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The Georgicks of Virgil, with an English Translation and Notes Virgil, John Martyn Ipsi in defossis specubus secura sub alta Otia agunt terra, congestaque robora, Pierius says it is confecto in the Roman manuscript. And Tacitus also says the Germans used to make caves to defend them from the severity of winter, .

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If you wanted a taste of what Prince and Detroit meant to each other, then here would be a good place to start. One wonders if he carried that thought with him for those intervening years, or if it came to him again as a fresh idea in Everything is thrown into this final hit out, and it becomes a cacophony of sounds and instruments in the final minutes as everyone seemly wants to get a final say. Okay, so what to make of all this? The first part of the show, which contained mostly songs off the Symbol album, was certainly a lot stronger than the second half of the show.

As a bootleg it is interesting listen, if only we could have it in better quality, and despite the unsatisfying second part I still enjoyed what I heard throughout. As I said at the beginning, this is not for the faint of heart, but no doubt anyone from Detroit who was there would grab this a a memento of what sounds like a hot and heavy night. See you then -Hamish. I have been a listening to Prince for more than 30 years now. The main reason I have stuck with him for so long without losing interest is the diverse range of shows and music available, there is always something different to listen to if I get tired of whatever I am currently listening to.

The last few weeks I have listened to an after show with Amy Winehouse, a tight Revolution rehearsal , as well as a stripped back piano show. A lot of the songs in this show have disappeared from his live performances now days, this show is a good chance for me to revisit them again and remind myself just what a fun, yet mad, period this was. The opening My Name Is Prince sets the tone for the evening well, plenty of Prince braggadocio, strutting around stage with cane in hand and chain hat on. I may not be the greatest fan of the rest of the cast on stage, but I do like the guitar chopping away under it all.

There is always something on stage to hold my attention, so as Tony M spits his lines I find myself looking and listening for other action on stage. Sexy MF has the music back to centre stage, for the first part of the song anyway. I admit, I love looking at Mayte too, but at times it seems the music takes second place to the other shenanigans on stage and the dancers, Mayte and Prince all engage in moves and sequences.

Like I said earlier, this show is all about spectacle. Things settle down with Damn U, and for the first time in the show I find I can listen to Princes voice, and the music is the first priority. The best moments for me come is as Prince is alone at the microphone singing, much to the delight of the crowd who squeal in appreciation. This show is great in that it highlights so many songs from the Symbol album, and the performance of The Max that comes next is a real treat.

The music sounds thick and powerful, and Prince brings his best dance moves to the party. The reporter sequence is just as unnecessary here as it is on the Symbol album, the payoff here though is we get a nice rendition of Morning Papers with Prince playing the piano, before climbing on it for a guitar solo. The final solo is better to my ears, although that could be because I pinned so much hope on it. The guitar levels go up considerably next as Prince stays strapped up for Peach.

Prince finally releases the guitar frenzy I have been waiting for, not one of the greats but definitely a lot of fun and the highlight of the show so far. Then from left field we get the reggae infused Blue Light. Prince is the master of changing moods and sounds at a drop of a hat, and this is no exception. This song is not often played at my home, yet it has its place, and listening here I find it very enjoyable indeed.

For its lightness it still has enough of a groove for me to lean back and enjoy. The Continental is great to watch, and equally good to listen to. The first part of the song comes on strong, and has plenty of Prince swagger and guitar sound. This is where watching it becomes a bonus, as Prince performs plenty of lewd dance moves as Mayte sings. Now for something I never thought I would say. It just comes across as lacklustre, and Prince is dialling it in.

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Another annoying reporter segment before we get Prince spinning into Flow. I like the Prince section of the song, my attention sags when Tony M is on the microphone. The Vicar sat down again and leaned across the table, glowering at him awhile in silence. Lessingham returned his gaze steadily; the eyes of Lessingham were grey with brown and golden speckles. The Vicar at length turned away his gaze. Slowly and luxuriously Lessingham stretched his arms, yawned, and then sat up.

He reached out a leisurely hand to the golden flagon and filled his goblet with red hippocras. And I remarked it very particularly, wherein it did name you vicar and viceregent of the Queen and lord protector of her minority, and did enjoin you in all points study her proper good and safety and the enhancement of her sovereign power and dominion, and tender and cherish her lovingly as a father should.

Since you did drive your sons away into exile. This will be hard for you. He paused, looking the Vicar straight in the eye. It was as if across that silent table two thunder-clouds faced each other in an awful calm. But this testament shall be to you as a thing enskied and holy.

The Vicar ran his tongue over his lips. And, cousin, this is the maggot in the oak-apple: you are clean fallen in love with yonder little wagtail at mere hearsay. That was of an evening of late May-time, the fourth week after these things but now spoken of, that the Lord Beroald sat alone at the upper edge of a clearing in the oak-woods that clothe the low Darial hills south of the lake, looking northwards to Zayana.

From his feet the ground fell gently away for a hundred paces or more to the bridle-path. Below that, the tree-clad face of the hill dropped sharply to the lake seven or eight hundred feet beneath. The sky was fair, and the weather smooth and calm. His horse grazed at ease, moving to and fro amid the lush grasses. A marmot came out of a heap of fallen rocks behind him on his left and sat up with little fore-paws hanging down as if in a helpless soft dismay, viewing the Chancellor.

She whistled and retired back to her hole when the silence was broken by a fresh noise of horse-hooves, and the lord Admiral rode up into the clearing, greeted the Chancellor, and dismounted beside him. Beroald smiled his cold smile. In the city, a flea shall not frisk forth unless his intelligencers comment upon her.

First getteth no from me; then no from the Duke; and now sueth to your lordship to be in a manner his go-between, as if I were a silly maid to comply at last, with oftener scenting of the flower. What new conditions now then? Good: and upon like condition? I meant, in what estate left you this business with him? The Admiral pulled off his black velvet cap plumed with a white estridge-feather set in a diamond brooch, mopped his head, and put on his cap again. The Lord Beroald gazed steadily before him on Acrozayana, two or three miles away, mirrored in the glassy lake.

His speech came cool and glassy, like the thing he looked on, remote and passionless as if it were his own thought speaking to itself. That condition you did, in agreement with the Duke, with Roder, and with myself, after mature deliberation of counsel, flatly refuse. The next day after your so refusing, he did offer the regency upon like condition to the Duke, who did refuse it.

That was but yesterday. And now, this very morning, did send for me and propound to me the self-same offer; which I, forbearing all private closer conference, fobbed off until to-morrow. Thus standeth it, then. What follows? I like it not. The Duke I do trust but as you do, my lord: very discreetly.

