Black Sun Finale: The Account

This Week’s prompt:25. Man visits museum of antiquities—asks that it accept a bas-relief he has just made—old and learned curator laughs and says he cannot accept anything so modern. Man says that ‘dreams are older than brooding Egypt or the contemplative Sphinx or garden-girdled Babylonia’ and that he had fashioned the sculpture in his dreams. Curator bids him shew his product, and when he does so curator shews horror. Asks who the man may be. He tells modern name. “No—before that” says curator. Man does not remember except in dreams. Then curator offers high price, but man fears he means to destroy sculpture. Asks fabulous price—curator will consult directors. Add good development and describe nature of bas-relief.

Read part 1 and part 2

The account thus written was never known to the board of directors or to Derelth, and so we must leave them be. It was found amongst the belongings of the recently deceased Mrs. ____ as the only article left to the public from her estate.

“We, for Queen and Country, approached the Veronan hills. The good governor was the old sort for the region. His daughter had run off in the night, out to the hills and forests, and he was dearly concerned. A superstitious old man, he feared that the people and things that lived between the hills and trees would do the most dreadful things to his lost daughter. So we made our way, Roger, George, Edward, John, and myself, under orders, with naught but a rifle each.

“The way up the hills was one of laughter and jokes. More than likely, John said, the girl had run off to rendezvous with a native lover. Or perhaps she had to hide away some store of jewels. The dogs we had brought were chipper, barking at hares and rodents that scurried in the tall grass. Crossing over the hills, to where the forest was in sight.

“The woods of on the other side of Vernonan hills are a strange sort. There bark was like ink or ash, more a painted on effect than something real. And on this night, a cloudy new moon, they were almost invisible. A few lanterns hung near the houses, marking the cottages near the woods. There was still no sight of the girl. We reckoned it’d be best to check the houses, then the woods. After all, bandits of all sorts could lurk the woods with their wild beasts and wicked weapons.

“Roger was the strongest, so he forced the doors. They were all locked of course. We’d been here before, cleaning up squatters and checking in on debts owed to the Company. We didn’t wear anything to hide our prescence and the barking dogs surely gave them warning. So we searched each house, one at a time. Not a soul was found. Now, there were around twenty men and maybe fifteen women in that little squalid site. No children or chickens either.

“When we got to the decaying fields of wheat, we at last found a man. He was shambling in the distance, his eye-catching the light of our lanterns like a cat. Our dogs immediately pulled and in frustration, we set them on him. Do not worry, like good hunting dogs, they only surrounded and tackled their prey down.

“At closer look, he was a rather old man. He had an old factory hat on, and a nice leather vest for the are. His hands were a farmer’s hands, and his face the face of lost solider. All together, he certainly had suffered worse than dogs being set upon him. We still took our time approaching.

“George whisteled for the dogs to relent while me and Edward stood the old man up. John asked most of the question. Rather simple ones, really, though the poor man barely seemed to understand some of them.

“ ‘Have you seen a nice lady come through?’ John would ask. The man would smile and say he has seen many nice ladies in the hills. John got a bit more specific, and the man would get quiet for a bit. Then Roger did somethings that were, admittedly, a little unbecoming of our station. I have heard it said by wise men that the capacity for good is measured in equal part by the capacity for evil. If there is ever a testament for how civilized the Empire can make a man, none is more damning than Roger’s behavior.

“ ‘Have you seen the nice lady, the governor’s little lady come through here?’ John asked slowly this third time. The man was still catching his breath when we stood him up, a bit bruised. Roger had aimed for the chest, and for a moment I feared he’d broken the man’s lungs. John held up his hand as Roger prepared another round.

“ ‘The nice lady? She’s not that little or that nice.’ the man said with a chuckle, holding up his hand as Roger pulled back his fist. ‘Yes, yes, she came by tonight, she had bad dreams and knew, she knew we were people of dreams.’

“ ‘She had bad dreams?’ John said, raising his eyebrows as best as I could tell in the light. ‘Stand him up proper.’

“ ‘No, no, she did! Terrible dreams. And tonight, of all nights? It was a sign.’ he said as we hefted him up. He shouted for us to stop, but Roger wasn’t restrained. He was coughing horribly when John spoke to him again.

