As the last syllables of the antediluvian ceremony echoed hollowly through the warded chamber, Ye Guardian Of Ye Crystalle Door was forced back, opening the Portalle Beyonde. Floating in the void was what appeared to be a man, gaunt and pale. He wore clothing of an antique style, the remains of ancient robes, ragged, stained, and torn. As he drifted closer, the apparition uttered words in the archaic tongue of the fallen Empire.
"Know you the path of hunger and blood? I have seen the ones that wait for that day, and they long to devour!" croaked the wizened figure as it approached. He stared with eyes that knew nothing of sanity; his drooling lips continued to utter strange and blasphemous prophecies as he drifted over the lines of the binding circle, oblivious to the pull of the Earth. As the floating seer hung, strangely suspended before the summoning wizards, he hoarsely whispered a few last words of dire prophecy.
"You, too, shall be made ready for the coming of Those That Hunger Beyond!"
Then, dropping his mask of humanity, the creature’s barbed tendrils whipped forth, carving into the men’s soft flesh. In mere moments, the wizards were made ready.
Those That Hunger Beyond would be pleased.
In the last decades before the fall of the Empire, the capricious Emperor Setentian was served by a fawning advisor infamous for his evil and depravity. The astrologer that arrogantly went by the name Magnus Magisterius (the Great Master) happily uttered false prophecies to justify any of the Emperor’s worst excesses. It was Magnus Magisterius who eagerly urged his Emperor to sternly punish any rebels and malcontents who failed to instantly obey the mad Emperor’s caprices. It was Magnus Magisterius who encouraged his Emperor to demand that blood sacrifices be offered to him as a god. It was Magnus Magisterius who drove his Emperor to give the virgins of the Goddess of the Moon to his depraved personal guard to serve their lusts.
With every new outrage, with each insane decree and bloody purge, the vile astrologer was at the Emperor’s side, uttering prophecies to justify his deeds. "Nothing could be done," the aged seer assured the vicious tyrant. The victims had "already been doomed by decree of the stars." Entire provinces were depopulated to satisfy the tyrant’s lust for destruction.
Although the astrologer was widely regarded as a vile and wicked man, no one suspected his true allegiances: Magnus Magisterius had made alliance with beings as alien as they were evil, the things known as Those That Hunger Beyonde. Their influence twisted the astrologer’s mind, bending him to their will. He remorselessly prepared the world for his alien masters’ return, when he would be one of the few favored ones who would be given dominion over all.
The Lure of Those That Hunger
Years before, the man that would later become known as Magnus Magisterius had stumbled across a hidden copy of the forbidden Scrolls of Ptesh Na-Khet. Although the text that he had discovered was an inferior translation, it sufficed to fire the curiosity of the ambitious scholar. He had always seen those around him as little more than tools for his use, but now he found access to power and knowledge that could fulfill all his most twisted yearnings. The baffling mistranslations and omissions in the text delayed him, but he persisted until he had discerned the ritual needed to Call to Those That Hunger Beyonde. It was not long before he attempted the ritual, sacrificing a servant girl to the foul gods of the outer darkness. As Those That Hunger Beyonde sent their tendrils through the gate he had opened, they were able to sense his needs, his cravings. As their alien magicks reached into the man’s waiting mind, he sensed only the power he was being given, only the secret lore that they shared with their servant. He could not feel the way that they were warping his mind, the mad lust for destruction that would soon fill him. Yes; the ambitious scholar would serve them better than he had ever intended.
The Emperor’s Loyal Advisor
At the peak of the Emperor’s triumphs, the astrologer prepared a magnificent magickal sphere, the Orbis Caelestis, as the centerpiece of his triumphal celebrations. This impressive astrological tool would make his prophecies even more precise and accurate, he promised his bloodthirsty liege. He assured the mad Emperor that with this item, he would rule forever, with "the wisdom of the stars". Wielding the hidden powers of this device, he planned to slowly transform all within the Emperor’s court into deranged thralls of his alien masters. Empowered by the rituals that the things had fed into the astrologer’s mind, the Orbis would enable Those That Hunger Beyonde to reach into the minds of others as they had done to him, breaking them to become pawns of the creatures’ will. He moved slowly, carefully laying the groundwork for the forbidden magicks needed.
Before he was able to put his evil plan into action, catastrophe struck down the Emperor and his sycophantic courtiers. One of the tyrant’s many enemies plotted his death by poison; a subtle, multi-part toxin was hidden in the courtiers’ food over the course of several meals. When the Emperor choked and died, his face blackened and tongue swollen, and all those around him began to show the same symptoms, dropping to the floor in choking agony, Magnus Magisterius saw the ruin of all his schemes.
Discerning what had happened, the astrologer realized that he did not have long if he were to survive. Making his way to the Orbus, he adjusted it to contact his inhuman masters. Fortified by the magical rituals that had previously enabled him to contact these entities and survive, he was able to send himself into the bizarre realm of the extradimensional abominations that had become his mentors. There he survived, altered and warped into a form adapted to that place, a creature of pure madness and malice.
In the alien realm beyond the gates of time and reason, the aberration that was once Magnus Magisterius lingers, waiting for the day when someone unwisely opens the portal once again. Very little of his humanity remains, only enough to drive the revolting monstrosity to return to the lands of his lost Empire, there to resume the task of readying the land for the coming of Those That Hunger Beyond.
He That Waits At Ye Portalle
He That Waits At Ye Portalle can still assume the semblance of humanity for some few moments; but that is no longer its natural form. Outside the realms of ordinary reality, it has been reshaped to better prey on the alien things dwelling there. Rows of barb-tipped, jointed tendrils cover its sprawling shapelessness as it floats above the ground, no longer a creature bound by the pull of the earth. Strange organs of no definable purpose wave about the thing like kelp strands in an invisible current. Some torn fragments of clothing clinging to it are all that suggest that this was once a human shell. The "Magnus Thing" is capable of conversation, even in its altered form: One of its unidentifiable appendages appears to generate the sound, strangely twitching and pulsing as the nauseating mass speaks.
The Texts of Magnus Magisterius
Although many of the blasphemous writings of Magnus Magisterius have been destroyed in the long years since the fall of the Empire, a handful of fragmentary scrolls and texts have survived. Careful scholars may be able to discern some inkling of the evil astrologer’s heretical philosophies and blasphemous rites, enough to comprehend the danger to be found in careless use of his legacy, the Orbis Caelestis. The most dedicated of researchers may be able to find a few of the rituals wielded by the vile astrologer in his foolish quest to contact Those That Hunger Beyond; with knowledge of these depraved rites, they may be able to devise magical defenses against He That Waits At Ye Portalle, should it return to plague humanity.