These Meszrian lords, not at all. That were pity were it appear in the end that our eyes were greater than our bellies. We are precisely bound to uphold the testament. It can be said that, going against him in this, we do merely violate it. I have these ten days studied him like a book, and I find no point to question, but all to confirm and justify what reputation saith of him: an honourable man, and a man with the power to hold his principal to what soever he shall stand warrant for of his behalf.

The Chancellor said no more, judging it good to give time for these matters to digest. They sat in shadow. The sun had for some time now gone behind the hill on their left. The shadows lengthened over the lake. The horses munched on. And no more must you, my lord Chancellor. These country lords are quite debauched by him. He fondled and petted her. But as things shape, I will let that go by and sleep in Zayana.

The Admiral came down through the wood at a walking-pace, his mind heavy with thought. Hath a not charmed me too? Ay, but not too far: not to danger. Like to that son of mine, drowned in the Sound of Tabarey: should a been of about his years too, had he lived. Lessingham: Barganax. Red wine: white wine. Still, like a shying horse: ride her up to it, let her see and examine it well as to its nature: it frighteth her not another time. Nay, I trust Beroald. He drew rein for a moment as the path rounded the verge of a jutting cliff giving a fair wide prospect over the water.

An owl hooted. And yet indeed, a great wise man; prudent and foreseeing. Safer take his rede. In my bones I know it. Nor you must not neither, my lord Chancellor. But then, what next? Action, next. Regent of Meszria. Lieth upon me. With right of our side; and with the Duke of our side. Well: now cometh this silver to the trying. Barganax: is he to trust to? Trust him discreetly. O, the down-bearing weight of this immense charge.

If he have a spice of pride in him still, and he is made up and compounded of pride, opinion, and disdain , shall he not hate me every while, and seek but first fair occasion to ding me down and take his own back? And he of the royal ancient family of Fingiswold. He halted, as with a sudden thought, then with a shake of the rein went on. Ay, and of Memison. Better hazard sinking there, than sink for sure where we stand. That same night after supper the Chancellor was sat in his chamber writing out fair this letter, which being writ he signed by his name and sealed with his seal.

And the letter was conceived in terms following:. Lessynghame as wyth fulle powre and awtoritee dymysed and prorogate to speke trette and determyn on byhalve of his hyghnes Horyus Parye Lo.

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Protector and Vicker of the Qwene in Reyrek:. I have bin carefull my Lo. Al whilke I hauing with carefull mind perpended and revuiewed am lefte att length wyth noe other choys that semeth to me agreable unto my propre honor and my dwte ylike to the Qwene hoom the Goddes tender and preserue and to thadmerall bi royalle testement named regent but bi hys hyghnes set a-syde upon refusell of condicyoun a forseyd, saue to conclud that yt is nat fytt I schold accept of the sed Regensy. Whilke resolue thus consederately taken I will vnmoueably stand upon, and wold dessire your lop.

I haue thonor to bee with greatt trewth and respecte your lops. The ink was scarce dry and the wax yet warm when there came in a gentleman of his to say the High Admiral was here and would have speech of him. The Chancellor smiled. I have seen the Duke upon this matter we talked on. Perhaps I should a seen you first. A-riding home I did view the matter from all points, and did at last conceive in a manner but one safe way betwixt these quicksands.

He paused. He stood up from his chair, pushed the letter across the table to Jeronimy, and stalked to the window. The Admiral took out his perspective-glass and read the letter, blowing softly with his cheeks the while. For a minute the Lord Beroald abode silent. When he mastered himself to speak, the words came like chips of ice clinking down an ice-slope. You and me, my lord, he but turneth to his purpose. You have made a fine hand of it.

Jeronimy slowly shook his head. You have, in face of dangerous enemies, set aside the law, which was our strength and our justification; you have struck wide division in our counsels, when a single mind was most needful; you have unleashed the Duke on a course may be shall prove his ruin and ours. Had you gone cap in hand to my Lord Lessingham and professed yourself ready to do his bidding so as to make fair success of his mission hither, he could a thought on no better means to bid you take than these you have taken. He rose from his chair. Let us say no more but good night, my lord Chancellor.

May be morning shall bring us riper wisdom. On the morrow towards mid-day the Lord Lessingham took horse and rode with Amaury from his lodgings in the old Leantine palace in the northern quarter down through the market-place, and so, turning right along Stonegate and Paddockgate, up into the driving-road that ran by the water-side along the top of the town wall of old red sandstone for a quarter of a mile or more; thence, turning inland at the Heugh, through some winding cobbled streets, they came out into the sunlight of the piazza of the Winds, and, crossing that from north to south, took the Way of the Seven Hundred Pillars.

At a walking-pace they climbed its wide zig-zags, pleasant with the shade of ancient holm-oaks and the heavy scent of the mimosa-trees, and came at length a little before noon up to the main gate of the citadel. Here, in the low slanting rays under the tufted shade of strawberry-trees, that ancient man stood to do them welcome, Doctor Vandermast. His grace is late, for his own time appointed. Be more civil; for in truth you are but an old fantastical scholar, with a beard like a crow with two or three dirty straws in her mouth, going to build her nest.

Scandal not the reverend signior. And now I see it indeed, I am astonished. You may touch, smell, walk and discourse, inhale the airs. It is natural present. Why, the sun in a golden bush of glory standeth but a handbreadth above yonder woody hills beyond the water; and yet, ten minutes since, it was white noon, blazing on our heads from the meridian. Your lordship and this froward young man did pass the further door at noon, but the hither door some five hours after noon. It is a nice point of disputation whether you did with tortoise-like slowness transambulate that lobby, so as in five hours to proceed but twenty paces, or whether per contra those five hours did, with a speed whipped to ten thousand times its natural, blow by you as you walked.

The Duke expects you, my lord. He will be here ere long. Lessingham walked and stood by the parapet, looking south. Amaury followed him. For a minute or two Lessingham abode there, then turned, leaning with an elbow on the parapet behind him, so as to face that garden. Amaury watched the look in his eyes as they wandered from yellow lily to rose and alkanet and honeysuckle, from bee-haunted lime to strawberry-tree with night-dark foliage, wine-red twisted branches, and jewel-like flower and fruit; shaven sward, porphyry seat, doves at the fountains; all in a sleepy plenitude of golden air and cool long shadows.

