Game Mastery


This is my character in a current Mage game.  Players of the game, please don’t read my character.  It’s one of my favorite backstories, but also one of the lengthiest.  I apologize for some of the formatting – google docs doesn’t like whitespace and I may not have caught all of its errors.

Donald d.gibs Gibson

The geek doesn’t often get the girl. Donald Gibson was the exception.

His father had insisted that he join the basketball team as soon as he began high school. Donald was small, slow, and weak but that didn’t matter because he had a knack for always being in the right place at the right time. And he *always* made the lucky shots. It was like the ball wanted to go in the net. He was never the star player, but nobody begrudged Donald his spot on the team.

Aside from games and practices Donald didn’t hang out with his team very often. They were his peers and they treated him well enough, but he never saw them as friends. Donald mostly hung out with the geeks and nerds, though he never really got their convoluted games. He’d rather create something original than play through a story on a screen. Donald had always assumed he’d end up a writer, or at least an English professor like his father, so he spent his free time writing. If the geeks and nerds were good for anything, it was proofreading. Especially if he went anywhere near fantasy or sci-fi.

Senior year rolled around and with it came senior prom. Nobody on any varsity team was allowed to go alone, or worse yet, not at all, so Donald was set up with a willing cheerleader, Katie Bennet. She was only a junior and she wore braces, but Donald wasn’t complaining – he wouldn’t have to ask anyone out himself.

Donald had a good enough time. He wasn’t sure about Katie. She was staring at Corey (captain of the team) the whole time. He was taken though and probably didn’t even notice her (and the other cheerleaders) looking on. Donald didn’t even mind Katie’s inattention. She wasn’t especially interesting and never gave any sign of being legitimately interested in him. She still might hook up with him afterwards though. This was probably Donald’s last chance to lose his virginity before graduation.

Things got worse when prom ended. The after party began. Donald got drunker than he’d ever been and Katie drank even more than he did. Worst of all, he still had to drive both of them home. The party was only a few blocks from his parents’ house and it was 4am. Drunk as he was, Donald ought to be able to handle driving home if he kept it under 5 miles an hour. Katie wasn’t ready to go home though. She insisted that now that they were alone they pull over in the parking garage down town. As was his custom, Donald obliged.

They were the only ones there. And if it wasn’t dark enough already outside, the garage was unlit to discourage trespassers and vagrants. The only thing that could stop this couple of horny teenagers from hooking on prom night was their mutual awkward shyness for each other. They must have sat there waiting for the other one to make the first move for hours. Donald wondered if Katie just wasn’t interested (she hadn’t paid attention while they danced after all) or if she just wanted him to make the first move. The more he waited the more he doubted himself. Finally, in a moment of great weakness, Donald yawned and stretched out, reaching an arm around Katie in an act of unintentional cliche. Well, at least one of us did something. He waited. And she snored.

Goddammit. Guess I did wait too long. It was some consolation that she’d probably passed out from the beers they’d had earlier. Donald got out of the car to stretch his legs and take a leak. He wondered how he’d have been able to perform if he’d had to pee the whole time.

It really was dark in this garage. He knew some of the other kids had planned to park out behind the school. This was better. It was colder out than he’d expected though. Then again he’d couldn’t remember the last time he’d been outside this late. What time was it anyway? Donald got back in the car to check.

The stranger in the front seat told him “it is pitch dark in here.”

“You are likely to be eaten by a grue.”  He echoed the video game quote before wondering where Katie went.

“Almost, but not quite,” said the stranger. “She is likely to be eaten by a grue. And you are likely to need an alibi.”

And Donald woke up. He wasn’t sure if he was on a stiff mattress or concrete. The air stank of Budweiser and vomit. He wasn’t sure which was worse. Looking around Donald saw two things. Drunk people and steel bars. Shit. He was in the drunk tank. He even recognized some of the other seniors.

“Mr. Gibson,” an officer addressed Donald from outside the cell. “You’re awake. We need to talk.”

Donald Gibson was let out of the cell and led down a dim corridor with a scuffed tile floor. He sat in a green room with a single overhead light and a one way mirror. It was straight out of a movie.

Donald sat for a long time. He wasn’t sure if that made this more or less serious.

Two men in suits entered the room. “Donald? I’m Mr. Hetfield. This is Mr. Ulrich. Would you care to tell us what happened last night?”

