Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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Portions of this content have been sponsored by . . .


Thank you!

I’d also like to thank our amazing Indiegogo sponsors,

  • Peter Aronson
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  • Gayle Karen Young


And in particular our esteemed faculty in

Esoteric Studies:

    • Lethal Magnet Professor of Conjuration, Simon Ward
    • . . . of Gnostic Theurgy,

      David Paul

      The cruel demiurge creates the world. It makes ichneumon wasps and high society. It crafts Bieber Fever on its terrible forge. It founds an Esoteric Studies Department at the Lethal Magnet School for Wayward Youth; then rests.  

      “With this,” says the demiurge, “I will brand the world with the image of myself.”

      It does not bother with petty hiring decisions. Those are left for its eternal enemy. Its eternal enemy hires many Professors of various sorts and feeds them into the demiurge’s maw. Then the eternal enemy wises up.

      “Hey,” says its eternal enemy. “Hey. We could actually do something good here.”

      “No,” says the cruel demiurge.

      It is resting.

      It does not want to do anything good. It is a creature of blind folly. It is a manifestation of that awful crawling chaos that wears masks of Zero Tolerance, No Child Left Behind, and, in Brentwood, the Esoteric Studies Department.

      That is why its eternal enemy deposes it.

      “I am going to hire this new guy,” its eternal enemy says. “This, um, David Paul or something. Then I’m going to not feed him into your maw.”

      “Aw, man,” says the cruel demiurge.

      “Instead, he’ll have to teach!”

      The cruel demiurge twitches this off like it would a fly. It sleeps. It ignores the wickedness of its eternal enemy. One day it will wake and devour all the world that it created but for now, it is content.

    • . . . of Hermetic Mysteries,

      Nick Novitski

      It’s impure. It’s an impure situation. There’s this Department of Esoteric Studies, and once upon a time the cruel demiurge would vomit up cash and grants and all manner of free sodas to keep it in operation, only, now . . . it doesn’t.  

      “I can’t take up the slack,” says Mr. Gulley. “I don’t mingle my gold with demiurge business.”

      He’s afraid of the demiurge getting under his skin.

      It was corrupted. The whole academic environment was corrupted, you understand? Money had come in and taken it down. Money had turned it from this thing where kids get to grow up and become better, become heroes, become people who fight off wolves, into this thing where a teacher can’t afford to walk out across the demiurge pits and go to the grocery and buy cup ramen and poison for their students any longer.

      The lightbulb god is underfunded and goes out.

      The third and seventeenth hermetic mysteries are lost.

      And the final paperwork comes in, you know. The thing that says: that’s it. You’re out. It’s all done. Corrupted. Tarnished.

      And here was the miracle. Here was the alchemical mystery, the magic ladder, the holy tree. That Professor Nick Novitski could stick that paperwork in the middle of that diagram, and hold it under the light of Saturn, and purify those flaws away, and turn that final paperwork into funding.

      The aqua regia was effective.

      The impurity was cleansed from stuff, and now there is funding, bright and gold.

      “But where does it come from?” people ask, like there’s an answer. Like funding comes from somewhere. But here’s the secret. Here’s the alchemy. Here’s the mystery. Funding’s like gold, like purity, like perfection.

      It doesn’t come from somewhere.

      It is a thing that arises. It is a manifestation of the will; of hope; of dreams; of choice.

      That and the light of Saturn, of course, and the aqua regia, and the proper diagrams, which is why, if you’re still undecided on your career path, Esoteric Studies is the definite and proper choice.

    • . . . of the Incorruptible Equations,

      Ted Kelly

      There is a shadow under Mount Hook, a shadow of something that has been or is yet to be, and from time to time it will slip down to the campus of Brentwood and weave its way through the rings of incorruptible equations that surround Professor Ted Kelly’s home.  

      This it will do because he dreamed of the shadow, on one occasion, and it has hungered for him since.

      This is the kind of dream you have when you work too long at the Department of Esoteric Mysteries that is suspended over the pit containing the cruel demiurge at the Lethal Magnet School for Wayward Youth.

      The shadow will hunt him, it will slip its way in to find him, writhing through the solid things and slipping around the jagged edges of the equations (the teeth of the Truth, the unbreakable, the undefeatable) that are writ into the walls of his home and office in incorruptible golden veins.

      It will bring the cold with it.

      It will bring ice and it will bring terror. It will flare a hood like a cobra’s and it will bare its fangs.

