Episode 19 - VAULT of the VEHM!


          Now... that appointment with the so-called father of psycho-therapy so negatively impressed me that I distinctly recall wasting all Saturday touring the gardens of Vienna and attending an operetta, emptying my mind of all pretense and apprehension so as to greet the Fehmsabbat with a clear conscience, and only healthy anticipations.

          Of Sigmund Freud's "Interpretation", I had opened the volume in my hotel room, only to discover that, quite reasonably and as Hartmann's romance of the gnomes, it was entirely in German save this preface from Virgil... Flectere si nequeo superos, Achertona movebo!... which may be roughly translated, "Shall I not move Heaven, I may nonetheless stir up the Underworld!" Unwilling to wrestle with so alien a tome, I lay it on top of the book on gnomes by Dirty Franz and tried to sleep.

          I dreamt again of men in dark cloaks whose heads were oblong boxes across which fled ghastly images, rather like Naval screens for electronic radar developed so successfully, waking at dawn on Sunday morning to hurry to the Westbahnhof. The sun was high, shining brightly when, by rail and carriage, I arrived at the ruined castle of Werfenstein, outside the village Grein, on the beautiful blue Danube of song and legend.

          A brave attempt had been made at renovation but there remained much to be done; nonetheless a jolly crowd of perhaps fifty had descended from Vienna, from Linz and other places to enjoy a rare warm November day. The castle of von List lay in a meadow enclosed by a wooden fence, at the entrance to which a sturdy gatekeeper accepted my letter from the blind prophet and welcomed me to the gathering with an earnest handshake and English greetings.

          "We are honored by the presence of the delegate from the British order," said the gatekeeper, who gave his name as Karl. "This is a fateful day, young man, that which shall, one day, be memorialized as the first dawn of the new order. Im die gelt Ostara... heil!"

          "Heil!" I replied politely. "Now... do you know where I can find Lieb... von Liebenfels? Or von List?"

          The gatekeeper pointed towards a mass of men by the river and I set off, only to encounger a disagreeable surprise... my enemy of the fraternity of the Skull, young Viereck.

          "Cameron!" the disgraced student cried, face reddening with rage. "You are everywhere... dirty spy! Attenzione... das Auslander Spion!"

          A number of beefy blond men raced up a gentle slope from the river, seizing me firmly and pelting me with questions, threats and oaths; Viereck screaming phrases louder than all, among which the epithet "Juden!" predominated. Finally the commotion attracted Lanz von Liebenfels.

          "Was is dist? Cameron... what are you up to?"

          "Mr. Viereck resents my presence. Look, I am not a spy... well, I have told you the nature of my mission, believe it as you will. Viereck is an old enemy from America," I declared, "what stands between us is no matter for Germans or any of Europe..."

          "What is this person doing at our dedication?" Viereck continued to demand, unconsciously sliding into English.

          "He has been recommended by men of influence and is an emissary, which is a higher thing than a novice as you," pointed out the Cistercian. Viereck raised a fist as if to strike Lanz, then lowered it, pretending a mask of humility that was quite comical, in a sinister way.

          "I seek forgiveness," the brother of Skulls petitioned abjectly, "...I would not question your motive for allowing even Cameron to enter."

          Lanz gestured that I follow him but Viereck was far from finished.

          "You are here for ulterior purposes," the youth declared. "Know this, Cameron, I shall discover you!"

          "When you do," I replied, "let me know... I've been quite whistling in the dark over what I've been doing ever since I last saw Dover... let alone Manhattan. By the way, is Fraulein Sprengel about?"

          Viereck's puzzled, taurine expression was all proof I needed that no time was worth expending in this direction. Lanz brought me to an odd company of three... two men tall, blond, dignified, the third short and balding with ferocious waxed moustaches and the frenzied mien of a terrier upon the scent of rats.

          "This is Cameron," the Cistercian introduced me, "that American I mentioned... an Adept of the London temple and friend to Aleister Crowley. Here is our Orientalist, Sebottendorff, this fellow is Dietrich Eckhart and, here, Signore Marinetti of Milan. Perhaps one of these may be able to answer your questions... I must, regrettably, prepare the Master for his dedication address.