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“ ‘I’m telling the truth!’ he managed to get, crumpled on the ground. ‘You imbeciles don’t see it. She had terrible dreams of things we knew. The Black Sun, she is rising to fill the world with beautiful forms again. To cast a shadow, that a multitude might grow.’

“ ‘So she’s in the forest?’ John asked, more annoyed than anything. The man nodded. At the time, I thought it strange, that he should comply after such rude treatment. I learned that night he had complied, but only for our own doom.

“ The wood was thick as we went in. The branches stifled the already dim stars, and caught the lantern light like flies in a spider’s web. More strikingly, there was not a sound that night. Not a single leaf crinkled beneath a foot. Not a single breeze blew, not a branch rattled, not a twig snapped. No rabbit hopped. Not a wolf howled, not a whisper was heard. Even when we spoke, it was like whispers struggling against a breeze. We eventually resorted to simple hand gestures, keeping an eye for even the slightest shimmer.

“It must have been hours in that dreadful space. I entertained the idea that perhaps the sun rose and set and we hadn’t noticed, so dark were the woods. Then the smoke began to come from the distance, though still we saw no fire. Simply a tendril of the darkness stretching into our hallowed sphere of light.

“But the smoke quickened our minds. We knew, we knew that smoke came only from fire. So we followed it, covering our mouths to not inhale it. Slowly color intruded on the wood, red sigils painted on the trees, carvings carefully colored white as corpses. Sound came necks, drumming sounds, and the braying of the hounds, the crack of twigs and the crunch of crushed leafs all returned. And we beheld a dreadful sight.

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“There was a great pillar of stone there, crude volcanic stone. Around it danced men and women with madness, masks like pigs and goats and other unclean characters. Above them was a pulsing cyst of the sky, a tumorous mass. I have heard tell that among savage or decadent magicians, there is much desire for the hair a woman has devoured and has calcified. I can only imagine they would love this strange growing mass, with its hairs and scales and eyes and mouths. It grew crooning outward, singing and moaning as it spread. Lumps fell down to the earth and out sprung vermin and slugs and leeches in swarms.

“And we saw the governor’s daughter there, directly beneath, utterly indecent. Tar sputtered from the ground and filth fell from the sky and she reveled in it. Her form swelled, nearly to the point of bursting as we watched. And that, beneath the deep shadow, was the last of it. John, the religious sort, let cry a ‘Deus vult!’ and at once we let a salvo loose and forgot our dogs.

“The heathens were not quiet in their departure, however. Quickly, easily even, they drew knives and daggers and set upon us. And while we bore guns, they had numbers. Blood quickly watered the ground, both ours and savages. As it did, the ground grew hard, and the thing above seemed to squirm and flicker. Until, at last, as Roger fell to an ax to the shoulder, the thing pulled itself back into the pillar.

“Whence it came and went I do not know. But the forest must be raised, and the hills demolished. Dark things live in those places, and we can abide them no longer.”

It has been a long celebration, my brothers and sister! But I hope it was not too bad. Next week, we return to our regular schedule and regular research. What did you drum up from this classic corpse? Did you find some sea drenched beast? Or was your tale more mundane in it’s terrors?

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Ia Ia: What A Novel Phrase

This Week’s Prompt:25. Man visits museum of antiquities—asks that it accept a bas-relief he has just made—old and learned curator laughs and says he cannot accept anything so modern. Man says that ‘dreams are older than brooding Egypt or the contemplative Sphinx or garden-girdled Babylonia’ and that he had fashioned the sculpture in his dreams. Curator bids him shew his product, and when he does so curator shews horror. Asks who the man may be. He tells modern name. “No—before that” says curator. Man does not remember except in dreams. Then curator offers high price, but man fears he means to destroy sculpture. Asks fabulous price—curator will consult directors. Add good development and describe nature of bas-relief.

The Prior Research:Part 1  ,Part 2

The Resulting Stories: Black Sun Part 1,Part 2,Part 3

In our final word on this prompt, brothers and sisters, I wish to discuss the grandson of Yog Sothoth’s modern incarnations. And how…eschew they sometimes are. For the lord dreaming in Ryleh tends to be combined with two other figures of mortal antagonism: The Devil and entities like Godzilla.

The first being more rampant, we’ll approach it first. There is a trend, perhaps well intended, to make Cthulhu a grand source of evil in the cosmos. Many a demon lord in gaming has his visage, and his rare forays into film bleed over into Satanism more than the strange, global, and aboriginal nature his cult has in the original work.

