Full Item Description
The Black Cabinet of Wuhurg closely resembles a large, blocky sarcophagus, sizeable enough to accommodate individuals as tall as 7 feet. It is composed of a deeply-lustrous blue-black material, not metal or stone or any product derived of a living creature, which resembles highly polished obsidian. Pitted and scarred in small patches and streaks as if by a corrosive agent, it is otherwise perfectly smooth. It is always icily cold to the touch, and when knocked on or struck it rings in an eerie, sonorous gong-like tone that reverberates for an unnaturally long time.
This sarcophagus is carven or worked in a strange and vaguely-disquieting style to resemble a human being, with long distorted limbs and a mouth distended into a hideous rictus. It is readily apparent that the teeth in the sculpted mouth are real human teeth inlaid in the material.
The Cabinet is immensely heavy and if it is to be moved any great distance it must be placed on a cart or other conveyance. It takes at least 10 strong men to lift it.
The Cabinet cannot be opened by any force of strength or will alone. It requires the application of the correct rituals and sacrifices, which are inscribed in the lost language of Si’hig on the sides of the sarcophagus. When these rituals are completed, the Black Cabinet swings open soundlessly and smoothly; there is a rush of wind and an indescribable blackness is visible within.
The Ha-Spathi were the masters of Tribes of Man, and the master of the Ha-Spathi was their emperor, the Great Sorceror, Wuhurg the Poison Mask. From every corner of the Great Land, they brought men to be deprived of their freedom and broken upon the wheel of servitude to the alien master- men-of-hi, men-of-tarng, al-haiak, al-suz, and sugrudur, yuzuwudur, sahotham (whose tribes were divided into sahoth, vvohoth, and yahoth), the xaqur, the chirish, the harayal and xyam-ra-liul, al-briyar, ha-kowaq, ha-pirunimin, men-of-urus, men-of-yiom (though these were erased when the Ha-Spathi Prelate Mirmung sacrificed them wholesale unto an insect god), ha-burdarji, men-of-sohom, and countless others who proceeded into the unquenchable maw. Some of these tribes were driven of old from the wilds into the heartlands where the Ha-Spathi held sway; others were born from the splitting or the mixing of old tribes in the Dominion. In the shadow of the Ha-Spathi and the throne of Wuhurg, no man drew breath in freedom, nor raised his arm unchained, nor dared speak in his tribe’s tongue except in deepest secrecy.
So it was in secret that Al-Nish, The Prophet Of Men, and the tribes loyal to her banner, plotted the overthrow of the Ha-Spathi. In years before, Al-Nish had ridden with the men who made the Call For Freedom and rose against the Ha-Spathi overlords of the western lands. However in those days the rebellion was crushed and Al-Nish was forced to go into hiding until the time when men were ready. Now in this time, Al-Nish came forth once more with her Free Tribes from the hidden places and sent her emissaries to the tribes in bondage with a new Call For Freedom. Her captains are known to you, if you know the tales and legends of old, and they were Bralga al-Shil, and Moet al-Yuhurin, and Hruaharng, and Nyuhhur the Urus, and Kipiluminish the White Hand, and Yitir of the Eagle’s Feathers. And among them there was one who was in secret a traitor to Wuhurg, the Man-Spathi, Jjuyurg. Hidden from the eyes of the other Ha-Spathi, Jjuyurg had given kindness to men; he, alone of the prelates of the Great Sorceror, had offered to Al-Nish to betray his oathsworn overlord, and unknown to Ha-Spathi (but also unknown to the warriors of the Tribes, for they would not have understood) he swore by the banner of the Prophet Of Men, and installed himself in the palace of the emperor Wuhurg to strike when the time was right.
