[CofD] Sir Night Compiles Night Horrors: The Unbidden (In-Character Let's Read)

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
#1
This note was found in Cairo, etched with a bronze stylus in hieroglyphics onto the side of an obelisk made of concrete, and topped with an odd, abstract art piece in the modernist style. Wise men will recognize it as a depiction of a god, though they would be very, very rare-Her-Uru has not been worshipped by mortals for a long time.

I feel finally getting it over with and officially marrying the soon-to-be mother of my children is an excellent occasion to begin this quest I have for you, Lady Neferyah. You know where my server is. Bring friends-knowing my fortunes, I will need them.

---

another_year_another_job.zip

I suspect I will need a catchphrase at some point. Perhaps "Hello, readers, hackers, clients and assorted seekers of the obscured, my name is Sir Night, a finder of lore that desires not to be found."

[And I am Juanita Alvarez-Morgenrot, who finds this overly-dramatic malarkey a sign that my husband, Tim, is still mentally in middle school.] (Yes, Nita, we know.)

For those of you who are new here, first, welcome. In summation, I am a demon exploiting the nature of the Primordial Dream to be honest about my true nature in the serve I use to spread my findings to the network without bringing down lightning on my head, sometimes quite literally. [God-Machine loves its electricity.] I also think of myself as a hunter and guardian of humanity-previously it was to find errors in the Temple to fix, but after...certain events, I've found a warrior's life is not for me. I do plan on one day fusing with the Machine once more to present my findings on its errors and make a better, but I recognize that my desire for ease of mind and action was holding back my overall plans. I have to do some more research first.

Which ties into what is apparently my new job now, that of professional occult librarian. [He even has a new Cover for that. Glasses and all.] Or possibly mercenary spy. Amazing how much overlap those two concepts have.

How I got this way is that I was initially using something called the Horror Recognition Guide, as both guide to the fuller esohuman [That's "supernatural being capable of living in human society productively for long periods of time", folks.] world and a way to perfect my pet project to leave a legacy, the Knights of the Clockwork Heart. Later, in one of my less proud moments, I made an enemy of my clients and ended up having to bring by then-paramour in to serve as a moral guide and ended up making life much, much more difficult to myself when my own ego split off and tried to run my network. [And I got pregnant, so yeah, problems all around.]

How I got out of that mess is why I am currently doing this operation, as it involved the help of one of the Arisen the ancient undying demigod-priests of Iremite Egypt. [Basically, pre-Egypt Egypt, which is apparently the subconscious ancestral inspiration for every Conan-esque work of sword-and-sorcery heroic/low fantasy, ever.] She calls herself Neferyah, a scholar of the Tef-Aabhi guild of architects and engineers. Like most of them, she is proudly eccentric, being a creature fascinated with how other esohumans work. To her, Sekhem, the arcane energy the Arisen use to keep themselves active and manipulate Fate, is the the prima materia, that by which all other occult energies, even my own Aether, is derived from. [I have my doubts, but then again, neither of us is an immortal citizen of a culture where the ruling council were very likely gods themselves, so I give her the benefit of the doubt.] It is will, or heka, that causes it to differentiate into many different forms; study the mind of esohumans, quantify the heka, reverse-engineer the Sekhem. She is certain that by studying the mystical artifacts of other esohuman types, she can predict where the construction of new Sekhem-directing Relics are and eventually find individuals capable of manipulating Sekhem to infuse into her architecture, a sacred task for the Tef-Aabhi. Currently, and the focus of this current study, she is focused on the most classic willworkers there are, Supernal mages. Since they too are a favorite subject of mine due to some personal contacts [He and Cichol can talk for hours about theories absolutely nobody else understands if you let them, I blame perfect memory on Tim's part.] and shared enemies [He loathes the Seers of the Throne for reasons that anyone who has met Seers probably can understand], I was more than happy to open this as a project to repay her favor.