But once in his life before had Amaury seen that look, and that was a month ago, when Lessingham had stared into the wine in Mornagay. He turned, and saw that that learned man was gazing on Lessingham with a strange intention, and that the look in the eyes of him and the look in the eyes of Lessingham were the same. As they turned to go, Lessingham halted and looked down at Doctor Vandermast. What are you, old sir? Vandermast was silent for a moment, looking straight before him to those sunshiny hills beyond the lake, through half-closed lids, as if remarking and appraising some strange matter.

He smiled. Somewhat, may be, I have digged up in my searchings. And I am an old faithful servant of the Duke of Zayana. If, spite all, his grace should bid you guest here this night, in Acrozayana, be very sure you do it. He himself sat on the north side of the table, his back to the fire-place, with the Admiral on his right, the Chancellor on his left, and beyond the Chancellor Earl Roder.

Lessingham sat midmost of the table over against the Duke, Amaury and Doctor Vandermast took notes. I would not say it there. I would not you should think I was afeared of you. Therefore, be at ease, young gentleman. The Duke, under his cloak of disdainful ease, seemed as if gathered for his spring. Lessingham, stroking his black beard, looking through half-dropped lashes now at the Duke, now at the Admiral or the Chancellor, and still at the Duke again, seemed waiting for that spring should land the springer in a pit he himself had digged for him.

Amaury, that had been bred up with him to manhood, knew it like his native air. So far forth as it lay in me to do it, all might a been done and good-bye the first morning. And from idleness, mischief. What next, then? May be your grace hath thought on some way to please us all? Barganax sat suddenly forward in his chair.

Act I and II

You are grown too bold, my lord. Or did you think I should sit content ever in my curious pretty gardens, my delicate groves, while you fob me up with fair speeches? Will you not offer it to my Lord Roder next? There he is. Come, ask him. And thus it lightens into action:—These great officers of state to right and left of me, bound by old allegiance to uphold the house of Fingiswold, stand in firm league with me to say nay to the Vicar when he requireth abatement of our powers for his behoof, whom we do utterly refuse and mistrust.

Under the threats and wrongfulness of whose tyranny, the lord Admiral hath solemnly resigned and given over into my hand the regency of Meszria by testament royal conferred upon him. My Lord Lessingham, I take up that regency, but under suzerainty of no man. If the Vicar will receive me as his equal, lord of Meszria as he of Rerek: good, we are at one. Lessingham, albeit strangely surprised and put out of his reckonings by this sudden turn, yet kept his countenance, thinking swiftly with himself.

He swept his gaze from one to other, facing him across that table: the Duke like a warhorse that sniffs the morning: the Chancellor, lean-visaged and inscrutable, sitting upright and staring straight before him: Jeronimy with downcast look, elbows on table, his left hand propping his chin, his right twisting and untwisting a strand of the lank spare hair above his forehead: Roder, black and scowling: Barrian with flushed countenance, playing with his pen: Zepheles with jaw thrust forward, looking steadily at the Duke: Melates, half sprawled on his folded arms upon the table, looking steadily at Lessingham.

You, my lord Admiral, not his grace, are named regent in the testament. But Lessingham brake in upon these pleasantnesses. Be not angry if I leave velvet words and oily compliment, and talk open. You have brow-beat the High Admiral until he is become your tool. The Chancellor will not answer me, but his silence hath damned by default your rotten pretences before all the world. It resteth with my noble kinsman, as Lord Protector, to foil you in this. Your answer to me is war. These effects Lessingham, while he spoke, conjured and swayed but with the spell now here, now there, of a justly chosen word or look; not otherwise than as a master playing on the treble viol will lead the whole consort and build up so a living presence of music: from the deep theorbo such a figure, from the recorders such, and so the treble lutes to take up the canon, and the hautboy, the dulcimer, and the rebeck, every one in his turn, and so with a ritornello, each thus and thus, and always even exact as he, leading the broken consort, would have it.

Even so, perceiving these motions, these ruinous doubts and questionings, leap to life at his touch, did Lessingham taste in them a delicate pleasure. With those last words spoken he ended, and the voice of his speech was like the rattle of iron swords. The Duke, whose chin had risen little by little higher and yet higher as, with smouldering eyes fixed on Lessingham, he had hearkened to these injuries, stood up now with the smooth and measured stateliness of a leopard rising from sleep.

So for a minute they stood, facing each other across that table, eye to eye; as if the levin-shot dark splendour of a storm-cloud, towering from the east, faced across listening earth the many-coloured splendour of the westering golden sun. And when at last the Duke spoke, it was as out of that unfathomed harmony which is at once condition of such discords and by them conditioned; ensphered and incarnate by them to a more diviner music.

There were but two only at that table who, hearing him so speak, were not taken with wonderment, or with fear, or dismay: and that was Lessingham and Doctor Vandermast. Will your lordship honour me to be my guest, and lie to-night in Acrozayana? Then you must go. And thereafter we shall bloodily try out by war these differences we have these ten days to so little purpose debated. I well think there is not any other prince extant should have made me the like offer, nor at whose hand I would have accepted of it.

Peace seemed to have laid her lily over all the earth when, that evening, eight gondolas that carried the Duke and his company put out from the water-gate under the western tower and steered into the sunset. In the open water they spread into line abreast, making a shallow crescent, horns in advance, and so passed on their way, spacing themselves by intervals of some fifty paces to be within hail but not to the overhearing of talk within the gondolas.

Her sweeps were out, for in that windless air her russet-coloured silken sails flapped the masts. From her poop floated over the water the music of old love-ditties, waked in the throb of silver lute-strings, the wail of hautboys, and the flattering soft singing of viols. North and north-eastward, fainter and fainter in the distance, the foot-hills took on purple hues, like the bloom on grapes.

High beyond the furthest hills, lit with a rosy light, the great mountains reared themselves that shut in the habited lands on the northward: outlying sentinels of the Hyperborean snows. Astern, Acrozayana faced the warm light. On the starboard quarter, half a mile to the north, on a beach at the end of the low wooded promontory that stretches far out into the lake there towards Zayana town, two women were bathing. The sunset out of that serene and cloudless sky suffused their limbs and bodies, their reflections in the water, the woods behind them, with a glory that made them seem no women of mortal kind, but dryads or oreads of the hills come down to show their beauties to the opening eyes of night and, with the calm lake for their mirror, braid their hair.

In the outermost gondola on the northern horn was Lessingham, his soul and senses lapped in a lotus-like contentment. For beside him reclined Madam Campaspe, a young lady in whose sprightly discourse he savoured, and in the sleepy little noises of the water under the prow, a delectable present that wandered towards a yet more delectable to come. I am credibly informed that I am pat of an age with your Duke.

