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This is the 26th section of my novel. If you haven’t read the first 25, you might want to start here.

Jane’s Journey
—-

In the astral world, Jane’s soul was exploring. She saw the pyramids of Egypt in their greatest glory. She flew over Atlantis, populated by ethereal glowing balls, that she could only assume had once been something like human.

In this level of consciousness, she could move at the speed of thought. Was this alacrity in it’s first stages? She wasn’t really sure at all.

In all of these wild and wondrous places, she felt like an observer. No one seemed to notice that she was there, even when she tried to get their attention(which she did. Often.). Even without interaction, she was learning much by observing.

She could sink her soul down to the material realm and fly through cities. People using magic, or even attempting to, shot up lights like a beacon. Jane would fly to these beacons and watch the people. Sometimes it was someone walking down the street, and she couldn’t tell what was causing the light. Other times, people would clearly be focusing on an antiqued and mundane spell of sorts.

Every now and then, as she floated through the streets of large cities, people would see her. They would give her funny looks and walk off. Children would smile and giggle. Dogs would bark at her. Sleeping cats would send their astral selves to her hands, floating lazily in the air, until she would stroke their oddly soft fur. It was an odd feeling, petting these not so real cats.

Jane thought of all the Earthly places she had always wanted to see. She visited them one by one. She thought of places that had disappeared with time. She visited them as well. She was experiencing history.

When Jane realized this, she also realized that she was not bound by time here. She could watch the past, and to an extent, the future.

She watched as hundreds of men built the great wall of China. She saw the Berlin Wall torn down. Julius Caesar died a bloody death before her. Yeshua ben Yoseph preached his new ideas to a crowd of Romans and Isrealites. Years later a man named Paul would twist words and confuse people with the teachings of ben Yoseph.

Jane could see beyond that. She could see the tiny bluish-white lines that tied all of these people to their history and to their destiny. She could see that undeserved pain was sometimes necessary for the world to grow. She thought it was odd that the history of the world so often hinged on one person. One person’s self-sacrifice to appease the lonely astrals.

She was getting tired. Very tired. Astral travel taxed her physical constitution. She needed to sleep. She thought of her body and of Minus’ basement. She closed her eyes, and could feel the rapid movement. When she opened her eyes, she was not in her body, but instead, inside a large building filled with books. Thousands and thousands of books.

“Fuck. What? Where am I? Is this the Akashic Library?”

A booming masculine voice answered her. “Some beings call it that. But it is so much more. Welcome to my home, Jane De la Moore.”

She went silent with shock. Someone could see and hear her! She felt a sensation of shear excitement. If she had been in her body, her heart would be racing.

“I am the Keeper,” the voice boomed again. She saw a robed and hooded figure coming down a set of stairs to her left. “This is my home. You are welcome to use my library. I have expected you for some time.”

—-

Jack
I Listen.

The Cost of Magic
Section #26
Jane’s Journey

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This is the 25th section of my novel. If you haven’t read the first 24, you might want to start here.

Delirium
—-

When Minus opened his eyes again, it was raining hard and he was soaking wet.

He heard a voice say, “You’re almost there, boy.”

When he looking around he could find no trace of the All-Father or the ravens. Or anyone else for that matter.

The rain made his arms sting. He lifted one arm, and then the other, up to see them. The scarred Runes that Odin had made several days before were completely healed, aside from the glowing pattern. But new marks had appeared below those. They were fresh, and bloody. They ached at the rain’s down pour.

Minus hadn’t had any food or drink for several days, so he took this opportunity to drink as much of the rain as he could. It was clean and tasted very well.

He heard hysterical laughter that seemed very far off. It was getting closer and louder. Then, as the laughter was so close and so loud, he realized it was his own.

—-

Jack
I Listen.
The Cost of Magic
Section #25
Delirium

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This is the 24th section of my novel. If you haven’t read the first 23, you might want to start here.