Donald began. He told them about the prom and the party. Then leaving the party and sitting in the car with Katie. “And then we both passed out, I think. That must have happened because I can’t remember how I got to the station.”

“Did you take anything besides alcohol? Marijuana or acid perhaps?” asked Hetfield.

“No, never.”

“Then you’re sure that everything that you just told us actually happened? You leaving the party at 2, driving across town, and letting your prom date fall asleep?”

“Yeah .. um .. yes. Sir”

“So then how do you explain officer LeBrie finding you passed out on the lawn where the party took place at 2:08 in the AM?”

“Uh. I can’t. Maybe we left earlier than I thought?”

“No. Several of your cohorts said that you and Miss Katelyn Bennet left just before 2am.”

“Okay… Maybe we came back to the party after we went to the garage?”

“No. It’s a 15 minute drive each way and you said you were taking it slowly.”

The detectives were frustrating. They repeatedly denied Donald’s assertions and offered no information of their own. He knew they were getting at something, but without telling him what that was Donald was in no position to help them get there. “Well, what does Katie say happened?”

“That’s just the problem, Mr. Gibson. Katie didn’t come home last night.”

Donald was quiet.

“She was seen leaving with you at 2:00am. You were found unconscious on the lawn, alone, at 2:08. We don’t know what to make of your story at this point.”

Donald didn’t know what to make of it either. He didn’t think that telling them about the grue would help his case. “What about my car?”

“Your girlfriend is missing and you’re worried about a Subaru?” The detectives looked at each other then back at Donald.

“No. Well, she isn’t my girlfriend, just my prom date. But anyway, where was my car? Is it in front of the Holland family’s lawn or is it in the parking lot as I described?”

The car was in the parking lot as Donald described. It was even in the spot he remembered, but Donald didn’t tell the detectives that. The theory they went with was that Donald passed out after leaving the party and Katie took his car, possibly with someone else, to the spot in the garage. Donald must have imagined the garage based on the plans they had to go there following the party. This was made more likely by the fact that the punch served at the party had been spiked with acid.

Katie Bennet however was not found. A small amount of her blood was found in the passenger seat. The rest of her remains missing to this day. Donald Gibson was suspected for obvious reasons, but ultimately he was let go. He did have to do community service for underage drinking and attempted driving under the influence. Some people, namely Katie’s parents, remained convinced that Donald knew more than he’d let on, and they were right, but there was no evidence to support that theory.

Donald Gibson may have even been able to return to normalcy following his tragic prom night, if not for his father. Michael Gibson was the head of the philosophy department at UC Berkeley. He too believed that Donald had held back a part of the story. Unlike the Bennets, Professor Gibson had a working theory too. He explained to Donald that there is a magick in the world such that people who are awakened to magick can alter reality. He had suspected Donald was capable for quite some time, and had encouraged Donald’s tendency to be in the right place at the right time by pushing him to play sports at school. It seemed likely that Donald was subconsciously altering the game to his own advantage as he played. Finally, at the pinnacle of Donald’s high school career, he awakened, albeit in a somewhat traumatic fashion that caused the disappearance of young Miss Katie Bennet.

And what exactly did Donald Gibson think of that?

“Fuck you, dad.”

“Most people are a little happier than that when they find out they can shape the universe.”

“Most people didn’t accidentally kill their prom date.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that. She was a sleeper, and likely to stay that way. I was wondering how you felt about being a mage. Your mother and I have been waiting a long time for this day.”

“Wait. So you knew this was going to happen?”

“Not like that, no. But we did have expectations that you’d be awakening soon.”

“And you didn’t tell me about … any of it? What the fuck is wrong with you people?”

“We felt your awakening would be more, well, natural if…”

“Fuck you and your awakening! Katie is dead and the rest of the city thinks I did it and, oh wait, I DID, because you wanted some mystical bullshit to be more natural?”

The discussion went downhill from there. Donald didn’t speak to his father for weeks, but stayed cordial with his mother as she was not an actual mage; she was aware of magick but not an active participant. Most importantly, she hadn’t been the one to decide not to tell Donald about his potential until he’d awakened on his own. That summer she carried messages from Donald’s father to Donald, trying to aid his magickal development. Donald was having none of it though. He was still traumatized by Katie Bennet. As far as he was concerned he was better off avoiding magick entirely.