Idly Lessingham was looking at her hand which rested on the cushion beside him, gloved with a black scented gauntlet with falling cuff of open-work and flower-work of yellow zircons. Campaspe stole a glance at him. Her features, considered coldly one by one, had recalled strange deformities as of frogs or spiders; yet were they by those eyes welded to a kind of beauty. So might a queen of Elfland look, of an unfair, unhuman, yet most taking comeliness. You knew it afore. Let me be impertinent, and answer of that I set most store by.

The duck and her children took fright at the gondola, and, with a scutter of feet and wings, left a little wake of troubled water which showed the better, as a foil sets off a diamond, the placid smoothness of that lake. They come and go, I suppose, with the changing of the moon. Lessingham smiled. It was as if the spirit that sat in them tasted, in a profound luxurious apprehension beyond the magic of mortal vintages, the wine of its own power: tasted it doubly, in her veins as in his own, attuning blood to blood. Then, turning his gaze from her to the back of his own hand, he looked at that awhile in silence as if there were there some comic engaging matter.

Let me try. As for performance, why, respectful service, my lord, hath its payment here as in other lands. Her voice had taken on a new delicacy: the voice of willow-trees beside still water when the falling wind stirs them. The great flattened ball of the sun touched the western hills. Lessingham took her under the chin with his hand and turned her face towards his.

For a minute she abode motionless. Then, as if with a sudden resolution, she pulled off her glove: offered her bare hand, palm upwards, to his lips. The gondola lurched sideways. Nay, and you will not have patience, you shall have nought, then. Why is your laugh like a night breeze among willows?

Do I not descry you? Tell me: are you not? O yes, these, and other besides. But see, we shall land upon the instant. I pray you, have patience. Their landing was near about the south-east point of that isle, in a little natural harbour, half-moon shaped and with a beach of fine white sand. The sun had gone down, and dusk gathered on the lake; eastward, pale blue smoke hung here and there over Zayana and the citadel; the walls and the roofs and towers were grown shadowy and dim; their lamps came out like stars. In the north, the great peaks still held some light.

A wide glade went up into the isle from that harbour in gently sloping lawns, shut in on all but the water side by groves of cypress-trees: pillar-like boles and dense spires so tangled, drenched, and impregnate with thick darkness that not mid-day itself might pierce nor black night deepen their elemental gloom. In the midst of that glade, on a level lawn where in their thousands daisies and little yellow cinquefoils were but now newly folded up and gone to sleep, tables were set for the feast.

The main table faced south to the harbour, where the gondolas and the caravel, with their lofty stems and stern-posts and their lights, some red some green, floated graceful over their graceful images in the water. Fifty little boys, yellow-haired, clothed all in green, planted and tended torches behind the tables to give light to the feasters. So now they made merry and supped under the sky.

At that, their talk was stilled for a minute. Barganax, sitting in the midst of the cross table with Lessingham on his right, looked at Fiorinda, beside him on his left, as she looked at the moon. Whether would you then choose pleasure or power? Mistrust it, madam. What else availeth my dukedom? Breathe but the whisper of a half-shapen wish; lightning shall be slow to our suddenness to perform it.

Your grace shall give me a summer poppering. The Duke sent his boy to fetch them from the end of the table. Barganax, as drunk with some sudden exhalation of her beauty, the lazy voice, the lovely pausing betwixt torchlight and moonlight of fastidious jewelled fingers above the dish of pears, was taken with a trembling that shook the dish in his hand. Is it then so long ago your grace and I reviewed these matters? And indeed I had little fault to find with your partialities, nor you I think with mine.

For there be pleasures base, illiberal, nasty, and merely hoggish. How then shall you choose pleasure per se? Call you that power good? I think I have there strook you into the hazard, my lord. It must be noble pleasure, and the noblest pleasure is power. That aged man, sitting at the outer end of the eastern table betwixt Anthea and the young Countess Rosalura, laughed in his beard. The Lady Fiorinda lifted her eyebrows with a questioning look first upon him, then upon the Duke, then upon Lessingham. Lessingham, watching her face, thought of that deadly Scythian queen who gave Cyrus his last deep drink of blood.

Yet, even so thinking, he was the more deeply aware, in the caressing charm of her voice, of a mind that savoured the world delicately and simply, with a quaint, amused humour; so might some demure and graceful bird gracefully explore this way and that, accepting or rejecting with an equable enjoyment.

Here, as otherwhere, power ruleth. For what is a lover without power to win his mistress? The tawny wealth of her deep hair was to the cold beauty of her face as a double curtain of fulvid glory. Her eyes caught and held his gaze with a fascination, hard, bold, and inscrutable.

Anthea, with a little laugh, bared her lynx-like teeth. Fiorinda lifted an eyebrow, gently pushing her wine-cup towards the Duke for him to fill it. Can a woman not keep her lover without she study always to please him with pleasure? Or shall my lover think with pleasing of me to win me indeed? Fiorinda, in that pause, looked across to Doctor Vandermast.


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Obedient to her look, he stood up now and raised a hand twice and thrice above his head as in sign to somewhat to come out of the shadows that stirred beyond the torchlight. The moon rode high now over Zayana, and out of torchbeam and moonbeam and starbeam was a veil woven that confounded earth and sky and water into an immateriality of uncertain shade and misty light. Only the purr of a nightjar came from the edge of the woods. Surely, hearkening to that singing, all they sat like as amazed or startled out of sleep.

Medor held gathered to him like a child his sweet young Countess. Only the Lady Fiorinda seemed to listen fancy-free to that singing, even as the cold moon, mistress of the tides, has yet no part in their restless ebb and flow, but, taking her course serene far above the cloudy region of the air, surveys these and all earthly things with equal eye, divine and passionless. The Duke, sitting back, had this while watched her from the side from under his faun-like eyebrows, his hand moving as if with chalk or brush.

He leaned nearer now, giving over that painting motion: his right elbow on the table, his left arm resting, but not to touch her, on the back of her chair. Of some white peak that dreams in the Empyrean:. Lessingham, not minded to listen, yet heard. He saw now that she had glow-worms in her hair. As a man that turns from the halcyon vision to safe verities, he turned to his Campaspe. Her lips invited sweetly: he bent to them. With a little ripple of laughter, they eluded him, and under his hand, with soft arched back warm and trembling, was the water-rat in very deed. About the north-western point of that island there was a garden shadowed with oaks ten generations old and starproof cedars and delicate-limbed close-tufted strawberry-trees.

