Friday, September 28, 2012

The Black Lotus Rituals

   Abdul Alhazrad was pleased with the spot he had chosen to perform the Black Lotus Ritual. It was a one room hut on the edge of the wastelands. Once the home of a madman who wandered the hills talking to shadows and oddly formed rocks, that hermit had disappeared one night during a sandstorm and the place had been shunned since. The hut had a single window facing south and that too was a good omen; for as a boy Alhazrad had glimpsed an ice bound mountain in the grip a fever dream and had known it was in the southern most reaches of earth. Perhaps the visions that the Black Lotus granted would allow him to see that mountain again or even the things that slumbered beneath it.

    Alhazrad seated himself in the midst of a complex series of circles and mystic symbols drawn in white chalk on the floor. He chanted the Dho-Na formulae as he lit the brazier. The dried Black Lotus began to smolder and lazily the blue smoke rose, tendrils coiling and twisting like serpents. As the smoke drew near his face, Alhazrad inhaled deeply.

   The lotus fumes struck his brain like thunder, he had brief but terrible sensation of falling down an endless tunnel, then he was standing, staring at his still chanting body, Alhazrad's astral form had been freed from the cage of flesh. He turned toward the window and could see countless paths leading from it. Alhazrad stepped through and began to travel.

   He flew through nearer astral realms and beheld spirits of the dead, some lost in  false bliss and others lost in equally false torment. Those realms could not hold him and he probed beyond the nearer realms and glimpsed the maelstrom of time itself. Lean and hungry Hounds of Tindalos stalked the edge of the maelstrom, he spoke to those things, telling them the time and place to slay his earthly enemies. That vague scent was enough for the tindalosi, they leaped into the vortex to find their prey.

    Alhazrad guided his spirit sideways into the lands of dream. There he marveled at great shantaks on the wing and was briefly entertained by the antics of playful zoogs. Then he watched as the zoogs devoured a lone traveler and his amusement became revulsion.

    He left the dreamlands and returned to the plane of earth. He sent his spirit to the very bottom of the sea where he stood with Mother Hydra and her daughters before the sunken tomb of Great Cthulhu. He felt a call from the sepulchre and he entered within, his spirit passing through the stone like mist. There he beheld the corpse of Great Cthulhu, a mountain of alien flesh that was dead but still dreaming. That dreaming essence of Cthulhu flowed out to touch him and something attached itself to Alhazrad, pain ripped through both his astral and corporeal forms.

     The agony shattered the spell and sent the sorcerer's soul crashing back to his body. Alhazrad  came to his senses with the morning light, the black lotus had long since burnt out, the sigils and diagrams on the floor were smudged from the convulsions that had wracked his body through the night. But something had changed in Alhazrad, as though a veil had been lifted from his eyes, he perceived certain angles were corridors leading to other worlds where other things gazed hatefully upon mankind. The were also changes in his physical form, but Alhazrad decided it would be best to hide those from curious eyes and bound himself with rags as though he were a leper. For those new parts of himself fought for control and they were so very hungry.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Dark Mother

     The  shrieking apes whose children would some day be called men clambered down from trees and stood upright on two trembling legs, they began to kill with clubs and carried burning embers to make fire.  Their primitive intelligence grew and among them one began to dream, not of mating or hunting, but of a beautiful female voice that spoke from beyond the stars. That gentle and wise voice named herself as Shub-Niggurath, the Mother of Darkness.
     The Dreamer had only simple language, but he understood the voice of Shub-Niggurath and she told told him many things. He found an ancient oak and carved a symbol on it, exactly at the time and in the proportions she had instructed. In a season many plants that were good to eat grew around the tree and the tribe ceased roaming to dwell there. The voice taught him of plants that would heal the sick so that his people would prosper.  The voice of Shub-Niggurath would sing to the Dreamer and he in turn taught the tribe to sing the Dark Mother's praises as they gathered around the mighty oak. For a time it was perfect, there was much food and peace, the tribe grew large and its children strong. The tribe held the Dreamer in high esteem and his word became first in all things.
   Then one night near the time of the falling leaves, Shub-Niggurath spoke to the Dreamer with a voice harsh and fearsome. The Dreamer awoke in a fit of terror and he told the tribe of the Dark Mother's desire; that they should capture people of another tribe, as many as were the fingers of both hands and bring them to the oak. Half were to be bled dry on the roots of the tree in the dark of the moon and praises sung to the Mother of Darkness. The other half were to be given to the terrible firstborn of Shub-Niggurath, who would come to receive this tribute of flesh. It was done, the Dreamer led his tribe to war for the pleasure of his goddess and she smiled upon him as he performed the grisly rituals.

  With the blessings of Shub-Niggurath the dreamer lived far beyond the normal span of a man and spawned many children, some with strange aspects and even stranger appetites. When at last the Dreamer died they buried his body at the foot of the great oak so his bones would be tangled in the bloodstained roots of the ever growing tree.
 The tribe dwelt for countless years at the great oak and in time they evolved into true men and built a stone temple around the ancient tree and around that temple sprang up the first great city of man on earth, which was called Gron-Hia in that old tongue.

 Even to this day the oak still stands in the crumbled ruins of the temple and the Prophets of Pnom claim that when the comet Oucarobius stains the sky the Dreamer can be heard singing to his dark goddess. Although some would say it is just the echoing shrieks of apes from the distant forest.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Vile One

"And in those places where men delight in vice is the presence of Y'Golonac known, and he draws to him those most wicked, that they may be devoured by him, their flesh made sweeter by their sins."
 from the The Hagan Apocrypha