Saturday, January 14, 2012
Two men groped through the ancient catacombs beneath the glorious city of Sarnath lighting their way with torches that barely penetrated the gloom. One man was very old and frail, and he was far older even than his appearance suggested. He was Ysra the Hyperborean and he was a great wizard. The other man was young and large, his name was Malak and he was one of Ysra's apprentices, although he was reckoned by many to have neither the talent nor intelligence to make a wizard.
In the streets above them the men of Sarnath celebrated the three hundred year anniversary of the destruction of Ib, a neighboring city that had been populated by odd creatures considered repulsive and inferior to men. Malak had wished to join in the celebration, but Ysra had no interest in such foolishness, he had witnessed the destruction of Ib and he knew eventually Sarnath would pay a dire price for the transgression. They traveled ever deeper into the earth until the sounds of the city and it's riotous festival ceased to echo the tunnels.
Ysra stopped at the entrance to the deepest section of the catacombs, runes carved in the rock caught the old wizard's attention and he read them for a bit. He spoke, "Douse your torch, good Malak, fire is no friend to those who dwell beyond this portal. We shall instead view this realm with the second sight granted by this potion." He produced a flask and they each took a sip. For a moment all was black, then a pale green glow began to illume the tunnel and the men could see easily as well as in the torchlight. Malak was amazed by his master's craft, his father had been wise to pay Ysra the tremendous sum required for acceptance as the old man's apprentice.
Peering about with his new vision Malak was disturbed by the number and size of the spiders crawling the walls, he sought to crush one under his foot that crawled near but Ysra pulled him back with surprising strength. The wizard hissed, "Fool! Would you enter a great kingdom and kill it's people?" Bewildered by the comment Malak made no reply.
The pair came to a gigantic cavern, massive pillars carved with ancient runes of power stretched up a hundred feet to the ceiling and the floor was like a living carpet of spiders. The arachnids were all sizes and colors, some no bigger than a coin and jet black, others large enough to kill a house cat and covered in wild hues of yellow and purple, the largest were pale white spiders that had never seen the light of day clinging to the walls and seemingly watching them with their clusters of black eyes.
The spiders parted and cleared a path as the men approached a dais made of human skulls and webbing. Malak shook with terror as he looked up for resting atop it was the supreme horror of this subterranean realm, a great thing like a spider but as big as a horse and with a face similar to that of a man. The spider thing spoke with a harsh rasping voice, "Greetings, Ysra of the Crimson Circle, hast thou come to gain more of my knowledge?" The old wizard replied, "Indeed Great Son of Atlach, I would know of the Swarm of Nebros and how they devour a man when summoned and yet that man lives on in their swarm. I would know of the depths under this realm and the foul dwellers below, and I would know of the dimension of Lord Kour-Gath and to what gods he sacrifices endlessly. I have brought this gift according to our ancient bargain."
Suddenly the dim-witted Malak realized his fate and turned to flee. Ysra was faster, he struck Malak in the neck with his left hand. One of his rings had a tiny needle dipped in black lotus extract and it pierced Malak's skin, the apprentice dropped to stone floor. Malak was awake but his limbs were paralyzed by the lotus extract, he could not even scream as the great white spiders carried him high up the wall and cocooned him in webbing. He hung there for many days, listening to the Great Son of Atlach whisper arcane secrets to Ysra, while the wizard carefully wrote down all that the monster spoke.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Of all the curses known to the sorcerers of elder lore, the curse of Mgnalah is the most vile. First the magus must obtain some part of the victim, a lock of hair or even a drop of spittle will serve as a link. Then a deep cave is found for Mgnalah will not enter where the light of the sun has touched the earth. Next is is drawn the seal of Mgnalah upon the earth and the link placed atop it. Then the incantations are recited in a whisper, for Mgnalah hears whenever his name is spoken and there is no need to shout.