Out of its leafy darknesses nightingale answered nightingale, and nightflowers, sweet-mouthed like brides in their first sleep, mixed their sweetness with the breath of the dews of night. It was now upon the last hour before midnight. From the harbour to the southward rose the long slumbrous notes of a horn, swelling, drawing their heavy sweetness across the face of the night sky. Anthea stood up, slender as a moonbeam in those silent woods.

Lessingham stood up and kissed her hand. For a minute she regarded him in silence from under her brow, her eyes burning steadily, her chin drawn down a little: an unsmiling lip-licking look. You are dreaming on somewhat without me and beyond. They walked now under the obscurity of crowding cypresses. This world is yours, yours and his, did you but know it. And did you know it, such is the folly of mortals, you would straight be out of conceit with it and desire another.


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  3. secret of the scarab Manual!
  4. bell, book, and candle!
  5. But you are well made, not to know these things. Legends also claim that, when compared to any other oozes, shoggoths have much greater wisdom. Shoggoths were once the servants of dark powers, but cast off their masters after centuries of mistreatment.

    Aboleths may have been the creators but ancient texts imply that an even more ancient race was behind their existence. Appearance Shoggoth have no distinct form. They change it to fit the situation as need be, having arms, tentacles, or any other form that might help them to catch and consume their food. Their flesh is mostly black, sometimes translucent, giving off a very faint luminescence.

    Shoggoth have no permanent mouth, but can create and absorb them as needed. On Golarion, these horrors exist in the deepest, darkest reaches of the oceans or in the remotest ruins and caverns. Within the solar system, they also dwell near the south poles of Aucturn and Akiton. The pale, gaunt man strolls ahead calmly and quietly, as Zephyr and the orderly follow several paces behind. Thinking to himself who is this strange mysterious fellow, he clearly pierced my disguise with ease Alter self.

    From the SparkNotes Blog

    You want something you cant have. But I can get it for you. Whatever, or whoever you desire. The man glances to make sure the orderlies are occupied before turning back to Zephyr, still smiling. His cold black eyes glitter as the shadows wash over them. They think you a guard. Both of us, pretending. Neither broken, nor desperate, nor cruel. I simply wish to limit the mess I leave behind.

    Help to set me free, and I will get you what you want. Trusting a bunch of murders has seemed to pull off thus far. But if you bear me no ill will, then I shall do the same. Broken, desperate, and cruel. He has built his palace out of madness and nightmares, and wishes to expand his dominion. He is dangerous, and should not be underestimated. The man bows his head slightly, still grinning. If this man is what you seek, then he shall be yours. Get moving to your cell! Call it of what you will. Then I have no qualms with setting your freedom.

    However if you decide to flee without my command to do so. You will leave me know choice but to kill you, good luck outrunning my bullets. Now… Do we understand each other Mr Ricin. Zephyr peers back at the other orderly and keeps a fast pace to further the conversation. Show me a safe passage to where he is without attracting unwanted attention, then you will have your freedom.

    Its that simple! Do not try to screw with me in the slightest, otherwise I will kill you. Now the key is getting you to trade places with the fellow behind me, so on my command get ready to take him out quickly without bloodshed. So, do we have a deal Mr. Though I do believe you underestimate me, I stand by my word. Your house, your rules. We have a deal. However, the orderlies need not ever know I have escaped. They hold the keys to my cell. Keep them occupied and within reach of my cell, and I will do the rest.

    Ricin is lead by two orderlys of the asylum, and followed by Zephyr up a sandy flight of stone stairs scends in a semicircular fashion. Halfway through the stairwell a heavy wooden door with a small, roughly eye level, with a sliding panel built into it, prevemts from accessing the next tier of the asylum.

    There is a reason folk are told not to venture into the drilling that goes on in the eternity mines. Your lucky to be alive. Thin beams of light escape beneath the door. The light seems to originate from the overcast shadows from the ascending stairs, as a reflection of something metallic. As the ordely opens the door, more cries and wails of agony assault Zephyr and the pale, gaunt man. The gaunt man says something in a soft voice to Zephyr, to soft for his pursuers to understand.

    The cages nearby begin to rattle and break out in commotion as you are lead down a passage. Numerous figures move about there cells to catch a glimpse of the new inmate. In one cell a stocky elf gallivants about his small room like he is riding a horse. And it smelled of death, of boiling seas and angles blood. I have seen the wraith of the unholy beast, one who cannot be seen by the naked eye. But whose wraith, hunger and malice makes my skin crawl. I see a cold death of bricks and mortar, for those whom would stand in its righteous path. Carnage, destruction. In another cell an old toothless male human with long mattered white hair sitting in a corner mumbling incoherent nonsense and pulling out his hair in bloody clumps.

    In another cell, kneeling on a slab covered with open wounds, carving various strange designs into his flesh with a piece of broken pottery. The male human body is literally covered from he to toe. He has an athletic build and black hair. The portal…the portal is going to open. The tentacle men, I must be ready, the tentacle men will be back. In another cell a man wanders about the room, looking very depressed. As you move pass he reaches out of his cell trying to grab those whom move past.

    You have to get me out of here. Bad things… happen here. They change you. He continues to try and convince you he is not insane. Stop harassing our new guests. The man in tge cell retreats from his door. One of the cells has a nakend and very hairy man whom paces his cell, growling savagely and salivating. I will change when the moon comes. At the foot of the mans doorway is a bloodied parchment. Grab that rookie, one of the orderlys motions to Zephyr with his club. In the final cell an old male human with a long white beared and hair sits on the edge of his slab. The man in the room has he fire and appearance of a mad street preacher.

    He bellows as you draw close to his cell. The one from the underground, the one who lives to hate and kill. She will come. You will all die!. In twenty minutes, the queen of darkness will come to devour your souls. At the end of the cellblock is a relatively empty cell. A few blood stains of a body being dragged out of blood cover the floor, relatively fresh. A set of keys dangle from one of the ordelys waist.

    An orderly at the door spins his keys on his key chain around one finger, while the other cross his hands leaning against the roors frame. His foot taps against the door impaitiently. The engraved plate behind the orderly reads as Dr Crove Quarters. I do not understand why Viktor corrects me in calling him an Anomoly, until I saw how he had morphed his body.

    With his readings in the prehuman Pnakotic Manuscripts and his worship and study of Arwassa, his god , he has finally succeeded in isolating a process which will transform animal tissue into a form resembling that of the dread shoggoth — a sort of proto-shoggoth matter. Through the process, he succumbed in keeping the human brain intact, though spread throughout the organism, thus preserving intelligence and personality. Viktors first human success was on himself. His face, although hidden via an alter-self extract, is composed entirely of proto-shoggoth matter.

