The purpose of the "writing" threads is to introduce long texts to be included in the game. These texts typically refer, although sometimes obliquely, to available quests, locations or people.
------------------------------------------Professor Lombardy’s JournalCyclopean Dialogue Adventure: Professor Lombardy
a Professor of Mathematics. But soon, I will be so much more.
During the years I toiled on my graduate thesis, my diligent consumption of the works of Newton and Euler left me wanting. I felt the great minds of Mathematics were somehow hinting –perhaps without realizing it themselves– at a world beyond their power of explanation.
Dissatisfied with what my mentors could provide, I found my research drifting ever farther into the occult. Perusal of a variety of bizarre and forbidden tomes, such as the fragmentary Book of Eibon, and Remigius’s Daemonolatreia, led me to a highly unorthodox conclusion: that the subjects of any number of queer tales of witchcraft and demon summoning, were in fact mathematicians forced by the ignorance and barbarity of society into the role of outré occultist or sorcerer.
From careful study of the scraps and fragments, –poor translations most– which passed through my hands, I discovered that the authors of these suppressed works had somehow acquired a profound understanding of an outrageous, non-Euclidean geometry, a mathematical language unknown to formal academies anywhere in the world, even today. To hide this knowledge from the eyes of the puritanical new world inquisition, they obfuscated it with mystical mumbo jumbo. Symbols and formulae which would convey unimaginable power were mixed with nonsense scribbles and fragments of Latin and Old English, rendering all an incomprehensible mish-mash. Fear of these tomes led to them being hidden away first by the church, later by misguided authorities. But the very act of their banishment ensured not only that these writings would survive in jealously guarded libraries and private collections, but that they would be painstakingly copied by those few who understood their true value.
Fevered pursuit of my theory led me to the verge of deciphering what to myself I termed an absolute mathematics
. I am convinced that knowledge of this absolute mathematics would grant me an understanding not just of the physical laws and mechanics of this universe, but of others beyond our comprehension, as well as the means to open a gate to those other, Outside, places at will.
Even with only partial understanding, I knew the things I could reveal in my doctorate thesis would have turned the staid world of academia fully on its head. By the jumping light of a candle in my poor garret room, I entreated my advisor –one Professor Gimbal– to support me. I swore that I would always properly credit his contribution to my work (though in truth it was nonexistent), no matter to what exalted heights I would be lifted by my fame.
Even though I dared reveal to his weak and timid mind only a small portion of my work, his hands shook as he gazed upon it. He refused to support me, the imbecile. He insisted at that late date that I write my thesis on another topic entirely, and threatened my entire career if I continued to pursue my vision. As if this weren’t impudence enough for one night, he more than half accused me of being addicted to laudanum! It is true I had become a regular user of that medicine, not because I was an addlepated weakling, but because of the severe mental stresses which my research engendered.
To satisfy the feebleminded old goat, I agreed to generate the typical mediocre drivel expected of a graduate student of mathematics. Mentally, it was a task far beneath me, but nevertheless consumed precious time. I agreed to this sacrifice trusting that once I had earned my degree at Miskatonic, I would finally have access to the library’s closely guarded Occult Room, which hosts one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of the illicit and misunderstood. Imagine my horror when I was denied –indefinitely– access to that coveted collection of the arcane, precisely because that snake Gimbal advised against it!
Though passionate in my pursuit of knowledge, I have never been a violent man by disposition. Nevertheless, my fury at that point may well have been homicidal had it not been for the one person who stood by me at this difficult juncture, as she had at all my tribulations before and since, my dear, dear wife Annabel. That poor creature. If I had known how it would turn out– In truth, I have to admit I would have done nothing different.
I pushed on after the university’s crushing rejection, denying my despair by focusing every iota of my will on continued research. With shaking hands and mumbled incantations, I had hesitantly tried to work my first portal, but my understanding of the angles and their concomitant equations, which described in chalk seem an impossible contradiction, was grossly deficient. My first attempt revealed nothing of any other plane, no haunting voice from the void, nothing.
From various inferences gleaned from my studies, as well as months of correspondence with like-minded scholars around the world, I came to the conclusion that the black book Unaussprechlichen Kulten, by Friedrich von Junzt, must have the final answers I needed.
