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Club Vesta Level -1 § 7-10

Club Vesta Level -1 § 7-10

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Published by Polaris93
Club Vesta. Level -1. § 7-10. Eshda becomes solidly established in Seattle. Lu' Skua comes to visit -- by herself.
Club Vesta. Level -1. § 7-10. Eshda becomes solidly established in Seattle. Lu' Skua comes to visit -- by herself.

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Published by: Polaris93 on Jun 24, 2010
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05/12/2014

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Yael R. DragwylaFirst North American rightsemail: polaris93@aol.com10,160 wordshttp://polaris93.livejournal.com/
Club Vesta:A Journey Beyond the Mountains of Madness to Find aSea of Stars(Love-Letter to America)
Level -1: The Gateway
§ 7
And so it was, about three weeks later, on fine Saturday morning, that Janie and I headed north in aU-Haul I’d hired, everything I owned and some of Janie’s aboard it, Gomez snoring away in hisoversized carrier in the bin just behind the front seat. Trailing behind us came Lu’ and Erik in their littlestation wagon, three other cars filled with friends from the dojo, and even dear old Mr. Thaddeus in aDatsun he’d leased, all of whom wanted to see my new store and do the tourista trip in Seattle. (Mr.Thaddeus, sniffling a little when I gave notice and told him why, told me he felt like I’d been a daughter to him, etc., etc., he couldn’t bear to lose me, so of course I told him I’d be more than happy to work withhim at long distance, finding things he wanted for his store he couldn’t get locally if he’d do the same for me, and of course he wanted to see my new store for himself to make sure I was doing the right thing,yadda yadda yadda [heaven forefend he’d ever admit to just wanting a nice vacation for himself!], sothere he was, tooling along behind the rest of us up I-5 in his lend-lease Datsun.) It was a lovely, hot daywhen we started out.By the time we arrived in Seattle, three days later, of course, not only was it still hot, but we were allso tired and sick of driving that the loveliness had worn off somewhat. Even so, when everyone hadmanaged to find parking spaces near my new store and had come on in with their luggage and sleeping bags – I would be living in the store myself for awhile, in a room partitioned off the rest of the basement;the bathroom was in good working condition, with a shower and all the other inalienable aspects of thegood life, and with the coffee bar all set up and ready to do we had all the comforts of home right there,no need for a Cr 70-per-night room in a rundown Motel 6 for anybody – we were hard-put to stay in anysort of bad mood. Over the next three days or so, together with Ruth Jensen and Maury Fein, my twonew employees, we all pitched in and got to work getting the store ready for my first customers, settingup the bookcases and the cases for Magickal tools and jewelry, putting up displays of herbs and Magickal powders and prayer candles and all the other things that customers of such stores make use of, thenunboxing some of the books and other items I’d be selling and putting them into the proper receptacles.We set up the cash-registers, the desktop computers, the filing cabinets, and all the other officeequipment necessary to running a business, neatly racked up all the folding chairs that were for peopleattending lectures or classes in the basement, made sure everything was in good working order.Finally, everything was ready. Gomez, who had been let out of my room into the rest of the store onthe first night, after the doors were tight shut so that he couldn’t go running out onto Pike Street wherehe’d get lost or run over, had settled in happily, everyone fussing over him and paying him moreattention than he’d ever had before in his life. Having chosen for his throne a two-hundred credit silk Lucky Fortune pillow, embroidered with a riot of herons and cranes and tortoises and dragons – as Lu’said, a distinctly
busy
scene – in brilliant cerise, scarlet, royal blue, icy-white, solar yellow, and springgreen that I had unthinkingly tossed down on top of a cabinet to wait until I could find a better place for 
 