      And it might seem for a moment, then, that the theoretical incorruptibility of the incorruptible equations is not so useful when it comes right down to it, that you can’t take the raw perfection of the Platonic world and implement it in our fallible reality, but that’s when it becomes most important, that’s when it becomes most critical (if you’re somebody like Professor Ted Kelly, anyway, and you’re hoping to show a bit of the nightmare to your students in class the next day so that you can finally impress upon them that showing their work and treating the incorruptible equations correctly is worthwhile and not just one of those things like algebra that they’re never going to use in the real world) that the incorruptibility of the equations is invariant over certain transformations but the shape of the coils and serifs of them is rather not.

      For just a moment as it spreads its fangs the bedroom of Ted Kelly, Lethal Magnet Professor of the Incorruptible Equations, is rendered in polar coordinates; and the equations likewise; and in that frozen instant of the transformation the nightmare, the shadow, the prognostication of ice and doom that has weaved its way through the numbers and symbols and the teeth of them in gold, is cut.

      It falls.

      It is screaming.

      And for a moment—

      For just a moment—

      There is hope that when the horror at Mount Hook happens or happened, somehow triumph will virtue and right.

      It would be more of a triumph, of course, if the School didn’t confiscate the bits of the shadow; if the guards didn’t take them and rush them off to the Lab; if the treasure of his work were left in his own hands—

      But, well. It’s math that’s incorruptible, not the world.

    • . . . of Runes, Kent J. Johansen
    • . . . of Transformations, Caryn Abigayil Younge


  • Lethal Magnet Professor in The Works of Trismegistus,

    Kari Tuurihalme

Urban Survival

    • Lethal Magnet Professor of Abstract Bakery, Caleb Osborn
    • . . . of Defensive Geology,*Add a Tooltip Text Professor Munn
    • . . . of Literature, as a Weapon of War, Robert Vance
    • . . . of Small-Unit Tactics, Sam King-Walters
    • . . . of Tactical Driving, Chris Chambers
    • . . . of Weaponized Compassion, Jeremiah L. Schwennen


  • Lethal Magnet Professor Investigating the Application of Bees, Professor Gretchen S.

The Shaded House

  • Lethal Magnet Professor of Dream Farming, Chrysoula Tzavelas
  • . . . (and) of Dream Technology,

    Sean C. Mattox


    Once upon a time Professor Edgar Budgie, lecturer in Dream Technology at the Lethal Magnet School for Wayward Youth, dreamed that he assigned grades arbitrarily. This way! That way! To his own selfish, lazy ends!

    Then he woke up and wondered:

    “Am I a principled, hard-working teacher who dreamed that I was a bitter, cynical academic, or a bitter, cynical academic dreaming that I now have ideals?”

    He rushed to the Realitron. He succumbed to new dreaming. He investigated the question!

    But he did not succeed. Dream-worms found him. They chased him. They hunted him, and they continue to hunt him. The Realitron was dismantled.

    He never woke up.

    That’s why the Professor of Dream Technology is Sean C. Mattox now. That’s why he’s the one teaching the ins and outs of it at the Shaded House. And that’s why, in a different sense, he’s always trying to warn the students. To advise them that it’s a delicate and dangerous subject, the study of Dream Technology.

    He warns them! But they don’t believe.

    “This is awesome!” enthuses Victor. “Revolutionary! A class, where I get to sleep! This is the easiest A in my life.”

    “You’re getting, like, Bs,” his girlfriend Agnes points out.

    “That was just the last pop quiz,” Victor says. “And there was a pop! I woke up! It doesn’t count.”

    That is the kind of thing that his students will say.

    Many of them have no talent. They are not engineers but they do not recognize that they are not engineers. They think, for whatever reason, that they can become engineers, in their dreams. They do not understand that it is actually more difficult to be an engineer when you are dreaming than when you are awake. When you’re dreaming it is very difficult to hold on to your coffee and people keep moving your stuff.

    It’s a nightmare for an engineer!

    A few have potential, though.

    They’ll get the basics down, which is really all that a high school teacher can expect, professorial title or no. It’s enough, really. And now and then one of them will get a little further than the basics and wake up, like Bernard did, holding something dredged back from the realm of dream. Some piece. Some element. Some figment, drawn from unreality to become a component for real technology. Some innovation:

    A material, a component, a thing that has never been known before.

    The coils of the hunger of a dreaming person. The tooth of a chimera recovered from dreams.

    The whole place is under an aegis of unreality. The sidewalk is white like a bone. The house is gently shaded but by what? Whatever it is, is not in evidence. The place is not entirely real. And there is an argument that is sometimes made that the entire building, the entire department, exists in dream only: that it is a fantasy, a wish, a desire, that some student like Victor had wished it:

    O that there should be a class like that, where I may sleep through the lectures and I may still get Bs!