I met the sailor along the fetid, gloom shrouded wharf of Innsmouth Harbour. He was a feral and ill-favoured fellow possessed in my opinion of teeth both too numerous and too sharp. The parcel under his arm frighted him so badly he daren’t expose it in public, even by the guttering light of the Hook and Anchor, the most disreputable public house in New England. What else but the horrid tome I sought could shake the nerve of a pox-scarred sailor of that most cursed port? In an alleyway scarcely broad enough for one to pass, I reviewed the weighty package by the light of a gibbous moon. Confirming it to be the iron-hasped volume I sought, I paid him for it, both dearly and gladly. The seaman cackled brokenly when he passed it to me, not I thought, with joy at his rich reward, but as if he had played me a most cruel trick. I had for an instant an image of some wicked troll in a children’s tale, croaking gleefully that I had taken a terrible burden from its shoulders and on to my own. I shook off these misgivings at once and returned to Arkham.
My first serious study of the book increased my understanding three-fold! If only I had known its power in the beginning, years could have been saved… In any case, I learned that the quickest road to the knowledge I sought was to speak to an agent from Outside. Such a mentor could reveal more in an instant than would be learned in a lifetime of studying mere human scribbling. There were still obstacles to overcome, but by precisely following von Junzt’s words, I overcame the first: finding a proper location for the gate.
Having relocated my wife and myself to a modest camp without the cave, I was faced with the next dilemma, that damnable stone door! I feel a fool that it took me many months of trial and error, but I did find the formula to open it. The sacrifice of a small, living animal is required. A cat or a chicken will suffice. First intone the words:
Ia! Ia! Magnus portal!
Then, cut the throat of the animal and with its blood draw this symbol on the smooth blank square in the center of the door.
Then speak the Latin word for ‘open’: aperio
There were some unwanted –I shall call them vermin
– in the tunnel beyond, but I dispatched these with the practical application of a half-dozen shotgun shells. The chamber below represented the fulfillment of my desires! All was intact. The fine masonry, worked by what long dead artisans I know not, may well have been finished that very morning.
My faithful wife, like a rock to whom my agonized mind was ever tethered, seconded me during the ritual. Something arose from the pit, something unexpected. I failed that day. I failed and Annabel paid the ultimate price. Her death in that ancient ritual chamber was my first indication that my version of von Junzt’s masterwork was incomplete!
My wife’s death left me deranged. A manic despair swept over me, and by the time I came to myself my bed was a pile of leaf mulch on the forest floor. A full week had passed and by the gnawing in my gut I sensed I had not eaten in all that time, but roamed the woods like a mindless idiot, until finally a glimmer of hope shone on my brain and brought me back, –more than temporarily, I prayed– to my senses.
Of course! Fulfilling the ritual would mean unlimited power, even beyond the boundary separating life and death. The transformation engendered by my success would allow me to restore her completely. Looking now for gaps in the book, I found that a single leaf was missing. Out of hundreds of pages, this one oversight had almost cost me everything! I must at all costs get a transcription of page 172 of Unaussprechlichen Kulten. But I cannot stray far from the cave, no farther than I have gone this last long while for my meager sustenance. Someone will come to assist me though, I feel it.
It seems long now since I have taken up my task. I have paid no heed to time, but I feel slower of body and mind than I did. No matter. Just as Annabel will be restored, so will my time be restored, for I shall be master of all!
History is bound to ask: Why should such a visionary, a man ridiculed and scorned by his so-called peers, share his genius with a benighted world? Why, if he is so sure of his future success, does he commit his discoveries to meager words at all?
I do so because I suspect that I may not return from the journey I will soon make. No, not because my life is in danger. Far from it. But because having traveled beyond our mundane sphere, it is likely I may never wish to return.
--------------------------------------------------------House of Yig
I, Father John Marylebone, have promised to record the statement of the Pocumtuck Indian called ‘Blind Crow’ exactly as spoken. This particular Pocumtuck is a fine reader of the English language, and has some letters as well, but he insists that his tale be recorded by a more learned man. He has done much work with the Church as we help the Pocumtuck people come into the Light of Christ, so I am happy to oblige.
Firstly I must set down, at my subject’s grave insistence, that he is not called ‘Blind Crow’ because he is old and sightless. It is an affectionate jibe chosen for him because of his clumsiness with tools and, I speculate, also because of his croaking laugh. It is a laugh unheard in Deerfield Township for many a long month now.
I am Blind Crow, of the Pocumtuck people. I swear before Our Lord Jesus Christ that everything I speak here is an account of what I have seen and done, and is in all particulars the truth.
In the late days of the past Autumn, I and two friends from my village made west to hunt. Their names are Tall Pine and Ahanu. We were headed for the Bent River Valley, hoping to find muskrat or hare, deer if we were lucky. The Good Fathers would prefer we give up hunting for mating animals, but I loved hunting and still engaged in from time to time.