This is strange, given the difference between the two characters. We said our piece on the devil here. And if there is something dependable dealing with the diabolic it is a desire to destroy mankind. Either a moral corruption through temptation, or a physical filth through literal death and devastation. The lords of locusts in Revelation and the great dragons of medieval times care deeply about humanity. They want it dead and ruined, and hate it like only someone who is dear to the subject can hate.

And that level of personal sadism is uncommon if not absent from Mr. Lovecraft’s work. The great Nyrlanhotep, the Crawling Chaos and Man in the Woods, is the closest to a devil figure. He is often the patron of witches and nightmares, and in some tales it is he who brought us the atomic bomb. And when Azazoth decides it is time to undo all creation, it will be he who heralds the end of the universe.

But Cthulhu certainly is not such a subversive entity. Firstly, his direct influence on the world is rather limited (a few days span, when he rises from the deep), and secondly, he is more a destroyer by accident than intent. Cthulhu rising is a terror, but it is a terror because his mere prescence is toxic. And while his draconic features imply impish and hellish mind, he appears to lack it past the rousing of his children and perhaps his extended kin of Great Old Ones.

It would be easy to blame Derleth. Derleth attributed to Cthulhu an evil disposition, and arrayed against him gods that might be called angelic (although later writers made them just as horrible, if perhaps less abrasive). But we cannot blame him alone. There is, as they say, at least one other. Simon.

cthulhunecronomicon

Simon’s real name is unknown, but what is known is that he penned a work claiming to be the legendary Necronomicon. Within, he writes a mythology that attempts to weave Babylonian narratives together with ones of the mythos. As well as promote an idea of magic and occultism that will trump all other such organizations.

The book links clear Satanic imagery with Tiamat, Azazoth, and Cthulhu, placing them as the greatest of evils in the cosmos and the masters of innumerable demons. To those who know the mythos, this is head-scratching on a number of levels, with several orders of being represented as the same. Further, the presentation of the Mad Daemon Sultan as an ally or lieutenant of Tiamat seems more bizarre. Perhaps Simon was some foolish cultist who misunderstood the Mad Arab.

But the book became famous, as books of sin and darkness that assert they grant mastery of the universe are want to do. I will spare my readers the questions of its authenticity, given that Mr. Lovecraft himself never asserted the Necronomicon was real, and instead present a second notion for this conflation of the Devil and Cthulhu: Modernity.

The devil, with his horns and brass tridents has become, perhaps, to familiar. The dragon has likewise suffered, no longer an alien beast of horror and terror, but a creature that is familiar in its own faerie way. The Mythos, and the squid headed Cthulhu in particular, are similar enough to step in as devils, yet bear an air of strangeness often lacking in modern demons (granted, this is enhanced by leaving the strangeness out of devils and angels. But I digress).

cthulhusavestheworld

The comparisons to Godzilla and similar large monsters rest almost on the other end. Many seem to believe that what renders Cthulhu terrifying is his sheer girth. His mass and his ability perhaps to regenerate are what makes him a threat to human kind. This is likewise mistaken.

Firstly, in the Mythos, the threat of Cthulhu clearly transcends the physical. He sends forth dreams and visions across the glob, and if some sources are to be believed, he is quiet a knowledgeable beast. He has flown from distant stars after all, and command wars. We know he lays dreaming, and the Dreamlands of Lovecraft are no small matter. Lastly, some texts call him high priest of his own kin, a child of that dread creature Yog Sothoth. Such a pedigree and position implies a more calculating and expansive threat then mere mass.

Secondly, Godzilla in particular is peculiar. In most renditions of giant monsters, there is a tone of punishment. These are holy avengers let loose, either for the dead or the environment or the mistreated scientist and so on. They have come because man has grown proud, to remind us of our smallness and teach us to respect something or another.

And while Cthulhu shows our smallness in the vast cosmos…he does only that. There is no primeval wrong he is undoing, and the advent of technology has little to do with his ascent. There is no morality to the Great Old One that we know of (except, of course, the disagreement over whether he will liberate or destroy the world, but that is a matter of mortal debate). If there is some cosmic significance to his conflict, it has little to do with our fate in particular. The threat of Cthulhu is amoral – it seeks neither destruction or aid to mankind. Merely to pursue its own agenda regardless of the effects on the world.