I am keeping it semi-public, though, as many of these things are a public danger-while I was commissioned to create a catalog of both various Artifacts born of Supernal phenomenon and living beings directly linked to the same rather than mages themselves (my client feels mages themselves, as "humans with superpowers", are ultimately not that interesting; it's the power, not the people, she wants to research) [No, she does not have social skills, why do you ask?], even as I was learning about the notorious Gnomon I rapidly fell into conflict with mages who wanted the lore I had before I squirreled it away. In all fairness, this is because I shipped off a majority of the Artifacts I acquired to her for safekeeping and for research purposes, but several of the mages I encountered are threats to the world at large because of their actions, so as a warning I will focus on them first. [Also to ensure one particular creep is arrested, soon as we know his real name.]

I welcome one and all to add their own thoughts to the server, opinions and lore I do not cover. Also because, knowing my peculiar luck, at least one crisis will occur as I reach the mid-or-quarter-point of my exploration and it is probable I will need help. [Also, hackers. Hackers everywhere.]

I will start with a general danger to...reality in general, the Golden Quorum and its leader, Benaiah Clover. [AKA: What happens when evangelical Christianity and Cthulhu have a baby.]
 

ZiggyZapf

Sorcerer of Autumn
Validated User
#2
From: Dingbat@FontsByThePound
To: Forum

Greetings, everyone.

I am Ziegfried Zapf, Sorcerer of the Autumn Court of the Silver Spire. Despite the title, don't mistake me for a Supernal mage; I'm a Changeling who wields a lot of Contracts and fair bit of occult knowledge. I'm a correspondent in Night's previously mentioned projects, though I'm no expert in the Supernal. As a Changeling, I'm naturally apprehensive about anything that involves an "Arcadia," even if it's (probably) not the same one. So, any Acanthus who sign on: Try not to take it personally if I get paranoid. It also probably doesn't help that my first in-depth view of mages came in the form of the HRC's entry about "Gnosopharm," involving some Seers of the Throne turning innocent people into their meat puppets.

And given the mention of mages and Cthulhu, I'm guessing the Abyss is going to be involved. Possibly including those Lovecraftian angels that predate Lovecraft by centuries with all the eyes, wings, and wings with eyes.

--Ziggy Zapf
 

Patkin

ougikawa
Validated User
#3
Good evening.

My name is Gemini and I represent (at various times) the Paper Moon cabal and the society of the Mysterium. I have various references, including the individual called Cichol, and the brood whose mouthpiece named herself Lamia in the previous compilation. I have an abiding interest in the field of teratology and while this may prove to be a summation of various rogue elements and cursed artifacts, a matter better suited to some of the rest of my cabal's intellectual curiosities; I none the less would like the opportunity to observe and comment upon Sir Night's uncovering of the secret world.

(For the record, I prefer "they" pronouns. And it's just Gemini.)

P.S. - I happen to believe paranoia a healthy adaptation to the secret world, Mr. Zapf, so I won't take offense at my connections to the Supernal having particular ill-omens to your kind.
 

The Watcher

Registered User
Validated User
#4
From: Jacob@TheIsland.net
To: Forum

Greetings fellow seekers of knowledge,

I've gone by many names in mundane society during my long life but, for the purposes of continuity of reputation and interaction with long lived individuals and communities of a supernatural persuasion, I had before reaching my second century adopted the moniker Prospero. I am a scholar of occult lore who happens to be immortal. No, I am not a peer of Sir Night's Arisen client. I am not ancient enough to be a contemporary of such venerable individuals. Younger than Da Vanci but older than the Bard who created my namesake, you might say I'm literally a Renaissance Man. Nor am I one of the Kindred, trapped in a cycle of undead hunger and slumber. I am a practitioner of the mystic arts who, after herculean amounts of time and effort, managed to create a personal elixir vitae which when imbibed initiated a process of spiritual alchemy. I was purified of certain chronic ailments and vulnerabilities that are otherwise endemic to the human condition, transforming me into my current forever youthful and ever-living state.