    Sometimes Professor Mattox wonders. It would be weird to just be someone’s dream.

    “If you’re worried,” Professor Emeritus Budgie says, this one time, when they’re grabbing coffee in the lounge in their dreamscape, “you can always drop him down to a C. You know. Arbitrarily. ‘Cause if you do that, then it’s real.”

    It’d work, too! That’d prove it!

    Professor Sean C. Mattox wakes up.

Our amazing TKET* team:

'The Known Existential Threats.'

    • Lethal Magnet Professor of Antarctic Procrastination,

      Scott Johnson

    • . . . of Special Topics in Entities Frozen Under the Ice,


      It’s lucky that they’d invented the satellite that sees around corners or they’d never have gotten Special Topics in Entities Frozen Under the Ice going. Before that, the entities frozen under the ice were purely hypothetical; notional; legends. Fragments of a history predating the world.  

      Now, of course, Professor Moah can look at them. Study them. Analyze them, on behalf of the Lethal Corporation, to prepare both corporate and students for whatever the satellite finds.

      That’s how Moah discovered the chimerae.

      All the things that Hans buried.

      The princes. The witches. The frogs.

      And the thing, of course, that means that nobody can know. Nobody can be allowed to know. Ever.

      If people knew, they would find it. If people knew, they would free it.

      The satellite photos get roundfiled. The photos of those — you can obviously get a good look at Professor Moah’s desk if you’re a satellite that can see around corners — those get roundfiled too.

      Only vague descriptions escape.

      If people knew what was found, they would not rest until they had seen it for themselves. Having seen it, there would be no help for it: they would save it.

      If people knew, they would save it, and disco would return to the world.

    • . . . of Goetic Entomology, Zachary Weinberg
    • . . . of Wolf Remediation, David Goldfarb


  • Lethal Magnet Professor overseeing the Scissors Track,

    Professor Young

    There’s a lot of students on the scissors track. There always are. Most of them won’t make it through the year.

    Professor Young walks up and down the row of them as they practice the anti-scissors meditation. She adjusts Peter’s stance.

    She helps young Lind with her mantra.

    After a while she stops in front of this kid, this one kid with fangs and a unibrow, and watches for a while.

    “That’s not bad,” she says. “You think you can hold it?”

    “I couldn’t save them,” the kid says. Rhea. That’s her name. “They took me in, even though I go crazy every month and turn into a wolf and kill people. But I couldn’t save them, when the scissors fell. So yeah. I’m going to hold it.”

    Professor Young takes out a set of trissors. She snaps off the third blade. She holds out the—


    The Scissors

    And watches as they dissolve.

    “I’ll see if I can recommend you,” she says.

    And the kid smiles. It’s this . . . it hurts. You know? To see a smile like that. The smile of somebody who’s been hanging on to so very little for so very long, and then manages to tighten their grip just a little more.

    The next full moon, she’s in the classroom. She’s waiting. She’s watching. She’s hoping.

    But it’s the bad end.

    The light of the moon comes in through the classroom window. It fills the space of it and somewhere there is a wolf. And it’s got to be particularly hard, you know, for a wolf to come there, to come to the Lethal Magnet School for Wayward Youth, even if you’re just a werewolf, but it could have been worth it. It could have been worth it. Learning to fight scissors, learning to stand against scissors when the swarm comes back?

    For some people, even if there are reasons not to want to come to that particular school, reasons why it might hurt them, something like that makes it worthwhile.

    Today, well, tonight, though, a pair of scissors resolves. It forms itself back up in the air. It comes back from whatever void that meditation had sent it to, and it falls to the ground with a horrible clunk.

    That’s the worst thing scissors can do sometimes. Bad enough that they can kill people once, you know, when they fall from space, maybe twice if somebody picks them up and runs with them, maybe even three times if they cut a car’s tire, you know, or something, and send it veering from the road. But every year, when students wash out of Scissors Track?

    It’s like the scissors cut their hearts.