    Proto-shoggoth tissue in the form Viktor has created is the colour and texture of human flesh, though it is mobile and can change at will. A mass of proto-shoggoth tissue looks like a large piece of human flesh, light brown or tan coloured, with nipple, navels, what seem to be ridges where muscle or bone is sticking up, and even eyes or other human orifices. There may be what appear to be large open wounds that do not bleed, acting as openings to the interior, where intestines and other organs may be visible. The whole continually quivers, breathes rhythmically, and heaves.

    It can thrust out a limb at will, which resembles a human limb, though it may bend it in the wrong spot, or have thickly corded muscles where they should not be. The thing may be compared to a purse of human skin that encloses a mass of different organ and body parts. Those whom have seen proto-shoggoth. Viktors true proto-shoggoth form have gone insane. He has aided the strange tentacle creatures that inhabit the caverns underneath the asylum. I recently found a secret door in the torture room, of the basement.

    Due the success of his research I plan to steal the Pnakotic Manuscript for myself. Hyve can translate the ancient Aklo dialect and Myre can provide the alchemical reagents, Marshan has a place we can undertake the ritual away from prying eyes and Baskerwell is well versed in the occult of the Great old ones and elder gods of the dark tapestry.

    I am going to offer a substantial reward to the tentacled creatures beneath the asylum.

    Chapter II: Gringotts Bank

    A few extra test subjects for them a week should help them with their own research. I wonder what they have planned for the large archway they are constructing down there, and the souls we have so dutifully collected for them over the years. No matter, I am sure if all goes according to plan, Viktor and the tentacle creatures will bow before us. For we are the keepers, and the Pnakotic Manuscript is one step towards hidden powers that only the dark tapestry can provide.

    I feel rather silly for writing for your help, but I must simply have aid in the matter. It would be useless for me to go to the crows, as I have no proof of any criminal activity. I heard of your exploits in the Furrows and am hoping that you could advise me. Would be most grateful. It called itself a cooperative merchant trading conglomerate, and promised to inspire and aid materially those who joined. I joined the organisation eight months ago, and quit last month, returning to Thrushmoor to take up the magistrates position.

    The apparent head of the organisation is Mr Lostalus Black. Mr Black claims to be a gifted psychologist and says that by subjecting the minds of intelligent and sophisticated men to certain particular psychological conditions, their creativity would be released, and they would be able to perform all sorts of wonders. If the businessmen met together, paid a nominal fee to support the order, ad regularly attended meetings, they would be able to share in grand discoveries. I begins by standing on a podium, while all of us attendees are asked to meditate upon certain specific geometric shapes and designs.

    A sheet containing diagrams of the aforementioned designs is handed out at the start of the meeting to each member. While we meditate, Mr Black begins reciting some sort of invocation in nonsense syllables. Mr Black says these syllables have been carefully chosen to elicit the proper subconscious response from us. As he chants, he begins to gesticulate wildly, and then we are signalled t begin to chant a simple litany of our own.

    Mr Black continues to energetically gesticulate and emit strange noises until he seems to reach some sort of finale, when he gestures for us to stop. We then would break for tea and punch. In addition to the monthly special meeting, we have regular inspiration seminars and guest speakers. One thing that brought you to mind is that some of the speakers would urge us to join a lodge to enlarge our circle of friends and make trustworthy business acquaintances. He specifically recommended the Pharasman church as an excellent choice. After learning you are one of a very short list of Pharasman paladins I felt obligated to meet with you, especially after I heard one of your sermons you gave in Caliphas a few years ago.

    I must confess Lostalus Blacks methods seem to be working. Two months after I started to attend, he came in with a perfectly astounding item which he allowed me to purchase for a decent price. It had the head of a Raven. After studying the item for some time, asked a local artefact collector Philius Norman to identify it for me. He told me he believed it was a holy mace carried by a Pharasmin bishop, called Prince Adamondias Virholt. Apparently the item was thought lost when Adamondias and his entire crusader army was slain by an undead archmage and a legion of draugr while crossing Lake Encarthan.

    I have sent the item away to be valued. It surprised me to have two men adorned in black robes ask to purchase it the very next day. I might have found the treasure of a lifetime on my hands. If you come see me in Thrushmoor, I can tell you more about the artefact, especially since I have heard you like such adorned trinkets with ravens. Nevertheless once appraised the item will be put up for sale. Now for my reasons for distrusting Mr black. After each meeting in which we do the chanting, I feel head-achey and sick, and this continues for some time.

    I have noticed that since the group I have lost some of my former vitality and force, and feel as if my health is deteriorating. Another reason for my distrust of Lostalus Black is the extremely tight security and secretiveness that he keeps about himself and the organisation. His Garundi friends do not speak, which certainly does not inspire my confidence. I would like you and your friends to come and to expose the organisation for a fraud, or prove t to be pen and above board. My next meeting should be less then a fortnight away after this letter has reached you.

    If it is indeed for real, I would like to know so that I can rejoin and continue to receive those fabulous artefacts that it produces and generate more profits. Alchemists often speculate that there are things only available to oneself through the darkest recesses of ones mind. That learned truths are not found by looking at a mirror. Rather truths are a revelation of transcendent lights that are only perceived tapping into the electronic wavelengths of the manifested thought.

    The test subject that I write about can if anything be called a human. The subject is a monstrosity that has managed to take human form. I have never thought it would be possible for a doctor to fear a patient in such a way. But even when medicated, whenever I sense his leering glare I shudder in fear. Even amongst the thick leather straps and his padded cotton suit, which are so tightly bound it would make a claustrophobic man fall dead,.

    I do not feel safe and take ever precaution know to modern psychology, science and medicine. He scares me. He haunts my nightmares. Goosebumps and utter cold shroud my body whenever I come near him. I just wish there was somebody else in the world better equipped to deal with him. Two orderlies are required to retain watch over him at all times, even when he is asleep. A device has been designed — more a chair then anything — that is used by the orderlies so they can see him for real. Its designs created by the famous alchemist Wosey Penthal, whose design was given to Alphon Cormarc to improve.

    The device emits an ultra sonic frequency that reverberates the sound in and around it, causing vibrations of light, allowing invisible creatures to be seen by the naked eye while he device is tuned on or after using the device. It appears the ability to perceived awakened pathways us somehow linked into creating a ripple between the astral and material plane. The machine however does have some side effects to prolonged use. Strange amphorous and tendril like growths appear on subjects whom are continually exposed. That is provided such exposure to the device do not go clinically insane from the reverberations of the device.

