Wizarding in the Wild West
Table of Contents
Inheriting the Alchemical Tradition
How Wizarding Came to the Wild West
A long time ago, two very unique brothers left their native Ireland in search of opportunity. Not only were they Irishmen, but wizards, and young men with boundless energy and an appetite for adventure.
At that time Utah was a territory, and completely outside the United States. It was an age of opportunity and freedom; the trappings of an old life in Ireland and the UK were not nearly as attractive as this new chance in America. Too many restrictions and regulations made this wild and wonderful place well nigh irresistable to the two ambitious, magical young men.
In the West they built a new life. Fully aware of magical international law, as well as the why, that of the long history of negative attention wizardry had garnered over the centuries, they knew they had to keep somewhat secret from the locals; they tried their best so as to not draw an undue attention to themselves, though the isolation of Utah initially had made that pretty simple.
Despite living in the western part of what would become the United States, the brothers traveled far and wide across the world in pursuit of opportunity of all shapes and sizes. One such adventure rather early on led to an unexpectedly long life for both of them, even for wizards.
Over the years, they had many adventures and made countless friends and connections, and built a private empire that came in handy for both public and private purposes.
As some of the earliest wizarding folk in the West, the brothers were involved from the very beginning, and saw many changes. Though this community would eventually become sizable, they saw it develop from very small. This allowed them to take every advantage of getting in on the ground floor of key business opportunities, which they embraced whole-heartedly.
In time, these invested energies paid off in three unique business ventures. The Blackburn Boarding House for Witches, Ghouls, and Monsters, Master Mortimer's Magical Mercantile, and the Blackburn Academy of the Magical Arts (though the name eventually changed).
These businesses continue to operate to this day, and offer the public a chance to participate and engage in the Wild West Wizarding community.
the Blackburn Brothers
The more gregarious of the twins, Mortimer Blackburn is an entrepreneur. He emigrated first, and got a footing in the new country before being followed eventually by his brother. Though his home country would always hold a place in his heart, Mortimer was a perfect fit for America with his enterprising wit and appetite for independence. He originally took up residence in upstate New York, where he met and made friends whom he followed west. Once in Utah, he and his brother opened the various businesses due to the varied dearth of existing opportunities for magical kind, and a desire to be of help.
In addition to his evolving role in the school, Mortimer initially made a name for himself through Master Mortimer’s Magical Mercantile, where he continues to provide for the material needs of the general magical population in almost every free corner of the world.
Benjamin Blackburn the Third
The Blackburn brothers come from a well-known line of European wizards going back many generations. Ben is the principal of the Blackburn Academy, as well as the landlord of the Blackburn Boarding House for Witches, Ghouls, & Monsters. His greatest desire is to carry on the magical tradition by perpetuating the skills and knowledge to the young of the magical community, and to assist underprivileged creatures to find their purpose and reach their potential.
Origins of the Pentacle
It is no secret that the pentacle, or upside-down five-point star and circle has held fear in the hearts of many since the mid-nineteen century. This directly came about because of the claims of a man named Éliphas Leví, who took it upon himself to characterize it in a sinister context. This inaccurate and painfully incomplete association of this symbol with evil has long deserved to be corrected and redeemed.
The truth is that the pentacle has a much more ancient origin than the Victorian era. It has come down to us through thousands of years.
Before it was assumed to be a tool of all things wicked, it was actually a symbol of the order and power of God. It was through this symbol, inscribed on a ring, that supposedly gave a king power to build a holy temple.
But even within the Victorian era, a contemporary of Éliphas Leví, Joseph Smith the prophet saw the upside-down pentacle's intrinsic value, so much so that he put it into the windows of the building that represented the pinnacle of their ideals and beliefs: the Nauvoo Temple.
In truth, the first chronologic connection of the pentacle to the supernatural, either good or evil, comes in the apocryphal Testament of Solomon. God gives Solomon a ring inscribed with this symbol. According to tradition, the son of David received this magic ring, and used it to control and dominate various demons, who were then forced to help him build the iconic structure.
The Temples of God generally have always been associated with symbols. These figures imply many beautiful and powerful ideas to those with eyes to see. Further, they are most often given through archetypal stories in order to provide context and convey a deeper meaning or message.
The question then arises, why would God inscribe a ring with this symbol if that figure was intrinsically evil? If God puts a symbol on something, what does it imply about that object? Moreover, what does it imply about the symbol itself?
Not only does the pentacle deserve to shed the unsavory associations put upon it by an ignorant advocate and his fear-mongering followers, but we must seek and knock and learn to understand the implied meaning God has placed upon it; there must be deeper meaning and truth at the center of what this symbol means; if we are patient and discerning, perhaps we may gain godly power from a more complete understanding and integration of the meaning of this symbol.
In the world of Wizarding in the Wild West, the pentacle is a prominent symbol on the distinctly non-magical Blackburn Family Crest. The brothers were born in 1802 in Cork County, Ireland to otherwise totally magic-less parents and well before the days of Éliphas Leví, and at the time, there was absolutely no association with black magic, or even magic in general.
If there was any occult association with the symbol, it was with Free Masonry; their sailor father was heavily involved in the local lodge, and had had this tradition passed down to him from father to son. As masonry has long had an association with secrets and societies, and the brother's mother happened to be a witch, secrets couldn't help but find such an unique and contrasting pair of boys. But at this point in time, the pentacle had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Identical Twins, Separate Souls
Despite being identical twins, the brothers are two unique individuals, each with distinctive preferences and personalities. While Mortimer is the outgoing entrepreneur, Benjamin is the resentful homebody. One brother thrives on interactions in the public eye, while the other obsessesd over protecting the dark and misunderstood misfits he would bring home.
In actuality, they actually weren't all that unlike, they were just two individuals on different points in their development.
Benjamin's issues stemmed from a sense of the absence of his mother and father, and a pervading sense of less-than that he was not born with, but developed of neglect and vulnerability to internalizing negative and false beliefs. He received a fair amount of bullying, and never really had a father around to pattern himself and learn to be strong. He was always a pretty sensitive kid, and turned inward.
Mortimer, on the other hand, was an extrovert, and tended to thrive on positive attention and therefore made friends of everyone who would show him time; basically he never dealt with bullying because he was too busy making friends. But he did watch his brother getting harassed, and had incomplete opinions about why. They were both kinda skinny, so he didn't exactly stand up for his brother; he'd rather talked to him about it behind the scenes, seeing that the only real way he would gain control is by taking it. But secretly, he actually kinda disapproved of himself because he lacked the true confidence to test his strength against his brother's taunters.