From the west came the first risings, and then all of the Great Land was soon at war. The prelates of the west fell, first one then the next, like toppling trees which knock one another down. The armies of Al-Nish swept through the workfields and burned the cities of the slavekeepers and no master was spared. Some of the Ha-Spathi tried to surrender, but no reconciliation could be made for those who had used the heads of men as footstools, the backs of men as shields. The decapitated heads of the overlords were piled at the feet of the pyramids, from the galleries of which the slaves toppled the statues of the prelates and of the Ha-Spathi Ancestors, and the streets were awash with the blood of those who kept men in bondage. The slaves broke their chains and took up their tools as weapons and a great whirlwind broke over the Great Land that could not be ceased, for the jihad of men could be quenched only in blood.
The Armies of the Tribes of Men, meanwhile, came against the might of the Ocean Of Warriors, which was the imperial army of the Ha-Spathi, and which bore the Ancestral Weapons and the Symbols Of Glory taken from the Homeplace. Though men cowered in fear from the shining bolts and lights of the Ha-Spathi weapons and were felled by their keen swords, the numbers of the tribes were too great and the Ocean Of Warriors was broken and scattered and each prelate fled willy-nilly where they would. The Armies besieged the City of Blinding Lights, which was the capitol of the Ha-Spathi, and the place where the Great Sorceror himself dwelt. Al-Nish, enthroned in the the Great Ivory Pavilion upon the back of her warbeast Malharg, raised her great bejeweled banner and showed the Armies the sign of the Gods of the Earth.
The Tribes of Men roared and called out the names of their ancestors and lineages; some sang the hymns of the gods that were theirs, or else called upon the Gods of the Earth to forsake the wicked slavekeepers and ease the pain of men. Then groups of warriors took to the skies in warfliers and gliders and crashed down like thunder towards the walls of the City, and from the towers and battlements the lights of the weapons flashed and great bursts of flame and lightning rang among the besieging Armies. The warriors of the tribe of ha-yashrag ran forward in a frenzy, filled with jihad, and gutted themselves on the machines which repelled invaders from the walls of the City and were lost. Then from within the City there was a great sound, for some warriors on gliders had gone within and destroyed a part of the wall, and it tumbled down and made a great hill of chunks of stone and bone and metal and the Armies of the Tribes of Men swept inward with a great roar.
For many days the Tribes of Men battled within the City of Blinding Lights and took the jihad to the Ha-Spathi and massacred the prelates and tumbled the great towers and destroyed the machines of the masters and crushed their children and drove their women forth in sobbing hordes. All the unnatural things which were buried in that city, and the strange remnants of ages before the coming of men, and the abominations brought from the Homeplace or made with magic, all of these were destroyed. The whole City of Blinding Lights was aflame and stained with blood and smelled of smoke and death and brimstone. Then, at last, the great moment was at hand- the captains of Al-Nish, Prophet Of Men, with Nyuhhur the Urus at their head, came to the fortress of the Great Sorceror, a tower known as the Tower of the Deathless. They assaulted the tower and battered against it, and the cult-warriors of Wuhurg, loyal only to the Great Sorceror and to the grave, resisted with mad ferocity.
However, Al-Nish came to the captains and to the Tribes of Men, and they withdrew, encamping before the fortress and meeting in secret. The Armies of the Tribes of Men took what they would from the City and then gathered about the camp of their leaders and their Prophet to erect the idols of their gods.
Before the captains and the Prophet came Jjuyurg, the Man-Spathi, and he showed unto them the secret way beneath the Great Black Temple, through many defenses and horrors into the Cradle which held the Elder Weapons created in the old times. Only those of the Old Lineage of the Ha-Spathi could activate those terrible destroyers, who were worshipped as gods and appeased with offerings of blood and food. The Tribes of Men knew of these Weapons only as legends which had made waste all the old worlds which had gone beyond. Jjuyurg revealed unto Al-Nish and the Tribes of Men these terrible weapons and to them he said:
"Use these, and the Poison Mask, he who is your enemy, shall be no more. But beware, for this power is greater than even the Gods of the Earth can imagine."