    Some of the orderlies originally talked about seeing distant worlds and tentacled monstrosities. Many orderlies are now permanent residents of the asylum. Something which I originally found distressing and powerless to stop. After purely security concerns regarding the invisible test subject forced the board members of Arkham Asylum to vote to continue using the device, I decided to undertake a significant research project aimed at understanding the implications of the reverberations on human matter.

    It appears the reverberations of sound attack neural pathways, awakening parts of the brain usually slumbering or only partially active, in and amongst humans and like minded races. I have only seen such active neural pathways in psions, or those with psychic abilities. As exposure to the pathways continues, the growths — I call proto-shoggoth matter — awakens the brain to new cosmic realities.

    In the long term the proto-shoggoth matter will eventually overtake the body and brain, creating tall squid like creatures, that identify themselves as mind flayers. Creatures whom have telepathic, psychic and astral psionic capabilities. When I questioned one of the orderlies whom was fully evolved, transmorphed entirely into a mind flayer, he spoke to me of a distant world. One called Avandu. His description of his distant world sounded like a pirate, and the so called calling of the seas. He was vivid, intoxicated and exhilarated all at once when speaking of he strange planet.

    A world in which he wished to return to. I speculate to call the creatures aliens, rather evolved humans, due to there origins. The creatures are feverously working at a way in which to return to there homeworld. The mind flayers themselves have been a great help in diagnosing and curing several clinically insane patients of the asylum. It was beyond my powers or knowledge to help such effected individuals.

    Those that cannot be helped by the evolved humans, the mind flayers have offered to awaken them, so they may lead some semblance of a normal life. For at the moment I fear the iron cages and stone slabbed cells do more harm then good to a damaged mind. Those that do not get frustrated or angry by their surroundings, usually fall into deep despair or depression, longing for release which only death can provide. There is no way such individuals can be trusted in our community, as not to harm themselves or others.

    It is for this reason I have entrusted the once orderlies, evolved humans, now mind flayers to help hose minds whom which modern, medicine, psychology, even arcane and divine magic cannot help! They are working with the Arkham asylum wards and patrons to heal the sick and clinically insane, meanwhile searching for a means to return to Avandu. As not to deviate further, I will return back to the test subject whom orchestrated this mess with his presence.

    The fact is I never wish to see the test subjects true face. I am complacent with his appearance being a ghost to me. This is as to why I have never experienced or succumbed to any of the side effects of the machine, as I have only ever been in the room with the test subject when the device is turned off. It helps me deal with the utter horror I feel when near him, not to know his true form. It allows me to distance my emotion, considering the man an abomination of this world.

    Far worse then the transmorphed orderlies or other patients of the asylum. I consider him something written only in literature, told to scare the younger generation. After attempting to communicate with the test subject under heavy sedation, I spoke to him for the first time. A demon tongue, or a banshees howl would no make me quake as much. My feet turned to flee. I fought the urge to run. But he knew my body betrayed me. I have never thought a human being could sound so evil, but then I remembered e atrocities he had committed. I have battled all denizens of the dark in Golarion, even those on other planes, but something about this man made my knees tremble.

    I felt like a lamb being served up to a hungry wolf. Thirteen families dead, tortured and killed. There bodies mutilated beyond recognition. What sort of anger could drive a man to such aggression. After I learnt the man had spent a fair portion of his allotted years at Harrowstone prison. I do not know what tortures or persecutions he faced under the meagre eyes of amused guards.

    I only know that whatever the decrepit individual was subject to, it clearly pushed him over the edge of any mortal reality that his world knew. He spoke of his enjoyment during his youth of killing animals, how the snuffing out of a creatures life was power and a rush all rolled up into one. I learnt how he spent most of is youth on the streets, killing for money.

    A drunk father of the watch whom use to beat him, a mother who would whore herself out. It is no wonder the subject has a fascination of death. After receiving a dossier on the subject history, it is understandable why the man is ravaged by madness. Adgrif Yoderbie has known every extreme life has had to offer. As if cruel fate, like that of an abandoned infant left to defend itself from the despoil cesspool of the slums, his luck abandoned him to the curse of a lifetime. Ever wasteful, Adgrif spent his fortune pursuing hedonist dreams in every port from Cassomir to Korvosa.

    Desperate for funds, Adgrif gladly accepted when a strange alchemist offered to pay him to be a test subject for an experimental elixir. Yet while the elixir granted him an incredible boon by turning him permanently invisible, it warped and twisted his mind beyond repair. Adgrif killed the alchemist and fled to the dismal alleyways to exalt and despair in his new condition. From then the dossier reports, Adgrif used his invisibility to take whatever he wanted, beginning a reign of terror as he murdered one victim after another.

    Through these actions, he came to the attention of the local authorities. Various adventuring parties were hired by Kaer Magan officials to hunt him down. As to the dismay Adgrif escaped and fled to Ravensgro were once more he began his rain of terror, It as after the deaths of almost thirty five individuals in Tamrivena. A hefty bounty was posted for the mans capture, concluding one of the largest legal manhunts in Ustalav history.

    The entire city Tamrivena was turned upside down looking for Adgrif whom in the process killed over a dozen pursuers. It was by pure lucky coincidence the psychotic killer was incarcerated. It was only due to a loose bag of flour that a detachment of fifty armed men with hounds had managed to corner the psychotic maniac in a warehouse. He killed several guards before being captured in a net, unintentionally entangling himself. After he was committed to Harrowstone, to be executed, it was only when I learnt of his advanced age which originally peeked my interest.

    The alchemical affliction had effected him in a strange way, heightening his reflexes and returning his body to peak performance, only seen amongst adventurers in their prime. The affliction had prevented Adgrif from aging, physically. Yet his mind had significantly deteriorated. Due to a possible elixir to prevent aging, it was for this reason the count of Canterwell agreed to have Adgrif incarcerated for medical study at Arkham Asylum, provided any research into an elixir of eternal life was given to Canterwells count.

    I did not wan o question the counts motives at the time, for it was obvious in his advanced age he was looking to prevent true death. In retrospect, if I had, I might have been able to prevent the strange Eboney Egg that swallowed up Canters house. Another regret which weighs heavily on now an old man…. Many would call the Adgrif a lunatic. But my research has come to create an obvious name for such an individual.