          And, as Liebenfels left me with these men, I could not help but take note of Viereck lurking on the periphery, seeking his opportunity to create further mischief.

          "Do any of you gentlemen speak English?" was my first announcement, "... I know a little German but mostly engineering terms."

          "I learned English discovering gold in Australia," said the German introduced to me as Sebottendorff, "...and know French, Turkish, Russian, Persian, Greek and Italian, of course... Marinetti speaks all languages equally unintelligibly, Dieter..."

          The taller of the Germans held his thumb and middle finger together...

          "Bitte..." he remarked.

          "Lanz tells me you are seeking der Vildanden," Sebottendorff declared with a rather unpleasant smile.

          "A what?"

          "Ein gans? What you Americans call wild duck... goose? and English the snipe or snark, rather... a dark lady of spukhafte... a non-entity?"

          "Yes!" I remarked, too eager to be diverted by offense. "Fraulein Sprengel... we have heard that she died in '91, I think it was. Do you know who her associates might have been?"

          Sebottendorff and Eckhart smiled broadly at the mention of Sprengel but Marinetti seemed offended.

          "Bah, American... why look for women, especially here!" replied the small Italian. "We have scorn only for feminine virtues as of the moon... here we glorify the only hygiene... war! and beautiful ideas worth dying for..."

          "Rudolf Steiner, who could not... or would not," I added, "help me in the matter of the Fraulein sees the Moon as that place to which the Mahatmas go," I ventured as a means of testing these German Templars.

          "Dr. Steiner has, let us say, cosmopolitan notions about women," Sebottendorff explained, "... after the Madame's passing he chose the path of Annie Besant. But as he is also approved of by Lemmermayer, whom the master respects, we tolerate the mention of his name without injury to yourself. Whatever this old woman meant to your English Lodge she is gone now, almost a decade... and great mysteries unfold, far greater than the English perceive except for Crowley." Dieter Eckhart muttered a few phrases and Sebottendorff nodded, "Yes, yes, he's the exception..."

          "Well I am only doing my job," I explained. "When one is given a task, every facet should be thoroughly explored."

          "That is a sensible, thoroughly Aryan attitude," approved Sebottendorff, "...but then it would be in your blood... Cameron? Angle and Celt, maybe a little Saxon hmm?"

          "Perhaps..." I acknowledged, then presumed to address an issue that puzzled me, with all such emphasis put on blood by these pagan Templars. "Don't you feel out of your place?" I asked of Marinetti.

          "I am an automobilist," he replied, moustache bristling, "...a Roman pagan with naught but respect for any son of Alaric who renounces weeping Jesus for the Esau who returns with the sword and gasoline-engine. Milan, you must understand, is Ausonian... the southern and western outpost of the invisible Alpine empire which is to be reborn..."

          "Mit der Stein!" Eckhart exclaimed.

          "Yes..." concurred Sebottendorff. "Herr Eckhart possesses a notorious black stone which is said to have been brought over the Bosporous from Phrygia to the Palatinate and which resulted in the seating of worldly power in Rome until it disappeared after that treachery against Julian... whom we esteem here as no less a martyred Messiah than the Galilean, and done in by no less vile a cabal of Judasry. When it is set and dedicated in the vault of this castle, Grein shall be crowned holy seat of the New Temple and we, der Hammernbrudern, shall step forth as its risen Vehmgericht!"

          Eckhart again conferred with Sebottendorff, a conversation I would have followed keenly, save for the boastings of the logorrheic Automobilist.

          "I, sir, hurled my Daimler Dagger over the perilous pass of Reichenbach Falls in order to attend this estimable gathering. While I abhor your mixing of the noble races of America with the blighted, I bless you for your Mr. Ford whose hand I wish someday to shake. Have you met Ford?" Marinetti inquired plaintively.

          "No... but in the course of business my father has come to know Edison and," I allowed, "we both have had dealings with his rival, Vartanian."

          These names brought further agitation to Eckhart and what appeared to be a sharp rebuke from Sebottendorff.

          "Well they are geniuses also," pronounced Marinetti. "So I enlist you, Cameron, in my order of the future... and here is my gift for your initiation...

          And, opening the bulky leather pouch carried by means of a shoulder strap, he handed me an apparently live grenade!