Deerfield has seen so many White Men these seasons past that the game all around has been hunted out. Even two days travel from the Township there was no game, small, big, or of any other size. The life of the forest had vanished and the conditions for hunting were getting worse, not better, as we followed the darkening sun. Even the birdsong had died off, something I had never witnessed in that season. The bit of salt pork we had brought with us was gone and my companions pushed me to turn back, but I told them I was too hungry to go back. In truth I was proud. The Good Fathers had warned me of Pride many a time, but I was a fool. I insisted we carry on a day more, even though I sensed we were already treading land claimed by the Manuxet.
The Manuxet, the Reader will know, are the Pocumtuck’s worst enemy, and as far as I know the worst enemy of all Indian peoples. The Manuxet have not one medicine man, but are all medicine men. My Christian Brothers say some of the old Indian ways are wicked and heathen, but the Manuxet’s ways are unholy. Their shadows are said to be cursed, and wither the plants wherever they tread. It is known from men who have dared to raid their camps that they eat the flesh of their enemies. This is a sin not only to Christians. It is whispered that a man captured by the Manuxet does not only face torture and death, but will rise up and walk again when the first full moon shines on his resting place. From then on he will turn his face from the sun, and serve a new master not of this land or earth.
Only hours after I insisted we continue into their territory, our enemies found us. They had surrounded us in perfect silence, then made a great shouting and racket near at hand, perhaps to confuse us. Tall Pine, his rifle out and cocked, fired at once, no doubt thinking some fierce animal was upon him. The grey-faced brave who leapt from the bush was hit dead center and knocked back two yards. When he came at once to his feet again, I thought that he must somehow have avoided the bullet’s path. Then I saw the hole in his breastbone, big enough for two fingers, and that as he yelled his war-chant black blood sprayed from his lips. Bad medicine. Ahanu drew his knife and fought to his death. I later thought this a very wise decision. At the time, Tall Pine and I stood and gaped like gutted fish at the holed man dancing about us, and were captured.
Stripped of our weapons and gear, and our hands bound with leather thongs, we were marched several leagues further west, to a small settlement at the foot of a hill, not a proper village but a rough camp where dozens of slaves were already at work. Many different tribes were represented: Narragansett, Tunxis, Wappinger, but no other Pocumtuck. No more than a half-dozen men from any one tribe was used. This was deliberate, I think.
It appeared our fate would not be death, but hard labour, and the Manuxet surely worked us as hard as any devil of Hell works the Damned. We were to dig. And dig. And dig. For this work we had shiny tools –White Man’s tools looking very new and expensive– and as much food and water as we desired. This food was a foul-smelling but invigorating stew, always thick with roots and meat, and tended constantly in an iron cauldron by a hideously scarred warrior. Our one other luxury was a few hours of sleep on the bare ground around noonday. Our captors hated this part of the day, and it seemed to be the only time they were not on their feet. They sat and brooded on the work which was not being done. Them, I never saw sleep. No mention was made of the reason for digging. The work was slow going, for the ground was rocky and sewn with the roots of many trees, which had been pulled up prior to my arrival. The goal did not appear to be a ditch or trench, or a cellar, for whenever I reached a certain depth, I was nudged to start digging in some unexplored spot, or to deepen a hole already started elsewhere.
All my fellows were terrified of failing the Manuxet, but after not many days of digging, I saw a man collapse from exhaustion. He was dragged from sight and did not return, the fate of any who could not dig. Our masters moved ceaselessly about the ragged holes like drunken bedbugs. They talked loudly with each other and constantly declaimed in words I did not understand. I had not thought the Manuxet language much different from my own, but the sounds of their words I could not myself produce at all.
Speaking amongst ourselves was forbidden, but one day, seeing our guards distracted with their inexplicable discussion, I wiped away the sweat pouring from the top of my head like a bitter spring and suggested to a fellow of the Mahican nation that perhaps we would find Hell itself at the bottom of these pits. He indicated to me that we were being made to dig in a widening circle, and said our captors were searching for some kind of underground house, but did not know its exact location. Even from a white man, I would have considered this crazy. Keeping one eye on our guards, I questioned him about this house.
He told me we were digging for something called Yig
. It is an ugly word, as all things of the Manuxet are ugly, and when I tried to speak it, it squirmed on my tongue as if I had bitten into maggoty meat. Although my companion’s eyes were wild, I nodded and accepted his words, for all that they made no sense.
