Future’s curtain unravelled itself to reveal a nightmare of endless repetition, a senseless squander of organic material. The suffering of human billions makes its entrance into him through the gateway of compassion…
Peter Zapffe, from The Last Messiah, my own namesake. I can think of nothing more relevant to the horrors I’ve just seen. Why does everyone else seem to see the prolonging of life as and end in itself? As some type of holy charge? How can they not recognize that it’s all a lie and the more we cling to this existence the more we reinforce that lie. We suffer and hate and make others suffer just grinding along all for fear of simply letting go. Like toddlers, we would rather be miserable than simply rest when we are weary.
I am, of course, no exception.
First, the good, we’ve finally formed a Cabal. Ace, Freya, Wanderer, Nabu, Voland, Advokat, Adianni, and myself are now the Threads of Fate. I know I should be more cautious than this. Letting them get close risks peeling back a layer, getting one step closer to the truth I know I need to hide. At least until I’m able to uncover it myself. Despite that, I find myself relieved. I’ll need help to find the answers I seek. I know my new companions don’t share my ultimate goal but they may help me uncover the key regardless.
The day after we formed our Cabal we agreed to travel in force to Fort Adams in order to help find a creature called Greg that Ace had previously encountered. This is clearly a strike force, cover it how we will. It’s been a while since I’ve deliberately set forth with the intent to kill but I certainly have the training for it. Perhaps I can put it to good use.
We met at Chuck’s, I arrived a bit late and joined a conversation already in progress. We believe the creature we’re facing, this Alyssa, is some type of Vampire. A creature with magic, not unlike our own, and the ability to change shapes. She also has creatures to guard her lair and plenty of time to secure it. This wouldn’t be easy, but it is necessary and we’ll do what must be done. This feels like the Mouth of Swords all over again. I certainly hope things end better this time.
Wisely, we discussed our various abilities ahead of time and talked about how they could combine. We seem to cover a wide range of essential functions. This could be a very effective team. We made our way to Fort Adams immediately thereafter to complete our preparations. I used a ritual to enhance everyone’s weapons much as I do my own. Nabu, however, was able to push them to an even more remarkable height. I had no idea such things were possible but I certainly welcome the addition.
Perhaps the strangest moment of all came as Wanderer immediately declared that he’d returned from the future and had warnings to give… What must it be like to have the power to undo actions you regret? How could one not abuse such a thing? So many conversations gone wrong, so many opportunities missed, chances taken. Amazing.
We made our way in, Nabu leading the way and trusting to his Fate magic. I used my Golem to guard but the truth is the thing adds little in such a well armed group. I’ll keep it around, it was hard enough to create, but it drains me and perhaps I should someday let it go. We encountered no danger in the upper levels but found a collapsed section blocking some stairs. Voland could see beyond and down warning of horrors to come that seemed to shake him deeply. A splotch of blood on the stones seemed similar to that found at Waterfire, remarkably. I dissolved the stones to dust so we could pass.
The others seem to think this is destruction, it is merely transformation. The energy is still trapped, the dust is as much a lie as the stones were, it’s just a different form. It screams in agony, energy bound in atoms, and I cannot set it free. A problem for another day, however.
“When they found one of their own lying still and stiff, the now stood around the body as if there were something they should do that they had never done before. It was then they began to take bodies that were still and stiff to distant places so they could not find their way back to them. But even after they had done this, some within their group did see those bodies again, often standing silent in the moonlight or loitering sad-faced just beyond the glow of a fire.”
Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against the Human Race is such a credible source of truth. There’s something fundamental about our treatment of the dead. We bury them, we burn them, we entomb them in stone, or we send them out to sea. We know, deep down, that we mustn’t allow them to return. Only horror can come of that path.
Once we made our way to the true lair of the creature Alyssa we found horrors beyond imagining. The walls, the ceiling, the floors, the very furniture was created of living human matter. This is beyond abhorrent. The creature that did this is damaged beyond repair. A result of too long trapped in this nightmare world. She has seen through the lie but cannot escape it and it has shattered her. Now she must be destroyed.
I found my scientific training fled, my training as an Agent fled, my curiosity was completely smothered by the horror of this place. I wanted nothing more than to burn it all. Destroy it, change it, set it free of the Lie so it could rest. Obviously, I do not yet have that power but I could at least make it something relatively inert. The others, probably wisely, caused me to hold off while they searched. I don’t know how they could bear it. Touching the matter, like fishing around inside a living body looking for spare change. I moved on to keep watch on the next room, eager to be out of here.
The next room was much the same, a dining space, Wanderer saw into the past and knew that here the vampire did her dread work and many had suffered from it. Freya provided guidance as we searched, clearly, her life as a police officer bleeds through, what must that be like? Perhaps she too has more layers to her Mask than most, or she still doesn’t understand the danger.
Eventually we found the place, or rather the time, where Wandered had returned from. This time we were prepared and the spirits that had previously sounded the alarm could not perceive us. Nabu set the spirits of the place free with the aid of Voland and Ace’s magic. Again we prove ourselves to be a potent combination. One of the spirits, even set free, decided to attack. It took possession of a large dangerous creature and dissolved a portion of the door. I took it out with a rifle shot to the head. Sometimes simple solutions are best, though I know this won’t work on a Vampire.
The next space proved to be a laboratory or work room, strange eggs were affixed to one wall and multiple creatures of twisted flesh and bone. When the vampire finally emerged I gave the signal and flipped gravity away. It was remarkably effective. The creatures fell into the vampire slashing their master, they were trapped against the far wall where I could pick them off with rifle fire and Ace could destroy them with that rather powerful lightning.
Most impressive of all, perhaps, Advokat executed an insane dive through the doorway and caught himself against the frame with one head dandling sideways in the re-oriented gravity of the room blasting the vampire with a powerful energy from his gavel. Ultimately, we made short work of the creatures and wrapped things up.
Unfortunately, the vampire we caught was not actually Alyssa. I’m glad Voland had the foresight, or the curiosity, to read its mind before we destroyed it and realize it was just a copy. The real monster is still out there. She likely has other lairs, perhaps better defended, but this must surely be a blow she will feel. We took the creature captive anyway, along with the one they call Greg.
Finally, I was allowed to simply cleanse this place. Using magic and fire I removed all trace of this vampire’s monstrous lair, including the earth from her home. I certainly hope it brings peace to whatever spirits were trapped here.
We’ve decided to found a home base. Voland donated an incredible mansion on the coast to be our combined headquarters. What must this man do in his normal life that he has money to spend on this scale? I know of only one organization that has seemingly limitless wealth and I certainly hope he’s no part of that….
Regardless, we seem to have gained something of a reputation. The Dead Wren’s donated several crates of alcohol and a massive party. The Brotherhood of Ineffable Truth made a generous donation of books on several interesting topics, and The Shadow Chorus donated a strange statue for the foyer. All very generous and good relations with other cabals in the area would serve us well.
I worry that, regardless of how necessary, our actions recently will not have one us allies with the other supernatural creatures in the area. That Vampire’s table did have 8 chairs…