Seeping down from between the spaces we know will come Mgnalah, searching for his prey. The old one will take root within his host and begin to grow, consuming flesh and mind both. In time the wretched remains will resemble nothing of this earth and mumble only of strange and terrible visions. In the end nothing human will remain, only a fragment of Mgnalah that will crawl away in search of new flesh to devour that it might grow into a greater abomination.
(From the Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazrad)
Abdul Alhazrad cursed the luck that led him to this fate; he would die in a stinking tent listening to the nerve wracking cry of a baby in yet another tent. Alhazrad had been traveling alone, his camel laden with plunder he had found in various long forgotten tombs. He proved a tempting target for bandits. They had ambushed him as he crossed a dune and sank an arrow into his left side just below the ribs. He cut his treasure pack loose and flogged his camel like a madman, seeking to escape the thieves. The desperate plan worked, the bandits ceased pursuit to gather Alhazrad's goods and he rode on until the camel dropped dead from the many arrows it had recieved.
Weak and delirious, Alhazrad had wandered on foot for two days, then an outrider for a nomad tribe found him. The strange desert folk spoke no tongue that Alhazrad was familiar with but they were kind in their fashion; they had no method to treat Alhazrad's wounds so they merely provided him a tent that he would at least die in some small comfort and privacy.
On this third night the wound in Alhazrad's side exuded a foul odor and with each breath he could feel the sting of the barbed arrowhead, for certain this hot night would be his last.
The moon reached it's zenith and a cool breeze whispered through the nomad camp. A woman stood at the flap of Alhazrad's tent. She was tall and dark, clothed in gossamer robes that concealed nothing of her icy beauty. She asked Alhazrad's permission to enter and he gave it gladly.
She spoke, "Would you desire to live, Abdul Alhazrad?"
"What fool does not," Alhazrad replied.
The Dark Woman commanded, "Then take up quill and record my tale in the olden runes, for I know you as a sorcerer versed in such things."
The Dark Woman begin her story and Alhazrad could not have resisted even if he had the desire to do so. She dipped the quill into his oozing wound and bade him to inscribe the tale in his own blood. She began her story and Alhazrad wrote every word, pain and fear of death forgotten, replaced with wonder.
The Dark Woman told Alhazrad of the early days of man, she spoke of the wondrous place those first people were given and how the crimes of a few caused that place to be taken from them. The worst of the disobedient ones were cast out, cursed, and forgotten by the light. Doomed to wander forever, becoming monsters and breeding monsters. She spoke all the night through and the moon was almost gone when she finished her tale.
Alhazrad was fading fast and he feared the Dark Woman would betray him. But she spoke, "Fear not sorcerer, this is not your time to die". She struck faster than cobra, driving her fingers into the wound, when she pulled them free the dripping arrowhead was in her hand. The Dark Woman smiled and for some reason it terrified Alhazrad more than the death. She spoke once more, "Rest now, and take my story back to the land of men when you awake", and left the tent silent as a stalking panther.
Alhazrad awoke midday, his wound had closed and the infection had cleared. The camp was quiet, even the noisy baby had apparently decided to nap the day through. He stumbled to the nearest tent, he would thank these simple people and be on his way. No answer came to Alhazrad's hail and so he peered into the tent. Alhazrad fled screaming to the next tent and then the next. But in each he found the same thing, skeletons of a tribe long dead and forgotten.
Monday, January 2, 2012
In the chaotic realms beyond Kadath there are ten Lords, less than gods but greater than flesh, they are Demons of the greater order. Only seven of the ten are known from fragmentary codex known as the Demonology of Ysra. They are to be evoked with the utmost caution for they delight in atrocity.
Auth-Neb knows all the formulae of the gates of dimension and the shapes of time, with proper sacrifice he may give a Magus aid in this work. But if he is called often he will become familiar to the Magus and may take him when the barriers are thin or the seals made improper. The fate of those taken by Auth-Neb is not known, even to the Prophets of Pnom.