I will here make mention of a few other modern treatments of Cthulhu that my fellow brothers might find interesting, if unusual. Mr. Neil Gaiman wrote an autobiography of Cthulhu, as well as a British mystery story. There is of course the now famous video game Cthulhu Saves the World. And lastly, the wonderful people at Extra Credits have compiled a video honestly could have replaced this.

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Black Sun, pt. 2

This week’s prompt: 25. Man visits museum of antiquities—asks that it accept a bas-relief he has just made—old and learned curator laughs and says he cannot accept anything so modern. Man says that ‘dreams are older than brooding Egypt or the contemplative Sphinx or garden-girdled Babylonia’ and that he had fashioned the sculpture in his dreams. Curator bids him shew his product, and when he does so curator shews horror. Asks who the man may be. He tells modern name. “No—before that” says curator. Man does not remember except in dreams. Then curator offers high price, but man fears he means to destroy sculpture. Asks fabulous price—curator will consult directors. Add good development and describe nature of bas-relief.

Read The Rest Here: The Black Sun, pt. 1,Black Sun Finale: The Account

The Research: Part 1,Part 2,Part 3

The board of directors and there various associates agreed to meet on Walpurgisnacht. Mr. Derelth’s complaint (or as he preferred it, concern) was not as it turned out unique. The various associates confirmed to him the date must be Walpurgisnacht, because no other time was amicable to all the directors and yes, sadly, all of them would be necessary. The meeting would be held in Germany, per the old meetings, and because the location was of easy access to the majority of the directors.

After all, many were buried in the Teutonic forests, and dragging them any great distance would be a hassle.

Derelth thus found himself in a small carriage (the directors found the booming of a combustion engine intolerable and bothersome), dressed as best he could manage and quite terrified. He had never attended such a meeting. The board had spoken to him after the Great War, briefly, to inform him of some of the relics he had and to ensure he knew what signs to beware. And then, it had been through an agent who seemed only dimly aware of his purpose.

The meeting place was a large house atop a hill. It was built, from Derelth’s best understanding, before. Before what was a hard fact to nail down. Certainly before the Great War. Likely, by all accounts, before the unfortunate business at the Bastille. Possibly before the British lost their colonies. And after that accounts drifted farther and farther, with on deluded attendee that traveled with Derelth asserted it was nothing less than older than the forest itself.

Derelth arrived at the cyclopean stone structure. Outside was a man dressed in the old manner of a manservant. He was a tall balding man, almost pale blue around his veins. He bowed greatly as Derelth stepped out.

“Mr. Jonas Derelth? Is that you?” The man said, standing up right with a tedious clik-clik-clik noise. Jonas Derelth nodded slowly, taken aback by someone knowing his first name. It was a secret he had made some effort to keep, avoiding even public records where he could.

After all, even he knew that in the secret places of the world, names are powerful things.

He was lead into a room lined with veiled portraits. The tall footman stood beside three hundred others, each leading a new guest gripping some package or another. They were shown seats, a long a great black wooden table. On the otherside of the room, an identical desk stood. And behind it, the directors.

ANnuaki1.png

A number of them were grim visages, men dressed in hides of beasts and adorned with antlers and skulls. They seemed for a moment to be mere smoke, shaped like men as they sat. Some were women wearing helms of battle, some were almost child like if only they were not so terrible to behold. And a host swirled behind these, phantoms with swords and spears and staves.

In the center of the directors, on the greatest seat, was a man eight feat tall. He had a long beard, kept in orderly curls. He’s skin was bronzed, and his suit was green with gold ornamentation. Attending him were forty nine other men, dressed in long robes and veiled. Their eyes flashed like lighting from behind the robes. When Derelth and the others got seated, he was the first to speak, with a voice that boomed and shook the seats.

“We are gathered here to see this proof, that something troubles our great woods and shakes the cedars again. Show us what has come, that we might render judgement upon you.”

The procession was quickened by fear. Derelth saw great statues of seashells brought forward, with scorpion men or many headed dragons. His own great disk stood beside numerous others, each featuring that strange black spiral sun. All looked erratic, irregular shapes, unfinished ideas that still seemed real. Like the worst of a Bosch painting, or the troublesome drawings of a half sane man.