While my own arcane practices do not draw from the Supernal, phenomena associated with those realms are among the many I've investigated during my studies into occult matters. I have also enjoyed the acquaintance of a number of mages through the centuries. Indeed, in my capacity as the patron and mentor of a modest society of occult investigators and magicians I've had on a handful occasions proven the old aphorism "Those who can't do, teach" true when a prodigy under the society's tutelage somehow was led into Awakening. Some of whom of course kept friendly correspondence with their former colleagues and mentors after being referred to suitable organizations who could more effectively shepherd them along their paths toward enlightenment. In short, despite not being one of the Awakened I believe I should have enough pertinent background knowledge to comprehend the subjects to be discussed and perhaps even occasionally offer a useful insight or two.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention who referred me to this intriguing project. Meriui, servant of Arem-Abfu, if you read this please convey to Harnut, Priest to your Twilight Congregation, that his introduction to me of this online endeavor has cleared his debt to me for that matter in 1938.

Thank you, Sir Night, for creating this project. I am sure it will be rewarding and educational to all who participate.
 
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Scriptorian

Absurd Astronomer
Validated User
#5
how-did-this-thing-get-turned-on.mp3

[an audio recording of what sounds like two young men arguing]
"-ive me back my phone Jack!"
"Corbin, you already said wouldn't have time to mess around on stupid internet forums while-"
[unpleasant noises close to the mic as a struggle apparently takes place over it]
"I didn't realize it would be up again this soon! I still have time to-"
"You have two days!"
[more cracks and pops]
"-and it's not just a stupid forum"
"They all sounded like idiots to me,"
"You weren't supposed to be on it!"
[oddly, the mic picks up what sounds like a loud gust of wind]
"No! Corbin no! Bad storm-demon! Get back down here!"
"Your phone for mine, Jack! Hand it over!"
"You little..."
[odd mutterings, recognizable as High Speech to some, but just gives headaches to everyone else.]
"Did you just put me in a time loop? Did you just put me in a time loop? Did you just put me in a time loop? Did you just put me-"
[recording ends]

not-gone-just-yet.zip
Greetings forum users. Some may be surprised to hear from me as, soon after I originally introduced myself, I indicated that I wouldn't be able to participate in this next project. Fortunately, as of this writing I still have some amount of time remaining until that comes to pass, so I intend to make the most of it (it's a whole two days Jack, I know you're reading this. My apologies in advance everyone, I have the misfortune to be associated with a certain Acanthus lacking any internet-decorum).

For a short summary of me: my name is Corbin no-last-name-given. I am an Ugallu Ravager, whose Horror may or may not be corrupted by something from that crawled out of the Inferno. If you hurt innocent people on my watch, I drop you off a building.

I confess I was somehow under the impression that this next project would deal primarily with the Arisen, but it does make sense that our friend Neferyah would not be lacking for that knowledge. So. Mages. It seems I can't get enough of them lately.

HEY CHANGELING! I KNOW A SPELL THAT GIVES ME THE NUMBER TO WHATEVER PHONE IS CLOSEST TO YOU :D

OOC: Yea, I actually do only have two days left until it's bye-bye internet for awhile. But, hey, I need something to do until then! I might see if I can come up with a good in-character excuse before I go for-real.
 

ZiggyZapf

Sorcerer of Autumn
Validated User
#6
From: Dingbat@FontsByThePound
To: Forum

HEY CHANGELING! I KNOW A SPELL THAT GIVES ME THE NUMBER TO WHATEVER PHONE IS CLOSEST TO YOU :D
And people wonder why I always void my warranty by customizing my phone's OS. Guess I might get a test of my other defenses, too. Not that the warranty would cover deliberate destruction. The phrase "burner phone" exists for a reason.

-Ziggy Zapf
 
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The Watcher

Registered User
Validated User
#7
From: Jacob@TheIsland.net
To: Forum

how-did-this-thing-get-turned-on.mp3
HEY CHANGELING! I KNOW A SPELL THAT GIVES ME THE NUMBER TO WHATEVER PHONE IS CLOSEST TO YOU :D
As it seems we are now at the idle boasting stage of the discussion, I guess it's time to claim I can create a ward that can block that.