          "Careful with that! He gave one to a friend in Rome who put it in his stove and nearly was exploded by a careless porter..." Sebottendorff winked, "who was that fellow now..."

          "Signore Mussolini," Marinetti replied proudly, "who is a Roman among Italians... he stood up, brushed the soot from his shirt and laughed as intrepidly as Caesar at the Rubicon... although he has taken to wearing darker shirts, of late."

          I placed the grenade carefully in my pocket. "So what do you do in Milan?" I asked of the madman.

          "I am an Imagnifico," Marinetti boasted, "a declaimer of heroic sentiments against moonish decay. Soon I shall be known as the caffeine of Europe."

          "One look at the fellow and you know he is destined for something grand!" allowed Sebottendorff. "But here comes Liebenfels."

          "The master shall dedicate our Burg," promised the monk, "and then we shall be entertained by a choir of boys whom I've selected from the monastery school at Lambach. Come..."

          We joined the throng of celebrants streaming towards the castle, nearly a hundred by this time. Marinetti seemed to have some problem with vision or, else his co-ordination, he stumbled so frequently that I could not help glancing apprehensively at the shoulder-pouch of grenades. We entered a courtyard beneath ruined walls only half repaired, with scaffolding remaining up and much plaster evident; Guido von List was guided up a podium of rubble by the vigilant Anna Wittek to begin his dedication. Lanz had insinuated himself by my side so the Cistercian was able to translate his master's words as they boomed forth.

          "Der Meister identifies with famous blind poets... Virgil, Homer... all those poets of the age of silver who saw life as if already from beyond, knowing but the sadness that saints have suffered. He warns that the road of the initiate is not an easy one... Promethian fire ever burns the fingers..."

          "He is naming names," I discerned. "Are they... are they people with us, or in our way..."

          "They are the good people... Martin Luther, Bismarck, Drumont... the anti-Dryfusard in Paris whose protector is the Comtesse Martel, or Gyp... Mayor Lueger, Schonerer and the French martyr Boulanger. Blavatsky, of course..."

          "Annie Besant?" I asked.

          Lanz did not even wait to attribute his distaste to the blind master. "Hardly!" he scoffed. "That one is a champion of socialism which is, to us, more than political unsoundness... it is blasphemy. Valhalla is reserved for Einherjar... soldiers who fall in battle; a higher order for those executed by enemies and, highest above all, those who take their own lives rather than endure the humiliation of surrender. Socialism is the burglar's tool by which the Untermensch achieves earthly content without satisfaction of blood debt." Dieter Eckhart mentioned something to the monk who nodded, adding, "Marx was a Jew, as you probably know. But what may surprise you is that those Zionists in Basel... wholly ignorantly, of course, also do the work of our Vehmgericht!"

          And Liebenfels said no more, only gave an enigmatic smile. Quite coincidentally, it was Eckhart who was to recommend the sad Otto Weininger to Adolf Hitler only a while before he perished in the Bavarian putsch of 1922. "Eckhart told me," said Winnetou, "that in all his life he had known just one good Jew... Otto Weininger, who killed himself on the day when he realized that the Jew lives upon the decay of the peoples."

          This odd fact comes to mind, now, in that I thought such date to lie at the midpoint between tonight and this last year of our last century. But my wife corrects me... it was 1923 when Eckhart died, a slight but pardonable slip of an old fellow's memory. How many more such slips are there in this narrative... I cannot be certain. Many, probably! Certainly one consequence of the Vehm and the Golden Dawn, perhaps, has been that hiatus of reason inspiring so many of Willie's last poems... Eckhart's black stone, for example, apparantly passed to a German engineer, one of those developers of Armageddon rockets Winnetou delayed using before the Normandy landing for fear of offending those of the Ascended Masters who dwell on the astral plane. That fellow fled to Rome under Victor Emmanuel... the Italians being our allies once more, they immediately set him to work exploiting the powers of Eckhart's stone to design a sort of rail car by which monkeys are made to travel between the Moon and Saint Peter's Square so that, within a decade, the process shall be made safe enough for humans. Then, all with the price of a ticket may have the means to knock upon the doors of Steiner's moon-masters.

          What further thunderbolt can the aggrieved Ipsissimi hurl down that has not already been utilized in this sad century?


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