The Tao of Minus
—-

Mancini was a little startled when Jane asked about the Akashic Library. But he knew that she had that right, even if she did not have that power.

So, they talked at length about the great teachers of the past, about the holy guardian angel, and about the Akashic Library.

He suggested she take the six month sojourn to learn about the Holy Guardian Angel before trying to access the Akashic Library.

“But… hmm.. When Minus returns, we will talk. He may have a short cut for you. You have every right to view it for yourself. Especially since I have an oath to not speak of what I see there. Minus is not allowed to enter. But neither of us really know why. Sometimes, it’s almost like he has no book. Like his lifetime is not recorded, as it is with the rest of us.”

Jane didn’t know how to answer. Mancini appeared puzzled, even in his ghostly astral form.

Mancini continued, “The information I have about Minus is from my personal experience with him, and from reading the life books of others that have interacted with him. There are large blank periods, that I can find no information on. Five years ago, shortly after we had met, he completely disappeared. No one knows why. Or where he was. He refuses to talk about it.”

“From what I’ve learned of alacrity,” Jane interjected, “Is it possible that he got lost in it?”

“It’s possible. But Othin practices alacrity too.. I’d think Othin would have been able to find him…”

“And then he disappeared for three years with me, at that bar..” Jane was trying to string together the facts. This whole mess was terribly confusing to her. She had never known magic like this. All of these things were brand new to her.

“Yes, that’s right. Minus is… well, odd. It’s almost like he has a cloaking ability. Kotoko witnessed it with trying to find this house. This house is totally off the official radar. Only a handful of people know it’s here at all. But it has been here for fifty years at least.

“Although it wasn’t his fault, you two were completely masked inside that bar. In the same way, Minus is completely hidden now, at the world tree. No magic can find him there. If you were to walk up to the exact tree he was on, you would not be able to see him.”

“Does he know this,” asked Jane.

“Sometimes.. Definitely not all of the time. He doesn’t dabble in divination, so he really doesn’t understand the concept at all. All of his magic comes naturally, through self-sacrifice.”

“Like now? Like his trip to the world tree?” Jane’s curiosity was peaked.

“Yes,” the doctor answered. “Just like now. This is not the first time he has performed the self-sacrifice rituals for knowledge, or power. It’s almost like the gods favor him. His family has no history of magical blood. Unlike me and you. There is no reason for Minus to have the power and understanding that he does. I’ve spent a long, long time trying to figure it out.”

“What about Othin? I thought he was Minus’ uncle?” Jane interjected.

“Othin is not a blood relative. He was a friend of Minus’ mother. But she never knew about Othin’s magical side life. You see, to most people, Othin just looks and acts like an old, burned-out hippie. I’ve known him for five years. He has not aged a day, but we can discuss that later.

“It really boils down to the fact that Minus basically gave me my powers. I’m certain that he has had a positive impact on your magic as well. Probably Kotoko, too. Othin often tells me about personal relationships with gods, but I usually chalk it up to metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. Most of the gods are dead, or were never there to begin with. Maybe I should reconsider that. We’ll talk to Minus about it when he returns. Not long left.”

And so, that night, Jane began to practice astral travel to see if she could find this Holy Guardian Angel and the Akashic Library. She was tired of being out of the loop. She was worried about Minus, and she had to do something about it.

—-

Jack
Listen.

The Cost of Magic
Section #24
The Tao of Minus

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This is the 23d section of my novel. If you haven’t read the first 22, you might want to start here.

The Marks of a God
—-

When he awoke again, he was not sure how long he’d been out. He went through all of the realms of paranoia, anxiety, depression, elation, mania, and so much more. He battled his demons, trying to recapture something that was lost.