It didn't help that Ben had a mouth, and didn't hesitate to rip them a new one when occasion permitted. Plus, the big brutish kids in their villange were dull and made a beeline for Ben; they had nothing better to do but pick on the reactionary and introverted Benjamin once they tasted blood in the water.
Despite Mortimer's weakness of not overtly helping his brother, the talks with his brother did encourage and help him feel better.
Ben would pretend to ignore his brother. He kinda held it against him, but not really. It hurt too much to hold a grudge against everyone, and he decided that despite his brother's weakness, at least he didn't make fun of him, and he appreciated that.
Secretly though, Ben yearned for his brother's ability to make friends. He wasn't jealous, he just knew he didn't have what it took, and loathed himself and was too busy dealing with the negative self talk. His brother even tried to help him once by talking him through how to make friends, but it just never worked when he put it into practice.
And if after analyzing and think through it, he didn't have what it took, there was no point in trying further.
Mortimer honestly tried to help his brother, but he kinda knew that something like charisma was pretty hard to teach.
All things considered, he loved his brother, and he wanted to fix his problem. But ultimately he came to the conclusion that he'd eventually have to figure it out himself. This was not a war he could win with logic, at least not when fueled by Ben's emotions. And he was patient. He'd always come around if he just gave him his space.
Secretly Mortimer knew Ben as well as he knew himself. He was aware of why Benjamin struggled, and that he hated himself. Because in a way, Mortimer despised himself too. But not enough to take himself too seriously. Life wasn't meant to be spent in misery. But Ben resented himself more.
Mortimer also knew that deep down, Ben had a kindness and empathy.
At one point there was a change pretty early on in school when Ben wouldn’t hurt anyone else, he’d just loath and mistreat himself.
When Ben would become angered, and his behavior would descend into blackness, he would act knowing full well that he was an unwilling agent in the dark. It wouldn’t last indefinitely, and really he didn’t like it for more than the immediate release he would feel. It would get old and tiring fast. But what matters is he wouldn’t resist it, and the dark feelings would consume his emotions for a time, and in that time, he would lash out and hate.
Mortimer, on the other hand, had always known he was intrinsically valuable. He knew he was worth the world, and could never underprove his value, no matter what he had done. He could be a destructive criminal, and he would still be a priceless soul, capable of bringing heaven down to earth, and capable of lifting others to their best selves. His joy resulted from helping others find themselves and their intrinsic power and influence for good.
At first he was more about his own needs. But quickly recognized that he wanted more lasting satisfaction, and that he didn’t need all the things that others ache for. Magic solved all that and he didn’t necessarily need magic; he found more satisfaction in the challenge of finding more reliable ways of solving problems rather than just waving a wand. He could, and wouldn’t hesitate when the need arose, but he preferred the long way round, if not just for satisfaction of exercising his mind, and gaining power over the physical mechanics of the world. This was why he loved gears and mechanisms, and the steam punk aesthetic took such a strong hold around the early part of the twentieth century. And he just loved empowering his niece, Mercury, who needed it more than anyone, due to the fact she was not born with the manifest magical gift.
Later in life Mortimer was always there in the background, providing means and support, but silently. He knew what his brother was capable of, and his unmitigated genius. He could think his way out of any situation, and he was particularly adept at magic, so Mortimer knew he’d be ok. But he knew what he lacked was love, more than anything, and that’s the most important thing that Mortimer could provide. But Ben needed to learn to love himself first.
Basically Ben always felt like he wasn’t a fully fledged man. First, he felt like he'd never had a proper role model. His father was always gone, so he was pretty much raised by his aunt. She was kind, and he owed her a lot. She it was, in fact, that disclosed their magical heritage. If not for her, he'd still be stuck in a little cottage on the remote and ignominious cliffs of southern Ireland. For some reason, he was fiercely insecure. He overcompensated because of his lack of confidence in his ability to be strong. He saw himself through a very warped lens that changed the world around him to fit his self-narrative.
Truly the problem was that somehow he had internalized the belief that he wasn’t valuable intrinsically; that it was only through his actions that he had value. Only he had no interest in behaving within social constraints, and that caused the problem to worsen.
So he lived in resentment and became withdrawn and irritable to those who lacked to insight into who he was on the inside. He didn't always show it on the outside, but within his mind, he was almost always brooding.
In time, once he began to integrate his anger, and take ownership for his personal intrinsic responsibilities, putting boundaries on those who otherwise would coerce and abuse him, he began to feel stronger. He owned himself, loved himself, and did what was essential to defend and protect that central part of himself that made rules and expressed the desires of his soul.
Eventually, it wasn't until he gave himself room to just forgive himself and to give up his need to desire others to change and accept his status wherein he was unable to otherwise affect change. It was at this point he found a balance and a joy in living, and was ok with the world and at peace with himself.
He still had moments of frustration when he'd have to relive his process, but overall he had a power and peace that he'd never known until this point in his life.
As his brother came into himself, Mortimer could now share and discuss more with him, and they had an open dialogue and active collaboration that previously had been limited or stilted. It was like nothing they had ever experienced. They had such unity of purpose that often they wouldn't even need to speak in order to know what the other was thinking. Life, as far as they saw it, was full and overflowing, and joyful and productive; they could do so much more together than apart, and they flourished.
The brothers developed their understanding together; as Ben healed from his wounds, Mortimer would share what he found. And Ben’s intense intellectual capacity would pull apart the ideas and add new insights, and the brothers would come to new conclusions, and talk as if they were one mind. Ben would hesitate, being overly reliant on his intellect, and Mortimer would bias towards friendship and faithfulness as he wasn’t in his fully actualized self. Mercury was raised by the two of them once Ben’s wife left. Her birth and subsequent lack of magic finally caused Ben to reconcile his weakness for magic, and see his brother’s tendency to stray away from magic as the solution to his predicament. They were one through the problem of Mercury’s birth.
Over time, they were a team, two sides of the same coin, and complimenting each other in their heyday. Initial dysfunction and tendency towards the dark gives way to equal appreciation of one another, and solid Christmas moments at times, even amidst the flow of Halloween.