Each told the selfsame story, of some strange and half awake artist bringing in dread drawings of cannibalistic cadavers or crawling criminal crocodiles or other worse creations. All they said from their dreams. And this troubled the directors greatly. Particularly the man in the middle who’s voice was akin to thunder and who’s glare was like lighting.

But it was another man, one of the ghastly host on the periphery, who first spoke.

Annuaki2.png

“This is…troubling. The border between dream and reality ought to be more sure than this. Why, I know this stone,” he said fluttering over to one of the dark stone sculptures, “and it is found in those deepest of dreams, that come perchance once a century. The dreams of deep things that know this sort of slippery stone. The dreams of deep and wide-eyed sharks and that kind. Dreams that no mortal man should see.”

“Something has dredged it all up, then,” another director with bark skin and branch fingers said. “Dragged up all this to the mortal mind. What of it? We saw the sun rise and set over these very woods in the minds of men. Veles comes, Veles goes. The winds rage for a time, but all is gone by the end except perhaps a new scar.”

“No, no,” the man in green said, standing again, “no, my good Leshy, these things do not rise. This sable sun, this pitch colored star is an omen of old. Before the forests where trees, back when they were the Great Mother’s hair and when the lakes still ran with her blood.”

“The earth turns all things back again,” the Leshy said, standing tall, taller even then the man in green. “What of it? Why call this conclave to speculate?”

“We are not speculating, you indignant sprite!” the man in green boomed. And the room shook. “No, no, mere speculation would be welcome. In the hazy realm of possibility and chance, things may change and perfect. But this? No, no, I know these signs of old. The Black Sun across the sea, that dread fertile mother is rising again to zenith. The father flame, from which all terrors spill, it rises once more from the embers.”

“Your talking nonsense. What is this of fathers and mothers? Dreams have been bent by other calamity.”

“Once,” the man in green said, suddenly calm, “there was a mother-father, who dearly loved her children. For he-she had a thousand fold a thousand children. Each a different face, a mind of its own, cleaving and tearing at the skies and seas. For you see, in those days, there was no earth. But in time, some of her children got the mind to slay others. There was much fighting. And the mother-father, torn at the devastation, slept, and was content to sleep until the blood stopped flowing.

“And so it was for many a millennia. Most of the children died. The others built halls out of their bones, made their skin into lands and their hair into trees. The children taught the animals, the plants, and eventually the men and women of the world their arts. How to fight as they did, how to write as they did, how to bend fire as they did. In time, the squabbling children came to accord. But there was still the matter of the mother-father. For should she stir, again she would have children in multitudes. And again they would tear at the world, until all was naught.

“So they taught the world how to lie to it’s mother-father. To make mock battle, to wage war in the ways he-she expected. And the children rested. But in time, they too died. Most anyway. Children rarely live long. Others left, to find new places and new homes. Such is life, that the men, women, plants, and animals forgot or fought those ways. The last few trickles of blood ran dry perhaps four centuries ago.

“Not that war has been forgotten, but war as the children fought it? No, it has been lost. And so he-she has begun to wake. First he-she comes in dreams, an echo of the world primeval. We must gird ourselves for battle, for soon he-she will come as the doom of thrones and crowns. And their will be new children born, and the world will break and bend if nothing is done.

“But what perplexes me,” the man in green said, as all stared stunned, “is why no more such shapes have come? What has silenced them, who perhaps lulled her back to sleep?”

For part 1.

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The Black Sun, pt. 1

This weeks prompt: 25. Man visits museum of antiquities—asks that it accept a bas-relief he has just made—old and learned curator laughs and says he cannot accept anything so modern. Man says that ‘dreams are older than brooding Egypt or the contemplative Sphinx or garden-girdled Babylonia’ and that he had fashioned the sculpture in his dreams. Curator bids him shew his product, and when he does so curator shews horror. Asks who the man may be. He tells modern name. “No—before that” says curator. Man does not remember except in dreams. Then curator offers high price, but man fears he means to destroy sculpture. Asks fabulous price—curator will consult directors. Add good development and describe nature of bas-relief.