For days and days, the captains debated. Some said that the fury of justice knows no restraint and that to use the Elder Weapon against the Poison Mask would be a fitting vengeance. The others feared the warning of Jjuyurg, and said that some things of the Ha-Spathi were to evil to use even against the slavemasters themselves, and that the Cradle should be buried and sealed with the magic of Al-Nish and the Gods of the Earth. The Armies of the Tribes of Men became restive, and some were swallowed up by the horrors which emerged from the ruins of the City, or became lost in the places which had been abandoned, and it soon became clear that action must be taken.
Al-Nish breathed in the smoke of the Cauldron Of The Flowering Hands and after sitting in communion with the Gods, she awoke, and to her captains she spoke in the voice of the Gods of the Earth:
"It is written in the Book of the Days of Men that this shall come to pass: that the Ha-Spathi shall fall and that the Tribes shall rise up and that all these things shall become as legend. And it is written in the Book of the Days of Men that the Ha-Spathi shall be ended in a blinding light and that this shall be the signal of the beginning of a new age."
And so they went into the Cradle, and brought forth from it the Elder Weapon. The Armies of the Tribes of Men, with Al-Nish at their head, left the City of Blinding Lights, and only the Elder Weapon was left standing before the Tower of the Deathless, and the cult-warriors of Wuhurg recoiled from it in fear.
Al-Nish commanded that the god be unleashed, and the Tribes of Men hailed her and the Gods of the Earth. But one of the captains, Kipiluminish of the White Hand, spoke of regrets to the others, and asked for the mercy of the Prophet of Men upon the City of the slavekeepers- for within the City he knew there remained many Ha-Spathi who were hidden and who could do them no harm, and many children moreover, and many old, those who were blameless and those who could accrue no more blame. But it was too late, for jihad had filled the Tribes of Men; the lord of the oppressors, the Poison Mask emperor, was beckoned by death, and none now could stop the doom that would overcome the Ha-Spathi for all time.
Jjuyurg the Man-Spathi stayed behind, for only one of the Old Lineage could activate the weapon, and he spilled his own blood, awakening the god within the weapon, and he died of shame for having betrayed his people.
There was a great sound like the Earth breaking open, and the sky filled with light as if a hundred suns were shining, and the Tribes of Men cowered in fear from the great storm of wind which came forth and the great thundering of the Elder Weapon, and the City of Blinding Lights was swallowed in a pillar of fire and light which turned and turned like a whirlwind, and then the City was forever swallowed in a shroud of blackness.
When they could, the Tribes of Men went near the city again, but they found nothing of it but the blackened and scarred stones, and great flames, and choking dust and ash, and the ground was cracked and shattered like a broken tile. And the Ha-Spathi who had survived the Elder Weapon were like walking corpses, with their flesh falling from their bones or dying in the choked rivers which they had taken shelter in. The childrens’ faces were covered with great sores and they wasted away into wraiths, and the old came apart like wet parchment and that ruinous hell was full of suffering, and the Ha-Spathi who remained begged the men for death. Some of the men who went into the City’s ruins came out and were stricken with a terrible wasting illness. And nothing ever grew again in that place where the Weapon’s god had unleashed its fury, and the Cradle was lost and sealed forever and the Weapons would never be found again. And this was the triumph of the Tribes of Men, but many among them wept, for they felt in their hearts that they had committed a great crime.
However, it is said in the Scrolls of Su’umunish that no story is ever over or ever begins, for Time is the Great Serpent that bites its own tail. In this way, it is so that the great liberators who freed the Tribes of Men from the slavekeepers were brought low by the one that they had battled. And thereby did the Age of Men begin.
In secret, in silence, Wuhurg, the Poison Mask, who was lord of the Ha-Spathi, awakened in darkness, and his soul filled up with hatred, and from the barren waste that had been the City of his people, he arose in the form of a blackness that cannot die.