(And may be willing to so for other individuals in return for favors in exchange.)

Prospero
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
#8
OOC: I am not sure about one of the bits here. If it is offensive, I meant it at Brother Ben's expense and am truly sorry. I will edit it out if it is.

do_you_have_a_waiting_list.zip

My thanks to you all for patroning my work. Also, if Mr. Prospoero is being entirely serious, I am free for a while. [By this he means: OH GOD YES WARDING PLEASE.]

Mr. Zapf, you will be pleased to know I encountered the works of precisely one Acanthus when dealing with actual mages, but there is at least one entity changelings would despise out of principle. [If someone calling himself Metathron is anywhere nearby, stop anything you are unsure of, now.]

But that is currently a minor item. Let us examine the Golden Quorum, and while Zapf is mostly right, the angels they deal with are mostly ones without any eyes at all. Or mouths. Or noses. [Also, that's my hubby you're talking about there with many eyes. We're not offended, it's just that-wow, you think "demon" is a broad term?]

First and foremost, the Quorum is a cult, an extremely small and often exclusionary sect of mainstream Christianity, one close enough to born-again ideals (in particular snake-handling denominations) one can see the resemblance, but at its core its ideology is more Gnostic that Protestant. That is expected, given how its founder is himself a mage, but how that manifests is how it developed kinship to the Abyss. To put it simply, said leader, Brother Beniah Clover, discovered how to draw upon the Abyss for power, a concept mages call the Path of Befouling, entirely on his own-and according to the Scelesti who protect him, this is a sign of their own dark Messiah.

Unlike most mages, Clover's public name is his real one-he's never seen the point in developing an alternate identity, and besides it's simpler for an evangelist to only have to worry about one name. [And to be frank, he has a cabal of cosmic horror cultists keeping a close eye on him-try to use his name as a medium for a curse and they will know.] I also know a lot about his story, because to be frank, I also know the reason he turned out the way he did. While to protect the guilty-but-remorseful, I will not use his real name, I will say that Thorn was, in his own words, a "complete and utter fuck-up" as a father. While he loved Clover [Certainly more than his mother, the deadbeat.] (That is us talking, not Thorn; she abandoned her son to seek drugs, and Nita has...strong feelings about poor parenting), he was also a blackout drunk, a drug addict and, while not intentionally abusive, was self-absorbed and frequently unable to deal with the realities of single parenthood. When stressed, high, or otherwise unable to deal with reality, he would get Clover to stay in the house's attic to eat his dinner and read comic books if he wasn't especially cross with Clover that day while he dealt with his friends or otherwise watched television. This would be traumatic enough, except Thorn was also a professional thief of Supernal-charged items and other mystical artifacts. [In fact, we got about half of the information we needed to track down most of the Artifacts we cataloged from his business records. Man just wanted to do something good in return for getting better men than him on his son's case, we offered Cichol's number in return.] He was crafty, but highly reckless and stole several seemingly cursed or otherwise nonfunctional items...which he stored in the attic. Naturally, many of the cursed items would take the opportunity to torment a victim who could not easily leave. [Yeah. Yuri's Group would have a conniption.]

Thorn is not entirely sure what happened, but he recognizes a particular book in Clover's possession as the Blank Bible, a strange living grimoire of Abyssal magic. As the name suggests, it appears to be a normal, if old, copy of a King James Bible [Apparently the only version that exists if you believe Ben's evangelical buddies, so no surprises there.], but the pages are completely free of any marking or text...until someone reads it. For myself, Nita, Cichol, and a random Sleeper we picked from a Quorum sermon [Don't ask-suffice to say he's none the wiser or hurt for that experience, thank you memory alteration.], the book manifests a strange, confusing language similar to Akkadian that, bizarrely, I somehow understood without being able to transcribe a proper translation-a condemnation of the concept of the Fallen World on theological grounds, especially of the concept of atheism. [And for those of us who are not omniglots, vertigo. Worse than morning sickness.] Having seen Clover read it himself when preaching to his proper cabal and their auxiliaries (and with some help from telepathic Stigmatics), however, it instead shows him normal writing, in the form of normal religious texts that seem to be from alternate versions of the true Bible, which from my contacts seem distinctly phrased to justify Clover's own thoughts at the time he's reading it. Besides being massively offensive to my own faith [Tim's a classic Christian Integrator, a would-be redeemer of the demiurge.], I can make some distinct assumptions about how that encouraged the younger Clover to become more insular, zealous, and especially narcissistic, if it showed him versions of the Bible that supported his own resentment of his father. Eventually, his anger at Thorn became outright murderous, and after ambushing his father with a possessed oil lamp, Clover fled into the world, either having long since Awakened himself or otherwise doing so later. [Thorn's not a Proximus, by the way, but given how his Sleepwalker son was exposed to dark magic all his life...]