Related Research: Part 1,Part 2,Part 3

The Later Stories:Part 2,Part 3

Derleth had run his antique shop for longer than some of his antiques had existed. A few paintings towards the back, caked with dust, were older than the store, but they were of such poor quality and little worth that Derelth didn’t think of them. The sign outside proudly informed the public that all interred artifacts predated the century and the automobile . It was an attempt both at luring some customers and deter many others.

Such enamored customers did not typically include the likes of Robert Crane. Derelth was reading his books when Robert Crane stumbled in. Robert Crane was the sort that newspapers referred to as “ a product of the lately dismal times”, or as Derelth said “the slag of modern furnace”. His face was puffed as his shirt, his eyes red on the edges from lack of sleep. His coat was a faded blue, far too large, and with worn faux fur trim. A package wrapped in brown paper was in his pale shaking hands.

“Can I help you?” Derelth asked, peering over his glasses. His books needed balancing, due to a recent number of recent antiques flooding the market. Prices had to be managed after all.

“Yeah, you buy stuff right?” Robert said, eyes darting around. Derelth frowned. He was not a fan of informal language regarding his properties.

“I beg your pardon?”

“You buy stuff? Like, rocks and pens and scrolls and the such?” Robert asked, his dilated pupils fixing on Derelth.

“I purchase, collect, and display artifacts, yes sir.” Derelth said slowly, the sir stinging slightly on his toungue. Robert Crane was the very last person that Mr. Derelth would ever call sir. A babe had more right to the term sir.

“Great. I’ve got a new one for you.” Robert said, placing the package on the counter. “Just finished it, should be worth maybe three hundred?”

Derelth stared apoplectic. He was a tad light headed for a moment as the phrase worked it’s way through the gears and pistons of his mind. Eventually, after a good deal of soul searching and mental repair, Derelth believed he, in fact, had heard the words “a new one” refer to an artifact.

“A…A new one?”

“Yeah, like I said, just finished it.”

“Sir,” Derelth said slowly, his voice dropping to the stern tone of an English teacher, “I do not purchase ‘new’ art. There is a gallery down the road, which might entertain your piece.”

“Nah, its too old for them, they wouldn’t get it.”

“Too old? You said it was just finished!” Derelth said, standing up and glaring at Robert, “Can you not read? The sign outside clearly states, in the King’s English, that only antiques predating the century will be sold here. Return in ten decades time, and then we shall talk about buying whatever this is.”

“I made it yesterday, but not here.” Robert said, as if he were explaining the fact that sky was blue.

“Where you made it has no bearing on it’s age. Its a day old, regardless where it was made.”

“Dreams are older than brooding Egypt or the contemplative Sphinx or garden-girdled Babylonia. And thats where I carved this wonder, this little nightmare, was off in the land of dreams.”

Derelth paused at that. Those words, they were not the kind to emerge from someone like Robert Crane’s mouth. They were old words, strange and alien in a faux fur coat.

“Well, I suppose I could see it then,” Derelth said, recovering a bit of his composure. “and better recommend a gallery for your artistry then.”

“I already told you its too old for all that. But you’ll get it when I show it I think.” Robert said, grinning far too wide for Derelth’s comfort. He carefully placed the package on the table. Such caution, Derelth reckoned, betrayed the shape as being of glass or other, more fragile material.

Robert’s hands worked like reverse spiders, rapidly and delectably weaving tears in the packaging. Tiny strips of brown butchers paper gave way as did the tiny bits of tape holding it all together. The fingers did an excellent job of fufilling that mystic paradox, obscuring the very thing they strained to reveal. Why, it was an effort to tell them apart, as Derelth watched them scurry back and forth along the paper, testing here and there for a possible easy tear.

But at last it was revealed. A great disk, maybe two feet in diameter, of carefully wrought stone. No, no Derelth said. It wasn’t quite stone. A bit too shiny, almost a more compromised smoke. Almost out of focus. Squinting, Derelth saw that the stone was finely carved. The flatness of the disk was do to the smallness of the detail. Retrieving a magnifying glass, he examined it. Along the edge were flood waters, a running river. Great fish and crocodiles were carved in minutia.

But the next line in showed more startling things. There were things that Derelth was familiar with, men with fish tails or the like. But the scene itself was not of frolicking mermen or the like, but rather villages and obelsisks being over run by alligators. Or rather, tree like things with alligator heads and arms in place of roots. Many heads decorated the strange creatures necks.

