Recovered from the Diary of Võlutaar Anskál
rating: +13+x

November 17, 1872

Today we tried to summon our benefactor.

We were severely ahead of schedule. Karcist Ilmnas himself shook me awake in the dead of night — I could have sworn by Ion himself that his hands were not so bony and clawlike the day before. I cannot remember what he said to me in my stupor as he dragged me to the estate's ballroom. Forgive me for the shaky writing, the wounds on my arm still bleed with no indication of stopping.

The ritualist and his colleagues had drawn up a circle and constructed an altar there, under the dim lamplight. Even as Ilmnas' trusted adviser, I was not permitted to familiarize myself with the hastily carved symbols that swam like eels under my gaze. Perhaps that was for the best.

There was a woman I didn't recognize fastened to the altar. She couldn't have been older than twenty, and she was dressed in little more than rags. Ilmnas made a practice of spiriting away the less fortunate, those who would not be missed or cared for. She looked at me. I didn't make eye contact. Ilmnas, I, and perhaps three others stepped into the circle.

We tore her open like animals. At least, that's what I could see after the merciful, merciful crimson curtain that dulls the senses dropped and I was left to admire our handiwork. To spare you the description, whoever you may be, is extending that same mercy. I do not know who will find this. I do not think I care.

Some say it gets easier to do this every time. They are fit to be ground under the heels of the Cogmen.

Blood soaked the floor, pooling in the lines and sigils, invading the nostrils, and warming my bare feet. It seemed to percolate into my skin, where it remains. On my arms, on my hands, on my face, everywhere. The red could very well have been a backdrop for one of the Karcist's galas, but we were the only witnesses here. He gripped my shoulder, and I began to speak those damned words along with the rest of them.

Karcist Ilmnas said that the ritual would "approximate" the Archon into a form "palatable" for us. All I felt when the spatial membrane was violated was bile rising in my throat. I could hear the rats deserting the walls as the cold presence forced its way in like a winter draught.

The Karcist cupped his hands and lifted a handful of bubbling blood to his face. He smeared it over his wrinkled visage, getting it in his eyes, letting it dribble into his mouth. I don't care to remember what empty flattery he spouted to the Archon. I will remember what happened next until the void takes me at the end of all things.

The pool of blood erupted into a geyser that reached the painted ceiling above. Every drop dried in an instant and expanded to scab over in a cancerous pattern over the floor, ceiling, and walls. I protected myself with what I knew of the sacred art. The others were not so lucky, petrified to scar tissue in a flash. It was only me, Ilmnas, and the thing in the geyser.

By Ion's grace, I only got a few glimpses through the spray. It writhed, it gnashed, it secreted fluid, and it screamed. A bloodshot eye from amidst the seizing, curling, foaming flesh looked at me, and I bent over to vomit. Ilmnas looked at it like it was the most beautiful young woman he'd ever seen.

The foundations groaned as thick fingers of muscle pulled at the great manor. Priceless paintings from bygone ages stained and cracked. The sigils grew hot and began to distort. Ilmnas took a step forward toward the deluge, and then another, as the flesh grew up his legs to impair his movement. He reached his hand out.

Something I have no words for took it.

It was only beginning to birth itself through the membrane when the house came down. I saw Ilmnas look at me with the most serene, blissful expression I have ever seen, before his body melted into the Archon's embrace. I remember the chandelier shattering and coming down as the floor buckled, breaking the circle and staunching the wound we had opened in our world.

I scarcely remember anything after that. Through the blur of blood and dust, I remember a pain as if my head had split in two. I remember smashing a lamp with my bare fist, and setting fire to the manor. It spread quickly, as if the powers above knew this failure should be discarded. I remember limping into the forest on the grounds with something that was not me scratching at the inside of my veins.

The Cogmen will come for me soon, I know it. They will hear of this before it can reach the unenlightened.

I hope they give me a swift and complete death.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License