The nights grew colder and the moon’s face, which had been hidden from us, began to grow anew. Time passed, and over the days and nights of our capture, Tall Pine grew weak. He had got a fever some days after our arrival, brought on by too much night air I thought. I leaned for a moment on my shovel, pretending to study a stone that was in the way of my work, and he spoke these words to me, in a voice I did not think his at all:It is true, what the slaves have said: we go to Yig. I see His eyes. I feel His breath. We will serve in His house underground all the days of the earth.
Having spoken these awful words, Tall Pine’s body buckled like a mature stalk of wheat cut down by the scythe, and he fell dead. All but knocking me aside, two warriors leapt up to tend him, as if they had waited all night for that moment. Paying me no mind, one of them slipped some tiny bundle from out his belt and into Tall Pine’s mouth. He was most certain to push it into Tall Pine’s throat where it would not come loose, and I knew somehow that this was a sacrilege to my friend’s body.
I had had enough by that time of digging, and swung my shovel at the nearest of the braves. The force of my anger was such that the top of his skull came free and took flight like some bloody bird across the open pits. This man did not rise. Then I went after his partner and the others. So crushed with despair had I been, I had not noticed how careless our guards were about their weapons, which lay discarded here and there. Against my fury they could not stand at all and I vowed to fight until I, or their entire tribe, were dead!
That is what the Blind Crow in my head did then, what Blind Crow dreamed. I woke from this dream to see that I had returned to my labour, and that what had been Tall Pine was gone. Had the Manuxet taken my soul already? I wondered. I told myself my soul was consecrated to Christ, but found little solace in this. Then I brooded blackly through many unchanging days and spoke to no one. When I lifted my head to study my surroundings once more, perhaps to decide at last to lay down and die, I saw that only a few workers remained. Those who had been worked into collapse or sickness or death were not replaced. The work area had grown and the holes were many, some as deep as a man, some as deep as three. There was only one silent brave watching four toiling men now, but such an awful weight sat on my shoulders that thought of escape did not enter the whistling chamber of my empty skull. Another, less welcome observation, however, did take seed: the moon began to peek over the horizon, and I noted how great and fat it was, that indeed this night it was at its fullest.
I shivered as I worked, feeling her stare, as if she looked upon me not with pity or care, as I thought she should, but with grinning malice. The moon rose, and other figures joined me in her harsh glare. Still I worked. Even without looking up from my labour, I could not help but note that my new companions worked harder and faster than any man, slave or free, ever did. The field of holes would soon be one massive opening in the earth. I swallowed my screams and worked, in some chamber of my brain wishing my heart would rupture with the strain and Blind Crow drop stone dead. My shovel flashed and flew as I tried to match the pace of the thing digging beside me, until a chip of stone from that demon’s shovel cut my cheek and I looked up into Tall Pine’s dead dead eyes.
The world went from me then, and I descended into a blackness of which I remember nothing but an endless yearning to forsake this earth for the world of my ancestors. What followed I have since assembled from several dim fragments of waking. Everything I witnessed was at night, but I do not know if it was one night or several that I was bound to the tree trunk. It was the nearest sturdy tree to the dig site, and the Manuxet had tied me in such a way that any time I woke I must at once witness everything taking place. Truly there is no limit to their cruelty.
At one time I awoke to the hoarse and ugly voices of every one of the devil tribesmen raised in ululation to the many-starred sky, as they danced in supplication to what the digging had finally uncovered. The returned slaves had made furious progress and the object of the great work was now revealed to me: a massive structure built of greenish stones. The blocks were smooth and close-fitted, and of a workmanship finer than any White Man’s building I had seen. It was equal on four sides, which sides rose up in great square steps. Father Marylebone has told me this structure is called a ‘pyramid’. Near the top of this pyramid a small stone slab, about three feet high, was being forced open. A hush descended all at once when the portal toppled, and a fierce exhalation of greenish cloud poured straight up from the black hole. I had never thought of a cloud underground before, but by this time such a marvel fazed me not at all. The Indians gathered around the summit of the pyramid screamed horribly and were struck down. I did not know if they lived or died, but here my mind went black.
When next I woke, the stars and moon were hidden with cloud. I think now that to this smallest of mercies I owe what remains of my sanity. The Manuxet cavorted once more about their temple, but a group of lean, dark-skinned figures had joined them, which wherever they were placed stayed always in shadow. Silence reigned over this dance but for the stamp of bare feet on earth and an occasional low clicking and clacking unlike any sound I had heard before. From time to time one of the shadowy new-comers emerged from the tiny black doorway of the pyramid, and at other times returned, taking one of the tribesmen by the hand. Those men who entered the pyramid did not appear again.
