly - alchemy to infuse his essence into Rachael van Juss, thus entering into an alchemical wedding with her, and, even more startling, an alchemical pregnancy resulted.

Nocturno learned that Katherine had given birth to his child. She named the boy Ashton van Juss and was not shy about his parentage. Nocturno refused to come for her or the child, though, and Rachael lied to her family about the source of her own pregnancy. When her odd-looking daughter was born in late 1955, she named her Silent Indigo (for she was dark of skin and mute) and agreed to raise her. She kept Nocturno's secrets, and Griffin van Juss was outraged, demanding to know what sort of inhuman being fathered Silent Indigo. The van Jusses were living in Holland when Rachael returned to them, so, in 1959 Griffin summoned Cary Bradcroft to his Dutch manor, and he confronted the Shadow Baron. Remuel demanded his father slay Cary Bradcroft. Katherine, however, yearned for Cary as she had his brother, and they consummated their desire for each other. Cary fought Griffin, slaying him in the process. Remuel and Katherine attacked Cary, but he escaped and returned to Hallmark. He was distressed that he had to kill Griffin; he was even more distressed when he learned the darkest family secret: that Remuel and Katherine were engaged in an incestuous affair. Unsure of her baby's father, Katherine nonetheless kept it and it was a daughter she named Sarah Janos van Juss, b. 1960.

As for Janos Disraeli, he was attracted to a number of women in the 1960s, among them Katherine. The two wed in 1963, and he agreed to raise Justin and Sarah (he was already the girl's godfather). He put a permanent stop to Remuel's and Katherine's affair by basically frightening Remuel into leaving Holland. Remuel headed to America; his first stop was Hallmark, where he challenged Cary. Cary defeated him handily, and Remuel slunk away, ending up in New York City, where he opened a small occult bookshop.

In 1965, Katherine gave birth to Janos' first known child: Griffin Disraeli (known years later as Rory Sabbath). But there was already a rift developing between Katherine and Janos. They divorced the following year. Janos sought out Remuel in New York and was amused by his bookshop. He was also a bit taken by a young woman who hung out at the shop: an aspiring poet/ chanteuse named Sophie Pavlinchak (b. 1947). Within a year Janos had charmed the young woman with promises to bankroll her creative endeavors. She impulsively wed the magician, and was soon expecting his child. In 1967, their daughter Tana Disraeli was born. Sophie began traveling with her band, and Janos allowed her this freedom and returned to Europe for a short time. In that time, Sophie lit on Hallmark for a show, and was immediately enamored of Flicker Street. She met a mysterious gentleman, an older man called Bram Vallard. As sharp readers might recall, Bram Vallard is the favored pseudonym of James Vallard Tressilian, the Apparition (also known as Lambert Christensen, Royal Hoxworth, and Saturnine). Vallard wooed the impetuous young musician, to no avail.

IV. Sophie

In 1969, Vallard, who was still infatuated with Sophie, invited the Disraelis to his retreat in China. They were hosted by Vallard's young son Archimedes Ko. Disraeli was no stranger in China. He had visited Feng Qi on one previous occasion and met with its mistress, Shun Ti. Vallard had trained in the Orient all through the 1920s and periodically returned to his resort there. Unfortunately for all, Biazel had plans for Sophie Pavlinchak as well. He decreed that she would serve as fodder for one of the Presences, who would destroy Disraeli and Vallard, two of the many figures Biazel saw as potential threats to him. He and Janos had a centuries-long rivalry, and Biazel foretold that this was to be the perfect time to end it once and for all.

Biazel summoned the Presence known only as Thrall, who destroyed Janos Disraeli and ravished his wife after drugging Vallard, who dreamt he was making love with Sophie. She was in a delirious state the entire time. She dreamt she was with Bram and was unaware of Thrall's violation. Thrall disappeared into its own plane. Ko managed to get his father, Sophie, and little Tana to safety and to medical attention. Sophie went to Europe and attended Disraeli's funeral. Vallard invited her to convalesce at his chateau, to which she agreed. She soon found she was pregnant; she skaed Vallard to give the child his name as he likely the father. Vallard honestly did not recall his time in a drugged state, except that it was possible he and Sophie made love. So he agreed to wed her at the chateau. She did not wish to be married again so soon, but Vallard insisted; he was old-fashioned that way. But he soon had to return to Hallmark and help with the final confrontation with Kanabal. He was away for weeks, and later that year (1970), Sophie had a son she named Devon Vallard. Devon was the first child born of a human and one of the Presences since Biazel's birth, and he swore he would one day claim the child for the Order of the Thaumaturge.