it, he surveyed his new kingdom with lordly content. Gomez was in his heaven, and all was right withthe world.Most of the people, my former boss as well as Erik Skua included, left the next day, because theyhad jobs they couldn’t neglect and only so much time they could take away from them. Lu’ and Janiestayed an extra couple of days, letting me play tourist guide as I happily showed them around my newcity. Then they, too, had to leave.I’d already turned the U-Haul in at one of the U-Haul outlets around the city. Lu’ offered to driveJanie back in her station wagon – Erik had taken the train back – and Janie, who would otherwise havetaken the train home herself, accepted. Taking a tearful farewell around noon, with hugs and kisses allaround, they both piled into Lu’s car and began the long drive back down I-5 through Oregon and Northern California to the Bay Area.And so I opened my store, Hermes Trismegistus’ Treasures – shortened to Trismegistus’ Treasures or  just plain “Treasures” by just about everyone in town who knew about it by the time a couple of monthshad gone by – and began my life anew in Seattle, far from all that had been so familiar to me, and fromall the friends I had made in San Francisco, especially through the dojo.It didn’t take me long to begin making friends. I was also able to keep up training, at least to someextent – as Lu’ and Erik had said, there were plenty of workshops and the like held both here and innearby cities, such as Portland, that I could attend. Through a series of flukes, my store became a successmuch sooner than I had anticipated, mainly because during the first month it was open, two people came by to check it out who turned out to be members of Osiris Risen Lodge, a local branch of the OrdoTempli Orientis,
the
Magickal organization in the West. Liking what they saw – and spending severalhundred credits’ worth on books, Magickal powders and incenses, and various ritual items in the store,including a real Malay
kris
, a lovely marble mortar and pestle for grinding various powders for use asincense or tea, and an enormous brass incense-burner shaped like a rampant winged dragon, to prove it – they promised to generate a lot of business for me. Not only did they keep their promise, but a week later one of their friends, an alchemist who lived upin the Ravenna district north and east of downtown, called me up, saying he needed a place to give hislectures and classes, and asking me if he could rent my basement room for that purpose twice a week?Of 
course
he could, I told him, overjoyed. Soon I was making money not only from his rent on the room, but also from the patronage from his students, whom he instructed to purchase books and other items for his classes that were available in the store.Of course I had ads in the Yellow Pages and on what was left of the Internet, now mostly a raggedcollection of electronic bulletin boards and localized ISPs, (thanks to the Great Crash of 2012 [a banner year all ’round, folks!], due to a hideous combination of Solar flares and terrorist activity), as well somein the trade journals and that sort of thing. But by far my greatest advertising resource was mouth-to-mouth advertising by patrons of the store, who happily told all their friends and colleagues, some of whom lived long distances away, about the store, the classes, and my inventory. In turn, I took many of the suggestions they offered as to items I might stock, and requests for various books, and improved myinventory many times over during the first year of operation. By the end of that year, I was turning alarge net profit, so much so that I was able to invest in city bonds as well as some of the more attractivestocks on the boards of New Wall Street in Portland.By the end of the second year, thanks to thrift, careful management, a large and growing clientele,and luck in my investments, I had an asset that was likely to carry me comfortably for the rest of my life.I was even able to travel, frequently visiting old friends in the Bay Area, such as Janie, Lu’ and Erik, andothers from my dojo, as well as new friends I’d made through my store in Tacoma, Portland, Spokane,and even farther away (I even had some patronage from Canada and Alaska, thanks to the informal buthighly effective grapevine provided by the OTO, Golden Dawn, and other esoteric organizations). I wasalso able to attend annual Tai Kais, even managing to afford plane-fare to Osaka for a meet held by myschool’s Grand Master.So my life settled into a comfortable routine of managing my store and, sometimes, attending or even giving classes in the store’s basement, attending various holiday and other celebrations put on byvarious esoteric orders and Neo-Pagan groups in the area, to which friends in those organizations invitedme, and otherwise becoming a solid part of the community. I even managed, by the end of the first year,to be able to move into a lovely and affordable apartment with two bedrooms, both simply huge, over onCapitol Hill, in an older but very well-maintained building on East Thomas Street between 14
th
and 15Avenue. Gomez, who had made lots of friends while we lived in the store, both among the humancustomers and friends who came to visit and the local cats in the neighborhood, wasn’t very happy withthe move at first. However, both the managers of the building, who lived downstairs from us, and the
 
