Being no longer of sound mind I seek to chronicle the events which have led to my present state. Long was my career of study at prestigious Miskatonic University and much archaic knowledge I sought there. I delved into the forgotten things, the dark corners of the earth.
Curiosity drove me to seek out the ancient ruins of Tr’venk Kar within th emountains of Shaldizar. Of this place was least recorded, and thispiqued my interest. Taking leave of my studies I under took the long journey to those ancient lands of the Middle East. Here, where thesands of time bury Earth’s secrets, I hired a caravan to the ancient city of Kolumbra.
The people I met during my time in Kolumbra were a most curious group.They dressed in a manner inconsistant with other residents of the Shaldizar region. Their strange customs baffled me, as did the manyreptilian statues which adorned their sacred places. I could scarceimagine creatures such as that thriving in this region lest vastrivers and lakes flowed here in unthinkable antiquity.
I inquired of Tr’venk Kar among these strange people whose eyes averted from my own. Women kept their children from me, and men refused to engage in conversation. I could not tell however, whether this behavior was for fear of that ancient place or of myself.
At last I happened upon a hut at the outskirts of the city. It was adorned with unusual skulls which I was unable to identify and a sweet smoke drifted on the currents from its windows. As I moved to knock uponits door it swung inward and a voice called to me from within.
Ientered the darkened hut, a single fire providing illumination,obscured by the large hookah from which the sweet smoke poured. Inthe darkness I could scarce make out the hooded figure opposite thefire but it spoke to me without prompt. “You’ve come for the hidden place, the ancient secrets held within the primordial mountains.” His speech startled me with its eloquence and asthough reading my mind he continued. “Secrets come in many shapes, and ghosts of the past roam the world looking for a seeker. You are a seeker, a glutton for the unknown with a thirst for knowledge. I have seen you in my visions and knew the hour of your arrival. Long shall we discuss the ancient things, and then you shall depart.”
I wish that I could recall in full my conversation with that ancient man of the desert but his words flee from my grasp like so many grains of sand. I remember how we talked at length of Shaldizar and Kolumbra.We spoke of ancient texts and peoples, of places no longer existing and those hidden away. The more we spoke the more I craved to know,and the more I knew, the greater my curiosity.
Many days and nights did I spend with the ancient man discussing forbidden things which excited and terrified. Finally, when we had discussedall that he was willing he bid me leave, warning me not to seek Tr’venk Kar. Of course in my youthful arrogance I ignored his warning, and payed a group of nomads a small fortune to lead me to that hidden place. If I’d only known what awaited me there I wouldhave returned home satisfied with what I’d learned.
At last between the looming spires of the ancestral mountains did I spy that which I sought. Carved into the mountain an open doorway loomed,protected from the ravaging sands by its place inside the mountains.Those who led me there refused to accompany me closer, fearing the tales they had heard. Boldly did I step forward, marveling at the construction within the living stone. The entrance loomed before me, naught but darkness within. I lit my lamp and walked in.
The miniscule flame of my lantern was vastly insufficient to illuminate the hall I found myself in. I could not hold within my mind the dimensions of the corridoor, the oppressive darkness so complete. Even the light from the outside failed to penetrate this ancient place, as though it feared to enter. When I could no more observe the light from the outside world I found myself in what I assumed to be agargantuan chamber. My light could reveal no walls and above was impenetrable blackness.
As I continued through this hall I became aware of horrible statues on either side of the path. Great reptiles of a grotesque physique and unnatural size towered beside me. I became more and more certain that their eyes were following me and in the blackness I could not disprove those thoughts.
When atl ast I reached the end of this hall, I was met by the most horrifying sight of all. Only then did I begin to comprehend the ancient man’swarning as I sat by his fire listening to his tales. This forgotten place where the nomadic tribes fear to approach indeed held the secrets I sought. In youthful arrogance I believed myself infallable, able to comprehend anything I might find. I lay curled on the floor of the infinite darkness, lantern smashed to pieces nearby. Many a man has sought the unknowable and I followed them into madness upon realizing, they weren’t statues.
©2012 Robert Welty