It would be a great understatement to say that at 17 and a half, Donald was under more stress than he could have previously imagined. He killed his prom date by some freak accident that could have been prevented. He couldn’t tell anyone what he was going through and he wasn’t ready to tell either of his parents about all of it. Bottling all this up inside would kill him deader than Katie, so he found a release. Donald kept a diary. He didn’t want paper evidence of what he’d done and he knew enough about computers to realize that he couldn’t secure one against the Internet, so Donald borrowed one of his father’s retired laptops. He kept it offline and hid his files as best he could, and then he wrote.

At first Donald wrote about prom night. He wanted to make sure he recorded what happened while it stayed fresh in his mind. So many explanations were floating around and he didn’t want to misremember what had really happened. He also wrote about magick and his arguments with dad. Having paper, or in this case a Word document, to put his ideas on helped get those ideas out of Donald’s head-space. Once Katie’s death was written down, Donald stopped dwelling on it. He still blamed his father of course, but the situation was no longer on the tip of his tongue.

Writing also gave Donald a chance to spend more time with each of his thoughts. He was a passable typist, but nobody can type at the speed of thought. Details that were glossed over in his head got several seconds of attention in his writing. Some were uninteresting, but others were worthwhile and Donald never would have found them had he kept his ideas in his own head. That was probably what Donald liked most about writing.

He wrote at all hours of the day, but found that most got done at night. He knew other people were up past midnight, but you couldn’t phone someone at that hour. Because his laptop was intentionally kept offline Donald was cut off that way too. When he wrote past midnight he was alone in the world. Just him and his writing, alone in the dark.

“It is pitch dark in here.”

You are likely to be eaten by a grue. He thought but did not say. “Who are you?”

“Just a lurking grue.”

“You ate Katie.” Donald said without emotion.

“Yes. It was dark out and I was hungry. She didn’t taste much like an adventurer though.”

He wanted to ask ‘why?’ but he already knew. Even though Donald was never an avid video game player, he did play through the Zork series several times over. Grues were lurking monsters who ate adventurers but feared the light. After losing a half dozen games to the slavering jaws of a lurking grue, Donald learned to carry a torch or other light source in his inventory in all his Zork games.

“What are you doing here?”

“I was worried you’d never ask. Usually new mages cling to the first person to tell them about magick. The way you were avoiding your father I thought you’d go back to sleeping again.”

“It was his fault Katie died.”

“Even though I ate her?”

Donald thought on that. “He should have told me about magick. I awakened that night, whatever that means, and she died. Maybe if I knew about magick I could have controlled it better.”

“I still ate her.”

“That’s just your nature. Bears eat people and I don’t hate them. Maybe if she knew what grues were she could have defended herself.” Donald pulled out his keys. Between house key and car key he kept a small blue LED light. “See?”

“You put that light down now.” The grue sounded dead serious.

“I wasn’t gonna use it. But I am curious to see what you look like.”

“Just put it away. It won’t do you any good though, you already know my appearance.”

Donald pocketed the key light. “What do you mean?”

“Grues aren’t real. We both know that. They don’t exist in your universe.”

“So I’m imagining you then?”

“In a sense, yes.”

“So I was imagining you on prom night too. I was tripping balls after all! But that doesn’t explain how Katie died.”

Donald was fairly certain the grue shrugged but couldn’t see well enough to be sure. “If you’d listened to your father when he wanted to tell you about magick you’d understand this better now.”

“If he told me about magick before it killed someone I’d have been more receptive.”

“Fair enough. The point is, your control over magick allows you to shape the universe. Grues exist in your imagination and you exerted your imagination on the universe in such a way that I came into being.”

“Wait, so I can have whatever I imagine?”

“Eventually, yes. And there are consequences. I should point out that if you were to try and summon a grue into existence right now, nothing would happen.”

“So how’d you get here?”

“Why, you awakened. I’m more than some figure of the universe that you put into existence – I’m your avatar. When you awoke I was born. I am the part of you that allows magick.”

“Kinda like a totem animal?”

“More or less.”

“So why won’t you let me see you.”

“Because light burns me. You already knew that. You also already know what I look like, from your game.”

“But Zork is text based. There’s no graphics. And I want to see what you look like in real life.”


“Why not?”

“Because I want to leave you with something to think about before our next visit.”