    Serial killer. A term I do not use lightly. For sure there are those adventuring neanderthals that kill for glory, wealth and riches. But the test subject did neither. His kills were so surgically precision it would make him the envy of any trained expert in the area of surgical anatomy. Even the most stout or gaunt man, whose body with is unshakeable years of dedication to medical research, would not budge when performing a surgery. However over times as one got old, it was common place for one to loose imperturbable hand. As simply the mind and body no longer correlated in the same manner that could be said as with an individual in their youth.

    The test subject told me of a dark triangle. In which his perplex mind was being ravaged and pulled in three different direction. The creatures that invaded his everyday thoughts had different appearances. The first creature he described was a large bulborous putrid green tentacled monster. He used the symbolic imagery of a krakren with teeth, that had over a dozen tendrils extended from its face.

    The second a demon with horns, whom clutched a powerful wand. It appeared to him in the day, and pillaged his mind at night with maddening dreams of the abyss. Dreams of torture, feelings of undeath and true immortality. He often spoke fluently with the third creature. It whispered dark secrets that swathe his mind. The secret promises from a lich bound in a darkened tomb, never to awake without his help. Trapped and bound to an infernal tomb, by a great seal which he must destroy. The mans mind is unlike that of a smashed panel of glass. My continual studies on the test subject have been like figuring out the most difficult of puzzles.

    This is due to the subject only remaining lucid from his condition for very short time. My recent account of the intervals of insanity of horrid whispers the man says effects his mind, have disturbingly extended in duration. Is periods of lucidity now only last minutes.

    Diana Pretend Play with Princess carriage toy

    The rest of the time is spent conversing in dark whispers, or yelling maddened threats of violence. I have sought the opinion of various professionals to see if there was a cure to relieve the man from his delusions. This has involved calling upon the aid of some of the most intelligent and wise minds within Ustalav. Alchemical specialist from Lepidstadt University, priests from the Pharasma clergy, Druidic healers from the Shudderwood, remedial specialist from as far off as Absalom, Varisian herbologists, arcane conjurers from the Acadamae of Korvosa, psionic telepaths from Vudra and new science treatments from various professional bodies around Golarion.

    Counselling, psychosomatic treatments and electro therapy have done nothing to relieve the man of his madness. In my desperation I have turned to a mystic harrower in an attempt to coact the creatures that ravage his mind. I made contact with Mierela Tsilda, a ember of the once-proud Tsilda.

    Her family have always honoured traditions of the harrow, letting the cards guide their actions and perhaps more importantly using them to dele into the haunted pasts and future those they read. Mierela inherited this gift from her mother, Siflorica, whose own spirit is said to live on, as to guide her daughter in life.

    It was never my intention to involve a mystic, but after one day I learnt more then my years of study of Adgrif. More then 45 years of nmy own failures, Mierela was able to make progress. After reading Adgrif two years ago, before he managed to escape, three names of the creatures that surfaced during Mierelas reading.

    I have been unable to sleep ever sine I heard them. I grip my pen with two hands as to get there names down on parchment…. Before Mierela escaped with Adgrif freeing him, I learnt of an association between Mierela, Adgrif and a group of dark cultists know as the Whispering Way. Delving further into the Whispering Way I learnt that the alchemist whom originally gave Adgrief the elixir was a recruiter for the way.

    As the way uses elixir to prevent death and grant mortality, but at a cost of service. I fear what the future may hold with Adgrif on the loose. What torment his inevitable victims will suffer after being confined in Arkham for more then fifty years. I am not a bystander, I have wrote numerous counts and countesses all around Ustalav, only to have my words fall on deaf ears. After I barely escaped with my life, learn the Night Harrows consisted of four members. Adgrif, Mierella, Vesnic and a fourth whom I never got her name.

    Adgrif, Mierela and the Night Harrows must be stopped, before they awaken what truly lurks beneath Adgrifs mind. But I am dealing with powers far beyond anything I can control. If this is to be one of my last messages, for should Adgrif return for me one night, know that I only sought out to discover Agrifs affliction out of scientific curiosity.

    I have tried my best to warn others of the encroaching danger, but only to be discredited for spending to much time wit the Arkham patients. I now spend my time waiting for an inevitable blade n my back. I will endeavour to heal as many of the Arkham patients in whatever allotted time I have left. Using whatever means I can, for the good of Ustalav. Two hideous vaguely humanoid creatures standing six feet tall, viciously gaze in Croves direction. The creatures heads resemble that of an octopus with a pair of bloated white eyes and viscous, oily saliva slowly oozes the length of four slimy tentacles surrounding their beak like mouths.

    They wear a stifling black tunic, which largely conceals their rubbery, mauve skin that gleams with a malodorous slime. Each hand has four bony fingers and crusty, pointed fingernails. Various bones adorn their twisted fingers, generating an aura of sheer terror. Crove moves about the large cavern. The cavern itself glistens with a purplish neo glow, from phosphorus fungi which grows along the caverns walls and ceiling.

    Every now and then a bright white light flash surges through the room.

    The last days of an Age on the

    The flash itself seemingly surges from a corrdior behind Crove, pulsating a naturally powerful psionic energy. Behind the large two octopus men, a vaulted basalt and quartz arch stretches from the floor to the ceiling, in the centre of the room, inlaid with chips of platinum, gold and silver, and framed with five flawless gems, Faces every now and then appear inside of the gems, depicting humanoid figures in pain and agony, ravaged by madness.

    The faces commit vile acts upon themselves, from tearing out the own eyeballs to cutting there wrists with sharp implements. Strange runes written in a language you have never seen before adorn the edges of the portal, seemingly a blasphemy to the eye. Slowly, beginning at the bottom of the portal, crawling to the top of the arch, the runes on the portal begin to glow a deep, smouldering violet. A resonating hum begins to build. A crescendo of twisted screams bellows from the gems, as the empty space within the archway fills with a boiling blackness.

    Dull green smoke leaks forth from the churning void, and the entire room grows unnaturally cold, as Croves now exhales breaths of mist. Crove himself is adorned with a purplish, garb, covered with a black cloak. Crove moves next to one of the creatures, which seems tired from opening the portal. Looking directly at the creature, Crove says. With it I will be able to draw from more of the old ones to increase my power. I must begin working some wards to prevent the creatures crossing over the planar barrier, like that which happened with the Yog-Sothoth Spawn.

    Moments later Crove looks at the creature with dissent written all over his expression. Just make sure you are ready to call the shoggoth, when I command. The crystals will need time to recharge before we can use the portal again. Just make sure you bring up some slaves to offer as tribute when we summon the shoggoth, so a similar event does not unfold like that which happened in the Sunless Grove.

    I will have the wards ready. Stop pushing! No amount of sifting through my thoughts will tell you what you wish to know.