The Blackburn Boarding House
for Witches, Ghouls, and Monsters
The Blackburn Boarding House was established in the year 1888, when the brothers Blackburn determined to purchase a permanent residence after years of gypsy-like wandering.
Benjamin had always expressed a desire to provide a place where he might better provide protection for the many dark and damaged creatures that tended to find him and follow him home. So his brother and primary financier, Mortimer, obliged and they settle down.
They chosen Springville as a place of operations, mainly for the benefit of it being largely out of the main flow of the regular goings-on of the larger non-magical community. Experience had informed this decision; the isolation of Utah hadn't spared them completely from the influence and impact of the greater magical community that they had wished to leave behind so many years previous.
And while the brothers had had many friends come to stay with them over the years, to their great mutual benefit (some had even stayed with them long term), none of these characters had expressed an interest in achieving with them a permanent situation.
In fact, until setting up the boarding house, the twins had always agreed that permanent housing for anyone other than themselves and their family would be strictly out of the question. (Not only was it a great risk to the local community have unhinged dark creatures about, but with Benjamin's history, it was always important to do what they could to avoid drawing the gaze of the national wizarding authorities.)
But after devising an elaborate magical network of spells of concealment, as well as a strict promise from Benjamin that he would impress upon the boarders in the strongest way possible the most stringent standards of conduct, Mortimer relented, and assisted his brother in building up this safe-house for those fortunate creatures whom his brother so desperately wanted to help.
Master Mortimer's Magical Mercantile
When Mortimer Blackburn arrived on the shores of North America he had already had an idea of what he wanted to accomplish in his life. He didn't know what it would be, or how it would look, but he had a pretty good idea of the direction he would go. He wanted to start a store. He'd already found entrepreneurial success as a small business owner as a student. His wheeling and dealing had accomplished a lot in the short time he'd spent at his old alma mater. And there were a few students who would never forget him, for good or ill.
But this was no Hogwarts, and he was no longer a child. But the same wit and enthusiasm that had made a name for him would come in handy once again as he navigated and negotiated this new frontier.
So the magical mercantile as we know it first was started out of need. Mortimer was a fresh new emigrant trying to make heads or tails of his new home, and having a bit of a time of it. Everything was unfamiliar, and his tendency to avoid use of magic was a bit of a tax, at least from the perspective of his fellow wizards. He did admittedly use it in the initial set up of the tent, but as usual, he was very careful to avoid it whenever he could. He wasn't not a wizard, and he was wise enough to use it when that reality presented a need.
But rule number one for success in his first merchandizing attempts was this: don't rely on magic when something more practical will do. Too many wizards rely so heavily on magic that they undercut themselves! That's where his specialty shined: not all magic solves problems, and not all problems are truly benefitted by magic (as we know it).
He'd also learned to never use it in regards to relationships; magic was no substitute for a friend, and love comes of no involuntary spell (or at least its a magic for beyond the corporeal stuff he'd been taught by his instructors). Even in running the business he learned quite quickly that to rely on magic could be a short cut to pain and headaches (a saying he would pick up later from one of his World War II companions was, "Easy come, easy go.") Whenever possible, it was always better to establish understandable, repeatable systems, rather than wave a wand at his problem.
His father had been in the merchant/shipping business, and Mortimer had spent a summer with him after leaving school "prematurely" (not his words) on deck of his ship, or the ship he was commissioned on. It was definitely more than he had expected, but exactly the kind of "education" he'd left school in search of.
That little adventure on the high seas had ultimately bourn fruit in a relationship with some rather gregarious and friendly American chaps who'd also invited him and his father to come see them in America.
He'd reconnected with these friends upon his arrival, but had be set on making his own way.
The Blackburn Academy of
the Magical Arts
Learning has always been important in the Blackburn Family, but the means whereby that was accomplished took on different forms.
For the record, Mr. and Mrs. Blackburn were very supportive of the choices of their sons, for as far as their role extended. Those roles were quite important, if severely limited.
The essential thing to understand about this family was that magic was unusually kept back from their children. Not out of a cruelty, or a warped sense of control, but rather to help them to get more out of life.
Coming from a long line of well practiced and capable witches and wizards, Mrs. Blackburn had become disillusioned and apathetic towards the traditions of her people. She had seen so many of her kind become dismissive and complacent. Most wizard-kind really had little deference and no respect towards themselves and what it meant to be magical. It was almost like life didn't matter to them. And when you can just wave a wand to solve your problems, who could blame them?
She saw apathy everywhere she looked, and she wanted to solve this. It just so happens that at that time, there was a movement of like-minded witches and wizards who as a group had decided it was better to reject magic entirely. They'd live and work together, using the old ways of taking care of themselves. They believed it was better to live without an easy solution, learning to appreciate the difficulty and struggle of life than to skate by without a care, and waving your problems away with the flick of a wrist.
This idealistic and motivated woman set out to live her convictions, literally snapping her wand in half and burning all her books, parchments, and every trace of her magical training, clothing, and culture. She'd already met and married someone without a scrap of magical ability, moved away from her home town, and proceeded to distance herself from her family in order to make a fresh start. Then she'd gotten pregnant, and had set out to have a completely natural childbirth.
But as things go, reality was so much harsher than even a witch hippy might plan for. Conditions surrounding her pregnancy had made her susceptible to complications even a twentieth century physician might miss, and she was expecting twins. And before a competent wizarding midwife might be apparated in, she passed. She had a chance to hold her boys, but soon after gave up the ghost, bequeathing in her way this new tradition of understanding and vitality to her sons.
And so this is how, only a short time later, a kind but overwhelmed woman had found herself helping raise twin baby boys in an unfamiliar but not so distant land. Aunt Sarah was not the kind of woman to deny the last wishes of a dying sister. In fact, she had been the only one she'd trusted to know where she was living when the sad word came that her sister had died. While the family had discounted and undermined her sister, she had seen value in her philosophy, and had respected her for her character. And she had kept her word: raise the boys outside of wizardry in order to give them a life of meaning.
At least she had done her best. Life in early nineteenth century Ireland was not easy for anyone, let alone magic folk with no history of the menial ways of non magic people. But for a single woman like her, (her brother-in- law was at sea most of the year) it was downright awful.
But she did her best, and got by for the most part. At least for the first couple years. But two young boys take the wind out of the best parents, and she was only one. Plus, to not be able to use witchcraft to solve so many problems was just a tragedy, and deep down, she couldn't deny that she had these thoughts.