“Couldn’t you just tell me?”

“Absolutely not. Then you’ll see the answer but not the question. What good is that?”

“You sound like my dad.”

“As well I should. He teaches philosophy, right?”

“Yeah. Wait. What if something else bad happens and I haven’t yet figured out the answer to your question?”

“Then something bad happens and it’s your fault. If you think on what we spoke of, you’ll be wiser for it. If you simply consume what I’ve told you you’ll get nothing but a disconnected series of answers. What kind of self respecting mage wants that?”

“Oh.” They were both quiet for a long time.

“Well, dear boy, I fear it is time I must depart.”

“I have a question for you.”


“Can I call you Frank?”

“Frank?! I offer you real ultimate power in the ability to magickally shape the universe and you ask about calling me Frank?”

“Well, yeah. See, it’s from Donnie Darko. Frank is…”

“I saw Donnie Darko.”

“Well Frank is Donnie’s imaginary creepy rabbit. You remind me of him. And you only come out in the darkness, which is kinda like Darko. See it’s also word play.”

“Oh yes. I get it. It’s very droll. Ha. Ha.”

“I’ll call you something else if you like.”

“No, no. Call me Frank. I. Like. It.” The grue affectionately known as Frank enunciated each word. Donald seemed to think Frank didn’t like the name. “As I said before, I must be off. Think on what we’ve discussed. You have much to learn.”

Donald saw nothing, but felt Frank’s presence leave the room. He drew up the curtains as day broke. They hadn’t been speaking for that long, had they?

Over the coming months Donald Gibson spent most of his time thinking about the meeting with Frank. He was supposed to start classes at Boston College, but deferred until the spring semester, citing a need to ‘work things out’ following his suspicion in the disappearance of Katie Price.

Donald still wouldn’t speak to his father, but he did start listening. His father finally realized that maybe he was no longer the right person to teach Donald about magick, so he gave Donald some literature from his tradition (Hermes). What he learned only reinforced Donald’s opinion that he should have been given information upfront.

When he had a chance to sit down and document his conversation with Frank, Donald realized what Frank was getting at with the light. He’d already told Donald that he was more or less just a figment of Donald’s imagination. That meant that Frank was going to look however Donald imagined him to look. It didn’t matter that grues originated in a text only game. If he’d had a picture of a grue, Donald would have copied that into his head. Instead he had bits of text, which he pieced together into a vague image. He was fairly certain that that vague image was exactly what Frank looked like.

He didn’t like it though. If it were up to Donald he’d be allowed to see Frank, if only to confirm his appearance. Donald still had a niggling little doubt that Frank wouldn’t look how Donald wanted him to. He only had fragments of what a grue looked like, like a puzzle missing pieces. Did that mean Frank would be missing appendages? Or would those parts be filled in? What bothered Donald even more, but only after several weeks of contemplation, was that Frank knew things. If Frank came from Donald’s head, where did that knowledge come from? If Frank came with knowledge that Donald lacked, he ought to come with anatomy that wasn’t in Donald’s conception of a grue. Or maybe Donald’s understanding of an Avatar was flawed. He was starting to wish he hadn’t wasted Frank’s time by naming him Frank.

Donald felt sure that since he thought through Frank’s riddles that he’d have a meeting with the grue again soon. Donald was wrong. Frank didn’t return and Donald became even more puzzled.

Winter came and Donald’s parents shipped him off to school. He was more interested in his writing than in socializing and that alone made him more popular than he otherwise could have ever been. Donald was oft surrounded by a flock of modern idiots waiting to hear him say something deep. Maybe that was too harsh. They weren’t all idiots and they could have been just as deep as he was if they tried. While Donald was being introspective, they were watching him be introspective. He tried contemplating what came from his classes, but there wasn’t always much there. Each class might have a few interesting thoughts to play with, but he always returned to Frank when he really wanted to think. The problem with Frank was that he could never tell people the context of his conversations with Frank. He had some luck abstracting away from the context of Magick and Zork, until he realized that he was being so vague or convoluted that the other students assumed he’d gone too deep for them and told him how brilliant he was without hearing what he said. He lost all respect for them, but still enjoyed them as an audience.