It was night time now. And slightly chilly. Minus felt very disoriented. He had relied on alacrity and synchronicity for so long. But these things were useless in the trial of gods. His magic was about movement and charm. Things he did not need here, alone in the forest. He pulled his arms up and looked at the scars Odin had left. They looked like the runes of Norse magic, which Odin received when he put himself through the first trial of godhood, the world tree. Yggdrasil was older than man. Older than gods. It only made sense that this was the only place left for true magic.

Odin had once been mortal, but he had hung himself on the world tree for nine days and nights to gain insights into ancient magic. The world tree and the elder gods had given him magic in return. A magic he unleashed on the world, and eventually used to overcome the forgotten gods. He used the magic to take his place in Aesir, as the All-Father. His brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters had taken their spots in the royal court, and a new generation of men and gods had begun.

Minus had hung himself on the world tree twice now. This was important. It was important because it was the path of self sacrifice for forgotten knowledge. He knew that Odin often saw him as a son, but was weary to allow him into the heavens. The last man he had allowed in had been Loki Sky-Walker, who caused much destruction and sadness in the royal court. He would not take that chance again. Not easily anyway.

Minus knew all of this, but he had been hanging on this tree so long that he wasn’t sure how he knew it. After Odin’s last visit, he had blacked out, and he had no idea how long ago that was. He had spent hours trying to meditate, trying to understand.

His temples throbbed and he could not feel his arms or legs. He pulled his arms up into view, so he could see the marks that Odin had left. The sigils glowed in the dark night. A bright blue. He had no knowledge of runes, but he knew instinctively that one meant strength and the other meant power. Minus tried to settle back into meditation, but he ending up passing out instead. The blood in his head was getting worse. He guessed that he had hung for five days. But his thoughts were fading into blackness.

On that same day, Jane had asked Mancini about the Akashic Library.

—-

Jack
I Listen.

The Cost of Magic
Section #23
The Marks of a God

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This is the 22nd section of my novel. If you haven’t read the first 21, you might want to start here.

The Birth of an Aesir
—-

Minus wasn’t certain what day it was. He awoke in the midday sun to the cawing of a raven. Or, more accurately, two ravens. There was a small pool of sweat about ten feet below him, in the mud. His whole body hurt, and he had no doubt that he had several burst blood vessels on his head because he’d been upside down so long.

He took a deep breath. “One-Eye! Are you here? Or do I hear the carrion birds awaiting my death?”

Alacrity and synchronicity had become ideas of the past. Minus thought he had moved beyond these ideas. But he wasn’t really certain of anything.

“Two nights and three days. And you think you have found power? Do you think this is enlightenment? Do you think you are Aesir? You are none of these things, youngling. You are impatient. You have not seen magic.”

The old man didn’t look weary now. Not at all. He looked powerful and commanding. We looked like war incarnate.

He climbed the tree and sat on a branch just short of Minus’ head. He reached out to touch Minus’ limp arms. He took hold of both of Minus’ wrists, and Minus jerked in pain. There was a smell of burning flesh. The old man let go. Minus clenched his teeth with the pain and lifted his arms so he could see them.

The flesh on his arms was bright red and still smoking. He recognized some sigils of power and strength burned deeply into his skin.

“What is this, All-Father? What are you doing to me?”

But the old man had already took his leave, and the ravens with him. Minus hung on the tree feeling completely and utterly alone. He has never felt so lonely in his life. Or had he? Once before.. He wasn’t sure. He slipped back into unconsciousness.

—-

Jack
I Listen.

The Cost of Magic
Section #22
The Birth of an Aesir

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This is the 21st section of my novel. If you haven’t read the first 20, you might want to start here.

Electric Lights
—-

Minus was aware that he was unconscious. He knew he was seeing his past. He saw the memory from the third-person. He was shocked when he heard his own voice begin to narrate the memory.

I lie awake at night, watching the air sparkle, like electricity.

When I was a child, they told me these things were not real. But, one day, I reached out and grabbed at a sparkling strand. When I did, life changed, and fell, and melted.