Unsurprisingly, it wasn't long before he was corrupted by the Abyss, either-as I recall from my look at the volumes of the Codex Cruciatum, the seminal work on the Scelesti, one who draws on the Abyss too often quickly finds themselves addicted to the sensation with merging with Annunaki who rule and comprise that dark Realm. [Think a prototype version of reality with a grudge.] From there comes gradual harmony with the Ziggurats, "anti-Watchtowers" that embody the dark side of its respective Path; broken oaths for the fae-like Acanthus, truths best unknown for the scientific and spiritual Obrimos...or for Mastigos like Clover, the ability of trials to isolate and weaken rather than connect and improve. However, normally to even draw on the power of the Abyss to begin with, a mage must learn the trick of imagining a form their spell will take, and also how the Fallen World renders that spell impossible-a Paradox even as it is cast. Needless to say, this is completely counter-intuitive. Clover came up with the technique entirely on his own time. Really, it's an extension of his theology-just as he suffered in his home and found enlightenment in it, so to does he believe magic become purer by making it face its own trials in the form of his own disbelief. [Honestly, if I didn't know what he was accidentally calling on, I'd be cheerleading. As it is, my body can't do non-Elucidian splits.] And to be frank, he has no idea he's long ago woken to an Abyssal watchtower, or that he is exposing Scelestus philosophy. In a fitting twist, the champion of the source of the Lie is deceived by lies he tells himself. [Though with some help.]

Personality-wise, Clover is a classic cult leader-charismatic, genial, and utterly narcissistic. He constantly steers any conversation to get the other person to enjoy his company. If that doesn't work, he can be extremely socially aggressive and vicious. [Unlike many people I've known who are like that, he doesn't change to a nasty identity either, he's still smiling when he's ripping your ego to shreds. Kinda creepy.] I also get the sense he also has something of a stunted mental maturity; he's prone to small fits of depression whenever he feels he has failed, even subjective and minor hassles. [Man was banging his forehead and fists against a wall after he misplaced car keys.] While I don't want to go into how I discovered this, I also found he is extremely, shall we say, unversed in romance and sex. [He thinks, and I am being entirely serious, that lust is only capable with preexisting love. Thorn has some 'splanin to do.] This would be simply embarrassing, especially for a clergyman who takes faithfulness as a teaching seriously, except Clover is also a narcissist obsessed with getting married. I would advise any female mage to be obviously unavailable around him. He should be glad I know for a fact he is legitimately not well, otherwise I would be as about as pleasant as I will be with an unrelated mage. [I'm pregnant with twins, so thankfully it was only Timeena who had to deal with the creeping.] (DO. NOT. ASK. Though in a completely unrelated note, I am donating 10% of my Covers' next paychecks to feminist charities.)