However, she was justified in being quite proud of herself. She had done so well! She had become quite good at milking a cow, and sewing. But she was rubbish at keeping house; it always was getting on top of her. So much so, that on one dark evening, she finally gave in and pulled out her dusty wand.
And no consequences followed. The boys slept soundly, and she had a clean house, small as it was. All the chores were done, and she could finally get to finishing that frock that had been dragging on for months! The next morning, the boys didn't notice anything (not that typical boys would).
But as these things go, she quickly grew accustom to the extra help that night. Once wasn't enough. But she was always careful to use wizardry after the boys had gone to sleep. Besides, she had promised to not teach them magic, not necessarily to use it herself!
It wasn't until a month into her reemerging wand use that, in the middle of the night, one of the boys had caught her mid-cleaning incantations (boys may not notice clean floors and dishes, but they do have a thing for dancing brooms and animated scrub brushes).
After the initial shock and attendant fear surrounding substitutionary locomotion, she had to explain herself. It took a full week before the boys would stop having her account for the entire experience in detail: the fact of what she was, how she did it, that magic was, indeed, real. That their mother was a witch, their father knew it, and that they, themselves could in fact, could learn to use it by going to a special school when they came of age. And that their aunt AND mother had both attended this school for developing wizards (and witches). And that they had kept all this from them in order to help them.
This was the part that gave them pause. Especially Benjamin.
But that was many years ago.
Fast forward to Utah, and the brothers, having had very opposite experiences at magic school, had developed diverging philosophies regarding magic, as well as the importance of formal education. Mortimer was so much more hands off, and relied more on life experience and learning-as-you-go. He also was somewhat bored of magic after his initial exposure. Granted, it could solve problems, but it kinda just got old after the umpteenth time seeing a self-propelled broom clean a floor.
Benjamin, on the other hand, was much more interested in the formality of institutional instruction. He could hardly imagine the possibilities of how magic could augment the difficult lives they had lived up until then. From that day forward, their lives were comfortable, and he remembered!
It was many years later that they came to Utah, and the first thing Benjamin sought to do was open a house of learning for kids and adults just like him. And as his brother could help organize and pay for it, they did it together. So was born the Blackburn Academy of the Magical Arts.
The Disappearance of the Island Kingdom of Atlantis
There was once a story told to young witches and wizards around the hearth about a mythical island of Avalon and its resident kingdom of Atlantis.
It was a beautiful, peaceful place in the midst of the green-blue sea where anyone who visited would be welcomed, and the people were one. This peace had not happened by accident, but had been established by the three resident peoples who had learned to master a power where no one could overcome them. They were their own masters. The secret to this power was a mystery to all except those who witnessed it firsthand. And that secret was not only to first find peace within, which led to peace without, but also other principles of love and individual responsibility and desire.
Many claimed that this island kingdom was just lucky. Many saw it as a reflection of the technology that seemed to constantly emerge. Some just claimed it was a magic spell.
And others just believed that order and unity was normal, a natural state of being that always was. These were the most ignorant of all, for they became complacent of its power. For there were many who lived on the borders of this land who were not inhabitants of the kingdom, but had ongoing relationships with those people. They trafficked in goods and services, and benefitted from their proximity to such a beautiful and terrible neighbor. The power of Avalon was unique; they never used it to conquer, only to defend, and if truth be told, to master themselves.
Now the three races of the city state were each integral to performing a role in the peace and prosperity of the city. Freedom was the benchmark of their home and public life, and few rules were needed to keep this order in place. Each person was individually oriented to do good and to watch out for his neighbor.
Over the years, as the city grew and the population swelled, the city improved more and more as the peoples worked together. And then suddenly one day, it just up and vanished.
Nobody knew exactly what happened. It was as if a giant had scooped it up and tossed it into the sea. Not all of the island was gone, just everything within and a part of the city walls. Bricks, buildings, businesses, homes, and people, all gone. In its place was a giant hole of sorts that had filled in as if to be a lagoon. In fact, to those who had never visited, they began to say that the city had never been, and the story was the results of old wives tales.
And yet, despite disbelief in the disappearing city, there was an unmistakeable magic at play in what remained of the island; odd and peculiar things were reported that could not be explained. For instance, it seemed that all four seasons existed at the same time at different places on the island. Granted, there were some particularly tall peaks in the middle of the island, and it was rather large generally. But not that large. In fact the apple trees, which later became a signature icon of the place, could be found in all four states of grow: fruiting, flowering, falling, and bare.
Another phenomenon that was noticed over time was that anyone complacent enough who took up residence on what was left of the island would lengthen their days, and honestly seem to never grow a day older. This wasn't recognized for many, many generations, at least not until the superstitions that grew up around the city's removal had been whitewashed from history. Still, the island took on a otherworldly quality.
But once the people were gone, the competing nation states that had previously attempted to overwhelm Avalon came to bear. They came to the island and drove off the remnants, who were not prepared to defend, and were not well organized. These conquerors wished to hold the secrets of Avalon, and thought that in taking the land, they would have the power. And while the land itself had mystic properties, they only went so far. The secrets, if any were to be held, was in the people. But anyone who may have known these secrets had left when they scattered the people who had been left.
These remnants of the three peoples had fled to the mainland, and gone into hiding before the invading peoples ever knew what had happened. They had learned many things in their time in the city!
But before they left, this remnant put one more spell on the island: though it would offer eternal life to those who stood upon its shores, it would be cloaked forever more from the eyes of anyone who came looking for that supernal gift. Once they'd left its beaches, the island would be hidden from any and all who would seek it for material gain.
This eventually created a one-way door for any of the invading army who were homeward bound. Only for those who stayed indefinitely could the island have any value, and the blessing of eternal life was held back from the mundane world.
At first the three peoples attempted to stick together in their wanderings, but without the standard of the city and its inhabitants, and the principles they taught, these remnants strayed far from the ideals that had held them together, and the bond of their peace and prosperity was broken. And two of the three peoples were lost, forgotten in the sands of time.
All that was left were the Sidhe. And that was how wizarding came to be.
And it is said that when the days of the world are come to an end, that the three magical lost peoples would join together once more, and together would bring back the days of Atlantis, and found a new kingdom once again.
The Scattering of the Sidhe
Once Avalon disappeared, the remaining sidhe of that area scattered to various places. Without the protection of the city, the peoples knew it would only be a matter of time until the competing kingdoms would come upon the land with vengence.
