Monthly Archives: December 2015

Raven’s Keep: Swine Flu, Eww

From the Journal of Elx

18 Donkeremoan 57323

As I write this journal entry I am a bit confused. I find that my previous entries contain a mixture of the Common tongue and a substantial amount of coded entry that I find myself unable to read. I have set myself the task of deciphering these strange entries in my own journal. Yet more strange, they look to be written in my own handwriting.

Additionally, I find myself in the middle, apparently of the Wildlands, exiled from Raven’s Keep. My memories of getting here are jumbled and fuzzy. Blern and his agents are nowhere in sight. I feel as if I have woken from a dream. But more…as if from a dream within a dream.

After the brief rest, we headed back downstairs where we found concentric rings inscribed on the floor of one of the rooms. Nyssa recognized the rings as something that she had inscribed.

“I’m sorry, but how is it and when it is that you inscribed these?” sputtered Bran.

Nyssa looked confused for a moment, “I’m not entirely sure, it may have been when we were in the dream.”

“But you never left us in the dream,” countered Sayberion.

“I don’t remember leaving you. But I definitely recall creating these rings,” answered Nyssa.

“Do you know why you created them or what they do?” asked Bran.

“I believe they are summoning circles. To either keep something in or out.”

While were talking Ankoma and I had been simply observing. I nearly fell over as the door I was leaning against was suddenly opened. Four swine things lept into the room. One of them rushing to attack Ankoma while the other three took advantage of me being of balance and descended upon me.

The others fought bravely. Ankoma fought with a recklessness that was inspiring, hacking away, grabbing them, and occasionally throwing the pig-like creatures to the ground.

Nyssa blasted one with her fire bolt and then rushed forward into the fray forgoing her safety to stabilize my bleeding when she saw that one of the creatures had nicked an artery and I was starting to spurt blood.

Bran slashed left and right with his two weapons, marking them with his hunter’s eye, he saw openings for more lethal blows that we others could not see.

Sayberion stood over my prone body and took the brunt of their attacks, interposing his shield to block attacks against Ankoma as well, all the while slashing with his blade. The last one fell as Ankoma held him down and Bran sliced his head off.

The threat removed they saw to Elx’s wounds. The medkit diagnosed him with some sort of magical disease that was resistant to normal healing and prevented it from applying normal diagnostic and healing measures to him.

Sayberion called out to his god and laid hands on Elx. The sweat that had broken out my forehead cleared away in moments and the kit indicated that the disease was gone and was able to apply its healing measures to him. Sayberion also used curative magics on Elx so that within moments I was standing nearly as health as I had been before the attack. My ribs still ached and I could still feel something not completely healed inside as I started to walk around.

We then went to various rooms to try to rest for a while. Ankoma and Bran, after seeing that we were secure began to search the building to make sure that there weren’t any gaps in the windows or other areas that the swine creatures could enter through. They got to the roof and saw that there were a bunch of them gathering in the courtyard.

Eventually, the creatures started to try to break in through the windows and doors as we had feared.

I transformed into a dire wolf and ran to the front door to meet my prey. They met me before I got there and clawed at me. I sunk my jaws it and shaking my head I knocked it down. Then my packmates and I attacked it viciously. The nice smelling packmate blasted it with fire and it smelled good.

Ankoma came down the side of the building and started fighting one of the swine things, attacking them from the rear.

My packmates and I were churning through the pig creatures.

Then I heard the hairy packmate fall and I started whining. My packmate with funny colored skin quickly picked up on what I was trying to communicate. He told the others that hairy-one was in trouble in the courtyard. I knocked the pig thing down in front of us and tried to rush past, but there was a creature that blocked my path and caused me to fall over.

Funny-skin rushed over the fallen foes and friends and disrupted the one that blocked me and then continued on to find hairy-one.

Another pig-thing came and attacked me while I was down. The creature was able to land many blows since I was down and I felt the familiar tingle of the swine flu.

Nice-smelling-one blasted that one and killed it too.