Around that time Donald also started blogging. He focused on a personal blog and a news blog. The personal blog was more fun, but the political one was more important. Donald still felt strongly that people should be informed before they accidentally do something that gets their prom date eaten by a horrible monster and he felt that politics were not properly documented. Initially he tried presenting news in a totally unbiased fashion, but found that too difficult. What was more manageable was to present information along with his own biased opinion, but also document the ways in which he was biased. The students who followed him around were quick to subscribe to his blogs, but he was never sure how much they actually read them.

The semester passed and it was time for summer break. The night before Donald was to be sent home he had another meeting with Frank.”Hello, young padawan.”

“Oh, so now you’re talking Star Wars?”

“Yes! And it was incredible. I only saw the first one. Anakin’s a little lame now, but I’m sure he’ll grow out of it sooner or later.”


“You know, you can make a lightsaber. If you study your magick, that is.”

“Where did that come from?”

“It’s an incentive. I can see that you’ve thought about our last meeting, but you haven’t developed magickally at all. Usually young padawan mages take a mentor who teaches them and brings them into their tradition.”

“Oh, I read about the traditions.”

“Good. Can you name them?”

“Order of Hermes, Virtual Adept, Verbena? There’s only three right?”

“Right. If you don’t count six of them. Which would you like to join?”

“Well, I figured I could freelance. That or join the Technocracy. It seems like they’re going to win anyway. I like some of their philosophies.”

Frank looked displeased. “Go on.”

“I like the way they try to bring magick to the masses, albeit in small doses. Electricity for instance. I always thought that light switches let loose a flow of electricity to my light bulbs, which then glowed brightly. It was actually my belief in electricity and my confidence that a light bulb yields light that let me magickally conjure up light.”  Donald said with a smug grin.

“Yes. And? Why would that make you want to join the technocracy?”

“They empower everyone evenly. The nine traditions only empower those who they select. It’s elitist.”

“And the technocracy isn’t?”

“No. Like I said, they give everyone a small but equal amount of power.”

“But that power, oh so young padawan, comes from lies. They fed the world some bullshit about the flow of electrons so you can have light bulbs and TV. Yes, there is some value to the technology this provides, but it’s built on a steaming pile of grade A, unfiltered bull shit.”

Donald didn’t like the technocracy so much any more. “I suppose I’d rather have everyone able to conjure up light because they understand how the world works.”

“And the only way to do that is to teach people one at a time, as they awaken. Now are you going to find yourself a mentor or not?”

“Could you mentor me?”

“That would be a conflict of interest, so no. I’d like to though. You need it. You won’t like this idea, but you should talk to your father. He knows people.”

“He does.” Donald didn’t like the idea but he didn’t have a better one. “Hey, I have a question. Can I see you in the light?”

“We’ve been over this. And you had several months to think about it. Why would I let you burn me with light now?”

“Because I’ve been thinking. If I got to see you the last time, I would have likely confirmed what you look like and that would be the end of that. Instead I realized that I already know how you look. Whether or not you showed me your appearance under the light, the end result is the same. I know that you look exactly how I imagine you. But now I also understand why you look that way. If you took me to the end I never would have wandered the path. By leaving me in the dark, you brought me more enlightenment.”

“Very good. The padawan shows progress. So why do you still want to see me in the blinding light?”

“Because there are parts I still don’t understand. I mean, I read some descriptions of your people in the Zork games. Most of them focused on your slavering fangs and lurking presence. I drew a mental picture with that, but there are parts I don’t have. I was wondering how those blanks would be filled in.”

“Why would it matter?”

“I don’t understand it fully, but you’re a manifestation of something in my head. But you know things that I don’t. Where did that knowledge come from? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. If you physically have details that I wasn’t aware of, then you, and your knowledge, must have come from some external source, right?”

“Maybe. You’ve always used magick, no? With the light switches and television. You didn’t know it, but you were doing it. You’ve always had that power even if you were asleep to it. I come from a similar place within you, which you’re only beginning to discover.”

“I see. I think that makes sense. I’d still like to see you in light though. It would help confirm what I’ve figured out so far.”

“Well, alright. Just for a split second.” Donald handed Frank his key chain and Frank found the LED light. He pressed the button for a split second. Donald saw a savage grin of slippery white teeth as long as is finger, and then the light was gone. His eyes didn’t have time to adjust to what little light there was and so he only glimpsed the part of Frank he already knew.



“Then our time is up. Find yourself a mentor so we can have another visit.”  And Frank was gone.