Two groups went to deserts of the east and south. Some went to the far east. Some went north into the cold lands, and others went traveling with no land as a destination. And some stayed as close as they could, just onshore.
And some stayed. These would later regret their complacency.
The Rebirth of the Sidhe
The Flood wiped out the memories of the sidhe across the world because they had become corrupted and selfish, and had lost their way in achieving their purpose. They needed a new start, and the flood did this. They were all reincarnated, but their individual memories were wiped. However, the centers of knowledge were left behind, and could only be accessed and benefited from by those who find the key to it. And servants of the Jann were the only way. They would be shown who they really were, but only under certain conditions they might fulfill; they had set it up in this way with the knowledge that some day they would be wiped out, and they wanted those who would come to be able to find it and learn who they were and achieve their ultimate purpose.
The Mortimer goes on a search to find the land of Atlantis. He even goes under water to figure out from the mer people that Atlantis never was under water, and that it never sunk into the ocean. It leads him back up above ground, where he eventually learns that it might have been taken up.
The Founding and Fall of the Kingdom of Numeria
After Atlantis and Avalon had been taken, those kingdoms who had wished to overtake them set up their own city on the perimeters. This city was only a shadow of the previous, but was a sight to behold in its own right. But this city was set up to dominate, to rule, and as it goes with an city with coercion at its center, it eventually fell. It was the great wave that ultimate destroyed them. The remaining sidhe had been also corrupted by this city. Those who were left that still inhabited that land were reborn, as their curse was to be ever born again until they fulfilled their purpose. These naturally lost all recollection of their previous lives, and had to begin again in the way all natural creatures come into this world.
The Numerians were long lived, but once they began having children, they lost the sight of the realm and faded. They built a shadow version of the beautiful city of Avalon, but it was built on a corrupt foundation.
As the spells of protection laid by the various sidhe were initially complacent, the places they built weren't always hidden completely from the world at large. All peoples slipped in an out of these lands for a time, and were difficult to differentiate from the primary world, until they became more defined and separated as they learned from experience not to trust outsiders.
And so it was that it was only after this period of destruction that even the forward looking and thorough cloaking spell of this island came into full effect.
Domination by the Djinn
Ever since the world began, there has been a force lurking in the backs of cupboards and in the dark beneath the foundations of buildings where secrets lie in wait to haunt and possess us. It broods and breathes fire into the darkness and corrupts the intent of jealous lovers and selfish businessmen, the disgusting impenetrable fortresses of kings and the dank, and the smelly lairs of selfish wart-covered witches.
The force that binds them all is that of the Djinn. Born before the foundations of this world, they were banished here for a time to tempt and try those embodied for a higher and holier purpose: to see if they, through their experience, could prove to themselves what they were made of, and in turn act for good in the creation of Creators from their fellow man.
The evil of the world can be boiled down to one force. While individuals choose to embrace evil, the spirits that seduce and keep them there are these creatures who act upon them with wills of their own.
The djinn do not have material frames, but can take over the corporeal bodies of others if they can be successfully subjegated and acted upon.
But they do not act without a counterpart. Also sent to this earth are the djann, the angels that act in opposition to the forces of evil. These beings are never acted upon by this world, but act as agents of light and truth to enable and empower those who seek their help and honor the principles that govern the higher realm from which they come. Never coercing, always inviting.
The djann and djinn have been around since the dawn of time, and have accompanied man and sidhe and collaborated in all their stories and each of their actions, whether good or bad.
The djinn have been planning a take over of the entire earth, and act through others in bringing about those ends. In the twentieth century, they begin to see their chance to take ultimate control. Certain systems invite and entertain these creatures by the principles at play and employed by those means.
And in the twenty-first century, they are plotting to take ultimate power. Once all the systems bow to the patterns harnessed by this evil race, they will have mastery and control over all those who subject themselves to them.
Once before, in ancient antiquity, they took over completely, save a single family. The world was wholey flooded and given another chance to act independent of the immediate influence of the djinn.
But despite their plans, there is a day prophesied that the king of the djinn and his minions would be bound for a thousand years and good magic would abound, and wisdom and knowledge would flow, and the earth would be filled with joy and rejoicing.
The days of Atlantis and Avalon will return and the three magical peoples will act as one to bind the djinn and build at last a peace that will last for untold generations.
The Species and Variations of the Sidhe
Of the three magical peoples the most varied and unique of all three is the Sidhe, (pronounced "shee" in Irish).
There are many types of beings, creatures, and monsters that are technically included amongst the sidhe. The Sidhe pretty much is a being that manifest magic of themselves or in their being in a physical way is part of the sidhe. Wizards, witches, faeries, phoenixes, thunderbirds, elves, trolls, zombies, vampires, were-people, were-wolves, were-cats, or were-chickens, banshees, leprechaun, clurichaun, little people, goblins, orcs, or anything that waves a wand, conjures a spell, awakens a curse, or exists or awakens through the practice of outwardly manifest magic is included in the sidhe. There is not a comprehensive list of shee, as not all have been found and categorized. But fauns, centaurs, minotaurs, harpys, sirens, satyrs, krampii, talking animals generally, cheshire cats, mermaids, chimaeras such as griffins and hippogriffs, manticores, pegasus, jabberwocky, yetis, sasquatch, jackalope, basilisk, chupacabra, selkies, wyrms, wyverns, dragons, and lungs are all included. Not least, nor to be forgotten are man-eating plants, as well as many other odd and bizarre magical plants of many shapes, colors, sizes, and countries of origin.
They can be intelligent, stupid, humanoid, animal, and plant. They can look normal and act magical, or be fantastic, and just look bizarre. The thing that unites them is their ability to conjure and/or manifest magic in a physical way.
It almost begs the question what isn't sidhe.
Humans are not sidhe, but there may be those who appear to be.
Jinn are not sidhe, but can act through them.
The Sidhe evolved much like life did; beginning with basic shapes and filling niches, specializing until it no longer served a purpose, to die and have its niche filled by something else. Actually the sidhe only die when their purpose has been filled, and are reborn, or reincarnated until they serve their purpose. They then can die and go to the world beyond this one.