I stood up and knocked my foe to the ground and moved past. Two-clawed human moved forward and attacked it while it was down. Leaping into the air, Nice-smelling-one shot down at the creature but missed.

I rand out and back, nipping at the creature’s heels.

One of the creatures ran out to look for Funny-skin.

Two-claws took two more swipes at the creature and killed it. Funny-skin sliced at the creature attacking him and Hairy and then shoved it with his shield, knocking it back. It tumbled back into its companion and both fell prone. Then we chewed on them till they disappeared.

We went to the other tower, Two-claws called up to the golem but there was no answer. I went up to the door and scratched and barked, but I got no answer either.

We looked for openings. We saw nothing on the ground floor other than the locked door with a tiny arrow slit, but on the second floor there were windows so we talked about how to get to them.

I returned to human form and told the others that I would assume a form that would be able to enter the building and then would open the door. However, if I ran into trouble and didn’t return in a few minutes that they should assume the worst.

So saying, I transformed into a swarm of crawling insects and the mass pressed towards the door, then through the arrow slit, and into the well lit room. The swarm could tell that it was empty. Some kind of lab or library. I raised the bar on the door and let them in.

Once inside, we slid the bar back into place, securing the door against invaders and examined it more closely. There had been a conflict in the room. Bran noticed blood on the floor and determined that a booted man had escaped and that the white rat creature with little hands for feet, that T’yog had warned us about had been present also.

Starting to feel the effects of the flu I realized that I could cast a lesser restoration upon myself and did so to remove the disease coursing through my system. We sat in the chairs and rested while continuing to search the room. Among the papers we unearthed T’yog’s Journal and then I cast a detect magic ritual during which we discovered a strange amphora that we realized could be made to magically dispense various alchemical fluids.


Raven’s Keep: T’yog’s Journal

It is not dream—it is not, I fear, even madness—I lived too long, I’ve seen too much, and I am far too guilty for the innocence that might entail; there is no credence to the merciful doubts of insanity. I alone bear the full responsibility of the utter ruination that my life has become; the desolation of my human morality, the choices I have made and the paths I have trod; those unlit and illimitable corridors of eldritch phantasy wherein I pursued the black, shapeless Nemesis of immortality that has ultimately driven me to the brink of my self-annihilation.

May you find it in you to forgive yourself in your own time, perhaps you or the others with you will find all that which you are seeking, but for me the folly and morbidity into which I have led not only myself but my sister too, for that monstrous sin, there is none. It is true that I did not force her, neither of us could have accomplished the deed alone, but neither of us could bring ourselves to settle upon the dreadful commonplace of a prosaic world, not even the common joys of romance and adventure were too stale for our more discriminating palettes. We followed the darkness of our souls enthusiastically, every aesthetic and intellectual pursuit that promised any respite from the devastating ennui. Only in the somber philosophies of the Yellow King did I ever find any measure of satisfaction that lasted, and in the end that too proved false. Now, in reflection my zealously led us with unmeasured gradually into ever greater depths of diabolism, and our penetrations drove deep, deeper than you might ever imagine; only the more direct stimuli of unnatural personal experience and the increasing perversions of the Unnamable kept me focused. It was my frightful emotional need which led me eventually to the detestable course which even in my present state I mention only indirectly, and with both shame and timidity—the hideous extremity of my human outrage, the abhorred practices of which I was a willing participant and to which I subjected my sister Ophelia.

I illuminate you to these circumstances that you might comprehend that which led me to my self-imposed exile within this unhallowed place, I am aware that you will or should hold my narrative with some measure of natural doubt, both to its authenticity and its purpose, it is an unfortunate fact that you cannot see, the bulk of humanity is too limited in its mental vision to weigh with patience and intelligence these isolated phenomena, seen and felt only by an intellectually gifted few, these wonders that lie outside the common experience of the common man, but as men and women of broader intellect and potential, individuals such as you and your friends, I do hope by now you realize that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal; that all things appear as they do only by virtue of the delicate individual physical and mental media through which they are comprehended; it is our unique flashes of super-sight which allow us to penetrate the common veil of obvious empiricism of the masses.