As an opponent, Clover is not the main muscle of his cabal (that would be Deacon Thrush, but he is his own entry), but he is the most gifted generalist as a mage. He's adept at shaping both Space and Mind as Arcana, and under Thrush's tutelage he is quite competent with Forces and Prime (manipulation of magic itself and illusion to a lesser extent), though he's not especially powerful. He is, however, adept at telepathy and emotional control, as well as augmenting the mind for his "trials." He's also not at all poor at scrying and detecting when things have gone wrong (thank all that is holy for Spoofing). His real power, however, lies in the bloody destiny his hidden backers have seen for him. For one, he's supernatually lucky-Neferyah tells me he's one of the few people in the world with a Destiny that echoes across time, strong enough to form a symbolic Bane that can undo it. And events conspire to let him carry it out, unless someone "pure of soul" is involved, which is what undoes his blessing by Fate. [Which is why he still has the Blank Bible, none of us or Neferyah qualify, making her and us uniquely unsuited to keeping that thing away from him. Besides, she doesn't want it; texts aren't her Guild's thing, and besides she says the thing "reeks of Ammut." We are not eager to find out why on the off chance she's right and interacts with her own Relics...darkly.] For another is his grasp of the language that the Blank Bible is normally written in, something Cichol says is almost like a "madman's idea of the High Speech; like some kind of Low Tongue." Besides whatever ability he has to impress the Abyss with his grasp of one of its languages, I've found his own apprentice using it invokes the ability to supercharge spells, at the cost of inviting Paradox into the spell. [Which is what saved us, as Jabez got a face full of angry mutant brain grasshopper before he could finish off Smith.] Finally, he's proof of the strange ability of Scelesti to forge their own Legacies, the ability of mages to shape their souls into special forms, easily-he's about halfway through finishing his own style forged in image of his idealization of suffering bringing enlightenment, able to see the worst traits and mental damage of those he speaks to, and able to turn a person's own "purity of soul" against them as a force of a painful and highly damaging vision of Hell; he, naturally, feels it's a way to exalt said purity further by exposing the righteous to the torments of the wicked. (OOC:And is using 1E mechanics, hence why I'm vague about what purity of soul is-honestly, the whole idea that people of high Morality have more to fear from Ben really doesn't tie in well to his character or personality.)

Next, I will examine the muscle [And possibly also the real brains.] of the Golden Quorum, Deacon Thrush-and possibly someone even more threatening than Clover himself.
 
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Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
#9
OOC: I just realized how much of Night Horrors is related to sex and examination of sexuality. Quite frankly, I am afraid of stepping into a minefield here-if any of the above is offensive, please tell me. I did, after all, heavily imply Night was sexually harassed by Ben while in a female Cover, and I don't want to make light of it. I am afraid I might have.
 

Patkin

ougikawa
Validated User
#10
I believe that Thorn and his cabal were part of the relic trade that supplies much of the Mysterium's catalog. While he may not have been precisely a member of the society as a whole (it's much simpler to keep freelancers available to deal with individuals who have problems with us directly), he is owed by quite a number of curators. The idea that he was also keeping an attic full of objects better suited for a censor to take hold of is frustrating.

I would also suggest that you may have.... permitted yourselves to be taken in by Thorn's version of events in Clover's childhood. While a mother abandoning a child may stir up harsh memories for some, a witch locking his son into a low-level censorium whenever he was too smacked out to function shows the kind of foresight of putting him in a jar full of cobras. To say there was no "intent to abuse" in those circumstances is to drastically misunderstand the word intent.

Frankly, Clover would've been safer if he had been brought to a heroin den instead. There, at least the dangers are comprehensible.

Moving forward, the Blank Bible, at least from what has been stated, bears a number of similarities to known Scelesti 'low tongues'. It's known that the Abyss will produce a number of these constructed languages to ensnare the more linguistically-inclined magus. Almost none of them are consistent, a possible product of the infinite not-realities that roil within the Abyss; but in attempting to ape either High Speech or the spirits' speech veer towards an Mesopotamian base.

Clover's theology is, all told, somewhat boilerplate among the tent revival circuit. While we do not always acknowledge it, the influence of early Gnostic literature on Protestant and later Baptist eschatology is commonplace, enough so that yet another preacher speaking of armies of the faithful and a sword-wielding Christ doesn't send up red flags. I would wager his congregation could not even say when precisely Clover's stories veer from sublime to obscenity. This is what likely allows him to gather such numbers while the nefandi lurk in the rafters.

Gemini.
 
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