Establishing the Northern Kingdom
The northern kingdom, as its affectionately called, was initially meant as a temporary outpost for Kris Kringle because the Blackburn Brothers had run out of space in their southern digs. It was made up of a hodge podge of places and resources based in the mountains of what would become northern Idaho and western Montana in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
Benjamin and Mortimer had mining operations established there initially, and had decided to create a place where they might stay while they managed the various duties of business there. They'd then made it available to Kris as a temporary home. The area really grew on him, so much so that he decided to put down roots there long term. He first expanded the location, but in time realized it might be wiser to build something a little more isolated. He decided on a little hamlet and built it to be quite the lovely little village.
This initial attempt at a permanent workshop was foiled in 1910 by the Great Burning, when his hunters finally caught up with him and attempted to destroy his work.
Despite his city being largely spared from the fire due to his many safeguards and committed magical friends, he figured it was only a matter of time until they discovered his hideout. So he fled even further north, where he works to this day.
But the work Kris and company had put into this area did not go unused or unappreciated, even once he had left. With the coming of various creatures looking for refuge, he'd worked with the Blackburns to build various safe houses and given place for societies of various fantastical creatures and groups from the very beginning of his arrival up north.
In fact, these groups had become quite a convincing front for St. Nick, inasmuch as they all had his back, and were enthusiastic to divert and deceive the corrupt magical entities that made their presence known all too often. So even if he'd liked, Kris could have remained in the northern kingdom without much fear. But he did enjoy openly walking the streets of the home that came after, inasmuch as its total isolation, as well as more than adequate protective barriers to warn him of any intruders within a thousand miles.
It was after Kris left and was founding this later base that the largest influx of magical and mystical creatures made their way to the northern kingdom. With the wicked and wiley devices of the djinn at work in the mid and late twentieth century, many, many creatures and beings bid farewell to their homes in the old countries in search of much more freedom and stability that was promised them through the channels they communicated through. It was by this means that so many magical creatures once only known in the lands of Europe and Asia came to stay and live in the wild woods of the northern kingdom.
The Great Magical Migration
In the early days of the Blackburn Brothers' protection of the ostracized and rejected dark creatures they found, they never could have imagined where that protective and paternal instinct would have led them. But as it happens, one good thing leads to another, and before they were fully aware of it, this bastion of freedom and security they had established in the top of the mountains became a fully fledged depot for monsters, creatures, and all sorts of fantastical people and beings on the run from the real monsters and tyrants that emerged in the twentieth century throughout Europe and Asia. And it wasn't just the dictators, but the spirits or jinn who possessed them; if it had just been normal, average humans doing terrible things, these beings would have had no issue with keeping them in check. But because they were possessed by such powerful and evil beings as the dark jann, or djinn, they were powerless, and had to run or face extinction. Even some dragons run in the presence of the djinn. The djinn had power that the sidhe could not fathom, and had never found out how to best.
So it goes, that the Blackburn Brother's small setup became a portal through which the majority of magical creatures in the old countries came seeking protection and a place to be themselves in peace.
Luckily through the instrumentality and prescient foundations established to serve the earlier needs of Kris Kringle, they had what they needed to orchestrate such a massive and unprecedented flight of so many peoples and individuals. And of course, magic came in handy, despite Mortimer's somewhat reluctance to do so. Magic does as magic requires, he'd say. And Benjamin's adept knowledge finally came in handy as the need for systems, processes, and magical places came to pass, and the magical folk of the north, as they became, gained safety and sanctity in their new home.
The Lost Train of Milwaukee: Line 431
As it goes, sometimes accidents are made, and solutions to the resulting problems come out of the otherwise unfortunate circumstances. So it might not come as a surprise that in the midst of establishing means of bringing the many diverse and sometimes large creatures into the land of the north, the Blackburn Brothers made some mistakes.
It was while attempting to reliably bring some very large magical creatures into the land of the north that one of the many trains that traversed that section of the wild at that time accidentally made its way into a land it had never before seen. Before anyone knew it, the engineer and all the folks aboard that unfortunate victorian passenger train were introduced to the crazy and bizarre land of dragons. And rather than wipe the memories of these folks, their kindness and receptivity to the odd and wonderful land they'd become witnesses of made them prime candidates to become some of the first non magical residents of the magic world. This wasn't the first, nor the last, but this group was one of the ones responsible for train transport becoming much more common in wizarding communities.
Basically, somebody casts a spell on the tunnel and wasn't paying attention to what was coming down the tracks at that very moment, and the train goes through it and is never seen again. The tale of the lost Milwaukee steamer is told til this day. Its whistle is sometimes heard on icy cold mornings and in late summer evenings at dusk.
To this day, it transports the peoples and creatures of the area to and from within their now diverse and burgeoning community.
The community eventually expands well beyond the northern kingdom, and opens up communities abroad as the work of the djinn comes to an end.
the Reunification of the Three Peoples
The principles of truth that Mortimer and Benjamin discover by accident through practical and theoretical learning. Chancing upon through the discovery of fractals, the arts, quantum physics, the historical patterns of history, and the golden ratio. Imply their birth connection to King Solomon by the inheritance of the ring, as well as the fact that their daughter, Mercury is non magic, meaning the three types of magic live within them already, they just need to recognize the principles, and live them; they have the shadow of the Great Alchemist with them. Solomon was a representative of the Jann. Joseph Smith demonstrates that he is one of the Jann as well. Moses is a Jann. Elijah was a Jann. He was human, he was also a jann. Christ was all three, jann, sidhe, and human.
The racism of their culture. The biases of keeping back non magicals and the principles that unite them; these are "magical" principles that are just as important to non magicals as to magicals.
The otherness of not only other magical creatures, but of entire races of magic only recognized upon a second glance. Discovery of the lost people by recognizing that these principles apply to non magicals even more so than to magicals; Mercury becomes the bridge of thought.
The story of the separation of the ancient magical races and the fall or dissolution of Avalon/Atlantis.
The brothers begin to recognize that they might be playing a key role in bringing together of the ancient races in one as they build a place of safety built incidentally on the foundation of these principles giving all a chance to learn; them working together to provide a place of freedom, safety, and joy and creation.
* * *
Well after the dissolution of Avalon and Atlantis, many sidhe have attempted to reunite the three magical peoples and again bring about Avalon, but in their conceit had looked down at muggles and considered them lesser; they discounted them and did not discern their true identity. The incomplete knowledge and their own lack of character kept them from this lofty ambition.
But being well outside the culture, conventions, and traditions of the wizarding community, the brothers were able to see past the biases and false ideas of their culture. They were open minded enough to see the other magical peoples for what they were, and to value them and recognized the part they might play in the bringing back of Avalon and Atlantis from the old days.