For example, I know that you have already utilized the scrolls I provided, and having done so, you have drawn the five concentric circles of fire on the floor of the great hall, and having placed yourself at the center within the innermost circle, you will have chanted the monstrous litany therein transcribed, a ritual even I scarcely understand, a thing delivered to me by the messenger of the Faceless one. You see, somehow he knew that you were coming, and it was he who declared that you would put the ritual to good use. He offered only this description … He said it would melt the walls away from your inner power; opening you to the black wind of the Crawling Chaos that the wind might carry you through the gulfs of the fathomless grey until you found yourself amidst the needle-like pinnacles of mountains known only to him; he said there the winds would carry you until the mountains lied miles below you so that you might choose the means of your destruction, and that when that was done, you would return from the utter blackness to where send you so that you might share that which you gain with all. And so now, having passed through the strange glow of a myriad of alien stars, stars formed in strange, unknown constellations that you had never seen or imagined, and having passed through the house’s twisted towers into the arena of the other gods, you have returned, and so I found you, all of you, sprawled unconscious upon the floor, back within the five phosphorescent circles you had drawn there in the great hall, each of you to your own circle. I screamed and struggled with the knowing of what your return means. Hereafter, you should be more cautious with your incantations, lest you find yourself someday cut off from your body, cut off from the earth, trapped within hitherto unknown abysses from which you might never return.

I have not the time to explain this to you now, there is scarcely any time left for me at all, but know this … When age fell upon the world, and wonder went out of the minds of men; when our grey cities reared high into smoky skies, tall towers grim and ugly, in whose shadow none might dream of the sun or of spring’s flowering meads; when learning, science, the sorcery of the day, stripped earth of her mantle of beauty, in that time when poets sang no more save of twisted phantoms seen with bleared and inward-looking eyes of the truly self-centered, narcissist that ruled the world of that day; when those things had come to pass, and childish hopes were washed away seemingly forever in the passing a a smattering of days, there were a handful of men whom with the help of two women travelled out and beyond this realm, on a quest into the spaces whither the world’s dreams had fled.

You must now find the lost the key of that gateway of dreams, it is the key to the strange and ancient cities that lie beyond time, beyond space, wherein lie the lovely, unbelievable garden lands wait across the ethereal seas; but there is little time, and you have not crossed into this land alone. Your liberties have already begun to slip away little by little, until eventually you too will be cut off altogether, and on that day you will understand the doom I know too well. The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on upon placid islands of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage so very far as you already have. Our studies, each straining in their own directions, have it within them to piece together of dissociated knowledge of man to the extent that it must ultimately open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and the revelation of our frightful position therein, that we should all either all go mad from the understanding or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age, so better would be now for me had that happened, but it did not and I suffer for it, as will all humanity.

You are on your own now, separated, but too your life is now unmundaned and for at least this moment you might feel that your lives have meaning. The forces aligned against you, are not in truth, allies. They are great and unimaginably powerful, but your concerns are not theirs, and as important as they might be to you, they are insignificant to the Old Ones, and therein lies your only fragile hope. l have wondered why the majority of mankind never pauses to reflect upon the occasionally titanic significance of their dreams, so trapped are they in the obscure world to which they belong. It is my hope that you will strive to be different. From my experience I cannot doubt but that we, when lost within our terrestrial consciousness, but in our dream we are indeed free and able to sojourning in another incorporeal life of far different nature that which normally constrains us, and it is in our blurred and fragmentary memories of those place we travel from which we may infer much; matter, and vitality, as the earth knows such things, are not necessarily constant; and that time and space does not exist as our waking selves comprehend them, but rather it is an illusion forming an all but impenetrable barrier the Old Ones use to contain us. I think it might be possible for you to find the means of traversing these mazes. Whether or not you will succeed, I cannot say.