The final time I was roused, it was to a cacophony of booming retorts that shook the very trees about: gunfire! A small army of motley white settlers had appeared, and to me they were as welcome as a host of angels. They rained lead shot of all kinds upon the Manuxet still assembled around the stone pyramid. Would the slaves raise their tools against the white men? Who could say whether in their new and horrid aspect they would do their masters’ bidding? But I saw then that the slaves were to a man laid flat and motionless. The shadow men also were absent, and the tiny door to their house back in its place.
Many of the Manuxet showed the same resilience as the man Tall Pine had shot down when we had been captured, but the white men’s storm of buckshot and lead balls tore them apart. Although their ruined corpses stirred and twitched much longer than any dying thing ought, in the end they were destroyed utterly.
I was concerned at first that my saviours might mistake me as one of the Manuxet and kill me as well, but I was released from my bonds and kindly made comfortable. It was then I caught a glimpse of the three men with stiff high collars watching from beyond. One of them was the Reverend Snow himself, an important Churchman from Boston who I had seen preach in Deerfield. Though I had seen him only once before, he had a powerful, hawkish nose I would never forget. From their attitude towards the mercenaries, I saw these men were in charge. When they noticed me however, they hastily retreated from sight and I did not see them again.
Very soon after the gun smoke had lifted, the white men took up shovels and picks to fill in the great hole around the blasphemous temple. They would be long at this task, I thought, but as the first blade struck dirt, the earth itself started to shake. I believed that we had angered this horrible Yig
and asked God how much more tribulation would he rain down on my head. The earth did not rise up against us however, but in a great wash of dirt, stones and broken trees the hillside above the camp rushed down to bury the strange green stones. I and the men who had shot down the Manuxet got well out of the way of the landslide and none were injured. All agreed it was the Hand of God which had wiped out the rogue tribe’s evil works. The pyramid was indeed covered, all but the very highest tier, which still rose just high enough for the portal to show above ground. A brief effort was made to break apart the protruding portion of the stone house, but the men were tired, and eager to be on the trail home lest more of our dreaded enemy arrive seeking vengeance.
As for the slaves who had been laid out in the dirt, I was later assured that from all appearances they were quite dead, most of them for weeks. Whilst they did not benefit from a Christian burial, they are indeed buried and for that I am glad. It must be plain to you, Reader, as it is to me that my rescuers had been specifically employed to eliminate this group of Manuxet, and that the attack had been very carefully planned, but on this account my new companions remained as silent as the grave. After they returned me to Deerfield Township, these men vanished back into the woods and of them I know nothing else.
I am much reduced since my captivity, in both body and mind. Most of my hair has fallen out, my bones show through the skin everywhere, and I have a sickening pallor like that of the Manuxet. My people shun me now, and call me Tchibai, Ghost. They say that a Manuxet is living in my skull, watching through my eyes. They say that I stink of the Manuxet, like the places where the White Man has buried his dead, but not deep enough.
In the face of such injustice, the old Blind Crow would have turned to Our Lord Jesus Christ. He would gather strength from Christian belief. He would call on Christ for protection and hope.
I reach for Christ now, but I find nothing. In my heart, I know He must still be there, but I know too that no Christ, lamb or lion, could ever protect me from the underground God of the Manuxet, the foul thing they called Yig
That is the extent of Blind Crow’s statement. Although I have never before doubted this Indian’s honesty, I naturally must question the veracity of his outrageous tale. It is indisputable that Blind Crow vanished for about a month after a hunting trip in the deep woods, perilously close to the territory of the Manuxet, and that his companions have never returned. It is also true that a massacre of the Manuxet was reported to our Order by a pair of Narragansett hunters at about the time specified in this narrative, but the agents of this violence have never been revealed.
Blind Crow has asked for my assistance in petitioning the Colonial Government for funds and men to eradicate the Manuxet entirely, and to excavate and destroy this fanciful House of Yig
of which he speaks. Needless to say, such a petition will accomplish nothing. The Manuxet have never been a threat to white colonists, and whatever danger they are to their fellow Indian is reduced day by day by the Evils which sadly afflict all of the Native people: smallpox and drink.
Finally, regarding the assertion that a representative of the Church –especially as highly respected a man as Reverend Snow!—had some responsibility for such a massacre, or even stood by to witness it, I cannot credit. However, I did promise to transcribe Blind Crow’s statement word-by-word, and I have faithfully done so.