And so alchemy was almost an accidental discovery for them. They had already found the mechanics that undergirded magic and helped non magical students to tap their potential. They just didn't know what it was.
Even alchemy as it stood when they found it was flawed from what they'd found worked. They could tell there were a few things that had become warped over the years. Once they changed them, they adopted the name of Alchemy, seeing this as the closest approximation to what they were doing. But they called it New Alchemy, or alchemy as it was taught once upon a time. They believed that what they taught was the most ancient and fundamental foundation of magic.
What is Alchemy?
Alchemy is the science of change in the world. It is internal, and it is external, but not necessarily at the same time. It is the study of and the implementation of the principles that bring about change. It encompasses the means, the principles, and the motivation that inhabit us. It is control, and it is being controlled, and the wisdom to know which and when and why. It incorporates the methods, meaning, and the means that bring about those changes. It is mechanics and methods and motivation. It is the knowledge and wisdom. It is the power to master the fundamentals of reality.
Specifically, wizarding magic is a manifestation of the power and principles of Alchemy, but not Alchemy itself. Alchemy enhances and inhabits magic, but magic is also a medium, not the means. Alchemy is the mechanism that manifests through magic. Without the principles of alchemy, magic falls flat.
Alchemy most easily is describe by the elements of wind, water, earth, and fire, and they must be learned in this succession and trajectory. The first three are forms of success and diminishing reactions to outside influence and composed of preparatory principles whereby the learner might progress in advancing his later learning.
Alchemy is not an art exclusive to the sidhe, but applies to all magical peoples. This is because it is even more fundamental than magic, encompassing it, but it is ultimately beyond it.
It is not only the power to react, but to create and ultimately act upon. In fact, it is creation, or the power undergirding creation, or creativity.
It is accessible to all who might have the desire and potential to create.
Alchemy took many diverse and deviant forms over the years. It was possessed by the three magical peoples in the days of Avalon and Atlantis, so naturally when those places disappeared or dissolved, the traditions ended. But the scattered sidhe took those traditions with them as they looked to build new places of safety and security. But the only way to learn the fundamentals was for those principles to be found in the places it was left by those who had gone before, and to channel the power implied by the avenues where living light flowed.
The Emerald Tablet
There is a tradition amongst the alchemists of old. It is told of an emerald tablet that upon which was inscribed all the secrets and solutions to the mysteries of alchemy. Many have sought it, and few ever claim to have found it.
In their travels and pursuits, the brothers seek this, but only after much trouble and some luck did they ever learn what it was. In fact, they had chanced upon it well before they knew what it was. For the emerald tablet was not a stone inscription that could be carried, rather it was a place: A land. In fact it was the Emerald Isle, and it housed the knowledge of these people, ready to be found by anyone who was prepared to live according to the standard and find its hidden wisdom.
As the sidhe were lost, and the people forgot the profound lessons at the heart of alchemy, a plague overtook the people. They forgot what true alchemy was. It was replaced with an earth bound philosophy and dead idea, that of Greek Fire. It was the belief that through the strength of his mind alone, man and sidhe could divine the purpose and meaning of life, and fulfill his purpose as he saw it. This was gravely wrong, in that it did not account for the existence of the third magical being, the djinn. Ignorance did not rule out or negate their influence, in fact it made it more sinister and subtle. While the djinn would now avoid taking physical form, they still had just as much power over the unwitting receiver. This mistake left the followers of Greek Fire open to control by the dark fire of the djinn, who they were totally oblivious to. This philosophy was rooted in and initiated by a corruption of the transmutation of lead into gold and solidified by the use of alchemy to master power of one man over another by threat of death.
Identity of the Three Magical Peoples
The three magical peoples are the Sidhe, Jann, and Man. All three races are magical, though it manifests in different ways.
Sidhe are wizards and witches, but also centaurs, faeries, elves, house elves, and any and all fantastical creatures of all kinds.
Humans are, well, humans. The dreary, mediocre, and average people often referred to as "muggles" in the stories of J.K. Rowling.
The Jann are the disembodied spirits that control, possess, and influence this physical world. They can deceive, empower, or enlighten. In biblical texts they are referred to as either angles or demons. In arabic stories, they call evil jann by the name "djinn" or genies. These forces manifest in the physical world by those representatives who invite and allow their influence. They can influence both human and sidhe, so their magic can be either through ideas, or through spells and sparks.
The Blackburn Brothers met individuals from all three peoples in their travels. They themselves were sidhe but have a human father. They met those under the influence of the jann, and learned to distinguish the influence of good and bad of that race.
Why A New School?
The founding of Masters Mortimer and Benjamin Blackburn's School for the Alchemical Arts is a curious thing to consider. The Blackburn Academy of the Magical Arts had a long and useful history in the world of witches and wizards in the West. But eventually the time came that it needed to be improved upon.
But why change the name? Because the scope changed, or widened much much further than its original goal. Mainly it was the shift from focusing exclusively on magic arts to alchemy.
This is an important distinction. Magic is a subset of alchemy, while alchemy incorporates a deeper set of skills and understand that applies in realms far beyond that of magic.
It was important to the Blackburns that their educational approach incorporate a wider interpretation of what they term to be "magic."
While tradition magical schools isolate themselves exclusively to the teaching of witches and wizards as they define them, the Blackburns shifted their focus from this to allowing all peoples to be taught. And yet focus on teaching in this way doesn't deter a witch from developing one's magical abilities; it is from studying the principles of alchemy that witches and wizards to be true masters of their craft.
* * *
Even in his early days at his alma mater, Mortimer Blackburn had felt there was something weird about the idea of limiting education to witches and wizards. For one, house elves were obviously far superior in their inherent abilities, and yet they got put in a box so-to-speak by the self-assured wizards of the magical community.
Beyond this, he'd always felt like the definition of what they even considered magical to be terribly limited. Granted, the magic of the wand waving sort was sensational, but honestly it kind of grew tiresome once you got past the sparks and shimmery lights. He saw a numbness and complacency in his fellows that he couldn't shake. This is partly why he ended up leaving early; he wanted more, and though he wouldn't have describe it like this then, he grew anxious for a deeper connection to life.
As he explored and gained experience, he became convinced more and more that he was on to something.
