Brandon Lachmann was an important information provider in Fragments Three and Four. He was a magic practitioner who managed to learn the truth about magic during the Book of Kings. He was also known as The Last Traveler.
Brandon was described by Susan Lachmann as “smart. Even as a baby he would become engrossed in understanding the ins and outs of a game, the mechanics of a toy. As someone who was surrounded by books all day I did everything I could to encourage him to read and he ate it up. I can still remember the look on his face on his fifth birthday when he clutched that green leather bookmark in his hand. He took that thing everywhere. His idea of heaven was a grey and rainy afternoon in the public library with a good book. He was a good student. He didn’t have many friends, but the ones he had loved him very much. He was often at the center of his small group, telling stories and building these fantastical worlds.”
When Brandon discovered magiq, he began to isolate himself, drawing inward as he created his own path into the magiqal world. He was deeply saddened by being unable to find anyone else with the same powers, reaching out to his best friend Sacha in an attempt to share his discoveries with someone. Although he never found anyone to connect with about magic in the mundane world, he found another purpose, assisting The Council of the 18 Gates in their attempts to bring magic to his homeworld.
Brandon Lachmann was born in the fall of 1975 to Jim and Susan Lachmann.
In the fall of 1985, Brandon was working on his RPG adaption of the The Forest of Darkening Glass in Central Park when he was attacked by a group of bullies. They took his book and Brandon attempted to fight back, knowing the book was extremely difficult to find. The bullies beat Brandon, kicking him multiple times in the head, and scattering his papers throughout the park. Brandon remained in the park for hours, bleeding and searching for his lost pages, until his parents found him and took him home. After that day, he could feel and hear things that others could not, as his magiqal ability had been unlocked. Noticing a change in their son, the Lachmanns worried he may have experienced a traumatic brain injury.
In the spring of 1986, after finding a note in an old science book that stated “Imagination is nothing more than memory, transposed,” Brandon began to consider the possibility that the things he created from his imagination were memories from another place. After reading the note, his entire perception of the world began to change, and he soon started to wonder whose memories crafted the mundane world, musing about who must have thought up school, groceries, and grades.
During this time, Brandon began obsessing over a way out of what he called “the forest,” the mundane world, and into the magical world. He believed that the reason he felt like he never belonged was that he simply wasn’t a part of the mundane world. As Brandon was drawn into magiq, his grades began to slip and he became more withdrawn, much to the dismay of his mother. He would wander New York for hours at a time, and when he was at home, he would spend his time locked in his room writing stories.
Brandon continued to agonize over how he could escape the forest until he realized that the solution was with him all along. In order to escape the “glass forest” of the mundane world, he would use his own RPG rendition of the Unbound books, following the trail of puzzles to cast a powerful spell.
In October of 1986, using three trials, Brandon created a path into the magiqal world. The day before he escaped the forest, he invited his best friend, Sacha, to escape with him. By moving the hand on Barthman’s Sidewalk Clock, he showed Sacha that there was true magiq. However, she decided to stay behind, while Brandon escaped alone. Brandon’s trials ultimately led him to an abandoned section of the New York subway system. He took an impossible train and escaped to the “spaces in between,” where magiq exists.
Brandon Lachmann’s name was first encountered on King Rabbit’s website, Those Who Did Not Die. The website stated “Brandon Lachmann did not die in 1986.” In an extended section detailing the individuals who did not die, Brandon’s only held a newspaper clipping. The story described the death of a twelve-year-old boy who drowned in an abandoned subway station in New York.
Recruits encountered Brandon himself as The Last Traveler, a mysterious, but helpful, entity who provided the third fragment in the poem The Minnying of Ojorad. Working as an agent of The Council of the 18 Gates, he used all of the magiq he had to send the poem through to the mundane world. Ultimately, the act caused him to fade away, presumably ending his life.
In the days leading up to Fragment Four, recruits noticed a sudden change in King Rabbit’s website. The newspaper clipping that held the story on Brandon’s “death” was suddenly linked to The Forest of Darkening Glass, a website created by Susan Lachmann to commemorate her son. As the anniversary of Brandon’s disappearance loomed, The Devoted, a cult dedicated to following Brandon’s journey into the magiqal world, hijacked the site and sent a message to the Mountaineers, inviting them to work together to solve Brandon’s puzzles.
Recruits worked their way through the three trials of Brandon’s RPG, following clues left both online and in real life. Nearing the end of their journey, at the Morgan Library, Brandon left The Glass Report and a final message to the Mountaineers:
October 29, 1986
If you’re reading this letter, I’m already gone. I wrote myself a way out of this world. I hope I can come back. But I might not be able to. Maybe give this to my mom and dad?
To whoever finds this, if you’re different, if you imagine things that people don’t understand, believe things people don’t believe, it’s okay. It’s good. It means you see this place as it should be, not as someone wants you to. If you’re reading this it means you’ve followed my crazy trail all the way to my favorite place in the city.
I spent my last morning here, talking with my favorite librarians, sitting in my favorite chairs. Watching all the people, wondering if some of them can see into the empty spaces. Those spaces aren’t empty. They’re full of doors. And light. And magic. And now I have proof. How do you think the Crafter puzzle worked? I wrote the riddle, hid the numbers inside, connected unconnected things with ideas and imagination, and then the pay phones started working. Just like I’d designed. Just like magic.
Anyway, I spent the morning here at the library, then I went downtown. And I waited for an impossible train to pick me up.
Whatever happens next… well, we’ll see. But don’t worry about me. Don’t be scared. If I could survive this dark world and bring magic to it, then I think I’ll be okay, wherever I find myself.
Using the Glass Report, recruits worked their way towards a quiz on the Book of Briars website, The Forest, unlocking Siren’s Lace. Brandon’s spirit could rest easy, knowing the Mountaineers had successfully unlocked the first four fragments.
Brandon Lachmann was briefly mentioned in Phase Three by Aether. Having infiltrated The Devoted and gained their knowledge of Brandon’s feats, Kemetic Solutions utilized the materials from Brandon’s RPG in an attempt to coerce other adepts into opening a door into the magiqal world. According to Aether, however, the studies were not working, because Brandon was a special case. His journey simply could not be replicated.