Shortly thereafter, I found my nine-year-old self standing at the foot of a long staircase cut out of rock, laid with wood, and dirt, and cement in certain places. I was utterly confused. I did not know where I was, or how I got there, but I started running up the stairs. I remember tripping over a step, and falling. My knees and elbows were scraped, searing with pain. I blacked out.

When I woke up, I was on a sofa, in a large, rustic house. A fire crackled in front of me. I sat up, surveying the room. There was a grisly old man sitting in a chair across from me.

“Hi there,” he spoke when he noticed I was awake. “What brought you to my steps, young man? Few people show up around here these days. My name is Othin, what’s yours?”

I stammered through a story of the confusion and the electricity, and the sparkles. Othin merely nodded as the story went on.

“I understand,” Othin said as the story came to a close. “I have a feeling I know your father. Let’s talk. There are two pills on that table next to you. Take the red one, it’ll make this easier..”

That little pill that tasted like jelly, was the cause of a grand awakening in Minus. Grabbing that electric spark had changed his life. Curiosity. Insatiable. And it would be that way for the rest of his life.

He thought about this for a long time in the black-out that was forced meditation.

Jack
I Listen.

The Cost of Magic
Section #21
Electric Lights
flashback

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This is the 20th section of my novel. If you haven’t read the first 19, you might want to start here. Section 20 starts Part 2 of the novel.

Enter Odin, or The Hanging of a Demi-God
—-

Minus woke up a few hours later, hanging upside down from the giant tree. He could see an older man, with unkempt hair and beard. He only had one eye and the ravens were sitting on his shoulders. He was still very large and muscular for his age.

“What is it this time, old man?” said Minus.

“Oh, so you do remember our last talk, youngling? This is indeed a surprise. My brother Othin told me you would be here. Of course, I knew already. What is it you seek, child? What more could I possibly teach you? You are too weak. Your mind too fragile.”

“All-Father, I did not come here for your knowledge. I have come for my own.” Minus spoke with a harshness that his expression could not show, since he was hanging upside down by a rope tied to one ankle.

“Ahh… I see. You are tired. Tired of your delusional life and your ‘doctor’s’ pineal poisons. This is admirable. To hold ones own memories as only the Aesir can. I will take my leave. Should you succeed, you will see me again.”

The old man looked weary as he left. Minus had never seen him look so tired and beaten. He didn’t like what this could mean.

***

Back at Minus’ house, Jane was busy studying with a see-through Victor Mancini. She was alone today. Some days Kotoko would show up, and they’d study together, but Kotoko had a job and she was still in school.

Minus had been gone for three days now. Mancini insisted he would be fine and return unharmed. Jane tried not to worry, and regularly took the tiny little purple pills that Mancini had recommended. Apparently they were something that Minus had made up in his “Apothecary,” as Mancini referred to it.

Sometimes Jane would go upstairs and look out the windows to watch that horrible Mist. She didn’t like the idea of Minus and Kotoko being out in it. Kotoko couldn’t even see it until the night she met Minus.

“And what was so important about Minus?” Jane thought to herself. She loved him, she knew that much. But it seemed like he affected everyone he came into contact with. Without even realizing it, people seemed to find that their lives revolved around Minus and his actions.

Sometimes, when Mancini would be talking, Jane would daydream a little. She would start to get the feeling that there was something important that she could not remember. There was a hazy feeling to her eighteenth year. She started to think a lot about that time period.

After Mancini would leave for the day, she would try to remember things about that year. But everything seemed perfectly normal. That’s what really bothered her. The more she thought about it, the more she realized that her memories had a sense of fabrication to them. It was too normal. She would dream of it at night.

These thoughts began to occupy more of her time as the days passed. On the fifth day, she asked Doctor Mancini about the Akashic Library, and how she could get there.

—-

Jack
I Listen.

The Cost of Magic
Section #20
Enter Odin, or The Hanging of a Demi-God

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