You are of a very old people, old even compared to me, and I have reigned here for better part of 300 years. I have looked forward impatiently to the day of your arrival watching the cryptic signs within the star of our blindly impersonal cosmos. You find yourselves far from home, and I am not the only one who knows that you are here. You have enemies near and far, they are legion waiting in dank pastures of the wastelands, and deep in the caves of leviathan hidden beyond the triton’s grottoes and the seaweed cities of the Elder Ones. I could never bring my think of the deep sea without shuddering at the nameless things that are at this very moment be crawling and floundering upon its slimy bed, worshiping their ancient stone idols and carving their own detestable likenesses on submarine obelisks of water-soaked granite. I have dreamt of the day when they will rise above the billows to drag down in their reeking talons the remnants of puny, war-exhausted mankind – of the day when the land shall sink, and the dark ocean floor shall ascend amidst universal pandemonium, but that end is not to be mine. I have created my own, and it waits for me now, festering in the cursed ground beneath your feet; I hear their dead thoughts, their desire to live anew, both in and out of their odd bodies— Oh the inescapable evil of their minds, thoughts held by no head. It is a happy tomb where no wizard hath lain, and a happy the town whose wizards are all reduced to ash. It is an old truth that the soul best sold to the devil is bought by him not with coin but with gifts, the finer works of his charnel clay, from the fats that instruct, the worm that gnaws; till its corruption swells to breed the horrid abomination of life, thing that spring out of the minds of men, the dull scavengers who will ultimately consume themselves. Many are the gifts of the Great Old Ones, and many are their great secreted holes both above and below the earth, and beware for their creations are strange things that learnt to walk that ought to crawl; the witchcraft terror that is a horrible ray of light stewed in woman’s corrupted brain, but even that is a trifle. There is no beauty; no freedom – I can see, no escape in the poisonous sermons of the cramped divines of the other gods. We are all trapped together with the same rusted iron straitjacket that is this world. It is a place of lurking, gibbering hideousness, perversion, and diabolism. Here, truly, we share in the apotheosis of The Unnamable. Avenues of limitless night radiate outward in every direction chose that which you will, but know the root of a contagion lies not upon your path, but rather it is deeply embedded within you all. You are all destined to sicken and swallow cities, and engulf nations in the fetor which you carry within you. The cosmic sin is yours, just as surely as it is mine; yours is all its festering unhallowed majesty. 

So go, embark, commence your grinning march of death, spread the rot of your own fungous abnormalities, like Bastion, you already bare the mark, the bloodstain of the innocent youth is upon you, the leprous limbs of phosphorescent Shub-Niggurath have sought you out; incubi and succubae howling praises to Hecate. Our World, and Nature, both are helpless against the assaults of your unsealed wells of night. Were there a formula—a sort of list of things to say and do—I would have recognized it, but they are and they should have stayed, black and forbidden; yours are the same furtive paragraphs I myself studied, and me with mixed abhorrence and fascination penning and repenning both my own works and those of the strange ancient delvers who came before me; those you like you sought out the universe’s guarded secrets. Once too I believed there was a key—a guide—to certain gateways and transitions of which mystics have dreamed and whispered of since our race was young, and from which we might discover new freedoms that might carry us beyond the three dimensions and realms of life and matter that we know. Not in my three centuries had any man of this realm ever more dutifully researched these awesome antiquities than I. 

I cannot sleep at night now, and have to take opiates when it thunders. After your departure the things came abruptly, but they were announced first by their hellish grunting, that is what saved me. The daemon swine-things rose from the pit, and then I again caught wiff of my blackest of conjuration, Brown Jenkin as he burst out beneath the chimney in the kitchen, that leprous, loathsome night-spawn; the sound of his hideous titter and the shallow pant caused him by the ash; I gave chase, but he disappeared in a wee hole, a newly gnawed in the cellar wall. I hear them again now … seething, stewing, surging, bubbling up like serpents’ slime as the roll up and out of that yawning pit; they are coming for me, and they will come for you too; hopping, torrential shades of green luminescent chaos, coming for you all, one after another in an endless procession. They too are formless phantasms, ghoulish mutations, monstrously over-nourished, servants of The Unnamable, the earth’s verminous cannibalistic dev