(cosmic horror subgroup)

(sponsored by a grant from the Gibbering Association)
    • Lethal Magnet Professor of Binding Non-Euclidian Entities, Stew Wilson
    • . . . of Cosmic Horror Repudiation, Daniel Guillot
    • . . . of Millinery, Elixsa Nyllionjagt


  • Lethal Magnet Professor of Tentacular Studies, Angie Mathues

Alternate Entity Management:

    • Lethal Magnet Professor of Disalienation,*assisting in the healthy transition of Lethal xenoforeigner matriculants to everyday life in Brentwood Nyren Knapp
    • . . . of Electromagnetic Law, Nicholas Feinberg
    • . . . of Elf Wrangling, Gregory Rapawy
    • . . . of Hierarchical Dracology, Professor Genevieve Cogman
    • . . . of Nithrid Methodology, Professor Zimmerman


  • Lethal Magnet Professor of Temporal Administration, Amy Sutedja

Traditional Academics:*

We at the Lethal Magnet School for Wayward Youth believe that it is through being a properly accredited institution that we will be able to attract the kind of students that will one day kill a giant wolf, possibly using some sort of postmodern theory and/or algebra.

  • Lethal Magnet Professor of English, Rich Puchalsky

Edge Cases in Theory:

Taking maths into the next century, if we live that long

    • Lethal Magnet Professor of Algebraic Entities, Andrew Lloyd
    • . . . of Applied Metaphysics, Jake Mandel
    • . . . of Polynomial Chronometry, Professor Christopher Brent
    • . . . of Theoretical Smithwork, Jason Pollack


      • Lethal Magnet Professor of Applied Intangibles, Nick Kloski
      • . . . of Bullet Storms,*sometimes the bullets have little snakes on them that spit fire Torsten Bernhardt
      • . . . of Experimental Ontology, Tikitu de Jager
      • . . . of Biochemical Solutions, Dr. Ftiskaaaahk Sn’Gnok
      • . . . of Non-Lethal Solutions, Andrew Campana
      • . . . of Non-Euclidean Hydrodynamics, Professor Xavid
      • . . . of Xenocell Biology, Professor Kite
      • . . . of Hydrokinetics, Professor Kerin


      • Lethal Magnet Professor of Spiritual Propulsion Technologies, Adam Gardner

Nonstandard Elections*:

The Department of Nonstandard Elections is mitre, then, the sword.


  • Lethal Magnet Professor of Tactical Sainting, Carl Rigney




  • Lethal Magnet Professor of Medieval Sword Extraction, Ken Arthur


Life Skills

please feel free to call our 24-hour hotline before dismembering your roommate!


  • Lethal Magnet Professor of Rules And Regulations: Interpreting, Rewriting, Flexing, Inverting, and Ignoring Them, David B. DeLaney
  • . . . of Autodictomancy, Brian Sniffen
  • . . . of Defensive Optimism, Rand Brittain
  • . . . of Repetition, Redundancy, and Recursion, Rylen Dreskin




  • Lethal Magnet Professor of Applied Living Well*, Add a Tooltip Text Rachel Gollub


Practicum of Combat

    • Lethal Magnet Professor of Entropic Applications, Hsile Amune
    • . . . of Ninjutsu, Conor Anderson
    • . . . of Semiotic and Semiautomatic Weaponry, Raymond Wood


  • Lethal Magnet Professor of Tactical Origami, Barac Wiley

Department of Arguments


  • Lethal Magnet Professor of Practical Theory, Dr. Jonathan Grimm
  • Lethal Magnet Professor of Impractical Nitpickery, Adam Rajski




  • Lethal Magnet Professor of Heart, John Eure
  • . . . of Large-Scale Solutions, Jessica Hammer
  • . . . of Meditation (in Preparation for the Kill), Villum W. Lassen
  • . . . of the Perfected Self, Jim Henley
  • . . . of Rock-Paper-Scissors, Ian Kirker
  • . . . of the Seventh Bullet,*Add a Tooltip Text Matt Donaldson
  • . . . of Wolf Disambiguation,*What higher or nobler calling for a person's soul than to attempt to count ambiguously defined and numbered wolves? In this seminar we will investigate the abstract topology of concepts such as 'lupine' and 'exists.' Michael Stevens




  • Special Professor for Lethal Restaurant Operations, Roger N. Dominick


the Bright Instrument Chair in Liberation Mechanics:


  • Held by: Professor Christopher Humphrey


the Library:


  • Keeper of the Book-Beast, Guardian of the Sacred Mysteries of the Word and Fang, Librarian Michelle Curtis
  • Keeper of the Book-Beast, Guardian of the Sacred Mysteries of the Word and Chain, Librarian Elizabeth ‘Archangel Beth’ McCoy



  • and the illustrious and transcendent Dean nikink



a final word . . .

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to thank our later donors,

except that at the time of this writing they’re all appearing as Indiegogo sponsors as well!