He found that those who had a heavy reliance on "magic"(as they considered it) were at a gross disadvantage to those who didn't. At least they were just less likely to actually think to solve problems. Knowing they could just wave a wand, they grew lazy and were prone to bullyish behavior. And with all the regulation and laws surrounding wizarding behavior, it was far more sensible to at least mix magic with other unregulated means aka. using your brain to solve problems. (So many times it was those who would never be thought of as magical amongst wizard kind that had saved his backside)
This different kind of magic was inward: a gift of creativity and resourcefulness and ability to adapt to any situation. Rather than just waving a wand at a problem, he'd learned to think and imagine solutions to situations on the fly in a way that no wizarding instructor in a cold castle could ever teach him.
This ability was hard won though, and he wondered if he and Ben might be able to incorporate some formality into the process of learning in order to help students of all peoples and backgrounds to gain the insights and skills they sought.
But more than just advocating street smarts, Mortimer had learned a deeper formal knowledge and system of teaching along the way that not only incorporated magic, but illustrated on the deepest level how to negotiate and harness the power within and without that is available to all who subject themselves to its truth.
That formal system was alchemy in ancient days. Alchemy wasn't exactly a formal science when the brothers came upon it in is disparate forms. It was actually pretty broken. And not everything they were taught was actually relevant. But the idea of alchemy seemed to be everywhere. Glimpses of it seemed to be woven into a variety of places and stories, always on the borders, but never at the center of the story. Occasionally it would play into the story more directly, but at first it was subtle.
In retrospect, they didn't see it for what it was because it first had to be discovered inside them; rule number one of alchemy is that it is only truly understood as it is experienced or practiced. But along the way, they got just enough to teach them what they needed to know, but never enough to know it all at once. It wasn't until they had sufficient experience and showed adequate strength of character that they could finally piece it all together.
And so Master Mortimer and Benjamin Blackburn's School for the Alchemical Arts was born, or rather, reborn.
Inheriting the Alchemical Tradition
The first exposure Mortimer had to practical alchemy was on a trip to Africa. His father had taken him on one of his merchant voyages after Mortimer had withdrawn from school in his fourth year. They had be sailing the waters off the coast of West Africa when they were captured by Barbary pirates. This had led to their imprisonment, and though Mortimer was, in fact a wizard, it did them little good; his father wasn't, though he knew of the laws of wizard kind, and had encouraged his son to lock his wand in the captain's quarters where he wouldn't be tempted to use it and court trouble from the magical authorities. It was bad enough that he'd not encouraged his son to keep to his studies, but to be caught using magic before his time was not something he'd wanted to be responsible for. Besides, it was more his son's style to find other means to solve problems rather than waving them away. His wife would have been proud. But in this situation, it had gone from bad to worse, and they were both beginning to wonder if leaving the wand on the ship was a mistake.
Mortimer had even been sold into a caravan, and while trekking across the Sahara, he'd been saved by a shadowy dark figure who hunted with a hawk. This was an alchemist as he would later learn. While in his charge, Mortimer would come to learn many things. The Alchemist wasn't exactly a wizard, but he was definitely magical. But a more subtle and developed type. To say it intrigued Mortimer is an understatement, and it set a precedent that stayed with him for years. This was his first foray into the world of alchemy, or applied alchemy. Mortimer had actually learned a bit about it in school when he'd come across the subject in a book he read. Sadly alchemy isn't taught to underaged wizards, so all he knew about it came from literary sources until the unintentional stop in Africa.
And it was through the power of this alchemist that Mortimer and most of his sailing companions would escape.
Through the years, as Mortimer came into his own as an adult, he would occasionally return to see the alchemist. He was one of the few figures he sought wisdom and guidance from. What knowledge he gained from the alchemist was of great import, though it require time in order to truly solidify within him. Basically he had to get more life experience in order to truly make sense of all he taught him.
The second major manifestation of alchemy in the experiences of Mortimer came through the discovery and subsequent interactions with the Good People of his home country. He'd already begun his mercantile business, and he had been out searching for more products and customers. He found much more than that once he was introduced to this otherwise secretive world of this type of sidhe. They were monastic in nature, and quite aloof, even for sidhe. But for good reason. It was the secrets of the past that they protected with the greatest devotion. They were only a shadow of the people that once was, but a resilient remnant nonetheless. They had done their world ever so well in preserving what was left of the ancient knowledge of their people, and foresaw a day when that knowledge would blossom and return the world to its previous glory.
It was a library of knowledge housed in ceremony, cloaked in metaphor and symbol. But at its root was familiar ideas that Mortimer only had begun to grasp, though he was unaware of it at the time.
At the conclusion of his inner journey facilitated by his association with the Good People that he was led to the next stage in his knowledge of alchemy. In seeking to apply the wisdom here gained, he sought out the smiths of western Europe, the dwarves of southern Germany and the the Alps.
It took him a while to find them, seeing as their considerable protective enchantments prevented only the most ardent seekers from finding them. It was from the dwarves he learned the craft of smithing and ring making. It was through the process of working with metals and fire that he had to learn to see the application of so many of the ideas he had been learning in theory. That's because the principles of Alchemy ultimately meant nothing and fell flat unless housed in practice. This point was pivotal.
The next stage of Alchemical learning Mortimer would become familiar with was the esoteric ideas he would absorb through his association with the people who would come to be called Mormons. They incorporated in a very condensed and applied way the ideas that Mortimer had been gaining through his own study.
From this point, Mortimer began to rather confirm the ideas of Alchemy, rather than learn new things.
His trip to India and seeing mandala fractals, his exposure to Einstein and the theory of everything. He would make connections and relearn ideas that would manifest in just a little different ways, enough that it would spur revolutionary explosions of thought. Each step confirmed and fleshed out ideas he had already been considering, but gave him further confirmation of their manifestation in the natural world. He also came across other versions of what he was learning, further encouraging and showing him that he was on to something. An ancient connecting pattern of ideas and truth that united and wove together otherwise disparate things that most of the world never sees as related. It also gave him power to master the elements of the world around him, as well as the innate power within himself. He also saw the connection to his own cultural heritage of magic, and that it wasn't anything but an extension of this deeper truth that related to all people and all things.
There were other important connections with the prophecies and promises that were laid in the various traditions Mortimer came across, but they all were extensions of the knowledge and power he gained through his mastery of alchemy.
And it was later that he and his brother determined to build a school, and eventually it was patterned after these ideas Mortimer had been rediscovering.