Derelth paused his examination there, slowly looking at the next layer, mountains that had mighty dragons and lions roaming in them. They are full teeth, and a number have skin carved to resemble great boulders. Some had no face or the face of insects, dripping mandibles. Some of the lion-dragons or their kin hearded lines of wild men, naked and miserable toward a mighty pile. Derelth’s eyes widened as he saw a great solar disk atop the temple and shrines.

“This does appear to be an old script. What did you say your name was?” Derelth said slowly, not taking his eyes off the disk.

“Robert Crane sir.”

“No, the other one.” Derelth said, glancing up. “The older one.”

“I don’t get your meaning. I went by RC once, few years back, but I don’t know any older name except when my mum called me Bobby.”

“Let me be clearer.” Derelth said, putting down his glass. “What did they call you when you made this?”

“Ah, I don’t know. I only remember when I’m, you know, there.”

Derelth paused, lost in thought. This was unexpected. The images were startling, but that was more due to their familarity than their shocking depictions. No, Derelth knew those images well. He had a book of them, in a vault in the back.

“Mr. Crane, I know a number of men who would be willing to purchase this, at a nearby museum.I’m willing to offer you a thousand for it.”

“A thousand? Mister, that’d be great, but you seemed a bit spooked by it.” Robert Crane said, slowly putting his hand over the sculpture.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I can’t have someone buy it who’s going to break it.”

“I assure you, I will do no such thing.”

“Still. Hows about something else, just in case? Have you got any of the waters, from the old rivers?” Robert asked, looking around expectantly, “I hear they can take you places.”

Derelth paused, thinking a moment before replying. The answer was a bit complicated.

“I will talk with some of my associates on acquiring some waters from the Gange or somesuch, if that is your price.”

That seemed to satisfy Mr. Crane, who smiled and left. Derelth stood alone with the piece, tempted greatly to smash it. But no, the board would need to see this. This was not something that came out of the times. The times were meant to put a stop to this nonsense.


As I said last time, this story will be presented in three parts. As this was the first and introductory part I find it…acceptable? My time working on it was not the best, and while it seems a decent start at times, it also doesn’t quite click on it’s own. What corpse did you uncover, dear brothers and sisters? Did it’s bas relief provide any terrors?

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Ia Ia, Cthulhu F’taghn. What A Wonderful Phrase.

This weeks prompt: 25. Man visits museum of antiquities—asks that it accept a bas-relief he has just made—old and learned curator laughs and says he cannot accept anything so modern. Man says that ‘dreams are older than brooding Egypt or the contemplative Sphinx or garden-girdled Babylonia’ and that he had fashioned the sculpture in his dreams. Curator bids him shew his product, and when he does so curator shews horror. Asks who the man may be. He tells modern name. “No—before that” says curator. Man does not remember except in dreams. Then curator offers high price, but man fears he means to destroy sculpture. Asks fabulous price—curator will consult directors. Add good development and describe nature of bas-relief.

Later Research:Part 2,Part 3

The Resulting Stories: Black Sun Part 1,Part 2,Part 3

This prompt gifts us with a rather clear cut outline. I will dwell very rarely on the specific here, however, and entire into something a bit more deep of a dive. For the stars have aligned, my good brothers and sisters. Firstly, we approach the fiftieth post (our twenty fifth story). Secondly, fortuitously, this stands as perhaps the prompt for the most famous story of Mr. Lovecraft. The Call of Cthulhu.

For such an occasion, we cannot simply go without celebration. So, we will be extending both the story and the research into three parts. Here, we shall discuss the great priest of the Old Ones himself, his mythic ties, his modern depictions, and ia ia. Our story will like wise be in three parts, such that in six weeks time our revelry will be done. And then our normalcy will return.

If by some luck you are unfamiliar with the story of the arch-squamous one, I recommend reading it now. It is a delight and a classic of horror, if a bit weighty as most of Lovecraft is. The nature of the tale is (like ours) split into three sections, and runs about a novella long.

UndeadAuthorSocietyCthulhuSketch

Cthulhu stands as an interesting character in horror. He is an odd personality, a monster that stands as an icon now…but is rarely present in his own tale. So vast and huge is the difference between himself and his appearance in the popular mind that establishing where his stands from a myth or arch typical perspective is necessary.