Donald went back home for the summer. His father was delighted that Donald wanted a mentor and he brought him to an Order of Hermes meet ‘n greet. It was a dull affair. His father was by far the most normal person there. The rest of them were, well, hermetic. Donald appreciated their thirst for knowledge, but knew he wouldn’t fit here. Admittedly this was a relief as he would likely have spent more time with his father had he joined the Order.  None of Dad’s other friends were the least bit useful, so he went back to reading about the traditions. Maybe one of them would stick out and he could meet some of them.

And oddly enough, the Virtual Adepts did. At first he dismissed them as computer wizards. But then he read about their ability to enter cyberspace without a computer as a portal. Donald hadn’t taken much interest in computers before, but this seemed like it might somehow be applicable to his growing obsession with blogging. Then he read about the VAs’ motivation. They wanted information to be free and spread around, rather than tucked away in a library. This was what Donald wanted.  Professor Gibson was pleased that Donald had finally found a direction for his magickal development and helped him make contact with members of the VA community. None were available for mentoring services, but they were more than happy to take him on a guided tour through cyberspace. They even helped him build a VA avatar, which was a fairly accurate likeness of himself. Cyberspace was amazing and Donald couldn’t wait till he could go there on his own.

That summer Donald also went with some of his high school buddies to a convention. They promptly ditched him in favor of a Halo tournament which Donald had no interest in playing. He found his way over to various panels with various authors and was happier there than he would have been with his gamer friends. Even though he mostly wrote for blogs, writing was writing, and the established authors were fascinating. The best part was an early reading of an upcoming novel by Neal Stephenson, which he called Anathem. Afterwards Neal signed autographs for ravenous fans. Stephenson was not known for his fan service, so this was a rare treat.When Donald got to the front of the line, he was so sweaty his copy of Snow Crash was almost entirely damp.

“And who should I make this out to? Another eBay? Popular name this year.”

“Neal, I have to tell you something,” Donald said in a whisper, “It’s all real. In the book. Cyberspace. I’ve been there.” He was whispering and hyperventilating at the same time.

“I know.” And Neal Stephenson winked at him as Donald was shuffled out of line to make room for the next overeager fan.

He wasn’t allowed back in line.

Donald wasn’t even sure why he told Stephenson what he did. After that point he lost interest in the con. He made his way outside where a gaggle of goths were smoking cloves.

“You dropped this.” Neal Stephenson was standing behind him with Donald’s slightly less moist copy of Snow Crash. “And you should keep quiet in the future. Knowledge is power but it’s also dangerous. You ought not attract unnecessary attention.”

“Oh my god you’re Neal Stephenson, oh my god!”

“Yes, that. Please stop it.” The goths must not have heard Donald’s fanboyish squeal. The seemed very far away all of a sudden.

“I’m sorry. I’m new to this. I just got excited was all. But the cyber world you described in Snow Crash is real and I wanted you to know about it.”

“As I said before, I know. I’ve been there. That’s why I wrote about it. Now, didn’t your mentor ever tell you not to tell certain things to sleepers?”

“But you’re not a sleeper.”

“You didn’t know that at the time.”

“I have no mentor.”

“Then I suppose that task falls to me.” Stephenson did not look pleased.

“Wait, really?”

“I can’t let you wander around spreading secrets like that. It’s dangerous.”

“So why’d you put it in your book?”

“So people would know about it. But I let them believe it’s fiction.”

“What good is that?”

“It may not be any good. It is my belief that exposing them to cyberspace, even if it’s labeled as fiction, will open their minds to it. It may just help someone awaken.”

“But aren’t you spreading misinformation by calling it fiction?”

“I’ve thought about this for many moons. I am merely wrapping cyberspace in fiction. There are many mundane objects in my books that could exist in the outside world. A katana that Hiro might own, for instance. Such things exist, but this one was fiction. The cyberspace in Snow Crash was no different. ”

“Oh. I guess that’s not really lying then.” Donald came up with many more cases and Stephenson answered them. Donald’s head hurt in similar ways that Frank made his head hurt. But Stephenson provided answers rather than questions. He gave Donald his contact information and left. After that, Donald goes back to school for a year and then drops out. His blog is successful enough to finance him and he learns more through Stephenson than he had been in college. He remains in the Boston area with some friends who he occasionally tries to show magick to.

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