neighboring tenants on my floor, were all cat nuts, and soon Gomez had them all wrapped around his tail-tip, spoiling him rotten, feeding him a lot of things he wasn’t supposed to eat at his age but lovedanyway, and generally providing an absolute cat heaven for him. There were squirrels and alley-rats tochase – in spite of his age at the time, around 8 or 9, he was still very active and athletic – and other catsto get to know, as well as a couple of dogs who turned out to be friendly. So soon he was a very happycat, the world his oyster, a far cry from the half-starved, worm-ridden, battle-scarred and terrified youngtom I’d found crying and shivering on my doorstep years ago back in Sausalito, one of the places I’dlived before I moved to the Bay Area. He was now the Grand Old Cat of the neighborhood, spoiledrotten by everyone, loved by just about everyone who got to know him, save for a number of local felinetoughs (whose butts he kicked soundly within the first month after we moved in, thereby establishinghimself permanently at the very top of the local feline pecking order) and the inevitable ailurophobes,whose allergies and/or neuroses made them reject anything feline.Gomez may have been in heaven at that point, but I wasn’t. As I said, my life was very comfortable by then, materially speaking, and I had made a lot of friends in the area. I was still training, both atworkshops and meets and in
tai chi
and
ba gwa
classes, since those Chinese schools of martial arts were based on the same kinetic principles as those upon which the techniques of my own school were based. Iwas only in my mid-thirties, in good physical shape, a very successful businesswoman with a store that promised to become a permanent feature of Seattle’s business and occult communities and plenty of money in the bank and other investments.But unlike Gomez, my social life, outside of my store, my attendance at various holiday functionsand the like, and my training, was, as it had always been, remarkable mainly for its nonexistence. I hadlots of friends, to be true – but the best of them lived in the Bay Area, 600 miles or more away, and as for those who lived nearby, I wasn’t really a part of their lives, never really visiting with them in their homes, or sharing the minor and major crises and joys of their lives the way close friends do.Above all, I had no romantic life at all. Oh, I had dated a number of men over the years, but nothing permanent had ever come of it. I had had a few short-term sexual relationships, but none of them wereever more than a fling or an experiment on the part of my partner of the moment, it seemed, and I never really fell in love with any of them. And, of course, I was still hopelessly, totally in love with Erik Skua, but I wouldn’t have admitted it under torture, both because I also loved Lu’ dearly, and would never havedone anything to cause her distress, and because I knew damned well that someone like Erik was not for the likes of me. I might have been a successful businesswoman, but as an individual, as
me
, I was stillnothing and nobody, a spinster who had never even gone steady with anyone for any length of time, savefor one catastrophic engagement to be married in my late teens which ended with the death of my fiancéin a traffic accident in San Luis Obispo.So I was alone, even in the midst of what seemed to be a whirlwind social and business life.Constantly surrounded by and interacting with others, I was nevertheless an island unto myself, my soultouched by no one else, touching no one else’s soul or heart.
§ 8
And so it continued for another eight years or so. During that time I was able to expand into asecond store in the Ravenna area, not far from the University District, and also became a Neophyte andthen a Zelator, a probationary and then a fledgling full member of the OTO. Year by year I improved mytechniques in and facility with combat arts, once using them to take down and hold for eventual pickup by the cops three vicious young punks who broke into my store with the intention of raping and killingme and stealing everything they could one Sunday, when the store was locked up for inventory and only Iwas there, working on the books. Self-proclaimed Satanists, all three of them had long criminal records,many of their crimes involving violence, up to and including a suspected murder, and police in Seattle,Portland, and other cities in the Pacific Northwest had been trying to put them permanently behind barsfor a long, long time. Because of recent changes in the gun laws of Washington state, I had been able toget a weapons permit, and had purchased an excellent Mossberg with a cut-down stock so I could handleit like a handgun, and two actual handguns, a .40 caliber Glock and a .38 caliber Colt revolver, both of which, loaded and ready, had been right there with me at the desk where I was working that evening.Grabbing the shotgun the moment I heard the back window break, I had them covered as they squirmedthrough the window. I had to wing one in the right leg to prove I meant business, but after that it wasn’thard to get them to lie down on the floor while, one by one, I secured their hands behind their backs withloops of red cord which, fortuitously, I had on hand for a lecture someone was going to give later on that

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