While there are hold outs that attest to his nature as an alien power (The Mountains of Madness confirm this), and originally seems to lack any mystical proprieties, he none the less taps into a mythic mold. Namely, a force of Khaos, defeated and sealed ages back.

By this I mean, Cthulhu is (by all accounts) a thinking entity. He is not human, and thinks in a way alien to us, but he is not himself a gibbering god like Azazoth or a massive and mighty Shoggoth. He is alien and disturbing, but he is not insane. And in myth we have plenty of similar creatures.

We have of course mighty Tiamat, mother of monsters, and her lawgiver Kingu. Both, like Cthulhu, bear a resemblance to aquatic lifeforms, and both bear an association with dragons. And both further are defeated by a younger age of similar entities (the Elder Things and the likes of Marduk). Kingu as a subordinate servant with still great power resembles Cthulhu in particular, with Cthulhu being pontiff and grandson of Yog-Sothoth.

UndeadAuthorSocietyLeviathan

Such creatures also bear Lovecraftian description (many heads) things with all description (containing mineral, animal, and vegetable qualities) or even as Hundun, a Chinese entity who walks like a man with no nose, mouth, or eyes. The primeval entity Leviathan in some midrashic lore likewise predates the current creation, and capable of waging war on the almighty YHWH alone.

In the lore of the Aztecs a great crocodile prevented the current creation, with a mouth on every joint, named Cipactli who devoured the foot of one of the great gods. In Greek myth, the Titans lack a clear oceanic link, but Typhon (a mighty dragon like creature that stands like a man) rose from the deep to make war on Olympus. So tall that the stars were knocked aside by his head, the great last son of earth made war on Zeus, driving all other Olympians to flee before him. If it weren’t for a nearby shepherd saving Zeus’s sinews, he would be driven out. Again like Cthulhu he is a descendant of a mightier set parents (Gaia and Erebus for the record).

UndeadAuthorSocietyCipactli

All this is to say, fear of the sea and great creatures in it extends past song. The sea is often acknowledge as a primeval lord. Poseidon, the great Greek God of the Sea, unleashes storms and rages against the authority of Zeus in the Illiad. In the Oddessey he fathers monstrous races like the Cyclops and worse. The sea goddess of the Netsilik like wise sends terrors and misery when left unappeased, and is mother of all creatures from the sea as well.

The dragon kings of the sea are mighty enough to earn respect from the Jade Emperor in the Journey to the West. Uncheliga emerges from Lakota myth likewise, She was described at first as having no real shape or form; she had eyes of fire, and a fanged mouth that was shrouded in a smoky or cloudy mass. As time went on further, her form was exposed as being massive, with a long scaly body whose natural armor was almost impenetrable. Her eyes burned with wrathful hunger, her claws were like iron, and her voice raged like thunder rolling in the clouds.

UndeadAuthorSocietyTyphon

Typhon

From the sea comes the enemies of the gods, then. And Cthulhu fits this initially in a symbolic sense, at first anyway. He towers as a draconic-squid-man from the sea, who’s rising would end the age of human dominance (which is also the age of the gods). This notion is reinforced with later inventions by August Derleth, who sets the forces led by Cthulhu against as the Elder Gods (yes, yes the naming is a tad confusing). While Derleth’s connections remove some of the horror and utter alien-ness of Cthulhu and sometimes impose a morality, there is an underlining reason.

UndeadAuthorSocietyDerleth

Cthulhu’s nature, and what sets him apart from all others (and what ties him to this prompt), is his more than active mind. Cthulhu, when he begins to rise, effects and infects other minds with messages. As we’ve said countless times, visions and inspiration from dreams has divine connotations. This makes Cthulhu’s rise more like a volcanic erruption (which is often called the breath of Typhon) than anything else. It should be said that this is an unusual incident. Only at the right time is something so terrible glimpsed.

Cthulhu bears one more trait akin to those older beings: His kin are terrors. Cthulhu bears four known children by his own kind: Cthylla, Ghatanothoa, Ythogtha, and Zoth-Ommog. Each is worshiped in its own right. And then there are his subjects, the alien star spawn who shift shape and size at will like demons or djinn.

Cthulhu’s presence as a divine terror glimpsed in a moment of inspiration ties him to those dread Muses we once discussed, as well as some diabolical tales of musicians making deals with for inspiration. But all that is for another time. For now we will leave the great god below. For now.

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