In 1973, Vallard went on what he deemed one last mission as the Apparition, with Shadow Baron and some of the Aggregate. Vallard's ultimate purpose was to assassinate Biazel. This mission will be detailed in future treatments; the word after the mission though was that the Apparition had not made it back alive. Archimedes Ko took over the Apparition's retreat, and was soon recruited to help train Ko's nephew, Liao Jun Kim (or June Kim Liao, b. 1967), who figures prominently in the future of Flicker Street.

Twice widowed, with two young children, Sophie Pavlinchak had returned to New York to advance her career. She suffered from deep depression and nightmares for years, and eventually slid into drug addiction. She had two notable affairs in the 1970s. In 1973, she slept with Remuel van Juss one night at his bookshop. She was soon pregnant again, though she wished no further contact with van Juss and regretted the entire sordid incident. She strongly considered an abortion, but ultimately decided to bear the child. She would raise it herself, she decided. The child was born in 1974. She named him Iain Pavlinchak; Iain after her own father, Ian Rhys McGregor. And thus we see another reason Biazel targeted Sophie; she was not merely a wayward and troubled young intellectual with dreams of fame as a rock star poet. She also had a genetic destiny, since her father was not only a great hero but also the bastard son of Exodesian Arch-Priest Urias. Her mother, Silvana Pavlinchak, had met McGregor during World War II and had a passionate affair, which resulted in Sophie.

Sophie had a mentor in New York, Matthias Creed, who was an underground filmmaker of some repute, having directed such provocative films as Awakening in Hell and was working throughout the 70s on his magnum opus Abraxas Rising. Matthias, though gay, had married a woman briefly in the 1940s and had a son, Emeril Creed. Emeril and his father had a strained relationship, but Emeril was essentially good-natured, not dark at all like Sophie's previous lovers. She had vowed never to be wed again, but relented to see if the “nice guy” was her cup of tea. She soon decided he was not, but by this time had given him a daughter, Kirillian Creed, born in November 1977.

Sophie did something bold and, some would say, cruel at this point. She sought out Bram Vallard with the help of her best friend from Flicker Street – Orphee de Lander, whom she also saw as a mentor of sorts. Orphee contacted Archimedes Ko, and soon realized Vallard was not truly dead. Ko contacted Sophie and agreed to take her to his father. Ko believed that Devon Vallard was not really his half-brother but declined to theorize exactly why he speculated this. Sophie flew to meet with Vallard. She took along her first three children but left Kirillian with Emeril.

Upon seeing Bram again and conferring with him, she agreed with him that there was much more to Devon's conception than they realized. Vallard, detective that he was, was convinced his own son Ko was in on Janos Disraeli's death and the drugging of Sophie and Vallard. Sophie implored Vallard to help her fake her own death; she was burnt out on her lifestyle, wished to get clean, and, rather callously, wished to detach herself from the Creed family for good. Vallard declined to help her, but Ko stepped in and acquiesced. It was only a matter of time before word reached Emeril Creed that his wife and mother of his infant daughter had died in a plane crash coming home to them.

Sophie's descent into darkness continued, and she eventually abandoned Devon, wishing no more reminders of the mysterious incident. As for Emeril Creed, he quickly remarried and Thelma Bruce, his new wife, adopted Kirillian Creed. The Creeds agreed to do what they could to expunge the child's memory of any trace of Sophie, though Matthias Creed, who loved his granddaughter dearly, was opposed to this. As fate would have it, Emeril took a job in Hallmark in 1980, and Thelma passed away of cancer in 1988. From then on, Kirillian took a liking to hiking to escape her blues, and told her father often that one day she'd scale Mt. Mosaic and learn its secrets. She had an instinctive intuition that Mt. Mosaic was of importance to all humanity. It would be some years, but she would come to learn how correct she was.

Welcome to Flicker Street!

Henry Covert
September 20, 2015

Copyright 2015 George Henry Smathers Jr.

Special thanx to Scott “Vesbius Flestrin” Moseley, a true brother and Flicker Street enthusiast.
Extra special thanx to Win Scott Eckert, a mentor when I really needed one, for years of friendship, patience, and creative mythography. Win inspired me to write comix and stories in earnest again, and thanx is not enough for this gift.

Flicker Street, all images, characters, and story elements are Copyright 2015 George Henry Smathers Jr.

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